Battle of Economists: Dr. Bawumia lied about public sector layoffs- Seth Terkper

Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has vehemently denied these claims made by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in his press conference on Tuesday saying, the economist lied and trivialized issues only to  make cynical points.

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Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, has labelled  the running mate of the NPP's comments that government intends to lay off workers after the 2016 elections as falsehood.

The NPP running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia asserted that government is expected to cut expenditure on salaries under a workers' rationalization exercise initiated by the IMF extended credit facility in December 2015. This, he says, is expected to resort in public sector lay offs in 2017.

Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has vehemently denied these claims made by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in his press conference on Tuesday saying, the economist lied and trivialized issues only to  make cynical points.

Mr. Tekper addressed The IMF  Agreement Paragraph 65 which was quoted by Dr. Bawumia as evidence for his claims that government was being charged by the IMF to layoff workers in 2017 under the stipulation of Public Sector Rationalization policy.

The IMF Staff Report issued in April 2015 said in part: "The Government will undertake, with the assistance of development partners, a comprehensive plan to rationalize the size and increase the efficiency of the civil service and allied services on the payroll. The related strategic plan will be ready in December 2015, the results of which will inform the actual rationalization of staff, which is expected to begin in 2017."

The mister said," Rationalisation of the public service does not mean we will layoff workers. What it means is to aligning  and restructuring the public sector by rationalising it."

Seth Terkper again stressed that “We are implementing it with respective to all employees on the public sector payroll…the rationalization we are talking about does not refer to the core civil service, it is refers to the public sector at large, including subverted organizations like the universities and the rest.

The finance minister continued saying “That is a big exercise that is why you need to plan. Again it takes that period to plan the project to get the financing for it. There is nothing sinister about the programme...government deliberately made it straddle the election year,” he explained the delay in implementing the rationalization.

Dr. Bawumia, earlier in 2015, blew an alarm on alleged government intentions to layoff public sectors.

 In lecture at the 4th Distinguished Speaker Series by the Central University College under the theme “The IMF Bailout: Will the Anchor Hold?" in March this year, hinted of the mass layoff at the civil service.

 "My understanding is that government wants the IMF agreement to delay the worker layoffs until after the 2016 election. I wonder why? I suppose the message is “vote for me before I fire you”.

President Mahama countered the claims as false.

“I’ve heard it said that under the IMF programme we have just entered government intends to retrench workers as part of the conditionality of the IMF, I wish to say that this is absolutely false…there is no condition in the IMF that asks us to retrench workers.” He promised at the 8 Conference of the Public Service Chief Directors and Chair Persons of governing boards and Council in April.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia resurrected the issue on December 2, 2015, pointing to the fact that the retrenchment, according to the plan under the IMF agreement was to take off on December 15, 2015.

“Unemployment is high and increasing – 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. Paragraph 65 of the agreement with the IMF states as follows: What is clear from this is that the government has agreed to rationalize the “SIZE” of the civil service.

 Secondly the Plan to do this rationalization will be ready by December 2015. Thirdly, the implementation of the plan will begin in 2017 (i.e. after the elections)

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