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Single Spine to go: Policy crippling Ghana’s economy
From: Ghana |The Independent          Published On: July 10, 2013, 00:00 GMT
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Single Spine to go: Policy crippling Ghana’s economy

Finance Minister, Seth Tekper

A highly placed source within the corridors of power has disclosed to The Independent that government would soon abolish the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) due to the threat it posed to the Ghanaian economy.

"Single Spine was a legacy that the NDC government inherited from the Kufuor's administration. By the end of the year, government might be compelled to cancel the policy because of the danger it posed to fiscal stability," the source disclosed.

The Single Spine Salary Structure escalated government wage bill from about GH˘2 billion to more than GH˘7 billion by the end of 2012.

Since the implementation of the policy, several groups have embarked on strikes because of wage discrepancies.

A Presidential retreat ongoing at Peduase in the Eastern region revealed that a total of GH˘3.5 billion was spent on wages and salaries from January to May 2013, representing 22.4 per cent above the budgeted target of GH˘2.9 billion.

Last year, the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council under the Mills's administration, Ishmael Yamson, suggested that politicians should have been bold to refuse the implementation of the new pay policy due to the strain it has brought unto the Ghanaian economy, saying, "the impact and the cost of single spine alone is enough to destroy the budget of this country."

However, a renowned economist, Dr Joe Abbey, thinks otherwise. According to him, any decision to remove it will be a ‘recipe for disaster’ as workers will oppose it.

“I don’t’ believe that the single spine salary policy should be scrapped. If government says it is going to scrap it, I will personally say no because of its aftermath effect,” the renowned economist told The Independent.

Dr Joe Abbey added: “I think the fundamental problem we are facing is that we don’t even know the number of workers on the payroll of some of the state institutions and subvented agencies.”

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister, Seth Tekper, has admitted that there are some fiscal challenges facing the nation's economy that needed to be addressed.

Background of Single Spine Salary Structure

In 1997, the government of Ghana decided to address gaping disparities that had emerged between the pay of civil servants and those in the wider public sector. A nationwide job evaluation exercise was undertaken and a new grading and salary structure was developed to create equity.

Despite these efforts, the Ghana Universal Salary Structure was only marginally successful as most public sector institutions did not convert to the new system.

Between 1999 and 2006, the few institutions that did so were considered consistently disadvantaged as a result of re-established pay and grade disparities.

In 2006, the Kufuor administration addressed these problems, hence the single spine salary policy.

But the aim to merge and rationalise the different public sector salary structures into one will throw government’s prudent spending policy out of gear.

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