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NDC MPs mad over delay in govt business in Parliament

The Minority NDC Caucus in Parliament are fuming with rage the delay in submitting to the House the budget estimates of the various Ministries for consideration and subsequent approval.

Parliament was scheduled to begin considering the budget estimates for the various ministries on Monday, March 20, 2017.

However, at the commencement of Government Business, Members were told most of the estimates were not ready.

Deputy Majority Leader, Sarah Adwoa Safo, who led the House to conduct Government Business then prayed to the Speaker to direct Members to break into committees and consider the budget estimates for fifteen Ministries which were available and report to the plenary accordingly.

She therefore, pleaded with the Speaker to adjourn sitting to Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 10:00 in the forenoon.

But her directive came to the Minority as a surprise.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu wondered why the House will choose to sit on Monday, March 20, 2017, when the budget estimates for the various ministries were not ready.

“My Speaker, to remind us, we have only up to March 30, 2017 for the approval which was given in lieu of the appropriation to last. Therefore, we need to work to ensure that we are able to approve the appropriation on or before March 30, 2017, as the Majority Leader stated the last time. Mr. Speaker, we will be guided by you adjourning us but for the leadership to ensure that the estimates for the various ministries are made available for the committees to work much more effectively,” he noted.

Speaker, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye responding to the issue told Members that “the vast majority of the estimates have been laid at the Table Office and are available for the various Chairpersons of the committees to collect for consideration.”

India to help build 400-seater Parliamentary Chamber for Ghana

Ghana’s wish to have a new Parliamentary Chamber to accommodate more people could soon materialise, following the decision of the Indian government to extend its assistance in that regard.

The 400-seater capacity new chamber will replace the present 275-seater capacity chamber which was configured in 2013 to accommodate more Members of Parliament (MPs).

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, told the Daily Graphic in an interview in India on the sidelines of the just-ended 12th Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Partnership in India that an Indian construction firm, Shapoorji Pallonji, which built the Flagstaff House from 2006 to 2008, had already put a team of architects on site for feasibility studies.

The studies, he said, would allow the company to present a proposal and drawings of the new facility to the leadership of Parliament to be studied for a possible approval.

The team, Prof. Oquaye said, had already submitted a preliminary report to Parliament for study, while work on the full proposal and drawing were being worked on.

The facility, to be constructed at a cost of $200 million and situated behind the Speaker’s block, will also have a 400-seater capacity public gallery, side wings to accommodate other visitors, underground car parks, offices, a cafeteria for MPs and a museum of Parliament.

Ghana’s development

India has been supporting Ghana’s development by providing assistance in setting up projects through the provision of lines of credit and grants.

The Indian government has over the years supported the building of the India-Ghana Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence for ICT, the Flag Staff House and the Komenda Sugar Factory.

Old chamber

The old chamber has had its structural integrity questioned in recent times in the wake of a rainstorm in February this year which ripped off parts of the roofing, causing rainwater to leak into the chamber.

The situation which interrupted work flow saw the Vice-President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, announcing that the government would consider the possibility of building a new chamber for Parliament.

The new facility, Prof. Ocquaye suggested, would make way for the old chamber to be converted into a museum or archive to hold everything that has got to do with Ghana’s history and a parliamentary library which could serve academic institutions and people wishing to go into politics.

The museum, he added, would contain speeches of various Presidents who had ruled Ghana since independence, the books they used, among other relics.

“India today is poised towards helping with Ghana’s railway redevelopment which will accelerate our economic transformation,” the Speaker suggested.

“It is in this spirit of co-operation that we decided to solicit their assistance in the rebuilding of the Parliamentary Chamber which is monumental and will forever stand in appreciation of the good relationship between the two countries, and we have no doubt Ghana will forever be indebted to India if the project comes to fruition,” he stressed.

He encouraged Ghanaian businesses to endeavour to enter into joint ventures with Indian companies for the benefit of the two countries.

The exchange of business delegations between the two countries in recent years has led to an increase in investments by Indian companies in Ghana in the area of construction, manufacturing, trading, services and tourism and in areas such as steel, cement, plastics, pharmaceuticals; and these, Prof. Oquaye maintained, would go a long way to solidify co-operations between Ghana and India.

NPP, NDC politics killing School Feeding Program – Ablakwa

Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa has blamed both the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the uproar that has hit the Ghana School Feeding Program.

In his view, the politics of convenience being played by the two leading political parties in the country is undermining the smooth operations of the Program that provides meals to pupils during school hours.

The former Deputy Minister for Education in charge of Tertiary, made this observation on the floor of Parliament, Wednesday, when contributing to a statement on the suspension of the School Feeding Program in the Ejura-Sekyedumase constituency.

