A law professor, Henry Kwasi Prempeh, has decried the number of members of parliament in Ghana, saying the current 275 MPs are “too many” for a country with a population of 28 million.
Contributing to a panel discussion at a symposium to commemorate Ghana’s 25 years of uninterrupted parliamentary democracy, Prof. Prempeh, admitted that though democracy is expensive, it ought not to be needlessly expensive
The symposium is under the theme “25 Years of Continuous Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana- Challenges and Prospects”.
“Democracy is expensive but it doesn’t have to be needlessly expensive. I think we have too many members of parliament for the size of this country and the economy; 275 MPs is too many,” he stated on Monday.
In his estimation, information is the most important thing that parliament needs to be effective and efficient in its legislative and oversight duties, and not the huge numbers.
Prof. Prempeh who is the Executive Director for the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) argued instead of huge numbers, the country should invest in parliament in order for members to develop analytical capacity to deal with technical issues and documents like the country’s budget statement.
“I think the capacity of parliament to gather data, analyze information; we just talked about budget oversight, we talked about the budget being a technical document. I think if we could invest more resources to help parliament develop analytic capacity like in budget analysis like other parliaments have budget office that does some of the number crunching for parliament so that if feeds into the process of budget analysis and oversight,” he said.
Prof. Prempeh said there are a number of things that parliament could do to cut down on cost, including cutting down on the size of members of parliament, saying “yes democracy is expensive but i think that there are areas we could reallocate the resources [and] we could get maybe a more efficient parliament but i will start with the numbers; 275 is extremely high” he said.
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