Parliament has stated for the record that vehicles procured with loans for MPs, which have generated so much public anxiety will be paid for by members during their tenure.
This, it said, has been the culture since the inception of the Second Parliament of the Fourth Republican Parliament in 1997 and stressed, therefore, that the arrangement for Members of the 8th Parliament is no different from the arrangements for Members of the previous Parliaments.
A statement issued by the Public Affairs Department of Parliament on Thursday indicated that the Ministry of Finance led by the minister is facilitating the US$28 million loan agreement for members during their tenure as MPs of the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic.
The loan, the statement said, is part of their conditions of service and is payable during their time as MPs.
“This has generated a lot of discussions in the media space with the conversations centered mostly on whether the Members are deserving of the facility, given what has been described as the scarce resources available to the country and given the plethora of needs by the various MDAs and citizens.”
“It must be noted that Members of the other arms of government and Article 71 Officeholders are ordinarily given duty vehicles in their official capacities.”
“On the other hand, Members of the Legislature, despite their representational roles, are offered loans which are payable during their term. Indeed, in previous Parliaments, some Members have had to use the end of service benefits to defray costs incurred to purchase vehicles for their official use,” the statement said.
The yearly discussion of the subject and the public bashing, it said, continues to make the work of the Members of Parliament extremely difficult and lead to misconceptions about the Institution and its Members, ultimately, putting the name of Parliament into disrepute.
It indicated reports that suggest the loan resources are free are inaccurate and only add to the misconceptions that continue to affect the work of the Institution of Parliament.
According to the statement, in view of the negative reactions that greet the procurement of loans to purchase vehicles for MPs to perform their constitutional and statutory functions every four years, perhaps the time has arrived for the country to come to a determination on the matter of providing vehicles to enable MPs to perform their duties and responsibilities.
The State, it proposed, should perhaps assume total cost responsibility in the procurement, servicing, fuelling, maintenance, and replacement of duty post vehicles for Members of the Legislature as is done for Members of other arms of government and other constitutional creatures.