Ghanaians have reacted with anger, especially on social media, after learning that the vice president and president’s spouse will receive increased stipends.
For many, these allowances will cause further hardship to the already overburdened taxpayers. In their opinion, the spouses of politicians should not be paid by the state.
However, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, refutes the reports, saying they are a bit misleading.
In his view, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo did not approve the allowance payments, instead, it was handled by an emoluments committee with Parliament’s approval.
He noted that this phenomenon had been there since President John Agyekum Kuffour’s presidency.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained that an arrangement that was introduced by former President John Agyekum Kufuor during the start of his Presidency in 2000 had seen spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents, since then, enjoy allowances, though there was no formal documentation to support that.
“President Kufuor, in his wisdom, instituted this because of the bad situations of some spouses of some former Heads of States then. Presidents Mills and Mahama even increased the rates of these benefits during their time.
“The truth of the matter is that all surviving spouses of Heads of State, current and former, have always received salaries. Lordina Mahama, Naadu Mills, Matilda Amissah-Arthur, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Faustina Acheampong, Fulera Liman etc have all been receiving salaries since President Kufuor’s time.
“What has happened now is that the arrangement has been made formal but that was done legally based on the recommendation by the Emoluments Committee,” the Information Minister emphasised.
He said there had been an increment in allowances for the spouses of the President and the Vice-President, Mr Oppong Nkrumah emphasised that that was an approval given by the Seventh Parliament.
“The President does approve salaries and benefits for the Executive. Under Article 71, the First Lady and Second Lady are not office holders so no one can determine their benefits under that article.
“However, a committee only recommended that an arrangement for the spouses be made formal and that received approval from Parliament,” he indicated.