There is no legal basis for paying allowances to spouses of President and Vice – Emoluments Committee

by Isaac Mintah
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In the last few days, public discussion on whether or not spouses of the President and Vice President should be paid salaries, has intensified.

This was after government indicated that Parliament has approved the report of the Emoluments Committee.

Already, two suits have been filed seeking to halt the payments.

Joy Research’s digging into the work of the Emoluments Committee found that it actually recommended that the existing module of paying the spouses without a legal basis should be regularised. This has since not been done.

The Administration of President Kufuor introduced the extension of courtesies, including the payment of monthly allowances to spouses of former Heads of State/Presidents/Vice Presidents. Subsequent administrations have continued the gesture and even extended them to incumbent First and Second ladies.

The gesture remains purely humanitarian, to support, and in some cases, rehabilitate former First Ladies who were evidently struggling to subsist.

However, there is no legal basis for this support. Thus, the Committee recommends that the support extended to spouses of Presidents/former Presidents Vice Presidents/former Vice Presidents be regularized and included in the privileges of Presidents/former Presidents/Vice Presidents/former Vice Presidents – it said.

The Committee chaired by Prof Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, therefore, included these allowances at the same level as pertains to the salary level for President and Vice President.

The said salary level recommended for President/former President has facility/benefit to include office accommodation, residential accommodation, security, transportation, security among others.

According to the Committee, when the person is out of public office, the state is to provide a fully furnished office with an up to date communication equipment and staff not exceeding four.

Such an office will revert to the state should the person die, it recommended.

Also, it said, a fully furnished residence in the nation’s capital or at a location in Ghana of the person’s choice will be provided. This is to be a four-bedroom house plus a study and a two-bedroom guest accommodation.

Again, two vehicles, chauffeur-driven, maintained, and comprehensively insured by the state, and two dispatch motorcycles for travel in-country must be provided. This fleet is to be changed every four years for life.

Emoluments Committee said for those at the level of the Vice President, a fully furnished office is to be provided when they are out of office provided they are not occupying public office with 30% of their salary to be paid for accommodation.

Two vehicles comprehensively insured, chauffeur-driven with an allocation of 450 litres of fuel per month was also recommended.

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