Edward Doe Adjaho, Speaker of Parliament
Parliament at long last will reconvene today after the date for the reconvening of the second meeting of the Second Session suffered two ‘embarrassing’ postponements.
Some Members of Parliament, particularly on the Minority side, described as disgraceful the constant postponement of dates for commencement of new meetings in the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic which in most cases were unofficially attributed to lack of money to keep Parliament running.
The second meeting of the second session of the Sixth Parliament was supposed to begin on Tuesday May 27, 2014, but a memorandum dated Tuesday May 20, and signed by the Clerk of Parliament and left in the pigeon holes of MPs in Parliament said the date for the re-opening of Parliament had been shifted to Tuesday June 3.
It cited Order 32(2) of the Standing Orders of the House which basically says that the Clerk of Parliament has the power to write on behalf of leadership not later than 14 days before commencement of a meeting, the rescheduling of meeting date to Members of Parliament.
After the first postponement, a new directive by the Speaker on May 30 said the June 3 date had also been changed to June 10 after huge publicity had been made on the June 3 reconvening date.
The constant postponements angered some Members of Parliament who thought that such developments would definitely affect the work of Parliament and also inconvenience MPs.
‘This is unprecedented in the history of Ghana’s Parliament with such frequent postponements of meetings because Parliament is financially handicapped,’ the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Kwabre East, Kofi Frimpong, told DAILY GUIDE.
He said President Mahama’s term of office has seen the continuous weakening of Parliament – the second arm of government – because of non-availability of funds to let Parliament discharge its constitutional mandate.
The NPP MP for Nkoranza North, Major Derek Oduro (rtd) said members of the Minority had openly drummed home the negative effect of the apparent lack of funds for the running of Parliament adding that he and the NPP MP for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, had been vocal in the House about the sorry state of Ghana’s Parliament.
According to him, each time such issues are raised, the leadership of Parliament, especially the Speaker, comes to defend the government.
The Nkoranza North MP told DAILY GUIDE that as a result of lack of funds the select committees of Parliament are made redundant because they cannot move to the field to properly undertake their oversight functions.
‘The security system, lighting system and the furniture at the foyer and MPs’ coffee shop are all in a terrible state and need to be changed,’ he said.
Meanwhile, when Parliament resumes today, some of the important bills that would engage the attention of MPs would be the controversial Plant Breeders Bill (2013), Trademarks (Amendment) Bill (2013) and the Excise Duty Bill (2013).
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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