Ex-gratia on the cards …as sixth parliament draws to a close
As the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic draws to a close, the controversial matter of severance packages for the outgoing president and Members of Parliament and other public office holders has surfaced again, as parliament has resumed to consider the issue.
Outgoing Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, stated yesterday that one of the crucial matters Parliament has to consider before it rises will be the consideration of emoluments for those entitled to same under article 71 (1) of the 1992 constitution.
It is expected to be one of the final activities of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic before its tenure elapses on January 6.
Addressing the House, following the resumption of Parliament after a six weeks’ break, Mr Adjaho said the house needed to consider matters provided for in Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution relating to the determination of certain emoluments for specified constitutional office holders.
Most of the MPs have angled for an increase in their emoluments and it remains to be seen whether the sixth Parliament would push it through.
In 2012, the taxpayer incurred some GH¢47million as ex-gratia payments to the 230 MPs who served in the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Members of Parliament who lost their seats that year took home GH¢311,000 each, whilst those who retained their seats received GH¢276,000 each.
Article 71 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that the determination of the salaries and allowances of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary paid from the Consolidated Fund would be determined by the President, on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by him and acting upon the advice of the Council of State.
In determining the salaries of the President, his Ministers and political appointees, as well as the members of the Council of State, the Constitution states that Parliament will determine that based on the advice of the same committee.
The committee appointed by President John Mahama finished its work in August 2016 and submitted same to the president and Parliament in September.
The two arms have within the next few days to consider and approve the recommendations made by the committee.
The Speaker also urged Members of Parliament (MPs) who will exit the house to begin the processes in earnest to vacate their offices, since he has already began his.
“I urge all of you non-returning Members to leave these parliamentary precincts with enthusiasm and hope and demonstrate same by packing out and vacating your respective offices by the 6TH January, 2017 in order to facilitate a smooth transition for the incoming MPs elected to replace you.
To serve as an example, I have myself as Speaker, already packed and only waiting the conclusion of our final proceedings so as to vacate the Speakers’s office to enable the incoming Speaker assume his role seamlessly,” he told Parliament.
Furthermore, he also indicated that the House will be receiving President John Mahama to deliver a message on the State of the Nation before the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Other issues the Speaker stated was the consideration and passage of the Right to Information Bill which has dragged on for a while.
Mr Adjaho also congratulated Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, on his electoral victory and also commended outgoing President, John Dramani Mahama, for demonstrating a high level of statesmanship.