The outspoken Member of Parliament (MP) for Asikuma- Odoben-Brakwa, Hon. P. C. Appiah Ofori, says the decision of the government to contract loans for Members of Parliament is a step in the right direction.
He added that the general public should therefore understand the wisdom in the decision that the President took, and stop the unnecessary criticisms making the rounds after parliamentary approval.
Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle, the prodigal son of the Minority in Parliament (as he is popularly referred to), said it was in the best interests of the state for the government to have taken such a decision. He noted that when such issues arise, although the general public does not understand what is on the ground, they give their own interpretation that is inimical to MPs and Parliament.
Mr. Appiah Ofori mentioned that the work of the MP was such that they have to commute from their homes daily to parliament, and then to their constituencies over the weekends, as such they must be mobile. According to him, like all other public servants, MPs are also entitled to cars, fuel, maintenance allowance, and a driver, but because of the numbers involved, the government cannot afford it.
As such, if you do a cost benefit analysis, one would realise that the former would pose cash flow problems for the nation, and its opportunity cost. It would be recalled that President John Evans Atta Mills gave approval for a $50,000 car loan for parliamentarians.
The move is to facilitate the work of MPs, some of whom have to commute long distances to their various constituencies, and back to Accra weekly. Even though approval for the loans has received presidential assent, contractual details are yet to be firmed up. The loans are to be paid back in monthly installments for four years, by which time their tenure of office in parliament would have come to an end.
The ex-gratia payable to the MP’s at the end of their four year tenure would also be used as a guarantee for the procurement of the loans. A similar policy under the erstwhile New Patriotic Party government, which made available $20,000 for MPs, generated heated public discontent for MPs.
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