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General News of Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Chief directors must be ready to answer questions before Parliament - Speaker


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The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, yesterday warned chief directors of public institutions to be mindful that they are duty-bound to appear before the House to explain matters that have been raised by legislators on the floor of Parliament in the absence of their ministers.

He stated that as head of administration of their ministries, they should not only follow their ministers to the House to show solidarity, but they must prepare themselves to appear before the House to answer relevant questions on behalf of their ministers who travel outside the country.

“When the ministers are not available, the chief directors must show some concern and appear before the House to tell Parliament something about their ministries,” he stated.

Left in a lurch

Addressing Parliament yesterday in Accra, the Speaker said “In fact, we have written to all ministries that the chief directors must do their work and not follow ministers to the House apparently to show solidarity.

“They must also let us know what is happening in their ministries, especially when the ministers have gone on other assignments so that we are not left in a lurch because this House cannot sit without knowing what is happening,” he stated.

Question

The Speaker’s warning came after the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, appeared before the House to answer a question from the Member of Parliament for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh.

During last Thursday’s session, Mr Annor-Dompreh sought to ascertain from Mrs Quaye when the contractor working on the restocking of selected dams and dugouts with four million catfish and fingerlings would be paid.

He also wanted to know from the minister, the steps being implemented by her ministry to ensure a waiver of tax on aquaculture inputs.

With the minister unable to appear before the House to respond to the question last Thursday, the Speaker sent a delegation, led by the Clerk of Parliament, to the ministry to urge the authorities to take the proceedings of Parliament seriously.

Apology

However, when Mrs Quaye appeared before the House to respond to her colleague MP’s question, she rendered a sincere apology to the House, acknowledging that she should have appeared before Parliament to answer some questions last Thursday.

“But unfortunately, the call to respond to the questions came at a time when I was already on my way out of the country.”

“For my ministry to have brought the entire House to a standstill, I plead for your forgiveness and I promise that this will not happen again,” she stated.

She later told the press she was on her way to an important African Union meeting when she received a call to appear before Parliament to answer the questions.

She explained that prior to her departure from the country, she had already submitted her leave of absence to Parliament before the call to answer some questions came in, saying that “it was not deliberate.”

Response

Responding to the Nsawam-Adoagyiri questions in the House yesterday, Mrs Quaye said in June 2018, as part of the ministry’s activities to promote aquaculture development, it carried out the restocking of dams and dugouts with catfish, tilapia and heterotis fingerlings.

The restocking activities, she said, covered 32 dams and dugouts in 32 communities, covering a total surface area of 2412.9 hectares in the then three northern regions.

The restocking intervention, she noted, was expected to provide additional 10,380 metric tonnes of fish to enhance the nutrition intake of the target communities.

“A total of 10 million fingerlings were procured from three companies—M/S Northern Empowerment Association, M/S Flosell Limited and M/S Delta Fisheries Limited—for the restocking project.

“Mr Speaker, this ministry can confirm that as of January 25, 2019, all the three companies that supplied the fingerlings have been duly paid and the ministry has received official receipts from two of the companies—M/S Flosell Company Ltd and Delta Fisheries Ltd,” she told the House.

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