Public sector workers should have had no pay rise this year, former GIMPA rector Prof Stephen Adei has said.
He noted in an interview with Class91.3FM’s Kofi Oppong Asamoah on the Class Morning Show that no group of workers should have had any salary increase considering the fact that Ghana’s economy was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country got plunged into an economic crisis.
On 18 August 2021, some aggrieved public sector workers demonstrated in the national capital, Accra, against the 4 per cent and 7 per cent rise in their base salary for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
They were also not in favour of the 6 per cent and 8 per cent rise in the national minimum wage for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
One of the demonstrators told Class News: “We only want to tell the politician that the country does not belong to them alone and that public sector workers also deserve a bit of the cake and that 4 per cent is nothing to write home about”.
“So, we just want at the end of the protest, to hear from the government that they have changed their decision, they are going back to the negotiation table and they are giving us nothing less than 25 per cent”.
However, Prof Adei said rather than agitate, the public workers should count themselves lucky to have even had a 4 per cent pay rise.
“… The people saying [the] 4 per cent [pay rise] is not enough; actually, to be honest, it should have been zero per cent. Yes”, Prof Adei told Kofi Oppong Asamoah in the pre-recorded interview that was aired on Wednesday, 29 September 2021.
“The situation in the country is such that except that – I must qualify it – you cannot say zero per cent for them and other people get 70 per cent or get an increase”, the former Board Chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority clarified.
“It should have been zero across the board because the message should have been sent that we are in a crisis, so, we can’t have ‘Monkey dey chop baboon dey work’”, he explained.
He said the president’s decision not to accept a pay rise for himself and the executive was enough to have signalled to the rest of the country that it was time to make sacrifices.
“The president has come out and yet, in Ghana, good news is not good news. The president has said that all the increase which was recommended, he is not going to accept it; as well as his vice and his ministers, and you know, it was just a flash in the pan”, Prof Adei observed.
“He [president] gave the instruction right from the beginning and what he has done is that, still, automatically, the Controller and Accountant General paid it into his account so he was refunding it. But whatever it is, whether it is from the outcry [of Ghanaians] or not, if you are a leader, it’s a good example. It says that: ‘We are in difficulty and, therefore, I’m – whether he was prompted or reacting – going for zero’. Then the other people should know that their 4 per cent is actually higher”, Prof Adei said.
“But the parliamentarians should come out and say something quickly”, he noted.