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General News of Monday, 30 March 2020


Don’t pay ex gratia for 10 years, channel cash into ‘COVID-19 Fund’ – Prof. Azar to government

Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare

Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare, popularly known as Kwaku Azar, is proposing to government to halt the payment of all ex gratia for ten years and rather channel the money into the COVID-19 Fund to help fight the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The US-based Ghanaian Accounting Professor is of the view that the outbreak has rendered many, especially the vulnerable helpless, hence, the need to make sacrifices to support the needy.

“Now that the COVID has reminded us of the extent to which we are tied in a single garment of destiny, we should never go back to business as usual. That means we must sunset the era of fancy projects and SUVs while majority of the people have no WET or shelter and study under trees,” his Facebook post reads.

“In that spirit, I propose that there should be no ex gratia payments for the next 10 years. The resulting savings should be channeled into the COVID-19 Fund.”

In his 4th televised addressed to the nation on measures taken to fight the virus, President Akufo-Addo announced the establishment of a COVID-19 Fund “to be managed by an independent board of trustees, and chaired by former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, to receive contributions and donations from the public to assist in the welfare of the needy and the vulnerable.”

The president, setting an example, disclosed he had directed the Controller and Accountant General to pay his [Akufo-Addo’s] next three months’ salary, i.e. April, May and June, into this Fund.

Ghana has so far recorded 152 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 5 deaths and 2 recoveries. 10 of the cases were Guinean residents who travelled through Burkina Faso and Togo to Ghana and were picked following intelligence report.

Ex gratia

In 2012, total of GH¢47 million was paid by the government as ex gratia to the 230 Members of Parliament (MPs) who served in the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

Out of the amount, the MPs who retained their membership of the House after the December 7, 2012 elections received GH¢276,000 each, while those who lost their seats were paid GH¢311,000 each.

The payment was based on the recommendations of the Professor Ewura Ama Addy Committee which had been set up by the late President Mills.

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