Ghana’s First and Second Ladies, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs Samira Bawumia respectively, have decided to halt the ongoing brouhaha over the so-called recommendation of salaries to them.
Accordingly, the two foremost ladies in separate statements, have rejected all salary proposals for them as recommended by the Professor Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee and approved by Parliament.
They have also decided to refund all monies paid to them as allowances from the date of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s assumption of office from January 2017 to date.
A statement from the Office of the First Lady and signed by the Director of Communications, Korkor Bleboo, said Mrs Akufo-Addo will refund all the allowances within the period, amounting to GH¢899,097.84 to the state.
First Lady refunds allowances
In refunding the allowances, Mrs Shirley Laryea of the Office of the First Lady in a statement issued yesterday said “I am directed to forward, herewith, a Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited cheque number 000002 for an amount of GH¢899,097.84 (Eight Hundred and Ninety Nine Thousand Ninety Seven Ghana cedis Eighty Four pesewas) being the full refund for monies received from 7th January 2017 to date as allowances given to Her Excellency the FirstLady of the Republic.
.2 As disclosed by the statement issued on I2th of July, 2021 Her Excellency the First Lady of the Republic, is refunding the amount stated above and also takes this opportunity to decline any allowances to bepaid to her in the future.
- Her Excellency the First Lady remains committed to her role as First Lady and
is devoted to her charity work championing the wellbeing of women and children in Ghana.
- Please accept Madam, the assurances of our highest consideration”.
The First Lady indicated she was doing this as purely a personal decision, without prejudice to the rights of others and not to undermine the propriety of the process approved by Parliament.
According to her, she took the decision to refund the monies in consultation with President Akufo-Addo.
Similarly, Mrs Bawumia in a statement issued by her senior Aide Kwame Twum, will refund all the allowances paid her over the last four and half years.
The Presidential Committee on Emoluments (PCE) chaired Professor Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu recommended that the support extended to spouses of Presidents, former Presidents and former Vice Presidents be “regularized and included in the privileges of Presidents /former Presidents/Vice Presidents/former Vice Presidents”.
However, this created hullabaloo among the Ghanaian populace with some vehemently opposing payment of allowances/salaries to First and Second Ladies, including the former ones.
First Lady’s response
First Lady Mrs. Akufo-Addo stated that she never requested to be paid any allowance and only received that which existed and formally attached to her status.
The payment of allowances, her statement pointed out, existed and was made to previous First Ladies in the course of the 4th Republic “prior to Mrs. Akufo-Addo becoming the First Lady”.
“That notwithstanding, 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 GH¢899,097.84.
“The First Lady has also decided not to accept any monies that have been allocated to be paid to her pursuant to the recommendations of the Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee, as approved by Parliament.
“The First Lady does not want these matters to serve as a distraction from the good work that the President, who is currently touring the Savannah and Upper West regions, is doing to develop our dear nation.
“The First Lady will continue to support the President, as she has always done, in the execution of the mandate entrusted to him by the good people of Ghana,” the statement added.
Second Lady’s Commitment
Second Lady Samira Bawumia has given assurance that notwithstanding the rejection of the proposed salary and the refund of the allowances paid her so far, she “continues to be committed to the service of the nation; to deliver humanitarian interventions and initiatives in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment”.