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Constitution Review Consultative Committee asked president to pay tax on salary

The President should pay tax on his salary and emoluments as an example to the rest of the citizenry, a draft report by the Constitution Review Consultative Committee (CRCC) has recommended.

The report said such a move would reflect the principle of equity before the law and accord with the principles of law. “This committee therefore recommends that Article 68 (5) be deleted to mandate the President of the country to pay tax,” the report said.

The report was put together by a 12-member committee chaired by Clara Kasser-Tee, a lecturer from the University of Ghana School of Law.

The committee, which was inaugurated by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on April 28, 2023, was tasked to review the 2011 Report of the Constitution Review Committee.

Exemption

Per the report, which was presented at a stakeholders’ consultation meeting yesterday for the possible review of the 1992 Constitution, “The amendment of this provision will trigger the necessary consequential amendment in the income tax law of the country.”

Article 68 (5), which borders on the conditions of Office of the President, exempts the President from the payment of income tax. It stipulates that: “The salary, allowances, facilities, pensions and gratuity referred to in clauses (3) and (4) shall be exempt from tax.”

Meeting

The objective of the meeting afforded the stakeholders the opportunity to review the work of the consultative committee in respect of the 1992 Constitution, build consensus and nurture ownership in the constitutional review process.

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The output of the event is the report that would be used as the foundation for a Sovereign National Conference to be held across the country to get the buy-in of the citizens for a possible holistic or amendment of the 1992 Constitution as stakeholders might determine.

The members are representatives from various institutions. They are a Senior Fellow at the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation, Professor John Asafu-Adjaye; the Chairman of the National Media Commission, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo; Tweneboah Kodua Dickson from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, and a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Yonny Kulendi.

The rest are John Nwodzah from the Audit Service, Anthony Forson Jr. from the Ghana Bar Association, Alfred Tuah-Yeboah from the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General’s Department; Mercy Larbi from the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Nana Tawiah Okyir from the Parliamentary Service Board.

They reviewed submissions, proposals and reports on various institutional review platforms such as Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), University of Ghana School of Law, University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA)

The event, which was held on the theme: “Building consensus and promoting ownership for the review of the Constitution”, was organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

Emoluments for Article 71 holders

Touching on the determination of the conditions of service of some public office holders (Article 71), the committee recommended that the emoluments of Article 71 must be determined pursuant to a pre-determined formula.

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This pre-determined formula, it said, was to be set by an independent emoluments committee (IEC) composed of institutional representation such as the Public Services Commission, Trades Union Congress, the Ministry of Finance, Audit Service and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.

“The mandate of this IEC shall be to prescribe an emolument formula for the emoluments of Article 71 holders. “The emoluments of Article 71 shall thereafter be determined pursuant to this formula, without the need to set up any further committees in the future,” the report said.

“The institutions shall nominate their representatives and the President shall appoint them,” the report added. The report said the emoluments of the IEC shall be similar to sitting allowances applicable to public boards and committees, and the IEC was to be dissolved after setting the pre-determined formula, which shall be managed by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.

“This avoids the continuous setting up of committees to determine the emoluments of Article 71 holders which is another charge on the public purse,” it said.

Capping of Parliament

The report recommended that the size of Parliament be capped at 277. The proposed amendment to Article 93 of the Constitution reads: “There shall be a Parliament of Ghana which shall consist of not more than two hundred and seventy-seven elected members.”

Capping of ministers’ appointment

Besides, the report said there must be an upper limit on the number of ministers that a President could appoint and this upper limit should be 25. The committee further recommended that to reduce the size of government further, the privilege to appoint deputy ministers should be expunged.

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“The President’s power to appoint deputy ministers should therefore be amended by deletion,” it said.

CRC

The late President John Evans Atta Mills, on January 11, 2010, acting in accordance with Article 278 (1) of the Constitution, which confers on the President the powers to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into matters of public interest, inaugurated the Constitution Review Commission (CRC).

The CRC was mandated to review the 1992 Constitution under the Constitution Review Commission of Inquiry Instrument 2010 (C.I. 64). The CRC was tasked to collate the views of Ghanaians on which provisions of the 1992 Constitution required amendment.

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