Single Spine 6 Ghana 1 By Tarzan

" If you pay peanuts you get monkeys" is a

statement that has caused angst and discordant

noises in an otherwise very cordial relationship

between me and all current media partners in

the last week . After months of dithering and

lack of clarity I went on the 'offensive' and

decided to test my worth in Ghana cedis for

this and other 'pearls of wisdom ?' in my post

retirement life .

My spat with my ' benefactors' coincided with

the biggest and most significant victory of the

Black Stars over Egypt. Basking in the reflected

glory of the gargantuan rollover of the

Pharaohs, I was distracted momentarily by the

observation that GNPC had oiled our now

certain passage to Brazil by dipping into our oil

wealth to offer US $ 15, 000 each to our boys ,

even as some " ahooyaa " people moaned. ( I

wonder if they rejoiced too )

Two events quickly brought me crashing down

from the dizzy heights of the soccer victory.

Firstly , the ongoing strike by CLOGSAG made

sure I could not assist family folks to fast track

the acquisition of new biometric travel docs

because the Passport Office was closed . Then

the Junior Okyeame Ofosu Kwakye crowed that

GHS 11 billion nearly all of the revenues from

the taxes extorted from hard working

Ghanaians , was to be paid as wages to those on

" aban" payroll (Ghosts as well as the Quick)

CLOGSAG' s beef was to replicate the same

refrain that has led other people paid from the

public purse to down their pens , chalks and

stethoscopes , namely the failure of

government to pay ' the market premium '

allowances elements of the Single Spine Salary

Scheme . Please note that the strikes are no

longer about the payment of the basic

Quadruple S, which is being enjoyed, but the

clawing back of the allowances that determines

the relative importance on the employment

ladder .

Government has admitted that after paying the

QS to the workers , Ghana 's public purse is

emptied out completely and absolutely ; there

is simply no 'kudi' left to do the things that

will improve our lives and for which we are

doling out all of our money to those on the

public pay- roll.

The money collected to make the NHIS has

been filched to pay wages. The capitation fees

nourishing our children under the School

Feeding Programme have gone into public

sector wages . Our much touted

decentralization has stopped in its tracks

because the portion of the public purse that

should go to the MMDAs has not left Accra for

several months cos it has all gone into paying

wages . TALK TAX is not putting our money

where our mouths are chatting "yabe yabe " cos

that money too has gone into the public wage

bill .

Paying workers well is very good and

commendable. But then there is always the

other side of the equation, namely "What are

you paying them for ?" Unfortunately, in Ghana

we seem to be concerned only with the answer

part of the equation, namely the Pay and

forget that it is only when we do the analytic

work on the left side well and diligently that

we arrive at the correct answer. We simply

cannot address Good Pay without Productivity.



THE HIGH WAGE BILL . If we are spending

GHS 11 billion in paying public workers better ,

we are entitled to ask , nay demand , insist, and

ultimately ensure that the work being done is

deserving of the better pay. Instead, we have

put ourselves in the untenable position of not

being able to measure workers output at all ,

because all the money has been spent on

wages and there is nothing left to do the work ,

let alone determine the worth of it.

The Government of President John Mahama

needs to stop playing "afraid men and women"

when it comes to tackling and solving the

equation of Public Sector Pay & Productivity

( the other triangular Ps whose neglect stops

the achievement of the more sexy Public ,

Private Partnership) . After all they are also

" chopping plenty " from GHS 11 billion and

must stop fiddling with pre – paid meters when

they should be getting on with ensuring that

we are getting real and quantifiable value and

benefits from " blowing our cash " on the

implementers of GYEEDA and those who

'investigate their misdeeds'

There is no merit in crying that the QS should

never have been implemented . The fact is that

the QS genie is out of the bottle and it is a

good thing to be proud that we can pay better

to attract better quality and more competent

folks into the service of our nation.

For nearly five years now , President Mahama

has been part of Power of this country . He has

made several speeches and pronouncements in

that time. Yet , I cannot recall a single major

speech that has taken on the issue of making

our Public Sector more productive (including

Article 71 folks ) and delivering measurable

outputs that show that the investment of the

people 's taxes in SSSS is yielding tangible

improvements in our overall welfare and well


Instead of moaning about mounting wage bills,

let the Government start looking at precisely

and exactly what each and every single person

that is paid from the public purse is delivering

to earn their pay. We will soon find out that

we can have our cake and eat it by having to

pay fewer people to achieve the same or better

output than now . Trimming down a bloated

public service has been one of the sacred

mantras of public sector reforms in the 25

years I have been around. Doing it has always

eluded us like the scarlet pimpernel , even

when PAMSCAD was introduced as a sweetener .

How many of us remember the standard joke

about public sector pay, namely" "Government

pretends it is paying us and we pretend we are

working " It used to be quite funny and a

readymade excuse for doing nothing. Now that

QS has done away with the Government' s

pretence, the workers are still pretending to be

working . That I am afraid is a sick joke that

must be wiped off our increasingly suffering

faces .

Let the example of the Black Stars be

manifested in the output delivered by those

now enjoying QS . For now, I am afraid in the

match between Public Pay and Commensurate

Productive Output, the score for now is


QS has increased PUBLC PAY several fold whilst

PRODUCTIVITY has stood still. But it is possible

to square the match and get Productivity to

score more goals and even achieve victory for

a wealthier Ghana on the away goal rule . How ,

this can be done ; will have to wait another

week .


( quadruple S ); CLOGSAG Civil and Local

Government Staff Association of Ghana ;

MMDAs :Metropolitan , Municipal & District

Assemblies; PAMSCAD Programme of Action to

Mitigate Social Consequences of Adjustment ;

GYEEDA( no need to expatiate)

Charles Wereko- Brobby

CHIEF POLICY ANALYST , Ghana Inst for Public

Policy Options , GIPPO

Email: tarzan @eyetarzan. org

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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