07.06.2006 General News

Address Our Service Conditions - MPs

By Graphic
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Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday asked the President to comply with Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution and determine salaries, allowances and other privileges that should be made available to them to enhance their work.

They said it was regrettable that the President had not attached any importance to their welfare after assuming office more than five years ago.

The MPs expressed these sentiments in support of a statement made by the MP for Upper Manya Krobo, Mr Stephen Amanor Kwao, on the need to resource MPs to enable them perform better both in the House and their constituencies.

He stated that the MPs needed human resources such as research assistants, secretaries and personal assistants to assist them to make meaningful contributions on the floor of the House and other functions in their constituencies.

Mr Kwao said MPs had no offices in Parliament and in their constituencies and office equipment such as faxes, computers, photocopiers, Internet connectivity and research assistants to collect and collate information for their use were also lacking.

The MP stated that people tend to frown on any expenditure made by the legislature and cited public reaction to the previous Speaker's travels and the issue of loans to MPs to buy cars for their work.

He said in the face of all these difficulties that MPs face, results of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Afro Barometre Survey seemed to fault them for not visiting and interacting with their constituents regularly.

Mr Kwao stated that coupled with all these are the frequent demands made on MPs to sponsor medical bills, school fees and to look for employment for their constituents adding that the MP's share of the common fund was meant for specific development projects which could not be used to satisfy such demands.

He called for adequate resources to be allocated to the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to enable them embark on educational drive to let the people know about the actual roles and responsibilities of MPs and District Chief Executives (DCEs) in order to enhance the country's democratic dispensation.

Contributing to the statement, the MP for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga blamed the President for the predicament of the MPs and called on the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to take up the issue seriously in order to adequately resource them to enable them perform better.

A Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and MP for Old Tafo, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, however, attributed the predicament of the legislature to the frequent coups the country had experienced since independence and asked members not to support any form of undemocratic governance.

In another statement on environmental effects of haphazard development on sanitation and public health, the MP for Jomoro, Mr Lee Ocran said attempts by private individuals to provide accommodation had brought in its wake the gross disregard for building regulations.

He said that this had worsened the situation in towns and cities adding that even in well-planned areas like East Lagon and Labone, the location of unauthorised kiosks and containers, which served as dwelling places had rendered the house-to-house collection of refuse ineffective.

Mr Ocran, therefore called on district assemblies to redouble their efforts at waste collection to prevent the outbreak of diseases, to protect the lives of the people and the image of the country.

He suggested that environmental sanitation be made an integral part of the school curriculum to inculcate the culture of cleanliness into the pupils.

Some MPs who contributed to the statement called for the recycling of polythene bags and sachets to curb the damage such items were causing to the environment.

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