| ACCRA, June 17
ACCRA, June 17 Ghana plans to reduce its public
sector wage bill to 35 percent of government revenue in three
years as part of a plan to restore macro economic stability,
according to one of its deputy finance ministers.
As recently as 2012, the wage bill accounted for around 70
percent of Ghana's government revenues.
The wage bill is the single biggest contributor to an
imbalance between government spending and revenue in Ghana, a
country that produces cocoa, gold and oil but is struggling with
rising inflation, a falling currency and a stubborn budget
Those fiscal problems have taken the shine off Ghana, a
country until recently seen as one of Africa's economic stars.
As a result, the government is under pressure to announce a
new package of economic reforms amid calls for it to turn to the
International Monetary Fund for a financial assistance
"We are vigorously pursuing an action plan to make the wage
bill sustainable and the goal is to narrow it down to not more
than 35 percent (of revenue) by 2017," Casie Ato Forson told
Reuters late on Monday.
"We are in negotiation with organised labour and the
objective is to lock in wage changes for a longer period,"
Forson said on the sidelines of an African economic conference.
In addition, the government is scaling up auditing of the
public sector payroll and has also commissioned vetting of the
workforce to identify employees who can be easily retrenched, he
The government placed a moratorium on public sector salary
increases this year. Instead it offered 10 percent cost of
living allowance covering May to December.
Ghana's 2013 budget deficit was 10.1 percent of gross
domestic product, above the government's 8.5 percent target. The
deficit was recently revised down from 10.8 percent following a
revision of national accounts in April.
The West African state plans to issue a 10-year Eurobond to
raise up to $1.5 billion in July for debt restructuring and to
finance development programmes.
Asked about a possible call to the IMF for assistance,
Forson said: "No decision has been taken on that (IMF
assistance) but it doesn't mean we have ruled it out. It remains
(Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg/Jeremy Gaunt)