PMMC board defies Finance Ministry directive, adjusts allowances upwards

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
Mr Kwadjo Opare-Hammond — Managing Director of PMMC
Mr Kwadjo Opare-Hammond — Managing Director of PMMC

There has been an upward adjustments in allowances for the chairman and the board members of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) Limited in what is supposed to be gross disregard for the directives of the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

In one instance, the increase was over 700 per cent, while other increases ranged between 400 and 500 per cent.

On December 4, 2014, the ministry, in a letter headed: “Re: Allowances for Board and Councils in the Public Service”, and addressed to the Managing Director of the PMMC, approved the monthly allowance and sitting allowance of the board chairman and the members of the PMMC.

The approval, which the letter said was in line with the harmonisation and standardisation of allowances for members of boards and councils within the public service, pegged the chairman’s monthly allowance and sitting allowance at  GH¢630 and GH¢1,050, respectively, while those for board members were fixed at GH¢525 and GH¢900, respectively.

In the same vein, the ministry directed the PMMC to pay all expenses on feeding, transport and accommodation for members of the board outside Accra for the number of days they would spend in Accra doing official business.

Memo

However, the Daily Graphic has sighted a memo dated August 28, 2018, with the title: “Revised Board Fees And Allowances/Board Secretary Allowance”, in which the Board Secretary of the PMMC, Nana Akwasi Awuah, directed the Managing Director of the company, Mr Kwadjo Opare-Hammond, to take note of the adjustment.  

“I write to bring to your kind notice and necessary action the revised board fees and allowances as resolved by the board at its mid-year review meeting in Ho on Friday, 24th August, 2018,” the memo said.

Adjustments

With the current adjustment, the sitting allowance for full board meetings has shot up from GH¢900 to GH¢3,000 for board members, while their monthly allowance has increased from GH¢525 to GH¢3,000.

The sitting allowance for the chairman of the board has also been adjusted to GH¢4,500 from GH¢1,050, while the monthly fee has gone up from GH¢630 to GH¢3,000.

 Beyond the revision of the allowance and monthly fees, there have been an added allowances for board sub-committee meetings.

These include GH¢1,500 as sitting allowance per meeting and GH¢2,000 as transportation fee for each member at every meeting of the committee.

Also, the board secretary of the company, as part of the revision process, will receive a monthly allowance of GH¢3,000.

“Please take note that all the figures herein are net figures and they are to take effect immediately,” it concluded.

Board chairman reacts

When contacted, the Board Chairman of the PMMC, Mr Kiston Akomeng Kissi, told the Daily Graphic yesterday, October 9, 2018 that there had been no such adjustments in the allowance of board members.

“It is not true, but I don’t want to talk about that issue to the media,” he said in a telephone interview.

Revenue losses

The revision of the sitting allowances and fees for the PMMC board comes at a time when the company’s revenue is declining, falling by 83 per cent from GH¢136 million to GH¢23 million in 2016, according to the 2016 Annual Aggregate Report on State-Owned Enterprises.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) suspended the PMMC from directly shipping gold out of the country after it was discovered in 2017 that it was unable to trace documents surrounding over US$2.3 billion in gold exports, which resulted in the failure to repatriate at least 80 per cent of foreign currency earned from exports back to Ghana.

A report by Wealth of Nations, published in April this year, said the trade data between Ghana and its three major gold trading partners — Switzerland, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — revealed that over US$6 billion worth of gold exports remained unaccounted for from 2013 to 2016.

For instance, from 2013 to 2016, the gold import-export variance between Ghana and Switzerland amounted to over US$3 billion.

While Switzerland’s gold import figures revealed that it had imported close to US$7 billion worth of gold from Ghana, Ghana’s official records indicated an export of a little over US$3 billion, posting a deficit of US$4 billion.

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