The Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh has questioned the propriety of parliament’s approval of allowances for Presidential spouses.
“The political class cannot use the Article 71 process to smuggle in salaries or allowances for First and Second Spouses,” Professor H Kwasi Prempeh of CDD Ghana wrote in a Facebook post.
He contended that it’s not within the Article 71 Emoluments Committee’s rights to recommend payment of any allowance or emolument to First or Second Spouses, as these are not Article 71 offices or office holders.
“The mandate of an Article 71 Emoluments Committee is limited to recommending the salaries and other benefits and privileges of those office holders specified in Article 71, sections (1) and (2).
“That list of office holders is exhaustive,” he stressed.
He further argued that if Government wants to pay First and/or Second Spouses from the public fisc, it must introduce a Bill to that effect.
“If that’s what they want done, they must get the Government to introduce a Bill to that effect, and thereby allow and ensure public participation in the legislative debate on this matter.”
Meanwhile, the Information Minister has said the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, does not approve salaries and benefits for the Executive and, by extension, for the First Lady and wife of the Vice-President.
He has, therefore, describe as misleading, information making the rounds that President Akufo-Addo had given approval for Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs. Samira Bawumia to receive same salaries as Cabinet ministers.
While confirming that there had been an increment in allowances for the spouses of the President and the Vice-President, Mr Oppong Nkrumah emphasised that that was an approval given by the Seventh Parliament.
“The President does approve salaries and benefits for the Executive. Under Article 71, the First Lady and Second Lady are not office holders so no one can determine their benefits under that article.
“However, a committee only recommended that an arrangement for the spouses be made formal and that received approval from Parliament,” he indicated.