The Executive Director of African Center for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), Rashid Draman, has lauded plans by Parliament to secure office facilities for Members of Parliament (MPs).
He further noted that having these offices will address the issue of accessibility of parliamentarians. Also, he explained that it will ensure MPs proper representation of the local people.
Mr. Draman insisted the offices will provide constituents a structure to channel their grievances even if the legislator may not be physically present.
“I am for it… Your constituents may find you at the hospital or on the street, but that is not how to structure representation. I think we need to at all cost have a place where when if you want to meet your MP or when you have issues; you can go to”.
Government allocates GHC 45.5 million for office facilities
Parliament has allocated an amount of GHC45.5 million for the construction of 70 constituency offices for MPs. According to the Special Budget Committee the constituency offices will facilitate the work of members of the House.
It further explained that this will help government by creating a non-partisan and neutral spaces. The Committe further explained that the offices will provide an enabling environment for constituents to interact with their representatives.
The committee also indicated that the successful execution of the project would deepen the representational role of MPs. This, it revealed, can be achieved by bringing them closer to their constituents.
Nonetheless, a report from the Budget Committee has urged management of the Parliamentary Service to put the allotted funds to good use.
The construction of the offices will constitute the first phase of the project.
Parliament intends to construct 70 of such offices annually to reach a total of 275 of such facilities by the end of 2024.
The committee observed processes will soon commence for the award of contract for the construction.
That notwithstanding, the committee expressed worry over the procurement process which is yet to commence.
Commenting on this, the ACEPA boss opined that providing the MPs with offices will represent major progress in Ghana’s democracy where citizens can easily engage with their Members of Parliament.
“When MPs have their offices, their work is structured and representation is properly done. If we say we are representatives of the people and the people don’t know where to find us, then there is a problem.”
The Executive Director of ACEPA however, suggested that there are many examples Ghana can look at including Zambia and Botswana. Mr. Draman asserted that the allocation for MPs offices “is late in coming”.
Nevertheless, he hopes that parliament will ensure that it goes “through this time around”.
Inusah Fuseini reacts to constituencies offices
Following the development has been greeted with mixed reactions from some legilators. This saw the immediate past Tamale Central Member of Parliament, Inusah Fuseini kicking against it.
According to him, because MPs are part of the country’s local assembly system, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies; these institution can rather provide offices for the legislators.