‘Single Spine Not Sustainable’

A law professor at the University of Cape Coast, Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, says the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) is unsustainable and needs to be reviewed.

According to the law professor, the relationship between what is paid by government to the public sector by way of remuneration and compensation and what is collected by way of tax revenues does not match in anyway.

Prof. Bondzi-Simpson disclosed this while speaking at this year’s inaugural Mfantsipim ‘Dwen Hwe Kan‘ Lectures under the theme, ‘Nation-Building and the National Interest: A Regime for Public Sector Compensation’ in Accra recently.

He said government spends more on payment of public sector remuneration and compensation than it collects through taxes.

‘All together, the ratio between what is paid out and what is collected is about 70 percent. In other words, the public sector compensation issue matters because the more that is paid out as wages, salaries, allowances and other remunerations, the less money would be available for infrastructural development. So the 70 percent that is paid out is an unattainable and unsustainable arrangement,’ Professor Bondzi-Simpson said.

He added that the idea behind the single spine salary structure was good but ‘in my respectful view concretization of that concept was either flawed or its implementation processes flawed.’

‘About seven years ago, the SSSS was introduced. Everybody in the public sector was put on one ladder or the other but then a number of problems started emerging. You can identify amongst these problems the quantum issues and the relativity issues. Quantum issues simply say we are not getting enough and relativity issues simply says how can we be getting less than those in that profession or in that sector. It started off with the police and they got huge hikes. Not too long after that those in the security services and the revenue agencies had theirs out and the parities were disconcerting,’ he recounted.

‘The present salary structure has multiple spines, and it is confusing and prone to unjustified and significant intra and inter-sectoral variations,’ he said.

By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh
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