Gov't denies freezing public employment

President John Mahama says government will not freeze employment due to the IMF loan

President John Mahama

Government has denied the notion that there was a freeze on public employment as a result of Ghana’s involvement in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) programme.

Government was accused of imposing a freeze on employment as a directive from the IMF as part of measures to help reduce the burden of a "huge" public salary on government.

But in a radio interview on Uniq FM Wednesday, President John Dramani Mahama said, “It is not even true that there is a freeze on public employment.”

Rather, he said that open license for anybody [government agencies] to employ is what has been taken away. He said government agencies now need to apply for permission to employ in areas where strategically government believes that employment must take place.

“We are still employing in strategic areas where we think we need manpower. In the areas where we don’t need, yes we are not employing, so that is the main reason. We are still employing doctors, we are still employing teachers and nurses and so if they say there was a freeze on employment it is not true,” President Mahama said.

Explaining, he said about 73 percent of taxes was used to pay salaries of about 600,000 people in the public sector and that from 2013, government has reduced the use of taxes to pay revenues from 73 percent to 49 percent of tax revenue.

Meanwhile, Ghana is likely to clear the first review of its $918 million programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and secure a fresh disbursement of funds aimed at stabilising its economy, sources close to the deal said on Monday.

The $115 million due in August is vital to shore up a currency that has fallen to record lows and convince investors who have lost faith in the short-term prospects of an economy that until recently was one of the fastest growing in Africa.

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