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Minority demands action on abducted Lebanese businessman

Minority in Parliament is demanding that President Akufo-Addo government breaks its silence over the abduction and disappearance of Mahran Mustapha Baajour, a thirty-nine (39) year old Lebanese businessman of Palestinian origin.

According to a Minority statement Mahran Mustapha Baajour arrived in Ghana on a business visit on 13th December, 2018 and has since not been seen in public.

Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa noted that the Minority is reliably informed that the businessman was arrested together with two of his Ghanaian host at the airport, by persons claiming to be operatives of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI).

“All three were kept in detention for six days in violation of Ghanaian law; our understanding is that his two hosts, one Razak Abdul and another were then released”.

He further noted that Ghana’s image as a democratic state which upholds human rights and respects the rule of law clearly is on the line.

This development had led to major protest in Beirut, Lebanon where petitions have been presented to that nations President and Speaker of Parliament, Al-Jazeera has already broadcast two stories on the matter.

Again there is another petition demanding the release of Mahran address to the Ghanaian Government presented at our consular office in Lebanon where another protest was staged.

“We must be conscious of the implication of this development, on our peacekeeping troops in Lebanon if the matter in issue continues to be handled so abysmally, despite Minority’s countless behind the scenes interventions for government to publicly state its claimed innocence”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Recess date could be brought forward—Osei Kyei

Leader of Government Business and Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, has told Parliament that the official date for breaking for recess is 12th April, 2019 but could be brought forward.

According to Leader of Government Business, depending on how the back log of business is dealt with in the House the date could be moved forward to the 5th of April 2019.

“I have said in the course of the week that, if we are able to do business the main agenda before us it may be possible to adjourn on the 5th but the official date remains on the 12th”.

He made this remarks on the floor of the House, when Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wanted to know the date for going on recess as was not in the business statement.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

“Let us see seriousness with Monday sitting”—Ras Mubarak

Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak has taken a swipe at leadership of the House and call for seriousness to be attached to business of the House, as the Housed was asked to convene on Monday 25th March, 2019.

According to the Kumbungu lawmaker he needs assurance that there would be serious business on the floor of the House on Monday in the wake of the Business Committee calling for extended sitting due to the work load before recess.

He recounted a sad experience where last week Thursday the 21st of March 2019, the House was suspended for three hours for some reasons.

“MPs came back to the floor of the House, for three hours without any business only to be told that the House had adjourned till Friday. Let us see some seriousness with business we put on the Order paper”.

In his response, Leader of Government Business and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted that, the House run into some challenges when it was dealing with the Chartered Institute of Bankers Bill so there was the need for a meeting with some members and experts.

“Mr. Speaker on behalf of Parliament we had to meet with the President, when we came back time was far spent, we met only a few people in the chamber, whiles the Second Deputy Speaker had been waiting after sometime we did not have members coming we had to adjourn”.

Again Mr. Speaker time was not wasted on Thursday, because after adjournment, we found space at the conference room of the First Deputy Speaker and did some work, when we suspended we did not make progress with the challenges we had.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Plenary work surpasses any other thing—Speaker Oquaye

Speaker Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye has admonished Members of Parliament that plenary work supersedes any another work in the House.

According to the Speaker MPs must come to work early when the House is sitting, in the light of young kids from basic schools arriving in the chamber as early as 8:00am with some coming all the way from the Northern Ghana.

Professor Oquaye made this remarks on Thursday when he entered the chamber at 10:05am with only fifteen (15) lawmakers in the chamber; Minority five (5) and the Majority (10).

“We have appointment with the good people of Ghana, the young kids are here very early, they come to listen to their Parliament, we should take our work very serious”, he lamented.

He further added that if all the MPs can collaborate together, “we would go a long way to develop our country together, we need to work together”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Parliament to grace Otumfuo @ 20 anniversary

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye is expected to lead a Parliamentary delegation to grace the grand durbar of Chiefs and people of Asanteman commemorating the 20th anniversary of the overload of the Ashanti Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Ttutu II.

