This Week in Parliament [31st October - 3rd November 2017]

Highlights of what MPs discussed 31st October - 3rd November 2017

  • MPs condemn sexual assault

Members of Parliament widely condemned the spate of sexual assaults in the country, with disappointment in how State security agencies handle such cases. Taking turns to comment on a statement read by Reverend John Ntim Fordjour (MP, Assin South) on child sexual abuse, MPs expressed their heartbreak over the rape of a 4-year old girl by 18-year old man in Assin Fosu. Rev. Ntim Fordjour called on traditional rulers and religious leaders to desist from defending perpetrators of sexual assault and offer support to victims rather.

Madam Patricia Appiagyei (MP, Asokwa) suggested another look at the Criminal Offenses Act as the law is not too clear on consent to sexual activity. The existing legislation should be strengthened with stronger punitive measures against sexually abusive persons, she added.

Mr Ras Mubarak (MP, Kumbungu) suggested the creation of a national sex offender registry.

House Speaker Oquaye referred the statement and comments made to the Committee on Children and Gender for follow-up.

  • Ministers in Parliament for questioning

Education

There will be a budgetary provision for the establishment of Peki Training College. Government is also keen on providing boarding facilities for the Evangelical Presbyterian Agricultural Day Senior High School (SHS) and other day schools in the country. Funding will be allocated to the Ghana Library Board to establish public libraries in deprived communities in all 216 districts.

Deputy Minister of Education Ms. Barbara Ayisi Asher (MP, Cape Coast North) offered these responses to a series of questions asked by Mr. Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (MP, Ho West) and his colleagues.

The Deputy Minister added that she is seeking advice from the Attorney General’s Department to terminate a contract of GHS7,219,920.35 awarded to Messrs Awuzaya Enterprise on 10th June 2015 for the building of Sabare Community School. The said contractor has not been on site since 14th September 2015.

One District, One Factory and Made in Ghana Goods

Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyeremanteng during a question and answer session in Parliament, indicated that his ministry has received 473 proposals under the One District, One Factory programme from which 191 proposals have been selected. He also added that two prospective investors have expressed interest in establishing organic fertilizer and sugar processing plant in Kumbungu.

Despite the Speaker’s overruling of Ricketts-Hagan’s (MP, Cape Coast South) question on how many factories will be built this year, the Minister answered, explaining that the implementation of the programme will depend on the soundness of submitted business plans and timelines. For this reason, he cannot give a specific number of factories to be built this year.

Government is considering a reintroduction of the Made in Ghana campaign, which ensure that 70% of all public procurement of goods and services are locally sourced. Meanwhile, the sector Ministry has formed a technical team to audit the Komenda Sugar Factory project.

Communications

Minister of Communications, Ms. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (MP, Ablekuma West) said a budgetary allocation is pending approval for the construction of a Community Information Centre (CIC) in Builsa South constituency to improve mobile telephony in remote parts of the constituency.

Finance

Finance Minister together with his three deputies were unavailable to answer questions and table the loan agreements and taxation bill before Parliament.

  • Coastal Development Authority and Middle Belt Development Authority Bills passed

Parliament finished considering two out of the three development bills - Coastal Development Authority Bill, 2017 and Middle Belt Development Authority Bill, 2017. These bills will create development authorities in the northern, middle and coastal zones of the country. The Coastal and Middle Belt bills went through the second consideration stage and third reading. The Northern Development Authority Bill, 2017 is currently at the second consideration stage pending Committee’s report.

  • Kennedy Osei Nyarko approved as deputy minister of food and agriculture

Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko (MP, Akim Swedru) was approved on Friday to serve as one of the deputies to the Minister of Food and Agriculture. His approval comes on the back of the resignation of immediate former deputy Mr William Quaitoo over an ethnocentric comment he made.

MPs took turns to advise their colleague who will be serving both as a Legislator and Deputy Minister to be mindful of his public utterances.

  • Update: Office of Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017

The Consideration of the Office of Special Prosecutor Bill is still ongoing with amendments being made to clauses in the bill. These amendments are made to ensure that the bill does not have any errors or ambiguity when passed. Consideration of the bill continues next week.

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©2017 This Week In Parliament