• +233 20 230 9497

“We believe the E-Levy tax must die in Parliament”—Dr. Ato Forson

Ranking member of the Finance Committee of Ghana’s Parliament, Dr. Ato Cassiel Forson Baah even before the chairman of the Committee schedule a meeting for the consideration of the E-Levy Bill has indicated he would lead his side on the Committee to ensure the tax dies in Parliament.

According to him he has heard of government’s meeting with the telecommunications to reduce their charges.

In a statement the chamber of telecommunications have indicated in a press statement that, “MTN and AirtelTigo have agreed to downward revision of their P2P (person to person transfer) fees by up to 25% depending on respective operator. Vodafone currently has no charges. Each operator would notify their customers of the applicable revised rate when the e-levy bill is passed into law”.

NDC Minority

 Dr. Ato Forson in an interview on Friday, December 17,2021 after a Finance Committee meeting indicated that they believe the E-Levy Bill should go through a number of  consultation; they  need to meet the telcos, hear from them and understand why they have given such a concession and to understand the meaning of such concession to the ordinary Ghanaian.

“We are not going to rush through this, we would do a diligent work, we would deliver a bill that would stand the test of time,  if we would have to approve it,  we believe this government should not entertain E-Levy  our stand is that we stand opposed to the levy,  we want zero percent”.

He further noted that the Committee is yet to consider the Bill and waiting for the chairman to communicate the date. “I do not determine when the committee meets, the chairman of the Committee would have to schedule a date we would have to appear before the Committee”.

And added that if the Appropriation Bill is not passed there would be a fiscal cliff and they are not in for that, but the E-Levy Bill would be looked at whether before they rise or after they rise but there is no consensus on the Bill.

“I am the ranking member on the committee, I led the Minority on issue like this and the NDC Minority we do not have any consensus with the NPP Majority on the E-Levy”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament to push diplomacy button as Mali junta deadline gets closer—Ayariga

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc has warned to impose sanctions if by January 2022 the Malian junta did not move to hold polls.

The Community parliament as part of its parliamentary diplomacy in the coming days is making moves to ensure the Military junta meets the deadline or provides an alternative.

First Rapporteur of Parliament’s Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Mahama Ayariga in an interview with Ghanamps.com noted that usually when there are military coups, parliaments stand dissolved, “we are usually the victims”.

The Executive would transition from democratically elected to military Executives, the Judiciary  continues to function,  ECOWAS has given the Junta a deadline; they themselves have not given a time table and  parliament is going there as part of parliamentary diplomacy to engage with the military junta to see.

 “If we can convince them to try and meet the requirement of the ECOWAS Commission, they cannot fail to meet the requirement of ECOWAS and also fail to provide an alternative proposal”.

Mr. Ayariga further noted that something has to give; they either have to provide an alternative programme that ECOWAS can consider or meet the ECOWAS deadline; and as one of the major political institution, they cannot stay out of efforts to promote democracy, promote the rule of law and promote parliamentary democracy in the West African sub-region.

“We have interest in this contest to be pushing for a programme by the military to ensure that election takes place so that parliament can exist in Mali”, he stated.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Former John Mahama’s chartered flights cannot be disclosed—National Security Minister

Minister for National Security Albert Kan Dapaah has told Parliament the chartered flight travel of former president John Dramani Mahama between 2013 to 2016, cannot be disclosed because they are cloth with rules of confidentiality and state secrecy.

Mr. Kan Dapaah’s response follows a question by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dormaa East, Paul

Hon Paul Apreku Twum-Barimah -MP Dormaa East

Apreku requesting to know the cost of air travels of the former President using charted flights between 2013 and 2016.

But the National Security Minister on Friday, December 17, 2021 told the House the funds were covered under operational funds of the National Security, and it is not a general practice in the intelligence community anywhere to make the suggested disclosure public.

The Dormaa East lawmaker did not ask further questions because he was content with the answers provided by the Minister on the floor.

Kwaku Skayi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Okudzeto’s quest for cost of Presidential travels turned down

 The National Security Minister Albert Kan Dapaah has told Parliament on Friday, December 17, 2021 that the recent cost of official travels of President Nana Akufo-Addo in May to France, South Africa and Belgium cannot be disclosed.

According to him the funds comes under the operational cost of the Ministry and it has not been the general practice for such an amount to be disclosed to the general public and has been the practice in the intelligence community .

Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wanted to know how much it costs the Ghanaian taxpayer on the presidents May travel.

But the North Tongu lawmaker contended that, that is not the case in other jurisdictions citing the USA congressional report which detailed coast of presidential travels and presented another report of the cost per hour of the Royal Family of the United Kingdom.

“Mr. Speaker, how does the Minister reconcile that in advance democracy, there are greater transparency?”

First Deputy Speaker who was chairing proceedings also sought to know if the North Tongu lawmaker had examples to give from Ghana, but that was not given.

The Minister noted, “by public policy consideration, the utilization of operation funds are not subject to any institution and are not normally disclosed or subject to any other institutions if disclosed in other jurisdiction is it because they are not paid from operational funds. The costs that were paid were from operational funds that is why it is difficult for me to disclose.”

