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Ministerial Vetting: Health Minister would be given priority —Haruna

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has revealed that the Minister of Health designate, Kwaku Agyeman Manu would be given priority in his vetting that comes off Wednesday, February 10, 2021 because of the COVID-19 situation.

According to him the Appointment Committee has met and asking for public memoranda on all of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s nominees for his second term as the clerk to parliament is working on publications in the media.

He further noted that National Security Minister designate, Albert Kan Dapaah and Finance Minister designate, Ken Ofori Atta would also be given same priority, because of the critical role they have to play.

 “Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 situation is worrying and gives room for concern, we do not have Minister for Health but the President has appointed someone responsible on the matter of COVID, we may have to ask for an urgent briefing from them on what we are doing, if we have to isolate or take critical decision that would prevent the upsurge in active cases”, he stated.

In a related development, he pointed out that he did not see his colleagues in the Majority Group respect the COVID-19 protocols last week Thursday when they had to take a vote on a private members motion, seeking the President to absorb school fees in public tertiary institutions.

“We have the difficulty of choosing between constitutional obligations and working to avoid the upsurge of the novel coronavirus. Our colleagues should stop leaving in the past, we have 137 to 137, and should stop behaving as if they still have comfort with numbers”.

And revealed that there is a matter before the Parliamentary Service Board to provide broad ban so that MPs can vote from the comfort of their homes and offices, “but when one side decide not to limit their numbers because of essential vote, we shall all bear the consequences by not respecting the protocols”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Majority does not have bad intentions towards tertiary students – Afenyo Markin

Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo Markin has clarified that the Majority Group in Parliament does not have any bad intentions against tertiary students in Ghana’s education institutions.

According to him his side voted against the private members motion tabled by the Bawku Central lawmaker because it lacked clarity and was specifically bias against private tertiary educational institutions.

At a press conference on Friday, January 29, 2021 he pointed out that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has all Ghanaians including those in the tertiary institutions at heart and would do everything possible to cushion every student in the tertiary but at the appropriate time.

He said, government has made provisions for tertiary students to access loans without even a guarantor and many initiatives that would bring relief to students and parents and Ghanaians should exercise patience for government to get its ministers in place, for an appropriate decision to be taken.

“The ambiguity in the motion was just too much if we want to have a plan for tertiary students in this COVID-19 era we must sit together with the Executive this government is at its formative stage we don’t have a Minister in place yet. Why rush the government when you know that it has not role its plan for the educational sector?”

He further pointed out that the whole thing that his colleague Mahama Ayariga is asking would have an impact on the economy, adding that it has cost implications, and he has done a research since 2009, and government is taking seventy percent of cost that students are supposed to pay.

And to create the impression that the Majority Group does not want to build consensus is not true, because the Bawku Central lawmaker prior to the filing of his motion he had already put it out in the public domain.

“He was seeking to court public sympathy and was on populist journey, if we really want to do something for the people of Ghana at a time that we all accept that business were collapsing and people are suffering your main stop is revenue, if you do not have can you give?”

“Is the Minority saying we should increase taxation, they mention VAT and are they asking that we take full financing of tertiary  education in this country is that their argument, they have not put that out there?”

The Effutu MP noted that they were not in there to oppose but wanted the whole issued looked at holistically, and Ghanaians who followed their side of the argument would come to the relisation that they wanted to know which issues they wanted put to the Executive.

Again, he pointed out that at the time that the Nana Akufo-Addo led government was implementing Free Senior High School his colleagues were oppose to it, and if there is mention of any government that has demonstrated support towards education it is the NPP.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Some MPs have tested positive for COVID-19—Speaker

The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has reiterated that, members of Parliament, staff and the media must do well to comply with all protocols on the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him some lawmakers in the 8th Parliament of the fourth Republic have tested positive to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He gave this advice when Members of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Pusiga Laadi Ayamba and Ayawaso West Wuogon Lydia Seyram Alhassan made statements on the pandemic, how it can be managed as the second wave of cases are going up.

Mr.  Speaker further indicated that, some members of Parliament have already been tested positive for COVID-19 and that all Members and Parliamentary staff should be serious with the ongoing COVID-19 mandatory testing by Noguchi health center in Parliament, in order to curb the spread of the pandemic.

“Issues of confidentiality you may not know who has contracted the virus and we are not supposed to disclosed those who have it. When I was entering I had to signal some members to respect the physical distancing protocols”.

