Here are the major highlights from the chamber this week - starting Tuesday, June 18
ISSUE 1: Solidarity for the Black Stars
MPs took turns on Friday to send well wishes to the senior national football team, the Black Stars, who are currently participating in the 32nd African Cup of Nations (AFCON) competition in Egypt. The comments were made on the floor of Parliament following a statement by the vice-chair of Youth, Sports and Culture Committee, Kojo Asemanyi (MP, Gomoa East) on “ending the 37 years trophy drought of the Black Stars of Ghana”. The statement observed disappointing finishes of the national team at previous editions of the competition and how that has affected national support for the team in recent times, but shared some optimism in the Black Stars’ ability to emerge victorious at this year’s tournament urging prayers and support from the nation.
In her comment to the statement, Angela Oforiwaa Alorwu-Tay (MP, Afadzato South) urged unity at the Black Stars’ camp as they take on the rest of Africa at AFCON; suggested the trophy should be placed in the middle of the chamber of Parliament should Ghana win the competition.
Bernard Okoe Boye (MP, Ledzokuku) was also optimistic about Ghana doing well in the football competition. He said, ''It is very possible to break the spell this time: I think we have to work hard and be disciplined.'' He also urged Ghanaians to 'let go' of what happened with the team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The statement ended with advice to the players to remain focused and stay away from social media when they are off the field in order to avoid any unwarranted comment that will incur the wrath of Ghanaians. The coach of the national team, Mr. Kwasi Appiah, was also advised to be bold in his decisions. Mr. Asemanyi (MP, Gomoa East) pled with the media to be circumspect in their reportage of the team’s activities; and urged Ghanaians who are supporting the Black Stars to “manage our expectations” and not put excessive pressure on the team since there are no 'minnows and walkovers' in football nowadays.
The Black Stars of Ghana play their first Group F match against Benin on Tuesday, June 25 in
Ismaila, Egypt, we wish them well.
ISSUE 2: Government Supports Local Textiles Industry
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten told MPs on Wednesday there is a steady recovery of the nation’s textile industry since the government started implementing its stimulus package for ailing textile manufacturers in July 2018. He said the package, as part of a transitional agreement, has injected GH¢17 million initial capital into the operations of Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL). He said this during a question and answer session in Parliament. The question was asked by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP, North Tongu) on behalf of Thomas Nyarko Ampem (MP, Asuogyaman) which sought to find out from the Minister whether the ministry has plans for saving ATL from total collapse. The Minister in his answer told the House that, ATL is “currently not in a situation that could be described as facing the risk of total collapse” due to specific incentives the company is benefitting which includes a 3-year VAT exemption (0 rated); import duty waiver & concessions on raw materials & machinery import; deferred VAT payment on imports to improve cash flows.
Mr. Kyeremanten further told the House that ATL is aggressively pursuing an international sales drive and has established relations with trading companies in Nigeria, Berlin, Brussels, U.S.A, and the U.K in order to step up export sales; in promoting made-in-Ghana textiles. He also said the cabinet has approved the following policy measures to protect local textile manufacturers: tax stamps for locally manufactured & imported textiles; Tema Port designated as a single-entry corridor for textiles; implement a textile import management system; establish a textile task force. And on job creation, the minister was hopeful about new jobs to be created in the textile sector as a result of new government policy measures which would be put in place.
ISSUE 3: Road Safety Authority Bill, 2019 Passed
The Road Safety Authority Bill, 2019 is now passed. A motion for the third reading of the Bill was moved by Minister of Transport Kwaku Ofori-Asiamah in Parliament on Tuesday after going through the process of consideration, now awaiting presidential assent to become law. The law seeks to empower the National Road Safety Commission with authority to ensure road safety practices in the country. The law is in response to the spate of road carnages which happened in the first quarter of 2019 including the gruesome road traffic crash in Kintampo in Bono East Region killing 55 passengers.
Frank Bruce | PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Accra
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