General News of Monday, 23 December 2013
The Chairman of the Government’s Committee on the Sustainability of the Single Spine Pay Policy, Paul Victor Obeng, says it is premature to accuse the Finance Minister of interfering in the Committee’s work.
He said Monday that: “…Even if Minister of Finance has been engaging them, I will not call that interference if the purpose of the engagement was to give them information that will lead them into making a good analysis. So I will not be quick in calling any such engagement interference until I am told by them that the manner in which the engagement is done, and the purpose for which it’s done is to ensure that they do not have free access to information, and that they do not have the freedom in analysing and coming out with conclusions”.
Committee member Franklin Cudjoe, who is the Executive Director of policy think tank IMANI Ghana, recently resigned after describing an intervention by the Minister in the work of the Committee as “needless” and a “usurpation” of the authority of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, under whose supervision the Committee’s work falls.
The Finance Ministry requested that the Committee suspend its work in attempting to reform the pay policy towards weaning off state institutions that can do without government subvention.
The reform is aimed at reducing the burden of the public workforce on government wage bill.
About 130 of such state institutions have been identified so far by the 16-member Committee, of which a few were being met by the subcommittee.
Some of them include the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Forestry Commission, Food and Drugs Authority, Security and Exchange Commission, Vice-Chancellors, Ghana, Polytechnics, Ghana Standards Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
Mr Cudjoe said in his resignation that the directive by the Finance Minister, as communicated to the CEO of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, may be borne out of fears about “compensation, possible retrenchment and unemployment that may result from the sub-committee’s work”.
Mr Obeng told Accra-based Joy FM that he will seek to understand the situation toward resolving any “misunderstanding”.