Parliament has resumed sitting after it was suspended for an hour due to lack of a quorum, JoyNews’ Kwesi Parker Wilson reports from the House.
Proceedings began about five minutes ago, he said on the midday news on Joy FM.
Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson accused the governing New Patriotic Party’s MPs from deliberately absenting themselves since they do not believe in the budget the Finance Minister presented in the House last week.
The Ajumako Enyan Essiam MP says since the House is scheduled to continue debate on the 2020 budget, the Majority MPs are absenting themselves.
Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Moses Anim disagreed. According to him, his colleagues were in their offices preparing to join proceedings.
During the suspension when leadership of the House was meeting with the Speaker, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu issued a statement in which he accused the NPP MPs of absenteeism.
“The Minority is committed to its role in protecting our democracy and maintaining a high level of dedication to our Parliamentary work. We urge the Majority side to take government serious and commit themselves to the mandate for which they have been elected. The people of Ghana deserve better,” he wrote.
The Speaker, Prof. Mike Aaron Ocquaye has warned on punitive measures for MPs who habitually report late to the House, lamenting that it affects House’s business.
Name and shame
A damning report issued by the group showed how absenteeism by parliamentarians has cost the taxpayer ¢1.4 million in the last year.
According to the 54-paged report, 54 Members of Parliament (MPs) during the time absented themselves from parliament without permission in clear violation of the constitution.
The Speaker, who was addressing some selected journalists in Accra, said perennial latecomers will be named and shamed.
“Very soon there will be clocking machines and MPs will clock in [when they arrive] and clock out. So, there will be a record as it is being done in other parliaments,” he said.
He added that he has already discussed this with the legislators and he is pleased with their comments regarding embracing such an attitudinal change.