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Salaries of MPs go up from GhC 3,000 to 7,200

Salaries of Ghana’s Members of Parliament have shot up from GhC 3,000 to GhC 7,200, insider reports reaching Citi News indicate.

Information reaching Citi News indicates that each legislator will receive the new amount as their new consolidated take home pay. The new pay will take retrospective effect from January 2009.

The MPs previously earned under GHC3, 000, a situation they complained was woefully inadequate compared to other African countries.

It will be recalled that The Globe newspaper a few months ago reported that former President John Atta Mills has ordered an increment in the pay rise of the MPs following recommendations by the Professor Ewurama Addy Committee, which he (President Mills) set up in June 2010 to review the Conditions of Service of Article 71 office holders.

It came after Ghanaian MPs, who are among the most poorly paid lawmakers in Africa, objected to a portion of the Committee’s report which they argued could make legislators “worse off.”

The source only gave indications and said “enough work has been done to give MPs a lot to smile about.”

Speculations were however rife that lawmakers could soon be taking nearly twice their GH 3,000 consolidated pay – made up of allowances and salaries for drivers and other household staff – they currently earn.

Investigations by The Globe established that conventionally, Ghanaian MPs have been on the same salary level as High Court Judges. But, by the recommendations of the Prof Ewurama Addy Committee, High Court Judges will earn much higher than lawmakers if the proposals of the Committee are enforced.

“The leadership of the MPs made it clear to the President that the recommendation was not acceptable to them,” the source said, adding “The MPs argued strongly that at least they should be put at par with High Court Judges on the salary scale.”


Report on CI 78 laid

The Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, Hon. Kwame Osei Prempeh laid the committee’s report on the controversial Constitutional Instrument (CI) 78 creating the 45 new constituencies.

Discussion of the report is scheduled to commence on Monday 1 October, 2012 where a heated debate as to whether the report should be rejected or otherwise is expected to ensue.

Though the content of the report is not readily known, information gathered indicates that, the minority is likely to push strongly for the rejection of the report due to the several mistakes found in the CI.

The CI is however expected to mature by the first week in October following which the new constituencies will be created and Parliamentary election held in December.

On Thursday, Hon. Kwame Prempeh accused the Majority Leader Clestus Avoka for unduly delaying the report, an allegation he strongly rejected since he asserted that he could not solely determine when a report should be laid in Parliament, adding that that was work of the Business Committee.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Committee Chairman questions delay in laying CI 78 report

The Chairman of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, Hon. Kwame Osei Prempeh have questioned the delay in laying the committee’s report on the controversial CI 78 before Parliament.

According to him, the committee finished its work and made the report ready to be laid four days ago, adding that the delay in laying it raises a lot of concerns.

Hon. Kwame Osei Prempeh raised the issue on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, stating that his checks indicate that the Majority Leader Clestus Avoka was unduly delaying the laying of the report, an act he described as a bad incidence.

“I have been the chairman for this committee for the past 10 years and this has never happen before, never has this committee’s report been ready to be laid and has been delayed as such” he said.

However the Majority Leader Clestus Avoka who objected to the allegations made against him stated that he has no hand in the delay as he cannot solely determine when a committee’s report should be laid in Parliament, adding that it was the work of the business committee to decide when it is appropriate for reports to be laid.

He said the business committee after a meeting on Thursday morning has decided to lay the report tomorrow.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Tourism sector requires more funding- Sena Dansua

The Minister of Tourism Akua Sena Dansua has requested Parliament to approve more funding from the budget as well as from development partners for the development, marketing and promotion of the tourism sector especially in the international global tourist market.

According to her, the Ministry of Tourism also requires adequate funding for research, institutional and capacity building initiative geared-up professional and quality service delivery so as to improve Ghana’s competitiveness in the global tourism market.

Hon. Dansua made the appeal while delivering a statement to mark world tourism day which fall on tomorrow 27 September, 2012 under the theme: Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development.

She said this year’s theme highlights the role of tourism in promoting sustainable energy usage for sustainable development.

Hon. Dansua noted that the tourism sectors all over the world contributes to some of the world’s most innovative sustainable energy initiative which include energy efficient upgrades and aircraft, promotion of echo and green tourism and energy technology provisions in hotels including the use of renewable energy such as solar energy.

