‘Constitutional provisions hindering innovations to streamline ex-gratia’

The Director of Labour Research and Policy Institute at the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Kwabena Otoo, has contended that a recent attempt to streamline gratuity payments of Article 71 Office holders has proven to be a challenge.

He explained that some provisions in the 1992 Constitution created a conundrum for the successful implementation of the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa Baidu Committee’s report with regard to ex-gratia.

According to him, the report stated that the government ought to vary the payment of gratuity to Members of Parliament (MPs) as mandated by the Constitution and incorporate it into a ‘superannuation’ pension scheme that ensured adequate income security for them in retirement.

The 2019 Committee, among other issues, Dr Otoo intimated recommended the creation of the scheme to determine the remuneration for such public officials but pointed out “the bottlenecks came up when critics argued ex-gratia is a constitutional creation which cannot be sidestepped for the recommendation to go through.

“Not much may be achieved in the debate if issues such as these are not addressed since all that also requires change in the article itself, certain amendment of the article and there is both legal work that has to be done and there is also technical work that has to be done,” Dr Otoo entreated.

Dr Justice Yankson, Vice President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), decried successive governments’ inability to show any dedication, determination and commitment to reviewing the ex-gratia for Article 71 Office holders.

He indicated that since the Constitution Review Commission’s report was presented, none of the two leading political parties had initiated steps to implement it, especially recommendations regarding the amount paid as ex-gratia to public officials.

“If you look at the posture of the two main political parties – the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), when the report came up, it became clear it was to water a lot of the privileges, the powers granted the political elites per the 1992 Constitution.

“You can see per their actions they want that to happen and that is actually going against us as a people, clearly, there has not been any demonstration of true commitment on the part of political elite and we cannot say everything in the report will be perfect for every single individual.

“Certain provisions in the Constitution need to give way for fresh amendments, such reviews can be made only if recommendations in the Commission’s report are implemented,” Dr Yankson insisted. –myjoyonline.com

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