Ghana

1992 Constitution review recommendations: President to pay tax!!! -Number of ministers to be capped at 25 -Deputy minister positions to be scrapped -MPs to cease being ministers

An effort to amend the 1992 Consti­tution has begun with avant-garde recommendations including sugges­tions for the president to pay tax on his salary.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the Consti­tution Review Consultative Commit­tee in its report said the President must pay tax as demonstration for the need for all citizens to contribute their quota to the tax net.

• Members of the Constitution
Review Consultative Committee
• Members of the Constitution Review Consultative Committee

“The committee recommends that the President should pay tax on his salary and emoluments as an example to the rest of the citizenry. This will reflect the principle of equality before the law and accord with principles of rule of law.

“The committee therefore recom­mends that Article 68(5) be deleted to mandate the President to pay tax,” the report stated.

At a stakeholder’s consultative meeting in Accra, yesterday to dilate on the recommendations, participants agreed that the recommendations would make the constitution more progressive.

The meeting was on the theme “Building consensus and promoting ownership for the review of the 1992 Constitution”.

The committee among others recommends that the number of ministers are capped at 25 and the position of deputy ministers and regional ministers scrapped.

Per the committee’s recommen­dation, Members of Parliament will cease to be ministers as the case is in Article 78(1) which mandates the President to appoint majority of ministers from Parliament.

On the legislative arm of govern­ment, the committee recommends that the total number is capped at 277 and Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives elected.

In view of that, the committee recommends that “where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Assembly, the Coordinating Director of the Assembly shall notify the Electoral Commission in writing within seven days…and the Electoral Commission shall within 30 days of being notified hold a by-election except that where the vacancy is as a result of the death, the by-election shall be held within 60 days”.

The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the time had come to amend the Constitution having experiment it for the past 42 years.

“It is time to re-engineer our con­stitutional architecture to conform to today’s realities. We need a constitu­tional order that frowns upon winner-takes-all syndrome and promotes collaboration, collective Ed’s and con­sensus building in decision making at all levels of governance,” he said.

Chairman of the occasion and First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, said over politicisation was retarding the devel­opment of the country and that the time had come for a new paradigm shift in addressing issues of national interest.

“If we want to move forward, we must move beyond the partisan lines and be advocates for the change we want,” the Bekwai MP stated.

Members of the Constitution Review Consultative Committee are Clara Kasser-Tee, chairperson and Law Lecturer, University of Ghana; Victor Brobbey, National Commis­sion for Civic Education; Prof. John Assafuah-Adjaye, Africa Centre for Economic Transformation; Twen­eboah Kodua Dickson, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, and Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo, National Media Commission.

The rest are Justice Yonny Kulen­di, Judiciary; John Nwozah, Audit Service; Anthony Forson Jnr, Ghana Bar Association; Alfred Tuah-Te­boah, Ministry of Justice; Mercy Larbi, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice; Dr Kodjo Mensah, National Development Planning Commission and Nana Tawiah Okyir, Parliamentary Service.

 BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI