General News of Friday, 5 April 2013
Director of Public Affairs in Parliament, Jones Kugblenu has said even though the payment of the former Members of Parliament’s ex-gratia has become a matter of public discussion, he cannot disclose the full amount used in the payment.
“Per our standing orders, if something is discussed at closed sitting, I will not be in the position to comment on it…once I know the law, I don’t have to go against it. If members want to disclose it, that is not my problem, they can go ahead,” he explained.
Citi News checks have indicated that government has released the money to be paid to former Members of Parliament who served in the fifth parliament of the fourth republic as ex-gratia.
Citi news’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Richard Sky said his investigations revealed that each MP will be receiving about 2 billion old Ghana cedis or GHC200, 000. “Each former member of parliament will be going home with much as a little over 2 billion old Ghana cedis.”
Speaking on Citi Eyewitness News, Mr. Kugblenu further explained that a “committee currently chaired by Professor Ewurama Addy consults with all stakeholders; not just parliamentarians, look at their job descriptions and conditions of service and make recommendations to the President; who after his own consultations, forwards the salaries of MPs to the house.”
According to Mr. Kugblenu, he was unaware whether or not the former MPs have received their monies since “the appropriation act was passed just last week and it states that the Minister of Finance on behalf of the President will start expending; if it is not passed, you cannot dip your hands into the consolidated fund.”
He also expressed his opinion on the current debate of hefty sums being distributed as ex-gratia whiles various essential service personnel strike. He encouraged the labour leaders to look at how best to motivate their workers.
“We have a lot of hard workers in this country and I think that what we need to be doing is negotiating and consulting. The labour leaders and the tripartite committee should be looking at how best workers could be motivated. Sometimes when we hear that payments that are due to certain class of workers have been delayed for too long, it becomes disheartening and I think we need to go beyond this and see how best we can settle these matters before they reach where people have to lay down their tools to the detriment of the young ones especially our hard working teachers,” he added.