This Week In Parliament [30th Jan. -2 Feb, 2018]

Highlights of what MPs discussed 30th January - 2nd February

  • Some Ghanaian names aren’t titles; SOP to be reviewed

As many Ghanaians went livid over the proscription of certain names by the Births and Deaths registry of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the House was compelled to summon sector Minister Hajia Alima Mahama (MP, Nalerigu/Gambaga) to respond to issues and questions following the decision.

“The registration of Births and Deaths Regulations, 1970, L.I 653 provides prescribed particulars for Birth Report Form in the schedule and also directs the Registrar of Births and Deaths to develop instruction manual to the staff of Registries for their guidance in making entries in the registers of Births and Deaths and in the completion of forms. Accordingly, the Registry developed standard operating procedure (SOP), which is a body of written instructions issued for guidance of staff and field workers of the Registry...Section 3.3 of the SOP deals with particulars of the child and states that ‘Titles should not be added to the names eg. Reverend, Alhaji, Dr., Colonel, Nana, Jnr, Snr, Etc” Hajia Mahama told Parlament.

Following public backlash, the Minister indicated that the “Acting Registrar of Births and Deaths Registry has been directed to review the SOP and further directed that names such as Nana, Nii, Papa etc as given by the parents should be accepted for registration.”

Hajia Mahama’s full statement can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2s6JcPc

  • Cash for Seats report

The final report of the ‘Cash for Seats” Committee was laid before Parliament on Friday 2nd February, 2018 by its Chairperson, Hon. Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh (MP, Sunyani East). The Speaker has directed that copies of the report be made available to all MPs.

Background

On December 15 2017, Citifmonline.com reported Hon. Mubarak Muntaka alleging that the Ministry of Trade and Industry charged expatriate businesspersons “between US$25,000 and US$100,000 to offer them seats close to the President” at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards; a claim subsequently supported by his colleague Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa. According to Hon. Muntaka, levies and collections at the awards event were not approved by Parliament and the Trade and Industry Ministry did not account for these monies in their internally generated funds (IGFs).

The Ministry denied any direct involvement in the awards event, only to later indicate that it played a facilitation role and that GHS2,667,215 was accrued from the GEBA event.

Hon. Muntaka petitioned the Speaker in this regard, and in compliance with Article 112(3) of the national constitution and Order 38(1) of Parliament, the Speaker recalled MPs from recess for emergency sitting on Friday 5 January, 2018. Following proceedings, the Speaker established an ad-hoc or a special committee in accordance with Order 191, to:

  1. Investigate the alleged levy and collection of sums of money by the Ministry of Trade and Industry from expatriate businesses during the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards in Accra;

  2. Enquire whether any payments were made and received and, if so, how disbursements was effected and whether such disbursement offended any law;

  3. Investigate any relevant related matters.

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