6 December 2018

Ghana: Don't Outsource Public Sector Payroll Management-TUC

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ghana has advised the government against outsourcing the public sector payroll management to a third party in its bid to create a robust and 'ghost free' system.

According to the union, although the Controller and Accountant General's Department had limited competence in the area hence the current challenge, privatisation was not the way to go.

"Privatising issues within the sector was not the best way of addressing them," the Director of Labour Research and Policy Institute (LRPI) of the union Dr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo said at a Post-Budget Policy Forum in Accra on Tuesday.

The forum which was to shed more light on the 2019 budget was organised by the organised labour and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and attended by representatives of various labour unions

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, presenting the budget said the government was considering outsourcing the management of the public sector payroll to a third party in order to achieve efficiency.

According to him, it would ensure cost reduction, quicker payroll processing, data and cost validation, accountability payment validation and improve overall efficiency.

But according to Dr Otoo, a unit should be set up at the Ministry of Finance to run affairs whilst the Controller and Accountant General's Department focused on the core issue of paying government workers.

He called on the government to address the issue of pay inequalities within the public sector in order to provide reasonable the pension benefits for public sector workers.

The single spine salary structure, which was to address the pay inequalities within the sector, he said, was not effective as there were a number of institutions that were not under the structure.

"Eliminate the distortions and inequities in pay across public sector institutions. [Institute] measures to adequately protect all vulnerable workers by enforcing the national daily minimum wage," he said.

Dr Otoo commended the government for scrapping 35 per cent tax on incomes in excess of GHȻ10, 000 as well as the introduction of the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) to address unemployment challenges.

On the completion of a draft policy on tax exemptions which would be presented to Parliament in 2019, he urged government to review all tax exemptions and scrap those that are not beneficial to the country.

Dr Alhassan Iddrisu of the Ministry of Finance who presented the highlights of the 2019 budget , acknowledged the role organised labour played in nation building for which reason , he said government would continue to collaborate with it.

The Resident Director of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Fritz Kopsieker said the country had many "beautiful" policies which would enhance its socio economic development if implemented.

He lamented the number of cases piled at the labour commission and called on the government to give it all the needed support to function effectively.

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