The week turned into that of salary controversies since the Ntiamoa-Baidu committee on emoluments released the approved salaries, ex gratia and end of service benefits for article 71 office holders. The Executive and the legislature have all been smiling to the bank at this time of the year after every general election cycle; a cocoa season, you can call it.
It would have been the usual, normal talk shop we engage in over the years, but there was a novelty attached to this document. The first and second ladies have been added to the list and placed on a salary level of a cabinet minister. This fuelled the discussion.
In probing the issues further, questions keep outnumbering answers. The members of Parliament car loan was thrown in along the way, which thickened the controversy. Those in favour of the provisions of the Ntiamoa-Baidu committee defended its content with all the justifications they could muster. While they were at it, they got a sucker punch query; what about the Council of state?
Apparently, the council of state of Ghana had been given prominence in the report and their remuneration duly approved also, substantially. The members of the council of state are going home with over Ghc 26,000 every month as salary. Each of them will have a car, and Chauffeured driven.
Then the magnifying glass got positioned on the work of the council to have deserved such a colossal amount of cash every month. So far, no Ghanaian seem to be satisfied with the answers they are getting.
The council is a creature of the constitution in article 89(1), and its function is summarised in the same article- "There shall be a Council of State to counsel the President in the performance of his functions".
They counsel the President. Several articles of the constitution could only come to effect after the President had requested for their advice, and had received same. Many, do not see this a duty worthy of Ghc 26,000 a month.
What do they really do? For such a portfolio, a quarterly stipend and some sitting allowances ought to suffice. It is neither a full-time job, nor the counsel they proffer is essential. It is a job for old men and women who do nothing except milk the state. Some have already proposed a scrubbing of the council through an amendment of the constitution.
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