He further admonished that MPs who have not gone to take the test for the coronavirus should do so because it is for the good of themselves and their family, and cautioned that MPs who have not gone for the test he might be compelled to mention names as Friday, January 29, 2021 was the last time he was talking about the subject.

 Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com


One of Ghana’s ECOWAS MPs elevated to Ministerial position

One of Ghana’s representatives to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Ebenezer Kojo Kum has been nominated as the Minister designate for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs.

He was sworn into the fifth ECOWAS Parliament on March 9, 2020 and serves on the Committee for Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

Ghana’s Eight Parliament is currently in the process of recomposing its delegation to the ECOWAS and Pan African  Parliament,  as those who have already been sworn in the fifth Parliament and worn their re-election without Ministerial appointment likely to return to the West African sub-regional body.

Mr. Kum in an interview pointed out that one of the issues that had confronted the ECOWAS Parliament is the COVID-19 pandemic and just after he was sworn in last year, the pandemic came in.

“Speaker Side Mohammed Tunis has been able to keep the Community Parliament running through his dynamic leadership, we have had virtual meetings in terms of engagements, the physical meetings would have been more beneficial but you take your circumstances as you find them”.

And added that it’s his wish and prayer that the sub regional Legislature would be able to put the pandemic behind it and carry on with its activities as a Parliament.

When confronted with the issue of attrition rate in the Parliament, he responded that one cannot talk of attrition rate in the Parliament, because coming back to the Parliament depends on one winning his or her election in their home country.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

COVID-19: Parliament washrooms lack soap and tissue papers —Dr. Sandaare

Member of Parliament for Daffiama Bussie Issa, Dr Sebastian Issa Sandaare had commended the Leadership of Parliament for advocating for strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in the house.

He however, drew the attention of the House to a development if not checked, all the measures being implement by the House to curb the spread of the protocols would not work in the House.

“Mr. Speaker as much as I commend the Business Committee for limiting the number of visitors to comply with the protocols it is not enough, I have observed that in our wash rooms both at the offices and the chamber there are not soaps and tissue papers sometimes”.

He further pointed out that sometimes water in the washrooms do not flow as well, and for him these are very critical issues that need to be addressed, if they are to wash their hands as lawmakers.

Again, he lamented of a development on Thursday, January 28, 2021 when it got to the time to take a vote on a private members motion that the Bawku Central Member of Parliament moved on the floor of the House.  “We were made to understand that some of our colleagues would remain in their offices to ensure social distancing, this was disobeyed especially the Majority group, I don’t know what happened they just rushed in their numbers and took the vote”.

Dr. Sandaare lamented that, the House is taking the issue of social distancing for granted and when the House is not lucky just one day, just disobeying the protocols, “we would have it”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Chieftaincy Judicial Committee needs to be resourced — Minister designate

Minister designate for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Ebenezer Kojo Kum is advocating for resources to be made available to the chieftaincy adjudicating committee to ensure speedy resolutions to the numerous chieftaincy disputes in the country.

According to him when that is achieved Ghana would be the beneficiary at the end of the day, as he has gotten in touch with his predecessor who has briefed him and told him when he came into the office there were three hundred and twenty-five disputes.

And as at the time he left, there were three hundred cases left, despite the fact that two hundred of the disputes had been dealt with. “It shows that whiles the pending cases are being resolved, new cases are added on”.

In an interview ahead of vetting of Ministers which starts on February 10, 2021, he noted that one of the institutions whose developmental agenda cannot be done without is the chieftaincy institutions.

Chiefs are the custodians of the land and culture, and the institution that cannot be by-passed without any developmental agenda, which is why in most of the state institutions like, “council of state and lands commission our respected chiefs are made members”.

And added that, in his discussion with the immediate passed sector Minister, it came out clearly that the vision is to ensure the institution lives up to its respected responsibility by promoting nation cohesion and advocating for development, “that is one area we need to emphasis”, he said.

Mr. Kojo Kum acknowledged that chieftaincy disputes have unfortunately bedeviled the institution, but if advantage is taken of the talent and resources and turn around it would go to the advantage of the country’s development.

“Ones I am approved I would team up with the officers of the Attorney General and the various judicial committees of the various regions, we should be able to resolve some of the challenges”.

 Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“If I feel strongly about an issue, I would bring it up”—Mahama Ayariga

Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga has said he is not discouraged despite the Majority Group on Thursday, January 28, 2021 voting against his motion for the president to take steps to absorb the fees of students of public tertiary institutions for the year 2020/2021 academic calendar.

According to him this would not be the last time that he would bring issues he feels strongly about on the floor of the House. “I have just started, this would not discourage me”.

