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Speaker cautions absentee ministers

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, on Wednesday bemoaned the non-attendance of some ministers to parliamentary sittings; a development he said was negatively affecting legislative business.

Taking strong exception to that attitude, the Speaker gave such officials one-week “honeymoon” after which he cautioned the House would no more tolerate such behaviour.

This followed concerns raised by the Minority who had cause to register their displeasure about some ministers inability or refusal to attend the House to answer parliamentary questions relating to their sectors.

Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, MP for Old Tafo and Ranking Member on Finance, was at a loss why both the Finance Minister and his two deputies were not in the House for the consideration stage of the Value Added Tax Bill 2013.

As per today’s Order Paper, the House was expected to consider the Value Added Tax Bill 2013 that seeks to revise and consolidate the law relating to the Value Added Tax (VAT) by moving all the administrative provisions in the VAT Act, 1998 (Act 546) into a single Revenue Administration Act.

Speaker is not ‘greedy’ – Parliament

The Office of Parliament has in a statement denied Tuesday’s front page story of The Daily Searchlight newspaper, which accused the Speaker of the House, Edward Kobly Doe Adjaho, of “greed”.

In the said publication, the Accra-based Newspaper claimed it had credible information that the Speaker had “grabbed” five vehicles meant for distribution to the Deputy Majority and Minority Leaders of the House.

But, in rejoinder to the Newspaper on Wednesday, the Deputy Director of Public Affairs of the Ghanaian Legislature, Kate Addo, called the publication “erroneous, mischievous and malicious”.

Below are the details of the statement issued by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs of Parliament.


The Office of Parliament has noted with grave concern, an article in the Daily Searchlight Newspaper on Tuesday the 29th of October 2013 headlined, “Greedy Speaker” which said in essence, that the Speaker had commandeered vehicles meant for distribution to the Deputy Majority and Minority Leaders.

The Office of Parliament wishes to state that the facts of the story are erroneous, mischievous and malicious. In fact the paper sought to seek clarification on the issue from the Office of Parliament and was told that the facts of the story as the paper had it were wrong but [it] still went ahead to publish its original story. It must be noted that no vehicle has been parked at the residence of the Speaker as part of his conditions of service; they are convoy vehicles and not for the Speaker’s personal use.

The Office of Parliament will like to place on record that contrary to the report in the Daily Searchlight, the Speaker is yet to be allocated an official vehicle in his capacity as Speaker.

The BMW mentioned in the story was acquired when he was serving as First Deputy Speaker and was in fact bought as a second hand vehicle together with the then 2nd deputy Speaker, Hon Mike Oquaye.

The Speaker, being conscious of the exigencies of our current times, has sought to cut back on expenditure and this has been evidenced by his declining to engage in certain endeavors that will incur cost to the Parliament and by extension, the good people of Ghana. The Speaker has, in fact, declined certain facilities provided under the terms of conditions of service as a way of cutting back on cost which includes various international travels; details of which can be cross checked from the Office of Parliament.

Therefore, for any media member to describe the current Speaker as greedy does not only bring the Office of the Speaker into disrepute but is also unfortunate given the Speaker’s effort in encouraging minimal expenditure in Parliament since his assumption to the Office of Speakership.

The aim of the current Speaker and Parliament as an institution is to encourage free speech in order to deepen the democratic gains made by the country. However, false publications with malicious intent must be discouraged at all times if Ghana is to build on our democratic credentials.

Kate Addo,
Deputy Director, Public Affairs

Ursula: We need party leaders who can sacrifice for the NPP

Member of Parliament of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu has euphemistically declared war, come 2016.

Analyzing the outcome of last year’s elections and the NPP’s petition at the Supreme Court to seek for a redress over what the party leaders termed as rigging and irregularities in the electoral results, Hon. Ursula Owusu called on her party faithfuls to stand resolute and ensure that they are not cheated during the 2016 general elections.

She bemoaned the unfortunate incidents that preceded the 2012 elections and was hopeful her party will be more vigilant next time around.

The 2016 elections, she earnestly stated, is “going to be a war at the polling stations…2016 will be worse…Nobody will go to the court; we will slug it out at the polling stations. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that we get the results we want and I’m saying that in all seriousness.”

Contributing to a panel discussion programme on Oman FM, she also implored the party supporters to critically assess the candidates vying for positions in the NPP and vote for the selfless ones bent on unifying the party.

She charged them not to allow nepotism to cloud their voting pattern.

“We’re in opposition, so, we need all the help we can get. So, we need selfless committed people who are prepared to sacrifice in the greatest interest of NPP…We don’t just want anybody at all to come and join the party leadership at all levels. We need those who can sacrifice and defend the party.”


Prez Mahama must complete Nsawam/Suhum road – Annoh Dompreh

Member of Parliament for Nsawam /Adoagyire constituency, Frank Annoh Dompreh has made a passionate appeal to President John Dramani Mahama to ensure speedy completion of the Nsawam-Suhum road.

