President Akufo-Addo has called on a newly inaugurated emoluments committee to focus on recent concerns raised by a section of the Ghanaian populace on whether or not Article 71 office holders are deserving of monies and benefits paid to them as stipulated by the 1992 constitution of the Republic.
The five-member constitutionally sanctioned committee according to the President, ought to do a critical review of the work of previous emolument committees constituted by previous presidents and proffer recommendations as to how these concerns can be addressed.
Addressing members of the committee at the Jubilee House today, Wednesday, 30 August 2023, after swearing them into office, President Akufo-Addo said their task ahead of them is certainly going to be difficult, but he is confidence that they will deliver on their mandate within the statutory timelines provided by the law from where the committee derives its mandate.
“The terms of reference of the committee are two-fold, one, to make recommendations in respect of emoluments and other privileges for Article 71 office holders as specified under the constitution and two, to examine any other relevant matter that the committee deems appropriate to its work.
“I must indicate that in recent times, a lot of public discourse surrounding the renumeration of public officers has centered primary on those of Article 71 office holders and whether or not withstanding the constitutional imperatives, we are deserving of what is been paid to us in view of the challenges currently confronting out national economy” President Akufo-Addo said.
“It might well be that your work should also focus on these concerns and make recommendations on how they should be addressed. The task ahead of you is a challenging one and it is my expectation and hope that you will be up to it and deliver your report expeditiously” he added.
Previous committees / other jurisdictions
President Akufo-Addo in his statement, noted that the committee apart from reviewing the work of their predecessors, may also want to take a look at best practices that exist in other jurisdictions as far as the emolument of some specific officer holders are concerned and make recommendations for the adoption some best practices from these jurisdictions.
“It appears that every president is bound to establish such a committee. I think it may be worth our while to examine the practice of other jurisdictions, for example, the American one, where the principles are established and automatically adjusted according to certain objective criteria” Akufo-Addo said.
“This may well be an issue for further constitutional debate and decision. Meanwhile, it is important to bring to the table, the work of previous committees namely, those lead by Miranda Greenstreet, Mary Chinery-Hesse, Ishmael Yamson, Marian Ewurama Addy, Francisca Adu Boadoh, and Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu in the conduct of your work to be able to establish some consistencies.
“You have my full support to undertake this assignment and I assure you of government’s assistance needed throughout the period of your work” he further remarked.
Chairperson of the committee, Dr. Janet Fofie, in her response, said the new committee will review all the previous work done by their predecessors in order to produce a comprehensive and appropriate report to the president for onward decision making and implementation.
“The committee promises to examine all previous emoluments committee reports and any other documents related to the subject. As a retired Article 71 officer holder myself, I am keenly aware of the significance of this committee.
“I am also aware of the sometimes, very heated debate in our national conversations over the years on this matter. It is my hope that the committee will get valuable insights, views, inputs and support from all stakeholders to enable us deliver a comprehensive and timely report to his excellency for consideration and approval” Dr Janet Fofie said.
Apart from the chairperson of the committee, Dr Janet Fofie, the other four members of the committee are Professor Gyan Baffour, former minister for planning, and Madam Gloria Ofori Buodu, a lawyer and women’s rights activist.
The rest are Dr. Osei-Akoto, distinguished academic at the prestigious Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) University of Ghana and Mr Ben Arthur, labour administration, employment service and labour relations specialist and head of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC).
Article 71 of the 1992 constitution is entitled “Determination of Certain Emoluments” and it states as follows; (1) The salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities and privileges available, to: (a) the Speaker and Deputy Speakers and members of Parliament;
(b) the Chief Justice and the other Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature; (c) the Auditor-General, the Chairman and Deputy Chairmen of the Electoral Commission, the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and his Deputies and the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator;
(d) the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and the other members of— (i) a National Council for Higher Education howsoever described; (ii) the Public Services Commission; (iii) the National Media Commission; (iv) the Lands Commission; and (v) the National Commission for Civic Education;
Being expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund, shall be determined by the President on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State.
(2) The salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities available, to the President, the Vice-President, the chairman and the other members of the Council of State; Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers, being expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund, shall be determined by Parliament on the recommendations of the committee referred to in clause (1) of this article.
(3) For the purposes of this article, and except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, “salaries” includes allowances, facilities and privileges and retiring benefits or awards.