Some Ghanaians, especially on social media, have expressed their anger at the news that spouses of the President and the Vice President will receive increased allowances.
For many, these allowances will be put further strain on the overburdened taxpayer. They argue that the state should officially not pay the spouses of politicians.
But in a rebuttal to the reports, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has stated that reports are a little misleading.
He said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo did not approve the paying of the allowances, however, it was done by an emoluments committee with approval by Parliament.
The Ofoase-Ayirebi said this phenomenon is not new and it has been there since the tenure of President John Agyekum Kuffour.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained that an arrangement that was introduced by former President John Agyekum Kufuor during the start of his Presidency in 2000 had seen spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents, since then, enjoy allowances, though there was no formal documentation to support that.
“President Kufuor, in his wisdom, instituted this because of the bad situations of some spouses of some former Heads of States then. Presidents Mills and Mahama even increased the rates of these benefits during their time.
“The truth of the matter is that all surviving spouses of Heads of State, current and former, have always received salaries. Lordina Mahama, Naadu Mills, Matilda Amissah-Arthur, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Faustina Acheampong, Fulera Liman etc have all been receiving salaries since President Kufuor’s time.
“What has happened now is that the arrangement has been made formal but that was done legally based on the recommendation by the Emoluments Committee,” the Information Minister emphasized.
He said there had been an increment in allowances for the spouses of the President and the Vice-President, Mr Oppong Nkrumah emphasised that that was an approval given by the Seventh Parliament.
“The President does approve salaries and benefits for the Executive. Under Article 71, the First Lady and Second Lady are not office-holders so no one can determine their benefits under that article.
“However, a committee only recommended that an arrangement for the spouses be made formal and that received approval from Parliament,” he indicated.