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General News of Thursday, 8 July 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

NDC, NPP MPs unite to defend US$28 million car loan facility

MPs have divergent views on the matter MPs have divergent views on the matter

• MPs are set to enjoy a US$28 million loan facility

• The loan is to enable them purchase vehicles for their activities

• Some Ghanaians have reacted angrily to the issue

Members of Parliament from both sides of the house have mounted a spirited defence of their right to enjoy the US$20 million vehicular loan facility presented before the house by the Ministry of Finance .

The Finance Committee of Parliament is currently reviewing the package that will ensure that each MP gets US$100,000 to take care of their vehicular needs.

There has been huge uproar from the public over the issue but some MPs insist that they deserve it.

Rockson Dafeamekpor, an MP on the ticket of the NDC (South Dayi) says that some of his colleagues are using ride hailing service to commute to parliament and need the money to get their own cars.

“Check the condition of service for the Electoral Commissioner. She has about 5 military officers following her in two land cruisers. She is an article 71 officeholder. She was not given money or a loan to buy these vehicles. I don’t have five military men following me.

“Supreme Court judges have land cruisers, they were not given loans to buy their land cruisers. Ministers of State have land cruisers or official vehicles. Yesterday you saw in the papers that another facility is been taken by the executive to acquire official vehicles for members of the council of state.

“MPs are the only category of article 71 holders who are not given an official vehicle. So if the agreement is that we are given a loan to purchase official vehicles, I think it is very wrong. My position is that the government should take steps and get us official vehicles to perform the functions of our office in the next four years like it is done for all the other categories,” he said.

Another Member of the minority, Yusif Sulemana (Bole) says the backlash is unwarranted as the MPs will pay back the loan.

He said “In some cases when MPs are leaving office, the vehicles are even auctioned to them. That comes with a huge cost but the people are not aware of this and so the general public is not even looking at this.

“All they hear is that MPs are taking loan to buy vehicles. This is a loan we are taking and the loan will be paid back. By four years, it is ended (and) I should have paid back the loan. So I don’t see where the problem is. I don’t blame them because we have refused to engage them and to explain to them exactly what is happening.”

This argument was reiterated by Kennedy Osei Nyarko, the Member of Parliament for Akyem Swedru who is on the ticket of the NPP.

In a Facebook comment, he said: “Why do we always create the impression that it is the government that’s buying this vehicle for members. We are deducted 35% of our monthly salaries to service this vehicle loans we take from the banks,” he said.

Patrick Yaw Boamah, the MP for Okaikwei North is not against the principle of securing loan for the MPs to purchase cars but wants it shelved due to the public backlash.

“If I had my way, I would tell my colleagues to reject the facility for the simple reason that all the other arms of government, vehicles are procured for them without going through the process where the media is always on the back of MPs for contracting a loan.

“If the public thinks that MPs do not deserve a vehicle to ride in, we should know, so we know our limitations and what the Finance Ministry can do to support our work,” he said.

Samuel Nartey George, the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampam however has a different opinion.

He believes that the practice of Parliament assisting MPs to purchase their own cars should end.

“My position on this car loan matter remains the same. Treat Parliament like the Executive and the Judiciary. Provide workstation vehicles fueled and serviced by the State just like is done for ministers and judges. MPs should buy their own personal cars when they want one,” he posted on Twitter.

Meanwhile, you can nominate personalities and organisations for the GhanaWeb Excellence Awards, the people's choice award scheme aimed at acknowledging personalities, groups, and organisations who have contributed immensely to the development of Ghana.

Nominations are unlimited and end on August 31, 2021.

Below are the seventeen categories and their criteria to guide your nominations.

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