Make Cost of Emergency Recalls of Parliament Public – PNAfrica demands

 

Parliamentary News Africa (PNAfrica), a parliamentary monitoring civil society organization, has called on the Parliamentary Service Board to make public cost of emergency recalls of the House.

According to PNAfrica, as chairman of the Board, the Rt. Hon Speaker Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye and Clerk to Parliament as the administrative head of the legislature, need to tell the Ghanaian taxpayer how much the 5th January 2018 emergency recall and other previous emergency recalls have cost the state.

Executive  Director of PNAfrica, Mr. Sammy Obeng, who made the call noted that Parliaments in many parts of the world have been proactive in announcing how much such exercises have cost, but this has not been the case in the many emergency recalls witnessed in Ghana.

He averred that it is public knowledge transportation allowances paid to MPs for commuting to and from Parliament House; cost of media announcements for recalls; overtime and other special allowances to Parliamentary Service staff; cost of utilities for a day’s Sitting of Parliament; printing and other associated costs, are incurred.

“The people of Ghana must know details of these costs items, especially when PNAfrica‘s internal calculations show it may cost the State between GHS330,000 to half a million Ghana Cedis for the recent recall,” he said.

He stressed that once these costs are made public, MPs will in future consider using other parliamentary processes such as Statements, Parliamentary Question Time and Motions during regular Meetings of Parliament, which costs the State no extra money, rather than resort to the expensive option of recalls.

This, he said, will offer the Parliamentary Service opportunity to use it’s meagre resources for the many pressing needs of the legislative branch.

Mr Obeng argued that transparency and accountability cannot be over emphasized in good governance and democracy and stressed, “Ghana’s Parliament has over the years exercised its mandatory rule over pressing issues through process of emergency recalls but it is time the taxpayer knows how much such processes cost,”  he stated.

He congratulated the Speaker for the intelligent manner with which he handled processes leading to the emergency recall of the House and his landmark rulings during the Sitting.

He noted that the Speaker’s ruling on the competence of the motion filed; his interpretation of Article 112(a) of the Constitution and Order 38 of the Standing Orders of Parliament; and his remarks on the need to have those provisions used with considerable circumspection considering all the implications of the matter, will remain an important reference for successive Speakers, Parliaments and MPs when similar instances arise in the future.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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