General News Wed, 20 Sep 2017

I earned GHC500 as Deputy Minister – Andrew Awuni

The Founder of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni says government must ensure it does not succumb to the pressure of escalating pay packages of public servants.

Mr. Awuni who served as a Deputy Minister of Information under the erstwhile Kufuor administration said he was saddened to realize the gargantuan difference in the remuneration and pecks of Ministers, and other public servants in current regimes compared to what he used to earn some 14 years ago as a Deputy Minister.

“When I was a Deputy Minister, my salary was GHS 500 in 2003. Fast forward 2017, and today I sometimes wonder whether it’s the same position some of us went and occupied,” he told host Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM Wednesday.

His comment comes on the back of government’s resolve to cut back the salaries of Chief Executive Officers of public institutions.

Soon no CEO of any State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) will earn more than the President, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has hinted, saying a rationalisation process will be undertaken to cut salaries and allowances of CEOs whose remuneration is above that of the President.

Addressing a policy and governance forum on governance and strategic policy for the Civil Society Organisation sector, Mr Ofori-Atta said: “We currently have a mirage of remuneration schedule that we don’t quite understand.”

“I think we need to begin to rationalise it to make it clear where remuneration ends so that it does not go beyond the presidency,” he said.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Andrew Awuni said inequality is a major contributing factor keeping millions of people across-board trapped in the poverty margin.

According to him, the rationalization of the CEOs’ salary is long overdue, adding “we have to do something about the imbalances in terms of the distribution of our wealth.”

“It is the Boards that set the salary ranges for CEOs. So most of the time it is almost like you rub my back, I rub your back. Because if the Board needs something from the company the CEO’ll grant it and if the CEO also wants something from the organization, the Board too will approve it. Most of these enterprises structure, power is brokered between management and the Board.

“The salary ranges for CEOs here in our country is worrying. There is so much injustice, unfairness and imbalances; and I have observed in this country that all you need to do is to climb up to the 2% bracket of people who are managing this country, and you can get whatever you want. And in the process the gap is widening between the poor and the rich. People live in this country and they live like they’re living in the most expensive places in the Switzerland and the rest. They can compare with anybody there. The poverty is too much, so if today we have realised the imbalances and that we can do something about it, we can do anything if we can be fair to each other, and do what I call redistribution of our wealth.

“I was saddened to hear a Minister of Finance claiming that the single spine is too high and ought to be reduced. The question I ask is that you’re a Minister of finance and your driver may be earning a salary of GHS 500.

How much do you want him to take home as salary to feed his family? Pay rent and other miscellaneous. You’re claiming that 500 cedis is too much so it has to be reduced. There is nothing wrong with single spine. What is worrying is that those at the top earns 1000/2000 X more than those at the bottom.”

Source: kasapafmonline.com