Ghanaian President John Mahama has indicated he will not spend more than the allocated amount in the national budget to compensate medical workers. Mahama said he will hold on to this commitment and face any likely political consequences that may come as a result of this decision.
Mahama made his comments when he addressed members of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) at the launch of their 80th anniversary in Accra. These statements come a week after doctors declared a strike over the absence of acceptable conditions of service. They all threatened to resign if their grievances were not tended.
President Mahama used the Single Spine Salary Structure to appeal to the Ghanaian Medical Association to curtail their demands. He said that will adversely affect the government’s attempt to achieve fiscal discipline.
The Medical Association has threatened the government with mass resignations over the past few months if their demands were not met. A meeting Wednesday ended in deadlock, and the country's doctors withdrew outpatient care on Thursday.
He advised the striking doctors to return to the negotiating table and complete discussions with government and the Fair Wages Commission on better conditions of service.
Their demands included 40% of basic salaries as compensation allowance per month, 20% as core duty facilitation allowance, 30% clothing allowance, 20% maintenance allowance, 20% utility allowance, 50% as professional allowance and 25% special risk allowance and vehicle tax exemption to doctors.
The proposal has been criticized heavily by government spokesmen who have described the demands as outrageous.
With the country under IMF supervision, the president said he will not make payments that will further raise Ghana's budget deficit.
"Any agreements that are reached in respect of allowances or conditions of services would have to be appropriately captured in the budget.
"And I want to say for emphasis I will not authorize any expenditure on wages and compensation not provided for in the budget.
"Fiscal discipline requires that not a single pesewa is spent on remuneration outside what has been budgeted for and this goes for both Article 71 Office holders and those on the single spine.
"It goes for the president as well as the lowest public sector employee. I am determined to hold the line no matter the political cost," he said.