Several years after the abandonment of the State House project, popularly called Job 600, renovation work on it has begun once again.
This followed the engagement of engineers to assess the structural integrity of the building for actual work to start as soon as possible.
The Majority Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema West, Abraham Ossei-Aidoo, made this known on the floor of the House on Tuesday, when Parliament was rising for Christmas.
He said as soon as the “structural integrity” of the building was determined, the Parliamentary Service Board would decide on the utilization of the funds secured for the project. When completed, the Tower Block would provide offices for MPs and staff of Parliament.
“I wish to inform the House that next year will see some improvement in the infrastructural base within which we work.
“We look forward to getting 10-12 Committee Rooms when the first phase of the Parliamentary Institute, the construction of the three-storey block and the first floor of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs are completed,” he stated.
Hon. Ossei-Aidoo expressed satisfaction with the level of mutual goodwill and trust that existed between the majority and minority sides of the House during the year.
“We perhaps are at the best of times to continue to build the united, strong, independent, conscience-driven and nationally-purposed Parliament that our people deserve.
“We can and must give vent to our burning desire to break the shackles of needless, excessive and debilitating partisanship,” he stated.
He said politicians' resolution to unite would face its greatest challenge next year with the forthcoming election.
“We must resist all temptations to destroy the bridges of co-operation that are clearly emerging across the House.
We must resist as well any temptation to take cheap political advantage of issues of great national importance just because an election year is around.
“In our diversity, we must stay united and focused. This posture will send the relevant signal to our followers, supporters and sympathizers that we can disagree without being rancorous, acrimonious, mischievous or abrasive to one another,” he stated.
In his view, “the challenges posed to our unity and collective resolve to entrench democracy offer us a unique opportunity to bequeath to the next Parliament and the country as a whole, the kind of legacy we shall be remembered for.”
The Majority Leader, who is also the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, called for a revision of the Standing Orders of the House to broaden the frontiers of parliamentary oversight and deepen the country's democratic culture.
He commended the flagbearers of the various political parties which had already been to congress and hoped that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP's ) would be peaceful as well.
Hon. Ossei-Aidoo called on Ghanaians to exercise their legendary hospitality during the forthcoming CAN 2008, which Ghana hosts next month.
“I wish all MPs and staff and the Press Corps a joyous Christmas and a prosperous 2008. It is my hope that the Good Lord will protect us all and bring us back safely to the House to continue to serve our people and country,” he said.
Minority Leader and MP for Nadowli West, Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin, commended the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament for doing a great job; “The Public Accounts Committee showcased what a Parliamentary Committee is capable of doing.”
He commended the leadership of the House, the Speaker, the Parliamentary staff and the Press Corps for their sterling performance during the year.
“I wish you, my colleague Members of Parliament, members of the Press Corps, staff of Parliament and the entire nation a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” he said.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes, commended the two sides of the House for their show of maturity during the year.
By Sylvanus Nana Kumi & Ethel Kangberee