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Parliament approves over GHS5billion for Road Ministry.

Parliament has approved the sum of Five Billion, Two Hundred and Ninety-Five Million, Three Hundred and Fifty-Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty-Six Ghana Cedis (GHC 5,295,359,626.00) for the activities of the Ministry of Roads and Highways for the financial year ending 31st December, 2023.

The House acknowledged roles the Sector plays by delivering efficient road transportation system in Ghana.

The House again acknowledged The Ministry’s mandate of providing a road transport system that is responsive to the needs of society, supporting growth and reducing poverty while establishing and maintaining Ghana as the transportation hub of West Africa can be realised if the Ministry is adequately resourced.

For the projects earmarked for the year under review the ministry intends to continue the following projects nationwide:

Construction of Ofankor – Nsawam Road (14.1km), construction of Accra – Kumasi Road: Osino Bypass (11.5km); Construction of Accra – Kumasi Road: Anyinam Bypass (6.10km); Construction of Accra – Kumasi Road: Enyirisi Bypass (9.10km) and Construction of Accra – Kumasi Road: Konongo Bypass (13.6km).

The year will also witness the continuation of the construction of Adidome – Asikuma Junction (39.2km) and Asutsuare-Aveyime (23.9km) including 2No. interchanges at Dufor Adidome and   Asikuma Junction.

The rest are:
Kasoa-Cape Coast Dualisation (116km),, Takoradi (PTC) – Daboase (38km); Dualization of Sekondi and Adiembra Roads (30km); Peduase-Mamfe-Koforidua (40.5km); Takoradi-Agona-Nkwata -Apemanim; and Kumasi Outer Ring Road.

Construction of Interchanges includes Ahodwo (as part of the completion of Kumasi Inner Ring Road); Santasi (as part of the completion of Kumasi Inner Ring Road); Kumasi Airport Roundabout (as part of the completion of Kumasi Inner Ring Road); and Oforikrom Roundabout (as part of the completion of Kumasi Inner Ring Road).

In the area of Bridges here are selected few contained in the Committee before, the approval: Construction of Bridge over the Volta River at Volivo; Buipe, Yapei and Daboya Bridges; Adawso-Ekyi Amanfrom Bridge; and Dikpe, Iture and Ankobra Bridges.

Under the Sinohydro Projects The Ministry informed the Committee that contract works under the Master Project Support Agreement (MPSA) with Sinohydro Corporation Limited were at the different stages of completion.


2023 Budget: Railways Development Ministry gets GH¢618,238,688.00

Parliament on Wednesday, 14th December, 2022 approved the sum of Six Hundred and Eighteen Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty-Eight Ghana Cedis (GH¢618,238,688.00) for the Ministry of Railways Development for the financial year ending 31% December, 2023.

On the prioritization of railway projects The Committee was informed that the Ministry of Railways Development would require an estimated amount of $72.5 million dollars and GHC41.48 million to undertake and complete a number of projects.

The Committee noted further, that “with the current economic crisis facing the country, it would be difficult for the Ministry to obtain the total amount needed to complete all its projects in 2023”.

The Committee however, recommended that the Ministry of Railways Development prioritises its development projects expected to generate revenue….”this would enable the Ministry increase its internally generated funds to support the completion of other outstanding projects”.

Moving the motion for the adoption of the report of the Committee on Roads and Highways for Budget Estimates, the Sector Minister, Peter Amewu said, The Ministry in year 2023 will continue to develop local human resources and technical capacity for the maintenance of the railway system by organising workshops and equipping the youth through practical hands-on training.

This he stressed will “create jobs and wealth to supportthe growth of the economy”.

According to the committee report read by Committee Chairman, Kennedy Nyako Osei in 2023, the Ministry will construct 22km Kojokrom-Manso section of the Western Railway Line and the 97.97 km of the Tema-Mpakadan line which are expected to be completed and operationalized within the year.

The construction of the Kumasi-Kaase and Dunkwa-Obuasi Railway lines would continue in year 2023.

The Ministry will also complete works on the old Railway Workshop Complex at Sekondi to strengthen local capacity.

The Ministry has also planned to initiate the process of registering and securing land title for all Railway Lands in 2023 and also create a GIS database of Railway Lands and Railway Assets.

“The Ministry would initiate the process to procure survey equipment and hand-held GPS devices for the railway lands acquisition process.

The 97.7km standard gauge railway line forms part of the Ghana-Burkina Faso Railway line.

The objective of the project is to improve passenger and freight transport between both countnes in order to accelerate development and economic growth.

