Gargantuan Ex-gratia for Parliamentarians, Ministers and others too expensive for Ghana

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Discussions on the gargantuan Ex-gratia for Parliamentarians, Ministers of state, and others every four years in Ghana is beginning to attract the attention of the citizenry once again. The sudden attention may be attributed to the hardship facing the people and the need to mobilize resources for Ghana’s efforts at improving the general well-being of the people. Political leaders such as Members of Parliament, Ministers and the like are awarded huge lump sum as Ex-gratia after every general election every four years.

What is Ex-Gratia?

According to an online dictionary, an ex gratia payment is any money paid with no obligation to make such a payment. If this meaning is valid, then it means, an ex gratia could pass for a gift from the people of Ghana to article 71 class of public workers.

Ex-gratia is most often used in a legal context. When something has been done as ex gratia, it has been done voluntarily, out of kindness or grace. In law, an ex gratia payment is a payment made without the giver recognizing any liability or legal obligation.Relyonsoft.com

In 2015, former president John Dramani Mahama instituted a committee which was tasked to among other things led by Prof. Dora Francisca Adu Buandor to review emoluments of article 71 class of public workers. The committee raised one important issue which had to do with the award of too much ex-gratia to beneficiaries. The committed lamented about this in its report.

The committee’s recommendations were rejected. One of such recommendations was that, the salary relativity difference of the three arms of government as approved late former president of Ghana John Atta Mills as recommended by The Ewurama Addy Committee should be restored.

Why Ghana cannot continue to pay huge ex-gratia every four years

The present economic state of the country, needs to look at the viz-a-viz the huge sums that the country pays every four years to members of parliament, MPs and other article 17 class of public workers to save the country from paying ex-gratia to such persons who get paid the ex-gratia and win elections then get back to parliament again.

Ghana’s politics has been seriously monetized and the benefits enjoyed by these public offices is enough evidence for today’s youth some of whom believe, the best ways to be successful in Ghana is to go in to politics.

Politics is now a venture for enriching oneself, family and friends and to enjoy all the attractive fringe benefits.

What is the way forward with ex-gratia for Ghana?

The way forward is to ensure that, those who do not retain their seats are the only people who benefit from the paid ex-gratia and not that all parliamentarians for example. This way the current practice where whether you lose or win an election as a parliamentarian, you get paid an ex-gratia which is wasteful and does not help the nation in anyway.

For instance, an MP who has consistently been re-elected in the last four general elections to parliament per the current arrangements has received at least three ex-gratia benefits. And will be paid another one after the 2020 general elections.

Currently, Ghana has 123 ministers in Ghana and 271 more members of parliament some of whom are ministers. Doing a simple calculation from a nationalistic and moral perspective with the struggling Ghanaian economy in mind.  This huge funds can be used to impact on the lives of the people.

What is the likely to be the value of Ex-Gratia payments in 2021-Projections ?

Ghana is likely to pay a whopping GHS 100,000 per head for close to 260 MPs and Ministers. This alone amount to GHS 25,000,000 by 2020 as ex-gratia with just Members of parliament and some article 71 class of public workers after the 2020 general elections. These figures are mere estimates and the actual total may be far more than this by the time the payments are made.

Our findings has also revealed that,  GHS100,000 is provided to every MP to buy a car every four years and other countless fringed benefits yet we have bad roads, poorly resourced education system right from the basic schools, our economy is struggling, our people are drinking from rivers and streams and employees are battling with tarrifs and high cost of living.

In a related envelopment, Mr. Frimpong Yaw Addo, the Manso Adubia Constituency MP has called for the need to start a serious national discourse on the matter. His call comes after the public and some Civil Society Organizations (CSO) raised issues regarding the ex-gratia paid Law Makers in Ghana.

Therefore, it is about time that, Ghana takes another look at the laws regarding ex-gratia and how much we pay as a nation every four years and whether every member of a given parliament which is dissolved should earn an ex-gratia even if he or she is re-elected into parliament. Let the discussion begin., the politicians and the general public start the discussion, Ghana needs our effort and contribution to this matter. What are your views on this? Let us know via your comments.

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