The Minority in Parliament has lambasted the Vice President of the Republic, H.E Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for blaming the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the NPP government’s decision to seek support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
On Thursday, July 14, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia delivered a speech at an event held at the Accra Business School where he explained the decision by the ruling government to go to the IMF for a bailout.
While apportioning some blame on the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama-led government, Dr Bawumia said the Covid-19, financial sector cleanup, energy sector debt financing, and the Russia-Ukraine war are to blame for the economic challenges facing the country.
“With the challenges on accessing the capital market, balance of payment support was needed to bridge this financing gap, stabilize the economy and create the space to implement structural reforms and restore debt sustainability and this is really the reason why Ghana had to go to the IMF.
“I should again note that Ghana has been hit with a quadruple whammy. The energy sector excess capacity payments. Banking sector cleanup, Covid-19, and the Russia-Ukraine war. If you take out this quadruple whammy Ghana will not be going to the IMF,” H.E Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia emphasized.
Addressing the media in Parliament today on the back of the claims by the Vice President, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson who is the Minority spokesperson on Finance said Dr. Bawumia has lost focus.
He said the Vice President must focus on his core duties and stop making his office look irrelevant.
“The Vice-President, Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia must concentrate on his core duties as head of the economic team and allow the Minister of Information to perform his duties as prescribed by convention.
“From all indications, the Vice-President president has clearly lost focus and therefore making his office look irrelevant while demeaning the standards expected of a Vice-President,” Dr. Ato Forson emphasised.
Minorities applaud government’s retreat on import restrictions
Following the government’s decision to postpone the implementation of import restriction legislation, the minority in Parliament expressed relief.
The caucus was adamantly opposed to the measures, claiming fears of corruption and economic hardship.
The Minority, in a statement issued on December 8, 2023, criticised the laws for giving the Trade Minister undue authority over import licences and amounts without sufficient checks and balances. They were concerned that this authority would lead to corruption, misuse of power, and state control.
“Minority has always maintained that these regulations will breed corruption, because not only are they arbitrary and opaque but they are designed to encourage the arbitrary exercise of discretionary power in the hands of one person, particularly the Minister of Trade and Industry.”
“We have argued that by vesting too much unfettered and unchecked power in the Minister to determine who qualifies or not to be granted a permit to import into the country as many as twenty (24) commodities, the regulations lend themselves to abuse of power, state capture and rent-seeking conduct reminiscent of the days of ‘essential commodities’ and ‘price control’.”
The caucus stated that its principle was not against any legal regime or policy that sought to protect indigenous businesses by regulating imports, but rather against a law that gave the Minister of Trade unfettered discretionary power to issue import licences and limit the quantity of certain imports into the country, without any checks and balances.
“It defied sound logic for this Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to seek to restrict imports contrary to what it had signed on to about Ghana’s current IMF programme. One of the quantitative performance criteria in Ghana’s current IMF bailout is a requirement to avoid imposing or intensifying restrictions on imports for balance of payment reasons.
At a time Ghanaians are facing extreme misery and reeling under countless taxes, including those contained in the 2024 Budget, we do not consider it right that the government would introduce import restrictions that will fuel inflation and hoarding,” it stated.
NDC MINORITY IN PARLIAMENT REACTS TO GOVERNMENT’S SUSPENSION OF LAYING OF IMPORT RESTRICTION REGULATIONS
The Minority Caucus has noted with relief the announcement by the government to suspend the laying of the proposed regulations on Restriction of imports of Selected Strategic Products, 2023.
The Minority has always maintained that these regulations will breed corruption, because not only are they arbitrary and opaque but they are designed to encourage arbitrary exercise of discretionary power in the hands of one person, particularly the Minister of Trade and Industry.
We have argued that by vesting too much unfettered and unchecked power in the Minister to determine who qualifies or not to be granted a permit to import into the country as many as twenty (24) commodities, the regulations lend themselves to abuse of power, state capture and rent-seeking conduct reminiscent of the days of ‘essential commodities’ and ‘price control’.
