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Politics of Wednesday, 3 July 2019


New parliamentary chamber will be unconscionable – NDC

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has joined the growing opposition to plans by Parliament to construct a new legislative chamber.

In a statement, the NDC said any attempt to construct a new Parliament House when about 20% of Ghanaians cannot have access to potable water 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 said.

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

However, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has described as baseless opposition to the building.

As a country, we are not out of the woods yet in spite of the quality…quantity of various shades of improvement that we are adding to the lives and living standards of our people. We are not there yet. We are not out of the woods, but tell me, we do know that the basic needs of a human being to start with is food, clothing and shelter. Whenever have we been able to achieve this before we started building our stadia or our national theatre? Food, clothing and shelter, have we been able [provide it completely]?”

“There’s a housing deficit close to two million and yet we are building roads. Between roads and housing, the priority should be on housing. We build roads, we build schools, and we build health facilities. They are all to inure to the quality of life—the standard of living of our people.

“So, let’s not really say that not until we satisfied the basic human needs others things are luxurious. They are not…they are not, because as I said then we should begin by saying that before we build a school we should ensure that every Ghanaian has three square meals. Even the United States of America… can we say that every citizen of the United States of America has three square meals? And yet they have all these things that we so much enjoy. Let nobody tell me that not until maybe we are able to provide clothing for everybody, not until we are able to provide adequate housing to everybody these other things are luxuries.”