-As Gov’t Again Allocates US$3.5milllion For Council Of State Members’ Luxury Cars.
The US$3.5million that Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, tabled before Parliament for the purpose of buying expensive cars for members of the Council of State in a reported “loan” would practically be given to them free-of-charge, Whatsup News can report.
Per the details from the official terms of the funds from the Finance Ministry, the State will pay 60% of the loan while the beneficiaries will pay 40% of the loans.
The details have annoyed Ghanaians who had already been boiling on the earlier tabling of US$28million by the same Ken Ofori-Atta to buy cars for Members of Parliament.
If ratified, the loan to buy cars for Council of State members will be taken from the National Investment Bank (NIB). The cars are to be bought for all the 31 members of the Council of State.
But the country has been uproarious over the Akufo-Addo government’s decision to lavish brand new V8’s on MPs and Council of State members at a time that the same government has urged Ghanaians to tighten their belts due to austerity measured necessitated by the COVID-19-related economic downturn.
While announcing a slew of new taxes In January, the government had explained that taxes were so that government could raise money for the recovery of the economy from the ravages of COVID-19.
However, the Presidency’s posture is directly contradictory to its recommendation for austerity. The Jubilee House has increased salaries to Presidential staffers at astronomical levels; undeserving ex-gratia has been reportedly paid to presidential staffers, including some GHC 200,000 paid to the special aide of the Chief of Staff, Madam Frema Opare, as well as President Akufo Addo himself setting up a Presidential Emoluments Committee which has increased his salary massively and those of other Article 71 officeholders.
Incidentally, the 2021 allocation to the Presidency was exceptionally huge – a whopping GH¢823,880,668.00.
This is a 504.85% increase over the GH¢136,212,551.00 that was allocated in the previous year, 2020.
Even more interesting, while the budgetary allocation to the Presidency had increased by 504.85% the staff strength at the Presidency had decreased by5.84% from 1696 in 2020 to 1597 in 2021.
Meanwhile, the government has also come under criticism for implementing a recommendation to place his wife, the First Lady, the wife of the Vice President, the 2nd Lady and other First and Second ladies on the same payroll of Article 71 officeholders even though spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents are not captured by the Constitution as Article 71 officeholders.