Former President John Dramani Mahama has called on the government to consider setting up an independent committee to review emoluments for Article 71 Office Holders.
His call comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding a recommendation by the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee for the inclusion of spouses of the President and Vice President in the salary structure of Article 71 Office Holders.
Mr Mahama believes an Independent Emoluments Commission will end the practice of setting up new committees every four years and the introduction of varying recommendations.
“I believe that instead of trying to unconstitutionally enlarge the scope of Article 71 Office Holders for the purposes of determining emoluments, the government must as a matter of urgency set up the Independent Emoluments Commission.”
“If this proposed Independent Emoluments Committee is established, the Commission will not only stop the practice of setting up a new emoluments committee every four years and coming up with varying recommendations but will ensure that salary administration in Ghana is rationalized and equity is brought into the system,” Mr Mahama said.
Committee recommended emoluments
The emoluments for the First and Second Ladies were part of recommendations by the five-member Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu led Committee set up in June 2019 by President Nana Akufo-Addo to make recommendations on the salaries and other gratuities of Article 71 Office Holders.
Per the recommended emoluments, the spouse of the President is to be entitled to the payment of a salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister-MP while in office.
After leaving office, they will be entitled to a salary equivalent to 80 per cent of the salary of a Minister of State-MP if the spouse served one full term as President or 100 per cent of the salary of a Minister of State-MP if the spouse served two or more full terms as President.
For the spouse of the Vice President, they will be entitled to payment of salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister non-MP when in office. After leaving office, the spouse of the Vice President will be entitled to a salary equivalent to 80 per cent of the salary of a Minister of State non-MP if the spouse served one full term as the Vice President or 100 per cent of the salary of a Minister of State non-MP if the spouse served two or more full terms as Vice President.
Sneaking First and Second Ladies under Article 71 office holders problematic
The former President also criticized the government’s handling of emoluments for spouses of sitting and former Presidents and Vice Presidents.
In a statement, Mr Mahama suggested that the Akufo-Addo government is attempting to “sneak the First and Second Ladies into the article 71 Office Holders’ group”, saying “this is clearly problematic.”
Mr Mahama argued further that the new emoluments are tantamount to altering an entrenched clause in the constitution without due process.
“Article 71 is an entrenched clause in the 1992 Constitution, and nothing short of a referendum can be used to amend or vary that clause as per article 290 of the Constitution,” he explained.