While asking Ghanaians to “tighten their belts” because of the COVID-related economic downturn, President Akufo Addo has increased his salary and that of his cabinet considerably.
Between 2019 and 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck Ghana with the Finance Minister lamenting dried up state coffers, the Presidency generously increased salaries of the higher echelon of the Jubilee House and the cabinet.
The salary of the President was increased within this period from GHC 42,979 monthly to GHC 47,277. Vice President Bawumia’s salary was increased from GHC 35,816 to approximately GHC 40,000 in the same period.
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A copy of the report of the Presidential Committee on Emolument intercepted by Whatsup News shows that since 2017, President Akufo Addo has consistently increased his own salary every year by an average of 11% and set to correlate salaries earned by Presidents in Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Canada and the USA.
This was the first time any President had increased his salary since 2013. In fact, Akufo Addo’s predecessor, John Dramani Mahama did not increase his salary throughout his tenure.
The report of the committee headed by Professor Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu shows was released in June 2020 and has remained under wraps. However, its recommendations for salary increases for the infamous Article 71 Office-holders had already been given the green light by the Akufo Addo administration.
Additional to this, the President will be enjoying several other allowances, free utilities, free accommodation, travel expenses and vacation expenses of over US$ 50,000 a year with his spouse.
All the recommendations emanateemanate from an April 2019 letter written by President Akufo Addo to appoint a five-member committee to make recommendations to the President on the salaries he and the Article 71 office-holders deserve because they are “dignified public officers”.
Accordingly, the Professor Ntiamoah-Baidu committee recommended salary increases, to which the President and the specified office holders were given their back pays from the adjusted pay grades since 2017.
Earlier, Whatsup News had intercepted an April 9, 2021 letter with reference SCR 91A from the Office of the Judicial Secretariat and addressed to Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, confirming that the President had approved a new pay package for Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah GHC 35,918 monthly.
The Chief Justice’s salary will be about GHC 3,000 more than what he was earning in 2020 (GHC 32,242) and over GHC 10,000 more than his salary in 2017. The other judges have also seen similar increases, with the least from the High Court is earning GHC 29,471 monthly.
While all the greasing with increased salaries for Article 71executives were ongoing, the Akufo Addo was fighting tooth and nail to shoot down demands by other public servants for their own salary increases.
And after several months of negotiation, the government grudgingly agreed to increase salaries of organised labour by a paltry 4% and threatened that if the [Labour] insists on their demands for a 10% salary increase, the government will be forced to embark on massive retrenchment in the public service to make up for the margin of salary increases Labour was demanding.
Meanwhile, Whatsup News has gathered from Jubilee House sources that the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare is dishing out heavy ex-gratia to aides at the Presidency, including some GHC 200,000 paid to her special aide.
Security officers at the Jubilee House were also reportedly given ex-gratia ranging between GHC 5, and GHC 30,000 each, covering 2017 to date.