The Public Affairs Directorate of Parliament has defended the House’s decision to accept a request from the Finance Ministry to obtain a $28 million loan from the National Investment Bank to purchase 275 vehicles for legislators in the 8th Parliament.
According to the Directorate in its press statement, concerns being raised by the public as to whether the lawmakers are deserving of the facility given the state of the economy are flawed and unfair.
This, they said, is because the loan being procured is not free and won’t be paid from the pockets of citizens but is part of the MPs’ conditions of service which is payable during their tenure.
“Parliament will like to put on record that the MPs’ cars are bought with loans which they pay for, as has been the culture since the inception of the Second Parliament of the Fourth Republic in 1997. The arrangement for the Members of the 8th Parliament is no different from the arrangements for Members of the previous Parliaments.
“Reports that suggest that the loan resources for the MPs are free are inaccurate and only add to the misconception that continues to affect the work of the institution of Parliament,” part of the July 8 statement read.
Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare, on Tuesday, July 6, laid the $28 million request on the Floor of the House. But this, after being made public, has been strongly opposed by a section of Ghanaians who urged government to reconsider its priorities following the adverse effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the economy.
Touching on the unequal treatment, the Public Affairs Directorate stressed that while members of the other arms of government and Article 71 officeholders are ordinarily given duty vehicles in their official capacities, members of the Legislature, despite their representational roles, are offered loans that are payable during their term.
“Maybe it is time for the State to assume total cost responsibility in the procurement, servicing, fuelling, maintenance and replacement of duty post vehicles for Members of the Legislature as is done for the Members of other arms of government and other constitutional creatures,” it suggested.