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Ex gratia payment can lead to class society - Says Bin Salih

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Edward Doe Adjaho, Speaker of ParliamentThe payment of huge sums of money as ex gratia to outgoing Members of Parliament (MPs) can lead to a class society, the Upper West Regional Second Vice- Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Hafiz Bin Salih, has declared.

The practice, he said, could, among other things, breed corruption, lead to unending labour agitation and also compel aspiring MPs to go as far as using unorthodox means to get into Parliament.

"Very soon we will have a burgeoisie and a proletariat society in Ghana," he noted.

Mr Bin Salih said much as he was not against the payment of ex gratia, the amount involved must not be seen to be an insult to the conscience of the ordinary Ghanaian.

He, therefore, called for a review of Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution to fix a permanent and reasonable amount within the ambience of the country's resources to be paid to outgoing MPs.

Sharing his thoughts with the Daily Graphic in Wa on the GHc47 million paid as ex gratia to MPs, Mr Bin Salih said the current practice could be demoralising, especially when other workers were also contributing to the total development of the country.

"More worrying is the timing. We have a series of strikes on our hand as a nation which we have not resolved and so why should we pay such an amount to MPs?” he asked.

Touching on the contributions and role of MPs, the NPP regional second vice-chairman noted that considering the monthly salaries of MPs, such huge sums must not be paid to them as ex gratia.

He said even though their role as MPs in the democratic dispensation of the country could not be underestimated, MPs must also remember that they were not forced to become politicians or MPs.

On the number of ministerial appointments, Mr Bin Salih said some of the regions did not deserve deputy ministers, adding, "In a developing country like ours, we need at least a minimum of 60 ministers."

He added that contrary to arguments being raised about the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) guinea fowl project, there was no evidence in the Upper West Region of the guinea fowl project, while SADA had no office in the region.

Story: Chris Nunoo