Parliament doesn’t need new Chamber Complex – Okudzeto Ablakwa
Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has waded into the debate on the relevance of a new chamber complex for Parliament.
According to him, Parliament’s plan to construct a new chamber is unnecessary and a misplaced priority as the funds could be channelled into other initiatives such as supporting research staff of parliamentarians.
Mr. Ablakwa, a ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament argued that the construction of simple offices for parliamentarians is a better use of state resources as it will provide legislators the opportunity to have improved interactions with their constituents.
He urged the Speaker of Parliament to take a second look at Parliament’s decision to construct a multipurpose chamber.
“If the views of all Members of Parliament were sought, I would have suggested we use some of those resources to beef up research staff of MPs who must be paid well in order to attract good calibre and construct simple MPs offices across the country to improve interactions with constituents as we have in other jurisdictions. Especially at a time most constituents say they do not get to see their MPs.”
“I do not think Parliament needs a new Chamber Complex… Respectfully, I do hope Mr. Speaker will take a second look at this.”
MPs receive proposed design for construction of new chamber
The Members of the Parliamentary Service Board last week, received a model of a proposed new chamber for Ghana’s Parliament.
The proposed chamber will be a multi-purpose building with amenities like a chapel, mosque, restaurant etc.
Famed architect, David Frank Adjaye, took the leadership of Parliament through the new design last week.
New Parliament chamber shouldn’t cost more than $200m
The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, earlier said the state does not intend to spend more than $200 million on the new 450-seater new parliamentary chamber.
“We all think that the facility should not exceed a certain amount; that is $200 million. We are looking at anything between $150 million and $200 million,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told Citi News.
Despite the increase in capacity, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Majority Leader, quelled suggestions that the number of legislators could also increase.
“There is a great misunderstanding of the intent of the project. It is not intended by anyone to increase the number from 275 to 450. Nobody is talking about that at all. We want to have a design such that the President will be sworn in in parliament before Parliament.”
The construction of a new parliamentary chamber is expected to begin before the end of 2019.