Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has denied claims that the Finance minister made allocation for the proposed new parliamentary chamber which has sparked anger in the country.
The Speaker of Parliament while extending an invitation to the President to cut sod for the project also noted in a letter to the Flagstaff House that budgetary allocation had been done for the project.
Speaking to Francis Abban Monday, the Ofoase-Ayirebi MP said the allocation made in the 2019 budget by the Finance ministry was meant for the completion of some existing works in parliament.
“The executive arm of government has not been engaged on this new chamber at all. Nana Akufo-Addo has not gone to cut sword for any new chamber. The finance Minister also has not released money for a new chamber, so the claim that money has been made available for the new parliament construction is not true. The allocation was for some works in parliament and it was clear in the budget,” he told Francis Abban and challenged Ghanaians to read the nature of the allocation in the 2019 budget.
Paragraph 406 of the budget reads: “Parliament will complete its Physical Infrastructure Enhancement Project, which commenced in 2018 to provide office accommodation for the remaining 23 MPs and Secretariats of parliamentary committees and to improve security infrastructure within the parliamentary precinct. It will also pursue reforms including the strengthening of the Budget and Fiscal Office and the Legal Services and Drafting Department to assist MPs in introducing Private Members’ Bills as well as the commencement of the Parliamentary Assurance Project.”
He also emphasised members of the House will not agree to the proposal for a new chamber.
“There’s a proposed new chamber. This is a matter that most MPs will not support if you ask me. I’m not sure MPs in the majority will even agree to a new chamber”.
The Parliamentary Service Board’s decision to construct a complex including a new 450-seater chamber has been a subject of public outrage.
Most Ghanaians are awed and enraged about the rationale behind the proposed facility, particularly when there are other more important needs of citizens; the likes of portable water, classroom blocks, employment etc.
According to them, building a parliamentary chamber in this current economic hardship state is unnecessary.
The project, expected to be funded partly by the Indian government with counterpart funding from the government of Ghana, when constructed, will consist of a 450-seater chamber, a chapel, mosque, restraint and a parliamentary museum.