Checks by the Parliamentary News Africa (PNAfrica) indicates that it may cost the tax payer between GHS330,000 to about a half a million Ghana Cedis to recall Members of Parliament from recess.
This alarming figure spent on just a day’s sitting has led the civil society parliamentary monitoring organisation to call on Parliament to disclose and make public the official cost for the recent and all previous Parliament recalls.
Below is the full press statement:
PARLIAMENT MUST MAKE PUBLIC THE COSTS OF EMERGENCY RECALLS
Parliamentary News Africa (PNAfrica) congratulates the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, for the intelligent manner with which he handled the processes leading to the emergency recall of Parliament on Friday, 5th January 2018, and his landmark rulings during the Sitting. As a parliamentary monitoring civil society organisation, we believe that his rulings on the competence of the motion filed; his interpretation of Article 112 (3) 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 this release, we call on the Parliamentary Service – with the Rt. Hon. Oquaye as Chairman of it’s Board; and the Clerk of Parliament as the administrative head of Ghana’s legislature, to make public the cost of this emergency recall and previous emergency recalls. Transparency and accountability cannot be over emphasized in good governance and democracy. Ghana’s Parliament has over the years exercised its mandatory rule over pressing issues through the process of emergency recalls, and it is about time the taxpayer knows how much such processes cost us.
Parliaments in many countries of the world have been proactive to announce to the public how much such exercises have cost, but this has not been so in the many emergency recalls we have witnessed in Ghana. It is public knowlegde that the transportation allowances paid to MPs for commuting to and from Parliament House; cost of media announcements for the recall; 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 the details of these costs items, especially when PNAfrica’s internal calculations shows that it may cost the State between GHS 330,000 and half a million Ghana Cedis for this recall.
PNAfrica believes that once these costs are made public, MPs will in the 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 resorting to this expensive option of recalls. This will certainly allow the Parliamentary Service the opportunity to use it’s meagre resources for the many pressing needs of the legislative branch.
Parliamentary News Africa (PNAfrica) is a civil society parliamentary monitoring initiative that uses mass media as a tool to engage with and influence legislative assemblies accross the continent of Africa. Our vision is to become Africa’s most impactful non-profit that ensures parliamentary openness accross Africa.