Akufo-Addo’s salary increment freeze can’t be described as ‘modest’ – Kumadoe

International security consultant Richard Kumadoe, has chastised the President’s description of the freeze on executive salaries increment for this year as their ‘modest contribution to reduce the damage to our public revenue’.

He says it is an inappropriate choice of word used by the Commander-In-Chief.

He said this in an interview with Berla Mundi on the New Day show on TV3, Thursday, May 6.

Mr. Kumadoe was speaking on the heels of the President’s announcement on 1st May to freeze the salary increment of the executive arm of government, from himself, the Vice President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and all appointees of the executive, in order to reduce the damage to the public revenue and to help hasten the nation’s recovery from the ravages of the pandemic on the economy.

He said “did he use the word modest? This is the President who came with a mass or they call it what, a festival of ministers and appointees all over the world and it looks like the government expenditure was going into something they couldn’t manage, this time around he promised to reduce it and we are still talking about 88 something, how much does it cost to manage one minister? And we have managed this country without the deputies for the past four months yet about 29 deputies were added, do we really need them in the first place? We did the model that says this country could be managed by either 17 people or 33 and yet he is going to about 88.

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“And these are ministers and deputies before some other people, government appoints all manner of persons into various positions, chief executives and all, they should have lumped all of them, take their salaries for one year and let’s see how much we could save for one year and that could be said to be ‘modest’. 

“But just saying you freeze a salary increase and not the salary itself and you call it modest, I think that is not proper and that is an inappropriate word to use, particularly when parents are complaining, almost everybody is complaining about non-payment of  certain things that is due to the citizenry and public service workers are not been paid salary increase and the President said that, I think Mr. President you might want to come back again on this one. Otherwise many people will disagree with the president, it cannot be said to be a modest way of behaving as a leader”. 

He went on to assert that “I think when you look at many of the economies around the world, yesterday my little brother said: money don’t grow on trees and I was very angry with that statement but you see, in times like this where other countries are giving stimulus packages to their citizenry, you shouldn’t be seen as somebody who is taxing the economy, we were told before that we can move the economy from taxation to productivity, we were told some of these things and from my basic economics and finance, I think many of the things they have said, government is facing a challenge in mobilizing revenue to meet some expenditure they have engaged in or maybe to pay back some of the loans we have incurred over the years.

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“That shows that when you are managing a country, financial prudence is very crucial, when we say: we are not in normal times, you remember during the COVID there was the COVID fund and Ghanaians came out generously to give out their money, there has to be accountability. Accountability is part of leadership responsibilities and when we come back and say, this is what we used the money for and we need some other Ghanaians, be it in the corporate institutions, churches or something to help us, then we are being transparent with them but we can’t say we are in abnormal times and being in abnormal times means that financial hardships for household incomes, then you don’t multiply taxes as if we are writing multiple exams in a first year and we are just increasing taxes on almost everything”. 

“You see, from basic economics and finance again, there are various ways of mobilizing revenues for government and tax is not the only way of doing that, and I think we must look at this issue of tax again because it affects almost everything in this country, particularly when salaries are at a standstill and people are struggling to even get jobs to do and the very few people who are working, we keep taxing them and we have all these theories about how we can broaden the tax base and bring in some other people but it looks as if whatever we are doing is to pin down on the very few people who are paying taxes and keep on increasing some of these taxes, it’s not necessary at all” he charged.

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Other stakeholders, especially the Trades Union Congress(TUC) have also criticized the government by saying the gesture by the government is not enough, they could have forfeited their annual salaries and ex gratia and a lot more sacrifices the executive could have made, looking at the abnormal times the economy has been plunged into because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana