Minority threatens SONA boycott over delay of MPs Common Fund

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Members of Parliament have expressed frustration about the delay of their share of the Common Fund for the third quarter of 2019, as they say it is delaying the execution of projects in their constituencies.

The opposition National Democratic Congress MPs have therefore resolved to boycott the State of the Nation Address (SONA) which is scheduled for Thursday February 20, if government does not address the matter by this Friday.

For the Minority in Parliament, the delay is a deliberate attempt to deprive them of working effectively and consequently competing fairly with their opponents, especially when the general election is some months away.

Speaking to the media on behalf of the Minority, Sampson Ahi, MP for Bodi said: “Close to two months ago, the government released district assemblies common funds for the third quarter), and as we speak, we do not know when they are going to release the MPs’ share. And we see this to be a deliberate attempt on the part of government to stifle us from working in our constituencies.

Being an election year, they think that when they release our monies to our constituencies, we will get resources to work, and that is why they have taken that decision to deprive us of resources.”

The legislator further added that, even though their colleagues in the Majority have also not received their share, once the district assemblies common fund which has been released is being used, the MPs in Majority are seen to be working because they have some influence on the district chief executives who disburse the monies for projects.

“When you are in the Majority and the monies are released to the Assemblies, you are seen to be working because because the monies are disbursed by the district chief executives and the MPs have influence over where to send the resources, so it is the minority members that are suffering.”

Meanwhile, Moses Anim, Deputy Majority Chief Whip and MP for Trobu has argued that the decision of the Minority to boycott SONA is unwarranted and the neglect of duty and responsibility as MPs.

“The message on the state of the nation is a constitutional imperative, it has a placement in our national constitution and it is a duty on the President to deliver, and a duty of Parliament to host the President.

And every Member of Parliament should sit in and listen to the message and also be given one week to debate the message. So if an entire opposition will renege on the constitutional responsibility and tie it to MPs Common fund, that is a serious matter,” he said.

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