Slash remuneration of ministers – GNP
8/6/2008 9:28:15 PM -
The Ghana National Party (GNP) on Wednesday called on the government to slash the remuneration of Ministers as part of its efforts to cut down expenditures to save money to meet current high global fuel prices.
The government has announced it was cutting by half investment expenditure of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in order to raise money to pay for the fuel price increases, as well as make up for tax concessions granted by the government in order to cushion consumers of the global price hikes.
A statement signed by Mr Samuel Ofori Ampofo, Flag bearer of the GNP said, besides cutting down on the allocation of MDAs, it was also necessary to prune down on the remuneration of ministers and other public officials.
It said while the GNP welcomed the initiative, it was not enough to achieve the intended objective.
'The government of Ghana must follow the example of the Ivorian government, which on Thursday, July 19, 2008 announced 50 per cent cut on salaries of all government officials in order to fund the importation of crude oil.'
The statement noted that Ghana government expenditure on salaries, allowances and privileges alone may represent about 30 percent of the national budget.
It cited the Greenstreet Committee Report on Conditions of Service for Ministers published in a local daily on Friday, November 10, 2006, saying that report needed to be subjected to public scrutiny.
The statement noted that the Greenstreet Committee Report placed Ministers of State on 'A 125' maximum salary level, free fully furnished accommodation or additional 20 percent of basic salary in lieu, plus several allowances, privileges, utilities and payment for domestic staff.
The GNP noted that the allowances included duty, 50 percent of basic salary, special, 30 percent of basic salary, entertainment, 35 per cent of basic salary, clothing, 10 per cent of basic salary and constituency 25 per cent of same.
The statement said the privileges, facilities and utilities included chauffeur driven car, transport fuel, telephone, water, a cook, a steward, a gardener, a day watchman and a night watchman, a security escort and medical services, all for free.
'Even though we do not have empirical figures, we believe with this arrangement the nation spends between GHc8,000 and GHc10,000 on each government official per month and view it as irresponsible application of the national revenue,' the statement said.
The statement noted that the colonial master initiated those arrangements and subsequent governments; both civilian and military had kept them intact because it favoured them, but the GNP would not countenance such a 'daylight robbery' of an arrangement.
'We would like to state unequivocally that we do not subscribe to this kind of colonial arrangement where officials of Government hide behind allowances and privileges to rob the nation of money that could be saved for national development.
'We therefore recommend a consolidation of all those allowances and privileges into a taxable income just as any civil servant earns a month,' it said.
The CPP did not change this system because it favoured them. No government, civilian or military till today has ever thought of changing it because it favours them.
It said when voted into power, GNP would immediately replace that colonial arrangement with a globally competitive remuneration to all categories of workers from the President to the labourer.
This, it said, would save the nation millions of dollars for national development.