…As Parliament Takes Steps To Build 7-Storey Complex
Parliament is taking steps to construct a seven-storey building office facility for the remaining 23 Members of Parliament (MPs) that have been left stranded without offices since the opening of the “Job 600” last year.
The project, which is estimated to cost over GHc92,296,99.36, will also accommodate supporting staff for the MPs, as well as some staff of the Parliamentary Service.
Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, disclosed this while responding to a question posed by the Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Hon. Rockson Dafeamekpor.
Twenty-three Members of Parliament are operating without offices, despite the construction of a multi-million dollar office complex, the “Job 600,” for legislators.
In the meantime, parliament is expected to convert some committee rooms into temporary offices for the 23 affected MPs.
The plight of the 23 MPs was laid bare on the floor of the House when Hon Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, MP for South Dayi, wanted to know how soon offices would be provided for the affected MPs.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs when offices shall be provided for the 23 other Members of Parliament, who are without offices?
In response to that, Hon. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said: “The idea of pairing some members came up for consideration. Along the line [it] suffered some ups and downs because it was not a firm decision and so we have a situation where some members don’t have offices.”
“For now, members may recollect that some committees were given offices and so…there may be the possibility of converting those offices to office space for those members. We may not be able to satisfy all those 23 but that will provide us with a useful beginning.”
He said the “Job 600” office complex, which was refurbished into offices for MPs, took into consideration the total membership of Parliament, which stood at 200 at the inception of the Fourth Republic.
But when the membership increased to 230, Mr. Mensah-Bonsu said, the then Board of Parliament ensured an increase in the number of offices to 252, noting that was to make for the additional 24 offices for purpose as may be determined by the Board.
“Mr. Speaker, the coming into force of the Representation of the People’s (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument, 2012(CI.78), eventually led to an increase in the number of the members of Parliament from 230 to 275, an addition of 45 new constituencies,” the Majority Leader said.
Consequently, he said the Parliamentary Service Board of the Sixth Parliament at its meeting in 2016 approved the Parliamentary House Physical Infrastructure Enhancement Project to urgently address the shortfall in office accommodation for members and staff of Parliament.
The proposed project, according to the Majority Leader, comprised Supplementary MPs Offices, to be known as “Job 600 Annex” facelift of the Chamber Block Basement and related works, and remodelling of the Speaker’s Block.
He stated, “Mr Speaker, this project involves the construction of a seven-storey building which is intended to provide office accommodation for 23 members and their supporting staff, as well as provide office accommodation for staff of the parliamentary service.”
“Mr. Speaker, the total cost estimated for the supplementary MPs office complex at the time was $23,074,249,84 or its cedi equivalent of GHc92,296,99.36,” he added.
The Majority Leader indicated that the Parliamentary Service Board had accepted a financial proposal from the contractor that refurbished the “Job 600” tower block, Messrs China State Hualong Construction Limited, of its willingness to raise the required funds to pre-finance the project on a designer and build arrangement.
He noted that, the seventh parliamentary service board has met and considered that there is the need to increase the offices beyond the 23 for future purposes and assured the contract would be awarded in accordance with due process for the construction work to commence seriously.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba