The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has in a press release disclosed that they cannot support the payment of salaries to the spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents even if the Ntiamoa-Baidu’s Committee recommended the payment of such salaries.

According to the Union, the country appreciates the spouses of President Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for doing their best in contributing to social and economic development however, the Constitution of Ghana nor the laws of the land assigned them any official duties and responsibilities.

“The ongoing passionate debate indicates clearly that this issue is very important to Ghanaians.”

“Ghanaians appreciate what the first and second ladies are doing to support women’s rights, child rights, and other noble initiatives towards social and economic development of our country. But neither the Constitution of Ghana nor the laws of land assign them any official duties and responsibilities.

“The spouses of presidents and vice presidents have not been officially assigned any such duties and responsibilities. Therefore, they are not qualified to receive salaries from the public purse,” they stressed.

It is simply not right they said, for anyone who has not been officially assigned duties and responsibilities in the public service to receive monthly salaries.

“The spouses of presidents and vice presidents are not specified under Article 71 of the Constitution of Ghana. The question is: why should they receive salaries pegged to emoluments and privileges for officeholders specified under Article 71?

“You cannot regularize the payment of allowances which has no legal basis,” the statement added.

The Union further urged President Akufo-Addo to use all the powers accorded him by the Constitution of Ghana to stop the payment of the salaries to his wife and the wife of the Vice President immediately until they are officially assigned duties and responsibilities.

“Until then, TUC says Mr Akufo-Addo must ensure that all such payments made to his wife and the wife of Vice President be refunded until “the time comes for spouses of presidents and vice presidents to be assigned official duties and responsibilities that will qualify them to receive salaries from taxpayers”

In the last few days, public discussion on whether or not spouses of the President and Vice President should be paid salaries has intensified.

This was after the government indicated that Parliament has approved the report of the Emoluments Committee.

Already, two suits have been filed seeking to halt the payments.

Joy Research’s digging into the work of the Emoluments Committee found that it actually recommended that the existing module of paying the spouses without a legal basis should be regularised. This has since not been done.

Per the recommended emoluments, the spouse of the President is to be entitled to the payment of a salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister-MP while in office.

After leaving office, they will be entitled to a salary equivalent to 80 per cent of the salary of a Minister of State-MP if the spouse served one full term as President or 100 per cent of the salary of a Minister of State-MP if the spouse served two or more full terms as President.

For the spouse of the Vice President, they will be entitled to payment of salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister non-MP when in office.

After leaving office, the spouse of the Vice President will be entitled to a salary equivalent to 80 per cent of the salary of a Minister of State non-MP if the spouse served one full term as the Vice President or 100 per cent of the salary of a Minister of State non-MP if the spouse served two or more full terms as Vice President.

The emoluments were part of recommendations by the five-member Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu set up in June 2019 by President Nana Akufo-Addo to make recommendations on the salaries and other gratuities of Article 71 officeholders.