We will no longer accept ‘the minister is unavoidably absent’ excuse – Bagbin

The Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has cautioned ministers of state to note that failure to appear before the house on a scheduled date constitutes contempt according to the constitutional provision. He further said that it is not the place of ministers to pick and choose when to appear before the house to answer questions.  “That decision is for the house and the speaker.” He said.
 
These became necessary because the Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah did not show up to answer questions by legislators on Tuesday, June 2022. He, through his Chief Director, requested to appear on Thursday. This almost earned him a referral to the privileges committee but for leaderships’ intervention.
Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak raised concerns about how “some ministers are gradually turning this house into a joke.”
 
 “This is one of the ministers who used to be very punctual in responding to questions to member, but of late his conduct seems to be negating all the gains he has made in the house.”  Bagbin said.
 
He warned “we are not going to accept the minister is unavoidably absent” as an excuse.

 

Privileges Committee summons Adwoa Safo after attempts to reach her failed

The Privileges Committee has summoned the Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya, Sara Adwoa Safo, to appear before it on July 6, 2022, over her absenteeism in the House.
 
 
Chairman of the committee, Joseph Osei Owusu directed that the summons be published publicly as the Member of Parliament has been unreachable.
“The Chairman of the Privileges Committee has directed that summons to the Hon. Member for Dome Kwabenya to appear before the Privileges Committee of Parliament on 6th July 2022 at 12:00 noon at Parliament House, New Administration Block, Committee Room 1, 2 & 3 pursuant to Article 103 (6) of the Constitution and Order 205 of the Standing Orders of Parliament be published in all relevant media. This comes after all attempts to reach the Honorable Member by the Committee failed,” a statement from the Parliamentary Service said.
 
 
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has tasked the Privileges Committee to dialogue with Adwoa Safo, Henry Quartey and Kennedy Agyapong over their continuous absenteeism.
 

 

It is expected of the three to give reasons, which are justifiable for their absenteeism. Failure to do so, mean that actions will be taken to remove them from Parliament.

 

 

The Committee said it “has employed all available means, both official and unofficial, to serve the Member with an invitation letter, including sending the invitation letter to her office and pigeonhole in Parliament,” but has not gotten any response from her as yet.
 

 

Meanwhile, Adwoa Safo earlier on Accra based Joy FM that she was in the US and had not been served any invitation letter from the committee.

Bagbin directs Defence & Interior C’ttee to probe Islamic SHS disturbance

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has directed the Defence and Interior Committee to look into the alleged police brutality at the Islamic Senior High School (SHS), which occurred in Kumasi. They have one week to execute the assignment and report their findings back to the House.

 

 

Students’ demonstration in the school turned messy, when police met them with force, resulting in several persons sustaining injuries.
Member of Parliament for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak, on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, raised the matter on the floor of Parliament.
 
 
The Speaker, directed, “I will direct the committee on Defence and Interior to take this matter up and report next week. In other words, the committee members should visit the IGP, the regional police commander and the school in question, visit the injured persons and report by Tuesday with the findings and await the final investigations and if there is the need for us to take any further action, we will do that.”
 
 
Students of the Islamic Senior High School, Kumasi, demonstrated against the repeated motor traffic accidents in front of their school by blocking sections of the road on Monday. The Police in their attempt to help open the road to normal traffic flow, the fired warning shots and opened tear gas and pepper spray on the students.
A statement by the police said “the students pelted the police with stones and the police used pepper spray and fired warning shots in attempt to disperse them.”
 
 
Thirty-eight (38) injured students were hospitalized. According to the Deputy Minister of Education John Ntim Fordjour, “…twenty-two out of the 32 have been discharged and have joined their colleagues on campus.”
 
The police, however say they are not proud of the poor manner in which their officers handled the case.

Fisheries Minister is a practical minister – South Dayi MP

MP for South Dayi Rockson Nelson Deafeamekpor has commended Mrs. Hawa Koomson Fisheries Minister for moving in swiftly to resolve the premix fuel crisis in his constituency, leading to regular supply of the product.
 
He mentioned this in parliament when the minister took her turn to answer questions bordering on the performance her ministry on the floor of the house.
“We had premix issues recently; her intervention has encouraged the regular supply of premix in my area. She is a practical minister.”  “We need more for my people at Agordake and Dzemeni.” Mr. Deafeamekpor said.  
His question to the minister was about steps taken to establish fish farming in Tongor Tsanakpe, to which the minster responded that “Aquaculture for food and jobs programs under which educational and security institutions, distressed fish farmers and youth groups are supported to establish fish farms.” She advised that interested youth groups and individuals should contact regional fisheries offices to apply for the opportunity. She furthered that “on approval, officers will conduct an inspection of the proposed site to determine the appropriated holding facility.”
 
