General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah, has suggested that the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) should determine the salaries and emolument packages for ex-presidents, parliamentarians and other Article 71 office holders.
Bernard Mornah believes if the FWSC determine what former presidents should receive; there will be no hullabaloo whatsoever.
Speaking as a panelist on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo Morning Show, the PNC Chief Scribe opined that: “…if parliament could bring out such law; instituting a Fair Wages Commission, saying that any working Ghanaian’s condition of service should be regulated by the Fair Wages Commission, why don’t they and other members of so called Article 71 bring their emoluments and conditions of service to the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission for them to do the determination; where members of parliament or so called Article 71 office holders will be told what they are entitled to; all under one umbrella…,” he recommended.
Public discussion recently has focused primarily on the constitutional stipulation that enjoins the state to put up buildings for ex-presidents and their end of service benefits.
It was reported earlier this week that President Mills has proposed the immediate scrapping of the current arrangement which enjoins the state to build houses for presidents of the country after they have served their tenure. He is said to have suggested that rent allowances should rather be paid for them to cater for their accommodation.
The proposal was made to the Professor Ewurama Addy Committee set up by President Mills to deal with the whole issue of emoluments for Article 71 office holders.
Recommendations by the Chinery Hesse Committee (CHC) set up by then President Kufuor, and which was approved by the Ghanaian Parliament on 6th January 2009, included two residential facilities, six vehicles, overseas travels, medical and dental services, entertainment, non-taxable ex-gratia, establishment of a $1 million foundation, and other miscellaneous benefits.
The quality of the two accommodation facilities (one in Accra and another elsewhere), according to the report, should be of a standard befitting a retired Head of State who must be called upon to receive and entertain the network of dignitaries including Heads of State.
It said the standard of accommodation must be determined in consultation with State Protocol. The residences would not revert to the state in the event of the demise of the receiving former president.
Other miscellaneous benefits are covered under the CHC report.
But the recommendation elicited a massive public outrage leading to former President Kufuor being criticized over the contents of the report, with many contending that it was a deliberate ploy to further impoverish the state kitty.
Despite repeated explanations in subsequent interviews that there is no such desire to milk the country dry, but rather, the proposal only sought to restore dignity to the presidency, some still contend the country’s economy cannot cater for houses for ex-presidents.
But Bernard Mornah believes there should be a repeal of the law mandated the state to provide accommodation and other end of service benefits to ex-presidents and parliamentarians. He also questions why the Executive must determine salaries and emoluments of parliamentarians and the Legislature, that of the President.
"We are wasting precious time deliberating on Former Presidents’ accommodation issue, we should focus on when and how to repeal Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution, which made Former Presidents to expect being accommodated by the State," he said.
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