OccupyGhana commends gov’t for restricting sitting allowance payments but wants more restrictions

OccupyGhana, a pressure group has commended government for directing that unwarranted meetings and travels by some boards and board committee members of state institutions be contained as the practice is a drain on the state’s resources.

The Ministry of Finance on November 9, 2018 directed that members of Boards and Councils in the public service must no longer be paid monthly allowances.

A statement issued by the group further wants government to check other areas where activities of boards and council members cause state institutions to lose monies.

Below is the statement:

RE: ALLOWANCES FOR BOARDS AND COUNCILS IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE

OccupyGhana has noted with approval Government’s directive to the public service through you, on the above-entitled matter, and dated 2nd November 2018, to streamline the basis for paying sitting allowances to members of state Boards, Authorities, Council, etc., and to ban the payment of monthly salaries to such persons.

While we applaud this all-important step towards reining in such unjustified payment of monies, we respectfully want to bring to your attention certain wrong practices engaged in by members of such Boards for several years and which, if not checked alongside your directive, would completely erode its essence and violate its spirit.

First, with the primary aim of accumulating sitting allowances, certain Boards and Board Committees are known to meet several times a month, when several of the meetings are repetitive and meaningless. We are aware of Board and Board committee meetings that are called without agenda, ostensibly just to review minutes of a previous meeting.

Second, some Board and Board Committee members have essentially become parallel structures to those existing in the entities, and insist on undertaking work that would ordinarily be undertaken by employees of the entities. Some insist on, for instance, touring facilities or educating the public in all 10 regions. Even more are the scandalous and ridiculous travel budgets presented for approval. It leaves very little to the imagination the real reason behind such ventures.

Third, you would have to take the additional step of cutting out expenses associated with the unfounded belief on the part of Board Members and members of Board Committees that they are entitled to training and conferences, especially abroad. We believe that it is on the basis of a person’s experience and knowledge that gets that person to serve on a board or board committee. That knowledge and experience are not to be acquired after appointment and at the expense of the tax payer. Thus, paying for the cost of training, costs of airfares, hotel expenses and per diem should be a thing of the past. Boards and Board Committees do not need people who are there to line their pockets with undeserved allowances, enjoy paid travel and acquire personal career development.

We reiterate a point we made in our Press Statement dated 20th May 2018 that no board member is entitled to monthly remuneration, an office, official accommodation, official vehicle, etc. To the extent that any such facilities have been, or are being, provided, they are unlawful.

These are only some of the things that have to be checked as part of your directive, if it is not to be defeated on the ground.

Yours, for God and Country