Mr Thomas Nyarko Ampem, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asuogyaman, has urged Parliament to consider sitting twice a week instead of the regime of four times; due to fuel hikes facing the country.
This, the MP said, would enable members of the House to save some money that would have been used by them to buy fuel (which was now very costly) for shuttling to and from Parliament.
Mr Ampem made the suggestion on the floor of the House on Friday in his contribution during presentation of the Business Statement of the House for the week ending Friday, November 11.
“Mr Speaker, we all know that the main business for this particular meeting is the budget and I have observed that for the days we have been here, sometimes, we come and in less than two hours we adjourned till the next day.
“I am asking whether it will be possible for the Business Committee to consolidate, park the activities; so, instead of four days, we come for two days in a week, to enable us to save on the amount of money we are using for fuel,” Mr Ampem stated.
“Because, Mr Speaker, a day before yesterday, I went to a Goil Filling Station at Legon, my lights were on, and I asked them to fill my tank. I got down to the shop to buy something when I came back, GH¢3000 was my bill.
“Mr Speaker, I had only GH¢2,100 on me, and I had to call my colleague Honourable Yussif Jajah Issaka (MP for Ayawaso North) to send me money through the momo that I am avoiding using before I was able to pay my bill.
“So, Mr Speaker, looking at the kind of business that we have, is it not possible, because we can stay for six hours a day instead of coming for two hours and we go back.
“We drive to this place and two hours, we go back. Even if it is eight hours, we will be willing to stay to do the business for like two-days. That way, we can save GH¢500 of fuel every week.”
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, who presented the Business Statement of the House, in his response to Mr Ampem, said they all recognised that fuel prices had gone up; saying, “I mean, we are all in this country, we all buy fuel, and we know that fuel prices have indeed gone up.”
“Of course, we may disagree on the course, but I will relate it to the price at the international level, I know that crude price now has gone up, it is escalating dramatically, we do know.”
He said that the other factor responsible for the fuel price hikes was the strength of the Ghana Cedis, now.
The Majority Leader said a combination of the two factors were responsible for the fuel price hikes.
“When we are in dire circumstances that is when we are called upon to increase productivity. And for a Member of Parliament to say that we should be working just two days in week, Mr Speaker, that is a very apocalyptic declaration from the Member of Parliament,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
“What would be the effect on national productivity? And what would be the effect on GDP (gross domestic product)? I think that it is an unfortunate call on us that we should be working just two days in a week.”