MPs BARE TEETH AT MINISTER
By Fatima Adam
Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday lost their temper over the conduct of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffour, who though, was supposed to lay a loan agreement, came to the House very late.
The Minister was to lay a loan agreement between the government of the Republic of Ghana and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) for an amount of eight million, six hundred thousand United States Dollars (US$8,600,000), to co-finance the integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP), which was captured as item number four on the Order Paper of the House.
First to register his anger was the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, also the MP for Avenor-Ave, Edward Doe Adjaho. He told the leadership of the House that the members (MPs) should not have been called back if the house was not ready.
“We have very important work to do at our constituencies, you call us back to work, if the papers are not ready, let’s go back to our constituencies. The minister knew he was going to lay these papers today, but it appears they were not ready,” he intoned.
It all happened when the First Deputy Speaker turned to the Deputy Majority Leader, Alhaji Rashid Pelpuo, to direct how the business of the House should go.
With the absence of Dr. Kwabena Duffour in the House at that time, Alhaji Pelpuo had no option Doe Adjaho’s argument was backed by the Second Deputy Speaker and MP for Dome Kwabenya, Prof. Michael Oquaye.
According to him, the honorable members were anxious to work and to see the progress of the country, but felt disappointed with the conduct of the minister.
“We must call the Executive to order. We have to back the integrity of this House. I am very hurt, this can’t happen in the Parliament of the United States of America. We have a situation where Parliament is almost seen as useless,” he grieved.
Also speaking on the issue was the MP for Manhyia, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempreh, who blamed the leaders of the House for not doing their work well, instead of blaming the Minister.
He added that the number of MPs present in the House was disgraceful, and for that reason did not see why they had been called back, if the leaders were not ready.
At the time of debating the issue, the members present in the House were 22 (Majority MPs 13, Minority 9).
However, Alhaji Pelpuo, in a swift response, rebutted the remarks by his colleagues, and said MPs were not called by the leadership, but by the Speaker of the House.
“Mr. Speaker, he should know that it is not the leadership that has invited him to Parliament. Leadership doesn’t schedule the meeting of this House. This is a misplacement of statement,” he noted.
In a response, the First Deputy Speaker, who presided over the House, said the leaders were part of the consultation process, in calling members back to Parliament and, therefore, could not escape blame.
Just as the House was about to adjourn proceedings for the day, Dr. Kwabena Duffour arrived. His arrival suddenly changed the stance of the Deputy Majority Leader, who sought leave of the Deputy Speaker to grant the Minister audience, to enable him lay the papers, which was granted.
Earlier, on the floor of the House, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and MP for Afigya-Sekyere West, Albert Kan-Dapaah, asked for the Speaker’s guidance as to why the Auditor General’s report of 31st December 2011 had not been laid.
But, Doe Adjaho said the report was not addressed to him, but to the Speaker of Parliament, Joyce Bamford-Addo. He, however, promised to inquire more about the report from the Speaker’s secretary and the table office.
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