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Parliament returns on June 11, 2024

Parliament is expected to resume fully on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin in a statement dated May 27, 2024 announced that Parliament would commence the third meeting of the fourth session of the eighth Parliament of the fourth Republic on Tuesday, 11th June 2024 @ 10:00 am at Parliament House, Accra.”

Members of Parliament are expected on the floor of the House as session will commence promptly at 10:00 am and will see the introduction of numerous legislative bills for consideration.

The Legislative arm of government has been on recess for some months now and had to be recalled at some point to some urgent government business including the approval of newly vetted ministers and deputy ministers.

That meeting also witnessed the swearing in of the Member of Parliament elect for Ejisu, Kwabena Boateng after the by-election necessitated by the demise of John Kumah who was the MP.

Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament set to elect first female speaker today

The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is set to elect the first female speaker in the annals of the regional legislative arm.

The Parliamentarians representing Togo at the ECOWAS Parliament are already in Kano North West, Nigeria, where the 2024 Extraordinary Session of the Sixth Legislature of the Community Parliament is ongoing.

It is expected that the delegation from Togo will be sworn in on Thursday and subsequently the new Speaker would emerge among them as the position has been allotted based on the rotational system of the parliament for the Speakership.

Statements emerging from the floor of the Parliament showed that a female parliamentarian, Memounatou Ibrahima, will emerged as the speaker,

Ibrahima was the third Deputy Speaker in the fifth Legislature of ECOWAS Parliament; she has been in the ECOWAS Parliament since 2021.

She is primed to take up the baton from the Nigerian leader of delegation, Senator Barau Jubrin who was elected the First Deputy Speaker at the inauguration of the Sixth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament on April 4th 2024, had to act as the Speaker to avoid creating vacuum of leadership at the Community Parliament,

During the inauguration of the Sixth Legislature of the ECOWAS on April 4th 2024, the delegation of the Republic of Togo was not present because they had not conducted election to enable the country send their representatives to the Community Parliament.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament proposes mediation committee for Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger

The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has proposed the appointment of Ad hoc Mediation Committee to prevail on the three member states Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger not to leave the regional bloc.

The Acting Speaker of the Community Parliament, Rt. Hon Barau Jibrin, who is also the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, disclosed this at the opening of the 2024 Second Extraordinary Session of the Sixth of the ECOWAS Parliament in Kano State, North West Nigeria.

Senator Jibrin, who is the first Deputy Speaker of the regional Parliament, emphasised that there is no alternative to a strong united regional bloc.

Senator Jibril disclosed that, “I will, in consultation with my colleagues on the Bureau, be proposing the appointment of an Ad hoc Mediation Committee whose mandate will be to work with all stakeholders in getting our brothers to rescind their decision and come home and work towards promoting dialogue with a view to resolving conflicts in the region. It’s no doubt that we are stronger and there is absolutely no alternative to our collective aspirations of a united, peaceful and secure ECOWAS.”

Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso had in January this year announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
The junta-led countries had been suspended from the regional bloc for coup d’état and were urged to return to democratic rule.

Reacting to the suspension, the three military governments took the decision to withdraw from ECOWAS as according to them it was a “sovereign decision” to withdraw from the regional block.

Senator Jibril disclosed the session will also provide an opportunity for the Community Parliament to deliberate and provide fresh perspectives on pressing issues in the ECOWAS Region and proffer recommendations on how peace, security and stability can be attained.

”As the Parliament looks towards to facilitating the promotion of democracy, checks and balances, as well as accountability in the ECOWAS Community, having a strong ECOWAS Parliament is indispensable. I have had the esteemed honor of leading this Parliament for barely two months and I have concluded that much needs to be done in terms of asserting the independence of the Parliament in the exercise of its important roles of parliamentary oversight and representation.

There is, also, a compelling need to build strong collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission and undertake joint initiatives aimed at strengthening regional security and advancing development. While it is true that each institution has its unique prerogatives, the fact remains that there exist cross-cutting issues that are best addressed with enhanced collaboration among the community institutions.”

On the delegation of Togo to the parliament, Senator Jibril disclosed that the delegation from that country that the speakership of the sixth legislature has be zoned to, is expected to be sworn in as members of the parliament before the end of the session.

“I wish to also inform this house that a Parliamentary Fact-finding mission was dispatched to the Republic of Togo. The delegation ascertained circumstances surrounding the notable absence of the Togolese delegation, which, by virtue of the Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament, deserves the Speakership, and held discussions with national stakeholders on other political issues. I am pleased to report that we received very favorable response from the Togolese authorities that our brothers from Togo will be inaugurated as soon as possible.

