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Opinions of Monday, 3 August 2015

Columnist: Ashitey, Emmanuel Amarh

Doctors and politicians who deserve better conditions of services in Ghana.

The rate at which the government communication team is going about insulting doctors in this country for demanding what is due them is really sad. My humble question to this government communication team is; is it bad to demand what is due you? Doctors do not have any conditions of service while politician who do not pay tax enjoy better conditions of service in this country. The doctors has every right to go on strike, the doctors presented their document for negotiations since 2014 and the government never paid any serious attentions to their demand.
We must be truthful about ourselves in this country, politicians in this country are mismanaging the country and filling their pockets with the tax payer’s money while the average person suffers.
Politicians in this country do not pay tax, but they fill their pockets with the tax payer’s money and when the tax payers demand for conditions of service which they work for, they are seen as bad people, I really don’t know how we think as a country. What did we say or do when local government conditions of services were approved in this country.
When you read the document for local government service of conditions and you compare with what the doctors are asking for, you will realize we are only hypocrites or at best acting as ostriches. Is it not strange that a doctor who handles all kinds of patients doing odd hours has no Medical or Risk Allowance? We as a people need to identify the essential service providers in this country and begin to recognize those who provide them as such.
PART IX of local government conditions of services on allowances
ALLOWANCES
The staff of the Local Government Service shall be paid appropriate allowances as authorized by the Council with the recommendations of the Head of Service.
a) Responsibility Allowance: Local Government Service personnel in top management positions at the National Headquarters, Regional Coordinating Council, and Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assembly levels shall be entitled to the payment of responsibility allowance. This allowance shall be commensurate with their level of operation. The value of this allowance shall be determined by the Council.
b) Vehicle Maintenance Allowance
Members of staff who possess means of transport shall be paid appropriate allowance to maintain them. Eligibility for this allowance shall be subject to the nature of the duties of the applicant and his/her level of seniority.
c) Fuel Allowance
This allowance shall be paid to members of staff in Categories A & B who possess means of transport and who qualify for the payment of car maintenance allowance. The value of this allowance shall be determined by the Council.
d) Travelling and Transport Allowance
This allowance shall be paid to officers who undertake journeys to perform official duties without using official means of transport. Such allowances shall be paid at the beginning of the month following the month during which the trips were made. Payment of this allowance to personnel with their own means of transport will have their allowances based on kilometre while personnel without their own means of transport will have theirs calculated on prevailing approved transport fares.Where necessary an officer shall be given an accountable imprest.
e) Commuted Kilometer Allowance
Commuted kilometer allowance at appropriate rates shall be paid on monthly basis to officers with their own means of transport who reside within fifteen kilometers radius from their work place. In addition, officers who use their own means of transport to undertake official trips shall be paid at rates to be determined by the Local Government Service Council.
f) Out of Station/Night Allowance
Personnel of the Service shall be eligible for payment of out-of-station/night allowance for each night spent on approved duty outside their stations in Ghana. The rates of allowance prescribed are subject to abatement of one-third where either board or lodging is provided free and of two-thirds where both are provided free. Allowances to be paid shall be determined from time to time by the Local Government Service Council.
g) Accommodation Allowance
Where official accommodation is not allocated or available to senior management staff (Categories “A’ and “B” ), an appropriate rent allowance of 25% of gross monthly salary shall be paid. Categories “C” and “D” staff shall be eligible to rent allowance equivalent to 20% of gross month salary in the absence of appropriate residential accommodation.
h) Rent Deduction
Personnel who reside in accommodation provided by the Service shall be liable for rent deduction from source at the prevailing government rates.
i) Domestic Servant Allowance
All personnel in Categories “A” and “B” posts shall be eligible for the payment of monthly domestic servant allowance in lieu of the provision of utility domestic staff. He/she shall not be eligible to the domestic utility staff allowance if such staff are provided by the Service. The quantum shall be as approved from time to time by the Local Government Service Council.
j) Security Guard Allowance
Security Guard allowance shall be paid monthly to all personnel holding category ‘A’ and “B” posts.
k) Annual Leave Allowance
All personnel of the Service shall be eligible for the payment of annual leave allowance equivalent to one month basic salary.
l) Warm Clothing Allowance
Warm Clothing allowance at appropriate rates and under conditions to be determined by the Ministry of Finance shall be paid to officers who travel outside the country to temperate areas of the world on study leave. Officials on official assignment other than study leave may be considered for the allowance at the discretion of the Head of Service.
m) Subsistence Living Allowance
An unaccountable per diem allowance shall be paid to officers who travel outside the country on official duty at rates to be determined by the Ministry of Finance.
n) Hardship Allowance
This allowance is expected to serve as an incentive to attract and retain staff to deprived areas which are characterized by the lack/absence of basic services and amenities. This allowance shall be fixed at rates to be determined by the Local Government Service Council
o) Overtime Allowance
Junior Officers who are authorized by their Heads of Department to work beyond the normal working hours may be paid overtime allowance at a rate to be determined by the Local Government Service Council and approved by the Ministry of Finance.
p) Special Project Allowance
Personnel of the Service, who, in addition to their normal schedule of duties, work on projects, shall be paid Special Allowance during the period of the special project being undertaken. Such allowance shall be determined by the Local Government Service Council.
q) Posting/Transfer Allowance
The Service shall be responsible for the provision of transport for an employee who is posted/transferred form one District to another District within the same Region, or to a District in another Region, or from one district/region to the national level. Where the Service is unable to provide free transport to the employee, the employee shall be eligible for the payment of a non-refundable grant of two (2) months basic salary as a means of resettling him/her at his/her new place of work. The amount shall be paid when the officer reports for duty at his/her new station. Transfers not exceeding two (2) months shall be considered as temporary transfers and shall attract out-of-station allowance and traveling expenses but not transfer allowance.
r) Entertainment Allowance
Entertainment allowance at rates to be determined by the Council shall be paid to Regional and District Coordinating Directors as well as the Head of Service and his/her deputy and Directors at the Headquarters of the Service on monthly basis. This allowance is to enable these officers to receive or host visitors for and on behalf of the Service.
s) Acting Allowance
An acting allowance shall be paid to an officer who has been requested in writing by the appointing authority to perform duties of a higher grade or in another job position in addition to his/her normal work schedule. An acting allowance shall be the difference between the employee’s gross monthly salary and the first point in the salary scale of the grade for which he/she is acting.
t) Risk Allowance
Risk and height allowance, which shall be determined by the Local Government
Service Council, shall be paid to personnel whose duties involve high risk as well as climbing heights.
u) Disability Allowance
Every physically challenged employee of the Service shall be entitled to the payment of a special Guide/Commuted Travelling Allowance of 20% of his/her monthly basic salary. Things like this may well explain the endless labor agitations we have in this country. What really was the fair wages and salaries commissions set up to achieve again? For how long will we continue this ad-hoc approach of dealing with different labor unions and professional bodies employed by they government. There must be a way to sustainably deal with these problems. There is a general systemic failure and politicians recognize that, sadly rather than fixing it, they are exploiting it to their advantage.
Article by
EMMANUEL AMARH ASHITEY.