300 STX houses for MPs

Three hundred housing units from the STX housing project will be allocated to Members of Parliament (MPs) and parliamentary staff, Vice-President John Mahama has announced.

He said “the move is to ensure the safety and security of the MPs, besides providing them with decent accommodation”.

Speaking during a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu, by Dr. William F Shija, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr. Mahama said the completion of renovation works on “Job 600” (State House) project would also provide decent offices for the MPs.

He noted that one of the impediments to the smooth functioning of MPs was the lack of decent places for use as offices, describing the current situation where offices of MPs were scattered as unacceptable.

Mr Mahama said the number of women parliamentarians in Ghana was insignificant compared to some other countries and hoped that the Constitution Review Commission would look at a provision which would facilitate increase in their numbers.

Dr. Shija said the CPA was supporting the establishment of a Ghana Parliamentary Institute to provide formal training for staff of the Parliamentary Service to enhance their work.

On the issue of low women representation in Ghana’s Parliament, he suggested that the political parties should reserve positions for women to contest for seats in Parliament.

Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alhaji Rashid Pelpuo, welcomed the announcement by the Vice-President to make available some of the STX housing units to MPs as good news.
However, the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, thinks otherwise.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu explained that Parliament was not aware of such an arrangement. “Indeed if Parliament were part of it, then the leadership of the House should have been involved in a discussion about it”.

He reiterated the minority’s reservations about the financing of the construction of the project and also questioned what type of bedroom facility would be made available for the MPs with big families.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said “we have been told that the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing has travelled to Mexico to inspect some facilities. `What about the drawings that were made available to us as prototypes?’”

Haruna Bayirga (P.N.C-Sisala West), on his part welcomed the announcement as good news, explaining that MPs faced accommodation problems and the new initiative would go a long way to alleviate those problems.

Mr. Bayirga said the housing units should be delivered promptly.

Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi (NPP Asante Akim North) urged the government to rather provide accommodation in the various constituencies for MPs under the STX housing deal.

This, according to him, will save MPs the trouble of looking for accommodation in Accra at exorbitant prices.

He said government paid rent allowances to MPs every four years which could be avoided with the provision of accommodation in the various constituencies.

He expressed his misgivings about the proposal and said, “I hope it is not a calculated attempt to shut the mouths of the MPs, especially those of the minority who rejected the deal because of the unwillingness of government to disclose the source of its funding”

Source: Ghanaian Times