Accra, The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye has called on former Members of Parliament (MPs) to take active interest in the work of Parliament and governance of the country.
He said as former MPs they could bring to bear their rich experience in the review of the current Standing Orders of the House as well as help shape the Public Members Bill.
Prof Oquaye made the call at a forum for former Members of Parliament at Parliament House in Accra.
The conference which is being attended by former MPs from the 1979 Parliament to the sixth Parliament of the fourth Republic and being financed by Parliament is to build the capacity of the former MPs.
Prof Oquaye also charged the former MPs to add their voice to important national issues which he said would go a long way towards advancing political and constitutional matters.
He lauded the former MPs their dedication and service to the nation in many capacities.
He also expressed delight at the presence of the large number of former MPs at the forum which he said shows their care for the institution of Parliament.
Your very presence here is a wonderful call to national duty he added.
Prof Oquaye also noted that Parliament as an institution is crucial to act and work as a watchdog and controller of the Executive.
He said as former MPs, they should not be interested at their welfare alone but critical matters that concern the people as a whole.
He announced that the Parliamentary Service Board (PSB) has approved that former MPs and their spouses be treated free from Parliament’s clinic.
Mr Alban Bagbin, Second Deputy Speaker on his part called for the formation of respectable political class of people whose integrity would be respected by all.
He said it is about time politicians refrained from self-destruction and commended them for attending the conference in the large numbers.
Mr Kosi Kedem, President of the Forum for former Member of Parliament (FFMP) on his part commended the Leadership of Parliament for their support in providing the group with an office and auxiliary staff as well as a vehicle to carry out their activities.
He appealed to Parliament to do something urgent about the conditions of former MPs in terms welfare which he said was not in a good state.
He therefore suggested to Parliament to establish a Pension Scheme for sitting MPs and if possible extend it to the former MPs, or MPs should be made to retire on part of their salary.
Mr Kedem stated that the existing end of Service benefit scheme or gratuity of collecting bulk sum gave false hopes and it was not sustainable.
He said after Parliament, many MPs are stigmatised politically and cannot get any job to do.
He said the gratuity system had woefully failed to answer the needs of former MPs, especially at their old age and called for a more responsive, fair and equitable end of service benefit system for MPs.
He said Parliament should consider extending some of its welfare programmes for sitting MPs to former MPs.
We are convinced that a Pension Scheme could be the answer, may be a lesser evil he added.
Mr Kedem also suggested to Parliament to institute a Memoir Writing and Publishing Fund to help former MPs who want to write and publish their memoirs.
He said ‘it then follows logically that Parliament should make available its Research and Library facilities to former MPs.
With all his experience, if an MP dies without a written memoir then a whole Library is lost to posterity he said.
Source: Ghana News Agency