Founder and President of IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Franklin Cudjoe.

Founding President of IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Franklin Cudjoe has described the payment of ex-gratia to Members of Parliament (MPs) as plunder.

Speaking on Joy SMS on Thursday, June 16, he told host, Winston Amoah that the state cannot continue to make such payments to the MPs.

Payment of ex-gratia to MPs plunder even if it’s legal – Franklin Cudjoe
Franklin Cudjoe

According to him, MPs earn more money than ordinary Ghanaians as such, ex-gratia payment is not justified.

“The payment of ex-gratia to MPs is a plunder however you look at it, even if it is legal, and I worry because when the argument is made about the fact that this is justified then I ask myself that if an MP at the last count is receiving GH¢29,000 as gross salary a month that is for the last Parliament and that comes close to GH¢350,000 a year if you then juxtapose that against the per capita income of the country of GH¢14,000 that is almost 25 times the capital income of every Ghanaian.”

Also, speaking on the same show, Professor Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua of the University of Ghana School of Law called for the scrapping of ex-gratia.

He insisted that the political elite are taking advantage of the same “benefit to milk the state.”

“No, it cannot be justified, and I think that Parliament should sit up and say that if you are saying that you spend too much due to campaigning and so on, be circumspect in your campaigning because that is where corruption starts.”

“Cut your coat according to your size if you know you are not expecting ex-gratia, you’ll know how to organize your political campaign.”

Prof. Appiagyei-Atua also rejected the justification by the Speaker of Parliament for the payment.

“If you are talking about the fact that ex-gratia is made available to everyone whether you win elections or lose and don’t come back, you are entitled to that, then how can you call that a retiring benefit?’

Background

The subject of ex-gratia recently resurfaced following the former Council of State member, Togbe Afede’s decision to reject over 300 thousand Cedis paid to him after serving on the National Council of State between 2017 and 2020.

Subsequently, social media users showered accolades on the Paramount Chief for rejecting the amount paid him as ex-gratia.

The netizens praised him for protecting the public purse and thinking about the growth and development of the country even though, some people didn’t agree with him.

However, the Rt. Honourable Speaker of Parliament at a public lecture at the University for Professional Studies, Accra, on Wednesday, June 15, justified the payment of ex-gratia to MPs.

He contended that the money is very important for the sustenance of the MPs after serving the country.

Payment of ex-gratia to MPs plunder even if it’s legal – Franklin Cudjoe
The Speaker says Parliament is currently running on arrears because the Finance Ministry does not release funds for operations.

“We are having these problems because there is some perception that ex-gratia is some huge money…You know that as MPs you don’t benefit from that ex-gratia, you don’t, because the money you spent to be elected to Parliament is thrice or four times what they give you as ex-gratia. No MP leaves Parliament better than the MP enters Parliament.

“Once an MP is elected, he must win the next election, and so they sacrifice everything to satisfy the voters in the constituency so that they could win again. So at the end of the day, when they lose the election, they have lost everything, they have invested everything in the election, and they now have nothing,” he noted.