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“Rastafarianism involves the smoking of weed”—Joseph Osei-Owusu

The First Deputy Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu has stated that, Rastafarianism involves the smoking of marijuana popularly called weed.

He explained that, the Rastafarian religion do not frown on weed smoking, so therefore, they  should not go on those religious ground with the two Achimota Rasta boys, else it would implicate matters for them.

Mr. Osei-Owusu made this statement when he was contributing to a statement made by the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on the plight of two Ghanaian Rastafarian boys and their siblings who are being denied admission into Achimota School, and St John Grammar School.

He reiterate that, weed is an illegal substance and it is not a substance that is permitted, and sighted Black Rasta as an example for quoting that, Members of Parliament smoke weed and was brought to Parliament to substantiate his claims before the privileges Committee where he was found guilty then later apologized and was asked to go and sin no more.

According to the First Deputy speaker, he does not agree with those who said the students have been denied their fundamental human rights because they meet their pass marks.

And noted that the school has rules and regulations which all students must abide  by.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Education Minister: “NaCCA can’t sanction textbook publishers”

Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adu Twum has said the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NaCCA) cannot prescribe any punishment against some publishers who flooded the market with textbooks that contained “bigoted” content.

Answering a question filed by the North Tongu Member of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, March 25, 2021 about the textbooks, Dr Adutwum said the yet-to-be-approved Ghana Book Development Council Bill, will be able to deal with such cases in the future.

“The Ghana Book Development Council Bill has those provisions for sanctions to be taken against publishers like this”, he said.

“Unfortunately”, he noted, “the NaCCA Act does not make provision for that, so, inasmuch as you are scandalised and you do not want to see these things happening, in terms of the legal framework in which NaCCA operates, they do not have the room to do that but the Book Development Council is going to cure this deficiency.”

The books: History of Ghana, Textbook 3 authored by Badu Nkansah and Nelly Martinson Anim; as well as Golden English Basic 4 authored by Okyere Baafi Alexander, were widely condemned on social media.

NaCCA later came out to clear the air, saying those books were not approved.

There was also a subsequent apology from the publishers for circulating these unapproved books.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Members of ECOWAS Parliament adopt report on the Community Levy

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament have considered and adopted the report of the seminar on the theme, “The involvement of ECOWAS Members of Parliament in monitoring the implementation of the Protocol on the Community Levy (CL).”

The three days seminar held on Marche 23 to 25, 2021 in Freetown, Sierra Leone is aimed at involving Community lawmakers  in monitoring the application of the Protocol relating to the Community Levy (CL)  in order to guarantee adequate recovery of the product which required for the financing of the activities for the benefit of the Community.

ECOWAS Revised Treaty published by the ECOWAS Commission in 1993, makes room  for  Financial  Provisions and,  Article 70 ( Regular Budgets of the Community), Section No.1 indicates that the regular budgets of the Community and its institutions shall be funded from a CL  and such other sources as may be determined by the Council.

As part of the recommendation there was the call for the establishment of an expanded Committee to monitor the implementation of the protocols including MPs from the Community Parliament.

And there should be reconsideration in the method of recovery of the Community Levy to achieve direct payment into the account opened for the set purpose in the Central Bank by the taxpayer after liquidation by a competent service.

Whiles some lawmakers pointed out that there should be correction clear cut modalities in collecting the levy, others called for sanctions.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Mahama Ayariga moves motion to consider UT/UniBank petition

A petition has been presented by Member  of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga on behalf of the two former Chief Executive Officers of UT/UniBank,  Prince Kofi Amoabeng and Dr Kwabena Duffuor respectively for Parliament to reconsider the decision by Bank of Ghana to close down their banks

Former Minister of Finance and founder of the defunct UniBank, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, and his counterpart for the defunct UT Bank Limited, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, whose insolvent financial institutions were taken over by the state as part of the banking sector cleanup exercise, are calling for probe into the actions of the regulators.

They have called for a major parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Ghana Stock Exchange for the revocation of their banking licenses.

The two filed separate petitions calling on Parliament to investigate what they consider to be a disregard to the rules of administrative justice guaranteed under Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution.

They are calling for the probe when at the time their respective cases are undergoing both civil and criminal trials in court

Dr. Duffuor is therefore asking Parliament to direct the restoration of their banking licenses and the remedy of the harms done to the shareholders’ property rights in the said banks as a result of the central bank’s action.

