Business mogul and a member of the Council of State, Alhaji Asuma Banda has waded into the controversy surrounding the payment of ex-gratia to Members of Parliament suggesting that the lawmakers should receive their benefits only when they are leaving parliament and not after every four years.

Alhaji Banda who spoke to Citi FM Tuesday afternoon said the practice of giving out ex-gratia every four years “is a cheat to the nation.”

“When somebody [completes the term] and does not go to parliament again, then they are entitled to it. It should not be every four years,” he said.

He even goes further to oppose Parliament’s proposal that all allowances, salaries and ex-gratia of article 71 office holders be made tax free.

Parliament, in a report to the 1992 Constitutional Review Committee, proposed that all article 71 office holders should be exempt from tax.

The successful businessman believes the proposal to make the lawmakers’ remuneration tax-free will only shortchange other civil and public servants, insisting that the parliamentarians should not be treated differently from other workers in the country.

Alhaji Banda intimated “Parliament is for people of substance who go there so I don’t see why they should be going on with this petty, petty things,” adding Parliament is a place where people go to be honoured and to etch their names in the annals of the country.

To him, the problem will be lessened if parliamentarians are paid well.

“If we pay them very good salaries, they buy their own cars, they hire their own houses, then we will not have this [problem],” he proposed.

Story by Derick Romeo Adogla/