The Executive Director, Institute for Energy Policies and Research (INSTEPR), Mr Kojo Poku is making a case of the payment of Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to private sector workers by their employers following the payment of the 15 per cent COLA to public sector workers by the government.
His comments come on the heels of the payment of ¢485 million as COLA to public sector workers by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) on Monday August 29.
Below is his full statement…
Where is COLA for the Private Sector?
Ghanaians are employed by the government or Private companies. Though government is the biggest employer in Ghana, the Private sector which is the engine of growth, also employs thousands of people.
The increase in commodity, food, utility and fuel prices has brought hardship to households across the country. Recently, the media space was awash with news of some government employees embarking on strikes to demand Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).
The listening government, in the face of all the domestic and international crises, granted a 15 % COLA to its employees after negotiations brokered a ceasefire .
Today, as I sat down in the cool of sober moments, I asked myself, has the Private sector companies increased salaries or given COLA to their workers? If the answer to this question is certainly no, then my next question is, why is it so?
The media, journalists and outspoken middle class who work for these private companies are silent on their sufferings.
Meanwhile, these are the same people that will speak on radio, TV and at their workplaces and drinking bars about how that the government is bringing them hardship. Why then can’t they demand any COLA from their private employers.
I believe a good sword should cut both ways. When we say Ghanaian workers are suffering, we don’t mean only government workers but the entire working population.
The prevailing economic doldrums not withstanding, there are some successes worth mentioning; banks are declaring profits after the sector clean up and industries are now able to have some respite on energy costs since the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) reduced electricity for medium to large companies.
I charge the media and journalists who work in the private sector and have not gotten COLA or any pay rise this year, to arise and speak up these concerns in the same manner they did with government.
The private sector is also well deserving of some COLA!
small increment in the salaries of the private sector workers will be great news to all.