MP for Ejura-Sekyedumase constituency had raised alarm about suspension of the Program due to an impasse between some youth in the area and caterers under the Program and called on the Speaker to intervene since the issue has affected 14,728 pupils.

The North Tongu lawmaker contributing further attributed the situation to partisanship that has taken over the management of the Program.

He said it was about time the politics of convenience by the NPP and NDC comes to a halt, stressing that if such attitude is allowed to continue, it will go a long way to affect major social intervention programs put in place to address the plight of the poor.

“The School Feeding Program should be taken out of partisanship because of the benefit to the nation; benefit to quality education; benefit to high enrollment; benefit to IQ and the linkages to agriculture. The whole package is a good one that helps the economy, that helps agriculture and we need to take away partisanship,” he stressed.

He recalled the situation where all contracts under the Program were awarded by the NPP when they were in power between 2005 to January 2009 with the NDC also doing same upon assumption in office from 2009 to January 2017.

“Mr. Speaker, we all have to be sincere in matters like this. This is one of those matters that I know the Rt. Hon. Speaker as a Reverend Minister will agree with me when I say that for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When the program started in 2005, we all know the caterers and where they were aligned to. Then in 2009, when there was a change of government, we all know which caterers took over and that is why I am saying that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. These are the consequences of our simple act.

I think that such national program should be taken away from partisan politics. The underlying factor should be whether you are a good caterer or cook or whether you can serve the children. It shouldn’t be whether you are a women’s organizer of party A or B or C. That is the elephant in this room which we need to confront and be very frank and sincere about this. So, having tried this under the previous NPP and NDC, I think that we can now come to some agreements that enough is enough – let us now move on and find a more sustainable program that will help us.”

NDC MPs abstain from 2017 budget approval

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament, Wednesday, abstained from approving the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2017 financial year.

Moments after the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, concluded his submission on the debate on the 2017 budget, majority of the NDC MPs walk out from the chamber, leaving their leadership at the front role of their side of the House.

When the Finance Minister, Hon. Williams Ken Ofori-Atta, rounded up the debate and thanked the House for indulging him, the Speaker then went ahead to call for the voice in approving the budget statement.

When the question for those in favour of the motion was put before the House, the Majority side responded “Ayes”. However, when the question for those in against the motion was put before the House, the Minority side abstained from the voice vote.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, had earlier indicated that his side of the House will not be part in approving the 2017 Budget and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana.

He had told the House that once the government intends to use oil revenue (thus the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) to finance the free SHS policy and the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Minority caucus will abstain from approving the 2017 budget.

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the Minority Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka also served notice that the NDC MPs will not be part in approving the Budget if the government goes ahead to slash the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) by 25%.

Adwoa Safo appointed Minister of State

President Nana Akufo Addo has appointed Member of Parliament for Dome/Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo as Minister of State in charge of Procurement at the Presidency.

Hon. Adwoa Safo until her nomination was the deputy Majority Leader of the Parliament of Ghana.

She was the first female MP in Ghana to ascend to the number 2 position of the Majority front.

Adwoa Safo, a legal practitioner and daughter of Apostle Dr. Kwadwo Safo, one of Ghana’s renowned technologist, philanthropist and industrialist, was born on December 28, 1981.

‘She had her basic education under the tutelage of her father. At age 17 she entered the University of Ghana after passing her Ordinary and Advanced Levels’ General Certificate of Education Examination Certificates non-formally.

At the University of Ghana, Adwoa studied law and graduated with a Bachelor of Law (L.L.B.) degree in 2002. She then continued to the Ghana School of Law and was called to the Bar in October 2004 t age of 22, making her the youngest lawyer ever to be called to the Ghana Bar. This record she held and still holds in the annals of the Ghana School of Law.

At the University of Ghana, Adwoa was the Vice President of the LawBallot pix Student’s Union (LSU) for the 2001-2002 academic year, a position she held to the admiration of the then Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Akua Kwenyehia. She was also a member of the Volta Hall Judicial Committee from 2001 – 2002.

She furthered her education at the George Washington University Law School in the United States where she obtained a Masters of Law Degree (LLM) in Government Procurement Law in 2005. She worked briefly with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Colombia, Washington DC in the United States and thereafter returned to Ghana to serve her nation.

She was the first legal advisor to the Legal Department of the PPA, Ghana. She further acted as the secretary to the Board and advised the Board and the Secretariat on legal issues. She was instrumental in the formulation of the proposals that formed the basis for the creation of the Appeal and Complaint Panel of the PPA and the change in the name Public Procurement Board to Public Procurement Authority.

Ofoase Ayeribi MP, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah to be dep. Info Minister

A former morning show host Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and MP for Ofoase Ayirebi, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah is billed for the Information Ministry as a deputy alongside a deputy communication director of the NPP Perry Okudzeto.

