Think tanks: New Parliament is misplaced priority

Three think tanks have described have described the new Parliamentary Complex to be constructed as a misplaced priority and wondered why Members of Parliament (MPs) are paid than the average citizen would want another chamber.

They expressed worry about the situation where parliament is costing the nation currently and a new chamber would further burden the taxpayer with increase in numbers, complex nature, structural designs and current parliament lacked structural integrity was untenable.

The think tanks were Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI Africa, Jo Ann Sackey, Senior Policy Analyst, African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and Professor  Ransford Gyampo, the Director of the Centre of European Studies, University of Ghana.   

They observed that the proposal was another agenda by politicians to place comfort above necessity which could hamper the development agenda of the nation, however, feared the situation could deepen the perceived rubber stamp nature of parliament.

Mr Cudjoe noted that “it is shuddering to think that Members of Parliament paid than the average Ghanaian, will want another chamber since their bills are actually costing us as a nation and parliament’s latest priority is actually costing us as a nation”.

He expressed worry about the 450-chamber which was a signal of a potential increase in the number of MPs by 175 more seats.

Ms Sackey noted that the proposal was another example of politicians placing comfort above necessity, the nation was too small a country to even have 275 MPs, instead of more that made no sense but would like to see the nation with 140 MPs.

Prof. Gyampo said a new building was not that bad and does not have any qualms if the proposal was the product of the Speaker’s network of contacts and insisted: “I think the Speaker wants to leave a legacy, I am more worried that parliament is unable to effectively and efficiently check the Executive and is seen as a rubber stamp.

“The country needs monumental buildings as we grow and develop, building may be coming because of the Speaker of Parliament’s contact in China where he was once High Commissioner,” he indicated.

Cost of the new parliament remains undisclosed, what is known is the new parliamentary complex will now consist of chapel, mosque, gardens and chamber with capacity to seat 450 MPs and present chamber converted into conference room. -myjoyonline.com

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