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General News Thu, 15 Jul 2021

I swear by the heavens, parliament never approved allowance for 1st and 2nd Ladies - Ablakwa

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has emphatically stated that Parliament neither discussed nor approved salaries and allowances for Presidential Spouses as being bandied about.

According to him, members of parliament were not even provided with a copy of the Prof. Ntiamoah Baidu committee's report to peruse.

Speaking on Okay Fm's "Ade Akye Abia" programme, the NDC MP stressed that the committee's report did not even make it to the floor of parliament, let alone have members debate on it and approve the recommendations thereof.

"The Heavens can bear me witness I was a member of the seventh parliament and I did not see any committee's report so I don't even know where this claim of parliamentary approval is coming from because our standing orders is clear. Before the House approves something, members of parliament must have a copy and I can tell you authoritatively that no member of the house has a copy of the committee's report.

"I challenge anybody who claims otherwise to come out to dispute what i'm saying. Parliament is a house of records and that is why we should not be joking with certain things," he fumed.

The former deputy Education Minister in the erstwhile John Mahama regime, noted that the country must begin to act seriously and be truthful about some of these things.

Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee

The Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee, in a report dated 18th of June 2020, submitted its recommendations to President Akufo-Addo in fulfilment of the Article 71 provision of the 1992 Constitution which enjoins every sitting President, before the end of his four-year mandate, to set up a Committee to make recommendations on the emoluments for Article 71 officeholders.

As part of the five (5) member committee’s report, they recommended the payment of a salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister who is a Member of Parliament (MP) to the First Lady while her husband is in office and the payment of a salary equivalent to 80% of the salary of a Minister of State who is a Member of Parliament (MP) if the spouse served one full term as President or 100% of the salary of a Minister of State who is a Member of Parliament (MP) if the spouse served two or more full terms as President.

Emoluments Backlash

When news of the report went viral last week, it came under intense criticisms from sections of the Ghanaian public, particularly from the opposition National Democratic Congress, who have kicked against the payment of salaries to the First and Second Ladies.

Due to the public backlash, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Second Lady Samira Bawumia have refunded their allowances since 2017.
Source: peacefmonline.com
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