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General News of Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

New Parliament chamber shouldn’t cost more than $200m – Majority Leader

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, says the state does not intend to spend more than $200 million on the new 450-seater new parliamentary chamber.

The planned construction was announced last Friday when members of the Parliamentary Service Board received a model for the proposed new 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 construction of a new parliamentary chamber is expected to begin before the end of 2019.

Famed architect, David Frank Adjaye, designed the model and at the Friday meeting, he took the parliamentarians through the proposed design and their concepts.

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 existing one appeared to lack structural integrity.

The construction of the new chamber has, however, gotten some detractors with the Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak saying it was needless.

“Ghana clearly does not need a 450 member chamber. The expenditure cannot be justified. A country as small as Ghana should not be entertaining the thoughts of having a 450-member chamber. Yes indeed, democracy is expensive but we must not make it too expensive. Currently, there are many issues at the top of the minds of our constituents. Water, road, electricity, schools, you name it,” he argued.