Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina Constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu, has described as a “camouflage gesture” Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s decision to freeze increment on his salary as president, that of his vice’s and other government officials’ for the year 2021.
On May 1, 2021, President Akufo-Addo, at the commemoration of Worker’s Day celebration, stated in his address that he will freeze the increment to help make for the losses incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have taken the decision to freeze salary increment for this year, 2021 for myself as president, the vice president, ministers, deputy ministers, and all appointees of the executive. It is our modest contribution to reduce the damage to our public revenue and to help hasten our nation’s recovery from the ravages of the pandemic,” he stated.
But the lawyer in his reaction to the President’s decision, argued that the freeze on the increment cannot turn the economy around, but that it is only an act to suggest government’s purported interestedness in the economy.
He said: “Whilst it is commendable that the president has shown some leadership in his modest contribution, it must be emphatically stated that that contribution is inadequate to turn our economic situation.”
“Such action may at best be described as a ‘camouflaged gesture’ to suggest that government is being sensitive when ample evidence abounds to the contrary,” The MP added.
Stating the underpinnings of his argument, Lawyer Sosu noted that the economy has been spiralling for sometime, and in effect, has fallen below the target of the NPP government in 2020, rendering it impossible to be boosted with the increment freeze.
“Despite numerous denials by government, it must be reiterated that Ghana’s economy under the Akufo Addo Government is currently on top speed on a highway to an unknown destination. The economy grew at a rate of 0.4% in 2020, according to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), below government’s revised target of 0.9%.
“For now the future looks bleak and the gesture of freezing salaries of the President, Vice and other government appointees is not the answer to our predicaments,” he said.
He suggested however that instead of freezing the increment on salaries which would not “hasten the recovery” of the economy, a cut in budgetary allocations and spending would be suitable for boosting the economy.
In his analysis to support the above, he indicated that an amount of GH¢136, 212,551.00 was allocated to Office of Government machinery with staff strength of 1696 in 2020 while in 2021, staff strength having reduced to 1597, received budgetary allocation of GH¢823, 880,668.00 representing 504.85% increase.
He therefore noted that with such budgetary allocations and spendings, the freeze on salary increment for himself [Nana Akufo-Addo], his vice and other government officials will have no impact on the economy.