23 Parliamentarians lament their 'officeless' state

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Twenty-three Members of Parliament in the current parliament do not have offices for themselves and their auxiliary staff.

The situation has prompted Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwame Dafeamekpor, MP for South Dayi to file a question that asked the "Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs when offices shall be provided for the 23 other Members of Parliament who are without offices.”

Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey, MP for Yilo Krobo asked the question on behalf on his colleagues.

Answering, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensa Bonsu, the Majority Leader, said the Parliament House Physical Infrastructure Enhancement Project approved by Parliamentary Service Board of the Sixth Parliament at its 21st Regular Meeting held in July 2016, has engaged the attention of the new  Board of the Seventh Parliament.

He said even though all the pre-contract works were duly undertaken, the Parliamentary  Service Board of the previous Parliament could not award a contract for the project execution as its mandate expired after the general elections.

The Majority Leader assured the House: “As you are aware, the Board of the Seventh Parliament has been constituted and the project under reference has engaged the attention of the new Board.

“Discussions are going on the need to increase the number beyond 23.

“As soon as a determination is made, processes leading to the award of the contract in respect of the project would be triggered and I want to assure the House that the contract will be awarded in accordance with the due process for construction works to commence in earnest.”

Mr Kyei-Mensa Bonsu said the Job 600 Office Complex, which was refurbished into offices for MPs took into consideration the total membership of Parliament increased to 230, the then  Board ensured an increase in the number of offices to 252.

This was to make for the 24 additional offices for purposed as may be determined by the Board.

“Mr Speaker, the coming into force of the Representation of the People’s (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument, 2012 (C.I. 78) eventually led to an increase in the number of Members of Parliament from 230 to 275, an addition of 45 new constituencies.

“At the time the Membership of Parliament increased to 275, the civil works for the refurbishment of the Block had been completed and further tempering with the structure would have involved a lot of demolition with attendant huge financial implications,” the Majority Leader said.

He said apart from the huge financial outlay as a result of any demolition, the structural integrity of the building would have been compromised and hence necessitated relevant adjustments and reinforcement.

“It is these considerations and the effect of huge additional loads to a structure that itself was over 50 years that resulted in maintaining the original facility.

"This, therefore, resulted in a shortfall of office accommodation for 23 out of the additional 45 Members that joined Parliament 2012.”

Mr Kyei-Mensa Bonsu explained that the Parliament House Physical Infrastructure Enhancement project has three sub-project components, namely Sub-project I- Supplementary MP Offices (Job 600 Annex); Sub-project II- Facelift of the Chamber Block Basement and Related Works; and Sub project III- Re-modelling of Speaker’s Block.

Despite the Parliament House Physical Infrastructure Enhancement Project, being a three-part component project, the Majority Leader threw the searchlight on the Supplementary MPs Offices (Job 600 Annex), and said the project involved the construction of a seven-storey building which was intended to provide office accommodation for 23 Members and their support staff as well as provide office accommodation for staff of Parliamentary Service.

He announced that the total cost estimated for the Supplementary MPs Office Complex at the time was $ 23, 074, 249.84 or its cedi equivalent of GHC 92, 296, 99.36.

“Mr Speaker, I wish to indicate that prior to approving this project, the PSB of the Six Parliament accepted a financial proposal from the contractor that refurbished the Job 600 Tower Block, Messrs China Stat Hualong Construction Limited of its willingness to raise the required funds to pre-finance the project on design-and-build arrangement,” the Majority Leader said.