The Presidential Committee on Emoluments has mounted a strong defence for its recommendation for a 10 percent upward salary adjustment for President John Mahama and other Article 71 office holders.
A Labour Economist, Dr William Baah Boateng, who is a member of the committee, told Joy News in an exclusive interview that the recommendations for the salary increase were based on the guiding principles of fairness, equity, motivation and ability of government to pay.
Emoluments of Article 71 office holders are charged on the Consolidated Fund and determined by the President on the recommendations of a committee appointed by the President acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State.
The Committee’s justification for the salary increase proposals follow concerns they will weigh down the country’s already challenged economy.
The Committee has recommended an annual increase of 2.4% every year until 2017, backdated to 2013 for the political class listed under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution – which includes the President, the Vice President, the Speaker of Parliament and Legislators, Judges among others.
This means that the President, who takes home a non-taxable salary of GH¢15,972, has now been pegged at a new 2016 salary of GH¢22,809. This translates into a 42.8% pay rise over the four years.
The Chief Justice, head of the Judiciary, is paid GH¢15,552 but can now expect a new figure of GH¢17,107.
The Speaker of Parliament, the head of the Legislative arm of government who is paid GH¢16,174 will be put on 17,791 cedis.
Think tank, IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, says the recommendations are troubling because the salaries of some of the Article 71 office holders under the recent proposal is three times the per capita income of every Ghanaian – which currently stands at GH¢5,060.
IMANI’s Founding President, Franklin Cudjoe, wants future salary recommendations to be tied to the country’s economic performance.
Others have recommended that the of salaries of public officials at certain arms of government, for instance, the Legislature, should not be charged on the Consolidated Fund.
“We considered the economy. We computed the total cost [of the salary increases] on the budget based on that 2.4% [annual increase],” he told Joy Business Editor, George Wiafe.
“It is not something that Ghana’s economy will not be able to absorb, otherwise we wouldn’t have come up with it,” he adds.
Dr Baah Boateng further defends the Committee’s recommendations on the basis that “in the private sector, people are paid higher.”
He said the Committee did a thorough job, spending six long months to put together the report -- suggesting that perhaps the criticisms are unfair.
“We didn’t just sit somewhere and conjure anything. We spoke to a lot of people and institutions,” he told George Wiafe.
“I am convinced that if the general public is getting 10%, 2.4% annual increase for MPs is not bad,” he said.