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General News of Tuesday, 17 February 2004

Source: GNA

Parliament sits for only 20 minutes

Accra, Feb. 17, GNA - Parliament on Tuesday sat for only 20 minutes as most members had to attend to committee work and the only question for the day that stood in the name of Mr. Gershon Gbediame, NDC-Nkawnta could not be asked.

A motion for the adoption of the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the award and execution of the contract for the renovation of the official residence of the Wenchi District Chief Executive and a Resolution on the Stability Agreement between the government and the AngloGold limited were among the business for the day.

When business began, Mr Gbediame was not present to ask his question, which was directed at the Minister of Information, Nana Akomea.

Nana Akomea who was ready to answer the questions was not called although Alhaji Ali Amadu, NDC-Atebubu South rose to ask the question on behalf of the member, following a ruling by the Speaker that Mr Gbediame would have to ask the question himself.

Last week the Speaker warned members that he would not allow questions to be asked on behalf of members who are absent and do not offer advanced notice for their inability to be present.

At the commencement of Public Business, the Majority Leader, Mr. Felix Owusu-Adjapong drew the Speaker's attention to the fact that there were a number of committee meetings lined up for the day and therefore it was likely that most members would not be present in the chamber. Mr Owusu-Adjapong subsequently moved a motion for an adjournment to Wednesday, which was seconded by the Deputy Minority Leader, Isaac Adjei-Mensah.

MP explains reasons for early adjournment

Accra, Feb. 17, GNA - The early adjournment of Parliament on Tuesday was to allow Members attend budget hearing, Alhaji Muhamad Mumuni, NDC-Kumbungu, told the Ghana News Agency.

He said the hearing was a vital procedure in the consideration of the budget, adding that it allows the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to meet with appropriate Parliamentary Committees, to consider their respective estimates as outlined in the budget.

Alhaji Mumuni explained that after the budget reading, the debate that took place on the floor of the house, only covered the general principles and philosophies of the government as reflected in the budget, adding that Parliament only adopted that budget for consideration after the general debate.

"The budget is yet to be approved and this will happen only after the various committee reports have been laid and duly debated on the floor of the house," he said.

He said though the budget hearing process could take two to three days to complete, it did not contradict the time management principle in Parliament, as it was vital to the work of the House. "Parliament work by committees and it would be erroneous to think that when the house is not sitting, then work has come to a halt - committees are always meeting and preparing reports to be laid before the house," he said.