This follows an invitation extended to the Speaker and leadership of the House when a delegation of the Asantehene paid a courtesy call on the Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye in Accra.

The nine-member delegation including the Ashanti Regional Minister, Samuel Osei-Mensah, was led by Nana Susubiribi Krobea Asante, Asokoremanhene, who is known in private life as Nana Prof. S. K. B. Asante.

Speaking through the Chief Linguist of the Otumfuo, Nana Nsuase Poku Agyemang, the Asokoremanhene told the Speaker that the climax of the celebration falls on Sunday, April 21, 2019, where a grand durbar which coincides with Addae Kessie will be held.

Prof Emeritus K.B. Asante thanked the Speaker and Parliament for the warm reception.

The Speaker expressed gratitude to the Asantehene for the invitation and assured Parliament will be well represented.

Prof Oquaye reminisced the rich cultural heritage of Asanteman which was displayed during the funeral of the late mother of the royal.

The Majority Leader who is also the Otumfuo’s Sompahene, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, commended the Asante King for doing a lot for his people and the country as a whole over the past twenty years.

He assured of Parliament’s support to the King during his 20th anniversary celebration.

As part of activities marking the China anniversary celebration to be held between March 27 and April 27, traditional Asante foods will be cooked and served at the Manhyia Palace.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu known in private life as Barimah Kwaku Duah aged 49 ascends to the throne following the demise of his uncle Opoku Ware II into the church triumphant on april 26, 1999.

The King established the Otumfuo Educational Fund which has supported several underprivileged Ghanaians irrespective of their tribal inclinations.

To serve as a guide into the future, the Asantehene at a meeting with the Asanteman council asked the chiefs in his kingdom to make a candid assessment of his stewardship over the 20 years reign on the Golden Stool.

By Christian Kpesese /ghanamps.com

Majority must take government business serious—Richard Acheampong

Member of Parliament for Bia East, Richard Acheampong has taken a swipe at the Leader of Government Business Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to whip his people in line to take government business serious, in light of the House wanting to adjourn early.

According to the Bia East lawmaker, apart from the Committees of Public Account and Subsidiary Legislature, the remaining committees are headed by the Majority.

He made this remarks in the wake of the Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu pointing out the need to fast truck referrals before committees that need urgent attention, taking into account the need to go on recess looking at the backlog.

Mr. Richard Acheampong further argued that his side is prepared to work as late as midnight and cooperate with the Majority; “But his men and women are not responding, again he is speaking to the wrong people who do not have the authority to respond to him, there real culprit are in his camp, he should deal with them, whip them in line”

Second Deputy Speaker, Alban Bagbin corrected the Bia East lawmaker by saying, it is not the duty of the Majority Leader to be whipping people in line but, that of the Majority whip who has power over every MP.

He was quick to point out that, to whip the Minority in line he has to do that through the Minority whip.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Parliament to pass RTI into law by Friday

Leader of Government Business and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu has said it is possible to pass the Right to Information Bill (RIT) by Friday 22nd of March 2019.

According to the Leader of Government Business, issues holding up the Bill which is at the stage of third reading is an issue of policy and is being sought out.

“Per my information, from the Information Minister is that, there are new proposals that have come from civil society, we should sit down and see if we can factor their proposals into the Bill”.

He further pointed out that, it could be taken at the second consideration stage, either than that nothing prevents us from completing this bill.

Second Deputy Speaker who was presiding over business of the House later in the day on Wednesday, was happy with the information provided by the Majority Leader about the update on the RTI and said, “it is good news”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Passage of RTI: “We cannot wait any longer”—Alban Bagbin

Second Deputy Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has indicated to Members of Parliament that, the House is ready to pass the Right to Information Bill (RTI) but two Ministries are holding the House up.

Right to Information Bill we give notice to the relevant Ministries, we can no longer wait on them, we would be compelled to pass the Bill without waiting for them whatever they are doing, he indicated.

