An open letter to the president of Ghana on safety and matters arising

Ghana Thinks

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Sir, this is one of the many letters I shall be writing to you in your term as a president.  I would kindly crave your indulgence to pay attention to my concerns. If you so happen to travel out for a national assignment, please advise your handlers to secure your copy. I take opportunity to congratulate you on your resounding victory of the past elections.

I reference an article I published in the Daily Graphic on Occupational Health and Safety  on  the 3rd, June 2014 titled “Occupational Health and Safety Policy: Some issues”. At that time, as it is now, there were similar safety concerns with accidents recorded. The then Minister of Employment and Labour Relations promised the passage of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Bill.  

As of December last year 2016, Mr. Haruna Iddrissu assured passage of the bill. I don’t know why Government Assurances Committee did not see the need to raise issues with him for the untruth. Fact is, the process for this policy started from 2001 and till date has not even received a parliamentary reading.

But the chorus has not changed. The current minister, Mr. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, is also making promises on the policy. I checked from the Bills sent for consideration for this parliamentary session and was not part of them.

Mr President, I heard that you are meeting your Cabinet on Thursday. As part of the deliberations, the Atomic Junction Gas explosion will feature strongly in the discussions.

Knowing you from afar and judging from how you have handled the Galamsey menace with forthright leadership, I will not hesitate  about  the far-reaching  outcomes of  the meeting, especially the one on  safety issues. I trust it shall be welcome news and one that resonates with all.

But please don’t leave me disappointed. The Occupational Health and Safety policy document is still not passed into law. Please give us some timelines about the passage of it.

My research shows that 7% of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is spent annually on occupational safety and health issues. This is frightening and we can together do something about reducing this.

Sir, I just heard the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chief Executive say that there is no Law against the siting of fossil fuel filling stations in the country. In my view, Sir, this is one more reason why we need the OHS policy in place to put the appropriate ground rules for the safety of its citizenry.

The positive impact of this policy cannot be overemphasised, not only in the aforementioned, but will also boost business confidence and become an avenue for job creation which your party had it as the title of your manifesto document.