Some minority Members of Parliament (MPs) are accusing government of reneging on its responsibility of strengthening the work of the law-making body.
According to them, Parliament is “broke” and?is at?the?mercy and pleasure of donor institutions, who provide funding to enable the law-making body undertake some of its core duties.
Advancing his argument on the President’s state of the nation address to Parliament, Wednesday, Member of Parliament (MP) for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, alleged that committees of parliament have resorted to begging for money from individuals and donors to enable them function effectively.
Mr. Asiamah, who is also the ranking member on the youth and sports committee further accused government of deliberately stifling parliament with the needed funds to enable them carry out their oversight duties over the executive.
He argued the situation has compelled the various committees in Parliament to accept money and other resources from donors to conduct its activities.
“Parliament is broke. Committees cannot function.? If the president talks about parliament being viable and strong, he doesn’t know what he is talking about, because under his watch, Parliament is collapsing and not functioning well” Mr. Asiamah lamented.
The MP for Atwima Mponua, who is also a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), noted that the state has not released any funds this term for the committee to conduct its activities, stressing that all the activities it had so far conducted were done through the help of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
This, he noted, is placing the work of the law-making body in a compromising position considering the oversight responsibilities it has over the executive.
The MP bluntly indicated that some of the offices in Parliament lacked the necessary working tools to function efficiently and effectively, as computers are broken down coupled with lack of A4 papers.
“This house has not been given the needed resources to function as Parliament”, Mr. Asiamah emphasized.
His position was strongly supported by MP for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, who also alleged that the Judiciary is facing similar challenges.
Mr. Atta Akyea argued that releases, which are supposed to let Parliament function are also in arreas.
“We are so broke to the point that this Parliament has been reduced to an arm of government with a-cup-in-hand that we have to see donors to even support us to converge in places for policies to function”, the MP for Abuakwa South noted.
Mr. Atta Akyea ?further alleged that the Judiciary?is in “pathetic arrears” and admonished the Speaker of Parliament to check the veracity of his comments with the Chief Justice.
But on a point of order, the deputy finance minister, Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson challenged the assertions?that releases?to Parliament are in arrears.
Mr. Forson, who is also MP for Ajumako Enyan Essiam constituency told Parliament that the MP for Abuakwa South is misleading the house.
He argued and categorically stated that releases to Parliament are not in arrears, noting that releases ?for the 1st quarter? has been released to the law-making body two weeks ago.
Speaking to Joy News Wednesday, on the issue, deputy ranking member on the public accounts committee, George Loh denied that Parliament is “broke”, noting that business is going on as usual.
“It is totally unfair for parliament to be said to be broke”, Mr. Loh, said.
The deputy ranking member, who is also MP for North Dayi noted that like all other institutions, Parliament has challenges and depend on donor funding. This, he indicated does not mean the law-making body is “broke”.
According to him, donor institutions get involved with Parliament mainly to help in building the capacity of Parliament. This, he does not see anything wrong with.
He also admitted ?that if Parliament is fully resourced, it will do much more than it is presently doing.
“No institution gets all the funding that it needs and this is because Ghana is a developing country”, Mr. Loh intimated.