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10.11.2005 Business & Finance

BUDGET: Govt to consolidate cash allowances of public sector

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Accra, Nov 10, GNA- Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, the Finance and Economic Planning Minister, on Thursday announced a Progressive monetization of non-cash benefits to be implemented in phases to motivate the Public Sector to step up productivity.

The Phase One will consolidate all cash allowances; monetise and consolidate such benefits as fuel, house staff, driver, and utilities (phone, electricity, water).

Mr Baah-Wiredu who made this known in the 2006 Budget statement he presented to Parliament, said the second phase would monetise and consolidate benefits such as vehicles; while the Phase Three would monetise and consolidate benefits such as housing.

He said the Civil Service was losing highly productive employees due to the current level of remuneration, adding that although wages have increased rapidly in recent years, it emerged from a very low base and continue to lose ground against the private sector.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said: "Nonetheless, we are cognizant of the resource constraint and the fact that the wage bill is taking up a significant share of the domestic revenue effort. The broad policy objective of the government is to aim for wage increases in line with productivity gains".

He said the government had accepted the Interim report of the Presidential Commission on Pensions, established in August 2004, which made recommendations for the institution of a three-tier pension structure for all Ghanaians.

The Minister said the ruling New Patriotic Party had accepted in principle the recommendations and has requested the Commission to publicize the proposals with a view to securing broad public consensus for implementation.

"The Commission has also been requested to work out in more detail the cost and other financial implications of the implementation of its proposals."

Touching on emoluments of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, Mr Baah-Wiredu said President John Agyekum Kufuor in pursuance of the requirements enshrined in Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution appointed the Chinery-Hesse Committee.

He said the Committee had issued an interim report and as soon as the final report is received, Government will take appropriate steps to implement the acceptable recommendations.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the history of the country was "replete with the preparation of well laid plans for solving all and every one of our problems."

"Unfortunately, moving from plan to effective execution has been the major bane in our inability to realize the many laudable visions and objectives for improving the lives of our people."

The Minister said whether it is in government, business or civil society, the failure of implementation continues to be the biggest challenge in our Development Agenda.

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