Pressure Group, Occupy Ghana has asked President Nana Akufo-Addo to examine and review relevant provisions of Article 71 emoluments and benefits.
The group's demand follows former President John Mahama's withdrawal of his request to keep his official residence as his retirement package.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, a member of the group Ace Ankomah argued that though the former President has withdrawn the request, the Article in question needs to be reviewed to promote fairness.
“Article 71 was meant for the good of the people of Ghana. It was not meant to give away state properties to various public officers. In our statement we are calling on the new President to begin this discussion and proposals so that we can apply Article 71 well…In this instance where successive Parliaments and Presidents literally at midnight dole out bundles of cash to themselves and share state properties is no longer on and that new Ghanaian is not prepared to take that anymore..”
Asked what was particularly wrong with Article 71, he explained that Ghana is financially unstable to satisfy some demands under the Article.
“Politicians belong to a nation. They do not belong to a special class of human being. Have you ever seen any job where a person retires every four years and is paid a retirement benefit and is rehired almost immediately to serve another four years and earn a retirement benefit? This is Ghana. The nation is struggling financially. Every four years they take power, we vote them as MPs, they are made Ministers, they are paid their monthly salaries, when we retire them, do we have to give them money even if we revoted them? They should all contribute to SSNIT like us[Ghanaians]…Politicians are not better than us and so this four year cycle ought to stop. “
Article 71 office holders include the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court.
The rest are Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers of State, political appointees and public servants with salaries charged to the Consolidated Fund but enjoying special constitutional privileges.
Article 71 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that the determination of the salaries and allowances of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary paid from the Consolidated Fund would be determined by the President, on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by him and acting upon the advice of the Council of State.
Recommendations made by the Prof. Dora Francisca Edu- Buandoh committee tasked to review emoluments of Article 71 office holders, including the former president's retirement package had recommended that the former president should not be given a house in Accra and another location of his choice outside the capital, as has been the norm; but instead Mahama should rather receive “40 percent of [his] salary to be paid monthly.”
By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana