Parliament has resume work after over a month’s break for the Second Meeting of the First Session of the 8th Parliament with a call on Members of Parliament (MPs) to psych themselves up for hard work and long hours of sitting in service to the country.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin who gave the admonition in an opening address to welcome the lawmakers back from their well-deserved break where they engaged in some constituency works said MPs like medical practitioners have no break.
”Like medical practitioners, there is no rest for an MP, I repeat, it is true, like medical practitioners, there is no rest for an MP. This meeting promises to be very busy” he stated.
The period of recess are normally stressful but also worthy moments in the lives of Members of Parliament as they interact with constituents and embark on other national assignments.
Mr Bagbin expressed believe that the break was a reflective one for all during the festive periods of Ramadan Eid and Easter activities.
He hinted that the Standing Orders Review Committee has finished its work and will soon present a report to the House for adoption.
The Second Meeting is expected consider and pass into law a number of new Bills including; the Petroleum Revenue Management Amendment Bill, 2021, Advertising Council Bill, 2021, Ghana Standards Authority Bill, 2021, Exemptions Bill 2021, Consumer Protection Bill 2021, a number of Private Members Bills and the Affirmative Action Bill which is currently before Cabinet.
The House is also expected to consider some international agreements, treaties and conventions during the meeting.
The Speaker formally announced the receipt of official communication from President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the appointment of Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State requesting for the approval of the House.
A statement signed by Acting Director of Communication at the presidency, Eugene Arhin on April 21, 2021 announced that the President had submitted his Deputy Ministerial nominees and a Minister nominee to the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban Kingsford Bagbin for the prior approval of Parliament.
Since the House went on recess on March 30, 2021 before the appointments were made, the Speaker could not communicate the nominations to the peoples representatives who are vested with the mandate to vet and approve or otherwise the nominees in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
The Speaker accordingly referred the names to the Appointments Committee to conduct public hearing on the nominees and report to the plenary for their approval or rejection by the House.
The Committee is expected to commence public hearings on the nominees on June, 2, 2021.
The Speaker also announced the Presidents nomination of Layer Kissi Adjabeng as the Country’s second Special Prosecutor (SP) following the resignation of former Special Prosecutor, Martin Burns Kaiser Alamisi on November 16, 2020.
The Attorney General in accordance with section 13 (3) of the Special Prosecutor Act, Act 959 nominated Mr Adjabeng for the consideration of the President.
The President accordingly accepted the nomination and appointed the nominee pursuant to provisions of section 13 (8) of Act 959 which requires the appointment of a new SP within six months after the office becomes vacant pending prior Parliamentary approval.
The Appointments Committee is expected to schedule the nominee for vetting and present a report to the plenary for action.
Majority Leader who doubles as Leader of Government Business in the House said several issues occurred during the recess that should arouse the attention of members as representatives of the people.
These include issues surrounding the peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims, the Executive fight against illegal mining or galamsay, energy challenges, the arrest of journalists, arrival of second dose of COVID-19 vaccines among others.
The leader noted that business for the meeting would be herculean since there is a lot to be considered and urged his colleagues to avail themselves for Parliamentary work with support from staff of the parliamentary service.
Minority Leader and Member for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu expressed concern about actions by some religious leaders which pose threat to the Peace of the country at it is against provisions of the constitution.
He also raised red flags about what he described as ‘the slow take off’ of the second term of President Akufo-Addo.
The Minority Leader noted that the failure of the President to constitute Boards and Corporations of state institutions and the non-availability of new District Chief Executives threatens Ghana’s decentralization goals.
The leader stated is wrong for Ministers to be taking decisions on behalf of non-existing Boards and charge the President to act timeously in in that regard to fill the vacuum. Mr Hauna Idrisu also raised concern about the fact that Deputies Ministers designate have reported to work and are already working without parliamentary approval.