December 22, 2016

The Minority Caucus in Parliament says it will no longer be part of the process in approving loans and other contractual agreements the Government of Ghana has entered into with other institutions because of the failure of President Mahama’s Transition Team to furnish the House with copies of their handing-over notes.

In the view of the group, Parliament ought to have received copies of the said handing-over notes that covers all state institutions as well as that of the office of the President and the Vice-President about a month ago, to enable them know the programs and policies the government has projected to pursue from November 7, 2016 to the midnight of January 6, 2017.

But for reasons unknown to them, copies of the said handing-over notes, have till date, not been made available to Parliament.

Instead, the government is busily engaged in the recruitment of people into the public service, despite its agreement with the International Monetary Fund in respect of net freeze in employment until 2017 except in the health and education sectors.

Article 66 (1) provides that “A person elected as President shall …hold office for a term of four years beginning from the date on which he is sworn in as President.

The Presidential (Transition) Act, Act 845 provides for a preparation of handing-over notes covering the term of office of the President as the executive authority and the presentation of same to the “Administrator-General …not later than thirty days before the date of the Presidential election” which was held on December 7, 2016.

The law provides in Article 6(2) that the handing-over notes is question shall include:

  • Notes on the activities of:
  • The office of the President and the Office of the Vice-President, and the agencies under the portfolios of the President and of the Vice-President;

(ii) the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and

(iii) the Regional Ministries and the District Chief Executives.”

The law further provides in Article 6(3) that “the handing-over notes shall reflect the accurate developments which have taken place during the tenure of office (that is, up to November 7, 2016, in this case) and the projections of developments to take place before the end of the full tenure.

That means the projections should span the two-month period between November 7, 2016 and January 6, 2017. These should be boldly spelt out in the handing-over notes.

Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who addressed journalists at a press conference, Thursday, over the issue said per the dictates of the Transition Act, Parliament is required to be served with copies of the handing-over notes, with the projections expected to help the House to determine what outstanding business to conduct.

Significantly, Parliament has not been presented with handing-over notes from the Administrator-General covering the activities of the Presidency, the MDAs, the Regional Ministers and District Chief Executives. Neither has Parliament been given any reports relating to the projections of development that government envisages in the transition period. Over 90 percent of business that is conducted in Parliament is public or government business. Without the reports on the accurate developments which have taken place during the tenure of the Presidency of John Dramani Mahama and a clear statement on what is projected to be done, Parliament cannot, suo moto, decide on which business to transact including the approval of new loans.

“In the absence of such accurate handing-over notes and reports to Parliament, one would expect that, in a spirit of consensus-building, the current administration would clear any undertakings, especially, new engagements with the Presidential Transition Team. The President John Dramani Mahama administration has elected not to avail itself of this vehicle. In the circumstances, we in the NPP minority Caucus would want to register and indeed hereby register our deepest disgust at unilateral decisions being taken to have Parliament approve of loans, Supplier’s Agreement and Project Implementation Agreements (the latter of which process is unknown to the Rules of Procedure of Parliament) in this period of transition. We regret to state that we cannot be part of the processes and decisions which in our considered opinion are illegitimate,” he noted.

He bemoaned the situation where recruitments are being made into the public service “at the last hour” by the out-government.

Neither the 2016 budget nor the budget for the 1st quarter of 2017 (i.e. the Vote on Account for the first three months of 2017) which was submitted on behalf of President Mahama by the Minister of Finance, Hon. Seth Terkper in November 2016 made provisions for these latter day recruitments. How is the in-coming administration going to carter for the remuneration of these persons? On what criteria have these new appointments and recruitments been based?” he quizzed.

The Minority Leader commenting further advised the out-going government to be more transparent and build consensus and carry the entire nation along from now to the midnight of January 6, 2017 to avoid a situation where the in-coming administration would be forced to review all the recruitments and appointments made.