General News of Wednesday, 3 July 2019
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has called on Ghanaians to remain calm as the House will soon debate the decision to build the new parliamentary complex.
This assurance follows the public outcry that has erupted over the decision of the parliamentary service board to begin the project.
The remarks of the Nadowli Kaleo MP followed some interaction by some Members of Parliament who expressed views against the parliamentary complex.
He said the move is not etched in stone and it will only take such parliamentary debates for the right decision to be taken.
“I have operated in that chamber with the Majority leader and have raised motions on the floor of that chamber. We know the size of that chamber and we know why it is in that shape. There is history to everything, so let us wait when they present the issue for debate. The majority leader has assured that the issue that is being discussed will be brought up for debate and the decision will be taken by the house because that is the right thing to do.”
Alban Bagbin further advised his colleagues and the general public to stop making comments that could to put the name of the house into disrepute.
“Let’s stay off that issue and focus on the statement so we can bring every information to bear. It is important for me to add that, given the earlier issue, about the purchase of furniture for this chamber, it was not a decision by Members of Parliament or the house. So, the public should stop blaming and castigating members. It is uneasy to educate the public on these matters and so we should be careful of how we talk about parliamentarians parliament as an institution.”
New Parliament chamber shouldn’t cost more than $200m – Majority Leader
The backlash was triggered after the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, 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-Mensa-Bonsu told Citi News.
Despite the increase in capacity, Mr. Kyei-Mensa-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 new chamber
The construction of a new parliamentary chamber is expected to begin before the end of 2019.
Popular architect, David Frank Adjaye, designed the model which he showed MPs at a meeting on Friday.
He told the media that the project will be completed in three years if it begins before the end of the year.
The new chamber will be a multi-purpose building with a chapel, mosque, eatery and a museum.
The plan for the construction of a new chamber dates back to 2017 when the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia disclosed that the government was considering the construction of a new chamber because the existing one lacked structural integrity.