This Week in Parliament [Feb. 26 - Mar. 2, 2018]

Highlights of what MPs discussed

  • Parliament adopts Committee’s report on the Legal Profession (Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulations, 2018 (LI 2355)

After extensive debate, Parliament approved by a majority vote, the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation's report on the Legal Profession (Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulations, 2018 (LI 2355). The Legislative Instrument (LI) was introduced in Parliament by the General Legal Council to make changes to LI1296, as instructed by the Supreme Court in its judgment in case: the Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare vrs Attorney-General (A-G) and General Legal Council (GLC).

Presenting the Committee’s report on the LI in Parliament today, Chair of the Committee, Hon. Mahama Ayariga (MP, Bawku Central), stated that “it is the contention of the Committee that writing entrance exams to gain admission to the Ghana School of Law complies with the parent legislation and hence within the mandate of the GLC.” He also acknowledged that the GLC could not make any major changes to legal education in the country and that the committee was satisfied with steps being pursued by the A-G’s Department to address the growing calls for legal education reforms in the country. Hon. Ben Abdallah Banda (MP, Offinso South) added that the Dep’t A-G had promised 2 bills to address this issue soon.

Hon. Inusah Fuseini (MP, Tamale Central) had however countered that the new LI if passed would legalize an illegality which sought to bar qualified candidates from getting admission to the Ghana School of Law, and urged his colleagues from both sides to reject the Committee’s report

The Subsidiary Legislation’s report on the Legal Profession (Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulations, 2018 (LI 2355) can be downloaded here:

  • IMF Executives meet Finance Committee

Ahead of the 5th and 6th reviews of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s programme with Ghana, Executives from the Fund met with the Finance Committee of Parliament on Wednesday, to review the country’s 2017 fiscal performance.

The eight-member delegation led by its mission chief Annalisa Fedelino explained the meeting is in accordance with arrangements to periodically update the Committee on the status of the programme. The country was commended for achieving its key targets including the significant decline in inflation from 11.8% in December 2017 to 10.3% in January 2018 and a decline in interest rates across all maturities.

Chair of the Finance Committee, Hon. Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah (MP. New Juaben South) intimated that the meeting offered an opportunity for knowledge-sharing on economic policies and the provision of useful feedback.

  • Nigerian Senate Leader To Grace Symposium On 25 Years Of ''Uninterrupted Parliamentary Democracy''

President of the Nigerian Senate, H.E Dr Abubakar B. Saraki would be the guest of honor at a symposium to commemorate 25 years of ''uninterrupted parliamentary democracy'' in Ghana. This was announced by the Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Ocquaye, who would host the event slated for March 5, at the Accra International Conference Centre.

  • House considers US$39.01 million to finance the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP)

The House considered a loan agreement between Government of Ghana and African Development Fund for an amount of US$39.01 million to finance the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) on Tuesday. The agreement was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.

  • Semi-Annual report of the Bank of Ghana on Petroleum Holding Funds and Ghana Petroleum Funds presented

The Semi-Annual Report of the Bank of Ghana on Petroleum Holding Funds and Ghana Petroleum Funds for period July 1- December 31, 2017 was presented to the House and referred to Mines & Energy, and Finance Committees for consideration.

  • MPs remember late MP for Kwabre East, Hon. Nana Asante Frimpong

Parliament observed a minute silence for the late former MP for Kwabre East, Hon. Nana Asante Frimpong, after tributes poured in for him from MPs. Majority Leader Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu (MP, Suame) recalled that the late former MP made steps to institute a pension scheme for ex-MPs while he was alive, which should be revisited to cater for the retiring needs of former MPs. He informed the House the funeral rites would be held in Kumasi over the weekend and urged members to attend. Hon. Francisca Oteng-Mensah (MP, Kwabre East) also mentioned that Nana Asante Frimpong was a visionary, nationalist and a businessman. She added that the late MP served on the Trade, Industry and Tourism Committees while a legislator. She finally expressed her constituents’ and her own heartfelt gratitude to the late MP.

  • Other activities

The following activities also transpired in Parliament this week:

a. Parliament considered the taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Devices) bill. According a Deputy Information Minister, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, this bill “when passed and successfully implemented, should significantly improve domestic revenues which should stimulate job creation, inclusive economic growth and investment in social protection programs”;

b. Education, Interior, Gender, Energy and Information Ministers were summoned before the House to respond to some questions;

c. Parliament considered the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill (2017);

d. Land bill (2018) was laid before Parliament;

e. Ghana Cocoa Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017, was presented to Parliament;

f. MPs continued debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA 2018).

PS: This month, Odekro will make public its maiden gender report on the First Session of the Seventh Parliament. This report seeks to fill the gap which exists in both policy and advocacy spaces through a thorough analysis of the performance of women MPs in the implementation of their core mandates - executive oversight, legislation and representation. It will also highlight structural barriers that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for women MPs to operate at their highest point of contribution.