Parliament reconvenes Tuesday, May 15

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
Speaker Prof. Mike Ocquaye
Speaker Prof. Mike Ocquaye

Parliament will reconvene on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, for the Second Meeting of the Second Session of the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

A statement signed by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, said the notice of commencement of the meeting was in pursuance of Standing Order 37 of Parliament.

During the meeting, the 275 Members of Parliament (MPs) are expected pass a number of bills into law, approve loan facilities for infrastructure development and other commitments.

One of the important bills likely to be approved is the Right to Information Bill 2018 which was laid in Parliament at the First Meeting.

The House is also likely to ratify conventions and treaties between Ghana and other countries.

Another important event in Parliament will be the vetting of the President's nominee for the position of a Deputy Special Prosecutor, Ms Jane Cynthia Naa Torshie Lamptey, by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

Ms Lamptey is a lawyer of 30 years standing at the Ghana Bar and former acting Director of Public Prosecutions.

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After the vetting, the Appointments Committee will present its report with a recommendation for the House to approve of her nomination or otherwise.

The MPs will then comment on the report after which, the House will approve of her nomination or otherwise.

The First Meeting started on a quiet note, interspersed with walkouts by the Minority Members of Parliament (MPs) and ended on a high.

The Minority MPs staged the walkouts over what they described as unfair and inadequate hearings given to their leaders by the Speaker of Parliament.

The heat was generated by the government's request for ratification of the military cooperation agreement between Ghana and the United States of America (USA) on the last day of sitting on March 23, 2018.

As if the best was reserved for the last during the meeting, after years of waiting, the Right to Information, Bill 2018 was laid in Parliament on the last sitting day.

Some bills were passed into law. One of the key bills which received passage into law was the Special Petroleum Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018. It has reduced the Special Petroleum Tax from 15 per cent to 13 per cent and consequently reduced the ex-pump price of petrol and diesel.

The state of the nation address delivered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to Parliament also livened up the debate in the House.

While the Majority MPs applauded the address as offering hope for Ghana, the Minority MPs described it as empty, hopeless and devoid of any concrete policies to grow the economy, develop infrastructure and create jobs.

There was also the grueling vetting and subsequent approval of Mr Martin Amidu as a Special Prosecutor.

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