MPs, Ministers Must Receive Equal Salaries

Osei_Kyei_Mensah_BonsuThe Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah- Bonsu, has advocated an equal remuneration for both Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ministers of State.

He stated that although MPs were elected by the electorates to serve their interests as law makers, Ministers continue to receive better conditions of service  than MPs whose workload exceeds that of the Ministers.

“A Minister of State is provided with cross-country vehicle and a saloon car to work. These are purchased, serviced, maintained, fuelled, at the expense of the taxpayer while MPs take loans to buy vehicles to enable them to perform their statutory functions”, he bemoaned.
The Minority leader made the pronouncement when he delivered a lecture organised by a think tank, Danquah Institute in Accra on Tuesday.

Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu spoke on the topic, “the deficit in parliamentary scrutiny in the fight against corruption”. He wondered why the take- home salary of MPs in Ghana is less than $ 2,500 compared to that of Ministers of State.

He noted that the current situation has affected the performances of MPs who had to sometimes fuel their vehicles to visitor inspect projects in their constituencies in addition to other statutory functions.

He added that the situation had also affected the work of the various committees of Parliament, since the House has become  financially handicapped and could not even hire experts to conduct due diligence on issues to enable MPs probe for relevant questions  from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in pursuit of transparency and accountability.

“If committees cannot have the needed resources to do its work, that is veritable deficits. Besides, as MPs, we provide other financial assistance to the people we represent.

He called on government to fully resource the House with the needed facilities and services to conduct enquiries into matters of national interest.

Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu added that ‘as a  country and as people we should never forget that democracies emerged out of a long struggle for supremacy among different branches of government”.

“Parliament has been the only arm of government that had always been proscribed with the advent of any coup de tat. The Executive has continued and the Judiciary has survived”.

“Parliament must therefore ensure that MPs have the tools to keep pace with government, thus maintaining the delicate balance between Parliament and the Executive…..This is the hallmark of democratic parliamentary system”
These tools, he said included question time, motions, statements in Parliament, petitions, media and civic society organisation partnership.

The MP for Dome Kwabenya and Second Deputy Speaker, Professor Mike Ocquaye who chaired the function called for a parliamentary inquiry into comments made by the dismissed Deputy Minister of Communication, Ms. Victoria Hammah.

He contended that the House had the mandate to institute an inquiry into allegation of corruption such as those made by her, otherwise it would be failing in its inquisitorial duty.

A secretly recorded tape which went viral, last week, with a purported voice of Ms. Hammah suggested that the Minister of Gender, Women and Social Protection played a role in the determination of the final verdict of the 2012 landmark election petition.  By Bernard Benghan       

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