The Leadership of Parliament has unanimously justified the need for Members of the 7th Parliament to be paid their gratuity after serving the legislature over the past four years.
They said per articles 71 and 114 (1) of the Constitution, the payment of gratuity, salaries and allowances was “legitimate and lawful.”
According to them, the yet-to-be paid approved emoluments would constitute the salary arrears of the MPs, since there had not been any salary adjustment for them between 2016 and 2019.
The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who said this at a joint press conference in Parliament yesterday, however, stopped short of disclosing how much MPs would be paid.
The event allowed the leaders to highlight the achievements and challenges of the yet-to-be dissolved Parliament from 2016 to 2020 and expectations for the 8th Parliament.
MPs deserve it
Mr Haruna said per Article 71 of the constitution, the salaries, allowances and gratuity for legislators were “legitimate and lawful”.
Therefore, he said, it was important for the Ghanaian public to appreciate that there was no security of tenure for MPs, unlike public servants who received the entitlements at age 60.
He, therefore, argued that the entitlement of MPs to gratuities at the end of four years was justifiable.
“What we need to do is to carry the public along; there are many of you who comment as if MPs are not deserving of it,” he said.
Salaries of Appeal Court judges
The Minority Leader explained that there had been no salary adjustment for MPs from 2016 to 2019 yet every public servant had salary adjustments ranging between 10 per cent and 12.5 per cent in 2017.
“So, it is not just gratuity but salary arrears will be paid to deserving Members of Parliament who have served their four-year term.
“I believe and I stand by it that the salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament should be equated to those of Appeals Court judges; that is my view and that is my emotion and I think strongly that we will work towards that,” Mr Iddrisu said.
Gratuity payment is constitutional
Questioning the reasons why some Ghanaians often raised concerns that MPs did not deserve emoluments, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued against such perceptions, concurring that it was legitimate for MPs to be paid their gratuity.
To buttress his stance, he quoted Article 114 (1) of the constitution which provides that “A person who has served as a member of Parliament for a period of not less than four years shall be eligible, on ceasing to be a member or on his death, for the payment of such gratuity to him or his personal representatives, as the case may be, as shall be determined by the President, acting in consultation with the committee referred to in article 71 of this constitution”.
“So, the payment of gratuity to Members of Parliament is constitutional; so for those who are saying they do not deserve it kindly refer them to Article 114 (1),” the Majority Leader said.
Meanwhile, the House had an in camera discussion on the actual gratuity to be paid to MPs.