General News of Friday, 5 April 2013
The Communication Director of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea has criticized the timing for the payment of MPs’ ex-gratia which amounts to about Ghc47m.
“The timing could have been better”, Nana Akomea told Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana Programme on Friday April 5, 2013.
He said paying such a huge amount of money to MPs at a time that University Teachers, Doctors, Pharmacists and Judicial Service staff have either threatened or gone on strike in demand for better conditions of service or salary arrears leaves much to be desired.
“Coming in the middle of this multitude of agitations, it goes with a strong difficulty” he noted.
He suggested the Government could have delayed the payment until after all the numerous labour agitations had been dealt with.
“I’m sure if the Executive had met with the MPs and explained the situations, the MPs would have understood and they could have maybe held on to this payment probably for until six months or so”.
The various labour Unions have also expressed extreme anger at the turn of events.
The 230 MPs who served in the fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic will be paid Ghc277,000 [MPs who retained their seats] and a little above Ghc300,000 for MPs who lost theirs.
XYZ News can confirm that most of the MPs used their ex-gratia as collaterals for loans taken from banks to bankroll their re-election campaigns in the 2012 elections.
The payment of the ex-gratia comes on the heels of agitations by the University Teachers Association for their 10 million Ghana cedis salary arrears to be paid its members in one full swoop before calling off its strike.
It also comes at a time that public Doctors and Pharmacists are threatening similar agitations over some welfare concerns.
General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association Dr. Frank Serebour in an interview with XYZ News said the move by the government only justifies the entrenched position that is often taken by labour unions when making demands from the government.
Meanwhile, the Government Hospitals and Pharmacists Association has described the development as appalling.
National President of the Association Steven Corquaye said the government must show more commitment towards labour concerns
Similarly, the President of the striking University Teachers Association, Dr Anthony Simons told XYZ News that the priority given to the MPs over the Teachers and other labour unions betrays what he refers to as the insensitivity of the government.
A section of the public is equally enraged by the amount of money paid to the 230 MPs as ex-gratia.