He noted that since the inauguration of the sixth legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament on Thursday, April, 2024, it has been able make some notable achievements and participated in various regional, continental and international programmes.

“Within this short period, the ECOWAS Parliament participated in the Third Parliamentary Policy Dialogue on the Protection of Vulnerable Targets against terrorism, which was hosted by the United Nations Office on Counter Terrorism, a Capacity Building Training on Labor Migration Governance under the auspices of the African Union Commission and the International Conference on enhancing the role, relevance, and effectiveness of the ECOWAS Court of Justice through the strengthening of synergies between the Court and national stakeholders, which was hosted by our sister Institution the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice.

Additionally, members of the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarian Association were invited by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies to share experience with the National Assembly of Nigeria on the modalities in establishing a multi-party women’s caucus in the Nigerian National Assembly. We look forward to more of such engagements, especially with our counterparts at the National Level, with the view to promoting regional integration.”

In his address the Kano state Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf, emphasized the need to tackle the citizenship issues among ECOWAS member countries, regional security, integration, environmental and natural resources challenges, and higher education, employment, poverty, and democratic volatility.

He cautioned against allowing global powers to turn the region into a dumping ground for finished goods, stressing that Africa is not a dumping ground for global markets.

The Kano Governor urged the Regional Parliament to revisit the issue of a common currency and passports, which would enhance the region’s economic viability and global competitiveness.

Governor Yusuf expressed concern about the proliferation of illicit drugs and arms and light weapons, calling for concerted efforts to combat these menaces.

Governor Yusuf said that, despite challenges, the West African regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at $633 billion as of 2023, highlighting the region’s potential to become a significant global economic key player.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria, Yusuf Maitama Tugga in a message who assured the community of Nigeria’s Government continued support identified ECOWAS Parliament as vital institution in fostering regional integration.

Tugga, represented by Ambassador Musa Nuhu, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS stressed the need for ECOWAS Community to strengthen its democratic institutions for the benefits of the region.
He said, “we need to collaborate with all organs and institutions within the ECOWAS. You have at your disposal so many instruments to use for you to achieve that.”

The Minister urged the ECOWAS Parliament to use its various mechanisms to engage member countries that currently under unconstitutional changes of government.

Tugga said, “as regional Parliamentarians, you have a role to play in harnessing the cooperation of our people. The Parliamentarians are closer to our populace and that is why you have to underscore the importance of the role you have are occupying today especially in this period where our sub-regional organization is so much challenged with numerous issues.”

He described the hosting of the regional meeting in the commercial city of Kano as important as it will greatly bridge the gap between the citizens and the regional community.

During this session, the regional parliament is expected to hold deliberations and adopt three very important instruments which bear heavily on the progress and effective implementation of our mandate.

They are, the Rules of Procedure of the Sixth Legislature, which was deferred from our Inaugural session. The Strategic Plan of the Sixth Legislature, and The Work Plan of the year 2024.

The Rules of Procedure serves as a guide and direction for the parliament in checking procedural deficiencies.
The Strategic Plan, on the other hand, serves as a crucial and indispensable tool in ensuring that the programs and activities of the parliament are directly linked with the overall strategic institutional objectives of ECOWAS, while the Work Plan sets the agenda for the engagements the year.

Five parliamentarians were sworn in as members of the regional parliament at the opening of the session by the acting speaker of the parliament, Senator Jibrin.

The ceremony was attended by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, the Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, the Emir Karaye, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar II and Emir of Gaya, Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Return of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to sub-regional bloc possible—Ali Ndume

A member of the Nigerian delegation to the 6th Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Senator Mohammed Ali-Ndume said efforts to ensure that the three Sahel Countries (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger) who have threatened to leave the sub-regional bloc to rescind their decision is highly possible.

According to him, he is confident the return of the three Sahel countries to the West African bloc would happen, as their threat per the ECOWAS protocol has a year within which this threat can be carried out.

“I am not happy with what happened with the three countries because of the military takeovers, and the reaction of ECOWAS initially that led to the suspension of the three countries and their threat of leaving”.

In an interview on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 when the second Extraordinary meeting of the Community Parliament opened in Kano North West part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he pointed out that in the case of Niger the 5th Legislature set up an Ad hoc Committee which was already working to resolve the problem.

“We had achieved a lot and the first deputy speaker of the 5th Legislature Ahmed Idris Wase was the chairman of the Ad hoc Committee and I was part of that Committee and I hope this meeting would come out with a better result after this session in Kano”.

Again, we are in dialogue with the representatives of the various countries; we are achieving a lot, we hope to come out better, meanwhile this is the first time outside Abuja in the Northern part of Nigeria particularly we are hosting this important session we hope to achieve much.

