• +233 20 230 9497

Minority leader appeals to EU to release funds to build labor market information data

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has appealed to the European Union to release funds meant for projects in Ghana.

He lamented over the inadequate release of resources meant for the Labor Market Information System.

According to Mr. Iddrisu, Ghana need a data system to help it know in real terms the unemployment rate in the country especially matters to do with young people looking for employment.

Mr. Iddrisu recounted that as far back as 2015 funds pledged had not been released and in one of his visits to Brussels, he saw in a newspaper seventeen EU undisbursed projects, and Ghana was listed among the countries.

“EU’s poor release, this is not helping in policy implementation in Ghana. There is the need to take a second look at this”, he told an EU Parliamentary delegation that called on the Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye.

In a related development, the Minority Leader told the visiting EU lawmakers at the outdoor of a joint Africa-EU Summit that the strategy was to reduce donor finance relation.

“Our President Nana Akufo-Addo has articulated that in Ghana beyond aid agenda, our President does not want that relationship my view is that it seat sufficiently with paradigm shift relations with the EU, we support him in that enterprise”.

He further pointed out in his remarks that he looks forward for a stronger bond between Ghana’s Parliament and that of the EU.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Speaker cautions against politicizing his directives

Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye has cautioned against politicizing the directives he gave the media to concentrate on covering proceedings in the chamber when the House is sitting and avoid covering individuals when the House is sitting.

According to the Speaker, he still stands by his earlier directives that when proceedings is ongoing the media should not be outside the chamber to cover other activities.

“Going on further, the Majority or the Minority should not at any given time in the interest and dignity of the House engage the media”.

Professor Oquaye further pointed out that Ghana’s democracy is a young one and hence there is a responsibility on very one to help develop it by strengthening it.

“My directives have been commented upon, I spoke to both side of the House, I did say so categorically you are reminded that the media is most welcome as guest of this House, we would do everything to assist in the performance of their duty”.

And gave an example of a respectable chief in any part of Ghana inviting the press to cover an event in the palace, the media would not go outside the palace to cover a different event that would be disrespect to the chief hence same should be the case in Parliament.

“I have supported media freedom since 1967 when I wrote my first article to the GhanaTimes, and I have been consistent on this, again no institution is perfect we should be able to critics each other so that we develop”.

He further revealed that they are revising the standing order to make the media stronger by allowing the media to cover committee sittings.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Minority lament over collapsing trend in NHIS

The Minority on the Health Committee in Parliament are lamenting over the delay in the release of funds to service providers in the National Health Insurance Scheme and capping of funds.

According to the Minority on the Health Committee, government has no excuse in the delay of payment for such a long period as they are hoarding the money for reasons best known them.

Ranking member on the Committee, Mr. Kwabena Mintah AKandoh in addressing the media at a press conference noted that customers pay upfront the National Health Insurance Levy in the country.

He blamed the Ministry of Finance for the collapsing of the National Health Insurance Scheme and demanded that the Akufo-Addo led government immediately redeem its obligation under the law and release the funds to resuscitate the NHIS which is currently at the incentive care unit.

Again, the President in his SONA address in 2019 page 9 paragraph 3 said, “today our NHIS is buoyant as government has paid up to 1.2billion cedis arrears we inherited and brought the operation of NHIS back to life”.

While the President was talking of a buoyant NHIS there was a decline in active membership from 10.422 million in 2017 to 10.410 million in 2018.

The Minority noted that whiles the key stakeholders in the health insurance industry are getting financially suffocated as a result of delay in payment of the claim, the President, in the 2020 SONA at page 25 paragraph 3 line 4 describe the NHIS as operating more adequately.

“It is a demonstration of insensitivity to the plights of service providers and beneficiaries as some have decided to withdraw their services from NHIS, we share in their grievances and appeal to them for the sake of ordinary Ghanaians they should rescind their decision”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Speaker’s threat is affront to media freedom and free speech—GJA

The Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has noted that the threat by Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Oquaye to withdraw the accreditation of the media in Parliament over they covering an individual MP whiles proceedings was ongoing as unfortunate.

According to the GJA it is an affront to media freedom and free speech and added that Parliament is a House of the people.

