General News Mon, 11 Nov 2002

Three ministers to make crucial statements in Parliament

The Ministers of Finance, Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs are expected to make statements in Parliament on crucial national and international issues this week.

The Minister of Finance would appear before the House on Tuesday to make a statement on the state of the economy while the Minister of Trade and Industry would take his turn on Wednesday to brief members on the World Trade Organisation. The Minister of Foreign Affairs would tell the House the state of the peace negotiations and conflict resolution with regard to neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire.

During the course of the week, five other ministers would also attend upon the House to answer questions. They are the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Women and Children's Affairs, and Food and Agriculture. The rest are Information and Presidential Affairs, Roads and Transport and Works and Housing.

Upon queries raised last week by members on the mode of invitation of independent constitutional bodies to the legislature, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Majority Leader said, "the Business Committee was of the view that there was nothing fundamentally wrong for the representatives of the people to invite any public officer to brief the House on any matter of public concern and importance with which the said officer is officially connected."

He said: "In the event of any invitation to independent constitutional bodies to brief the House, such briefing should only be held at the Committee of the Whole (all members) and not at plenary session."

Mr. Owusu-Ankomah said the sense and general feelings of the House should be the determining factor for extension of invitation to independent bodies to brief Parliament.

"This could include, but need not necessarily be limited to situation comments made by members in the course of their contributions to a statement made by a member or minister or during the course of a debate to a motion. "Mr. Speaker may also direct that an invitation be extended to an independent body to brief the House on any subject matter as he may deem fit and necessary."

Members last week expressed concerns about the propriety or otherwise of the mode of invitation to the Electoral Commission to brief the House on what steps it has taken in respect of the review of the division of the country into constituencies. The Commission would also brief the House on arrangements it is making to replace the Voters' Register and provide for the registration of Ghanaians resident abroad.