By Agnes Ansah .
Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff would soon bid good bye to the challenges they face in the discharge of their duties at the House, as it signs a new contract with the Gansu Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to construct an ultra-modern Chamber for Ghana.
Other areas of bilateral operations, including manpower training, were also explored.
Mr Quyang Jian, Chairman of the Gansu CPPCC, led the Chinese delegation, while Ghana was represented by the leadership of parliament to sign the contract on Tuesday, April 23 at the House.
Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament, made this known in a statement he presented to the House yesterday, after it had been recalled from a one month recess to discuss issues pertaining to the Vigilantism Bill 2019.
The Speaker said that details of the cooperation would be coordinated by a group to be headed by the Majority Leader, Mr Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu, and added that the Parliamentary Service Board will also send a bi-partisan group to visit Gansu Province to explore more areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Parliament, yesterday, deferred its decision on discussions on the vigilantism bill and other related offenses 2019, against a promise that it made to its members before embarking on the one month recess.
The business statement which was presented by the Majority Leader indicated that discussions on the bill would have to be postponed, because the Committee on Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs had not concluded works on the bill.
“The House was informed for a possible recall from recess to consider, among other matters, the Vigilantism and Related Offenses Bill 2019, however, indications from the Committee on Constitutional Review and Parliamentary Affairs reveal that further consultation is required, including awaiting the outcomes of the Professor Emmanuel Asante Committee’s consultation with the various political parties.
Due to the circumstances, the consideration of the bill at this emergency meeting may not be done, if they are able to conclude within this week, we may accordingly act on it, however, we may have to refer considerations of the bill to the next meeting.”
The decision, however, that didn’t sit well with the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, as he lamented and reminded both the Majority Leader and the Speaker as to why the House was called back from recess.
According to Mr Iddrisu, the reason why the members were called back from Parliament was premised on the fact that they were going to discuss the Vigilantism Bill and its related issues, so if that won’t be discussed, then there was no need calling them back from recess, because most of them use that time to visit their constituencies.
He said that Parliament not an extension of the executive and shouldn’t be made to do government work instead of parliamentary work.
“If I were to quote you on that faithful day, your recall was premised on [the] Vigilantism Bill, that was your definite directive. Today, we will do business for [the] government, but [the] government must know that this house is not an extension of the executive.
The leader of government business has presented the business for the house, and Mr Speaker, you have exercised your power and mandate, subject pursuant to Standing Order 42, that as you deem fit you may call a sitting of the House. But, Mr Speaker, I will express that Parliament is not an extension of the executive, and the executive sometimes must respect the representational role of the members of parliament and how the performance of other functions in the constituencies affect our very presence and our survival as members of parliament, and, therefore, be as it may, I cannot question your authority.”
Mr Iddrisu indicated that the house would do business for the government, but Parliament must know that it is not an extension of the executive. He said the survival of his consistency, Tamale South, is very important and visitation is also very important.
The house is on currently having a week’s sitting, and is expected to resume discussions on other businesses such as the Companies Bill, the Sinohydro-related tax exemption and waivers, the National Road Safety Authority Bill, 2019 and other issues.