THE GOVERNMENT spent a little over GH¢600,000 in providing accommodation for new members of Parliament this year, in spite of increases in rental charges.
It has thus saved the country a whooping GH¢1.9 million, compared to the GH¢2.5 million it spent on new MPs in 2005 when they were accommodated in hotels.
This was made possible because the government discouraged Parliamentarians from staying in hotels.
The Majority Leader, Mr. Alban Bagbin, who disclosed these facts and figures to The Chronicle in Kumasi, stressed the need to change our policies in a bid to ease some of the constraints facing Parliament.
According to him, it was not right for various governments to provide official accommodation for politicians. “I think that government should provide resources for the politician to rent houses just as any ordinary worker, and thus cut down on cost.”
He mentioned that to address office accommodation needs of MPs, Parliament had applied to the President for the release of parts of the land of the Protocol and Domestic Staff of Parliament for a Parliamentary Village to service the country effectively.
Hon. Bagbin indicated that in the interim, Parliament had contracted about US$ 25 million and a US$4 million grant from SSNIT and the Chinese government respectively for the rehabilitation of the Job 600.
Once this is done, Parliament would be in a better position to employ qualified staff, technical consultants and experts that can give Parliament alternative proposals and options, in order to nourish policies and programmes of government, towards improving the living standards of the people.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bagbin has made an urgent call to the Government to resource MPs for the establishment of offices in the various constituencies to properly link MPs and their constituents.