Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has called for a review of ex-gratia payments made to Members of Parliament after their tenure of office.
According to him, most MPs after exiting parliament become extremely poor and unrecognizable because of the hardships they go through.
He disclosed that due to the hardships the former legislators go through, they often fall on incumbent MPs for financial support which he described as worrying.
Speaking on JoyNews, the Majority Leader said many aspiring legislators perceive Parliament to be a goldmine with an aim to enrich themselves but regret after they realise it’s not so.
According to him, most of them end up selling off their properties for survival.
“They become pauperized and that should tell you that parliament is not a goldmine. In fact, most of them especially if your party has lost out…also if the person comes and in exiting is more or less retiring, what happens? So it’s a real challenge and he migrates outside, he exits, the next thing you hear is he has sold his vehicle or calling you please do something for me otherwise it’s bad,” he disclosed.
“Former MPs call asking for survival, handouts, it’s that bad. It’s not like people perceive parliament to be. Many of them regret coming to parliament,” he added.
Due to the challenges ex-MPs go through after exiting office, the Majority Leader called proposed ex-gratia payments to be replaced with a pension scheme to cushion legislators.
In his view, the pension scheme will help solve the financial difficulties of MPs when they exit parliament.
Citing other countries as an example, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said same should be done in Ghana to serve as a lifeline for MPs.
He said, “This payment of gratuity as far as I’m concerned, we should have a relook. It’s not helpful. I should think that we should have a pension scheme for Members of Parliament.”
The Suame MP recalled, there was an attempt in the past to implement a similar idea but failed because, “The start off point was the difficulty, whether to start with those of them who had served two terms or three terms. In some jurisdictions, they begin with people who have served three terms and then in others two terms. If you serve one term it will be difficult to say that the person should benefit from that because you have to contribute significantly to enable the system to be able to take care of you and then they graduate you. If you serve for three terms and you exit, probably they will say that okay you should be provided with equivalent of 20 percent of the emoluments of an incumbent MP. I think that that’s the better way about it,” he said.