The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, says long-serving legislators deserve better remuneration than new entrants.
He has called for reforms in the salary structure of Parliament. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said such changes will help to motivate seasoned legislators and inspire excellence.
He made these comments while delivering a speech at a dialogue organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) in Accra. The theme for discussion was “The Committee System in Ghana’s Parliament”.
Reward for long-time service
The Majority Leader argued that there was a need to recognise and reward longevity in Parliament.
He said a legislator such as Alban Bagbin, who has served as the MP for Nadowli Kaleo for 27 years, should not be on the same salary as a new MP.
“There should be concrete measures that we put in place to recognise longevity, for now, MPs regardless of the number of terms that you have served,” Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
“The current Second Deputy Speaker, a seven-term MP, is on the same salary as a first-time Member for Parliament and there is nothing to indicate that he has served Parliament for seven terms. So we in the House should structure our affairs to recognise the efforts of long-serving MPs.”
He said Ghana’s Parliament faces many challenges that need to be addressed through reform.
He called for critical reform of the country’s parliamentary committees.
The various committees of parliament need to be reviewed, he argued, lest the problems of old continue to undergird Ghana’s young democracy.
“I consider an appraisal of our committee system at this point in our history opportune,” he said, insisting that Parliament needs to be at its best to have oversight of the executive.
He argued that a serious committee system will help to properly track the work of ministries, departments and agencies, as well as to conduct special investigations into particular salient aspects of their policy and administration.
“If we don’t have career Members of Parliament, the executive will become overbearing and dominate the political space. Indeed, that is what the executive wants: every executive wants to deal with a very weak parliament,” the Majority Leader said.
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