Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye has resurrected his plan for a new US$200 million Parliamentary Chamber amidst threats posed by the Covid-19 coronavirus, saying Parliament’s move yesterday to move to the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) as part of its social distancing strategy proves that a new chamber is needed.
The speaker said Ghanaians must now realize their folly for kicking against a new chamber of parliament when the idea was mooted over a year ago.
“As the Majority Leader suggested, the other day, we are in the process of making all relevant arrangements if we can relocate temporarily to the conference centre…and carry on. Maybe, this would make people realise that Parliament is in need of a more spacious place,” he stated during proceedings in Parliament.
Last year, Ghanaians mounted a spirited opposition to the US$200 million chamber, describing the move as insensitive amidst poverty and government complaints of revenue squeeze. The widespread anger forced the Ghanaian lawmakers to hastily abandon the idea.
But Mr Mike Oquaye believes that it is time Ghanaians went back to the subject and allow lawmakers to have their way.
Meanwhile, reports have shown that the proposed chamber is a well-crafted project being personally pushed by the Speaker of Parliament, the Majority leader Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu and the Akufo Addo administration to build a plush new chamber which has already been designed by the internationally renowned Ghanaian architect David Adjaye.
Funds were siphoned into the project by the Finance Ministry. The Speaker had announced early last year that some GHC 72 million was allocated to the project and reports indicate that China plans to give Ghana a grant of some US$ 40 million for it.
Whatsup News is in possession of a June 19, 2019 letter written by the Speaker of Parliament Professors Aaron Mike Oquaye inviting President Akufo Addo to cut the sod for the new Chamber.
However, when the lid on the contentious chamber was blown, the Akufo Addo administration through the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah curiously denied that the Executive arm of government had any idea about the controversial chamber.
“From the Executive perspective, I am not aware that the Executive has been engaged on this idea,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah had said.