Mr. Gershon Gbedeame, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nkwanta North in the Volta Region and Majority Chief Whip in Parliament, is mad at The Chronicle. He has descended heavily on the paper over a story carried in its yesterday’s edition, that despite members of parliament being given a 17% pay-rise in October 2010, they were still demanding more of the taxpayer’s money.
Gbedeame, who phoned this reporter soon after the publication hit the newsstands, claimed the story had cast a slur on the image of MPs, because the impression created was that they (MPs) had enjoyed salary adjustments, but were still demanding more.
According to him, every government that comes to power has the constitutional mandate to set up a Presidential Committee on Emoluments to review salaries of MPs and Public officers, as mentioned in article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
The Majority Whip said President Kufuor obeyed this constitutional order by setting up the Dr. Mary Chinery-Hesse Committee to review MPs’ conditions of service, and other article 71 public office holders.
After the review, it was agreed that the salaries of MPs should go up by 20% every year, till their four year tenure of office ends. He further told The Chronicle that it was based on this agreement that their salaries went up by 17.5% last year, which even fell short of the 20% agreed upon.
Mr. Gbedeame also noted that members of parliament are like ‘contract workers’ for four years, and that they exit office together with their salaries and other benefits.
It was as a result of article 71 that the current President has also set up the Prof. Marian Ewurama Addy Committee to review the salaries, noting that whatever they would come out with, and with the President’s assent, would be binding for four years, after which another review would be done.
He was, therefore, unhappy with the impression that they (MPs) had been given a 17% salary increment, and were still demanding more.
The Nkwanta North MP repeated the stand of other MPs, who have expressed their views on the matter, on why journalists were not interested in the conditions of service of the other article 71 public office holders, but only interested in that of the MPs.
According to the MP, he was prepared to show this reporter his pay slip, to prove that what he earns as an MP is nothing to write home about, and should, therefore, not merit the attacks on them by the media.
The charged MP also noted that even district chief executives (DCEs), who are not elected but appointed by the President, have access to two cars and free fuel among other benefits, while MPs are only given 70 gallons of petrol per month, and are also made to pay for the cars given to them to facilitate their work.
Members of parliament in Ghanaian earn around $2,000 a month, which is the lowest, when compared with what their colleagues in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa among others, earn.
But, concerns have been raised as to whether this should be a justification for the MPs to propose between GH¢7,000 and GH¢8,000 to the Presidential Committee on Emoluments as their monthly salary, since workers on government payroll generally earn low incomes.
Source Ghanaian Chronicle