And in the interest of the public, journalists’ access to the House cannot be deemed as a privilege but a necessity to enable them report to the people what their elected representatives are up to during official and any other activity in the House.

In a statement by the President of the Association, Mr. Affail Monney noted that whiles journalists may not have the right of presence in Parliament, their presence in the House greatly enhances promoting accountability, transparency and good governance.

“It is not for nothing that our forebears dedicated a whole chapter (Chapter 12) in the 1992 Constitution to media freedom. Article 162(4) of the 1992 Constitution was designed to insulate the media from control or interference in the performance of their duty. Article 162(5) further mandates the media to sup hold the responsibility and accountability of the Government (including the Legislature) to the people of Ghana without fear or favor”.

The GJA wishes to respectfully assure Parliament of its esteem respect for the august House and the Right Honorable Speaker in particular, however, it will not countenance any action that attempts to take away the media’s right to inform the people and the people’s right to know, the statement noted.

“We not hesitate to take any and every action, including legal recourse, to vindicate and reaffirm the freedoms and independence of the media should this unhealthy threat or admonitions resurface in future”.

The Speaker of Parliament is on record to have said “You are here as guests by my permission because of the importance this House attaches to your profession. Any such deviation would make you an unwelcome guests and your welcome would be duly withdrawn.”

This threat was in response to a decision by some members of the Parliamentary Press Corps to cover a news conference by Minority Spokesperson on Mines and Energy, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, on the state of Ghana’s power sector while proceedings were ongoing in the Chamber.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

PPC to accompany Speaker in international travels

Members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) have been given assurance that they are going to benefit soon from accompanying the Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye and Leadership of the House when they embark on international travels.

This issue came up as a result of both the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House giving examples of best international practices on how the media conduct themselves.

A member of the PPC questioned Leadership on how they expect Journalists in Ghana’s Parliament to know of best media practice when they embark on international trips alone without taking the media along.

But the Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei recounted back in the days of late Speaker Rt. Hon Peter Ala Adeity, the then Dean Ruby Ammable  was taken to Burkina Faso when the House attended Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting there.

And noted that he and his colleague, the Minority Leader on various occasions have lamented over the media not accompanying Speaker as other countries go on such programmes with their media entourage.

The Minority Leader in his part noted that he chairs a Human Resource wing of the Parliamentary Service Board of Ghana’s Parliament and there are plans to beef up the Public Affairs Department of the House.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

“I don’t owe you an apology”—Majority Leader tells press

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has made it clear to members of the Parliamentary Press Corps that he does not owe them any apology.

He made the comment at a meeting between himself, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, Director of Public Affairs, Mrs. Kate Addo and members of the Press Corps on Thursday morning in Parliament.

At the meeting, the PPC demanded an apology from leadership of the House in the wake of the directives of the Speaker Professor Oquaye’s warning to strip off media accreditation of PPC members if they abandoned proceedings in the chamber again to cover press conference of individuals as was the case on Tuesday when Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah had issues to address relating to the energy sector, with his side giving indications they will not participate in the debate of SONA.

“I am surprised by the attitude of demanding apology from leadership of the House after I have taken pains to explain to you what had transpired in the House, for you to tell me you need an apology”.

He further pointed out that demanding an apology was going out of bound, “respectfully” and was same view held by the Minority Leader.

When a journalist demanded a meeting with the Speaker to register his protest, the Majority Leader indicated to him he cannot prevent him from doing that, “he can walk to the Speaker”.

“It pays to be a bit circumspect and choice of language wherever we are and whatever power we think we have, it should be exercised with a degree of circumspection”.

In addition he noted that if the President of Ghana has made the same directives as the Speaker did, the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) would not be demanding apology.

“Let us face it, the Speaker is the number three gentleman of the land, we should accord some courtesy to the Speaker”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

EU helped Ghana reform as good democracy in Africa—Professor Oquaye

Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye has commended the European Union for helping Ghana in its democratic journey as there had been a lot of reforms which showcase Ghana as a good democratic nation in Africa.

According to the Speaker, since 1988 when Ghana craved for good governance and it became the order of the day to ensure electoral reforms, the EU assisted Ghana to acquire transparent ballot box, registration with pictures more especially during our difficult elections in 1992, “which changed our political atmosphere in Ghana and made us a good example of democracy”.

