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Feature Article of Saturday, 10 November 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Somebody Clarify this Salary-Hike Scam for Us

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Of course, I am first and foremost speaking for myself; but the idea of President John Dramani Mahama asking for an immediate salary review of the executive branch of government is rather laughable (See “President Asks Parliament to Review Salaries of Officials of the Executive” JoyOnline.com/Ghanaweb.com 11/4/12). It is laughable because there is a Minister of Parliamentary Affairs – or a functional equivalent – who serves as a liaison between the Presidency and Parliament, and who must have been in the know about the whopping executive salary increases prior to such information being released to the media and its predictable negative public backlash.

The fact of the matter is that having been widely accused of sanguinely participating in and heartily supervising legions of capers and other forms of malfeasance, Mr. Mahama must have become embarrassed and politically unnerved by this latest parliamentary salary scam. That this is not the first time that eyebrows, including those of some parliamentary insiders, is being raised about salary scams, ought to also be highlighted. In sum, what we are saying here is that radical reforms ought to be induced vis-à-vis the way that business is conducted in our august National Assembly. And such salary orgies, if they are to be allowed to pass the floor of the House, ought to be aligned with the salary scales of all civil servants and other government employees across the country, with particular attention to such frontline occupations as health, security and education workers.

As it stands right now, telling members of the public that the President and his Vice have had their salaries upped to GH? 12,000.00 to GH? 10,500.00, respectively per month, does not tell readers and listeners and the Ghanaian public at large very much, unless we are also apprised of the last salary scales of our first two gentlemen-of-state and their executive lieutenants of the cabinet.

We also need to be informed about the formula used to arrive at such patently outrageous salary increments, in view of the fact that Ghanaian politicians are, by and large, officially afforded such generous perks as soft auto loans, heavily subsidized accommodation facilities and/or allowances, as well as travel allowances, that highly qualified and efficient senior civil servants are not afforded.

It would also be absolutely in order if media operatives such as those in the employ of JoyOnline.com apprised their audiences of such relevant information such as that which pertains to the so-called Ewurama Addy Committee. Readers and audiences ought not to be automatically assumed by reporters to be in the know about the latter, irrespective of the ready availability of such globally accessible internet research and general information servers as Google and Yahoo.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net. ###

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