General News of Tuesday, 4 July 2006
Accra, July 4, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Member of Parliament for Oda, on Tuesday won for the Majority a decisive vote that took the Food and Drugs Amendment Bill beyond the "Second Reading", the stage of debating the principles of a Bill, in the legislative process. The Bill aims at providing a regulatory framework in which fees could be levied to aid in the exercise of the powers of the Food and Drugs Board.
Mr Osafo-Maafo, who is a Former Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, called the Bill a "quick solution to an immediate problem". He said poverty and a sense of hopelessness had tuned many developing countries into dumping grounds for inferior exports from much more endowed nations.
He said the Food and Drugs Board needed resources, which could not be borne by the national budget to do on site inspection of goods from their countries of origin.
Mr Osafo-Maafo said the European Union sometime back sent people to inspect sites used for the manufacture of goods exported to the EU and this led to the banning of certain goods destined to Europe. "Let us help the Food and Drugs Board to raise its own resources to protect us. We complain everyday of poor standards of goods that are imported into the country. Let us pass this Law while we await the review of the whole Law relating to standards."
The Minority had earlier in the day described as an attempt to give retroactive effect to illegal collection of fees by the Food and Drugs Board.
The Minority Leader Mr Alban Sumanu Kingsford Bagbin said: "It is ill-conceived and ill prepared Bill. This is a very sketchy and incomplete legislation, which I believe did not pass through the Ministry of Justice and the President's Office."
He called for a withdrawal of the Bill for more work to be done to make it more comprehensive.
The First Deputy Speaker, Mr Freddie Blay said: "I am not happy. This is an opportunity we should not let go. We should look at the issue of food and beverages and make the Law more relevant." Mr John Mahama, NDC-Bole Bamboi, said Parliament was about to give blank cheque to the Food Drugs Board by passing the Law, and called for a schedule of fees to be attached to the Bill for Parliament to know when and how they would be charging fees.
Later in the day the House took the Laws of Ghana (Revised Edition) (Amendment) Bill through the second reading.
The Bill seeks to amend the Laws of Ghana (Revised) Act 1998 (Act 562) by providing for the year 2004 as cut off date for the Revised Edition of the Laws.