Professor Oquaye further thanked the EU for its assistance to Ghana’s Electoral Commission in its exercise to conduct elections in Ghana.

He made this remarks on Tuesday when Mr. Norbert Neuser led a Parliamentary delegation from the European Union from five different countries to pay a courtesy call on the Speaker.

He lamented over the practice over the years where there has been bilateral relations between government to government, at the neglect of relationship at the Parliamentary level and called for a shift in the relationship level from Parliament to Parliament.

“In Ghana parliament has been the most suffering institution any time there is a political upheavals. Any time there is a military takeover, and when constitutionalism is restored Parliament has to start all over again and this has affected Parliament as an institution”, he lamented.

In addition, Speaker Oquaye wished the EU well despite Britain which is Ghana’s tradition brother leaving the EU and hope the relation would continue. “Even before Britain became a member of the EU, we had strong and good relations”.

And further added that since Britain and the EU are all pursuing good governance and democracy, transparency avoidance of corruption, the good relationship would continue.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Minority points out its reservation on new voters’ register to EU

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has pointed out to the Leader of a delegation of  lawmakers from the European Parliament, Mr. Norbert Neuser that his side is not happy with moves taken by Ghana’s Electoral Commission to compile new voters’ register less than nine months into a Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

According to Mr. Haruna, they have misgivings and concerns about the intention of the EC and they have made that known publicly.

“We are worried about this development. There are two main political parties in Parliament; the NDC and NPP, but it is not lost on us that we have Article 46 which states that the EC shall not be subjected to control. Our concern is directed to the EC”.

He made this point when the EU Country Director, H. E. Ms. Diana Acconcia in the company of some EU lawmakers called on Speaker Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye on Tuesday February 25, 2020.

He underscored how Ghana cherished its friendship with the EU, as the EU remains a continental unifier, and is a wakeup call for Ghana and Africa to embrace beyond the lip service of Pan-African slogan.

“Ghana takes pride in multi-party constitutional democracy, we remain committed to those values, Ghana is not just an oasis of peace, we look forward in protecting our democracy and hope our citizens would benefit from it”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ghana’s EC is one of the most credible one in Africa —Dompreh

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Frank Annoh-Dompreh has told visiting Members of Parliament of the European Union that Ghana’s Electoral Commission is the best across Africa.

According to him, issues raised against the EC’s decision to compile a new register by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) would be addressed for Ghana to have a peaceful election.

He made this remarks when the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu raised concerns when lawmakers from the EU Parliament called on the Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye on Tuesday 25th February 2020.

Mr. Dompreh acknowledged the support the EU has been given to Ghana in building up its democratic credentials, and noted that, “regardless of the concerns raised by our brothers in the Minority, Ghana’s EC remains one of the credible across Africa”.

He further told the visitors that the hurdle would be jumped and the concerns being raised would be addressed as all players and variables involved would lead to a very peaceful resolution.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Dompreh seeks EU support in climate change and renewable energy

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Frank Annoh-Dompreh has appealed to the European Union to assist Ghana in addressing issues related to climate change of which farmers are the most affected.

According to him, Africa is a bit challenged when it comes to addressing climate change despite the fact that there is a policy to that effect.

“We have a policy to plant trees along our boarders and trying to help the control rising temperatures”.

Mr. Domprehn who represented the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu when a delegation from the European Parliament called on the Speaker Oquaye commended the EU for their involvement in Ghana.

He secondly touched on renewable energy and added that Ghana has passed an Act on renewable energy and has a master plan, but seek the support of the EU in this direction as Denmark, Sweden and Norway are doing very well in this direction.

And pointed out to the visitors that the seat of Government has installed solar panels, adding that Ghana and Kenya are also taking bold steps.

Again, he noted that as the President of Ghana has outdoor One-District-One Factory (1D1F) to address unemployment in the country, power supply and its availability is very critical.

Mr. Annoh-Dompreh reminded the EU Country Director, H. E.   Ms. Diana Acconcia of their assistant to public schools in terms of renewable energy, as this would take public schools off the national grade.

“When done, power availability to power industrial growth will be good for Ghana and I would appeal to the EU to critically look at this”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com