NDC flagbearer aspirant and the second deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, says he will scrap the payment of end-of-tenure benefits known as ex gratia, for public office holders if he becomes the president of Ghana.
According to the deputy Speaker of Parliament, the payment of ex gratia is causing a drain on national finances and is not serving the aim for which it was created.
In an interview with Citinews monitored by PrimeNewsGhana yesterday(January 15 2019), Mr Bagbin said that any entitlements due to these public office holders should be indicated in their contracts with the state when they serve in office.
Alban Bagbin said, “As President, I will do away with the whole idea of ex gratia because I don’t think that it’s serving the purpose for which it was established. It’s a complete waste. Its contract employment and the contract will identify your entitlements but not ex gratia.”
Article 71 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution specifies that the salaries and allowances of the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary paid from the Consolidated Fund would be determined by the President, on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by him and acting upon the advice of the Council of State.
Article 71 office holders include the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court.
The rest are Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers of State, political appointees and public servants with salaries charged to the Consolidated Fund but enjoying special constitutional privileges.
The payment of ex gratia to former public office holders is a controversial issue in Ghana, with details of the payments made to these officials, particularly former presidents, generating massive public interest.
In recent years, however, arguments have surfaced about the number of officials who benefit from the ex gratia payments and whether there is a need for the payments at all.
In 2017, a Ghanaian lawyer, Elikplim L. Agbemava, went to the Supreme Court seeking clarification on some of the benefits enjoyed by the Article 71 office holders.
The lawyer wanted presidential staffers who benefit from salaries, allowances, and privileges like the Article 71 office holders, to be stripped off such gratuities claiming it “is inconsistent with Article 71 and therefore unconstitutional.”