According to him, the construction of the road which links Accra to the Ashante, Brong Ahafo and the three northern regions has stalled for nearly seven years, a development which is having a heavy toll on the business activities of the good people of Nsawam and its surroundings.

Commuters on that stretch of the road have had cause complain about its terrible condition with commercial drivers who ply that route bearing the most brunt as their vehicle parts get damaged frequently.

Speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show on Thursday, Hon. Annoh Dompreh stated that he has taken several steps to have the road completed including personally appealing with the sector minister and also raising the issue on the floor of Parliament, but nothing new has been done on the road.

He noted that the contractor working on the road has held up the project simply because funds have not been released for the continuation of the construction work.

Hon. Annoh Dompreh requested President Mahama to make available monies for this all important road to be completed.

It would be recalled that the late Ex-President John Evans Atta Mills in an interview said he felt bad and could not raise up his head anytime he drove on that road due to the difficulty that commuters had to endure while using it.

He promised to secure funds to have it completed but that is yet to be done.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Labour strike, gov’t called for it – Hon Aye Paye

Member of Parliament for Ayensuano, Samuel Aye- Paye has said government is to blame for the intended industrial action to be carried out by Organized labour groups under the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

He said government through its commentators provoked the labour front into taking this action by way of the unguarded statements made by some spokesperson immediately TUC raised concerns over the high tariff adjustments announced by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC).
PURC announced new tariffs: water 52%, electricity 78.9%for the utility providers.

Organized Labour on Tuesday announced November 18, 2013 as the D-day for workers, both in the formal and in formal sectors, to stay home in one of the biggest nationwide strikes ever embarked in Ghana. After a crunch meeting Monday, TUC decided to stage demonstrations in all regional capitals which will eventually culminate in a strike action on November 18, 2013.

In a statement, the labour group also indicated that: “We, therefore, have no option but to call on all the working people of Ghana, their families and the good people of Ghana to express their dissatisfaction about the failure on the part of government to reduce utility tariffs to affordable levels”

Hon. Aye Paye noted that government failed to handle this issue with tact and rather ended up adding insult to injury with the kind of utterances spewed by the National Security Advisor, Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah who criticized workers for going on unnecessary strike action, asking those who think they cannot work in Ghana to pick up the passport and leave Ghana.

“Some of these unfortunate statements provoke the work force who think they have a genuine case to embark of industrial action’’ he said.

He re-countered how the erstwhile NPP government engage spare parts dealers in Abossey Okai when they had issues that militated against their business and had those issues solved, culminating in the reduction of spare parts prices, adding that this is the way government should go when dealing with the populace.


Heed to labour concerns – Bagbin tells government

As the scheduled nationwide strike by organized labour over new utility price hikes draws nearer, former Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin has asked the John Mahama administration to listen to the pleas of organized labour.

Organized labour, on Tuesday, declared its intended actions to protest against the hikes. Security experts have warned of a potential chaos if urgent steps are not taken to avert the planned nationwide demonstrations.

Speaking to JOYNEWS, Mr. Bagbin indicated that government must take a political decision to address the concerns of organized labour before they embark on their nationwide strike on November 18.

“I also think that the sudden rise is a killer and therefore government should listen to the plea of organized labour to stagger the implementation of the rise”, Mr. Bagbin stressed.

According to the former Health Minister, organized labour is scrutinizing government policies and providing feedback on those that are under implementation.

Even though the economy is facing challenges and the need to generate more revenue to stabilize the daunting situation that stares at the country, the former majority leader was hopeful that government would heed to the concerns raised by organized labour.

Mr. Bagbin further noted that the issue of time would be a challenge, but added that government would have a reasonable look at the recommendations of the committee regulating utility tariffs and provide an agreeable solution.

Meanwhile, transport unions in the Ashanti region have expressed their preparedness to join the strike called by organized labour.


200 SHS project won’t fail like STX – Murtala

A Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Murtala Mohammed, has downplayed claims that just as the STX housing project did not see the light of day, the 200 Senior High School (SHS) project by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government will in a likely manner, not be executed.

The STX housing project was an initiative by the NDC government to provide affordable housing for the nations’ security services as well as Ghanaians working in the public sector.

But the STX Housing deal was abrogated by the government following reports of internal wrangling between the partners in the deal.

On Friday, President John Mahama launched the plan for the construction of 50 new SHS nationwide at Ofaakor in the Central Region.

But some critics have questioned the ability of government to build within four years, the 200 SHS across the country as promised by the NDC during the 2012 electioneering period.

The Deputy Minister defended the failure of the STX housing saying, “it was obvious to everybody, except those who want to be pretentious that our inability to provide those structures was not because government was not committed in providing it, but because there was a wrangling between STX Ghana and STX Korea.”

