by Ernest Ashitey Armah Posted on June 9, 2017 at 12:00 AM
Highlights of what MPs discussed starting Wednesday, June 7th 2017
Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta stood before the honourable house to answer questions about the government’s $2.25 billion bond issue on the international market. Earlier, Minority MPs raised concerns of conflict of interest that made the Speaker to summon finance minister on Wednesday.
In his address, Mr Ofori Atta stated that government did not break the law in the bond issue and said “The Ministry of Finance in the issue of the bond in question had no direct dealing with the investors. All prospective investors bid through the primary dealers who in turn submit the investors’ bids to the Central Securities Depository platform.”
Representatives of Hohoe and Biakoye Constituencies
jointly issued a statement on the age-long dispute at Nkonya in the Biakoye Constituency in Volta Region. The MPs condemned this violence which has disrupted lives in the two towns since 1923 and has escalated to this day.
Speaking on the floor on Thursday, member of parliament for Hohoe, Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo called on the nation to “unite above tribe, political party and language to support the people of Alavanyo and Nkonya for a sustainable peace and development.” The two MPs: Dr Bernice Heloo (Hohoe) and Kwadwo Nyanpon Aboagye (Biakoye), urged traditional leaders in the area to maintain peace and sympathised with those wounded in the conflict.
The honourable members on Thursday paid glowing tributes to outgoing Chief Justice (CJ) Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood for her stellar service to the Republic of Ghana. Georgina Wood retired from public service on Thursday. In a statement read by Minority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, the successes of [Madam Georgina Wood] cannot be over-emphasized. Statement went on to give highlights of the former chief justice’s achievements including the establishment of specialised courts to provide quick, effective and accessible justice, as well as 14 other courts with mandate to deal with the issue of “galamsey”. The statement also mentioned several other accomplishments of Mrs Georgina Wood spanning from her early years in the legal profession to her role as Chief Justice.
MPs had the chance to speak after the statement. In his contribution, the Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu said Mrs Georgina Wood continues to be a model for young girls in Ghana. First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Wusu said Mrs Wood as CJ was instrumental in raising standards in the legal profession. He also said she should be commended for seeing to the expansion of faculties at the Ghana School of Law.
On her part, Deputy Minority Leader and MP for Dome-Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo said Mrs Wood is the ‘real epitome of Ghanaian womanhood’ and should be celebrated along with other Ghanaian women.
More MPs had a lot to say about the former chief justice of Ghana; they also thanked President Akufo-Addo for nominating Georgina Wood to the Council of State.
A Parliamentary Select Committee which was tasked to investigate activities of sand winners in the country came back with its finding. The committee gathered that more than 80% of sand winners operate without permit & against EPA regulations.
MPs recommended that the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies should be firm on enforcing the law on mining - sand winning is also an activity of mining.
Members on the minority side of parliament filed a motion aimed at stopping the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Finance Ministry from suspending the advertisement of the implementation of VAT (Amendment) Act, 2017 in the media.
According to the minority, the law had been passed as far back in April, hence differing the implementation to another date is considered as contempt of Parliament.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, while filing the motion on Thursday, argued that the GRA and the Ministry of Finance cannot on their own suspend the implementation of a tax law duly passed by the Parliament and approved by the President.
Deputy Minister of Finance and MP for Obuasi South, Kweku Kwarteng said the implementation of a tax law starts with an ‘administrative directive’. He added that there is a ‘clear error’ in the advert and his ministry cannot go ahead with it.
Mr Iddrisu in his response said, “an advert in a newspaper cannot be superior to an Act of Parliament.” He also added that ‘ministers must be made aware that Parliament will hold them to the letter as they are not around to just score points; he charged the ministers to bring ‘sanity’ to government agencies that work under them.
On Friday, members sat briefly in order to join the rest of Ghanaians at the forecourt of State House in funeral rites for late Major Maxwell Adam Mahama.