Sunday, July 14, 2024

Ghana’s first lady rejects allowances; to refund $150k paid her

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Ghana’s first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has decided to refund all monies paid to her as allowances since 2017 by the state.

It follows public outrage over the government’s decision to pay her a monthly salary based on recommendation made by a Presidential Committee on emoluments for public officeholders.

News of Ghana’s previous parliament approving an arrangement for spouses of Ghana’s President and the Vice-president to receive monthly salaries sparked outrage among citizens last week.

Ghana’s Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told local media that since 2001, there has been a precedent where all surviving spouses of presidents and vice presidents received monthly allowances.

Ghana’s first lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and the second lady, Mrs. Samira Bawumia were expected to receive an increased salaries just like Cabinet ministers.

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Local media reported that, the current presidential spouses could be receiving about $3,500 (GH 21,000) which is to be back-dated to 2017.

But not all citizens were happy with news that per the current arrangement the presidential spouses will be receiving the same salaries as Cabinet ministers.

On Monday, a statement from the office of the first lady said “The public discussion has been laced with some extremely negative opinions, in some cases, which she finds distasteful, seeking to portray her as a venal, self-serving and self-centred woman, who does not care about the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian.”

“In view of this, the First Lady, in consultation with the President of the Republic, has decided to refund all monies paid to her as allowances from the date of the President’s assumption of office, i.e., from January 2017 to date, amounting to GHC 899,097.84.”

Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo has been criticized by a sector of the populace for allowing for the new arrangement.

The information minister, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah last week rejected those criticisms saying Mr. Akufo-Addo can’t be faulted since “The President does not approve salaries and benefits for the Executive.”

“That recommendation was then forwarded to the Seventh Parliament, which then gave the approval, and it is now to be implemented. It is, therefore, not true as it is being circulated that the President has approved of emoluments to the First Lady and Second Lady,” he added.

Meanwhile the second lady, Samira Bawumia has also decided to reject further payment of allowances and intends refunding monies paid her since 2017.

Ghanaians have been reacting to the news of the first lady rejecting allowances and decision to refund monies already paid her since 2017.


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