Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. John Kumah, has refuted suggestions that the ‘Neutrality Allowance’ being demanded by the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) is compensation for them not engaging in political activities.
According to him, ‘Neutrality Allowance” is a term a committee set up by the government came up with to address the demands of the association in 2019.
He said that the public should not focus on the name of the allowance but on its purpose which is to address the salary disparity CLOGSAG members faced compared to other workers.
“… the name ‘Neutrality Allowance’… is not something that CLOGSAG demanded, it was a term. To be fair to CLOGSAG this negotiation started since 2019, it ended in the early part of 2021. I think the agreement was signed in early part of January with effective date of February, so this is about two years of engagement led by the Senior Presidential Advisor, Fair Wages Commission and the sector minister (Ministry of Employment) as well as the Ministry of Finance.
“CLOGSAG did not come on the negotiation table with Neutrality Allowance, they come with all kinds of allowances and demands which they justified – if the government accepted those demands that could triple what they are getting at the moment. So, the government and the negotiation team said something had to be done for CLOGSAG because CLOGSAG was the lowest-paid group on the single spine salary structure,” he said in a JoyNews interview monitored by GhanaWeb.
“But in doing something for them, it did not want to create a situation that once you do something for one group it does not open the flood gate for demands for other groups and there will not be enough resources to pay. So, I believe it is the reason why in trying to clutch a term that they thought at the time could limit to only CLOSAGG came up with the word ‘Neutrality Allowance’,” he added.
Kumah further stated that the government was engaging CLOGSAG and will change the name of the allowance since it has created a lot of confusion in the public.
Members of the CLOGSAG have been on strike since Thursday, April 21, over the inability of the government to pay their neutrality allowance.
CLOGSAG in a press statement directed its members at the Ministries Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to stop going to work.
It explained that the government has failed to honour an agreement [payment of allowance] they had on January 20, 2022.
A lot of Ghanaians are questioning the demands of CLOGSAG, saying that public servants are required to be neutral, therefore, they should not be paid for not engaging in political activities.