Tuesday, 3 January 2017
10% Salary Increase For Article 71 Office Holders
The 10 percent salary increase as approved by Parliament for Article 71 Office holders has attracted serious comments from the public including members of Organized labour. The urgency and bi-partisan approach given to the report as submitted to parliament by the Presidential Committee on Emolument raises concern. This is because the Parliamentarians themselves are beneficiaries of the increment.The salaries have not only been increased but also taken retrospective effect from 2013 in the face of crawling economy that Ghanaians have been made to understand. There is no doubt that better remuneration is intended to enhance productivity. It is on this score that all categories of workers including civil and public servants at the beginning of each year collectively bargain for enhanced wage and salary to meet demands of the time. Some of these legitimate demands are sometimes met with fierce opposition by governments in the third world countries resulting in industrial actions. The report on the Presidential Committee on emolument is being contested on the grounds that it is very discriminately against other workers on the government payroll in Ghana whose sweat and labour keep the economy going.
After all, the call is not for equal salary for all, but the disparity is so wide especially between the lowest and the highest paid work in the country. It is no secret that the take home salary for some personnel in the Ministries Departments and Agencies cannot survive them for a week, and they struggle to cope with the situation in the face of the current economic difficulties. It interesting to note while parliament is at ease to raise salaries of Article 71 office holders, government fails to meet statutory payments to the National Health Insurance Scheme, the GETFUND, the Common Fund and inability to also pay newly recruited teachers who have been in the service for the past two or three years and are being paid only three months arrears, such a gargantuan increase in salary should be approved and backdated as well. Teacher trainees and the nurses allowances that the poor worker and farmer were taking consolation from to educate their wards were withdrawn by the outgoing NDC government citing economic challenges as the reason. They forgot that a percentage of salaries being paid to the Article 71 office holders can easily meet the payment of such allowances either in full or halfway. This also brings to fore that the free Senior High School education as touted by the incoming NPP administration when in opposition is very feasible because Ghana is rich.
What is not in dispute is that the ordinary Ghanaian worker goes to the same market with the article 71 office holders. Perhaps what is more disturbing is the fact that allowances and other benefits which the poor such as the kayayee shoulders on behalf of the highly paid officers in the form of taxes is not taken into account. As much as this wide disparity in the distribution of resources continues to persist, the majority will continue to suffer and largely so depend on the minority few wealthy people for survival.
The purpose of this commentary is not calling for a review of the report by Parliament, but indeed asking the incoming NPP administration to implement all its designed pro-poor policies such that the exclusive beneficiary shall be the most vulnerable. After all the wealth of the nation is for all but not few wealthy class of people in politics.
BY THOMAS NSOWAH-ADJEI A JOURNALIST.