President John Dramani Mahama says the Ghanaian government is focused on reducing its wage bill to 40 per cent of revenue by the end of 2017 and will employ all workable measures to ensure the reduction.

Wage overruns, unsustainable subsidies for petroleum products and the power crisis have placed huge economic challenges on the economy and once the government faces them head-on with the necessary interventions, the wage bill will be subsequently reduced to 40 per cent of revenue generated, he said here Monday.

“In that way we will be edging towards the standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) which allows only 35 per cent (of revenue) as wage bills,” he said when addressing the 12th Chief Executive Officers’ of Businesses Breakfast Meeting.

The president said his government had also fast-tracked the provision of 850 megawatts (MW) of power within 18 months, and placed austerity tariffs on electricity to ensure sustainability and a reduction on government expenditure.

The breakfast meeting, organized by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, served as an avenue for the business community and government to interact and discuss pertinent issues relating to the private sector.

It was also an opportunity for the president and the government to gain first-hand information on trends in the business sector and to dialogue for workable and sustainable measures.

President Mahama said over the years, the government had worked to reduce its wage bill which he described as astronomically raised as a result of the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure.

He said government had reduced it from over 70 per cent of revenue in 2010 to between 49 and 51 per cent by 2015 and expressed the hope that it would further be reduced to 40 per cent by the close of 2017.

On subsidies on petroleum products, President Mahama said since the government embarked on deregulation, prices had remained relatively stable and had relieved the government of wanton debts it had accrued over the years on account of the subsidies.