 
She also told the house that fishing inputs support such as fingerlings, fish feed and extension officers would be given to farmers.

Landing beaches to get automated premix fuels dispensing units

Hon. Hawa Koomson, Minster for Fisheries
Landing beaches across the country will soon have automated premix fuels dispensing units installed for them.
 
This, according to the Fisheries Minister Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson will weed out smugglers and hoarding activities as well as enhance fishers’ access to the fuel.
It will enhance service delivery and safety as only fishers with smart cards will be served at the automated pumps.
The minister was addressing a question by the MP for Upper Manya Krobo Bismark Tetteh Nyarko on measures to enhance fishing activities at Akateng and other fishing communities in his constituency. He asked that the selling points be increased from 5 to the original 11 as at 2018. The reduction of selling points, according to the MP, is a contributory factor to the smuggling and shortage of the product.
She however said “as we speak now, we don’t even know the number of fishers who draw this fuel. That is why we are working on automation to give us the information. So when we realize that the 5 delivering points are not enough, the ministry and the agency will not hesitate to increase the numbers.”

I’m aware non-fisher folks stock-up premix fuel and re-sell at 400% – Fisheries Minister

The Minister for Fisheries and Aqua Culture Development Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson has confirmed she is aware of the irregularities surrounding the distribution of premix fuel in the fishing communities across the country.
The minister was responding to questions related to her ministry in parliament yesterday.

 

 

MP for Krachi East Wisdom Gidisu, asked if the minister knew that people whose work is not fishing related are the ones who buy premix products, stocked and resell at 400% to the actual fishermen.

 

 

Mr Gidisu said “they buy at the regular price of GHC60 and resell at GHC200 or GHC250.
The Krachi East MP requested to know the measures put in place to curb such illegalities and also ensure the regular supply of premix to fisher folks along the Krachi Nchumuru, Krachi West, Krachi East and other fishing communities along the Volta Lake.

 

 

“Yes I am aware and government is making everything possible to stop it” was the minister’s response.
Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson said her ministry is in talks with stakeholders including TOR and that the MPs concerns would be resolved “very soon.”
 “I believe very soon we will come to a conclusion and the product will be available for every fisherman to do his or her fishing activities.”
 
According to news reports, premix fuel has been in short supply since the beginning of the year.

Minority to block gov’t bills for delay in passing anti-LGBTQ bill

The Minority in Parliament has accused the Chairman of the committee working on the anti-LGBTQ bill, of deliberately slowing down work on the bill. The minority says they have not seen any progress since the bill was introduced to the house about a year ago.
 
They have, therefore, vowed to block the passage of government bills if the LGBTQI bill is not worked on with urgency.
 
Speaking on the floor of the house on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak stressed the need for the bill to be dealt with speedily.
“As far as the constitution is concerned, when you introduce a bill, and it is referred to the committee, that committee must not spend more than three months,” Mr. Mubarak argued.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Committee working on the bill, Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi has explained why work on the bill had delayed.
“I would want to draw the House’s attention that there are several bills before the committee. We had one in-camera meeting last week, and we have invited the sponsors of this bill for these meetings.”
 
“Honourable Bedzrah was at these meetings, so it was surprising that the same person who was aware of what the committee is doing will say that the committee is doing nothing about the bill. I want to set the records straight that the committee is on course, so far as bills are concerned.”
To this explanation made by the committee chairman, Alhaji Muntaka responded on Omaru Sanders Eye Witness News that “it is against our standing order 136 that clearly states that bills before the committee should not last three months. And committee chair Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi should know.”
 
The Bill on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’, prescribes that people of the same sex who engage in sexual activity could spend up to 10 years in jail and was presented to Speaker, Alban Bagbin in June last year.
 
Varying forms of support for the LGBTQ+ community will also be criminalized if the Bill is passed into law.
 
The members of Parliament that presented the bill are, Sam George (MP, Ningo Prampram), Emmanuel Bedzrah (MP, Ho West) Della Adjoa Sowah (MP, Kpando), John Ntim Fordjour (MP, Assin South), Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini (MP, Tamale North), Helen Adjoa Ntoso (MP, Krachi West), Rita Naa Odoley Sowah (MP, La Dadekotopon) and Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor (MP, South Dayi).
 

