General News Thu, 4 Jul 2019

Parliament open to shelving controversial new chamber plan

Amidst rising public anger, Parliament has said it has not taken any “firm” decision on the controversial plan to build a new 450-seater chamber.

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensa-Bonsu, addressing a press conference Thursday said, the “process is far from complete.”

The Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo, also told reporters that despite outdooring architectural models last Friday, Parliament was just “exploring feasibilities of having a new chamber.”

That unveiling of the models, has triggered growing anger gauged on social media. A citizen-led march is afoot next week to dramatise public displeasure against the plan.

Some Members of Parliament (MPs) are opposed to the plan while the Executive has distanced itself from the plan that is being gutted by public anger.

Osei-Kyei Mensa Bonsu has stepped forward, explaining discussions on the plan at the level of the Parliamentary Service Board, have been ongoing under the guidance of the last two Speakers of the House.

It would ease congestion in the chamber, provide improved security for MPs. It would also finally house a permanent place for Parliament since it was moved to the State House in 1992.

But the Suame MP who has been in Parliament since 1997, has admitted the public anger cannot be ignored.

“We must take the sensibilities of the people that we lead on board,” he said and hinted, the Parliamentary Service Board will meet to take a decision on the plan.

Even the cost of the project has not been concluded, he said, refraining from confirming the $200m figure bandied around on social media.

There is also the procurement process to complete as well as an agreement on terms of condition on any financial support Parliament may receive.

There have been discussions of a potential $40m support from China which has been heavily involved in putting up important state buildings and public infrastructure in Ghana.

MPs have not been consulted because the new plan remains inconclusive.

He, nonetheless, apologised for the lack of information to the MPs.

Source: Myjoyonline.com
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