Mr. Bagbin while presiding on Wednesday said, “you cannot get any perfect law in any party of the world, what we have done is one of the best in the world so far so there is nothing wrong with us passing the bill in its current state”.

“If there need be, there is nothing wrong to come back and make those necessary amendments to the Bill, they should come before the House either this week or next week”.

Civil society should be informed that, it is evolutionary and not revolutionary and so some of the proposal could be legislated upon, but could be held up when it comes to issue of implementation we should take all that on board, he said before adjourning the House on Wednesday.

According to the former Majority Leader the public is blaming Parliament for not passing the Bill, the system we have to the chief whip is supposed to whip members and not the Majority Leader.

The Leader might have to impress on the chief whip to whip the committee members, Majority chief whip has powers over all members not only those from his side, and would do so through the Minority Chief whip.

Mr. Alban Bagbin urged MPs to cooperate, help address all bills that are urgent and added that the House cannot complete everything, but those that are of urgent nature should be completed before the 5th of April, 2019 so that the House can go on recess.

“There are other compelling matters which would definitely take members out of the House, whether the House is sitting or not, there are issues that some members must of necessity get involve, particularly the leaders I have been there before and I was compelled when I was in their shoes”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Minority sets five questions for Vice President Bawumia

The Minority in Parliament had put out its views on the true state of the Ghanaian economy, posed five questions for Vice President Dr. Mahmud Bawumia, head of government economic management team.

In a breakfast meeting addressed by the Ranking Member of Finance Ato Forson asked, why an independent central bank with focus on price stability decides to reduce the monetary policy rate against its own research findings that US policy normalization is strengthening the US dollar and causing investors to move funds?

They further sought to know why an independent central bank, with a focus on price stability decides to reduce lower the policy rate in the face of dwindling net international reserves and a rising interest rate abroad?

“Why would an independent central bank, with focus on price stability decide to reduce the monetary policy rate in favor of growth, which has been projected to be higher than the previous year’s while the local currency is under pressure?”

Mr. Ato Forson further pointed that, clearly, an economy cannot be externally unstable and internally stable. “How can a rapid exchange rate depreciation be accompanied with a single digit inflation rate as captured by the posted macroeconomic indicators?”

And the fifth is, why would an independent central bank with a focus on price stability decides to lower the police rate in the face of excess liquidity in the banking sector emanating from banks increasing their minimum capital by over 100 percent, while the local currency is fast depreciating?

“The recent monetary policy easing by the Bank of Ghana is nothing more than populist approach and is a key factor fueling the recent exchange rate deprecation”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Parliament awards Kwame Ansah

Ghana’s legislature has through its Public Affairs unit and students Parliaments have presented a citation and a piece of kente cloth to a former senior staff member for his enormous contribution towards the setting up of ‘Students Parliament and Parliamentary Youth Clubs’ in Tertiary and second cycle institutions across the country.

Mr Ansah served as the first coordinator of the Students’ Parliament and Parliamentary Youth Clubs exhibited high professionalism and leadership to drive the rapid growth of the groups.

Second deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin assisted by the Principal Clerk to the Table Office, Ebenezer Djietror Director of Budget, Mohammed Hardi Nyagsi and Acting Director Public Affairs presented the citation to Mr Isaac Kwame Ansah during the commemoration of the 2019 Commonwealth day event in Accra on the theme: Connected Commonwealth.

Find below the full words on the citation:

“In acknowledgement of your immense contribution, serving as the first coordinator of the Students’ Parliament and Parliamentary Youth Clubs in the various tertiary and second cycle institutions across the country from their inception.

You consistently exhibited the highest standard of professionalism and leadership in driving the growth of the Youth Parliaments throughout your tenure.

Your unceasing devotion made you accessible to the students at all times. You served as a source of knowledge to the students in their quest to emulate our national Parliament.

For this reason the Public Affairs Department and all Members of the Youth Parliaments wish to express our profound gratitude to you.

Thank you, Mr Isaac Kwame Ansah for your contribution to inculcating Parliamentary democracy in the youth.

Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com