Ghana’s first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has decided to refund all monies paid to her as allowances since 2017 by the state.
It follows public outrage over the government’s decision to pay her a monthly salary based on recommendation made by a Presidential Committee on emoluments for public officeholders.
News of Ghana’s previous parliament approving an arrangement for spouses of Ghana’s President and the Vice-president to receive monthly salaries sparked outrage among citizens last week.
Ghana’s Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told local media that since 2001, there has been a precedent where all surviving spouses of presidents and vice presidents received monthly allowances.
Ghana’s first lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and the second lady, Mrs. Samira Bawumia were expected to receive an increased salaries just like Cabinet ministers.
Local media reported that, the current presidential spouses could be receiving about $3,500 (GH 21,000) which is to be back-dated to 2017.
But not all citizens were happy with news that per the current arrangement the presidential spouses will be receiving the same salaries as Cabinet ministers.
On Monday, a statement from the office of the first lady said “The public discussion has been laced with some extremely negative opinions, in some cases, which she finds distasteful, seeking to portray her as a venal, self-serving and self-centred woman, who does not care about the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian.”
“In view of this, the First Lady, in consultation with the President of the Republic, has decided to refund all monies paid to her as allowances from the date of the President’s assumption of office, i.e., from January 2017 to date, amounting to GHC 899,097.84.”
First Lady Becca rejects allowances… decides to refund all public funds already paid to her… pic.twitter.com/kCBiw7XqRM
— Richard Dela Sky (rD.s) (@RichardDelaSky) July 12, 2021
Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo has been criticized by a sector of the populace for allowing for the new arrangement.
The information minister, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah last week rejected those criticisms saying Mr. Akufo-Addo can’t be faulted since “The President does not approve salaries and benefits for the Executive.”
“That recommendation was then forwarded to the Seventh Parliament, which then gave the approval, and it is now to be implemented. It is, therefore, not true as it is being circulated that the President has approved of emoluments to the First Lady and Second Lady,” he added.
Ghanaians have been reacting to the news of the first lady rejecting allowances and decision to refund monies already paid her since 2017.
the First Lady must take the money, she earned it legally
— Malik Ofori (@malikofori) July 12, 2021
The money the First Lady will refund they should use it to pay the nabco people. Even if it’s only 10 people the money will pay they should use it to pay them cos that money if she returns it the money will return back to her one way or the other 😒
— KALYJAY 👻 (@gyaigyimii) July 13, 2021
Ghanaians bullied the First Lady to reject the monthly allowance allocated to her, it’s her constitutional right and i think she rejecting it was wrong.
— Saada 🇬🇭🐬 (@daddys_girltn) July 12, 2021
Reject the money to avoid public criticisms, Cashout in private🔥😂 God bless the First Lady
— Lατιf🦅 (@iLatif_) July 13, 2021
First Lady: So they think I’ve reject the money, me that I want to buy house in Dubai
Nana Addo: As they say in pidgin “levels don change “ yagye sika 😂 pic.twitter.com/F8Xy0UnOsi
— 🇺🇸⚜️PRINCEGHANA🥳🇬🇭 (@Prince_Ghana1) July 13, 2021