This Week In Parliament [6th-9th February, 2018]

Highlights of what MPs discussed on 6th - 9th February

  • Cash for Seats report exonerates Trades Ministry, Minority walks out

Report on the contentious ‘cash for seats’ allegation was presented to MPs with the Minority staging a walkout citing issues of cover-up by the Chairperson and his colleagues in the Majority.

According to the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu (MP, Tamale South) who led the walkout, his side of the divide were not adequately prepared to debate the report as they were only served copies shortly before the plenary giving them little or no time to study the 146-paged report of the special committee. He also said the majority-side of committee members deliberately omitted a statement given by the Controller and Accountant General on a breach of the financial law which he said was ‘’conspicuously missing’’.

The motion supporting that the report be read was moved anyway without the minority. In his presentation, Chairperson of the Special Committee, Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh (MP, Sunyani East) cleared the Ministry of Trade and Industry of any wrongdoing because ‘’the ministry was merely carrying out its part of an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) it signed with event organisers’’.

The Minister of Trade, Alan Kyeremanteng in his comments said the parliamentary recall which necessitated this investigation is a clear case of ‘causing financial laws to the State’. Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (MP, Suame) called the allegation ‘’technically bankrupt and incompetent’’.

The Speaker, Rt Hon Mike Oquaye has referred the report to the Privileges Committee for further investigation.

Download committee’s report here: http://bit.ly/2EgUiH3

  • Tax waivers

Parliament on Wednesday voted to remove taxes on equipment and materials to be imported for the design and construction of an 84.8 kilometre Tema to Akosombo multi-modal railway line. This will cost Ghana an amount equivalent of GH¢211,456,917.11 (US$48,103,213.70). This waiver is at the request of Ministry of Finance for Import Duties, Import VAT, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts as assessed.

The request was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration. The committee reported that contract agreement for the railway project exempts the contractor from payment of local taxes such as Import/Customs Duties, Sales Tax, VAT/NHIL, withholding tax and royalties on equipment, supplies which form part of the project.

  • State of the Nation Address

The President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday gave his second ‘State of the Nation’ address in Parliament. He was full of praise for his ministers for assisting him achieve some goals in the first year of his administration, however, he was unable to ensure the passing of the Affirmative Action Bill. The President also defended gains his administration made on the economy since he took office stating that ‘’for the first time in a long while, our macroeconomic fundamentals are solid.’’ and praised the GSE’s (Ghana Stock Exchange) recent run of +19% on its Composite Index.

MPs of the Minority dressed in dark clothing interrupted the President’s address with shouting to disagree on issues he raised in the presentation. There were some MPs of the Minority who wore band aids to show their silence and uncooperation to proceedings. They emphasised on the stanza in the national anthem which encourages Ghanaians to ‘’resist’’ oppression as the Police Marching Band played.

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©2018 This Week In Parliament