Current Update on the 2023 COLA Following the Implementation of New Tax Policies

It is very likely that organised labour unions will ask for a Cost-Of-Living Allowance (COLA) for the year 2023 based on the evidence that has been gathered up to this point. This is as a result of new tax policies that the Ghanaian government has put into effect.

COLA negotiations for 2023 are currently continuing for workers in the public sector. Additionally, organised labour has warned that the existing conditions would be heavily reflected into the basic salary discussion that will take place in 2023. The organised labour union has told its members that this year’s remuneration would focus primarily on the present standard of life.

When negotiations begin, elements like inflation, taxes, and the cost of living will be severely considered, according to Joshua Ansah, deputy general of the Ghana Trade Union Congress (TUC), who believes this will be done in order to safeguard the rights of Ghanaian workers. In an interview with Daniel Opoku of TV3 on April 3, 2023, Mr. Ansah expressed his displeasure with the current administration’s choice to raise taxes despite the fragile state of the economy.

He asserted that the TUC will carefully consider how the revenues raised by the revised bills will be used to make sure they are not wasted given that the TUC’s recommendation that the government should not enact the three laws was ignored.

ALSO READ: How much teachers are actually getting for the 15% COLA

He said in reference to the negotiations for higher pay: “Absolutely, we are going to bring in anything that eroded our gains like inflation, like taxes, like living standards, anything that makes our living standards less comfortable will be factored into our negotiations.”

This has come to pass as a result of Parliament’s Friday, March 31, 2023 ratification of the three revenue-related laws. The bills that are being suggested are the growth and sustainability amendment bill, the excise duty amendment bill, and the income tax amendment bill. As an additional source of income for the nation, the government intends to produce about GHC4 billion annually. But, the deputy general secretary of the TUC noted that despite government evolution throughout time, it has never been made clear why it imposes such onerous taxes on the general public, especially on workers.

“We know taxes are for development, but when we pay, we don’t see the development that we envision. It will be challenging to persuade Ghanaians to pay any higher taxes if there are negative developments this time around. We won’t be folding our arms and sitting down this time. We’ll keep an eye on what they do with the money they collect in taxes so we can hold them responsible” he said in an attempt to vent his dissatisfaction.

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