General News of Friday, 3 March 2017
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has expressed the difficulty of Parliament, a house of record and law makers, in debating and approving the president’s budget for 2017 without knowing his cabinet ministers.
Referring to the budget and economic policy presented to Parliament yesterday by the finance minister, he said it is “part of government’s policies so we cannot debate it when we don’t know the cabinet of the president.”
He quoted Article 76 of the constitution which states, “There shall be a Cabinet, consisting of the President, the Vice President and not less than ten and not more than 19 members”, and also made reference to Article 72, “Cabinet shall assist the President in the determination of general policy of government.”
The MP for Tamale South therefore argued that the law says shall and wondered why the president has not brought to the august house his cabinet ministers. He strongly argued on this position when the Speaker of Parliament Aaron Mike Oquaye read a letter sent to him by President Nana Akufo-Addo about names of 10 nominated Regional Deputy Ministers.
The Minority Leader also observed that ordinarily, list of sector deputy ministers should have been presented to the house first before the regional one, nonetheless, “if the president chose to present nominees for regional ministerial appointment, so be it, but we demand to know the Cabinet of the President.”
But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu punched holes in his opponent’s observation. He said there is nowhere in the constitution where a provision compels the president to present his cabinet to Parliament. He conceded that there is a provision that allows the president to choose cabinet ministers, but it is not mandatory or binding on the president to bring them to Parliament.
Though Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu revealed that the names of Nana Akufo-Addo’s cabinet are public, he could not point to where they were published. However, the Speaker Mike Oquaye intervened by directing the Majority Leader to provide that publication to the Minority Leader and the Minority side for their perusal.