This Week In Parliament[19th-23rd June, 2017]

Highlights of what MPs discussed from 19th - 23rd June, 2017

  • Chief Justice Sophia Abena Boafowaa Akufo Approved

This week, MPs approved the President’s nominee for Chief Justice, Mrs Sophia Akufo. The motion on the nominee’s vetting process was read by Second Deputy Speaker Joe Osei-Owusu, who is also the Chairman of the Appointments Committee. After several contributions from members on the floor, the nominee was approved as Chief Justice of Ghana.

  • State of Education infrastructure in Ghana

On Tuesday, MPs discussed the failing infrastructure of government basic schools in the country. Hon. Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere, MP for Atwima-Nwabiagya South bemoaned the deplorable state of public schools in his constituency, cited how some pupils have to lie on the bare floor to study.

In his contribution to the subject matter, MP for Bia West, Hon. Augustine Tawiah said for Ghana to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 on “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”, we have to take a second look at our current approach to educational issues.

Majority Leader, Hon. Osei-Kyei Bonsu (MP, Suame) said for clarity purposes, “schools under trees” belonged to a different breed and for that matter should be separated from those with dilapidated structures.

MP for Awutu-Senya West, George Andah said that the Public Works Department in the various districts should be well resourced to maintain and keep public schools in good shape.

Hon. Annor Dompreh (MP, Nsawam-Adoagyiri) underscored the importance of maintaining existing public schools whilst new school structures are constructed. For this to happen, he said there should be accurate data on the number of public schools in the country for proper planning and maintenance.

According to Sam George (MP, Ningo-Prampram), even as the Ministry intends to build more schools, existing ones need to be properly managed.

Hon.Rashid Pelpuo (MP, Wa Central) emphasized the responsibility of the Minister for Education to resolve the problem of bad state of public schools.

The Minister of Education and MP for Manhyia South, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh said government will need US$ 200 million to refurbish public schools in the country and additional funding to refurbish the over 500,000 public schools identified across the country.

Hon.Philip Basoah (MP, Kumawu) questioned the MInister on whether or not Ghana’s education is still under the support of the UK’s DFID. In response the Minister stated that three projects are currently being funded:Transforming Teachers,Girls education and Basic Education.

Oko Vanderpauye (MP, Ablekuma South) placed on record that every child deserves to attend a “Millennium City” school. Ghana is not lacking the leadership to build these schools, and that can even be found in the erstwhile Mahama government where together with Accra Metropolitan Assembly(AMA), a total of 400 educational infrastructures were built, ending the “shift system” in Accra.

MP for Bawku Central, Hon. Mahama Ayariga questioned the Education Minister on the period within which school fees for public universities and senior High Schools will be made public. Hon. James Klutsey-Avedzi, (MP, Ketu North) also inquired from the Minister if these current fees have been approved by Parliament.

  • Irene Naa Torshie Addo Approved as Administrator of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund (DACF)

Parliament approved the president’s nominee to the DACF Ms Irene Naa Torshie Addo on Wednesday following counter arguments on whether or not President Akufo-Addo acted fairly towards the Immediate-Past Administrator Mr. Kojo Fynn, who was asked to ‘proceed on leave’.

Nana Akua Owusu-Afriyie (MP, Ablekuma North) complimented Hon.Naa Torshie Addo as a great motivation to women in Ghana.

The Minority Chief Whip, Hon Muntaka Mubarak referred to a clause in the Constitution (Section 70(1)(c)) which states that ‘the President in consultation with the Council of State shall appoint the administrator of DACF’; the administrator, when s/he reaches retirement can be engaged on contractual terms not exceeding two years and subject to renewal.

Hon.OB Amoah (MP, Akuapem South) explained the act against Mr.Kojo Fynn was necessary as he was due retirement as far back as September 2016. He also refuted the idea of reappointment, stating that the appointing authority has not granted the said person a contract( for 2-years subject to renewal) to continue.

The Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (MP, Suame) said replacing Mr. Fynn as administrator of the DACF was not done with any ill-intent. He stated further that Mr.Fynn is a fine gentleman and no attempt should be made to tag anyone as being against him.

Hon. Alban Bagbin (MP, Nadowli-Kaleo) said although it is wrongful,it is also not unconstitutional to give an administrator a 4-year mandate. In the same light he opined it is also wrongful to give an existing administrator an indefinite leave.

Hon Muntaka (MP, Asawase) proposed the establishment of a mechanism to enable MPs track what the common fund is used for, as the share of MP’s Common Fund(CF) goes to the district account, which the MPs are often not aware of.

Hon. Alban Bagbin consented to this and also placed importance on the urgency for the House to work together on improving generation and utilization of the CF.

  • MPs Call on State to provide housing for Ghana Police Personnel

The MP for Mfantseman Hon Ekow Hayford in a statement read on the floor bemoaned the accommodation challenges faced by personnel in the Police Service. He said, “accommodation for the officers is woefully inadequate and most of what exist are in bad shape”, as a result of “low and inadequate budget allocation” over several years.

Dr. Clement Apaak (MP, Builsa South) in his contribution to the statement proposed that Ghana emulate the US police system whereby Police personnel are given allowance to find accommodation in the area where they have been posted and closer to the station, as it fosters a healthy relationship between the officer and civilians.

  • Minister of Roads and Highways Quizzed

MPs representing five constituencies took turns on Friday to question the Minister of Roads and Highways Kwesi Amoako Atta, about the state of road projects in their respective constituencies. The respective MPs wanted to find out when roads in Kumawu, Domeabra/Obom, Bole/Bamboi, Buem and Amasaman will be completed. The MP for Buem Constituency, Mr. Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah asked why Rolider, the contractor who is constructing the road from Jasikan District towards Hohoe, is no more on site.

The Minister, in his response said the contractor had written to the government indicating non-payment of funds for some work done, hence the abandonment of work.

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