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25.01.2011 General News

PUBLIC OUTCRY OVER MPs WAGES

By Ghanaian Chronicle
Mr. Cletus Avoka, Majority Leader (left), Mr. Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader (right)Mr. Cletus Avoka, Majority Leader (left), Mr. Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader (right)
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The decision by Members of Parliament (MPs) to recommend an increase in their salaries, from GH¢3,000 (about $2,000) to a whopping GH¢7,000 ($4,700), has been met with strong opposition from the public.

The 230-member House met last week Friday in a closed-door meeting to consider a proposal to increase their personal emoluments in line with article 71 clause (1a) of the 1992 Constitution.

Available information indicates that the MPs have proposed an over 100% salary adjustment that would push the current $2,000 they are earning to $4,700 (GH¢7000), subject to approval by President Mills.

Ever since the figure was made public, the majority of MPs have mounted a strong public defence for their action.

The Member of Parliament for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the salary of the Ghanaian MP was embarrassing, because for an MP to receive $2,000 a month was not enough.

According to him, there was a criterion used to determine the salary level that included a look at the relativity, with regards to public and civil service salary structure, or the general salary level.

Which category is an MP equivalent to? 'Is it a Managing Director or an Editor of a public media organisation,' the GNA quoted him as asking.

Mr. Rashid Pelpuo, Deputy Majority Leader and National Democratic Congress (NDC) member for Wa Central, also argued on a similar line.

The MP for Adenta, Mr. Adu Asare, and his counterpart from Fanteakwa, Kwabena Amankwa Asiamah, also mounted a strong argument for an upward salary adjustment on Peace FM yesterday, insisting MPs had the right to call for a pay rise, because of the responsibilities they carry.

According to the duo, the constituents demand from their MPs, school fees, funeral donations, donations to churches and health bills among others, which take the chunk of their salary away.

Some of the MPs have also argued that in comparing their salaries to their counterparts in some African countries, the $2,000 they are earning was nothing to write home about.

A research conducted by The Chronicle revealed that though MPs in other African countries, indeed, earn more than their colleagues in Ghana, the size of their economies is far larger than that of Ghana.

In Kenya for instance, MPs are paid 1,091,000 shillings, which is approximately £8,920 a month, but they have a per capita income of $1,600.                                        In South Africa, MPs receive R7574,958 whilst their colleagues in Nigeria take home $5,500 or N9.9 million, but with a per capita income of $2,748 (2010 estimates).

In Ghana, our MPs take home $2,000 against a lower per capital income of $1500 (2008 estimates). Financial experts believe that if these comparisms are anything to go by, then Ghanaian MPs cannot compare their conditions of service to their counterparts in the aforementioned countries.

Most Ghanaians, who were interviewed by The Chronicle on the subject, argued that MPs enjoy perks that accompany their salaries, therefore, the figure they had put forward was rather on the high side.

A caller to one of the radio stations yesterday, alleged that the GH¢7,000 being demanded by the MPs was what a teacher earns as his or her retirement benefit, after 30 years of service in the teaching profession in Ghana.

A financial consultant, Mr. Casely Hayford, who spoke to The Chronicle over the issue, supported the position of those kicking against the colossal salary increment.

He noted that MPs pay low rents, enjoy fuel allocations, pay only 12% interest on the car loan they take, whilst the ordinary man pays as high as 30-35%.

The MPs are also paid allowances when they travel outside the country, and they also have access to the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) fund, which they do not account for, as well as part of the Common Fund to support development activities in their respective constituencies.

Mr. Hayford argued that if all these allowances are consolidated, the MPs would be earning around GH¢12,000, which is far in excess of the GH¢7,000 they are demanding.

He also dismissed the argument that MPs must be compared with the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of State Corporations and Enterprises.

He contended that MPs are in Parliament to make laws, whilst the CEOs are there to manage assets, and that it would be wrong to compare the two.  The Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr. Cletus Avoka, however, disagreed with Mr. Casely Hayford, by insisting that apart from enacting laws, MPs also have oversight responsibility over all state enterprises, which is a sort of management that must go with the requisite perks.

According to him, the MPs met in camera to consider their conditions of service, and were surprised how the information got into the public domain, and was being discussed all over the country.

To him, MPs are not the only public officers listed under article 71 of the constitution who are supposed to send proposals about their conditions of service to the Emolument Committee set up by the President for consideration.

