-But Sen Morais challenges Min Tweah over number of people currently employed
In what appeared to be a rebuttal to Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah’s disclosure of the number of persons employed by this Government, Senator H. Dan Morais on Thursday, September 5, 2019, told Senate plenary that government has employed additional 14,800 on its payroll, and not 1,200 as claimed the Minister.
Senator Morais, cross-examining the Finance Minister who has been on the witness stand for three days, reminded him (Tweah) that, based on his own survey, “the grand total of employees to include public and civil servants at this moment is about 71,800.”
The Maryland County Senator furthered that in 20 months, “if we can be truthful and honest to ourselves, we could graduate from where are. I took what you presented us on Tuesday home and put it under the microscope and I noticed from my simple arithmetic, and from a document sourced from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the IMF and the World Bank, that this thing though partially true, there are lots of omissions.”
Senator Morais, a former Superintendent and Minister of Internal Affairs, put it to Minister Tweah that, after all the interventions, “this government, under your watch has employed an additional 14,800 persons instead of 1,000, instead of 2000 or 3000.”
Morais continued: “Taken from your own analysis, by January 2018, total monthly wage bill for the public sector, including civil servants hovered between 21.6 million to 22.5 million.”
Still grilling the embattled Minister, Senator Morais further observed that by the end of fiscal year 2017/2018, “total public sector compensation increased to US$308.6 million, this is principally credited to the government policy of additional employment and pay increases. By this time, as of June 2019, this is what we have — a payroll with approximately, including civil servants, 72,000, instead of what is being presented to us.”
The soft but outspoken Senator further put it that the total number of public sector workers as of January 2018 stood at 57,000, including public servants of 44,000, “but when you tie that to what you have done over the last two years, the variance and employment we see here says you have employed 14,800 new persons to our payroll, that’s what our figure shows.”
However, responding to the Senator’s cross-examination, Minister Tweah firstly bragged that, besides being an economist, he graduated Magna Cum Laude in mathematics from the University of Liberia. He displayed through power-point what he claimed to be the authoritative figure from central government which shows that 70,000 workers as of January 2018 in all of the government systems, which includes 43,000 civil servants plus 25,000 people on general allowance, central government.
Minister Tweah explained that the significant share in the increase of the wage of central government came from the health pool drive of US$11 million; and the government hired the rest of the people. “It is not mathematically possible in any one fiscal year for this central government to employ 14,800 persons on payroll.”
The heated argument to determine the correct number of government employees as of January 2018 to June 2019, ensued between Minister Tweah and Senator Morais.
Senator Morais then reminded Minister Tweah that the IMF intervention came about when that institution observed that the government wage analysis/bill was way up, it suggested that it needs to be harmonized. “Let’s be fair and honest to ourselves in how we treat this matter; Ghanaians years ago stood in line to buy sardines, what we are using now as our litmus test, but they were honest and fair to themselves; once we identify our problem and speak to it, we can find a way to solve it. If we have added 14,800 persons,,let’s defend why we added 14,800, we can’t stay in the state of denial.”
Meanwhile, the Minister was relieved from the witness stand, through a motion proffered by Senator J. Alphonso Gaye.