In an interview on Thursday night, he noted that he had a good course but it was clear that the Majority Group resorted to playing games and clearly the students need support everywhere across the country, it is evidently clear.

And the general feeling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, there is the urgent need for support, adding, it could come in different ways either by suspending or absorbing the fees.

He backed his point by saying that like Ghanaians are being supported in terms of water and electricity, again with small businesses having same support, there is the need to support “our tertiary students”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

O.B Amoah organizes free eye screening and surgery for constituents

Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, Hon. Osei Bonsu Amoah, says the health needs of his constituents still remain a number priority on his agenda.

He therefore would leave no stone unturned to ensure that they receive the best of medical care to enable them stay healthy and contribute their quota to the development of the area and the country at large.

Hon. Amoah who is also the MP for Akuapem South made this observation on Monday moments after presenting some medical suppliers to a combined medical team from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Koforidua Government Hospital and Kom Clinic to begin their two weeks intensive free eye screening and surgery for his constituents.

The exercise is taking place in over 28 demarcated centers across the constituency.

The first phase of the project which is expected to end on Sunday, August 21, 2016, will see the medical team screen the eyes of patients and make referrals for further treatment and surgery if any.

The second phase which will begin on Monday, August 22, 2016 will also see the medical team conduct surgery to patients who have been referred for that exercise.

The Akuapem South legislator told Kasapafmonline.com on the sidelines of the event after visiting some centers in Brekuso, Ahwerase, Aburi, Jamaicaso, and Kitase that apart from the medical suppliers he sponsored, he is also taking care of the cost of surgery, accommodation, transportation and feeding of the medical team.

According to him, he was motivated to be part of the sponsors of the event based on the outcome of previous health screening exercises he has been conducting for his people.

“I must emphasis that the cost is from my own personal resources to augment other health intervention programs for my people”, he noted.

The leader of the medical team, Curtis Siaw Addae, an Optometrist at the KATH Eye Center said his outfit is expecting to screen over 8,000 people in the exercise.

As at the time of the interview, the medical team had recorded over 50 cases of cataract, glaucoma among other cases.

Dep. Minister attends “Young Urban Women” Confer

The deputy Northern Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Bunkprugu constituency, Mr. Solomon Boar, has hinted on a number of interventions by government such as the implementation of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking and the Disability Acts to ease challenges being faced by women.

The Minister said this when he participated in this year’s “The Young Urban Women” Conference at the Catholic Guest House, Tamale in the Northern Region.

The conference, which was organized by the Action Aid and the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Center (NORSAAC), was aimed at empowering young women in the region and strengthening their collective power to actively participate in their own development and the development of their communities, region and country as a whole.

Speaking at the Conference, Mr Boar lauded their efforts for standing up to be part of the development process in their communities and encouraged them not to relent on their efforts but continue to strive to add value to whatever jobs or activities they are engaged in.

He also urged them to grab any leadership position as that was the sure way of getting their numerous demands and grievances timely addressed.

He noted that the Akuffo Addo led administration sees the youth especially women as the major element to Ghana’s human capital, adding that government was therefore committed to supporting the youth to strengthen their health and wellbeing.

He pledged to lobby to ensure that 50% of MASLOC funds are set aside for female applicants to support their craft enterprises in the region.

The Minister also commended the Action Aid and the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Center (NORSAAC) for their support and encouraged them to continue to partner government’s effort in bringing development to the people.

The minister, who later received a signed petition on behalf of the President also to assured them that their grievances will swiftly be addressed by government.

Adam Abdul-Fatawu /Alice Abubakari/ Ghanadistricts.com

Lands Minister designate to seek technical advice to deal with land guard issues

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources designate, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor has said when recommended for approval by the Appointment Committee to serve as the Minister, he would bring technical advisors to advise him to deal with land guard issues confronting the nation.

According to him if there is no law and order within the land sector, there is bound to be problem but there is hope.

And further added that when all the players in the land sector agree on the rules and say this is the way to go, “we just have to enforce the rules in full and not allow more than one person pay for a particular piece of land”.

Mr. Abdulai Jinapor noted that with illegal mining (galamsey) when he gets to the office, he would cross the bridge as a lot of work has been done by the inter-ministerial committee and he would try and brief himself.

“The President has said, he is not against small scale mining but determined to protect the environment of Ghana, we should agree to the rules and have a national consultative forum where the miners association, chiefs and media would be brought together to chat the way forward, at the end of it we can implement it without fear or favor”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com