 “Mr. Speaker any presidential travel have national security implications such that any disclosure prior to during and after such travels has the potential of comprising the security of the entire state. I must bear with parliament to bear with my inability to make any disclosure on cost of presidential travels”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Bagbin apologizes for misconduct of parliament

The RT. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has unreservedly apologized to the nation for the misconduct of some Members of Parliament during proceedings on the floor of the House while he was absent.

The Speaker in his first formal communication to the House since returning from his medical leave said “the conduct of some members raises some fundamental issues bothering on a complete disregard of parliamentary practice, procedure and process of the House”.

According to him, having read the Order paper, votes and proceedings and the official reports of the days missions, and is convinced that “we should accept the views of the conscience of the nation that we owe Ghanaians an apology”.

“I As the Head of Parliament, the voice of the Legislature, who speaks for and on behalf of Parliament, hence the title Speaker, I, with all humility, apologize on behalf of the House and all the members, for the aberrations of conduct and behavior of members on those days. I take responsibility for what happens in the House and I admit the House is neither dignified nor exalted by those rancorous and unruly behaviors of members. I promise to do everything within my power and authority to lead the House to chart a path of transformation, decency and change, a change for the better.

The conduct of members on those days also touches on the legality of the decisions arrived at in the House and how we arrived at those decisions. It will help for members to look at these issues dispassionately, in humility, devoid of egos and partisanship. As a House of honor, dignity and measureless might and majesty, members of Parliament should, for a while, allow the 1992 Constitution, the enabling laws, precedents and the Standing Orders of the House to lead the way.

According to him, it is important for “members to think about how to strengthen the work of this House and by extension, strengthen Ghana’s democratic governance. Members need to consider the precedents we set by every decision and action we take in this house. Over and above that, members must bear in mind that as Members of Parliament, they also represent the people – the citizenry – not just political parties.”

“Hon. Members, just try to recollect, or view a playback of the proceedings or read the Official reports of those sittings, and you will appreciate what I am referring to. What happened was grave disorder with its resultant comedy of errors and I will not take lightly a repeat of such disorder and indiscipline in the House”, he added.


I won’t frustrate, neither would I be errand boy of the Executive — Speaker

Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin after his absence from the House for two weeks, returned to the chamber on Thursday, December 16, 2021 in his official communication to the House pointed out that he has no intention to superintend over a parliament to frustrate Government business.

According to him, he would equally not preside over a weak House neither be tagged as an errand boy of the Executive arm of government.

“This House is fully focused in discharging its mandate and will do so without any fear or favour, affection or ill will in ensuring the ultimate best interests of the Ghanaian people are served”.

He urged the House to continue to strengthen their channels of communication, foster dialogue, encourage broader stakeholder consultation and allow the processes we have adopted for our burgeoning democracy to thrive.

On the issue of rejection and approval of the budget, the Speaker noted that the House needs to make progress in a manner that is consistent with the laws of Ghana, and ensures we are allowing the governance of the country to thrive.

Touching on the letter presented by the finance minister on concessions and modifications to the 2022 Budget Statement, he said “I am aware of a letter originating from the Minister for Finance which letter purports to make some concessions and modifications to the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government”.

He again stated that the legal basis of the laying of such a letter and what actions Parliament may take as a result leaves a lot to be desired; stating that he had however, held discussions with the Leadership of the House to find a path that is faithful to law, respects our rules and processes and ensures the governance of the country does not grind to a halt.

In the light of that leadership and the Speaker agreed that the following steps be taken;

  1. The Minister responsible for Finance comes before the House with an amended statement of the Budget with the said modifications and concessions.
  2. These modifications and concessions will then be adopted by the House and the revised document with the estimates will stand committed to the various Committees of Parliament.
  • I am aware the Committees have begun consideration of the estimates. It would thus be their responsibility to reconcile the revised estimates with what they have hitherto considered and submit a report for the consideration of the House.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

No private sector interest in 1d1f in Offinso South — Alan

Minister for Trade and Industry Alan Kojo Kyerematen has told Parliament the One District One Factory (1DIF) programme is a demand driven initiative facilitated by Government to assist the private sector to establish at least one manufacturing enterprise in each of the 260 Districts of the country.

According to him to date, no private sector Promoter has confirmed their interest in establishing a 1DIF project in the Offinso Municipality.

However, Government Policy is to support such districts with seed capital to establish their 1D1F project.

“Mr. Speaker, provision has been made in the 2022 Budget to support 16 districts currently without a IDIF project to benefit from direct intervention by Government to establish a 1DIF enterprise”.

In this regard, pending approval of the 2022 budget estimates, the Ministry would consider providing seed funding to establish a IDIF project in the Offinso Municipality, with the view to off-loading Government’s interest to a private sector operator in future, he added.

This came to light when Member of Parliament (MP) for Offinso South, Dr. Isaac Opoku wanted to know if the Ministry has arrangement in place to ensure the Municipality benefits from government’s flagship programme 1d1f.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

66,000 street children to be removed soon —Abena Dapaah

Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources who is also acting as Gender minister, Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah has told Parliament that, the ministry of Gender, children and social protection is doing everything possible to resolve the issues of street children on the streets of Ghana.

