Today in History: Official: Wives of president, vice president to receive salaries
Exactly a year ago today, the country was at a near boiling point when news broke that it had become official that the spouses of the president and his vice would begin taking salaries from the State.
This was contained in the recommendations by an emolument committee but the news was received with anger by many Ghanaians.
It was announced by the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah.
The spouses of the president and vice president will from now onwards officially enjoy salaries from the government of Ghana.
This was after the government adopted a recommendation by an emolument committee which was approved by the seventh parliament.
The new arrangement will see the spouses of the first and second gentlemen officially being paid salaries which is a departure from the previous practice of paying them allowances.
Earlier reports had suggested President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had unilaterally decided to pay his wife Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the wife of his vice, Samira Bawumia, salaries but Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has clarified that the approval was done by the previous parliament.
“The President does approve salaries and benefits for the Executive. Under Article 71, the First Lady and Second Lady are not office holders so no one can determine their benefits under that article.
“However, a committee only recommended that an arrangement for the spouses be made formal and that received approval from Parliament,” he indicated. Oppong Nkrumah referenced some practices in the past where the allowances for the spouses of first and second ladies were increased by the executive arm of government.
“President Kufuor, in his wisdom, instituted this because of the bad situations of some spouses of some former Heads of States then. Presidents Mills and Mahama even increased the rates of these benefits during their time.
“The truth of the matter is that all surviving spouses of Heads of State, current and former, have always received salaries. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Faustina Acheampong, Fulera Liman etc have all been receiving salaries since President Kufuor’s time.
“What has happened now is that the arrangement has been made formal but that was done legally based on the recommendation by the Emoluments Committee,” the Information Minister emphasized.
Oppong-Nkrumah disclosed further that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2019 established a committee chaired by Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu to make proposals on allowances paid to wives of the President and his vice.
The other members of the committee included Majority Leader and former Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Abraham Ossei Aidooh, the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Dr Edward Kwapong, the current Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, and a former Managing Director, Donewell Life Insurance Co. Ltd, Mrs Stella Segbawu,
The Information Minister stressed that the committee recommended that the wives be paid and that was approved by the seventh parliament.
“That recommendation was then forwarded to the Seventh Parliament which then gave the approval and it is now to be implemented. It is, therefore, not true as it is being circulated that the President has approved of emoluments to the First Lady and Second Lady,” he added.