Empower FWSC to fix salaries of article 71 office holders – stakeholders

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Kumasi, Apr.14, GNA – The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), needs to be empowered with additional responsibilities to act in tandem with a proposed permanent and independent Presidential Commission on Emoluments (PCE), to determine the emoluments and gratuities and other benefits of all article 71 office holders under different governments.

This and others views formed a stakeholders’ consensus during a day’s Zonal consultative meeting held in Kumasi on Wednesday by the Presidential Committee on Emoluments (PCE) for over 50 stakeholders drawn from the Ashanti, Eastern and the Brong-Ahafo Regions, to solicit their inputs into an on-going broad cross-sectional consultations on the issue.

The participants contended that this would help to end what they described as the economic nuances and inequalities /disparities in the remunerations and benefits of past and present Presidents and such officers working in the executive, judiciary and legislature under diverse political regimes.

“There urgently need to be a change in the ad hoc nature of the current arrangement under which per the 1992 constitution different governments were mandated to appoint different committees – a situation which only contributed to possible unfair dichotomies in these benefits” they advocated.

 The stakeholders drawn from the public and private sectors, civil society organizations and religious bodies aimed at brainstorming to build consensus and arrive at very plausible ways of attending to the issues related to the emoluments of the President and his Vice, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Speaker of Parliament and Members of Parliament, Chief Justice, other superior judges and heads of independent state agencies, collectively known as Article 71 office holders.

They however, recommended the state’s ability to pay as an important factor to be considered so as not to deplete the national coffers.

The middle belt zonal event created a platform for discussants to look into other pertinent issues ranging from whether or not the ex-gratia of Members of Parliament (MPs) should be just one-term or as often as one gets to nod to go to parliament and as to whether or not spouses of sitting Presidents be given constitutional rights.

      Chaired by Professor Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh, head of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), the five –member committee appointed by President John Dramani Mahama, has Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, the Presidential Advisor with Dr. William Baah Boateng, Mrs Norkor Duah and Mrs Lydia Bawa, as other members.

     Prof. Edu-Buandoh, noted that the move takes the democratic dispensation of the country one step further and said apart from the middle zone meeting, a similar zonal meeting has been held for the northern sector in Tamale and that a final one would be held for the coastal belt.

     She stressed the need for stakeholders to adhere to decorum in expressing their views and pledged that all the opinions so far expressed would be factored into the final recommendations of the PCE.

      Mr. Alexander Ackon, the Ashanti Regional Minister lauded the broad consultations and said it was appropriate for the emoluments, salaries and gratuities for that group to be subject to public scrutiny attention because of the general perception that all such remunerations came from the national kitty.

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