Monday, January 19, 2009

Majority, Minority justify retirement package for ex-Presidents

The Majority and Minority in Parliament have justified the new package of emoluments for former Presidents recommended by the Chinery Hesse Committee.

Leaders of both sides of the House say the recommendations are not outrageous as opined by a section of the public.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Mr. John Tiah told Joy FM's Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, the recommendations were not fundamentally wrong.

He said the new package is not limited to the immediate past president, John Kufuor but will also benefit former president Rawlings.

According to him, if the condition currently being enjoyed by Mr. Rawlings fall short of the new recommended conditions, adjustments will have to be made.

Mr. Tiah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Talensi, said the new package was meant to prevent the situation presidents, as happens in some African countries, hung onto power fearing poor living conditions after exiting the presidency.

He believes the tendency to hung onto power will be eradicated if presidents are assured of better living conditions after leaving office.

The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, said "I believe what we have done is not an outrageous offer".

He said the nation should be grateful to people who have served it at the level of the presidency.

Mr Kyei-Mensah Bonsu played down assertions that the benefits did not go through enough scrutiny before its passage in Parliament.

The document on the package detailing the benefits was ratified by Parliament on January 6, 2009, the penultimate day of sitting of the Legislature.

The Minority Leader said, rather, processes leading to the ratification were initiated in 2007, a year earlier.

The committee, which reviewed the living conditions of former presidents contained in the Greenstreet Report, recommended that the former presidents should be given fully furnished residences that befit a former president at a place of their choice - one in Accra and another out of the national capital.

In addition, a former president would be entitled among other privileges, to six fully maintained comprehensively insured, fuelled and chauffeured-driven cars to be replaced every four years. The fleet comprise of three salon cars, two cross country cars and one all-purpose vehicle.


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