She explained that, data available indicates that, about Sixty Six Through street children (66,000) are on streets of Ghana which the ministry is seriously engaging with them to get the root cause of the situation.

The minister told Parliament that, in their operations, the main three hot-spots they visited, the people they met were all from Niger.

Madam Dapaah added that, the ministry has begun drafting letters to the ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Niger Embassy for negotiations and evacuation taken them back to their country since they are all ready and willing to go back to their country.

The minister’s response came up in Parliament Wednesday, December 15, 2021 when the MP for Amenfi West, Mr Eric Afful asked the acting minister, what the ministry is doing to curb or deal with the rising situation of street children in Accra and other cities in the country.


Walkouts are legitimate forms of parliamentary protest – Speaker

The Speaker, Alban Bagbin has indicated that staging of walkouts by Members of Parliament (MPs) do not invalidate ongoing parliamentary proceedings.

The veteran politician therefore questioned the decision of the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu to nullify the rejection of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government by the Minority on Friday 26th November 2021, when he, the substantive Speaker, presided over the House.

He avowed that he did not act beyond his powers when he put the question on the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government to Members of the House describing Osei-Owusu’s decision as strange to him.

According to the former NDC seven-term legislator who was elected as Speaker of the august House on 7th January 2021, walkouts are legitimate avenues by which Members of Parliament can express their grievances; adding that, the practice is part of parliamentary procedures.

Minority walking out

The Speaker in his submission, commented on issues from the general conduct of the House to specific actions and decisions taken in his absence and lamented some of the scenes and vowed to ensure that they do not repeat going forward.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament when he resumed his seat to preside over proceedings on Thursday, December 16, 2021 following his over two-weeks absence when he travelled for medical checks in the United Arab Emirates, the Speaker recounted that since 1997, he has seen Members of Parliament walk out of the Chamber on many occasions.

The main areas he touched on included quorum for the conduct of business, quorum for voting in Parliament, Deputy Speaker being counted for the purposes of quorum and a letter presented by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on concessions and modifications to the 2022 Budget Statement.

The Rt. Hon. Speaker reiterated that the House was duly constituted for its work for the purposes of business and voting in accordance with Articles 102 and 104 respectively and the public record of the Votes and Proceedings of the House on the 26th of November lends credence to this position.

He asserted that he does not believe that overturning the earlier rejection of the Budget was a decision the First Deputy Speaker should have taken and pondered whether a Vice President can preside over a cabinet which had earlier on taken a decision on a subject matter presided over by the President, and without consulting the President, get the Cabinet to overturn the decision earlier taken.

It may be recalled that while the Speaker was away, the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu overturned his ruling that rejected the 2022 Budget on Friday November 26 and cited that the Speaker erred in his ruling.

He indicated that the House did not have a quorum when the Minority National Democratic (NDC) Party MPs in Parliament voted against the 2022 Budget on Friday November 26, 2021 enabling the Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs to vote and approve the Budget on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.

The Minority in Parliament under the leadership of Haruna Iddrisu filed a motion to challenge the conduct of the First Deputy Speaker over his ruling on the motion to overturn the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement but the First Deputy Speaker rejected the motion against his ruling reversing the rejection of the Budget.


Speaker Tunis calls on President Buhari to solicit support for direct election of MPs

Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, paid a courtesy call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, the seat of the Nigerian Presidency in Abuja.

The Speaker briefed His Excellency on the cardinal objective of his tenure, which is the election of Members into the ECOWAS Parliament through Direct Universal Suffrage, and solicited the support of Nigeria towards actualizing this cause.

“Your Excellency, bearing in mind the numerous advantages appertaining to the direct election of Members into the ECOWAS Parliament, we ask that you please consider granting this advocacy your fullest support. We are convinced that with your support, we are on our way to safe landing,” the Speaker said.

The Speaker also thanked the Nigerian Government for the provision of land and sought presidential intervention to accelerate the construction of the new Headquarters of the ECOWAS Parliament, expressing anticipation that the project will be concluded within the life span of the current administration.

Concluding his remarks, Dr. Tunis lauded the Government and people of Nigeria, through President Buhari, for the enormous support they have rendered the ECOWAS Parliament since its founding.

“Your Excellency, we are confident that we can continue to count on your usual and untiring assistance as we collectively carry on the most needed task of strengthening democracy and the rule of law across the West African sub- region,” the Speaker concluded.

President Buhari welcoming the delegation, praised the Honorable Speaker, whom he said was leading the Parliament to its rightful democratic competence.

He expressed his fullest support for the Direct Elections of Members into the ECOWAS Parliament, provided that it will be achieved at minimum cost to the Community.

His Excellency reaffirmed the commitment of the Nigerian Government to ensuring that the Parliament’s Headquarters is constructed in time.

“Nigeria has accepted to host the ECOWAS Parliament and we will do all we can to make your stay comfortable,” he concluded.

 Dr. Tunis was accompanied by the Third and Forth Deputy Speakers, the Chairman on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism, Secretary General and some Senior Management Staff of the ECOWAS Parliament.