Parliamentarians should not receive ex-gratia more than once, an elder statesman Captain Joel Sowu (rtd) has suggested. Legislators at the end of their four-year terms are given ex-gratia even if they retain their seats for another term in the legislature. But Captain Sowu finds the practice not right, arguing that payments should only be made when the legislator is exiting parliament. “Somebody comes for four years and he gets a car, he gets a house, and all the perks of office. When he goes after four years and he comes back, when he is going again he takes that again. Is that fair? Is that equity? Is that justice? What we should do, as a country, is that when you take ex gratia once, that is it,” he suggested when he appeared as a guest on the Class Executive Breakfast Show on Monday, January 16. In 2009, an average of GHS80000 was paid to each MP of the previous parliament. In 2012, a total of GHS47 million was paid by the government as ex gratia to the 230 Members of Parliament (MPs) who served in the fifth parliament of the Fourth Republic. The ex-gratia to be paid to those who served in the sixth parliament of the Fourth Republic is expected to be higher than what was paid in 2012. However, the retired military officer sees the arrangement as very unfair and not equitable. He lamented to host Moro Awudu how a teacher he had known received a total of GHS1200 as benefit after serving for approximately 30 years, yet MPs who serve for only four years are given “huge amounts as ex gratia”. “A teacher told me yesterday that all the gratuities she had when she going home was GHS1, 200 after 30 years,” For him, gratuities given to public officers must be reviewed and awarded equitably in a manner that will not drain the national purse.
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