Unions resist Benchmark

By Edith Atiaka Eshun

The Food and Allied Workers Union, FAWU, and the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union, GAWU, say a thorough review of the Benchmark Value Policy is very essential, as its implementation will hugely affect local manufacturing firms.

The two groups are worried maintaining the Policy in its current state will result in massive job losses.

At a joint Press Conference in Tema, the General Secretary of FAWU, Kenneth Koomson, said based on the impact of the Benchmark Policy on jobs and the survival of the local manufacturing industries, there is the urgent need for the government to withdraw the policy and thoroughly review it for the sustainability of the local firms.

Following the government’s reversal of the Benchmark Value Policy, many have called for its sustainability however the Food and Allied Workers Union, FAWU, and the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union, GAWU, have also joined the demand for its removal considering the impact on local manufacturers and attendant job losses.

At the Joint Press Conference, the General Secretary of FAWU, Kenneth Koomson, called for a level playing field for all; explaining that the benchmark regime created an unequal field that left most Ghanaian manufacturers at the mercy of competing with cheap imports from foreign markets.

He noted that the reversal of the Benchmark Value Policy will enable the expansion of cultivation of oil palm to 80,000 hectares to produce 150,000 metric tons of crude palm oil required to meet total oil palm needs of the country, hereby creating more than 60,000-direct jobs and save Ghana over $ 300 million foreign exchange which is currently used to import palm oil into the Country.

The General Secretary of GAWU, Edward Kareweh, said they will support a benchmark policy applied to essential goods that cannot be produced in Ghana.

He warned that should the policy affect all imports, about 120,000 local jobs risk shutting down.

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