General News of Monday, 1 August 2005
Parliament, last Thursday, brought the second meeting of the first session to a successful end. The house which had sat for forty-six (46) days, is to reconvene on Tuesday, October 25th.
In a closing remark, the majority leader and minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Felix Owusu Adjapong, said the house had diligently carried out a number of important assignments within the meeting, which demonstrates to Ghanaians their preparedness to work toward continuous good governance of the country.
He stated that the leadership is aware of the problems that hinder the effective and efficient performance of the House, as such, the government is making frantic efforts to source funds for the completion of the parliamentary projects, including the chamber.
Mr. Owusu Adjapong emphasized that as representatives of the people, members need to remember at all times their duty to improve the lot of the people through good governance and ensure that their duties are not sacrificed on the altar of enjoyment.
A statement by the minority leader, which was read on his behalf by the deputy minority leader, Doe Adjaho, said one of the greatest challenges facing us as a nation is the passage of the Representation of the People Amendment Bill.
He added that because of the problems associated with elections in our part of the world, it is best for the people to have credibility in the electoral system. As such, any process that would cause distrust in the electoral process must be carefully analysed.
The deputy minority leader stated that the danger to the political stability of the country is too obvious to ignore, hence their position not to take part in the tour of the regions by the committee handling the bill.
"We appeal to government to consider withdrawing this bill for the sake of peace in the country".
He said it was unfortunate that the motion filed by the minority to investigate what is now known as "Hotel Kufour" was not programmed for debate in the house, adding that they are of the opinion that the floor is the appropriate forum to raise such matters and discuss issues to put them to rest.
Mr. Adjaho expressed appreciation at the Whistle Blowers Bill and was hopeful that there would be an open debate on the bill in order to come out with a very good law.
"But the manner in which it is being handled by the committee gives cause for worry".
He noted that the passage of the Whistle Blowers Bill would reduce the incidence of corruption in the country since those who report such cases would be protected by the law.
He again urged government, as a matter of urgency, to introduce into parliament, the Freedom of Information Bill to enhance accessibility of information in a bid to improve good governance in the country.
He said while they console the family of the late MP for Odododiodio, the best tribute is to give the NDC candidate in the by-election a resounding victory.
The Avenor MP suggested that the house considers the facilities at the disposal of the parliamentary press corps to motivate them to continue with the service they render to parliament and the general public.
He proposed an exchange programme and training courses with press corps of other parliaments.
The House held Forty-four (44) Plenary Sittings; One Hundred and Sixty (160) committee sittings, One Hundred and forty (140) ministers answered questions. Sixty-seven statements were made, Twenty-nine (29) Reports from Public Institutions; and Seven (7) Communications were received from H. E. the President and the Rt. Hon. Speaker.
The House passed three (3) Bills namely, the National Petroleum Authority Bill, Human Trafficking Bill and National Council on Women and Development Bill.
The Minerals and Mining Bills were withdrawn and reintroduced by the Ministry of Lands Forestry and Mines, upon the advice of the House.
The House considered Five (5) Legislative Instruments.
They are: the Income Tax Rates Regulations, 2005, L. I. 1810; Internal Revenue (Amendment) Regulations, 2005, L. I. 1811; Management of Ozone Depleting Substances and Products Regulations, 2005, L. I. 1812; (Penalty Units) (Amendment) Instruments, 2005, L.I. 1813; and West African Gas Pipeline Regulations, 20O5 L. I. 1814. The House approved a number of Loan and Protocol Agreements.
Parliament, by resolution, endorsed a Loan Agreement between the Office of Parliament (with Ghana Government guarantee) and the Barclays Bank (Ghana) Limited for an amount of US$7million (cedi equivalent) for on-1ending to Hon. Members to procure means of transport.
The Agreements, which were approved by the House, include the Development Credit Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the International Development Association SDR 84, 200,000 (IDA) for an amount of (USS125, 000) for Third Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC-3); Second Financial Protocol between the Republic of Ghana and the Kingdom of Spain for an amount of Sixty-million Euros (-65,000,000) for the implementation of various development projects and programmes.
The rest are the Loan agreement between the Republic of Ghana and Barclays Bank Ghana Limited for an amount of -17,379,018.00 (Seventeen Million, Three Hundred and Seventy-Nine Thousand and Eighteen commercial Euros) for the execution of contract between the Ministry of Information and MS Sonny Business Europe for the supply, installation and upgrade of production equipment and other facilities for Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).