The confusion over the (Presidential Spousal Emolument) is becoming interesting as some Members of Parliament in the 7th Parliament have denied ever approving any such salary structure for the wives of the President and the Vice President. They are calling for urgent reforms.
“I am saddened that as a Member of the 7th Parliament, I did not get the opportunity to see the Committee Report. That is why we are calling for reforms,” an MP said in an interview with www.Parliamentnews360.com.
Professor Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee Recommendations
A five-member Professor Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee set up in June 2019 by President Nana Akufo-Addo to oversee the emoluments of Article 71 Office Holders, gave a recommendation for the wives of the President and the Vice President to be given salaries even though they do not fall under the umbrella of Article 71 Office holders.
Per the Constitution, Article 71 office holders include the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court, Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers of State, political appointees, and public servants with salaries charged to the Consolidated Fund but enjoying special constitutional privileges.
First Lady’s Rejection and Refund of Allowances
There was a public outcry over Parliament’s approval of the Presidential Spousal Emolument as part of the Presidential Emolument which put the First Lady and the Second Lady on the same salary structure as Ministers of state. Effectively departing from the status quo of a monthly allowance to a well-structured salary system.
The public outcry has led to the rejection of the offer by the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akuffo-Addo, who has subsequently refunded to the state, all the allowances she ever received since her husband became President in January 2017. The Second Lady, Semira Bawumia has also served notice to follow suit.
Minority MPs Deny Approval
However, some Minority Members of Parliament who were part of the 7th Parliament of the Republic of Ghana have claimed they never set their eyes on the Committee Report on the Presidential Emolument which ostensibly formed the basis for the approval of salaries for the First and Second Ladies of the land.
Addressing a press conference in Parliament, the Minority MPs including Cassiel Ato Forson, Alhaji A. B. A. Fuseini, and Deputy Minority Leader, James Clutse Avedzie, took turns to vent their frustration over the stated Parliamentary approval of the Emoluments of First and Second Ladies.
Calls for Reforms
“We expect some reforms to be made. Honestly, those reforms are urgently needed. The President must appoint the Emolument Committee in time; for them to submit their report in time; for Members of Parliament to have enough time to peruse the document in order to approve or disapprove it,” said Cassiel Ato Forson.
He further revealed that, the said document was approved on the last sitting day of the last Parliament on the blind side of many of them.
“You don’t wait until the dying minutes of Parliament for us to approve it… On the 6th of January, that was when Parliament approved it. You will recall that in the dying days of the last Parliament, almost 50% of MPs had lost their seat or did not contest.
“They were not going to come to Parliament or did not come to Parliament, so you can’t wait till that time and bring a document of this sensitive nature and say that Members of Parliament have approved it without seeing the document,” he fumed.
Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com