Ghanaian Chronicle

‘YE BE DII BI KEKE!’…President and ministers in corrupt NDC administration rewarded with kings’ ransom

Date published: November 7, 2012

Chronicle News Report

It is a matte of you scratch my back and I scratch yours!  Barely one month ago, the executive, headed by President John Dramani Mahama, doled out GH¢345,600 of scarce national resources to each of the  230 Members of Parliament for the four years that many of them had sat in there and nodded to official demands. MPs are now to be paid GH¢7,200 per month, or GH¢86,000 per annum, with retrospective effect from January 2009.

On Friday, as Parliament prepared to rise for the electioneering campaign, it emerged that the House, had in turn approved a quantum leap in wages for the President and his ministers, who are presiding over the worst form of corruption this state has ever known in its 55 years of independence.

Figures popping out of the closed door deliberations suggest that President Mahama has been handed a GH¢12,000 pay packet a month, back-dated to the day he was sworn in as deputy to deceased President John Evans Atta Mills.  This works out at GH¢144,000 per annum, and GH¢576,000 in the four years that the Constitution mandates him to be in power. His Vice-President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, has been rewarded with GH¢11,000 per month, which sums up to GH¢132,000 per annum.

Under the deal, each minister of state, many of whose actions and inactions have brought the nation virtually on its knees in spite of the huge resources available to this administration, were to fleece state resources by as much as GH¢10,000 a month, GH¢120,000 per annum, and GH¢480,000 over the four year period.

Roads Minister Joe Gidisu, who has not been able to account for toll booth collections, anonymous Juliana Azumah-Mensah at the Women and Children’s Ministry, and socialist-inclined Haruna Iddrisu, and other ministerial colleagues would be lining their pockets with the huge rise in emoluments, and wait on fat cat ex-gratia, resulting from this mouth-watering deal at the end of President Mahama’s care-taker role on January 7, 2013.

Anxiously waiting for the windfall are the likes of Fifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who has been churning out dubious figures in his discredited ‘Putting the Records Straight’ programmes without telling the average Ghanaian that he has been commuting to Great Britain at state expense to school, Okudzeto Ablakwa, the hatchet man in deceased President John Evans Atta Mills administration, Committee for Joint Action big-shot Dr. Omane Boamah, who has seen no action since being named into the government, and  Hannah Bissiw, who has single-handedly built a constituency head office for the NDC at Bechem in barely two years of being named Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, where 95 percent of its budget depends upon foreign donations.

Under the Parliamentary approved deal, Deputy Ministers, a number of whom walked from the classroom to their juicy jobs, were to earn GH¢8,000 per month, or GH¢96,000 per annum, which in turn translates into GH¢384,000 in the four years that they were required by the Constitution to be part of the mal-administration of the ruling NDC.

On the streets of Accra, a number of vendors sang in unison: YE BE DII BI KEKE! (We only came to chop some), obviously in reference to the huge pay rise given to the executive and Members of Parliament.

Incidentally, at the time ministers were welcoming their huge pay rise, their civil servants were voting with their feet. Civil servants throughout the country are complaining about their low wage bills and the failure of the administration to promote them on to the NDC’s flagship Single Spine Salary Structure.

Government business all over the country, The Chronicle learned, was crawling to a halt. Leaders of the Civil and Local Government Association of Ghana are hinting of an indefinite strike action, unless the government would address their concerns, which were mainly about their very low emoluments.

The huge pay rise for politicians, already suspected to be lining their pockets through dubious deals, has naturally been condemned by civil society organisations. Mr. Vitus Azeem, Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, has questioned the rational for the huge pay-out at a time workers and the general populace were unable to eke out any meaningful living from their earnings.

In the House itself, Samia Yaaba Nkrumah, the lone voice for the Convention People’s Party, was said to have expressed misgivings about the pay rise, indicating that she would not accept her own.

In a nation, where the minimum wage is way below GH¢4, the huge pay, with its four year back-pay, is likely to trigger more agitation for wage increases across board, likely to paralyze state activities, as the nation heads for the polls on December 7.

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