Although the recommendation by the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Emolument Committee for the inclusion of spouses of the President and Vice President in the salary structure of Article 71 officeholders has largely been criticized by various groups and individuals, the People National Congress (PNC) has justified the move.
The PNC finds “the act of opposing the scheme as repulsive and an attempt to derail the progress of women in the country.”
The party posited that there is nothing wrong with the proposal since both the first and second ladies have over the years been receiving allowances from the state under the 4th Republic.
“In any case, the first and second ladies have been taken care of by the state in the form of allowance provisions since the inception of the 4th Republic. What would it take if we are to regularize the allowances now?,” the PNC asked in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Janet Asana Nabila.
The five-member Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu emolument committee was set up in June 2019 by President Nana Akufo-Addo, to make recommendations on the salaries and other gratuities of Article 71 officeholders.
Some Ghanaians are unhappy with the government after it emerged that the wife of the President and his Vice, are to receive salaries just like cabinet ministers.
Some directly chastised the Akufo-Addo government for the development, but Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has explained that the payment of the said allowances is not a new phenomenon and that it was instituted under the Kufuor administration, but was only being formalized by the current government.
The PNC accused legislators and other groups who had opposed the recommendation of double standards, saying they had been silent on some sections of the constitution that impede gender parity but had intensely criticized this recommendation after it came to the public domain.
“It is disheartening to see some civil society organizations, NGOs, Political Parties and individuals kicking against the 1st and 2nd ladies being under salary and citing a section of the constitution to buttress their point when they have contributed in disregarding sections that advocate for gender equality.”
“For instance, article 35(6b) of the directive principles of state policy has stated that state institutions should be mindful of the gender factor when recruiting, this provision has been flouted on uncountable occasions, yet the opponents of this scheme have never gotten angry over the flout of this constitutional directive only for them to find their voices when something good is going to benefit women.”
Already, two National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) have sued the Attorney General over Parliament’s approval of the salaries for the spouses of the President and the Vice President.
The MPs, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor of South Dayi, and Dr Clement Apaak of Builsa South, are seeking a total of eight reliefs from the Supreme Court.
Some of their reliefs include a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee had no jurisdiction, mandate, or authority to make any recommendations in respect of salaries, allowances payable, facilities and privileges of persons other than persons specified under Article 71 of 1992 Constitution.
They are also asking for a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. The Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee, appointed by the President under Article 71(1), only had jurisdiction to make recommendations in respect of salaries, allowances payable, facilities, and privileges of Article 71 office holders under the 1992 Constitution.
Abronye DC sues
The Bono Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Baffoe Abronye, popularly known as Abronye DC, has also filed a similar suit at the Supreme Court.
In the application filed at the Supreme Court on Thursday, July 8, 2021, and sighted by Citi News, Abronye DC prayed the apex court to rule that the Presidential Spouse Emoluments is null and void.