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General News of Saturday, 10 July 2021

Source: m.peacefmonline.com

Okoe-Boye justifies 'formalized' payments to First and Second Ladies

Bernard Okoe-Boye, former Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku play videoBernard Okoe-Boye, former Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku

Former Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye has expressed disgust over the dissenting views on the payment of salaries to First and Second Ladies in the country.

Parliament has officially approved that wives of the President and Vice President should be paid for their services to the country.

However, before the approval of this arrangement, the President and Vice President's spouses have already been receiving allowances.

This arrangement was instituted by the erstwhile Kufour government to ensure that the First and Second Ladies are well catered for when their husbands are in government and out of power.

Opposition

But the Parliamentary approval has been widely met with opposition from some members of the Minority in Parliament and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) as well as the general public.

NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram constituency, Sam Nartey George has indicated he will be heading to court to challenge this government's decision.

"I am a Member of Parliament, I personally do not subscribe to that, whether it is an NDC President or an NPP President, your wife is not a Public Officer, your wife is your wife.

"Are we also going to say that the Spouse of the Chief Justice, the spouse of the Speaker must also be paid? Where do we draw the line. Already they get allowances, they get protection from the state at the expense of the taxpayer and I don't have a problem with that..." he submitted.

Already, NPP Bono Regional Chairman, Abronye DC has dragged the Attorney General to the Supreme Court over the issue.

He is asking the Supreme Court for a “declaration that, the approval by Parliament to pay salaries to the First and Second Ladies is inconsistent with ARTICLE 71 CLAUSES 1 AND 2 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and consequently be declared null, void and unenforceable.’’

And also wants the court to order that, “per Articles 108 and 178 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; parliament cannot, on its own accord, initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments; which would necessarily be paid from public funds; without a bill to that effect emanating from and introduced by the Government and duly passed into law’.’

Dr. Okoe-Boye Replies Opposition

Addressing the issue on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo' programme, Dr. Okoe Boye wondered why this matter should be a topic for discussion, stating there's nothing new about the government's decision to pay the First and Second Ladies.

He indicated that First Ladies of the Republic from previous governments till date have already been receiving allowances or what some call 'salary' but, his problem, is that it has always been done in secrecy.

He noted that what Parliament has now done is to formalize the payment ensuring the First and Second Ladies' receipt of their allowances is no longer passed "under the table," in which case no one knows how much they receive from the State.

To him, making it open is the best way.

He, therefore, lambasted the opponents claiming they only seek to score political points.

"Is this how you want to build your country? . . . How can you, for 28 years, be giving money to spouses or First Ladies . . . by passing it under the table?" he queried.

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