'Why are the people not talking about the salaries of the Chief Justice, Managing Directors of Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Agricultural Bank (ADB), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GAPOHA); people are not being fair to MPs', he said.

Story by Emmanuel Akli
The decision by Members of Parliament (MPs) to recommend an increase in their salaries, from GHĘ3,000 (about $2,000) to a whopping GHĘ7,000 ($4,700), has been met with strong opposition from the public.

The 230-member House met last week Friday in a closed-door meeting to consider a proposal to increase their personal emoluments in line with article 71 clause (1a) of the 1992 Constitution.

Available information indicates that the MPs have proposed an over 100% salary adjustment that would push the current $2,000 they are earning to $4,700 (GHĘ7000), subject to approval by President Mills.

Ever since the figure was made public, the majority of MPs have mounted a strong public defence for their action.

The Member of Parliament for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the salary of the Ghanaian MP was embarrassing, because for an MP to receive $2,000 a month was not enough.

According to him, there was a criterion used to determine the salary level that included a look at the relativity, with regards to public and civil service salary structure, or the general salary level.

Which category is an MP equivalent to? 'Is it a Managing Director or an Editor of a public media organisation,' the GNA quoted him as asking.

Mr. Rashid Pelpuo, Deputy Majority Leader and National Democratic Congress (NDC) member for Wa Central, also argued on a similar line.

The MP for Adenta, Mr. Adu Asare, and his counterpart from Fanteakwa, Kwabena Amankwa Asiamah, also mounted a strong argument for an upward salary adjustment on Peace FM yesterday, insisting MPs had the right to call for a pay rise, because of the responsibilities they carry.

According to the duo, the constituents demand from their MPs, school fees, funeral donations, donations to churches and health bills among others, which take the chunk of their salary away.

Some of the MPs have also argued that in comparing their salaries to their counterparts in some African countries, the $2,000 they are earning was nothing to write home about.

A research conducted by The Chronicle revealed that though MPs in other African countries, indeed, earn more than their colleagues in Ghana, the size of their economies is far larger than that of Ghana.

In Kenya for instance, MPs are paid 1,091,000 shillings, which is approximately £8,920 a month, but they have a per capita income of $1,600.                                        In South Africa, MPs receive R7574,958 whilst their colleagues in Nigeria take home $5,500 or N9.9 million, but with a per capita income of $2,748 (2010 estimates).

In Ghana, our MPs take home $2,000 against a lower per capital income of $1500 (2008 estimates). Financial experts believe that if these comparisms are anything to go by, then Ghanaian MPs cannot compare their conditions of service to their counterparts in the aforementioned countries.

Most Ghanaians, who were interviewed by The Chronicle on the subject, argued that MPs enjoy perks that accompany their salaries, therefore, the figure they had put forward was rather on the high side.

A caller to one of the radio stations yesterday, alleged that the GHĘ7,000 being demanded by the MPs was what a teacher earns as his or her retirement benefit, after 30 years of service in the teaching profession in Ghana.

A financial consultant, Mr. Casely Hayford, who spoke to The Chronicle over the issue, supported the position of those kicking against the colossal salary increment.

He noted that MPs pay low rents, enjoy fuel allocations, pay only 12% interest on the car loan they take, whilst the ordinary man pays as high as 30-35%.

The MPs are also paid allowances when they travel outside the country, and they also have access to the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) fund, which they do not account for, as well as part of the Common Fund to support development activities in their respective constituencies.

Mr. Hayford argued that if all these allowances are consolidated, the MPs would be earning around GHĘ12,000, which is far in excess of the GHĘ7,000 they are demanding.

He also dismissed the argument that MPs must be compared with the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of State Corporations and Enterprises.

He contended that MPs are in Parliament to make laws, whilst the CEOs are there to manage assets, and that it would be wrong to compare the two.

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr. Cletus Avoka, however, disagreed with Mr. Casely Hayford, by insisting that apart from enacting laws, MPs also have oversight responsibility over all state enterprises, which is a sort of management that must go with the requisite perks.

According to him, the MPs met in camera to consider their conditions of service, and were surprised how the information got into the public domain, and was being discussed all over the country.

To him, MPs are not the only public officers listed under article 71 of the constitution who are supposed to send proposals about their conditions of service to the Emolument Committee set up by the President for consideration.

'Why are the people not talking about the salaries of the Chief Justice, Managing Directors of Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Agricultural Bank (ADB), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GAPOHA); people are not being fair to MPs', he said.

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