Members of Parliament (MPs) are expected to resume sitting on Tuesday, October 31 after a three-month break.
The MPs went on recess on August 3 and were expected to resume in the third week of October but the Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in an interview with TV3 said on Monday October 30 due to some assignments that the leadership had to engage in, the resumption date was postponed.
“Initially we thought after the conference (66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference) we were going to be able to reconvene next Tuesday but later on, we gave ourselves another one weeks on the 10th or 17th. So that was tentative what we planned to do. I think something escaped us, what escaped us is the pendency of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference (IPU) in Angola.
“…I think it begins on the 20th and ends on the 26th or so which then will mean that the earliest time that we can reconvene is the 31st of October. It’s not happened that before but because the IPU has for the first time been pushed so much into the third week of October. Usually it’s held in the first week of October and that is why usually we reconvene in the second or beginning the third week of October. That’s the reason why we have to hold on to the 31st of October,” he said.
Members will have several tasks to complete before the Christmas break in December.
One of the major issues according to the Majority Leader will be the budget statement for the 2024 fiscal year to be presented by the finance minister.
“Certainly it’s going to be the budget because we are not going to have enough time. Normally the budget will come around the 15th of November so we reconvene a month or so to deal with outstanding businesses including bills that will have to be done before the budget is presented. Now 31st we have barely two weeks. It means that we are going to have just about seven weeks or so for the next meeting of Parliament. It’s going to be the shortest. We will then have to crowd many things into that short space of time”.
The Speaker’s Adhoc Committee is set to present its report on the leaked audio tape allegedly to oust the Inspector General of Police. The havoc wreaked by the Akosombo and Kpong dams spillage will definitely be brought to the house’s attention and the Speaker is likely to give some directives.
Some MPs have stated that some officials at the Volta River Authority have questions to answer.
Another issue that may be raised on the floor of Parliament may be the minority caucus and its demands for the removal of the Bank of Ghana governor and his two deputies but the majority leader has given hints of what his side will do on this matter.
“We could have invited the governor to come and explain matters that are not clear to us. But you go on demonstration, you organise a press conference against them what you think is happening within the corridors and then you come back to Parliament to move a motion and you want me to support that”?
This meeting of Parliament though according to the Majority Leader is going to be a very short one, a lot more is expected for it to handle.
Aside the matters mentioned above, there are some outstanding bills to be worked on such as the promotion of the Promotion Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill also known as the anti-gay bill, loans, tax waivers, instruments may also be presented. Ministers will be scheduled to answer questions on the floor, as well as the Speaker may admit statements and motions for debate.
And all these may have to be done before members rise again for the Christmas break in December.
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.