Adding his voice to the statements, the MP for Atwima-Mponua Isaac Kwame Asiamah lamented the low standard of some of the hotel across the country which is unacceptable and some an embarrassment to the country.

He called on the Ministry to intensify it inspection exercise of hostels to ensure that hotels in such poor standard are improved to meet the international standard.

The MP for Shai Osudoku Assumeng, David Tetteh on his part lamented over the high fees charged by some hotels operating in the system which could be described as outrageous.

He called on the ministry and the relevant agencies to engage members of the Hoteliers Association to arrive at reasonable prices to be charged by hotels to keep them constantly in business.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Kan Dapaah attacked by armed robbers

The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament Albert Kan Dapaah was on Tuesday night attacked by armed robbers in his house at Dansoman.

The unfortunate incident occurred when he return home after appearing on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana show which was aired live around 10 PM from the Parliament House.

Hon. Kan Dapaah who is also the MP for Afigya Sekyere West was vandalized even though he suffered no bodily harm.

The MP was bit cagey about the issue but confirmed the incident and noted that he had informed the police about the incident pending investigations.

Hon. Kan Dapaah however noted that he does impugn any political motive behind the attack.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Dan Botwe challenges NDC to provide alternative to free SHS

Mr Dan Botwe, Member of Parliament (MP) for Okere, has challenged the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to provide any alternative policy to the free Senior High School (SHS) education the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has promised.

“I want to challenge the NDC to provide an alternative education policy to counter the NPP’s free SHS” he said.

Mr Botwe said the NDC propaganda against the free SHS policy was as a result of ignorance and lack of vision to improve the country’s educational sector.

He urged the electorate not to listen to the NDC and vote massively for Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and the NPP to implement the policy and enable every Ghanaian child to have access to secondary education.

The former general secretary of the NPP said this when he addressed the people of Asamankese in the Lower West Akyem Constituency.

Mr Botwe said he was surprised at the NDC’s stance against what he says would be a transformational education policy.

“It amazes me that the NDC as a Social Democrat Party seeks to shoot down free education,” he added.

The Okere MP said the ruling NDC had demonstrated that paying judgement debts was important than providing free education to the country’s future leaders.

He said that the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo was unperturbed by the ruling party’s criticisms and remained committed to implementing the free SHS policy.

He said if the NDC had no alternative policy then they should leave the NPP alone and allow Ghanaians to bring back the NPP to come and implement the programme.


PAC chairman Kan-Dapaah robbed at gunpoint

Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah was robbed at gunpoint last night. The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Hon Albert Kan-Dapaah, was robbed at gunpoint on Tuesday night, Citi News understands.

The specific amount or exact items made away with is not yet known. CitiNews learned the MP for Afigya Sekyere West was attacked at gunpoint after appearing on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana show that evening.

The incident happened just after 11 pm. His private vehicle was vandalised in the process by the gunmen amidst gunshots.

Hon Kan-Dapaah becomes the second legislator to be attacked by robbers in less than a week. Last Friday the MP for Chereponi, Hon. Samuel Abdulai Djabanyite, was also attacked at gunpoint in the Northern region, but he managed to flee from the highway robbers.

The burglars, however, succeeded in robbing occupants of other vehicles following his Ford Expedition, including that of the District Chief Executive.


Parliament passes CI 75 to govern election 2012

Ghana’s Parliament has passed a Constitutional Instrument that will govern the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.

MPs passed the CI by consensus at Tuesday’s sitting of the House; giving legal backing to the Electoral Commission’s proposed Biometric Verification exercise at the point of voting this December.

With Tuesday being the 21st Parliamentary sitting day since the CI was laid in the House, the Instrument would become law by close of Tuesday in line with Article 11 (7) of the 1992 Constitution.

A member of the Parliamentary Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, Hon. John Tia Akologu, moved the motion for the adoption of Committee’s report and went to read excerpts of the report to MPs at Tuesday’s sitting.

He said: “The Electoral Commission has since 1996 been conducting public elections under the Public elections regulations 1996, CI 15. However, due to the emerging challenges in the country’s electoral system, the EC has embarked on a number of reforms to address the challenges. One of such reforms is the introduction of the biometric registration system through the passage of the Public Elections Registration of Voters, 2012 CI 72 which came into force on Friday, 23rd March 2012.”