“In fact the ordinary Nigerian in the North is full of expectations and I assure them that we are not going to disappoint them, you know Niger is surrounded by seven neighboring states in Northern Nigeria. So, that is very much important that we deal with this matter. The major problem we had in the case of Niger has to do with the sanctions; now ECOWAS has lifted it, we are only to put finishing touches to those agreements.

As to whether the Russian influence with the Sahel Countries in itself is not going to make their return a problem, he noted that it is not new as all African nations except few have been colonized by Western countries.

“We are making progress and I am very confident of the return of the three Sahel countries back to the fold of the sub-regional bloc, we would get there”, he added.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“If NDC was recruiting into the security under IMF, we are not doing so” —Annoh Dompreh

Majority Chief Whip Frank Annoh Dompreh has challenged the Minority Leader Dr. Atto Forson to put out his evidence of 30 slot for Majority MPs for recruitment into the security services by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government.

According to him the NDC when they were under the IMF programme there was a freeze on public sector employment and since the NPP came to office within the eight years it was only on three occasions that there has been an advert of recruitment into the security services.

And further pointed out that it is wrong for one to say why for some time now there has not been advertisement for recruitment into the security services. “You cannot advertise when you are not ready to recruit. Before you do that you have to put your house in order and secure the financial clearance to do that and as we have been told that is in the domain of the interior Ministry.”

“We’re amazed with all these allegations; and perhaps that was what they were doing when they were in office and they are thinking we are doing same that is not the case. We challenge Ato if he has better particulars he should put them out or forever be silent on this matter”.

Again, this year’s election would be on facts and figures, we know psychologically they know they are down and knowing that they would be throwing tantrums they would just be causing confusion and putting wiled allegations out there.

Their colleague James Agalga is a Ranking member on the defense and Interior Committee, we would challenge them on this, and we are not happy about this; there is not truth in it, disrespect their claim, he said after the press conference and was answering questions.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Allegation of recruitment quota for Majority MPs into security services baseless

The Majority in Parliament has described as baseless allegations levelled by the Minority that Majority MPs have been given 30 recruitment quota into the security services.

According to the Deputy Majority Leader Patricia Appiagyie no Parliamentary candidate or Member of Parliament has been allotted slot to recruit anyone into the security services, stating that not only is the allegation false but a desperate attempt by the Minority to incite the public against the government as we approach the 2024 general elections.

She further pointed out at a press conference on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 that the Minority’s assertion that 276 NPP parliamentary candidates, including 138 sitting MPs, have each been given 30 recruitment slots is mathematically and administratively ludicrous.

“To suggest that 8,250 new recruits could be absorbed into our security forces, in a system that traditionally accommodates between 1,000 to 1,200 recruits annually, shows a profound misunderstanding of the operational and financial frameworks of our security institutions.”

She noted that the Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson’s assertion is deliberate distortion of reality and a malicious fabrication aimed at undermining the integrity of the government.

Such allegations serve only to provoke unwarranted tension and foster an environment of mistrust and political rivalry that our country does not need.

The Interior Minister Henry Quartey, has already outlined the government’s recruitment strategy, which focuses on giving a second chance to qualified Ghanaians who previously applied but were not selected.

This approach is not only fair but also thoughtful, avoiding unnecessary financial burdens on applicants by not reopening the recruitment process widely.

We urge the Minority to refrain from spreading misinformation and to respect the intelligence of the Ghanaian public. Such tactics are beneath the dignity of our democratic processes and could potentially endanger the peace and security of our nation.

As the governing party, we remain committed to fairness, transparency, and the rule of law. We will not be swayed by these groundless accusations but will continue to work diligently to ensure the safety and security of all Ghanaians.
We call on all parties and media houses to demand factual accuracy and to contribute responsibly to the political discourse of our nation. Let us move forward, not with falsehoods and fear, but with facts and faith in our democratic institutions, she emphasised.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Ejisu MP elect officially joins Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Alban S. Bagbin on Friday, May 17, 2024 at the opening of the emergency recall presented the writ of election results to the House and the Member of Parliament elect for Ejisu Kwabena Boateng took his oath of office.

The Speaker pointed out that from the results given by the Electoral Commission Kwabena Boateng is duly elected to represent the good people of Ejisu.

The Speaker presented the member with a copy of the 1992 constitution and admonished him that it is not for him to chew but to study since it would be his guide in the House and need to learn the rules of procedure and in addition learn from his colleagues. In addition he was given the new standing orders of the House.

Meanwhile, majority of the Members on the Majority side were dressed in black to reflect the loss of their colleague John Kumah ahead of his burial.

