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New Chamber to provide space for swearing in new President —Majority Leader

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said the completion of the intended new chamber block of Parliament would afford it space to accommodate swearing in of a new President.

According to the Leader of Government Business, the practice where newly elected Presidents are sworn in at the ‘Black Star Square’ would be over; we should come to terms with that once the new chamber is completed.

He noted that Black Star Square should not be where we swear in presidents; indicating that  currently animals including sheep and goats as well as members of the public have taken over the entire space in breach of protocols.

“When the new chamber is in place, we would have space to accommodate our citizens when the President is being sworn in”.

He made this remarks when Adjaye Associates who had won the bid to build the new chamber block of Parliament brief leadership of the House on how the structure would look like when completed.

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu pointed out to the contractor working on the new chamber block to consider putting up a curtain made up of glass that would prevent strangers from thinking of committing suicide having access to the main chamber during plenary session.

He recounted an incident that occurred weeks back when a stranger wanted to jump from the public gallery into the main chamber to committee suicide.

“The press gallery is even more dangerous, perish that taught, we could have a situation where some other person not a Journalist mix up with the Parliamentary Press Corps, on top of the Speaker pour an acid on the head of the speaker. That before we are aware a great harm has already been caused”, he lamented.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

“Get us space in the new chamber block to practice our faith”—Haruna

Member of Parliament for Tamale South and Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has urged the Adjaye Associates who had won the bid to build Ghana’s new Parliamentary chamber block, to consider a place where Muslims and Christians can practice their faith.

According to the Minority Leader as Adjaye Associates were briefing leadership of the House on how the structure of the new chamber would look like on Friday, he was supposed to pray that afternoon.

“I can do that within the premises of the chamber while the House is conducting business and come back, its one o’clock I have to go and pray, I can do that and come back to the chamber, a place to manifest our faith”.

He pledged his support to help build the new chamber block to make Parliament stronger than it is currently.

“We should have a diplomatic room, I picked this idea from Serbia, where there are holding rooms for former Speakers of the House and former Presidents when they visit Parliament”.

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu indicated that, the day the briefing took place was supposed to be the day for the sod cutting, but the Speaker wanted leadership and members of the public to be walked through how the new chamber would look like.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

MPs need to educate their constituent against FGM—Effutu MP

Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has called on his colleagues in Parliament to help educate their constituents against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

According to the Effutu lawmaker, Ghana’s constitution is clear that practices and customs that are inconsistent with our constitution would not be recognised and the practice must seize to exist.

“People have said when FGM is done such an act makes the woman stabile, it makes the woman more faithful, Mr. Speaker no matter how a group of people believe in it as their tradition, I cannot see eye to eye with this practice in this contemporary times”.

He further pointed out that, in his opinion, no one has the right to take away the clitoris of a woman, it is against their human rights.

And lamented over the condition under which the FGM is done, which is very traumatizing, and we should let them know out there that Ghana’s Parliament is against such practice and we are committed to ensure that we eradicate it for good.

“I urge all those NGOs and bodies that have made it their objective to educate families and ethnic groups, on the effect of this should continue, and also engage in counseling for those who have gone through this painful act”

Mr. Alexandra Afenyo-Markin pointed out while contributing to a debate on the floor of the House that no one should see females undergo such inhumane act.

He again admonished men, not to look down on women who had gone through the FGM as lesser human beings, but rather find ways of making them happy and enjoy them.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

South Dayi MP calls for support for VRA resettlement communities

Member of Parliament for North Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor is lamenting over Volta River Authority (VRA) resettlement communities suffering degradation as a result of deprivation as life has become very difficult for the people.

He noted that the resettlement trust fund of VRA has enhanced the living standard for the communities by providing them with social amenities like education, health, sanitation and water.

However the resettled communities remain faced with challenges that need to be addressed, adding non-payment of compensation to the original land owners has assumed greater proportion.

