The Presidential Committee on Emoluments has appealed to the public to be “non-partisan” and “dispassionate” in their discussions of the privileges of Article 71 Office Holders. 

The Committee says the discussions must proffer workable solutions to the issues relating to the constitutional provision and arrive at a national consensus on arrangements that would serve the best interest of the country. 

Speaking at the opening of a conference on the emoluments and privileges of Article 71 Office Holders in Accra on Tuesday, Dr Janet Ampadu Fofie, Chairperson, Presidential Committee on Emoluments, said the debate must provide solutions to the implementation of previous recommendations. 

She said the Committee was open to ideas on how to structure the emoluments of Article 71 Office Holders in the wake of the current economic challenges and other issues. 

Dr Fofie said the term “ex-gratia”, which had become prominent in public discourse on the benefits of Article 71 Office Holders was not captured anywhere as a constitutional provision.  

“The question really is not the recommendations. The challenge is what have we done about it? We are hoping that we will begin to not just talk about the problems but focus on the solutions. 

“If for instance we consider that the committee should do its work at the beginning of the term of the President, how do we do that, who does it, how do they do it and exactly what has to be changed?” Dr Fofie asked. 

Article 71 Office Holders include the President, Vice-President, Ministers of State, Deputy Ministers, Speaker of Parliament, his Deputies, Members of Parliament, Justices of the Superior Courts of Judicature, Members of the Council of State, and Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons of the Electoral Commission (EC); Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Auditor-General and the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund.  

Others are the chairmen, vice-chairmen and members of the National Council for Higher Education, the National Media Commission (NMC), the Public Services Commission and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE). 

Article 71 (1) of the Constitution requires the President to set up a committee to determine the salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities and privileges available to his office, the Vice-President, the Speaker and Members of Parliament and a group of nine officeholders spelt out in that Article. 

The recommendations of the five-member committee are subject to the approval of the President and Parliament. 

At the inauguration of the current Emoluments Committee on August 30, 2023, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo tasked the committee to review the work of previous committees and take critical look at public concerns that have arisen from the implementation of Article 71 provision. 

Tuesday’s conference, which was in response to the President’s directive, assembled stakeholders from the academia, public sector, professional groups, and civil society organisations to share their views on the subject matter. 

During an open forum that heralded a closed-door discussion, some stakeholders raised issue with the timing of the work of the committee, saying it would be prudent for the President to constitute the committee at the beginning of his tenure and not at the end. 

Some former Members of Parliament and District Chief Executives decried some salary areas due them which they said had not been paid to them for up to three decades. 

Some participants also expressed concern over the non-implementation of recommendations by previous presidential emoluments committees.  

Dr Fofie said the Committee was hopeful to complete its work by June or July this year for consideration by the President.  

Nana Agyekum Dwamena, former Head of Service, Office of the Head of the Civil Service, said the implementation of past recommendations were essential to the work of the committee and appealed to all stakeholders to make substantial input. 

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