Regional News of Thu, 31 Oct 20136
We are here for business - Speaker warns absentee ministers
The Speaker of Parliament has sent a strong warning to ministers of state who fail to honour invitations from the House to answer questions from Members of Parliament (MPs).
“I do not want the situation where ministers are summoned before the House and they are not available without any explanation. You know the power of the House over ministers of state,” he reminded the ministers.
Mr Adjaho was reacting to the inability of the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Kofi Humado, to appear before the House to answer a question posed by the MP for Kintampo North, Mr Stephen Kunsu.
To make matters worse, the Value Added Tax Bill, 2013, which was scheduled to go through its consideration stage, had to be stood down because of the absence of the Minister of Finance and his two deputies.
Mr Adjaho said he had given this week as an “honeymoon period” to the ministers, adding that “next week there will be no honeymoon”.
Mr Kunsu had asked the minister about the status of the New Longoro Irrigation Project in his constituency, but a Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, informed the House, just as the question was to be asked, that the minister had travelled outside the country.
His explanation, and the fact that neither of Mr Humado’s two deputies was in the House to answer the question, generated a debate among the MPs.
While the Speaker accepted the explanation on Mr Humado’s absence, he wondered why the Business Committee of Parliament had scheduled the question when the minister was out of the country.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, reminded the Majority leadership that “we are here for business. The Majority leadership should support us to do the business”.
“We have been reminded of the hectic times ahead of us during this meeting and it is unfortunate that we are beginning to experience this right from the start of this meeting,” he stated.
The MP for Wenchi, Professor George Yaw Gyan-Baffuor, asked the Speaker to crack the whip on ministers who failed to appear before the House, instead of giving them “a one-week honeymoon”, since that gesture would rather encourage them to take the House for a ride.