…As 2.1% salary hike fails to take effect
A furlough for Ghanaian soldiers serving on Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon has started on a sour note, as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government fails to pay full amounts due troops in allowances.
Contrary to a promised $3,000 per soldier, the government is only paying $1,000.
The situation has caused anger and disenchantment among the soldiers returning home on leave from UNIFIL duties in Lebanon, who had eagerly looked forward to receiving the $3,000 after being promised as much before they embarked on the mission.
The disenchantment is further stoked by the fact that 2.1% increment that the government says it has effected in the salaries of soldiers has not reflected on the pay slip.
On Monday, this week, a first batch of soldiers scheduled for leave from peacekeeping duties in Lebanon readied themselves for the return, but were shocked to find out that, instead of $3,000 due them, the Ghana government rather paid them $1,000 each.
Queries for reasons for the slash were said to have been answered with explanations that government was too broke to pay up the full $3,000 each.
According to sources, what annoys the soldiers the most is that President Akufo-Addo had pompously announced the increment in the allowance before television cameras.
Indeed, in March, this year, Nana Akufo-Addo had told the end-of- year get-together of the Ghana Armed Forces ‘WASSA’ that he had increased the peacekeeping allowance from $31 to $35.
However, rather than an accrual of $3,000 to each personnel on peacekeeping in Lebanon, the government is paying them $1,000, claiming it does not have money to pay the rest, even though the same government has taken nursing and teacher trainees from the student loan scheme and placed them on allowances.
Yesterday, the government even held a whole durbar just for the restoration exercise.
Interestingly, some of the soldiers have claimed that a 2.1% increment in salaries that the NPP government claims to have effected for the soldiers, starting from this September, did not reflect in their September salaries.
Meanwhile, returning soldiers from peacekeeping in Lebanon have come along with horrific tales of austerity that the NPP government had forced them to endure while on the mission there.
According to some of the tales, soldiers were so cash-strapped that they were forced to buy black bags and other things for personal use from local Lebanese traders on credit because of lack of funds on them.
The lack of funds on the soldiers being the opposite of President Akufo-Addo’s promise in March to pay Peacekeeping Mission soldiers while on the job anywhere, the situation is said to have affected even senior military officers on the mission.
These senior military officers are said to have fallen on survival instincts that made them enter into cahoots with the local traders, who gave them bribes and favors in exchange for the officers putting in place a scheme that forces the junior ranks to necessarily buy or credit stuff from the local traders.
Many of the unhappy soldiers are said to have repented of allowing themselves to be incited against the government of former President Mahama, under whose Presidency the monkey business that they are being subjected to, now, never happened.
A last increment of $1 that President Mahama had made in adjustment to soldiers’ peacekeeping allowances had been used by the NPP to incite the soldiers against the NDC government at the time.
Upon succeeding President Mahama, President Akufo-Addo had cruised to the Burma Camp in March, this year, to announce the increment of the allowances by $4.
However, the government has since turned round to slash off the same allowance for the soldiers.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels