The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Atta-Mills Institute (AMI) and communications director at the presidency Koku Anyidoho has advised the government to take a bill to parliament if they want to formalise the payment of salaries of the first and second ladies.
He opined that the government should not use a back door approach in making the salaries formal.
He was speaking to Kwabena Agyapong on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm.
He explained that generally, we are already spending on the first and second ladies but if we have to formalize these processes, we have to use the appropriate approach.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah the information Minister recently explained that an arrangement that was introduced by former President John Agyekum Kufuor during the start of his Presidency in 2000 had seen spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents since then, enjoy allowances.
He, however, noted the process was not formalised.
The allowances given to the two ladies of the executive were considered as part of the privileges of the President and Vice President, he further explained.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah further said the Emoluments Committee, set up in 2019 and chaired by Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, as part of its recommendations, proposed that the allowances given to the spouses of the President and Vice President be formally included in the review of the entitlements for the executive.
This has sparked a raging debate with some calling for the approval to be reversed.
Some persons including Dr. Clement Appak, the MP Builsa South and Dafeamekpor Rockson-Nelson, the MP for South Dayi invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.
Mr. Anyidoho in his submission said the system is already taking care of the first and second ladies in a nice way but the argument also is that we want to regularize it to ensure transparency.
”But they must communicate well around it. Personally I don’t support any bad things. If you want to introduce this, you must table it under a proper bill before Parliament. Profesor Ntiamoah Committee has no mandate to tell us anything about First and Second Ladies because they are not Article 71 Office Holders. The committee does not have the mandate to talk about spouses. The spousal arrangement is when the President takes over and continues with what he inherited.”
”The First and Second Ladies are not Article 71 Office Holders, so why did the committee spend time on them. That is why the government must take responsibility and send a proper bill to Parliament, it goes through reading, and we accept it. That would be final. But let us not use the backdoor tactics. that is what is creating the confusion.”
In his view, Ghanaians generally know that we spend on the First and Second Ladies.
He asserted that the reason why the Fierst and Second Ladies are not captured as Article 71 Office Holders is to prevent them from interfering with the governance of the country.
He stressed that it would be prudent for us to have a cut-off point in formalizing the salaries hence the need for a bill to be tabled before Parliament.
He also advised that in send the bill, the ladies should not be categorised under Article 71 Oddice Holders.