“In South Dayi, the compensation due the people of Toh-Kpalime for giving a large truck of land upon which the Tongor-Kaira resettlement town was built, has not been paid. In Tongor-Tsanakpe, only ten of the proposed one hundred and forty-five quarters have been complete, the remaining one thirty-five have been abandoned since 1975”.

The people are angry against the government when clearly it is not a government issue, again there is an issue of unemployment among the youth, he stated.

He pointed out in a statement on the floor of the House that this challenge can be tackled with the provision of working capital to enable those who wish to venture into entrepreneurship, to do so with the hope that their activities would provide means of employment.

“Mr. Speaker, all the Tongor and most Kpalime communities are without portable water as well as electricity even though their vast lands were lost in the deluged. These communities are located by the lake shore but they do not have pipe-borne water, as the VRA Trust Fund has specific mandate; which mainly is to ensure the well-being of all persons and communities affected by VRA project and to ensure that efforts are made to improve on the standard of conditions of these communities so as to not to make them worse off than their previous conditions prior to the destruction suffered as a result of the GoG project on the lake”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Let’s mobilize to educate people against female circumcision

Member of Parliament for Afadzato South, Angela Oforiwa Alorwu-Tay, has called for mobilization of funds to empower Non-Governmental organizations to educate Ghanaians against female circumcision.

According to the Afadzato South lawmaker, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) should be given their needed budgetary allocation to embark on education against the bad culture practice.

The Afadzato South MP further questioned why there are laws to punish those who involve themselves in such act, but we are not applying the law or even reporting such practice to the rightful authorities?

Again, women who have their clitoris cut may not be able to enjoy the act of sex, and the physical pain they go through.

The MP was contributing to a statement on the floor of the House, against the practice of female circumcision which is against the human right of females, all in the name of culture practice.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Quiz competition would improve education in Adentan constituency—MP

Member of Parliament for Adentan, Yaw Buaben Asamoah has said organizing Maths, English, Science and General Knowledge quiz competition for junior high schools in his constituency, would improve the standard of education.

According to the Adentan MP the competition organized in collaboration with his office, the Municipal Assembly and a private organization, PMC concept and Care Right Foundation should be sustained.

The first ever JHS quiz competition in the constitution was worn by Victory Presby with fifty-nine point (59), Vine Christians with fifty-seven (57), Sowa Din had fifty-three with  Mercy Islamic having fifty point.

The MP in an interview noted that he is impressed with the competition and its intensity and advised it should be sustained.

“I believe education is capital and something that this country must begin to look at, in terms of that the President is investing hence the free Senior High School (SHS) policy and parents should invest in extracurricular since government is taking care of the free SHS”.

Again, you see the joy that characterized   this competition, it is not only the students but we have the whole administration, the teachers getting involve and preparing the students for this competition.

As to whether Information Communication Technology should not be added to the quiz next year, the Adentan MP agreed with that assertion since a laptop was part of the prize given to the winning school.

“We would also be bridging the digital divide, I agree with you that ICT should also be tested as part of the competition”, he remarked.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghananmps.com

Minority Leader appeal to Speaker to haul EC chair to brief Parliament

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has appealed to the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye to direct the chair of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensah to brief the House on the ongoing limited registration exercise.

According to the Minority Leader, as representatives of the people they need to be briefed on the challenges on the ongoing exercise.

“In my constituency, there are shortages of forms. There is confusion between online and offline and there is an upcoming District Assemble election as representatives of the people, the right vote must not be in a denial. If you can direct that the EC chair appears before this House we are major stakeholders, we need to know the road map”, he appealed.

Leader of Government Business and Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on his part noted that the issue was raised at the Business Committee meeting.

“I strongly suggested to the Minority Leader that the committee does not generate its own agenda, if he has an issue he should apply to the Speaker, if the Speaker agrees then we have to do that”, he said on the floor answering questions after presentation of the Business Statement”.

He noted that until then, there is nothing before the Business Committee to invite the EC until the invitation is granted, “We should do the needful but now there is nothing before the committee”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ablakwa to file question on visa waiver agreement

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has indicated to the House that, he would file an urgent question on the issue of visa waiver agreement to Jamaica and four other countries.

