General News of Fri, 27 Feb 20040

MP questions why President's absence was not communicated to Parliament

Accra, Feb. 27, GNA- Alhaji Ali Amadu, NDC-Atebubu-South on Friday drew the attention of the Speaker, Mr. Peter Ala Adjetey to the fact that the President John Agyekum Kufuor's absence from the country has not been communicated to Parliament in accordance with the constitution. Before the commencement of Public Business, the member questioned why there was no communication of the President's absence to the house.

The Speaker then directed the question to the Majority leader, Mr. Felix Owusu-Adjapong who said it was likely that a letter to that effect had been written but had not yet gotten to Parliament.

"It might be hanging somewhere, the President is not on a private visit. He is out for the good of the country," the Majority leader said. Alhaji Abubakari Sumani, NDC-Choggu-Tishigu, said it was insufficient for the Majority leader to say a letter was "hanging somewhere."

Mr. Adjapong said it was always possible for letters or documents addressed to Parliament to get locked somewhere, citing the example of documents on the Road Fund, which took some time to get to the house. The Minority leader, Mr. Alban Bagbin was quick to react that the proper procedure was not followed in laying the Road Fund document before the house and that was the reason for the delay.

The Speaker, in his ruling, said the President was "very meticulous in communicating to Parliament anytime he was out of the country." He therefore, charged the Majority leader to find out why his current trip out of the country was not communicated to Parliament. Earlier, the Majority Leader said Parliament would have double sittings from next week Tuesday to debate and approve budget estimates of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the 2004 fiscal year.

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Mr. Owusu-Adjapong was presenting the Business Statement for the seventh week, ending Friday, March 5, 2004 to the House. Some of the Ministries whose estimates are to be approved during the week include Manpower Development and Employment, Roads and Transport, Works and Housing, Services of Government Machinery and Services of Regional Co-operation and NEPAD.

The Ministers of Interior, Education, Youth and Sports, Energy, Health and Information have been scheduled to answer questions in the course of the week.

Mr Owusu-Adjapong said the Private Member's Motion tabled by the Member of Parliament for Bibiani/Anhwiaso/Bekwai, Mr. S.P. Adamu would be considered on Friday, March 5, 2004.

The Motion states: "That this Honourable House appoints a Special Committee to investigate the administration, financial management, procurement, technical operation and transaction agreements of the Volta River Authority and any related or consequential issues affecting the efficient administration and operations of the Volta River Authority (VRA)."

The Speaker, in the light of the heavy schedule for next week, urged the leadership of the house to find a way of dealing quickly with motions on the budget estimates.

Source: GNA

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