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Members of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) are sitting on tenterhooks following news that the government is to cut down the size of the civil service.

The John Dramani Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is said to have agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IFM) to embark on a massive lay-off of workers in the public sector in exchange for a bailout under the 3-Year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Programme.

The government negotiated with the Breton Wood institution to allow them to lay off the workers as part of a rationalization exercise starting from 2017 even though the timeline was set for 2016.

Recently, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) vice presidential candidate for the 2016 general election critiquing the 2016 budget, revealed that the government was avoiding 2016 since it knew it was going to cost them the election should they decide to commence next year.

“Government has committed under the IMF program to lay off workers after the 2016 election. But they will not admit it today if you ask them. The fact, however, is that one of the conditionalities for the IMF bailout program, was a commitment by this NDC government to rationalize the size of the civil service.”

He said the plan to do this rationalization will be ready by December 2015 and the implementation of the plan will begin in 2017 which is after the general election and called for ‘maximum transparency’ from both the government and the IMF.

“If the plan for the rationalization of the size of the civil service (i.e. layoffs) would be ready in December 2015, why wait till 2017 for implementation? Isn’t this reform supposed to help this struggling economy? Why the delay in implementing it if it is so good for the economy?”

CLOGSAG’s Executive Secretary Isaac Bampoe Addo at a thanksgiving service to round off activities for 2015 said their members are concerned about the government’s intended action.

“We are worried about the IMF always targeting the Civil Service in a rationalization programme,” he said adding “if the dwindling size of the Civil Service to the workforce in the public services is taken cognizance of, it would show that using the Civil Service as a trigger is misplaced.”

He said the IMF and the World Bank have always sought to use the Civil Service which he said was less than 2 percent of government workforce as ‘sacrificial lamb.”

He posited that the time had come for all stakeholders to review the rule that barred civil servants from contesting as parliamentary candidates and hinted that the association would seek judicial interpretation of Article 94 (3b)of the constitution.

Evans Dzikum, vice president of CLOGSAG said, in spite of the high cost of living in the country, civil servants had remained committed to supporting national development.

He however, stressed that the IMF retrenchment exercise continued to be a source of worry for every member of the association.
Source: Daily Guide

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