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Agbesi Charges: How Long Can We Wait?”
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The Mills administration seems to be getting a lot of flak from its own party members in recent times. Latest to join the army of critics is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Hon. Alfred Kwame Agbesi, who is not happy about the way the government is handling the affairs of MPs.

On Monday, Agbesi took advantage of the absence of the leadership of the Majority in the House to lash out at the Mills administration for reneging on its promises. Whilst some of his colleague Majority members looked on in amazement, those on the other side of the House, the Minority, cheered him on.

This was when he was contributing to the motion for the approval of the financial policy of the government for the year ending December 2010. Mr. Agbesi gave the government an ultimatum to provide offices for Members of Parliament by the end of next year, when the budget estimates for the year had been long approved.

The MP said the President in his State of the Nation’s address to Parliament this year, promised the House of Legislature that he would provide offices for every MP in the various constituencies across the country, but till date, nothing substantial has been made to honour his pronouncement. “It is unacceptable that MPs have no offices,” he fumed.

He thus charged the President to honour the promise he made to the house when he presented the State of the Nation’s address to Parliament, and to stop the rhetoric’s because they need action and not words. “Madam Speaker, Parliament continues to pass budgets for various Ministries but it is a pity that it cannot make provisions for its members. It is unacceptable that I have been in the House for more than five years and there is no office for Members”, he said, asking rhetorically “how long can we wait?”

His criticism follows similar remarks by high profile members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), including former President Jerry John Rawlings, Majority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Alban Sumana Bagbin and Hon. Moses Asaga.

The Ashaiman MP, who is also a member of the Board of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), was making reference to the much-talked about ‘white-elephant’ Job 600 building, which was started by Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah in the 1960s to house heads of African states when the country first hosted the OAU Conference in Accra.

The building has since been abandoned by successive governments.
Mr. Agbesi, therefore, asked government to expedite action on the building. According to him, the job 600 project could be used as offices for the MPs if the government is bold enough to embark on the completion of the project to ease members from using their vehicles as offices and eating places.

He alleged that the building which used to be the office of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is now being used by individuals he described as ‘Castle boys’ from the seat of government, who he said were not putting the building to good use.

In his intervention, the Minister for Works and Housing and Water Resources, Mr. Albert Abongo told the House that his outfit was working hard to ensure the completion of the Job 600 project. He promised that work on the project would commence before the end of the year, indicating that they are still going through the procurement process.

In his maiden state of the nation address to Parliament, President Mills pledged to renovate the job 600 building to serve as office complex for Parliamentarians. But eleven months on, there is no sign that the project will start any time soon. This, the MP said was not good enough.

Source: The Chronicle

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