Business News of 2014-03-19

‘Single spine not cause of economic mess’

The Civil and Local Government Staff Association Ghana (CLOGSAG) says the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) is not the cause of the current economic downturn in the country.

CLOGSAG, in a recent statement, said the undesirable budget deficits could be attributed to the non-realization of revenue projections, the decline in primary commodities exported by Ghana and the shortfall in inflows from development partners.

Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG, said there was ample evidence to suggest that the budget deficits incurred between 2010 and 2014 were not primarily due to the implementation of the SSPP in the public sector.

He called on Government to end the blame game over the implementation of SSPP.

He said prior to the implementation of the SSPP, there was virtual freeze on salary increases in the public services, stressing that the total wage bill has to be disaggregated to be able to pinpoint where the expenditures on the wage bill has been excessive.

Mr Bampoe Addo said in recent years, the chunk of the wage bill has been accentuated or increased by defraying arrears of previous years.

He said even though the intent of the SSPP was laudable, vital issues and procedures were not adhered to during the implementation and that resulted in the current challenges.

“There was unavailability of implementation guidelines, which resulted in ad hoc decisions by the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC) that fuelled and continue to fuel labour unrest in the country and also improper costing of the SSPP that created the erroneous impression that Government Budgets can contain the extra expenditures on emoluments in the Public Sector,” he said.

The simultaneous payments of remuneration on two salary structures where payment of salaries are based on the Single Spine Salary Structure while allowances and other benefits are being paid on previous salary structures also contributes to the current problem, Mr Bampoe Addo said.

“If there had been any problem of budget overruns due to the implementation of the SSPP, it should be blamed on some of the political appointees, who, in most cases, did not at that time appreciate the complexities of the operations within Government Services and were concerned with only political expediency.”