By Maxwell Nkansah
Ghana’s Trade Union Congress (TUC) has weighed into the conversation of the recommendation by the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu committee for spouses of presidents and vice presidents to be given monthly salaries.
The recommendation came after the committee was tasked in 2019 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to review emoluments of Article 71 office holders.
It has since submitted its report, which has been consequently approved for implementation by Parliament.
But since the disclosure of this was made by Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in an interview, many, particularly the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), have expressed disgust about the move.
The party’s representatives in Parliament say they are unaware of the purported approval in the last Parliament.
Led by South Dayi Member of Parliament (MP) Rockson Nelson Etse Dafeamekpor, they have filed a writ at the Supreme Court to seek interpretation of the 1992 Constitution on payments of Article 71 office holders.
On Sunday, July 11, the TUC issued a statement to also disagree with the recommendation by the committee on the spouses of presidents and vice presidents.
According to Dr Yaw Baah, Ghanaians appreciate what the first and second ladies are doing to support women’s rights, children’s rights, and other noble initiatives towards social and economic development of our country. But neither the Constitution of Ghana nor the laws of the land assign them any official duties and responsibilities.
He added that the TUC “cannot support the payment of salaries to the spouses of presidents and vice presidents, even if the Committee recommended the payment of such salaries”. In the statement it said that it is simply not right for anyone who has not been officially assigned duties and responsibilities in the public service to receive monthly salaries.
The Committee sought to rationalize or regularize allowances that were being paid already, hence its recommendation to convert such allowances into salaries. The TUC also observed that the committee did not recommend the back payment of the salaries as being speculated. It said per the report payment has since been made.
Salary arrears dated back to January 2017 have since been paid to the wives of President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Bawumia, in accordance with the Committee’s recommendation which was approved by NDC and NPP Members of Parliament.