June 28, 2011

The Minority in Parliament is seriously considering a suit against the Speaker of Parliament Joyce Bamford Addo over her ruling on the proposed amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill.

The amendment proposed by the minority sought to cede ten per cent of the revenue to be accrued from oil for the exclusive development of the Western Region where the oil was struck.

The Speaker however ruled against the amendment explaining it will impose an additional cost on the consolidated fund.

She cited article 108 of the 1992 Constitution which provides that Parliament on its own, or a member of Parliament may not impose a bill that may have financial implication on government.

But the Minority believes the Speaker grievously erred in her ruling.

Its Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah on Tuesday “this ruling has serious implications on the integrity of Parliament and the ability and competencies of Parliament.”

He argued that the Speaker’s interpretation of Article 108 is fundamentally flawed. Quoting copiously from the article in question- 108- Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said an amendment of a bill should be allowed if the said bill is coming from the executive.

Article 108 stated: “Parliament shall not, unless the bill is introduced or the motion is introduced by, or on behalf of, the President –

(a) proceed upon a bill including an amendment to a bill, that, in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provision for any of the following –

(i) the imposition of taxation or the alteration of taxation otherwise than by reduction; or

(ii) the imposition of a charge on the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana or the alteration of any such charge otherwise than by reduction; or (iii) the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana of any moneys not charged on the Consolidated Fund or any increase in the amount of that payment, issue or withdrawal; or (iv) the composition or remission of any debt due to the Government of Ghana; or

(b) proceed upon a motion, including an amendment to a motion, the effect of which, in the opinion of the person presiding, would be to make provision for any of the purpose specified in paragraph (a) of this article.”

He explained the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill emanated from the president, which makes it possible, legal, for an amendment to be made by Parliament.

He said the Speaker’s ruling offended the letter of the Constitution and the minority will seriously consider an interpretation at the Supreme Court.

But Communication Minister Haruna Iddrisu insists the Minority has no case.

Whilst welcoming the decision by the Minority to seek interpretation from the Supreme Court, the Minister stated emphatically the Minority should read and under understand article 108 in entirety and if they do, “they will not want to take a step further,” he said.

In any case, he pointed out; the Speaker’s ruling was not only based on Article 108 but on other Standing Orders in the House.

Source : myjoyonline.com