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General News of Saturday, 13 July 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

We don’t need 275 MPs – Fresh campaign looms

Parliamentarians have expressed dissatisfaction about the ballooning size of parliament since the 1992 constitution came into force.

From 200 MPs in 1992, parliament now has 75 more MPs. Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has complained, the size is too huge.

He is joined by North Tongu MP Okudzeto Ablakwa who wants a cap of 200 parliamentarians.

MPs in Ghana take home ¢9,000 after taxes and are given at least $80,000 each in a state-guaranteed car loan. They also have a ¢90,000 rent allowance. After each term, MPs take an ex-gratia. In the last payment in 2012, returning MPs collected¢276,000 while exiting MPs took ¢311,000.

Currently, an MP costs the taxpayer at least ¢798,000 in salaries, rent allowance and ex-gratia by the end of a four-year term. This puts the cost of sustaining 275MPs at a minimum of 219.4 million cedis.

NDC MP for Yapei Kusawgu Constituency, Northern Region, John Jinapor wants the constitutional provision on the creation of new constituencies reviewed.

“Why must we have a constitution that allows us to increase the MP the way we have?” he also called for a cap while speaking on JoyNews analysis show Newsfile Saturday.

The Electoral Commission (EC) which is charged with the power to create new constituencies has said although new constituencies on part of its agenda, there has been no discussion on it.

Ghana has created six more regions, raising the possibility for the re-demarcation of constituencies.

Parliament, a fortnight ago, also unveiled architectural models for the construction of a new parliament with a possible expansion to 450 seats.

The plan following public agitation has been shelved. The effectiveness of the institution of parliament has now come under greater public scrutiny.

John Jinapor lamented MPs do not have enough resources to play their role of holding the executive in check effectively.