The project is 94.72 per cent complete and it is expected to be fully completed by the first quarter of 2023″.


Transport fares to go down – Transport Minister hints

Commuters in the country should expect some relief from the high transport fares they are currently battling with due to high fuel prices and depreciation currency.

Some Good News Emanating from the Floor of Parliament of Ghana.

The Minister for Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori-Asiamah gave the hint and assured the public that engagements are ongoing with relevant stakeholders in the industry towards the actualisation of this and appropriate fares.

The Minister who was responding to call by Member of Parliament for Nsswam Adoadjiri, Frank Annoh Dompreh during the consideration of the budget estimate for the transport Ministry, calling on the Ministry to consider engaging transport operators to reduce transport fares following the consistent fall in pump prices of petroleum products explained that, there are three components which usually affect transport fares including depreciation of the cedi, the cost of spare parts and cost of fuel. These three factors are considered to inform transport fares increase or decrease.

The minister assured that, the transport ministry is in final meetings with the transport operators to determining the value or an amount to be reduced in fares for Ghanaians.

The transport sector has come under severe pressure in recent times for fares to go down as they did not waste time in increasing the fares when fuel prices were sky rocketing few weeks ago.

It is however not clear how soon the negotiations would be concluded for the traveling public to have the benefit of the reductions.

Meanwhile, Parliament approved an amount of GHC1,226,619,067 for the Transport Ministry for the year ending 31 December, 2023.


Debt Exchange Program: Lay a paper before the House for scrutiny – Haruna to Ken Ofori-Atta

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader in Parliament has demanded that the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta lays a paper before the House for scrutiny on the entire debt Exchange Programme that the government has announced.

Speaking on the floor of the House on Tuesday, 13 December, 2022, before seconding a motion for the adjournment of the House, the Minority Leader said that the Finance Minister cannot just walk away as if everything in this country is determined by him.

“If you are doing haircut, and you are changing contents of agreements, either domestic or external, they are contractual, and those contractual comes with obligations. He must come and lay a paper in this house; how he intends to work on the external debt because when this house approved those loan agreements, we approved them consistent with article 181 (Terms and Agreements and conditions). You can’t vary the terms at your pleasure or as it pleases a certain minister for finance. Those terms and conditions must be brought to this House for scrutiny to satisfy ourselves that we can go forward doing what is the debt exchange.

According to him, the information he has picked is worrying, stating that the debt exchange programme is being boycotted; “let him come and inform this House, how many people have signed on to it to save this country and to save the economy”.

Meanwhile, the Minority has served notice that the House would scrutinize every bill clause by clause and even subject some to voting.

“Mr. Speaker, to serve further notice, when it comes to introduction of the bills, clause by clause, we will ask for vote on some clauses, so be ready that you don’t say that anybody is taking you by surprise. When you come and say E-levy, Road funds you don’t give introduction, you come and say VAT, road funds, it won’t go to them; when you come, we will scrutinize it here and tie your hands; so be ready when you bring your bills”.


Budget approval is serious business; let your side show sense of responsibility – Haruna to Majority Caucus

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has reminded the Majority Chief Whip, Annoh Dompreh that he has a responsibility at his hands to get government businesses running urging him to ensure his side has the sense of responsibility and show that approving budget is serious business.

He said, to come every now and be told that the reports are not ready is not acceptable; and thus charged him to get his Committee chairs, and the clerks to ensure that reports of committees that have so far completed their works are presented for consideration and approval of their estimates.

Majority side of the House

Mr. Haruna made the comment on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 on the floor of the House when he rose to second the motion for the adjournment of the House just few minutes after commencement.

The situation was the same on Monday, when the House had to adjourn just about 10 minutes into proceedings with the same excuse that committee reports were not ready.

He also advised that ministers who want the approval of their budgets must be present in person, adding that if they delegate their deputies, “we will delegate your money for you some other day after appropriation. If they send emissaries to come for approval of budget estimates, we will send their approval to them the day they are available”.

He urged that by Wednesday some motions should be moved so that the House can start working towards appropriation.

The Minority Leader cautioned that “the attitude of stampeding us with several of it (motions) at a time does not allow for proper scrutiny. Already you took advantage of what is called an economic crisis to delay the budget so that we don’t have more time to look at it. Going forward you must make sure that your reports are ready so that tomorrow when you advertise motions we keep to it”, he stated.


IMF Bailout: Haruna demands Board and Management Approval; not Staff Level agreement

The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has said for his side (Minority), the staff level agreement Ghana has entered with the International Monitoring Fund (IMF) means nothing to them.

