Retirement Package For Article 71 Office Holders: Good Or Bad?: The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana (1992) establishes a particular class of public officers in Article 70 and outlines their terms and conditions of office in Article 71 officeholders, which has consistently sparked public debate.

Article 71 of the 1992 constitution, titled “Determination of Certain Emoluments,” states the following:

The salaries, allowances, facilities, and privileges for:

(a) the Speaker, Deputy Speakers, and Members of Parliament;

(b) the Chief Justice, other Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature;

(c) the Auditor-General, the Chairman, Deputy Chairmen of the Electoral Commission, the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and Deputies, and the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator;

(d) the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and other members of:

(i) a National Council for Higher Education;

(ii) the Public Services Commission;

(iii) the National Media Commission;

(iv) the Lands Commission;

(v) the National Commission for Civic Education;

being expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund shall be determined by the President upon 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.

The salaries, allowances, and facilities for the President, Vice-President, chairman, and 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 upon the recommendations of the committee referred to in clause (1) of this article.

Nana Addo calls for review of Article 71

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in August last year, called for a review of the provisions (benefits) of Article 71 office holders by the newly constituted Emoluments Committee.

He believed it would be prudent for the committee to critically review the work of previous Emolument Committees appointed by past Presidents and offer recommendations to address concerns.

Mahama set up a committee on Article 71

In November 2015, former President John Mahama performed the Constitutional ritual of constituting a committee to review the emoluments of Article 71 class of public sector workers.

The Committee had five members and was chaired by Prof. Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh.

The Committee presented its report in September 2016. Given that the elections were just around the corner and politicians including the President, were crisscrossing the country canvassing for votes, the report did not receive much attention.

He called for closer collaboration between labor and government to work and push for reforms to abolish ex-gratia for Article 71 officeholders.

He explained that abolishment would pave the way for a more efficient independent commission that would be fair to all workers notwithstanding their categories.

He said the state cannot continue to pay the current salaries for Article 71 officeholders due to the pressure on the public purse.

MPs raise concerns over conditions of service

However, Members of Parliament (MPs) have recently expressed concerns regarding their compensation and working conditions, particularly in relation to Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.

Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin proposed the formation of an ad hoc committee to reassess the conditions of service for both current and former MPs.

However, this request was denied by the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Asiamah Amoako, who clarified that the matter had already been delegated to the House Committee for consideration.

In the preceding week, members of both the Majority and Minority sides in Parliament raised concerns over the absence of comprehensive insurance schemes for MPs post-tenure.

They emphasized the need for health coverage beyond ex-gratia payments, especially considering the health challenges many MPs face after prolonged periods of intense work pressure.

For the purposes of this article, and unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, “salaries” include allowances, facilities, and privileges, as well as retiring benefits or awards.

Ghanaians want to know if Article 71 officeholders truly deserve ex-gratia after serving their term. Therefore, the question arises: Is the payment of ex-gratia good or bad?

Source: Blackgh.com

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