Minority Leadership, 16 others push for suspension of Parliament
The Minority leadership in Parliament wants the House to be suspended so as to buy time for colleagues who are currently in their constituencies to file their nomination form.
As of 11:30 am, Wednesday, only 16 MPs were present in the chamber out of the entire 275 membership.
Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi who raised the issue on the floor described it as worrying.
Speaking during the consideration of a USD 243 million facility for the procurement of standard gauge rolling stocks, Mr. Avedzi said the commencement of public business on the floor must start only when there are more MPs present.
“We cannot be taking decisions when out of a House of 275 people only 16 of us are here.
“We are not doing our country any good. Mr Speaker, let us get the numbers, then members can debate the issues very well, and then we will go and get them approved.
But Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said he is surprised by the MPs’ stance.
This according to him is because leadership had agreed to relax the rules due to the activities of MPs ahead of the 2020 elections.
“Mr. Speaker, we discussed this extensively yesterday and we decided that these are not normal times, especially this week when members have to be at their various constituencies to do the filing.
“But notwithstanding, we appealed to ourselves yesterday that we anticipate that we will not have a full house but members should avail themselves so normal business can be done.
“We agreed on this and I am surprised that the Deputy Minority Leader is getting up just the following day after we made the appeal to say that the house cannot go on.
“I think we can go ahead because this is not contentious and it was anonymously adopted at the level of the committee so I don’t see what will hold us down,” he added.
Giving his ruling, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye urged members to stick to their decisions to ensure smooth transaction of business on the floor of the House.
“There were certain decisions taken yesterday with regards to enabling this house to go on and I can see some members nodding to that effect because they know what we agreed on, so let’s just make progress.
Meanwhile a total of 42 bills are expected to be presented by the executive arm of government for Parliament consideration now that the House has resumed.
In a statement issued on Monday and signed by the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Kate Addo, the bills are expected to cover various sectors.
They include the Judicial Service Bill, 2020, Creative Arts Bill, 2020, Council of State Bill, 2020, Wildlife Bill, 2020 among others.
Currently, a total of 19 bills are before various Committees of Parliament for consideration, some of these bills include Exemptions Bill, 2019 and the Anti-Money Laundering Bill, 2020.
The statement further stated that other bills also including Public Universities Bill, 2020, the Ghana Cocoa Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017, and the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation Bill 2020 will also go through second reading.