Ex gratia, matters arising: Party delegates are giving some leads
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Ex gratia, matters arising: Party delegates are giving some leads

There we are with party delegates speaking profoundly with their thumbs as they voted last weekend for potential Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their constituencies next year.

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The MPs are expected to compete as their substantive representatives in Parliament at the next general election.

The recent New Patriotic Party (NPP) primaries have engaged my thinking as far as ex gratia payments and the wholesale application of it are concerned.

I am asking myself if ex gratia is indeed necessary in our modern set-up and if it is,whether it should not be performance related.

In any case, the trend as far as emoluments are concerned,is to look at consolidation rather than separate “line items”.

Experts tell us that consolidation even inures to the benefit of payees,in that it enhances one’s social security benefits.

Be it as it may,if ex gratia must be retained as is,then it needs to be relooked as payment to nonperformers is coming so high up on my mind.

And as I picked up the question of ex gratia,the admonition to all of us as citizens that “if you see something, say something” also jogged my memory,having stayed glued to my television last Saturday, following the primaries and the results and, therefore, seeing it all.

Mediocre performance 

My overall verdict after the primaries was that mediocre performance by our representatives in Parliament should not be supported in any
form.

And there we have it with delegates in 28 separate constituencies writing it clearly on the wall,the performance appraisals of their sitting MPs.

The “fear delegates” syndrome popped out,as those delegates in the constituencies of the affected MPs did not care much about the status of the candidates; whether those they were voting for were serving as ministers or deputy ministers.

These delegates must have looked for hard work,it seems.

They did not mince words and they did not waste their votes to endorse seeming nonperformance with the posture of "enye whee," meaning “it does not matter”,let us retain them.

The way one sees it, if these “fallen” sitting MPs were in a corporate environment, what would have happened to their bonus payments is another matter.

In fact, they would certainly have gone home empty handed.

I am saying so because having, in times past,worked with a multinational conglomerate for close to 20 years,I know how high performance is well appreciated and accordingly rewarded with bonus payouts and/or other incentives.

Such rewards come not only to thank achievers for their contribution towards company results, but also as a sign of encouragement and
motivation to go above what is normal.

I have always expected ex gratia payments to be performance-linked rather than a wholesale payout.

Performance is even more relevant in the case of those who have been elected and given the people’s mandate to represent them. It is
the people’s mandate that has put them there, and so they should be seen to be working hard for them.

In their jobs,they receive salaries without fail, plus other perks. So,should we continue to endorse wholesale fat payouts called ex
gratia if they fail to meet the people’s expectations?

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What we should rather be doing, if anything at all, is to link this payout to good performance.For those who will go to sleep in the course of their duties,we have delegates and ultimately constituents to do the “assessments” for us at the end of every four years, to know who deserves applause and who does not.

If they go and fail, as in terms of performance, and they are voted out by their own delegates,should they be included in any extra reward systems like ex gratia?

For as many as 10 Ministers and Deputy Ministers to have lost their bids to re-enter Parliament as our constituency representatives is a cause for concern.

The delegates, therefore, have spoken for the people in their constituencies,with the kind of “appraisals” they gave them at the end of
the primaries last weekend.

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Therefore, if that is what the delegates, on behalf of their constituencies, think, then it calls for a relook at ex gratia and in particular,
wholesale reward systems as we have it now and paid out every four years.

If there is a call for any area of public spending that needs a critical look and which is a thorn in our flesh as a country, it should be
ex gratia payment and its mode of application.

Our precarious economic situation demands every pesewa to shore up our ailing economy and to prop it up on its feeble legs.

In such a situation,therefore, do we need to be dishing out extra sums of money to duty bearers who already have enjoyed good salaries and many other perks during their term of service,particularly where they failed to perform?

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It is a question for us all who are now saddled with taxes wherever we turn, to say something.

Writer’s E-mail: [email protected] 

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