General News Thu, 28 Feb 2002

Parliament worried over lack of quorum

The leadership of the Majority was disturbed as Custom and Excise (Duties and Other Taxes) (Amendment) Bill could not be voted on because of lack of quorum.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah, the Majority Leader and Abraham Ossei Aidoo, who was today (Wednesday) elected as the Deputy Majority Leader kept on going in and out of the chamber to whip up some of their members who were in the lobbies to come in for business.

The Ghana News Agency overheard Mr Aidoo angrily shouting to some members in the lobby saying; "You are here when they are debating your budget?" The First Deputy Speaker, Mr Freddie Blay, who was in the chair had kept on delaying or stepping the motion on the Bill down in expectation that a quorum would be formed.

The House suspended sitting and came back only to have few members present and the Minority kept reminding the House that a quorum was not formed to take a decision on the Bill which was at its second reading stage.


Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, NDC-Wenchi West and Mr Modestus Ahiable, Ketu North renewed their stand on the issue of quorum anytime the Bill was called for reading.

Mr Doe Adjaho, the Minority Chief Whip, advised that according to the Standing Orders 67 members could engage in a debate but the House needed 101 members to take a decision.

Mr J. H. Mensah, Senior Minister, supported Mr Adjaho's view and when the debate started Mr John Mahama, Bole; Mr Seidu Adamu, Bibiani, Alhaji Amadu Seidu Yapei-Kusawgu; Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, Wenchi West; all NDC members said the imposition of five per cent import duty on fish would lead to high cost of fish that would adversely affect living standards. They said the tax would allow foreign vessels to deplete the already dwindling fishing stock in Ghanaian waters.