Government is broke and is not in a position to offer huge wage increments that public service workers are demanding.
This is according to the Technical Adviser at the Ministry Dr. Samuel Nii Noi Ashong.
At a discussion of the 2021 budget statement, he warned that the new dry spell will last till 2024, advising public sector workers to tighten their belts and abandon any fantasies of huge wage increments.
“If you look at the Budget, Covid-19 is not expected to abate until the end of 2023 and we’re all looking to be tightening our belts for a while and people should not be expecting huge wage increases in the course of the next few years. This is because we don’t have money to pay for it,” the former deputy Finance Minister stated.
“You’ll realise that between wages and compensations for employees and unencumbered domestic revenues. If you net up all the mandated transfers which are required by law, talk of GETFund transfers, National Health Insurance, District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), the rest which is left is not enough to pay for wages and salaries, goods and service, social intervention programmes, that portion alone is not enough to pay for even wages and salaries,” he said.
The harsh truth is coming just days after the Public Service Workers Union (PSWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) served notice to the government that it will be expecting a new minimum wage that is better than what was handed out by the government last year.
A 10th March letter which was signed by General Secretary of the PSWU, Bernard Adjei, communicated a resolution that the PSWU’s National Executive Council (NEC) had passed on the 4th of March at a meeting held in Kumasi.
The resolution had demanded that the salary component of the national budget statement be negotiated and concluded by the Public Service Joint Negotiation Committee (PSJNC) before the budget is presented to Parliament.
However, when the budget was presented by caretaker Finance Minister, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the government announced the bad news that the country is broke, attributing the state of affairs to COVID-19, government used it to justify a raft of new taxes and levies, including a COVID-19 levy.