June 13, 2024
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Informal workers ‘beg’ for cash, health support to counter spiraling cost of living crisis – Report

The escalating cost of living in Ghana is taking a heavy toll on workers, particularly those in the informal sector.

This situation is driving them up into abject poverty as rising prices for essential goods and services including food, transportation, and accommodation are squeezing the budgets of low-income households. For many, they have been forced to adopt more frugal lifestyles to cope with the financial strain.

Non-governmental organization – The Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) has revealed the stark reality in its latest report titled “Navigating Inflation: Impacts of the Cost-of-Living Crisis on Workers in Informal Employment in Accra, Ghana.

Simply, the cost of living crisis has worsened significantly and these informal sector workers want some cushioning from state actors.

The report highlights the exacerbated challenges faced by informal sector workers as they struggle to meet their basic needs amidst soaring food prices and other living expenses.

Many individuals interviewed for the report lamented that the amount of money they now spend on food has reached unsustainable levels, eating into their already meagre incomes and eroding their purchasing power.

To mitigate against these adverse impacts of the soaring cost of living, these self-employees say the government must begin investing in policies to support their livelihoods.


But what specific assistance are they demanding? They are asking for financial assistance from the government to alleviate their financial burdens and improve their economic resilience.

“Workers in informal employment need cash grants and soft loans. The central government should expand existing loan programmes to include soft loans with low or no interest and establish an application process that is simple, accessible, transparent and open to all”, the report recommended.

They also want the government to intervene by controlling inflation on essential items such as utility bills, essential food items and transport.

Aside from this, these low-income earned workers expect the state to provide livelihood support, including food aid, access to secure housing close to places of work, and educational assistance through scholarships and support in childcare enrolment while calling on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to support income-generating and livelihood adaptation activities.

In addition, the government must begin recognizing the workplaces of workers in informal employment – including public spaces and landfills – as legitimate sites of work.

Beyond that, there is also a clarion call on government to invest in the Occupational Health and Safety of workers in informal employment:

Among the findings, the report shows how food security has deteriorated amid rising prices, with direct consequences on the physical and mental health of workers.

More importantly, to improve the health status of the workers,  the Ministry of Health is being encouraged to remove all financial and administrative barriers to registering for the National Health Insurance System.

“NHIS registration should be free and simple for all workers in informal employment”,

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