The Government is to provide GHC45.5 million this year to build constituency offices for 70 Members of Parliament (MPs).
The amount, which is part of the 2021 Budget, caters for the first stage of the construction project, which would provide constituency offices for all the 275 MPs by 2024.
A report of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament, presented to the plenary on Tuesday, said the Parliamentary Service intended “to construct 70 of such offices annually so that by the end of 2024, all 275 Constituencies will be provided.”
The constituency offices are expected to facilitate the work of Members of Parliament by creating a nonpartisan and neutral office for all constituents to interact with their representatives.
The Committee, however, urged management of the Parliamentary Service to ensure that the funds allocated for the project were ring-fenced and applied strictly for the purpose for which they were allocated.
“Successful execution of the project will further deepen the representational role of Members of Parliament by bringing them closer to their constituents,” the report said.
The Committee expressed worry over delays in the procurement processes for construction work to commence and urged management of the Service to take appropriate steps and liaise with the Leadership to develop modalities for the smooth implementation of the project.
The House has also planned to improve upon internet connectivity this year, under the e-parliament instituted some years ago to deal with the “poor IT infrastructure in Parliament.”
Accordingly, “Parliament is to improve internet connectivity to enable Members and Staff to derive the full benefits of the IT based systems that will be deployed under the e-Parliament programme to facilitate Parliamentary business.”
The Committee noted that Parliament had put in place a number of interventions to improve information flow and management systems in the House.
Prominent amongst these is the Table Office Information Management System and ongoing e-parliament project.
However, reliable internet infrastructure that will allow Members to derive the full benefits of such interventions remains a challenge.
Meanwhile, there is an elaborate plan to improve internet connectivity and broadband speed in through the provision of Wi-Fi to Members to enable them to access information.
The House has adopted the report and approved the sum of GHC523.639 million for the implementation of some of the programmes for Parliament in the 2021 financial year.141