Finance Ministry to propose standardisation in controversial per diems

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Deputy Finance Minister has said the Ministry will be making a proposal to Cabinet to standardise appropriate payment in terms of per diems when public sector workers go on assignments.

Kweku Kwarteng said Cabinet must consider what is legitimate to pay and how much to pay for people who go on workshops and meetings, as things like board and other sitting allowances are increasingly going out of acceptable brackets.

He said the Ministry is awake to these developments and will soon go to cabinet to standardise those payments.

According to him, he has gotten complaints from development partners about what they have had to pay in the form of transport or honorarium, which they are unhappy about.

The member of Parliament's Finance Committee said he has received honorariums from official assignments, which he thinks was on the high side which he said the Ministry is working to correct to save the national purse. 

His comments follow Joy FM's expose about the Finance Committee being paid GHC100,000 by the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) to facilitate the speedy passing of the Lotteries Bill last year. 

Mr Kwarteng admitted going for the workshop in question but could not remember receiving any payment.   

There have been calls for a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the issue.

Adding his voice to the calls for an independent body to investigate Parliament's latest scandal, anti-corruption crusader, Vitus Azeem says it is important that Ghanaians gives the issue the desired attention as it keeps rearing its ugly head.

He said there is nothing right about condoning it when it keeps soiling the image of parliament.

“These are people that are supposed to be people of high integrity whom we call honourable.They are supposed to be patriotic in passing laws in the interest of the state and nothing should influence them passing any bill or not,” he said.

Mr Azeem disagreed with explanations that the legislators are unfairly criticised considering that what some have described as bribery has a precedent which makes it normal.

“We don’t have to continue when the precedent is wrong. It means institutions without resources that need bills passed are disadvantaged since they cannot afford all that cost for the parliamentarians,” he said.

He believes it is better for an outside body to investigate the recent development, as he does not believe the House investigating itself will do a good job.

“We have seen the executive and judiciary being investigated by Independent bodies, why should parliament be such that they cannot be investigated,” he said criticising the recent Joe Ghartey Committee.

Mr Azeem said no one was convinced by the findings and it is in Parliament’s own interest that an independent body investigates to clear its name.