MPs-CLOGSAG meeting: Vice Chair of LGC in Parliament confident members will resume work soon

The CLOGSAG strike action has taken its toll on Parliament, as Members of Parliament’s Local Government Committee say they are unable to access their Common Fund because Local Government staff who are supposed to help with the documentation are on strike.
This came up after a meeting between members of the Local Government Committee and leadership of CLOGSAG in Parliament on Monday, May 9, 2022.
The Vice Chairman of the Local Government Committee of Parliament, Suleman Adamu Sanid in his address to the media after the meeting expressed optimism that members of CLOGSAG will resume work soon.
He said “every MP is affected by the strike. There are so many things that we are trying to process, but we cannot. If things go through, I’m sure it will be resolved in no time. Let’s remain positive.”
Commission because they’ve been in existence for so long, and we still have strike actions here and there. We want to engage them to really understand what is still holding them and causing some of these things so that as a country we can see how to address this. If FWSC doesn’t have the necessary legislative tools, we can do that so that this perineal issues of strikes here and there will be a thing of the past.”
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo, Nii Lante Vanderpuye says they’ll consider making a statement on the floor of the House upon resumption of Parliament to address the issue of wide disparity in salaries of public sector workers, which is the cause of most labor agitations.

Parliamentary Updates: “You make me sick” – Speaker Bagbin to MPs

You make me sick – Speaker Bagbin to MPs

 

Speaker Bagbin has called on the Marshall Department to be on standby because he will be “compelled to get people arrested and sent out” for putting up indiscipline behaviors on the floor of the house. The Rt. Hon. Speaker Alban Bagbin is bent on restoring discipline and positive reputation of parliament.

 

 

 

He was nauseated at the chitchat, loitering about and seeming lack of readiness of some members while business had taken off in the House.
“There is no parliament that I know when the speaker is talking members of parliament are also talking. Speakers are heard in silence for good reason. What is happening in this parliament is completely unacceptable.” He tells the house.

 

 

 

Appalled by consistent indiscipline behavior that some members display on the floor, Mr. Speaker cries, “I am not sure you have appreciation of the temperature of the country. Neither am I sure you know the arduous nature of the responsibility that is placed on your shoulders.”
 

 

 

 Furious that as he was addressing the issue of disruptive behavior, some members were still misbehaving, the speaker charged a member to “shut up!” He said “As I’m talking the same thing happening.  The Marshall department, get ready. I will be compelled to get people arrested and sent out. You make me sick.”

 

 

 

He further cautioned parliamentarians to change from misconducting themselves and to accept the decision of the people and work together because Parliament is for serious national business and not a place for joking.
“The parliament we are in has never been in Ghana, even gold coast. This is a different type of parliament.”

Parliamentary Updates: Speaker Bagbin will not tolerate undue delay of c’ttee reports

A formal communication from the Rt. Hon Speaker Sumana Bagbin to members of parliament, Tuesday 22, Feb 2022 reminds parliamentary committees and clerks of those committees that speedy execution of their duties are the main pillars of parliamentary work.

 

 

 

He pointed out that parliamentary committees have become slow in their delivery of work and this has generally affected the functionality of parliament as a whole. He was unhappy that a new session has begun yet no committee has submitted reports for consideration in the house.  “We are in a new session; no report whatsoever has come to the house. There is no reason given to us as to why there is a delay for us to consider the referral on what to.”

 

 

 

Parliamentary committees are required by law to comply with reporting timelines to facilitate smooth running of parliamentary business and not to carry-forward matters referred to them, into a new session, unless leave has been sought and granted by the house. “We must be guided at all times that, our commitment to our democracy means we are doing diligent work in a manner that is efficient and timely.” Speaker Bagbin told the house.

 

 

 
The speaker explained that apart from bills introduced by or on behalf of the president, which must not be delayed for more than three months, the constitution does not provide a specific period, within which a committee must complete its work.  However, the standing orders does say, “… every committee to which a matter is referred, shall report to the house before the end of each session of Parliament. If a committee finds itself unable to complete any investigations, enquiries or other matters referred to it before the end of the session, it shall so report to the house.”
 

 

 

Another source of worry to the Speaker is clerks neglecting their duty of taking minutes at parliamentary committee proceedings. He cautioned committee clerks to be sure to take minuets of committee proceedings or be ready to face the law.  
“The minuets are as important as the reports of the committee. Absence of minutes of committee meetings will be regarded as dereliction of duty. It obstructs the work of parliament and obstruction of parliament is equal to contempt of parliament. Clerks must be mindful of timelines of reporting to parliament and take steps to provide the minuets together with the report of the committee.”
 

 

 

The Rt. Hon. Speaker touched on what he describes as the growing trend of members of the various committees raising new objections to committee reports on the floor of the house instead of at the committee levels.  He instructed members to ensure to be present at committee meetings to be able to register their opinions at the committee levels.
 

 

 

He also acknowledged the heavy workload on the Public Accounts Committee and called for an increase in the number of its membership and the formation of sub committees to lighten the weight of work on the Public Account Committee.  
 

 

The leadership of the house is directed to work closely with committee leaders to streamline their reports.
 
 
Up