The Adansi Asokwa MP, KT Hammond says there should be no E-levy debate and subsequent voting on the floor of Parliament in the absence of Speaker Alban Bagbin. 

Speaking to JoyNews’ Kwesi Parker Wilson, he said that once Speaker Bagbin is not presiding over the debate, the majority caucus would not have enough numbers to get the bill passed.

He added that both sides having 137 members each, could bring the House to another feuding moment. Thus, the only way to ensure discipline and sanity in the chamber is to table it for discussion when the Speaker is in the seat

Mr Hammond stated that “if the speaker is not sitting and we have 137 and 137, how are we going to get the numbers? Are we going to fight again? We are going to get the battle of E-levy settled squarely and nicely. We (NPP) have our 138, Bagbin is sitting, there is no room for argument.”

His comment comes after Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin, informed the House of his intention to travel outside the country for another medical review.

With the Electronic Transaction Levy Bill (E-levy) tabled for discussion next week, the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh had described the Speaker’s frequent absence, especially during critical decisions in the chamber as worrying.

Interacting with the press on Thursday, the Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP said, “It is worrying; I mean, I can’t pretend about it.”

Prior to Parliament’s resumption on Tuesday, Speaker Bagbin took a medical trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and returned on Sunday, January 23 for Parliamentary duties.

But barely a week into legislative proceedings, the Speaker is due to travel for another check-up.

This practice, Mr Annoh-Dompreh believes should be reviewed for a more productive alternative that will benefit the country and the legislative arm of government.

Meanwhile, Mr Hammond has urged both sides to table their points for the bill as strongly as they can without coming to blows.

The MP said he is tired of running around trying to settle disputes among his colleagues.

He stated that if the NDC truly believes the people are against the bill, they can register their opinions during the debate however, it is the people who would decide whether to keep the government in power or not.

“Make your point as strongly as you can on the floor, in the end, let us pass it and suffer the political consequences if the people of Ghana believe that it was a wrong decision taken by the government. It shouldn’t be that difficult,” Mr Hammond said.

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