According to him Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta should rather come with a board and management approval and per the agreement the second paragraph emphasised reforms and there are no enough reforms in the 2023 budget.

Addressing members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC), he noted that the management and board approval of Ghana’s application before the IMF board will probably span into next year April 2023 or even beyond.

Finance Minister

Hence the celebration and dancing of the Finance Minister is premature as the nation’s debt is still unsustainable; the debt exchange initiative of the Minister may probably fail as many are refusing to sign onto it, he added.

Mr. Haruna asserts that the content of the external bonds are still unknown; government is running out of time to announce the hair-cut associated with the external bond, and for the minister of finance to be dancing and say that praise me does not resolve anything.

“Because, I have brought an improvement in the exchange rate of the cedi which was falling with some epileptic, praise me. He should ask himself at what level did he inherit the cedi against the dollar? It was four point two (4.2) cedis to a dollar; and at twelve point five (12.5) there is nothing to celebrate and nothing to honor him for. What he has done in the last three months; “he collapsed businesses of persons and the unacceptable hardship in the country is not likely to end soon”.

Mr. Iddrisu noted that for them to think they are reforming and restructuring the economy, it is also conditional on other matters relating to making debt sustainability a pre-condition.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Ahmed Ibrahim urges the House to consider three critical issues before recess

First Deputy Minority whip, Ahmed Ibrahim has called on Parliament to consider three critical and controversial issues before the House goes on recess for the Christmas break as the whole nation awaits the passing of appropriation.

According to him the House wants to engage with the Electoral Commission (EC) for briefing on a proposed constitutional instrument which is going to affect their constituents and a request for the EC to appear before the committee of the whole to ensure their constituents are not disenfranchised.

He said when that request was put in, Leader of the House was of the opinion that the special budget committee have a look at that and when they are done a report will be presented to the House for members to be informed or take a decision on the way forward.

“That report, has not been considered by the House and when the EC chair appeared before the Committee, which I am a member, she could not convince members; the committee was of the view that the EC and the National Identification Authority (NIA) should reappear before the committee for reconciliation because the report has not been taken and that meeting has not taken place”.

The second issue is the meeting with the NIA officials, stating that when the committee of the whole meets it has to generate a report; that report has also not been considered. There are two critical reports pending and those two meetings.

Members wanted to know the data status of the National Identification Authority, the status of the EC to be able to reconcile the two. And if the business committee report for next week and it has not been programmed, I want to suggest to the chairman of the business committee to programme the two reports for next week, he stated.

“What I hear is that the EC chair says she is coming to lay the Constitutional Instrument (CI) and make the Ghana card the only document for registration. Mr. Speaker you can take a cue from what happened in Sierra Leone; because of electoral reforms and constitutional instruments all the chairs on the chamber were broken”.

In addition, the first deputy whip noted that what happened in a member state, Sierra Lone should not repeat itself in Ghana; they should be able to manage ourselves very well, that is why, his side is saying “let us engage, Ghana is the beacon of democracy in Africa”.

And if others are fighting over electoral reforms, it should not be the case with Ghana; they should engage and take cue from the report and give members the opportunity to be able to make their inputs, he affirmed.

The third issue is the petition against the Constitutional Instrument, “Mr. Speaker, I heard you saying you should be briefed before the laying of those Constitutional Instruments and I do not know if that briefing has taken place. I am part of the leadership and we should help you manage the House. So what we are requesting for, we need to do it and build consensus; when the Communication Minister said they will rely on only Ghana card for sim registration, a section of Ghanaians cannot use mobile phone because of that, this are critical issues that should be considered”.

He reminded the House that time is not on their side they have less than two weeks to adjourn. Other MPs who contributed to the issue also affirmed that their constituents are worried and calling but they are unable to help them.

Deputy Majority Leader in his response noted that the matter raised by his colleagues will be discussed at the Business Committee and its important for the EC to engage the House.

And further pointed out that he is not aware of any official communication to the effect that the EC will engage with the Speaker; he will check with the Speaker’s secretariat.

On same subject matter, the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu recounted that the NIA has met with the Committee of the Whole which he chaired and signed their report over a month ago.
There is some information they requested, it was brought and he has given it to the table office to be duplicated and shared to members.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Tamale Central MP appeals to leadership to reconsider Monday sittings

Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central Muhammed Murtala Ibrahim has appealed to leadership of the House to reconsider their decision of Monday, December 12, 2022 sitting because some lawmakers had to engage with their constituents on Sunday and Monday.

