Dr Janet Ampadu-Fofie (2nd from right), Chairperson of the Presidential Committee on Emoluments, Nana Agyekum Dwamena (3rd from right), former Head of Civil Service, and Prof. George Gyan-Baffour (middle), Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, with stakeholders and colleagues after seeking views, expectations and advice from relevant institutions and beneficiaries about emoluments and privileges of  Article 71 office holders. Picture: CALEB VANDERPUYE
Dr Janet Ampadu-Fofie (2nd from right), Chairperson of the Presidential Committee on Emoluments, Nana Agyekum Dwamena (3rd from right), former Head of Civil Service, and Prof. George Gyan-Baffour (middle), Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, with stakeholders and colleagues after seeking views, expectations and advice from relevant institutions and beneficiaries about emoluments and privileges of Article 71 office holders. Picture: CALEB VANDERPUYE
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Ex gratia unfair, unjust: Scrap Article 71 - Participants

Participants in a stakeholders conference on the Emoluments and Privileges of Article 71 Office Holders have called for an end to the “class system” that the concept has created in the country. 

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The proponents, drawn from state and non-state institutions and groups such as the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Ghana Medical Association (GMA), among others, contend that Article 71 has created a class system which is "unfair and unjust."

They, therefore, proposed the scrapping of ex gratia, as well as a review of the timing for the determination of emoluments of Article 71 Office Holders from the last year of the President’s tenure to the first. 

Stakeholders conference

The conference was organised by the Presidential Committee on Emoluments in Accra last Tuesday to seek the views and inputs of the various interest groups and institutions on the best way to handle the concerns raised by members of the public on emoluments and benefits for Article 71 office holders.

The Chairperson of the five-member committee, Dr Janet Ampadu-Fofie, said given the public concerns raised about emoluments, benefits and privileges of Article 71 office holders, it was important for all stakeholders to share their insights into the matter within the context of the constitutional imperatives and the socio-economic conditions of the country.

"The committee truly believes that this is a collective assignment for all of us as a people who care deeply about our country," she said. 

Dr Ampadu-Fofie stressed that through collective wisdom and brainstorming, the right decisions could be made on the matter.

"We are counting on everyone to help examine this matter in a non-partisan, dispassionate, logical, fair and reasonable manner within the confines of the 1992 Constitution," she said.

The committee, which was set up by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on August 30, 2023, is expected to present its report to the Presidency by the end of July, this year.

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Constitutional requirement

A member of the committee, Prof. Isaac Osei-Akoto, said the discussions on Article 71 office holders needed to be held bearing in mind that it was an entrenched provision in the 1992 Constitution that had strict rules relating to its removal, cancellation or amendment.

He said while there was an opportunity to revise Article 71, it would require a national referendum which could be explored when the need arose.

He stressed that even as there was public outcry for Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution to be relooked at, it was important to situate the concerns and proposals within the confines of the constitution.

Background

Article 70(1) of the 1992 Constitution empowers the President, acting in consultation with the Council of State, to appoint the heads of state institutions, including the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and his deputies; the Auditor-General; the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator; the Chairman and other members of the Public Services Commission (PSC), Lands Commission, the governing bodies of public corporations, and the National Council for Higher Education.

It also includes holders of such other offices as may be presented by the Constitution or by any other law not inconsistent with the Constitution, as well as the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Deputy Chairmen and other members of the Commission.

Article 71 also provides for the salaries and allowances payable, as well as the facilities and privileges available to the Speaker and Deputy Speakers of Parliament; the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature; the Auditor-General, National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), and the National Media Commission (NMC).

It also provides that the expenditure on such office holders are charged on the Consolidated Fund and must be determined by the President on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State.

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