A former chairman of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Professor Stephen Adei, said the lifestyle of the executive and members of parliament is partly responsible for the decision of public sector workers to turn down the base salary for 2021 and 2022.
While stressing that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic “did not support the pay rise,” noted that the government had also failed to convey the gravity of the country’s economic situation to people.
“The government has not been able to communicate the gravity of the economic situation we are in, and the lifestyle of the executive and MPs belies what they would say.
“I believe that the time has come to consciously model what is happening and to get the Ghanaians going,” said Prof. Adei during the opening speech of the first edition of the Governance and Business Leadership Awards in Accra last Friday evening.
There was widespread agitation among public sector workers and trade unions against the government’s decision to increase the base salary by 4 percent in 2021 and to increase the base salary by 7 percent in 2022.
The agitators cite rising cost of living as a basis for rejecting what some are calling the peanut increase, with the union congress initially proposing a 15 percent increase at the start of negotiations with the government.
While acknowledging the suffering of the public in the midst of the pandemic, Prof. Adei urged public sector workers to be patient as the pandemic had weighed heavily on the economy.
“I think the economy cannot support salary increases for some time. When I hear of the need for more wages and other things and public service employees; Some of them, the teachers, who stayed home for six months without work, got paid and are now saying that if you increase my salary by four or seven percent, I’ll go on strike.
Regarding corruption, Prof. Adei expressed concern that cancer has become endemic, especially in the public sector, making it difficult for people to access important public services.
He underlined the need to strengthen institutions in the country to effectively fulfill their mandate and enforce the multitude of laws that have been passed in the past to contain the threat.
“The time has come for every public official to declare his or her assets. And if we say people don’t take public office when we do, my answer would be, if thieves don’t want to go into public service, we’re better off, ”he said.
Prof. Adei further emphasized that the government must seriously fight unemployment by promoting entrepreneurship, especially among young people, and creating an atmosphere that supports business growth.
A total of 20 outstanding personalities were honored who distinguished themselves in their diverse tasks and made a significant contribution to the development of the country.
The theme of the ceremony, organized by RAD Communications Limited, was: “Leadership and Nation-Building; Realities, challenges and the way forward in today’s Ghana. “