Prof. Stephen Adei

The former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Stephen Adei, has expressed his reservations about the payment of ‘neutrality allowances’ to civil servants across the country.

According to the renowned civil servant, the idea of neutrality allowance “makes him sick”; adding that, it is the “most stupid thing”, he has ever heard in his life.

Speaking in an interview with Raymond Acquah on UpFront on Wednesday, he criticised the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG), for threatening to lay down their tools over government’s inability to pay their ‘neutrality allowance’.

“To be honest with you, as somebody who spent 35 years in national and international public service, the idea of neutrality allowance just makes me sick. So if they’re not paid, they’re not going to be neutral? That’s what they mean? Let them declare their political colours.

In fact, never in the world. I don’t know, the government somehow got themselves into trouble. The idea of a public servant being paid a neutrality allowance to me is the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard in my life”, he stated, while venting his displeasure.

In his view, instead of civil servants threatening to lay down their tools over the nonpayment of the said allowance, it would have been proper if they embarked on a demand for increased salaries, due to the current economic situation.

Professor Adei added that back in the day, such civil servants would have been dismissed for demanding payments like neutrality allowances. He also criticised government for undertaking to pay such allowances in the first place; stating that, based on his vast years of experience in the public sector, the allowance is not appropriate.

In expressing his reservations, he continued that such civil servants who state such demands as a condition for working, should be outrightly dismissed from the civil service and asked to reapply or stay home.

As to whether the government can meet the said demands, he has stated that the only viable alternative for government is to print money.

“At this moment, the government’s projected expenditure in order for the economy not to collapse, is such that tye government has to reduce expenditure by 20%. And already, debt servicing and public sector wage, takes about 95 to 98 percent.

So yes, I have no doubt at all that given the economic circumstances, the price increases, the petroleum prices, workers are having a hard time. But I can’t see how the government can pay any significant pay increase now, other than printing money”, he stated.

Professor Adei added that, if government considers the printing of money to satisfy the demands of workers, it will lead an increase in inflation, since the printing of money, will not be backed by any productivity.

The former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, made these remarks on UpFront, while contributing to discussions on the “State of the Ghanaian Worker”.

In that regard, he further intimated that, government must devise well-thought out strategies to address the situation.

In the last couple of days, there have been some agitations on the labour front, with civil servants threatening to lay down their tools, over the failure of government to pay their ‘neutrality allowances’, since the beginning of the year.

This has consequently triggered concerns from other labour unions, regarding their salaries and conditions of service.