Speaker of Parliament gives touchline warning to errant ministers

A Deputy Minister who went before Parliament without an answer to a tabled question may well regret his inaction after Members of Parliament descended heavily on him.

Vincent Oppong Asamoah who is deputy Works and Housing Minister was supposed to respond to a question by the MP for Offinso South Augustine Collins Ntim on steps the ministry is taking to repair a broken down water pipe in the Tanoso area of the constituency.

Instead, the Deputy Minister went apologising to the MPs that he had no answer. He brought to Parliament, tons of excuses and apologies, some of which included that his boss had travelled.

“I am apologising to our MP and the House that we will respond to the question appropriately.”

He begged for two weeks within which he would have been able to contact his technical people and provide the appropriate answers.

The MPs were in no mood for excuses and they gave the deputy minister a baptism of fire.

The Subin MP Isaac Osei, fired first.
“I am amazed. I don’t understand why the minister came here today at all. If you have been programmed and you don’t have the answer, you should inform us before but you come here and tell us you don’t have answers. I think ministers should stop treating us sloppily. This is not good enough,” he said

Another MP also stated: “There is no excuse whatsoever. No excuse for the ministry to come up to the table and say their answers are not ready. If the answers are not ready you should be telling the president that I cannot do the job you gave me. This House must be respected,” he said.

The MP who appeared incensed by the conduct of the minister, said the ministers seem to be “testing the pulse of Parliament and see whether Parliament is weak or strong.”

The Speaker Doe Adjaho capped the criticism with a touchline warning to errant ministers who fail to appear before the House with answers.

“This is the last chance I am giving to ministers. After today, I will apply the Standing Orders of the House to ministers that we programme to come and do business, who have deputy ministers but cannot prepare them to come and respond to questions, I will have no alternative than to refer them to the appropriate committee of the House for investigations.

“That is the only way the Parliament of Ghana can be relevant to the aspiration of the people of Ghana. I think we have tolerated these issues for far too long,” he warned.

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