The Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Atta Mills Institute, Mr Koku Anyidoho, says the implementation of the White Paper on the Report of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) and the subsequent amendment to the 1992 Constitution would have saved time and energy spent on some recent national issues.
Notable among them, he said, was the proposed allocated salaries approved by Parliament, which generated controversy and engendered public debates over the propriety to consider salaries and other emoluments for presidential spouses in consonance with Article 71 office holders.
Mr Anyidoho said the government of President Mills, for instance, accepted the recommendations of the CRC that an Independent Emoluments Commission (IEC) be established to determine the salaries, allowances and emoluments of all public officers from the President to the lowest ranking public officer.
He said once the IEC was in place the debate on presidential spouses receiving salaries and other emoluments would be addressed.
Speaking at the Second Anniversary Lecture of the Atta Mills Institute, a policy think tank in Accra today (Thursday), he said once the IEC was set up it would address the issue of salaries for presidential spouses, among other personalities.
“So this White Paper said let’s have an independent commission established by the people of Ghana, because all the recommendations and Bills would have gone to Parliament to pass and allow for the constitution to be amended. This is where we have the representatives of the people, so in effect, Ghanaians would have had the IEC and today we would not be where we are spending time and energy on things that we should have changed about 10/11 years ago,” he explained.
The event was on the theme: “Nine Years On: Entrenching a Solid Legacy -Building a Better Ghana”.
The Atta Mills Institute was set up by Mr Anyidoho in honour of the late President.
Former President Mills inaugurated the CRC, chaired by Professor Albert Kodzo Fiadjoe, with 10 other members on January 11, 2010.
The CRC was set up under the Constitution Review Commission of Inquiry Instrument, 2010, C.I. 64. The decision to review the 1992 Constitution formed part of the 2008 National Democratic Congress (NDC) Manifesto. This was publicly declared by the then presidential candidate (Mills) at the Presidential Debate in Tamale.
On the issue of taxation, Mr Anyidoho said the government under Mills accepted the recommendations of the CRC that the President should pay tax on his salary and emoluments as an example to the rest of the citizenry.
“This will also be a reflection of the principle of equality before the law and in accord with the rule of law,” Issue six of the White Paper said.
Moreover, he said the implementation of the White Paper would have curtailed the President’s own powers in certain areas “but here was a President who was not interested in everything that he came to meet”.
“He (Atta Mills) was President for three-and-a-half years and left some very solid legacies,” Mr Anyidoho emphasised, saying that late president was a visionary leader.