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General News of Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Source: Kasapa FM

MPs fight Mahama over ex-gratia

With three weeks to the dissolution of the Sixth Parliament, the legislators have started complaining over delays by President John Dramani Mahama in determining the conditions of service and end of service benefit of Article 71 holders of which they are part of.

They are not sure when their emoluments will be determined by the government having worked for close to four years now and with the December 7 general polls approaching.

NPP MP for Old Tafo, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei who raised the matter on the floor during the presentation of the Business Statement of the week by the Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin, told the House that he finds it very difficult to believe why the government has delayed in determining the emoluments of Article 71 holders.

“Mr. Speaker, the House is demanding from us to work hard. As we speak and you are aware we don’t even know our conditions of service. So, I am asking; when is leadership going to brief us on the issue relating to Article 71 so that we will be invigorated to work because this is almost four years? Before we left, nothing was said and we’ve just come back and we are supposed to be invigorated under these conditions? I don’t believe so. So, please leadership should do well to appraise us with this issue because Members from both sides are speaking about it,” he noted.

MP for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah who is also incensed about the issue said the delay is making it very difficult for the House to fulfill its constitutional obligation under Article 71(2) of the Constitution of the land.

“Mr. Speaker, these things are not about our salaries and conditions of service. It is about fulfilling our constitutional obligation under Article 71(2). My question is on the recommendation of the committee referred to you in this Article. As we speak, we have three weeks and the committee has not submitted the report to us to enable us discharge our constitutional obligation. I will just plead with the Hon. Majority Leader to ensure that the committee fulfills its obligation under Article 71(2) so that before Parliament will dissolve, we had fulfilled this important obligation,” he said.

Article 71(1) of the Constitution states that “The salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities, and privileges available, to –

the Speaker and Deputy Speakers and members of Parliament; the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature; 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; the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and the other members of – National Council for Higher Education howsoever described; the Public Services Commission; the National Media Commission; the Lands Commission; and 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.”

Article 71(2) also states that “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 recommendation of the committee referred to in clause (1) of this article.”

Majority Leader, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin responding to the concerns of the Members promised to consult the legal authority behind the determination of the emoluments to make sure that the report of the committee is brought to the House earlier than what was experienced in 2008.

“In 2008, the report was brought the last day when Parliament was to rise but we don’t want to experience that again and so I will try and follow up on the issue so that it comes earlier, “he noted.

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