Soldiers Cry Over Allowance

Information reaching DAILY GUIDE indicates that the recent increment of the allowance paid to Ghanaian soldiers undertaking the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations did not go down well with soldiers.

The angry soldiers believe that the $1 increment announced by President John Mahama when he visited Burma Camp recently was too paltry, looking at the amount paid to the Ghana government by the UN.

Some retired senior military officers are therefore calling on the government to further adjust the daily allowance paid to Ghanaian soldiers on UN peacekeeping missions upward to stem the tension in the barracks.

With each soldier to be paid $31 per day as announced recently by President Mahama, as against the previous $30, the officers believe this amount can 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 a further increase of $1,410 meant for 2017.

This would imply that each peacekeeping person is currently entitled to $45.50 per day, as per the 2016 figure.

With each officer currently receiving $31 per day as allowance, it means that $14.50 of the daily allowance is “withheld” ($435 a month per soldier) by the Ghana Armed Forces.

The withheld amount covers pre-embarkation costs such as clothing, medicals, maintenance, training costs, amongst others.

Some of these pre-embarkation costs, checks have revealed, are incurred for just one month, whilst deductions ($14.5) are made for a period of one year, being the duration of the duty tour.

It is based on these calculations that the retired officers are suggesting that all Ghanaian troops embarking on peacekeeping missions should see their daily peacekeeping allowance raised to not less than $36 a day.

The retired officers are confident that if the current administration fails to heed this request, a government, led by the New Patriotic Party, from 2017, should implement the increase.

The officers are confident that the amount “withheld” from the peacekeeping daily allowance would be enough to cater for the pre-embarkation costs.