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General News of Saturday, 24 December 2016


Parliament ends last session without passage of RTI Bill

Ghana's parliament    File Photo Ghana's parliament File Photo

Parliament will resume for a final session on January, 4 , 2017 ahead of its final dissolution on the night of 6th January.

President John Dramani Mahama is expected to address the House with his final State of the Nation’s Address the next day after parliament reconvenes.

The House adjourned late last night, Friday after four days of sitting, since reconvening after the December 7th Elections.

Among the businesses undertaken within the session was the approval of the report of the Presidential committee on emoluments for Article 71 Office holders which was done last night.

The reports spells out the end of service benefit for the President, Vice-President and Ministers and other senior government officials.

However, the minority managed to block proposed agreement for the one hundred and thirty eight point five million dollar deal between government and AMERI Group for the operation of the T3 plant at Takoradi.

The Right to Information bill was also not passed after being on the desk for many years awaiting the final passage.

The right to information is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognized as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.

The current parliament, though has made progress with the bill, there are currently 24 proposed amendments left to be made to the bill.

The Majority caucus accused the minority side of dragging its feet in the consideration of the remaining amendments left to be worked on before passage of the substantive bill.

But the Minority in Parliament rejected such claims by the majority caucus.

Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Nitiwul, who rubbished such allegation insisted they’re most committed to passing the RTI Bill.

Mr Nitiwul had rather intimated in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM that: “We are all committed to passing it. Every single member of Parliament is committed to passing the Right to Information bill. As a party and as a caucus, we are one of the few people who want it passed. We thought that even by this time, we should have passed that Bill.”

He continued: “There are clauses in there that we think are problematic. One of them is the implementation because the majority, thinking they would win the election, decided to push the implementation to five years from today. It was one of the issues we said no to. So there are some pertinent issues we need to agree on before we will pass it as it is.”

The First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton Odro announced the House will reconvene, next month ahead of the dissolution.

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