Government’s consideration to outsource the cleaning up of the public payroll system to a private entity for effective management, has hit a snag as the Trades Union Congress (TUC) questions the integrity of the private sector engagement.
The posture of the TUC against the move is generating a standoff between organized labour and the government, with the TUC describing the move as unproductive.
During the mid-year budget statement delivered by the Finance Minister, the government expressed its intention to outsource the national payroll system to a private company to plug the loopholes so as to reduce the wage bill which as at 2017 stood at 45 percent of total tax revenue.
But the Director of Research at the TUC, Dr. Kawbena Nyarko Otoo, reacting to the move, shot down the idea and raising fears that the payroll system could be compromised since the private firm would be seeking to maximize profit.
Stressing his pointing at a Post 2019 Budget Forum organized by the Union in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation, Dr Nyarko Otoo used the collapse of some financial institutions in the in recently to indicated that the engagement with the private sector does not guaranteed excellence.
“There are many private sector firms that are failing including banks which we are paying for. So where comes the idea that the private sector can do better than the public sector,” he quizzed.
Dr. Nyarko Otoo maintains that privatizing the payroll system is not the solution to Ghana’s high wage bill.
“This idea that every problem in the public sector can be solved only by privatizing for us is neither here nor there. Controller and Accountant General has little competence to payroll administration and so a separate unit can be created within the Finance Ministry while the Controller and Accountant General focuses on the key role of paying public sector workers, ”Dr. Nyarko Otoo suggested.
The ratio of wage bill to national tax revenue dropped from 70 percent in 2010 to 45 percent in 2017, however, it still remains one of the largest expenditure of government’s items besides debt servicing.
By Benjamin Nana Appiah/ www.adrdaily.com