According to the Ranking member he had raised the issue at the committee level, and indicated to the House that when President Nana Akufo-Addo went to the Carrabin’s he did indicate a new visa waiver he had signed.

On Friday after the presentation of the Business statement, he did draw the attention of the Speaker that he is bringing the issues up because the agreement would take effect on July 1, 2019.

He recounted Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and the Supreme Court ruling that all international agreements should come before Parliament.

“Mr. Speaker, indeed there are four of this visa waiver agreements that have been programmed for this particular meeting; Columbia, Chile, India and Hungry, when I raise the issue I was told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would fast truck it for the agreement to be brought to us to ratify before the 1st of July, 2019”.

Speaker Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye pointed out to the North Tongu lawmaker to do the proper thing by filling for the sector Minister to come to the House to address the issue.

“If the Minister has not submitted the agreement, you a worthy MP to ask her questions, Honorable please file a question’.

The North Tongu lawmaker indicated to the Speaker that he would be well guided and follow the advice of the Speaker by filing a question on the floor of the House.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Six Ministers to answer twelve questions next week

Per the Business Statement presented on the floor by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu, six Ministers would be on the floor of the House to answer twelve questions from Members of the House.

Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta would be on the floor of the House to take four questions in the name of his Ministry, whiles Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei would take a question on behalf of Monitory and Evaluation.

Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu would take six questions for his Ministry, whiles the Ministers of Communication, Tourism, Arts and culture would take a question each for their Ministries.

On Friday of next week the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwesi Amoako Atta would take five questions on the floor for his Ministry.

In the light of this, there would be one urgent question and seventeen oral questions to be taken on the floor of the House.

Pursuant to Order 70 (2), Ministers of state may be permitted to make statements of government policy and statements duly admitted by the Speaker may be made in by Members of Parliament.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Defense Minister blames Tax exemption issues for Military hospital delay

Minister of Defense, Dominic Nitiwul has blamed delays in the completion of the Military Hospital at Afari in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality on tax exemption approval which prevented the contractor Messrs Euroget Da Invest SA (EDI) from procuring materials and equipment in large quantities to accelerate the project.

Construction of the hospital started in 2008 but has since not been completed.

According to the Defence Minister, the five hundred bed facility with staff residential facility was approved by Parliament in October 2008 to be sited at Sofoline in Kumasi with completion period of forty-two months.

The project was however revised in January 13, 2010 and relocated to Tamale and further relocated from Tamale to Accra 37 Military hospital and finally to Afari, Nkwaie in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality.
He further pointed that the above reasons delayed the project until commencement of the construction in 2014.

The contractor was granted tax exemption in 2017 after being on site for almost three years as a result the completion date was moved to 2018.

In April, 2018, the project suffered contractual dispute between the main contractor, Messrs EDI and the sub-contractors Messrs MBS and Messrs HANISA which lasted for eight months leading to the determination of the sub-contracts, as the case is currently in court.

The Minister was responding to Mr. Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere, Member of Parliament for Atwima-Nwabiagya South who wanted to know what had stalled the construction of the Military hospital at Afari in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality.

He said the Ministry then had to re-award the sub-contacts to a new sub-contractors, Messrs Africa Building Partners (ABP) and Messrs Core Construction which took a while due to background checks that were required and completions of all necessary documentation.

The new sub-contractors, Messrs ABP and Core Construction, moved to site finally in November 2018 to commence work which has steadily progressed to date without break.

“Currently civil works at the hospital site is about ninety percent complete whilst that of housing is about fifty percent, as overall civil works is about seventy percent complete”.

A team from the Ministry and contractors have visited Philips, the medical equipment manufactures to inspect the equipment to be supplied in Holland and China and have given a satisfactory report for the equipment to be provided.

Meanwhile, construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year, however the extension of electricity which is estimated to take seven months would delay its handing over until the first half of 2020.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com