They are seeking for Parliament to give any other directives that it may deem appropriate to BoG for its action against them.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Leadership is at fault for not seeing Speaker earlier on quorum”—Haruna

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has said as leaders of the House, they owe it a duty to support the Speaker to manage the House, and he was not at the usual morning conclave meeting with the Speaker because of consideration of budget estimates for some constitutional bodies like the Audit Service.

He made this point on the floor of the House on Tuesday, when the issue of quorum was raised on the floor of the House.

According to the Minority Leader he had fourteen of his colleagues waiting for him so that consideration of the budget estimates can start as he speaks on the floor, but he came into the chamber because he saw the Speaker entering and had to show himself before moving to the committee meeting.

He further underscored the point that around this time Committees meet early morning around 9:00am to 10:00am and rather, the leadership should have come to see the Speaker to move the plenary work to midday.

And further assured the Speaker that, there are quite a number of lawmakers in Parliament but they are at various Committee meetings considering budget estimates, and if thirty minutes is given all of them could come to the chamber.

Speaker Bagbin held on to his earlier point that he stands by the ruling of former speakers that MPs should come to the plenary before going for any Committee meetings, and he had caused the bell to be rang after ten minutes if there are no enough members on the floor, he would be forced to adjourn the House as he has to obey the standing orders.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Dominic Nitiwul urges leadership to find solution to the issue of quorum

Minister for Defense, Dominic Nitiwul has called on Leadership of Parliament to find a solution to the seeming problem of not having the numbers on the floor to conduct business as Committees are considering the budget estimates of the various Ministries, Agencies and Department.

The issue of quorum came up on the floor of Parliament strongly when the Member of Parliament for Lawra Constituency, Bede Anwataazumo Ziedeng raised the issue on the floor, as the Speaker had no option but to comply with Order 48.

The Defense Minister told the House on Monday that he was at the Committee which was considering the budget estimate of his Ministry and they closed around 3:00pm, by then the House had adjourned and he was marked absent because he did not come to the plenary.

Former Deputy Minority Leader, noted that he understands the previous rulings given by previous speakers that if you are not at the plenary you should be marked absent and pointed out that, “if the whips would be able to get chairmen of the various committees to suspend their meetings, the chamber would be full”.

Again, to what end, he understands that members should raise the issue of quorum, but if care is not taken, Committees would not work, because anytime they decide to work they would go back to the issue of quorum until the House is adjourned.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament commences seminar in Freetown

The Speaker of the Parliament of Sierra Leone, Rt. Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu has on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at the Bintumani Conference Center in Freetown, officially opened the First Parliamentary Seminar of the Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in the year, 2021.

The aforesaid Parliamentary Seminar is themed: “Involving Members of the ECOWAS Parliament in monitoring the implementation of the protocol relating to the community levy”. It is being held ahead of its extraordinary session in Freetown scheduled for March 29, 2021.

 ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993, Article 72 of the said Treaty provides for Community Levy for the purposes of generating resources to finance community activities. It shall be a percentage of the total value of import duty derivable from imported goods from third countries outside the community, 0.5 percent levy was determined by the Council, conditions for the application of the levy, transfer and utilization of revenue generated in the form of community levy shall be defined in the relevant protocol, and that Member States are to undertake the facilitation and application of the provisions in this Article.

Welcoming participants, Head of Sierra Leone’s Delegation to ECOWAS Parliament and Leader of the Opposition in Sierra Leone Parliament, Chernor R.M Bah thanked the Government and the people of Sierra Leone for supporting Sidie M. Tunis for his elevation and election to the position of ECOWAS Speaker for the Fifth Legislature of ECOWAS Parliament, constituted in Niamey, Niger last year.

Speaking on the disruption of planned activities by COVID-19, he assured participants that Sierra Leone is full of warm and friendly people with a unique traveling experience of air, land and sea.

Submitting on security, freedom and safety, he called on participants to explore the charming coast of Sierra Leone and also talked about the challenges the country had gone through mentioning war, mudslide and Ebola.

Commissioner of Finance, ECOWAS Commission, Madam Halima Ahmed spoke on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, and joined Bah in welcoming participants to this very important seminar relating to increasing contributions regarding the Community Levy.

Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kaikai described the movement of the Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament to Sierra Leone as a major honour and achievement for the country. However, he observed that the country is at peace now, but it was today 23/03/1991 that the war broke out and claimed many lives and property.

He also talked on the construction of ECOWAS Depot at Lungi for the enhancement of security in the sub-region and a joint border post between Sierra Leone and Liberia to facilitate trade among Member States.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Speaker threatens to adjourn sitting if…..

The Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has told members of Parliament he would be forced to adjourn the House if they fail to form a quorum to transact business in the House on Tuesday.

He made this pronouncement soon after the House had just began its proceedings for the day, while the Member of Parliament for Lawra Constituency, Bede Anwataazumo Ziedeng raised the issue of quorum on the floor.

Mr.  Bede Ziedeng stood on order 48 of the standing orders of Parliament, where it states that, one-third of the total number of MPs are required before proceedings of House could begin.

This, the Speaker agreed with, and assured that, if after 10 minutes, the number of MPs present still remains less than the required number, he would be left with no option than to adjourn the House to tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Ghanamps.com can confirm that there were a lot of MPs in the House but they were at various Committee meetings considering the budget estimate for the various government Ministries, Agencies and Departments.

However, the Speaker’s threat was averted as most MPs rushed to the chamber from adjourning offices before the Speaker’s 10 minutes could be exhausted.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament laments the low remittance of Community Levy by member states

Rt. Hon Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament has expressed displeasure for the low remittance of Community Levy by member states.

Speaking on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 in Freetown Sierra Leon, during the ECOWAS Parliament’s Seminar with the theme, “Involvement of Members of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monitoring the application of the Protocol relating to the Community Levy”, he said the Community levy is meant to mobilize funds required for the accomplishment of the missions of the Parliament and other ECOWAS Institutions.

And explained that the 0.5% levy, imposed on goods from non-ECOWAS Member States, is intended to cater for around 80% of the Community’s budget revenue.

He also noted that the theme, to which MPs are invited today, as they have noted, hinges on the implementation of the Protocol relating to the Community Levy.

“In this regard, I recall that the Community Levy is a mechanism set up by ECOWAS Heads of States and Government and has been operational since 2003.”

“Sadly, we are witnessing a low mobilization of the said resources which has been around 30% of forecasts over the past three years.

Additionally, the import receipts on which the Community Levy is based have also dwindled due to the impact of the health crisis on the global economy.

“Faced with such a difficulty and with the peril which threatens the implementation of community projects and programmes, as well as the execution of the activities of the Community institutions, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, on the occasion of our Second Extraordinary Session for year 2020, held via video conference, in July 2020, requested the assistance of the Parliament in the implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on the Community Levy.

The seminar therefore forms part of the continuation of Parliament’s efforts to make a significant contribution to the resolution of this priority challenge.

It, therefore, offers all of us the opportunity to make relevant and innovative proposals, and thus provide the full complement of the effectiveness of parliamentary action, he stated.

“We are therefore entreated during our discussions, to define an intervention framework for parliamentarians in the strategy of mobilizing the said resources and to find the means to achieve the effective application of the ECOWAS Protocol, because, the Community Levy is the very expression of the solidarity and responsibility of our respective Governments in the process of integration and in the achievement of the regional agenda”.

He said that ECOWAS’ ambition to build a prosperous and peaceful community space is irreversible; adding that the results obtained in the common market is very appreciable.

On COVID-19 pandemic, he encouraged citizens to get vaccinated massively, concluding that, “we either win together or perish together”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Our constituents need to institute something in our memory”—Della Sowah

Member of Parliament for Kpando, Della Adjoa Sowah has said it is high time constituents institute something in the memory of their Members of Parliament who pass away, as a way to remember them.

According to her when a sitting MP passes away he or she is forgotten, the next thing is bye-elections despite the fact that MPs dedicate their life to serve their constituents.

Mrs Sowah urged the people of Ho West to institute something in memory of their late MP Fancies Agbotse, when the family called on the Speaker of Parliament to invite him for the late MPs funeral.

Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin on is part noted that he entered parliament in 1997 with the late MP, and as an accomplished lawyer, the late MP came in with a lot of experience and maturity.

And while serving as chairman of the Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, the late MP was a member of the Committee with then Nana Akufo-Addo serving as a ranking member of the same Committee.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com