Obuasi West MP and Chairperson of Parliament's Finance Committee, Kwaku Kwarteng

Chairperson of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, says Members of Parliament (MPs) must ensure their profit-making activities do not compromise the effective delivery of their duties in the House.

He said the lawmakers, just as all other public sector workers, can embark on private businesses that would yield additional financial benefits to them; however, that should not cause them to ignore their primary mandates as parliamentarians.

In an interview on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, he noted that how MPs use their time after official duties should be their sole responsibility but they should not allow such activities to get in the way of parliamentary business.

“We must not take Members of Parliament away from what happens generally in the public sector. I think that should be permissible [that MPs and public sector workers be given the permission to do their private jobs], except that if you have to be in Parliament, be in Parliament; if you have to be at Committee meetings, be in Committee meetings.

“How you use your time after work is your own business and if there is a requirement that you seek leave in order that you can engage in profit making, I think it is more to be sure that that profit-making activity does not in any way get in the way of your main job as an MP,” he told Samson Lardy Anyenini.

The Obuasi West MP made these comments in reaction to the absenteeism of some MPs, which has led to public outcry with some calling on Parliament to institute strict punitive measures that would put the legislators to check.

“If somebody is a public servant and they come to work regular times, are they allowed after work to do anything for additional income? If you are the Chief Director and have a small shop in your house; you close work at 5 o’clock, are you allowed to go and sit in that shop to sell?

“So we should be fair and ask that question across the public sector,” Mr Kwarteng added.

Meanwhile, Senior Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, has accused MPs of treating their work in Parliament as a part-time job.

He condemned such acts saying that there are rules for Parliament that clearly state that being a Parliamentarian is a full-time job.

“Indeed the rule is that if you are an MP, it is a full-time job and if you want to do anything on the side, you need to get the permit from the Speaker to do so,” he added.

He reiterated that more than half of MPs work outside of Parliament for private gain, adding that it is wrong for MPs to treat a full-time job as part-time.

According to Kofi Bentil, Parliamentarians can relinquish their seat if they cannot go to Parliament.