This Week in Parliament [28-30 November, 2017]

Highlights of what MPs discussed 28-30 November

  • Slave trade in Libya

Brief background: Hundreds of thousands of young Africans travel through Libya en route to Europe in pursuit of greener pastures every year. Currently, it is estimated that between 400,000 to 700,000 Africans are captured and confined to degrading camps in Libya against their will, some are sold on ‘slave markets’ whilst others are murdered. Women slaves are sexually exploited or coerced into prostitution to pay criminal gangs. These young African migrants are mostly from Nigeria, Gambia, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Zambia and Sudan. African and European leaders in a joint statement has called for “immediate action to fight against the perpetrators of such crimes, inside and outside Libya, and to bring them to justice…including freezing of assets of convicted perpetrators”. CNN broke the story on slave trade in Libya.

In her statement at the plenary session of Parliament, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Ms Shirley Ayorkor-Botchway (MP, Anyaa/Sowutuom) said among others:

“For over six years, anarchy and lawlessness have plagued Libya in the wake of the events that led to the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his subsequent demise on 20th October, 2011. This has made the country a fertile ground for all sorts of criminal activity, including terrorism and violent extremism, human trafficking and smuggling, illegal migration and the associated abuses…Our own President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has forcefully condemned that reprehensible trade.

The number of Ghanaian detainees identified was 168. Apparently, they had been arrested on illegal immigration charges. They found no evidence that some of our nationals had been traded off as slaves. (However) no one can say for certain whether or not some Ghanaians have fallen victim to the slave trade.

Her full statement can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2khazCv

Mr. Frank Annor-Dompreh (MP, Nsawam/Adoagyiri), Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament urged government to hasten steps to reopen Ghana’s mission in Libya. Ranking Member of the Committee Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP, North Tongu) called on the international community to take immediate action to rescue African immigrants stranded in Libya.

Ms. Bernice Heloo (MP, Hohoe) and Mr. Joe Ghartey (MP, Essikado/Ketan and Minister for Railways Development) encouraged government to identify Ghanaian women trapped in Libya and offer necessary support.

  • Debate of Budget 2018

Mr. Eric Opoku (MP, Asunafo North) argued that government is paying lip service to cocoa roads in the country. He questioned where government will get money to start cocoa roads in 2018 when there has not been a budget for such project. He continued to state that under the Maputo declaration, Ghana agreed to improve the lives of farmers through 10% budgetary allocations to the agriculture sector. However in 2017, the agriculture sector got 0.01% investment.

Reverend John Ntim Fordjour (MP, Assin South) argued that interventions in the budget are going to address the youth unemployment situation in the country contrary to arguments that the ‘sterling’ 2017 macroeconomic performance does not reflect in pockets. According to him, the “planting for food and jobs” policy will also protect farmers to have higher agricultural outcomes.

Other MPs who contributed to the debate include Frank Annor-Dompreh (MP, Nsawam/Adoagyiri), Richard Quarshigah (MP, Keta), Dr. Clement Apaak (MP, Builsa South), Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (MP, Wa Central), Bambangi Sagre (MP, Walewale), and Sam George (MP, Ningo Prampram).

  • Bills & Reports

A €8m export credit agreement between Government of Ghana and UniCredit Bank Austria for a nationwide water network management by Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has been presented and referred to Finance Committee for consideration.

Request for waiver of import duties, import VAT, import NHIL, ECOWAS levy, EDAIF, Special import levy and other approved import inclusion and inspection fees amounting to €2.2m for Ministry of Health project in Greater Accra region has been presented and referred for consideration.

Concessional credit agreement between Government of Ghana and the EXIM Bank of India for an amount of US$150m to finance agriculture mechanism services centres has been presented and accordingly referred for consideration.

Finance Committee reported on US$40m loan agreement between Government of Ghana and International Development Association as additional financing for Ghana Secondary School Education Improvement Project

  • Questions to Ministers

A total of 10 sector Ministers answered a total of 23 questions from MPs this week, of which two were urgent questions and 21 oral.

  • Tribute to the late Hon. Emmanuel Aboagye Didieye

Members of the House paid tribute to the late Honorable Emmanuel Aboagye Didieye (former MP, Afram Plains North) who was in the Fifth and Sixth Parliament.

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©2017 This Week In Parliament