Minority Leader, Dr. Atto Forson in welcoming his colleague wish him well, but was quick to remind his colleagues for four years the people of SALL have been denied representation in the legislature.

On his part the Majority Leader Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin welcomed his colleague adding that the people of Ejisu have spoken and if he would make an impact it has to do with the two documents given to him by the Speaker.

On SALL, he pointed out that the creation for representation is the work of the Electoral Commission and not the work of Parliament and since 2020 elections no constituency has been denied the opportunity of representation.
“The Minority Leader should not mislead the people of Ghana; rather he should be well grounded in the constitution”, he stated.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Emergency re-call Parliament set to reconvene from recess on Friday, May 17, 2024

Ghana’s Parliament is set to reconvene from recess on Friday, May 17, 2024.

This comes after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, issued a summons for Members of Parliament (MPs) to resume their duties on Friday after a petition by the Majority caucus.

In the petition, the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, cited Article 112(3) and Order 53 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, which allow 15 per cent of the members of the House to request an early recall of parliament.

The agenda for the May 17 sitting is expected to focus on key government business, including the approval of ministers of state-designates and the consideration of some loan agreements.

The Speaker’s summons adheres to Article 112(3) of the Ghanaian constitution and Orders 53(1) & (2) of the parliamentary standing orders.

A formal statement from the Speaker’s office, dated May 10, reads: “Purs uant to Article 112(3) of the Constitution of the Republic and Order 53(1) & (2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament, I, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament, do hereby summon Parliament to sit on Friday, 17th May 2024 at ten o’clock in the forenoon, at Parliament House, Accra.”

“Dated in the Office of the Speaker of Parliament, Accra, Ghana, this 10th Day of May 2024.”

Ghanamps.com

Ningo-Prampram MP advocates for head teachers to be served with written project details

The Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George Nartey has suggested to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to recommend that the Ghana Education Service (GES) serves Heads of Schools with details of projects being undertaken by contractors in the various schools.

Sam George made these suggestions during the Third Zone Public Hearing in Ho, Volta Region to consider the 2022 Auditor-General’s Report on the Pre-University Educational Institutions for the year ended 31st December, 2022.

According to him if the Heads of School were given the information of the projects they would be able to contact the contractor when the need arises and know what to say when they appear before the Committee.

Meanwhile, the Ranking Member of the Committee Kofi Okyere Agyekum has cautioned the management of the Ayensuano District Assembly to avoid incurring a lot of infractions cited against them by the Auditor-General.

About 24 Municipal and District Assemblies from the Eastern Region appeared before the Committee. Out of that 103 infractions were cited against them with an average of 5 infractions per Assembly. However, Ayensuano Assembly alone was cited for 19 infractions.

Some of the Assemblies that appeared before the Committee included Birim Central, Fanteakwa South, Upper Manya Krobo, Yilo Krobo, Akuapem North and South.

Abetifi Presby SHS, Apedwa SHS, Benkum SHS, Holy Family NTC, Koforidua SHTS, New Juaben SHS, Pope John SHS and St. Francis SHTS were some of the schools cited in the 2022 Auditor-General’s Report in the Eastern Region that appeared before the Committee.

Ghanamps.com

SLM brouhaha: Let us not kill Ghanaian businesses — Majority Leader

Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin has admonished his colleagues in the Minority not to encourage the “killing” of Ghanaian businesses, in the wake of KPMG auditing the contract between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Ltd (SML) in which the NDC Minority is calling for prosecution despite no wrongdoing has been found.

According to him SLM opened its doors to Parliament’s Committee on Mines and Energy to inspect and see the nature of their operations.

“Again, often times under the guise of due diligence and transparency, we often get out of control and destroy Ghanaian business whiles foreign firms who operate in certain sectors get the kind of protection that makes them develop their business,” he said.

At a press conference he pointed out that, often times Ghanaian businesses surfer; they are looked at with all kinds of suspicions and, “as someone coming from the private sector into this public space, I would not encourage that to be done. We have seen the case of the company producing our Ghana card recently when the parliamentary oversight committee visited them we hear the recommendation that came from the Minority Members.”

“Meanwhile, we know how this company was lambasted in the early days when the government engaged it. Today we know how Mr. Agyapong of Zoomlion fame is expanding in various aspect of our economy.”

Hon. Afenyo-Markin also pointed out that, ten to fifteen years ago his company became a subject matter of political rally and if we encourage Ghanaian business persons they do better; we should encourage our state institution to do business with Ghanaian business people with good initiatives.

“Where there are challenges we should comment and act within the remit of those challenges and should not be over speculative”, he cautioned.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com