Politicization or a reality?

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 Source: Nantomah, Mustapha

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When it suits you, it is a reality; when it is against you, there is a foul play. Such is the mindset of politicians and overwhelming majority of the people of Ghana. So what then are the reality and a foul play? Over the years, the issue of satisfying the labour force in Ghana has been an albatross around the neck of many successive governments including the government of today. Attempts by these governments to resolve this nagging problem have rather compounded it.

In recent times, whenever there is any labour unrest in the country, the government of the day accuses the opposition of masterminding the agitation. The opposition on the other hand, fires back at government by accusing the government of poor governance. This blame game often dilutes the effort of government to resolve the agitation since they do not see its genuineness. During former President Kufour’s regime, Kwame Allovi (former NAGRAT president) was accused of helping the NDC by leading the work force with his NAGRAT to make things difficult for Mr. J.A Kufour. Now that President Mahama is on the driving seat, the heat is alleged to come from the NPP who are accused of using the Ashanti regional labour union executives to perpetrate the act. So my question is, what is the reality? Are we doing ourselves any good?

In my opinion, the cause of the recent pervasive labour unrests in the country is attributable to two main factors namely; poor implementation of the single spine salary structure (SSSS) and self-centeredness of the politicians. The SSSS was instituted to clear the disparities in the salaries of public sector workers and to ensure equal pay for same qualifications irrespective of the department or agency in which one works so as to avert strikes as a result of these problems. The fair wages and salary commission however, did not appropriately implement this SSSS. We have been told that the SSSS implementation is 99% completed but the aim for its institution and implementation has not been achieved and this has accounted for some of these strikes.

Our politicians who constitute the Legislature and the Executive arms of government must also be seriously blamed for their actions and inactions. The majority and minority of our country’s Legislature are known to very antagonistic when it comes to issues concerning the nation’s progress. They often do not offer candid opinions and debates but rather oppose each other to advance their parties agenda. Surprisingly, they speak with one strong voice when it comes to their salaries and emoluments. These parliamentarians often cut fat salaries that are enough to cushion them from the hardship of our economy for themselves and expedite payment of these salaries without delay. The interesting thing is that government often have cash to settle them without any excuse. Meanwhile, when the hardworking public sector worker who receives meagre salary complains of low remuneration, they rub salt into the wound by saying parliamentarians are a special class of people and so no need for comparison. Special indeed!

Government and the fair wages and salary commission will do themselves a lot of good concerning these numerous labour agitations if they go back to the drawing board and resolve the discrepancies associated with the implementation of the SSSS. The constitution should also be reviewed to mandate the fair wages and salary commission to determine the salaries of the MPs and ministers. The issue of the President approving the salaries of MPs and vice versa to me is, you scratch my back, I scratch yours situation and that is highly unacceptable. The opposition should also desist from inciting the work force against the government no matter the government in power. The progress of our country should be the concern of all.

Nantomah Mustapha. staph@yahoo.com


Columnist: Nantomah, Mustapha