The former Member of Parliament for Asokwa, Maxwell Kofi Jumah has described as unfortunate public disapproval of the monies paid to parliamentarians as ex-gratia.
According to him, just like every worker is entitled to some gratuity as end of service benefits, the MP also deserve same as Article 71 holders.
The recent payment of the ex-gratia of all 230 parliamentarians has generated a lot of controversy in the wake of the incessant strikes in the country.
For the past few months, government has been grappling with series of strikes from the public sector due to unpaid allowances.
Striking teachers have vowed not to return to the classroom if the discrepancies in their salaries are not addressed. On the other hand, doctors and pharmacists have hinted of an eminent strike if their issues are not addressed.
But government which is expected to cough out huge sum of monies to meet the demands of these workers has managed to pay Article 71 holders their remuneration.
This has rekindled public debate about the priorities of the Mahama-led government.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen prgoramme Thursday, Kofi Jumah said it will be unfair for the public to blame MPs because the ex-gratia is their constitutional prerogative.
He opined that the monies given to the MPs will not be enough to service the loans they used for their campaigns in the 2012 election year.
Citing himself as an example, Jumah said after paying back his loan, his ex-gratia is left with GH¢2.00.
Kofi Jumah maintained that the industrial actions and ‘the gargantuan hardships’ in the country now are as a result of government’s inability to manage the public purse in an efficient manner.
He was of the opinion that the ‘dubious judgement debt’ paid to business man and government crony, Alfred Agbesi Woyome will be enough to pay the striking teachers.
“Woyome’s money is larger than MPs ex-gratia. If government is able to retrieve it, it can solve half of Ghana’s problems.” he maintained.
The former Asokwa MP intimated that the Mahama-led administration has failed to retrieve the colossal amount from Alfred Woyome because it is directly involved in the scandal.
He said government has no excuse for the nonpayment of the allowance of teachers because “it can afford to pay huge bonuses and per diems to it appointees”.
Kofi Jumah urged the striking teachers not to renege in their effort to demand from government their entitlements.