Stakeholders Call for Article 71 Ex Gratia to be Scrapped

Article 71

Participants in a recent stakeholders conference on the Emoluments and Privileges of Article 71 Office Holders have voiced their concerns over what they perceive as an unfair and unjust “class system” created by the existing framework. The conference, held in Accra, brought together representatives from various state and non-state institutions, including the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), among others.

One of the key issues raised during the conference was the need to address the disparities and inequalities inherent in the current system, particularly regarding ex gratia payments to Article 71 office holders. Participants argued that the concept of ex gratia has perpetuated a class divide, with certain office holders receiving significantly higher benefits compared to others.

Scrap Ex Gratia for Article 71 Holders

As a solution, stakeholders proposed the scrapping of ex gratia payments altogether, suggesting instead a comprehensive review of the timing for the determination of emoluments for Article 71 office holders. Specifically, they recommended shifting the timing from the last year of the President’s tenure to the first, in order to ensure a more equitable and transparent process.

The conference, organized by the Presidential Committee on Emoluments, underscored the importance of engaging all relevant stakeholders in discussions about emoluments, benefits, and privileges for Article 71 office holders. Dr. Janet Ampadu-Fofie, Chairperson of the committee, emphasized the collective responsibility of all stakeholders in addressing these concerns within the framework of the constitution and the country’s socio-economic conditions.

The committee, established by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in August 2023, is tasked with presenting its report to the Presidency by the end of July this year. However, participants stressed the need for careful consideration of any proposed changes to Article 71, noting that it is an entrenched provision in the 1992 Constitution with strict rules regarding its removal or amendment.

Constitutional Requirements

Professor Isaac Osei-Akoto, a member of the committee, highlighted the constitutional requirements governing discussions on Article 71 office holders, including the possibility of revising the provision through a national referendum if deemed necessary.

Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution outlines the appointment of heads of state institutions and other office holders, as well as the determination of their salaries, allowances, and privileges. The expenditure on such office holders is charged on the Consolidated Fund and must be determined by the President based on the recommendations of a committee appointed for this purpose.

The call for the scrapping of ex gratia payments and the review of emoluments timing reflects growing concerns over fairness and transparency in the remuneration of Article 71 office holders, signaling a potential shift towards greater accountability and equity in Ghana’s governance system.

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