Ex-gratia and Article 71 officeholders have gained widespread attention in Ghana lately due to former President John Dramani Mahama’s pledge to abolish ex-gratia payments if he is re-elected. This piece explores the meaning of ex-gratia and examines what the 1992 Constitution of Ghana has to say about it.
What the Constitutions of Ghana says
Legally, “ex-gratia” typically denotes the sum of money that employees are entitled to receive from their employers upon their departure from a job. The amount is generally based on the employee’s contractual agreement with their employer.
While the term “ex-gratia” is not specifically mentioned in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, it has come to be associated with the retirement benefits provided to government employees who fall under Article 71 of the Constitution (known as Article 71 officeholders).
Article 71 of Ghana’s constitution states as follows:
The salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities and privileges available, to-.
a. The speaker and deputy speakers and members of parliament;
b. The chief justice and the justices of the superior court of Judicature;
c. The Auditor-General, the Chairman and Deputy Chairman Of the Electoral Commission,
d. The Commissioner For Human Rights And Administrative Justice And His Deputies And The District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator;
e. the Chairman, Vice Chairman and the other members of,
(i) a National Council for Higher Education, howsoever describes.
ii) the Public Services Commission,
iii) the National Media Commission
iv) the Lands Commission and
v) The National Commission for Civic Education being expenditure charged on the consolidated fund, shall be determined by the president on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by the president acting in accordance with the advice of the council of state.
2. The salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities available, to the president, the Vice President, the chairman and the other members of the Council of State, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers, being expenditure charged on the consolidated fund, shall be determined by Parliament on the recommendation of the committee referred to in clause (1) of this article.
3. For the purpose of this article and except as otherwise provided, constitution “salaries” includes allowances, facilities and privilege, and retiring benefit or awards.”
Other Articles of the 1992 Constitution that speak about the retirement benefits of Article 71 officeholders include Articles 98 and 114.
Article 98(1) reads as follows: A member of Parliament shall be paid such salary and allowances and provided with such facilities as may be determined in accordance with Article 71 of this Constitution.
While Article 114 states that “A person who has served as a member of Parliament for a “period of not less than four years shall be eligible on ceasing to be a member or on his death, for the payment of such gratuity to him or his personal representatives.”
Here is a list of Article 71 officeholders and retirement benefits they are entitled to as provided by the Economic Fighters League:
President – GHC 659,392
Vice President – GHC 549,492
Cabinet Minister – MP – GHC 5,104,352
Cabinet Minister – non MP – GHC 457,928
Minister of State-MP – GHC 427,400
Minister of State-non MP – GHC 421,296
Regional Minister-MP – GHC 427,400
Regional Minister-non MP – GHC 415,188
Deputy Minister-MP – GHC 401,132
Deputy Regional Minister-MP – GHC 401,132
Deputy Minister-non MP – GHC 384,660
Deputy Regional Minister-non MP – GHC 384,660
Chairman, Council of State – GHC 396,872.00
Member, Council of State – GHC 366,340.00
The Legislature (Parliament)
Speaker of Parliament – GHC 488,456
1st Deputy speaker – GHC 464,032
2nd Deputy speaker – GHC 457,928
Majority leader – GHC 464,032
Minority leader – GHC 457,928
Deputy Majority leader – GHC 439,612
Deputy Minority leader – GHC 433,504
Majority chief whip – GHC 427,400
Minority chief whip – GHC 421,296
1st Dep Majority chief whip – GHC 415,188
1st Dep Minority chief whip – GHC 407,332
2nd Dep Majority chief whip – GHC 402,976
2nd Dep Minority chief whip – GHC 396,872
Member of Parliament – GHC 390,768
Chief Justice – GHC 427,612
Supreme Court Judge – GHC 388,872
Court of Appeal Judge – GHC 352,452
High Court Judge – GHC 278,380
Independent Constitutional Bodies (ICBs)
Auditor-General – GHC 359,608
EC Chair – GHC308,796
EC Deputy Chair – GHC348,164
CHRAJ Commissioner – GHC308,796
CHRAJ Deputy Commissioner – GHC360,900
DACF Administrator – GHC336,584
NCCE Chair – GHC378,224
NCCE Deputy Chair – GHC297,796
NCCE member full-time – GHC348,532
NCCE member part-time – GHC260,956
Lands Commission Chair – GHC365,636
Lands Commission member (part-time) – GHC305,532
Public Services Commission Chair – GHC407,456
Public Services Commission V. Chair – GHC348,740
Public Services Commission member (full time) – GHC334,928
Public Services Commission member (part-time) – GHC271,376
National Medical Commission Chair – GHC334,008
National Medical Commission member – GHC271,376
National Council for Teacher Education Chair – GHC402,776
NCTE members – GHC367,936
In summary, the ex-gratia payments owed to Article 71 officeholders will amount to over GHC200 million every four years, but the aforementioned tally does not encompass perks extended to presidential staffers, Municipal, Metropolitan and District Chief Executives (MMDCES), and other designates.
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