March 12, 2014

Former Finance Minister, Dr. Anthony Akoto-Osei says government must consider suspending portions of the single spine pay policy (SSPP) as its full implementation cannot be sustained.

The policy takes about 70 percent of public spending; a situation, experts say could crush the economy if not checked.

At the Graphic-Fidelity Economic Dialogue held at the Alisa Hotel, Tuesday, Dr. Akoto-Osei said government must re-negotiate with organized labour.

“Everybody knows that our current wage bills are not sustainable. Mr. minister, I think that we should defer full implementation of the single spine salary policy now. the Other components that have not started must be deferred but negotiated. Two and three category allowances, cannot be sustained in the next two or three terms.

“There are arrears on the wage bill, even with the first part of implementation; the minister must sit with labour and tell them he cannot pay it all.

“We are looking for 2 billion cedis in savings in that area”, he insisted.

Additionally, Dr. Akoto-Osei noted that payments of pensions, gratuities and social security are in arrears and must be negotiated since the budget cannot contain them this year.

He was of the view that some negotiations for retrenchment must begin, adding, “I know government is in negotiations with labour. That wage bill of almost 9 billion cannot be sustained”.

The Finance Minister, Seth Terkper agrees, the need for a review of the Single Spine Pay Policy cannot be over-emphasized. He says government is looking at budgetary constraints as against public sector wage bill, productivity and other gratuities and considering steps to address the situation.

Regarding calls for the presentation of a new budget to reflect current economic trends, Mr. Terkper explained that it might be early days yet.