$13M tax waiver; $31.5M car loan for MPs, Council of State members approved
Parliament has approved the controversial loan agreements of $28 million and 3.5 million respectively for Members of Parliament and Council of State members to procure official vehicles.
In addition, the House has also approved a tax waiver of 13.3 million dollars for the importation of the vehicles for the MPs and the Council of State members.
During debate on the motion that lasted for over an hour, Members of the House generally agreed with the recommendation of the Finance Committee for the loan arrangement for the purchase of cars for MPs and Members of the Council of State to be discontinued.
The Members argued for a system where MPs like other Article 71 officeholders are provided with duty post vehicles.
Chairman of the Finance Committee, Kwaku Kwarteng, moved the motion on the floor after which Ranking Member on the Committee, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson seconded.
The Members of Parliament and Council of State have been given the 13.1 million dollars waiver despite the fact that they are paying only forty percent of the loan being facilitated through the National Investment Bank for the purchase of the cars.
The government will bear the other 60 percent of the loan with the accrued interest; an arrangement that members of the public have largely condemned.
The Council of State members are getting $3.5 million, whereas the 275 MPs are getting $28 million, of which each MP is expected to receive $100,000.
‘Don’t give MPs, Council of state members car loans’
The Finance Committee had earlier recommended to the House to discontinue the practice where government facilitates loans for MPs and Council of state members to purchase cars for official duties.
This was captured in the report of the Finance Committee on the two loan agreements, sighted by Citi News.
There has been a huge public backlash about the loans amidst the economic challenges in the country.
The Committee, nonetheless, wants the new arrangement to be implemented in the future, which means that MPs and Council of State members can still benefit from the current loan agreement tabled by the Finance Ministry.
It thus urged Parliament and the Parliamentary Service to take the necessary steps to ensure the provision is discontinued.
“Accordingly, the Committee strongly recommends to Parliament the discontinuation of the current vehicle loan arrangement for MPs and Council of State Members. Members of Parliament and Members of the Council of State should have similar duty post vehicle arrangements as other Article 71 officeholders. And the Committee respectfully recommends that Parliament and the Parliamentary Service take the necessary steps to ensure that this happens.”
“The instant vehicle loan arrangement for MPs and Council of State Members before us today should therefore be the last one the state is sponsoring,” it said.
The Committee’s request comes shortly after a motion filed by the North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, and the MP for Okaikwei Central, Patrick Boamah, asking Parliament to reject the $28 million loan facility.