According to him the 2023 budget is critical hence the need to have interactions with their constituents especially those of them from up Northern Ghana, and by the time they get back to Accra they will be very tired.

He stated that their ability to deliver as lawmakers hinges on how convenient it is to them to prepare and have enough time and that must be considered.

He argued that just about few weeks ago, about eighty-nine of their colleagues on the Majority side who held a press conference for the removal of the finance minister and stated that it was their constituents who informed them to take those decision; and now they equally have a decision to take on the budget statement and they have to consult their constituents which can only be carried done during the weekend and per the distance, Monday sitting would inconvenient them, especially those from the northern parts of the country.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Speaker demands to be briefed by EC before CI is laid

The Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has confirmed that he has demanded to be briefed by the Electoral Commission (EC) on a Constitutional  Instrument (C I) to be laid on the floor of the House.

First deputy whip of the Minority Ahmed Ibrahim brought the issue up on Friday, December 9, 2022 when the Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin presented the business statement on the floor of the House.

According to the Speaker the response given by the deputy Majority Leader as to whether official communication in this regard has been sent to the EC was right, and he would have to find out if that official communication was actually done.

E C Chair

The Rt. Hon Speaker asserts that he made the request based on order 160 rule (2) – “It shall be the function of the committee subject to order 53 (Order of Business) to determine the business of each sitting and the order in which it shall be taken; provided that the powers of the committee shall be without prejudice to the power of Mr. Speaker to determine which matters may properly be introduce into the House”.

And if what is being alleged is anything to go by, the EC is being given notice because they know they cannot go on the offensive against an arm of government. “We are not just a state institution, we are not just an administrative body, this is an arm of government, if they talk of independence of arm of government neither arm; not the Judiciary or the Executive control the other arm of government”, he stated.

Speaker Bagbin pointed out that, the legislature does not control the Executive or the Judiciary that is all the separation of powers is all about, hence the need to work together because they lead the country.

So there is no way, that a subsidiary body can be on an offensive, they pass the law to create the EC, it was simply guarantee in the constitution, they had to pass a law to establish it, he added.

“I hope this is enough notice, I should be given a brief before I can exercise my authority to allow the business to be provided and presented to the House; I will crosscheck to ensure the official communication has been given”

He further emphasized that he does not take the peace of this country for granted and he will not do anything to endanger it, “I mean what I say”, he said whiles presiding.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Delay in Payment of Levy: Barrow bemoans lack of coordination in collection of community levies

Chairman of the Committee on Macro-Economic Policy and Economic Research of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Kebba K. Barrow, has bemoaned the lack of coordination when it comes to the collection of the Community levy.

According to him there is again, lack of information flow from the Ministry of Finance to the Central Bank and various central banks of the various member states.

And as a budget meeting with the ongoing second ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja Nigeria, “transfer collection of levies is becoming problematic and from the discussions and views of lawmakers, colleagues from Cape Verde collection has been done but transfer is problematic”.

In an interview with Ghanamps.com, he noted that the issue of delay in payment of the Community levy can be addressed with effective coordination and member states should not default to let their levies accumulate as it becomes difficult to pay.

Hence most of the member states having issues with regard to payment of their community levies should go into agreement with the Community, if they can come out with a payment plan.

Hon Barrow further noted that when it comes to preparation of Country report where the issue of payment of Community levies would come out, country representatives should be able to have their status report from their Finance Ministries.

“Again, the whole thing is how sure are we that the deduction are done, and if they are not done if the funds are there why is it being difficult for you to do any transfer?” He asked.

As to whether Community lawmakers should get involve with this whole process of payment of the Community levies as it comes up twice in a year when Ordinary Sessions are being held in Abuja Nigeria, he noted that it’s very important parliament get involved, as part of their oversight role to take up these issue and it’s the same budget they need to undertake their oversight trips and embark on sensitization programmes.|

In addition, the former Majority Leader pointed out that Gambia is one of the few countries that do not owe Community levy, any time as a delegation when they get back to their country they check to ensure that the funds are transferred to ECOWAS.

And for ECOWAS citizens to know what the institution is doing there is the need for this levies to be paid, as in the case of the Community Parliament, in the immediate past Parliament, they were very visible at the various borders of member states.

“We saw the integration process going on, but the fact is people need to know what we are doing; we can only do that when we have time with the regional integration ministries to be able to highlight their programme. Now that, the budget is with us we need to do an annual conference in our respective countries to give a rundown of some of the activities going to be held in 2023”, he stated.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com