President John Mahama has finally succumbed to pressure from the officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces over their peacekeeping allowance, increasing it from $31 to $35.
Earlier last month, the president announced an increase on the per diem of soldiers on peacekeeping mission from $30 to $31 when he had a durbar with the soldiers at the Burma Camp where he was spotted in a military uniform.
According to information available to Daily Guide, the $31 allowance paid to Ghanaian soldiers participating in the United Nations peace keeping operations did not go down well with soldiers.
The angry soldiers believed that the $1 top-up announced by President Mahama was too meagre, looking at the amount paid to the Ghana government by the UN.
Some retired senior military officers had therefore called on the government to further adjust the daily allowance upward to stem the tension in the barracks.
With each soldier to be paid $31 per day from the previous $30, the officers believed the amount could be adjusted to $36 per day, in view of the 17% increment in peacekeeping allowances, announced in 2014 by the UN.
Countries volunteering uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are reimbursed by the UN at a standard rate of $1,332 per soldier per month, approved by the UN General Assembly, effective July 1,2014. This rate was increased to $1,365 in 2016, with another increase of $1,410 meant for 2017.
This would imply that each peacekeeping personnel is currently entitled to $45.50 per day, as per the 2016 figure.
With each officer currently receiving $31 per day as allowance, $14.5 of the daily allowance is “withheld” ($435 a month per soldier) by the Ghana Armed Forces.
A confidential letter dated August 17,2016 signed by the Minister of Defence, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, addressed to the Executive Secretary of the President titled, “ARMED FORCES COUNCIL DECLARATIONS/DECISIONS PERSONNEL ALLOWANCES.”
In the said letter he stated, “Pursuant to Article 214 (3) (C), the Armed Forces Council after careful deliberations, has recommended for approval by His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, the following new rates of allowances to be considered for implementation from 1st September 2016.”
They included an increase in the per diem of soldiers on peacekeeping missions abroad from the publicly announced $31 to $35 with ?120 as allowance for ration per month with ?40.00 as clothing allowance for civilian employees only, with a statement that “the review has become necessary following directives given by His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces during a durbar with all ranks held at the Burma Camp on 11th August 2016.”