The Tema District Council of Labour has reiterated the call on the government to restore the End of Service Benefit (ESB) of workers without delay. In a resolution adopted at its regular general meeting last Thursday, the council said salaries and wages were too low for workers to plan their settlement after exit from service.
Despite this, the council said, "Government deemed it fit to freeze the workers' ESB, but found it expedient to pay its Ministers, Parliamentarians, District Chief Executives and other office bearers and functionaries’ ex-gratia awards which is ESB in disguise at the end of each four-year term of office". "Office bearers and people holding managerial position permitted to replace their vehicles at short interval (every four years) and therefore have the chance to pun chase these vehicles at ridiculously low prices," it noted.
The resolution said public officials in well-furnished bungalows were also allowed to purchase household item such as refrigerators and cooking utensils at very low price. The council said it viewed all these arrangements as a design to reward such officers at the end of their services, “which in most cases are shorter than the workers” length of service". "In the interest of fairness, justice and equity, the council is calling for the restoration of the ESB without any further delay.
The council resolved, therefore, that government should raise the tax threshold on worker’s income, devise workable strategies to expand the tax net to rope in self-styled businessman and women as well as other defaulters. It called on government to waive the tax on overtime and other incentives and act swiftly on the concerns it has raised, preferably, within 21 days which would be the date for its next meeting.
Kofi Asamoah, Secretary-General of the TUC, called on the Internal Revenue Service to develop innovative ways to widen the tax net. He encouraged workers and their leaders to cross check on regular basis, from the Accounts Offices of their respective work places operative tax sheets. That he said, would avoid the situation where some employers continued to use, outdated tax levels as the basis for income tax deductions from workers salaries.
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