A Senior Economics Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, has commended government for the introduction of a financial relief programme for persons who have lost their jobs as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Known as the National Unemployment Insurance Scheme, the temporary initiative will ensure payment of monies to workers who were laid off by their employers due to the pandemic.
Presenting the Mid-year budget in Parliament on Thursday, 23rd July, 2020, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, said “Mr. Speaker, we are mindful of the fact that some businesses may have to shed some labour in order to survive. In the unlikely event that this happens, government, through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, will collaborate with the Social Partners (Labour and Employers) to establish a National Unemployment Insurance Scheme. The scheme will provide temporary income support to workers that are laid off and also provide them access to re-training to help them take advantage of employment opportunities in new fields,” he said.
In an interview with Citi Business News, the Senior Economics Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, said the intervention is critical since many workers who have lost their jobs are suffering.
She however expressed concern about the fact that the Scheme may not cover those in the informal sector.
“I still feel we can do better if indeed the stimulus package go to the right people. At the right time, I believe that we can do better. But globally, all economies are struggling so this is not the time to debate that. I am quite excited particularly about the establishment of the Unemployment Insurance Scheme because workers are suffering. A lot of people have also been laid off, so if this avenue exists then it means that we can protect the livelihood of ordinary Ghanaians. Then again, the issue is that such an insurance scheme normally only works for formal sectors workers,” she said.
Following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in the country, many employers and employees have been severely hit. It has also brought many businesses in the major economic sectors to a standstill, causing huge financial losses.
Currently, people are still coping with the possibility of losing their jobs should the pandemic persist for a long time.
Already, the International Labour Organization (ILO), has predicted that over 25 million jobs are threatened by the pandemic.