NDC's National Youth Organiser, George Opare Addo

The Youth Wing of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has disclosed its intention to challenge the decision to pay the First and Second Ladies emoluments as Cabinet Ministers from 2017 at the Supreme Court.

The group in a press statement dated July 7, noted that, “it has become aware of a news item attributed to Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, that Parliament has approved recommendations of the Prof Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu-led Committee on emoluments for article 71 officeholders, for which reason spouses of President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia will receive same monthly salaries as Cabinet Ministers.”

Article 71 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution states that 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.

Article 71 named public office holders who qualify as; the President, the Vice-President, the chairman and the other members of the Council of State; Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.

Aside from describing the move as surprising, the youth wing noted that the attempt to institutionalise the payment of salaries to Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs Samira Bawumia is an affront on the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

In line with this, NDC National Youth Organiser, George Opare Addo noted that “the Youth Wing will in the coming days invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to declare this cancerous and insensitive act unconstitutional.”

NDC Youth Wing to challenge approval of salaries for First and Second Ladies

For the NDC Youth Wing, article 71 of the Constitution is precise in its provision about the list of public officials mandated by law to draw their salaries from the Consolidated Fund.

“The Constitution never clothed the Emolument Committee any power to introduce any category of persons to benefit from the Consolidated fund without due regard to article 108,” they added.

The House in January this year approved the Prof. Baidu Ntiamoah Committee’s report recommending emoluments for the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature.

Nonetheless, the party is of the view that the Prof Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu-led Committee lacks the legal mandate to make recommendations for payment of salaries to the First and Second Ladies.

According to the NDC National Youth Organiser, President Akufo-Addo cannot urge citizens to bear the cost of recovering the economy due to the adverse effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the country, while using the backdoor to be the Chief architect of a decision that would see Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs Samira Bawumia receive pay.

“For want of better expression, the decision to further drain the consolidated fund with needless expenditure is a pet project of President Akufo-Addo.

“The bully approval process by the NPP majority in the last Parliament and subsequent acquiescence of President Akufo-Addo of the recommendation is an unjustifiable assault on the Constitution which must not go unchallenged,” he added.

Vice-Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Patrick Yaw Boamah, has however defended the decision for both the First and Second Lady to receive emoluments starting from 2017.

“They all contribute their quota to the development of this country. Can you imagine having a wife, as President, not supporting you to help achieve a certain aspect of the nation? Sometimes, we always look at the monetary aspect and not looking at the contribution that they bring to the table. Mrs Akufo-Addo is doing a lot at Korle-Bu. Everybody is happy about it. Mrs Bawumia is also doing something very good around the country.

“It is not a big deal. I am looking at it from what they bring in return to the country. The value they bring in return to the country, so we shouldn’t look at the small perks that they get,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the NDC youth wing has revealed the movement, #NoSalaryUprising will be the focus of all dialogue until the “obnoxious” decision is backtracked.