Members of Parliament in Ghana are paid 20 times better than their UK counterparts, Franklin Cudjoe, the Executive Director of IMANI Ghana, a policy think-tank, has disclosed.
With effect from this month, all the lawmakers in the country would be taking home GHC7, 200 a month as their consolidated pay, which includes allowances and salaries for their drivers and other household staff. The MPs previously earned GHC3, 000, a situation they complained was woefully inadequate compared to other African countries.
Currently, the country has 230 MPs. The creation of additional 45 constituencies would bring the total number of the lawmakers to 275. If one MP takes home GHC7, 200, then it means the total salary for the 275 MPs a month would amount to GHC1.98 million (equivalent to 19.8 billion old Ghana Cedis). In a year, the salary of the 275 MPs would be GHC23.76 million.
If all the lawmakers managed to finish their term of office, which is four years, then the government must be prepared to find GHC 95.04 million ($47.52 million) to settle their wage bill.
Franklin Cudjoe, who formed part of many Ghanaians who condemned the upward salary adjustment ever-since the news broke, described the move as “inappropriate” in the present condition in which the country finds itself.
“This monthly salary is nearly five times the annual per capita income in Ghana. It is also six times the annual average or median income in Ghana. Compare that to the UK where the average monthly salary is 5,500 pounds sterling, or about $8300 a month which is less than one-fourth of the annual per capita income in the UK. So comparatively, in accordance with the strength of their economies, Ghanaian MPs are paid 20 times better than their UK compatriots,” he stated.
The Executive Director of IMANI continued, “If MPs believe they must be paid 72 times what the average Ghanaian earns before they can be reasonably comfortable, then they are admitting that the living conditions of people are indeed appalling.”
Mr Cudjoe advised that MPs should be paid wages commensurate with senior professionals in the public service, which should in turn be tied to the national median income, adding that, 15 times the national median income may be acceptable but not 72 times.
On his part, a retired diplomat, Dr. K.B Asante, said Ghanaian MPs needed to be exemplary by “cutting their coats according to their cloth” and stop “imposing” some sort of lifestyle upon themselves.
The one-time Secretary to the late President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah said: “It is certainly not an excessive salary for a Member of Parliament, but it is inappropriate in the present condition of Ghana.”
“The MP’s should give to their constituencies what they can offer, they should cut their coat according to their cloth; again the people in their constituencies should not demand so much of them as well. The cost of living is hard for everyone so the MPs should show leadership,” Dr K.B Asante said this in a telephone interview with e-TV. According to him, MPs were fond of making impressions especially at funerals and advised them to desist from the act.
Contributing, Maverick politician ‘Chucks’ Kofi Wayo described the plea by the MPs for a monthly salary of GHC7, 200 as a “complete waste of the tax payer’s money”.
But one of the MPs, who pleaded anonymity, described the pay-increase as "a move towards restoring honour to the profession of politics.”
“The amount of money paid to MPs could not compensate for the heavy responsibility they shoulder in the economic, political and social development of the country. A country (sic) like Kenya and Nigeria are paying their MPs well, compared to Ghana,” the MP stated.
In 2010, the BBC reported that Kenyan MPs were the most highly paid MPs in the world and their leaders kept begging for money in major foreign countries’ capitals. Kenyan parliamentarians have voted to be paid a basic $44,000 (Ł29,000) a year. But extra allowances can bring the salary up to $126,000 (Ł84,000) after tax - a rise of 18 percent over their previous earnings. The allowances include $370 (Ł250) a day for turning up in parliament.
Reports say the average annual income in Kenya is about $730 (Ł490), while most of the population earns less than $1 a day.
Source: Felix Dela Klutse/Economic Tribune/Ghana
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