But confirming government’s commitment to the 200 SHS project, Murtala Mohamed said government “is committed in ensuring that we will put this up. We are hopeful that we will be able to put up the 50 schools in the first year. We [government] should be able to provide the good people of this country and students across the country with the 200 SHS.”

He argued that even if government is unable to do build the 50 schools this year due to the slow pace of development following the hearing of the election petition case, “what is important is to fulfill the promise and the commitment that we made that at the end of the four years.

The Deputy Minister also mentioned that the current challenges being faced “in the country will not prevent us from executing certain projects that we consider to be significant or important.”


Market fire report not meant for Mahama’s office – Titus Glover

Nii Kwartei Titus Glover, New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Tema East, has added his voice to calls on President John Dramani Mahama to disclose the actual cause of the market fires.

Several months ago, the country was plagued with repeated cases of fire outbreaks which struck a number of markets. The markets were razed down destroying several properties worth millions of Ghana cedis and left behind rubble for the traders.

The fires puzzled the Ghanaian citizenry giving room to various speculations.

It even led to President Mahama believing the fires could have been caused by arsonists who wanted to run down his administration. And in his quest to find lasting solution to the outbreaks, he enlisted the help of some American forensic experts to find out the root cause.

Touching on the issue, the NPP MP implored President Mahama to make the truth known and establish the link that the opposition party was behind the fires.

According to him, the report is long overdue and for that matter, it is incumbent on the President to “make public the content and details of the report because the governed want to know what is in the report. It’s not for his only consumption.”

This, he believed, will help exonerate the opposition party or prove NPP fanatics indeed masterminded the hit on the markets in hope of making the government unpopular.


Dan Botwe to contribute GHC4,000 annually to Education Fund

Mr Dan Kwaku Botwe, Member of Parliament for Okere, has commended the chiefs and people of Dawu-Akuapem for their self- help spirit over the years.

He said such attitude by the people had contributed to massive development in the community in the areas of education among others.

Mr Botwe therefore urged other communities to emulate such a spirit to bring development to their people rather than waiting for the government to provide their needs.

He was addressing the chiefs and people of Dawu at a durbar to climax this year’s Ohum Festival on Saturday.

Mr Botwe expressed concern about the continuous decline of academic performance of pupils at the basic level in the area in spite of all the interventions he had made since he became MP in 2009.

He reiterated his commitment to educational development and pledged that he would continue to channel more of his resources into the area until he sees improvement in the academic performance.

Mr Botwe commended the people of Dawu for setting up an education fund to support brilliant-but- needy children and teachers in the area.

He pledged to contribute GH¢4,000.00 annually into the fund and called on all citizens of Dawu both home and abroad to come and support the fund.

The MP later donated GH¢1,000.00 to support the fund-raising towards the construction of a community center.

Mr George Opare Addo, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Akuapem North, in an address read on his behalf, expressed worry about Ghanaian youth blindly copying foreign cultures and abandoning their own rich ones “all in the name of modernity.”

Nana Awuku Bram, the Regent of Dawu, appealed to parents and community members to relate well with teachers to ensure rapid improvement in the academic performance of the pupils “since the future of the community lies in the hands of the youth.”

He expressed worry about drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, armed robbery and others which had become societal headache.

Nana Bram therefore appealed to parents and all concerned citizens to help bring such societal menace to an end.


Kwaku Kwarteng sues Shell, Total, Oando, NPA

MP for Obuasi West is joepardising the takeover of some foreign oil companies in Ghana after suing them for failing to complying with the country’s laws that prescribe 50% ownership for Ghanaians.

Kwaku Kwarteng filed a writ at an Accra high court against Shell, Total and Oando and other petroleum companies.There is a takeover bid of Shell Ghana by Vivo Energy.

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is also cited in the suit for allowing the foreign companies to begin a takeover of these companies without ceding 50 percent of its stake to Ghanaians as required by law.

Speaking to Joy News he said ” we are asking the court to compel these companies to comply with the regime governing doing business in the petroleum downstream sector”

The New Patriotic Party man argues that “in some countries you are unable to do business in the petroleum downstream sector if you are not 100% domestic”.

According to the MP, Ghana however, makes provision for a 50% Ghanaian stake in foreign oil marketing companies.

To this end, Kwaku Kwarteng says it is “just unacceptable..to think these companies are flouting this [requirement] and the regulator is looking on unconcerned”

Mr. Kwarteng tells Joynews, the outcome of the case will have a revolutionary effect on the petroleum retail sector of Ghana.

This will be the second time, the Member of Parliament and Executive Director of Development Data, a policy search organisation is suing National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

Last year, he sued the petroleum sector regulator over illegal fees hidden in the price build-up of fuel.

He won judgment after the court ordered to the NPA to abolish the illegal ex-refinery differentials.