Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, has proposed that Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta delegates any of his deputies to answer questions in Parliament, in his place.
This, he explained, is because Mr. Ofori-Atta has able deputies who can take up the role, instead of the continuous request for rescheduling of his appearance before the House.
Mr. Dafeamekpor stated that since he has such options available to him, Mr. Ofori-Atta’s failure to honour the House’s invitation is disrespectful.
“Indeed, you have a Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and so if you are not capable of attending to Parliamentary business, Mr. Adu-Boahen is capable of doing that. He comes to the House to present papers every week and you have two deputies; Member of Parliament for Atiwa East and John Kumah. So you have enough lieutenants to help you to attend to Parliamentary business where necessary,” he said.
He also debunked claims that the Finance Minister was expected to answer all 16 Parliamentary questions in a day, adding that “it is possible but not plausible.”
Mr. Dafeamekpor said Mr. Ofori-Atta was given a period of a week between Tuesday and Thursday to answer the said questions.
Mr. Dafeameakpor stated that if the Finance Minister continues to avoid Parliament, he will get overburdened as additional questions from the 16 others build-up, hence the need for him to act.
In response, Habib Iddrisu, the Second Deputy Majority Chief Whip, claimed that the Minority in Parliament objected to the deputies addressing questions on behalf of the Finance Minister.
He added that “even when the Minority Leader was making his argument on this issue, he said that we don’t want the Minister of State. We want the Minister himself.”
The Finance Minister was billed to appear before Parliament earlier on Thursday to account for Covid-19 expenditure and address 16 questions from lawmakers, but he did not.
Speaking on the floor of the House on Thursday, Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annor-Dompreh explained that the Majority Leader of the House received a request from the Finance Minister to reschedule his appearance to June 22.
In the meantime, Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has ruled that the House will not consider any requests from the Finance Ministry until Ken Ofori-Atta appears before the House to account for Covid-19 expenditure and answer other questions from MPs.
Mr. Alban Bagbin, speaking on the floor of the House on Thursday, said the Minister must appear before the House or suffer the rejection of requests from the Finance Ministry.
He contended that Order 63 of Parliament’s standing orders bars a Minister from taking more than three weeks to respond to questions from the House.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has been rescheduled to appear before Parliament next week Wednesday, June 22.
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