“With the introduction of the biometric registration, the EC has expressed its intention to implement a biometric verification of registered voters during public elections, effective December 2012 to further strengthen existing electoral procedures. Consequently, it has become necessary for the EC to make new Regulations to replace the existing CI 15 in order to incorporate the reforms introduced into the electoral system.

“To give legal effect to the new proposals by the EC regarding the changes in the electoral system and in line with Article 51 of the Constitution, the EC on 14th August, 2012 laid before Parliament the Public Elections Regulations, 2012 (CI 75,” he explained.

According to Hon Akologu, the Committee observed that the major reason for the introduction of the CI 78 is to give legal effect to the introduction to the biometric and verification of registered voters and other matters connected with the election process in the country.

“And so having duly discussed the Constitutional Instrument, it is satisfied that the Public Elections Regulations, 2012 CI 75 conforms to the requirements of the Constitution and other existing electoral laws. The Committee therefore recommends to the house to adopt its report and allow the Public Elections Regulations, 2012 CI 75 to come into force in accordance with Article 11 (7) of the constitution.”

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, Hon Kwame Osei Prempeh, seconded the motion for the adoption of the Committee’s report.

Explaining why the CI 75 did not spark a Parliamentary storm as was the case with the withdrawn CI 73, he said: “In this one, the EC cooperated with the Committee and therefore we were able to come out freely.”

He further stated that “In this one, the EC brought it to the Committee, we sat on it for three days, did all the corrections before it was officially laid in this House and that is why people have not heard so much noise about it because the EC unlike CI 73, 77, 78, the EC cooperated with the Committee fully and that is why we have gotten an incident-free instrument which is going to help us in this election.”


Creation Of 45 new Constituencies: Supreme Court dismisses another application

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application by a member of the ruling NDC’s legal team, Chris Ackumey, to join the case concerning the controversial CI 78 which when passed into law will allow the Electoral Commission to create 45 new constituencies.

Lawyer Chris Ackumey, last Wednesday, filed a motion seeking an order to permit him to join the matter to protect his interest.

According to his lawyer, David Annan, his client has a vested interest in the case since he intends to contest as a Member of Parliament in one of the yet-to-be created constituencies; Ablekuma West.

But Lawyer Atta Akyea, in response to the application, stated that the A-G was already in the suit protecting the public interest and there was no need for the action, adding that granting Mr Ackumey’s application will encourage other people to join in the suit, thus over-burdening the court.

The court, after hearing both aruments, fixed September 25th, to rule on whether to permit Mr Ackumey to be joined in the substantive matter or not.

At today’s sitting, Supreme Court Judge, Justice Julius Ansah threw out the application. He however permitted Mr Akumey to be a friend of the court.

Counsel for the applicant David Annan expressed his satisfaction on the ruling and said the dismissal of the application does not completely rule his client out of being party to the case.


I didn’t break the law; I’m ready to resign – Bosome-Freho MP

The embattled independent Member of Parliament for Bosome-Freho, Hon Ofori Kuragu, has served notice he is ready to abdicate his seat if the Speaker of Parliament rules against him for contesting primaries on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Hon. Kuragu was one of three independent legislators who openly partook in partisan Parliamentary primaries over the weekend. The others are the MP for Bekwai, Hon Joe Osei-Owusu, and MP for Nkawkaw, Hon Seth Agyei Baah (Shaaba). Kuragu and Baah lost the primaries.

Political pundits have called for their resignation since their actions contravene some provisions of the 1992 Constitution.

Article 97 (1) (H) of the Constitution states that “A Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament if he was elected a Member of Parliament as an Independent Candidate and joins a political party.”

Standing Order 18 of the rules of the House provides that the seat of a member shall be declared vacant by Mr. Speaker under Clause (1) (b) to (h) of Article 97 of the Constitution.

Hon Kuragu said he operated within the confines of the Supreme law of Ghana.

“I have listened to various points of views on the matter, but the truth is three months before the general elections, there can’t be a by-election and that is what the Constitution says. I went into primaries with the New Patriotic Party within the three months,” the legislator told Accra-based Joy FM.