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General News of Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Source: classfmonline.com

20% of Ghanaians are without water; why build US$200m chamber? – NDC

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said there is no need for a new chamber for Members of Parliament.

A statement issued by Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC said the resources for the 450-seat chamber should rather be invested in providing potable water for the over 20 per cent of Ghanaians who live without clean water, as well as provide electricity for the 16 per cent of the people who live without electricity.

Ghana’s parliament is considering building a new ultramodern chamber to serve the lawmakers.

The Parliamentary Service Board has already received the architectural model for the new chamber from renowned Ghanaian architect David Frank Adjaye, the same designer of the National Cathedral.

He walked the leaders of the house and the MPs through the new design at a meeting on Friday.

“We have been given the direction to prepare to start sometime this year. If we are able to start this year, it can be completed within the next three years”, Mr Adjaye said, adding: “We are removing the Parliamentary chamber to a new chamber and refurbishing the old parliament to be another conference facility for parliament”

“We are going to put all the car parks you see, under the parliament for security”, he explained to the media. “The parliamentarians can drive into a secure zone and rise up directly into the chamber,” he said.

“This will allow the Job 600 building to perform better. Where the car parks are will be turned into gardens which will be able to receive people on occasions.”

But the NDC said any attempt to construct a new parliament in the current circumstances of Ghanaians will be unconscionable.

“In the 21st Century, over 20% of Ghanaians live without potable water and are compelled to share very dirty and infested water with animals. About 16% of our people are without access to electricity and sleep in darkness. There remain many roads that require urgent attention because of their deplorable state. School children still study under trees or are compelled to study in dilapidated structures. Close to three million Ghanaians live below the poverty line and cannot afford three square meals a day.

“It would be unconscionable in the face of these challenges for President Akufo-Addo to spend $ 200 million on a Parliamentary Chamber at a time when one already exists and is serving the needs of Parliament. Parliament only recently had the Job 600 project undertaken to provide decent offices for MPs. We are unable therefore to appreciate the basis upon which a new chamber should be built,” the party’s statement said.

It added: “We demand an immediate cessation of plans to undertake this project. National resources must be channelled into projects and expenditure that have a direct bearing on the lives of the people not grandiose and prestige projects of doubtful relevance.”