The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says it has been following the current spirited public debate on the payment of salaries to spouses of presidents and vice presidents, and has advised the State to stop the payment of the salaries to the President’s wife and the wife of the Vice President immediately.
This is because spouses of presidents and vice presidents are not specified under Article 71 of the Constitution of Ghana and so the question posed by the TUC is: Why should they receive salaries at the level of emoluments and privileges for some officeholders specified under Article 71?
“It should be noted that Article 71 officeholders and all jobholders in the public service, including presidential staffers, have been assigned official duties and responsibilities”.
However, the TUC admits that though some presidential staffers that are not specified under Article 71, receive emoluments that are at the level of ministers or even higher; the TUC notes that is backed by the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463), Legal Service Act and other acts, making it legal.
“Ghanaians appreciate what the first and second ladies are doing to support women’s rights, children’s rights, and other noble initiatives towards social and economic development of our country. But neither the Constitution of Ghana nor the laws of the land assign them any official duties and responsibilities”.
Therefore, the Trades Union Congress cannot support the payment of salaries to the spouses of presidents and vice presidents, even if the Ntiamoa-Baidu’s Committee recommended the payment of such salaries.
“It is simply not right for anyone who has not been officially assigned duties and responsibilities in the public service to receive monthly salaries”.
The umbrella body of 18-affiliate trades unions in the country says the ongoing debate indicates clearly that this issue is very important to Ghanaians.
“The President should also ensure that all such payments made to his wife and the wife of Vice President are refunded immediately”, the statement signed by its Secretary General, Dr. Yaw Baah insisted.
Consequently, the TUC advises the President to initiate a process towards the establishment of a Committee/Commission made up of experts from various fields to advise government on salaries for all jobholders in the entire public service to ensure fairness.
“The current system appears to favour politicians at the expense of other jobholders in the larger public service in terms of salaries, allowances and other job-related privileges”.
The statement ends by adding that the wrongs that have been perpetuated over nearly past three decades at the blind side of Ghanaian taxpayers must stop now.