The Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says he is encouraged by the support received from colleague Members of Parliament with regard to the private member’s motion he filed jointly with the Okaikoi Central MP, Patrick Boamah, urging Parliament to reject the $28 million auto loan arrangement for legislators.
He said following the submission of the motion to the Speaker of Parliament, many MPs have expressed their support for the cause and have pledged to fully support it when it comes up on the floor of Parliament for debate.
“Since I put out the article, I have received considerable support and I want to commend my colleague on their other side, Hon. Patrick Boamoah. A good number of MPs have expressed interest in supporting us… They have told us that when the motion is moved, they will speak in favour. I think the response so far is positive, and we want to believe that we can succeed in moving colleagues to reject this loan that the Finance Minister has laid in parliament,” Ablakwa said on Eyewitness News.
According to him, the Speaker of Parliament has admitted the motion and listed it as an urgent motion which will most likely be debated on Wednesday or Thursday.
“This week, either tomorrow [Wednesday] or Thursday, this motion will be debated. So we are very humbled by the sense of urgency and the importance with which the speaker has accorded this motion,” he noted.
The North Tongu has reiterated the need to replace the planned car loan for MPs with entitlements charged on the consolidated fund as expected by the constitution.
He said they are by the motion seeking that MPs, like officials in the other arms of government be catered for by the consolidated fund.
“That [car loan] arrangement should not continue. It is not in tandem with what happens to Article 71 officeholders,” he said, adding that he is confident of a positive debate when the motion is raised on the floor of the house.
The loan agreement for $28 million to Parliament for the purchase of vehicles for the 275 legislators in Parliament has prompted public criticism.
Based on the amount, each MP is expected to receive over $100,000 for the purchase of a vehicle.
The government is expected to pay 60 percent of the loan with all the accrued interest and MPs will cover the remaining 40 percent.
Mr. Ablakwa has already called on his fellow MPs to oppose the practice where the government facilitates loans for MPs to purchase vehicles.
He maintains that MPs should be able to secure their private loans just like anyone else.
Mr. Ablakwa further said the entire Article 71 emoluments regime is in urgent need of a major overhaul.
Mr. Boamah, the Vice-Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, suggested that the state considers a carpool for MPs to use during their terms in office.
He also argued that the public backlash to the loan was unfair given that MPs eventually pay back some part of the money spent on the cars whilst colleagues in other arms of government access these vehicles as part of their conditions of office.