The MP for Akropong Nana Ama Dokua will also add up as the third deputy minister.

The Member of Parliament for Lawra Anthony Karbo will be appointed as the deputy Minister of Roads, according to a yet-to-be released statement from the Presidency.

Karbo, a former deputy communications director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), will serve under Kwesi Amoako-Atta  if he sails through the vetting.

A new entrant in Parliament, George Andah who represents the Awutu Senya Constituency, will be assisting Ursula Owusu-Ekufu at the communication ministry. However, he could be swapped with Oppong Nkrumah.

Barbara Asher Ayisi, the NPP MP for Cape Coast North will be appointed as the deputy Education Minister.
President Akufo-Addo is expected to release his list of 50 deputy ministers in the coming days.

It will be the largest government ever in the Fourth Republic. So far, 46 ministers have been vetted and sworn into office. The previous NPP government led by former President John Kufuor had 88 ministers while the Mills administration that succeeded it had 69 ministerial appointees. The Mahama administration, however, had 78 ministerial appointments.

Upper West Akim MP donates items to rainstorm victims

The Member of Parliament for Upper West Akim in the Eastern region, Ohene Bekoe Assiful has donated 5 packet of Roofing sheet,4 pounds of Nails and cash of GHC 500 to the rainstorm victims of Sandi and Djakpatra communities in the jurisdiction of his constituency.

Heavy rainstorm last week ripped off buildings of some houses in the community which rendered about 60 people homeless.

The victims, mostly peasant farmers had to perch with friends and relatives as they salvage their damaged properties .

The situation has inflicted discomfort to the affected persons who are struggling to bounce back to normalcy.

NADMO even though has made assessment of the situation, it has not been able to supply relief items to the victims .

It is upon this backdrop that the MP  went to the aid of the communities .


Okaikwei Central MP salutes President John Kufuor as he turns eighty

Member of Parliament (MP) for Okaikwei Central, Patrick Yaw Boamah has congratulated former President John Agyeikum Kufuor for turning eighty (80) on Saturday.

According to the Okaikwei Central MP, as a nation we have only three living former Presidents, we do not have to wait until something “happen to them when they are no more before we celebrate them”.

In an interview with journalists in Parliament he pointed out that as a country we must inculcate a habit of letting people know that we respect them for whatever good things they have done for our nation as former heads of state.

“Former President John Kufuor continues to serve this country, under his leadership we had a lot of social interventions, National Health Insurance, school feeding, Metro Mass Transport and the building of the Jubilee House which is currently the seat of government”.

Again the discovery of oil and cocoa production that went up from three hundred metric tons to seven eighty four and under his watch look at the number of banks that came into this country.He has done his part and has taken the initiative of setting up John Agyeikum foundation, he is putting up two Libraries, one at Legon and one at Kumasi KNUST.

Mr. Patrick Yaw Boamah appealed to government to support Ghana’s former Presidents with their foundations that would turn lives around from generations to generations and added that if we should prioritize well it should be captured in every annual budget of every government to support every former President.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com


Release deputy ministers list to end anxiety among hopefuls – Haruna to Akufo Addo

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu has appealed to President Akufo- Addo to quickly release his list of deputy ministers to end what he claims is the anxiety among some hopeful appointees.

According to him, the delay in announcing that list has left persons who are eyeing deputy ministerial positions very disturbed, as they are yet to know their fate.

The President has so far appointed his cabinet and regional ministers who have all been approved by parliament.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Friday, Haruna Iddrissu said the absence of deputy ministers is worrying and further urged the President to act as soon as possible.

“We are expecting that the full complement of the President’s deputy ministerial list will come so the anxiety that you are subjected to will end, and probably the accusation that you are removing and inserting names will end. Mr Speaker…we’re saying we’re expecting the full complement of the deputy ministerial list, if it does not even come with deputy ministers of state.”

Meanwhile, the Appointments Committee of Parliament will resume vetting of deputy regional ministers from next week Tuesday.

Let’s focus on human behavior on roads – First Dep Speaker

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu has urged the need for a dedicated focus on addressing human behavior which has been the number one cause of most accidents on the country’s roads.

According to him, studies have shown that attitudes of road users especially drivers have been responsible for majority of accidents recorded across cities and towns hence the need to address it.

Ironically, Mr Osei Owusu who is the Member of Parliament for Bekwai observed drivers are rather careful on bad roads whiles the worst accidents occurred on the finest of roads in the country.

The former Chief Executive Officer of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) called for a deepen enforcement of laws and punishment of wrong doers.

The MP has therefore called for unity of purpose as he proposed the introduction of spot fines.

He noted that the fear of losing elections by the various political actors is not helping efforts to ensure safety on our roads.

The Chairman of the Appointments Committee said it is time for all to think as one political class for the benefit of all the citizenry.

By Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com.