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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Columnist: The National Forum

As parliament reconvenes......



Parliament reconvenes today after their month long yuletide break. Parliament was supposed to have reconvened last week but the date was postponed to this week. As the Honourable Members of Parliament come on procession to their primary duty of legislating and exercising oversight over the Executive much is expected of them.

Presently before them at the consideration stage is the bill on Youth Employment Agency. And a lot is expected to go into making that Law a productive and forward looking one. Given the history of the poor handling of Youth Employment issues in Ghana rocked with several financial scandals, this new law must address any grey areas ahead of their emergence.

Nobody should be given a blank cheque no matter the conditions attached. We must ensure that the Public purse is protected from abuse regardless the urgency of the difficulty at hand. In the past it was the exercise of giving blank cheques that cost us so much that we have not been able to recover yet.

One week before Parliament rose was a bill to introduce new charges and fees by State Institutions. Parliament is yet to study and approve of a further financial burden on the Ghanaian tax payer. From Health Insurance, through VAT, to Import Duties including Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority charges etc.

The importer surely would pass the effect of the burden on to the final consumer or share the responsibility of meeting the new fees with them. Already the economic conditions in the country don't do any good to the ordinary Ghanaian. Even some upper class members of the economy are complaining. We expect our MPs to take into account this very crucial reality in their deliberations.

While welcoming our Honourable Members back to their seats in the Legislative Assembly, we appeal to them to place the interest of the nation above their partisan interests. We hope to see the Minority make inputs not merely to score political point of making the Government with the Majority side look stupid or useless. Equally, we don't expect the Majority side to come backing every Government action or policy/programme merely because they belong to the same party.

Certainly new loans will be laid. We must learn from the Americans to put a ceiling on public borrowing. We cannot continue to borrow when we are unable to show much for the huge borrowing done in the past. Let's approach the subject of public borrowing with some reason minus emotions and a clinch to 'glories in dream'.

The practice of following partisan interest at the expense of the national interest must give way to the adoption of the Patriotic path coated with values such as; love of country, love of work, Honesty and Obedience, Punctuality and Accuracy, Comradeship and forbearance, Protection of State Property, Initiative and Courage, and above all Striving towards faultlessness.

We at TNF believe that with a concerted effort we can make Ghana work again. We must make the effort. It is possible. We can do it. Let's do it now. Ghana first!