Civil society group, OccupyGhana, has asked the government to go beyond the scrapping of monthly allowances for members of Boards and Councils of public institutions and adopt a more holistic approach to protect the public purse.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in a letter dated November 2, 2018 directed that members of Boards and Councils in the public institutions must no longer be paid monthly allowances.
It however granted approval for the implementation of new sitting allowances for Boards/Council, Boards/Councils Committees, Statutory and other Committees in the Public Service.
The new allowances regime segments boards into three categories, with the Chairman and Members of a Category 1 Boards receiving GH₵2,500 and GH₵2,100 respectively as sitting allowances and GH₵1,800 and GH₵1,600 as committee sitting allowances.
While OccupyGhana applauded government for the move, the group observed members of these state Boards and Councils are engaged in “certain wrong practices” that ought to be checked otherwise the purpose of the directive will be defeated.
It said certain Boards and Board Committees “meet several times a month, when several of the meetings are repetitive and meaningless.
According to OccupyGhana, some boards deliberately convene “repetitive and meaningless” meetings without “any agenda” just to accumulate allowances, an act the group wants checked.
It questioned the basis for “scandalous and ridiculous travel budgets” which they allege cannot be substantiated with any meaningful output.
Some boards and council, the group claimed, insist on touring facilities or educating the public in all 10 regions, which it said “It leaves very little to the imagination the real reason behind such ventures”.
The group questioned the grounds on which some board members are given training opportunities abroad, since in its view, it is on the basis of a person’s experience and knowledge that he or she gets 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,” it suggested.
The group said 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.
“…No board member is entitled to monthly remuneration, an office, official accommodation, official vehicle, etc,” it said, adding “to the extent that any such facilities have been, or are being, provided, they are unlawful”.