Richmond Akpah, the Lead Convener of the Coalition of Concerned National Service Personnel (CCNSP) in a recent interview with Ghanaweb explained that the cost of the National Cathedral can pay over 60,000 subvented NSS Personnel a monthly allowance over 83 months.
According to the young law student, the $350 million which the Ghanaian Government wants to spend on a building while scores of young people are hopeless due to the high cost of living in the country can be used to solve a myriad of issues.
In the interview, Mr. Akpah said that the Government of Ghana has refused to pay NSS personnel on time or to even increase the allowances from the amount proposed by the Ministry of Employment and Labour relations in 2016.
Under article 176 of the 1992 Constitution, The Ghana National Service Scheme Act 426 of 1980 was enacted to establish the Scheme. The scheme by law requires every Ghanaian 18 years and above to serve the country for at least a year.
In 2016, The National Service Allowance was increased to 559.04 which reflects 40% of the graduate entry-level salary of the single spine structure. Today, the value is not the same yet the Scheme fails to pay the Personnel on time.
In recent times, the Nana Addo-led Government has prioritized the building of a National Cathedral over many issues in the country, with an estimated budget of about 350 million US Dollars.
The government has explained that the cathedral will become an important national monument, which will serve both political, social, religious and tourist purposes.
Yet, Mr. Akpah and the CCNSP are not in the least amused by this. They believe that the structure should not be a top priority for a nation which has many issues of national security.
“Out of the 81,081 personnel, about 60,000 are subvented. Multiply 60,000 by 559.04 and you get 33,542,400.00 *[thirty-three million, five Hundred & fourth two thousand, four hundred]*. That is what is spent on monthly allowances for NSPs by Government,” Mr. Akpah bemoaned.
Mr. Akpah ended by explaining that, “the National Cathedral will cost the Ghanaian Taxpayer a whooping 2.7 Billion Ghana Cedis if converted using the current exchange rate of 7.95 ghc to 1 dollar.
Considering that we have 60,000 subvented NSPs, we can bodily say that the cost of the cathedral can satisfy 83 monthly payments of allowances. That’s why we don’t understand why the NSS cannot pay current NSPs their regular allowances but the government can find money to invest a building that will not yield any income for the nation.”