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General News of Wednesday, 23 February 2022


Confused NPP scapegoating Bagbin, Adwoa Safo over E-Levy – Ahmed Ibrahim

Speaker Alban Bagbin and Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo Speaker Alban Bagbin and Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo

Majority Caucus fail to pass E-Levy Bill

Sarah Adwoa-Safo publicly blamed for sabotaging government with absence

Government unclear when next E-Levy Bill will be raised in Parliament

Two major personalities have at different times been blamed for being the reason the Majority Caucus in Parliament has failed since December 2021 to pass the Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) Bill.

The first was Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin; the reason being that with a hung Parliament where the Majority has only one MP more than the Minority, when he is absent, his First Deputy (NPP MP, Bekwai) presides hence the numbers in the house are equal.

And when the numbers are equal, when the Minority for example call for division during proceedings, such motions are most likely going to be lost. The accusation was premised on his routine medical trips to the UAE.

The second accused is Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo; recently, she has become a target for at least two colleague NPP MPs who have stated that her continued absence from the House is her way of sabotaging government business.

The on-leave Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, is believed to have been in the United States where she went for holidays and to recuperate from illness but her absence means the numbers in the House are at 137 apiece, hence serious motions are likely to be lost.

In the midst of the above accusations, Deputy Minority Chief Whip and MP for Banda Constituency, Ahmed Ibrahim, has averred that the two personalities – Bagbin and Adwoa Safo – are merely being scapegoated for failure to pass the E-Levy Bill.

“For your information, the Speaker has been in Parliament for the past one week and they have been dodging,” he said on Accra-based Joy FM’s news programme, Top Story on February 18, 2022.

“They (the Majority) cannot even table the E-Levy for consideration… we in Minority were asking them about the uncertainty surrounding their actions on the E-Levy. They themselves are not decisive, it is like the government is not ready with government business and therefore, I will not want that blame to be pushed to Adwoa Safo," he added.

He cited a 2021 letter in which the presidency confirmed that the Dome-Kwabenya lawmaker had been excused on health on grounds from her ministerial duties, subsequent to which her position was temporarily given to Cecilia Abena Dapaah.

“Even with Adwoa Safo, they cannot mobilize the remaining 137 because the Majority themselves are not happy with the E-Levy so they can’t build consensus on it let alone to call for the whole house.

“I also don’t always want to shift the blame…it is not as if the absence of Adwoa Safo or Speaker Bagbin that is why the E-Levy is not being passed. If Adwoa Safo comes today, their numbers will still be down because they can’t build consensus on the E-Levy as a Majority side,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, sources indicate that the Majority will likely this week, trigger processes to drag Adwoa Safo before the Privileges Committee after she reached the 15-day absent without notice threshold which could be stated grounds for removal as MP.