At the recent enlistment into the Ghana Immigration Service, an applicant who was asked on TV why he wanted to join the Service, answered that it was because he wanted to become a billionaire. Another applicant gave the same answer.
In a radio programme afterwards, a presenter asked how pecuniary considerations could be the motivation for joining a security service. His use of the word “pecuniary” tickled me as it brought back memories.
Prof was a cheerful lecturer whose classes were always lively. So, when he came to class one morning looking unhappy, it was obvious there was something amiss. Asked what was wrong, he said with a stiff face, “I am suffering from acute pecuniary-embarrassment.”
From the look on our faces, he realized we did not understand him, as we knew no ailment/disease called “pecuniary-embarrassment.” With a serious face, he explained that “suffering from pecuniary-embarrassment” was the “academic” way of saying, “I am broke!”
He added that his was acute because he was almost penniless! He went on to suggest we upgrade our secondary school English to university standards. With that, led by he himself, the class broke into uproarious laughter, with us enjoying his sense-of-humour.
He then advised those who planned to teach after university, be it at the secondary or tertiary level, to remember the saying, “the teacher’s reward is in heaven,” and not here on earth.
Incidentally, “pecuniary” entered the English language in the C16th from the Latin word “pecunia” which means money!
As if to reinforce Prof’s point, in a recent incident, a group of beggars may have thought I was a teacher!
Unlike Catholics who can take communion daily at Mass, Methodists/Presbyterians take Communion once a month. In my church, the Garrison Methodist-Presbyterian-Church, Burma Camp, we have Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month. After Service on Sunday, 7 November 2021, I made a brief “technical stop” at the Air Force Officers’ Mess for “refuelling” to hydrate myself, before driving home.
The traffic light just outside the Mess showed red. The vehicle ahead of me was a Toyota-Land-Cruiser-V8. As soon as it stopped, all the beggars charged at it. Disappointed with no generosity from the occupants, they moved towards my Mitsubishi pick-up but did not stop. Looking through my rear-view mirror, I saw the vehicle behind me they moved to was another Land-Cruiser-V8.
Smiling, I asked myself, did these discriminating beggars-with-a-choice, ignore my pick-up, believing I could be a teacher, and therefore likely to be suffering from “acute pecuniary-embarrassment?”
I know of the huge disparities in pay between people with similar qualifications in the Public Service depending on one’s placement. It is this anomaly that the Single-Spine Salary-Structure tried to address.
However, for a retiree, I was shocked when recently a discussion on radio/TV stated that the highest SSNIT pension-pay to an individual was over 100,00 cedis/month. Indeed, Google states that “the highest-paid pensioner receives GH129,979 cedis each month.” I had to read over a few times to convince myself the figure was for a month, and not a year!
If the amount quoted is an individual’s pension pay for a month, how much was he earning in active service? In any case, how many Ghanaians receive that amount per/annum?
Six years after retiring, a Masters’ degree-holder in the Ghana Education Service (GES) who taught for over thirty years, receives a monthly pension of 1,300 cedis/month! Isn’t it immoral that two Ghanaians contributing to national development should on retirement, receive 129,000, and 1,300 cedis/month respectively?
Low salaries for the majority of Ghanaians and the unholy disparities make workers demand bribes for services they provide. A former President is quoted as saying, “government pretends to pay workers, and workers pretend to work!”
Is it any wonder that rampant threats of demonstrations/demonstrations to address low salaries appear to be the only language authorities understand?
Indeed, on 8 November 2021, the newly-elected president of the Ghana Medical Association stated they would embark on a strike soon to back their 2020 demand for salary increase. He bemoaned MPs taking ex-gratia every four years, while after twenty years of service, doctors get nothing.
He added “I am not calling for equality. I am calling for equity!
Mahatma Gandhi said God created
"Enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for everybody’s greed.”
For an individual to take home a SSNIT pension-pay of over 129,000 cedis/month, while a Masters’ degree-holder who taught in the GES for over thirty years “suffers from acute pecuniary-embarrassment” of 1,300 cedis/month, defies logic!
President Kennedy said
“if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich!”
Those paid to think on our behalf, think of a humane solution to this imbalance!
Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP
Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)
Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association
Family Health University College
Source: Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd), Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya
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