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Opinions of Friday, 1 August 2008

Columnist: Kusi, Duncan

Parliamentarians & Ministers Per Diems have to be reviewed

It sounds strange when one hears about the huge amount of take home salaries of the Parliamentarians and Ministers. They are receiving too much money so the Government has to take a second look at it.

Sources have disclosed that the per diem of every Parliamentarian in the country is more than five thousand US dollars (US$5,000) a month. If that is true, then I do not think the gap between the rich and poor can be brigded in Ghana. It is also impossible to reduce poverty in the country.

This would be a bad news for every patriotic Ghanaian who really love the country. I am expecting the Government to take immediate action against that. If this is true then I can also say that our Parliamentarians and Ministers are greedy, inspite of all state facilities at their disposal.

I suggest, the next action to be taken by all civil servants in the country is to stage industrial action against the Government if he refuses to review that per diem.

Poor country like Ghana where some workers are paid below GH 60., others are also paid above GH 5,000, why? Shall we call democracy an expensive commodity where the per diem has nothing to do with democracy?

I am urging the Government to take a second look on the per diem. Ghana should lead an examplarily life for other African countries to follow as Botswana has done.

Botswana was counted among the poorest nations in the world after their independence in the early 60s, but with effective management on their scanty resources, transparency and strong policies, today Botswana is counted among the middle income countries.

Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa and even ahead of Italy and Greece, according to Transparency International index published recently.

The country which has no sea and with scanty resources, our country professionals are seeking green pastures from there, because they have a sound economy like other under developed western europe countries like Italy and Greece.

Are we not ashamed of this? If we are able and willing to manage our resources well, we can even rise above Botswana. Look at the number of years these Parliamentarians and Ministers have enjoyed their per diems with our tax payers money.

I am expecting the office of the Government to come out to defend itself against this per diem issue. I am also like other Ghanaians who may like see the pay structure of all those who are holding government and political offices in the country especially, the Ministers, Parliamentarians and the District Chief Executives.

One thing I would like to tell my fellow Ghanaians is that we are poor because our wealth is not fairly distributed so we should try to pull the legs of the Government to redistribute our wealth so that the gap between the rich and poor would narrow.

God bless our homeland Ghana, Amen.

duncan kusi