Many Ghanaians have expressed outrage and have called for a probe into the decision of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to purchase gold watches for its retiring staff who have served the bank for 30 years or more.
Many others have suggested that the move is frivolous especially at a time when the prevailing economic conditions in the country were hitting raw nerves.
The BoG spent $504,000.00 an equivalent of over GHC2 million on procuring 72 units of Tissot wrist gold watches as part of packages for retiring staff.
The decision to purchase the gold watches is am internal arrangement outside the statutory retirement package for BoG staff and is being funded with the Bank’s 2016 budgetary allocations.
Best paid public sector workers
Staff of BoG are considered as being among the best-paid workers in the public sector.
BoG enjoy 2 pension schemes
It is important to state that retired staff of BoG enjoy two pension schemes.
BoG pension scheme
Any staff of BoG who worked for 15 years before retirement is put on a pension scheme which entitles the individual to 45% of his or her salary.
This amount is subject to increase when serving officers on the retire staff’s rank get salary increments over the years.
SSNIT pension scheme
Such retired staff also benefit from Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension in addition.
Therefore, the beneficiaries of gold watches having served for 30 years are also beneficiaries of these two parallel pension schemes.
Think Tank reacts
Executive Director of the institute of Governance and security, David Agbey says although it is not out of place to reward hard working public officials, the decision was not well calculated.
He was of the opinion that the Board of BoG needed to have exercised some level of circumspection in arriving at the decision to purchase the gold watches especially when the prevailing economic conditions of the country were not at their best.
“if you are taking a decision in a developing country where people cannot afford to feed themselves three times a day, where people cannot clothe themselves, where people cannot earn a dollar a day, where people are struggling to get basic necessities of life, you have to be extra careful when you are taking a decision in that country”, he noted.
He noted that with the prevailing economic conditions, it is understandable for people to express outrage about the amount spent on the watches but warned that care must be taken not to belittle the contributions of the staff of the bank to national development.
“ But to elevate the debate it is not bad at all for somebody who has worked with bank of Ghana for 30 good years , with that level of huge experience to be rewarded in that sector”, he stated
AFAG calls for Gold deal probe
Pressure Group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) has described the decision of the Bank as a display of “opulence, reckless and needless”
According to the group, at a time when many Ghanaians are facing serious economic hardship and lack access to basic social amenities, “the leadership of Bank of Ghana chose to engage in a spend thrift expenditure of this volume to satisfy a handful of people”
The group has however called on the President to institute a probe into the matter.
Meanwhile, The Bank of Ghana has strongly defended the decision stating that that the reward is “boost staff morale and commitment to the goals and ideals of the institution”
The Bank in a statement issued by its communications department said that no procurement rules were breached in presenting sole sourcing justification to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for approval.