Some public sector workers in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region have called on government to increase salaries by 50 per cent to enable them to meet the current economic challenges.
They said the rising cost of food items on daily basis and the high cost of fuel vis-a-vis their stagnant salaries were making living conditions difficult.
According to them, the Cost-of-Living Allowance (CoLA), paid by government, was not sufficient to cushion them from the current economic hardship, insisting that salaries must be increased by 50 per cent across board.
The workers made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in the Bolgatanga Municipality and Talensi District to sample views on the current high cost of living.
Samuel Aniah Awuni, a Public sector worker, told the GNA that “The current economic situation is just unbearable. I bought a bucket of paint for GH₵600.00 and when I returned the following day to buy another bucket, the price had increased to GH₵700.00.
“Cost of fuel is not easy. I used to buy GH₵100.00 for a week just from my house to work and to church, but now I buy GH₵500.00 for the same one week period. There has to be an increment in salaries,” he said.
Ms Lawrenda Lardi Daameba, a student at the University of Ghana, Legon, said even though she was still under the care of her parents, she appreciated the financial burden on them, “My Dad takes care of me.
“I have had to manage with the little he provides; for instance, if I used to spend GH₵50.00 a day, now I have to adjust and make do with either GH₵30 or GH₵20,” she said.
Ms Daameba, who is on internship at the Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga, said she used to spend GH₵4.00 to, and from work, “But now I spend GH₵10.00. I am not working, am on internship, so you can imagine.”
Mr Samuel Adongo, a teacher, said, “We cannot even afford fuel for our motorbikes. I travelled from Winkogo to Tongo, I cannot buy fuel to return.
“Even to feed our children before they go to school is a problem. This is not about politics, ordinary citizens are feeling the economic hardship, so the government must do something to help us,” he said.
Mr Adongo said, “I will advocate for salary increment, in fact it should be up to 50 per cent because cost of items had doubled. A bag of cement is between GH₵93.00 and GH₵95.00.
“So assuming my salary is GH₵1000.00, today, how many bags of cement can I buy? Does that mean I have to keep staying in a rented room till I retire? We need 50 per cent salary increase so we can survive,” the teacher insisted.
Madam Augustina Ajuidiok, a shop owner in the Tongo Township, said the cost of buying provisions from Bolgatanga to Tongo had doubled, owing to the high cost of fuel.
“People are not buying items as they used to. Sometimes I see that they want the items, but they just cannot afford.”