The Minister for Public Enterprises, Mr Joseph Cudjoe, has indicated that working for the public sector is not slavery for heads of Institutions to receive meagre salaries.
According to him, heads of the various public Institutions are people with higher educational qualifications and vast working experiences and who must be paid well.
Citing himself as an example, Mr Cudjoe said he possesses a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) and having worked as a Consultant for an International Organisation, he expects a certain salary that would correspond to the value he would be adding to any public sector he is poached to work with.
“…Honourble Joseph Cudjoe has an MBA, I have been a Senior Consultant of a certain International Associate, I have worked here, I am a business man, I understand business, I have been a Lecturer before and so my CV comes with a profile. You want me to go and work for a certain enterprise, I have a salary expectation to deliver that competence. I am not in slavery, I cannot be coerced to work by force for a certain public enterprise. I will look at their salary before I go and work for them,” he said.
This comment, made by the minister at a presser in Accra yesterday, was in response to the many calls on government to reduce salaries and numerous allowances of Heads of State-Owned Enterprises, since such monies impact heavily on the public purse.
For the past few weeks, the allowances and salaries of some heads of institutions have become a topical issue that is being discussed.
The discussion was necessitated by calls on the government by workers unions to increase the salary of their members by 20%, due to the recent economic hardships and hinted of going on strike should the government refuse to honour their request.
Some observed that while they, the workers, are being paid meagre salaries the heads of their various institutions have been put on fat salaries and numerous allowances, which when reduced, can be used to cater for some salary adjustments that they are requesting for.
However, addressing the issue yesterday, Mr Cudjoe, who is a former Member of Parliament for Effia Constituency, stated that instead of focusing on the salaries being paid to these heads of institutions, Ghanaians should rather access whether or not the fat salaries correspond with their output.
“The most important aspect is to exact the performance from them. You need them to grow the companies and to expand and contribute, that is what is important. If you look at salary, salary, salary, and you want to pay small, small, small, unfortunately like I said, you cannot attract competent people to take up the job. That we should understand….Tax payers money must be subjected to value generation.”
He also stated that if Ghanaians want to see the best brains work in the public sector, then it must
come with a corresponding salary from the government. He said anything lesser than that will
mean that the less experienced and educated will be working in the public sector while the best
brains will all run to the private sector.
“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys to work for you. So if public sector wants to attract competent people like myself, then be willing to pay good money.”
Aside the issue of salaries and allowances, Mr Cudjoe also shed light on the performance of
State Owned Enterprises, Joint Venture Enterprises and others.
He noted that the current government has improved financial reporting in the Public Enterprises since it took power in 2017. He said the financial reporting has improved from 18 entities in 2016 to 132 in 2020.
“The financial reporting in the sector has shown growth in numbers from 18 entities in 2016, 49 in 2017, 77 in 2018, 106 in 2019 and 132 in 2020” he stated.
The Minister was optimistic that the current figures would show an improvement in the 2021 State Ownership Report (SOR), which is currently under preparation.
He indicated that in spite of the challenges facing the Public Enterprises and the contingent liability they have posed to the national budget in the past, the story is changing.
Mr. Cudjoe indicated that compliance with reporting requirements and reduction in losses since 2017 is setting the stage to make the sector gain the vibrancy envisaged at their creation.