The Minister of Information, Mahama Ayariga has stated that government is being encouraged to spend outside the 2013 budget by the uncompromising demands of striking government workers.
Speaking on Asempa Fm, he asked the host; “How many times haven’t you hosted people who have tried for hours to present government as being fiscally indiscipline and spending outside the budget? This is a typical example where we are being asked to spend outside the budget”.
“The salaries for the doctors for this month have been budgeted for. Their allowance for this month has been budgeted for. The arrears for 2012 which we say we would pay in May, July and September have also been budgeted for. What they are demanding for now is that, even though we don’t have the money, we must go and find the money. And going to find the money may imply that you may go and get a loan. And when you take a loan, the interest on that loan has not been budgeted for. So at the end of the year, when you are accounting to Parliament, you would be compelled to say you spent more than the budget approved …” he explained.
The Information Minister was pointing out to the public the dilemma faced by government in trying to, as a matter of urgency, solve the impasse between it and a number of labour unions in the country.
The Mahama Administration has been hit by a number of industrial unrest which appear to be unending. It began with the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), followed by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and the Government and Hospital Pharmacists and now the University Teachers Association (UTAG) with the Judicial Service of Ghana (JSG) threatening to join soon.
UTAG has rejected payment in trenches and insisted on a lump sum payment of the 2012 allowance arrears owed them by government.
This, the Information minister says would have devastating repercussions on the budget and the economy at large because government would have no option than to borrow money to pay the arrears which would later be paid for including the interest accrued.
He was of the view that workers were not being considerate with government given the fact that it took the difficult decision of implementing the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) which has come to better the lot of Ghanaian workers.
Hon. Ayariga further appealed to the striking workers to accept government’s proposal of payment in installment and go back to their jobs.