By Maxwell Nkansah
Former GIMPA rector Prof Stephen Adei has said, public sector workers should have had no pay rise this year, He noted in an interview with Kofi Oppong Asamoah on the Class Morning Show that no group of workers should have had any salary increase because 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 percent and 7 percent rise in their base salary for 2021 and 2022, respectively. They were also not in favor of the 6 percent and 8 percent rise in the national minimum wage for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
One of the demonstrators told a radio news presenter that, they 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 percent is nothing to write home about.
According to them, they 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 percent. However, Prof Adei said rather than agitate; the public workers should count themselves lucky to have even had a 4 percent pay rise.
He stated that the people saying “the” 4 percent pay rise is not enough, to be honest, it should have been zero percent. Yes”, Prof Adei told Kofi Oppong Asamoah in the pre-recorded interview that was aired on Wednesday.
The situation in the country is such that except that – I must qualify it – you cannot say zero percent for them and other people get 70 percent or get an increase”, the former Board Chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority clarified.
He lamented that It should rather have been zero across the board because the message should have been sent that they all are in a crisis, so, they 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 signaled to the rest of the country that it was time to make sacrifices.
The president has come out and yet, in Ghana, the 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 percent is higher”, Prof Adei said.