The third session of the third meeting of the seventh Parliament began yesterday, with a call on Members of Parliament (MPs) to show commitment to the business of the House.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye, who made the call, stated that the business of the third meeting would be quite demanding, and as such members of the House should be dedicated.
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The Speaker said there were a number of important bills that needed to be considered and debated by the House before the end of the year.
Various papers were laid and referred to various committees of the House for consideration.
The papers included annual statements by the audit committees of the Ghana Institute of Languages (GIL), the Kumasi Technical University, Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the Ministry of Aviation and the Department of Parks and Gardens for the year 2018.
Bills and instruments
The Speaker highlighted some of the bills and instruments that would be considered such as the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019, the Judicial Service Bill, 2019, the Affirmative Action Bill, 2019, the Conduct of Public Officers Bill, 2018 and the Ghana Fertilisers Development Authority Bill, 2019.
He named the others as the Ghana Fertilisers Company Limited Bill, 2019, the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill, 2019, the Education Regulatory Bodies Bill, 2019, two Constitutional (Amendment) Bills 2019, the Petroleum Exploration and Production (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Office of the Special Prosecutor (Amendment Bill), 2019.
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He added that the House would also consider instruments such as Chieftaincy (Membership of Regional Houses of Chiefs) Instruments, 2019, Tourism (Tourist Sites) Regulation, 2019, Meat Inspection Regulation, 2019, National Sports Authority Regulation, 2019, Ghana Armed Forces (Amendment) Regulations, 2019.
Prof. Oquaye stated that by its constitutional arrangement, the House was enjoined to consider, debate and approve the budget statement and financial policy of the government during the third meeting.
He added that consideration and approval of the national budget also entailed the approval of the annual estimates of the ministries, departments, agencies, independent governance institutions and other state institutions that drew on the Consolidated Fund.
“The process eventually culminates in the passing of the Appropriation Act to enable the wheels of the government to run in the ensuing year,” he stated.
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, expressed the desire of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to constitute the majority party in government by 2021, and prayed the majority to resolve the confusion associated with the organisation of their parliamentary primaries to allow members of parliament (MPs) to concentrate on their duties in the House.
Mr Iddrissu stated that Parliament must serve as a forum where “right and wrong” were debated to manage the expectations of Ghanaians and address nagging issues such as poverty and quality of life that affected them.
He expressed the hope that the Minister of Finance would appear before the House on time on November 14, this year, to allow the legislators to thoroughly scrutinise the elections budget.
“As a notice, we will, as a Minority, hold the President and his ministers accountable to the core and prepare the grounds for their exit for the government to form the minority,” he stated.
Packed and tight meeting
For her part, Deputy Majority Leader, Ms Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, who said the parliamentary calendar for the third meeting would be a packed and tight one, commended the members of the House for their cooperation, commitment and hard work during the previous meeting.
Highlighting a number of bills that would be laid before the House soon, the Deputy Majority Leader entreated members to give serious attention to the Affirmative Action Bill for onward passage in order to promote women empowerment and representation in decision-making positions in Ghana.
She added that statements would be administered while schedules for ministers to appear before the house to answer questions would be made.