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Parliament is not gold mine—Bagbin

The Second Deputy Speaker, Alban Sumana Bagbin has said Parliament is not a gold mine as is perceived by the public.

“People think there is so much in Parliament and such individuals get shocked and surprised when they enter parliament,” he said during the opening of the African Evidence Week in Accra on Tuesday.

Expressing his frustrations about the perception being held by some of the citizens that MPs earn so much, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli-Kaleo, Mr Bagbin said people fought tooth and nail to enter Parliament because of the perception that one could make so much in Parliament.

He said such individuals exited Parliament just after some few terms because in Parliament they could not raise enough money to finance their political campaigns.

He said the acrimony and tension associated with Parliamentary elections was borne out of the misconception that there was money in Parliament.

According to the Second Deputy Speaker, Parliamentarians were not paid so much, saying MPs were paid “on account” and they did not even know their true salary until the latter part of their four-year term in office.

He said MPs were given back pay when their salaries had been determined by the committee set up by the President, when their term in Parliament had elapsed.

“My salary as a MP who has been in Parliament for 27 years remains the same a new MP who is just entering Parliament,” he said.

He said some MPs exit Parliament poor and also lose their lives because they could not buy their prescription drugs.

“If MPs enjoy so much why they not lead opulent and extravagant lifestyles after exiting Parliament,” he said.

The MP for Nadowli-Kaleo observed that some MPs were still in Parliament because of their love to serve their community and country.

Mr Bagbin said Parliament was an important arm of government and there could not be a functioning democracy in the country without Parliament.

“The freedom and right we are enjoying today is because there is Parliament,” he said, adding that “without Parliament there will be no democracy.”

Touching on the recent rankings of MPs by a researcher at the University of Ghana, Mr Bagbin said MPs were not against the study or ranking of MPs but felt input of MPs should have been sought to inform the outcome of the study.

By Kingsley Asare

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