The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon Chukuma Johnson on Tuesday told MPs that they would be paid according to their attendance of Parliamentary sessions.
Hon Chukuma made the statement when he was reacting to concerns raised by Hon Eric Jumu of SLPP about certain facilities in Parliament that are lacking.
Whilst drawing the attention of the Clerk to the concerns raised by the MP, he remarked about the poor attendance in Parliament.
He told them that he was shocked when he visited the Head of State and they were watching television and saw the empty benches in Parliament. President Koroma said ‘Mr. Deputy Speaker, your benches are empty’.
For quite some time now absenteeism in Parliament has caused some concern among citizens especially the press. The Deputy Speaker of the House seem to be bracing up to ensure compliance by threatening pay cuts for defaulters
Hon Chukuma Johnson told them he had instituted the signing of a register and monies deducted from absentee’s sitting fees will be used to provide what they now lack.
At that point, MPs from all the three sides, APC, SLPP and PMDC pointed accusing fingers at each other for their own empty benches. Irate MPs were also heard threatening not to vote for him when his term expires next session.
To further institute a way of encouraging attendance, he told them that he had agreed with the Clerk of Parliament to open the canteen at 8:am to 10:am and close it when Parliament is in session until 2:pm.
Before the MPs went on recess on Thursday April 2, the Deputy Speaker expressed with dismay the absence of MPs from all sides.
He also told them he spoke with the Speaker to institute penalties on defaulting MPs.
On the other hand, MPs have persistently expressed dissatisfaction with their poor conditions of service and many, especially those from the provinces, said lack of vehicles hinder their regular attendance of parliamentary sessions.
It could be recalled that over a month ago this paper carried a front page photo of parliamentary session showing many vacant seats.