Politics

Ex-gratia doesn’t make any sense

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The honorable men and women who receive retirement benefits thrice at work 

As the daughter of a teacher, relative to many people who work in the public sector and a taxpayer, I am offended by the news and the timing of the payment of ex-gratia to members of parliament. Last week, government  reportedly paid 47 million cedis to the honorable  men  and other article 71 officeholders as ex-gratia last week.

The payment was made at a time when many public sector workers  are on strike or are threatening to go on strike. Most of the unions are demanding salary arrears and pay increases, a demand government insists it cannot fulfill. In fact the Chief of Staff met some of the these groups and urged them to accept payments of the arrears in instalments.

The ex-gratia paid to the MPs is a retirement benefit of sorts and it was paid to all MPs who were in the fifth parliament.  This included MPs who had  left parliament and those who were retained. Nowhere in the world are some group of people paid their retirement benefits even though they are still in office.

It doesn’t make any sense but  government and the MPs insist the constitution grants them the right to receive retirement benefits twice or thrice before they finally leave office. Since we cannot question the framers of the constitution, let’s question the timing of the payment.

There is no getting around how inappropriate the timing of the payment was. Ghanaians are dealing with load-shedding, water rationing, high cost of goods and services,  and case of strikes and the government that promised a ‘better Ghana’ does something as irresponsible as that.

The ex-gratia payment suggests that either the people who authorized the payment were not thinking or government is totally clueless and has no idea what  is important to Ghanaians.  Government  has been going on about the country’s huge deficit and how it is being drained by public sector salaries. President Mahama and his Minister of Finance, Seth Terpker have both told Ghanaians to expect some austerity measures they attempt to reduce the deficit.

MP’s  who receive rent allowances and car loans also pay such huge sums of money-perks most public sector workers do not benefit from. The MPs and the other article 71 officeholders   Every Ghanaian worker deserves a better pension, good salaries and quality services from government.

The government quit giving excuses and immediately implement the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission on emoluments. We cannot have  the executive and parliament having the best of everything.

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