Indeed, various stakeholders including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana, Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have all joined us in all kicking against these proposed import restrictions.
The Minority in principle is not against any legal regime or policy that seeks to protect indigenous businesses by regulating imports. What we are vehemently against is a law that confers unfettered discretionary power on a single individual, in this case a Minister of Trade, to issue import licenses and to restrict the quantity of certain imports into the country, without any checks and balances.
It defied sound logic for this Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to seek to restrict imports contrary to what it had signed on to with regard to Ghana’s current IMF programme. One of the quantitative performance criteria in Ghana’s current IMF bailout is a requirement to avoid imposing or intensifying restrictions on imports for balance of payment reasons.
At a time Ghanaians are facing extreme misery and reeling under countless taxes, including those contained in the 2024 Budget, we do not consider it right that government would introduce import restrictions that will fuel inflation and hoarding.
We are happy that the government has jettisoned these regulations after stiff resistance and opposition in Parliament by the Minority Caucus.
We wish to assure the Ghanaian people and the business community that the Minority will always be on their side and put their interests first. Ghana First!
We’ll identify and disgrace NPP MPs who are undermining the anti-gay bill – Sam George
The chief proponent of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, popularly known as the Anti-Gay Bill, Sam George, has threatened to expose and disgrace members of the Majority Caucus who are allegedly obstructing the bill’s passing.
He claimed that several Majority MPs were swayed by those with a vested interest in the development of LGBT activities in the country, sabotaging the process.
Speaking to media in Parliament, Samuel Nartey George, the MP for Ningo-Prampram, said the bill’s supporters will not tolerate any attempts by the Majority caucus to sabotage it.
“Those who have been influenced by persons who have an interest in LGBTQ should return whatever influence they have collected because we will fight and the next time we address the media, I will mention names. I have been impressed by my co-sponsors not to mention names, and it is out of respect for them that I am not mentioning names, but if they continue this behaviour of frustrating the bill, I will mention names.”
“This bill was introduced in 2021 and this is the last time we will accept this kind of behaviour. Ghanaians should take note, the Christian community, the Muslim community, the African Traditional community, and the National House of Chiefs who have supported this bill should take note of the actions of persons on the Floor of the House who are seeking to slow down the move of this bill.”
Meanwhile, Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, has dismissed Sam George’s claims.
“Leadership has not drawn my attention that we should go ahead and do consideration on this bill and at any rate, this is not the only bill at the consideration stage. The Intestate Succession Bill has also been there and nobody thinks of prosecuting it, and then we have the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill on page 24 and when the Speaker called me. If we start today, there is no way we can finish these amendments before this meeting ends, so why should I start it?”
Sam George wants Parliament to sue Akufo-Addo for refusing to approve ‘Witchcraft’ bill
Samuel Nartey George, Member of Parliament for Ning-Prampram, has proposed that Parliament take President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to court for refusing to sign the contentious Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023 into law.
President Akufo-Addo refused to sign the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023 and the Wildlife Resources Management Bill 2023 a few days ago.
This came after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, chastised the President on November 27, 2023, for failing to explain his position on the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023, which seeks to criminalise attacks on suspected witches.
However, the Presidency refused to receive the measures enacted by Parliament until November 27, 2023, in a message. The Presidency also denied reports that it had opted not to sign the Bills.
However, in a letter to Parliament on Monday, December 4, President Akufo-Addo informed the House that he would be unable to consent to the measures until the underlying constitutional issues were resolved.
A furious MP told Eyewitness News on Citi FM that the President is usurping the authority of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, and that the President has ‘absolutely no powers’ to postpone the bill’s passage.
He slammed the President for violating the 1992 constitution, saying he should be hauled into court if he does not reverse his decision.
“Parliament must go to the Supreme Court to seek interpretations of Article 108. The president is not the ultimate in this country when it comes to the law. The speaker has served notice that the president’s actions are unconstitutional and are a breach of the Constitution.”
He added, “I hold the view that the actions of the President are unconstitutional and even constitute grounds for impeachment. Because the President is flouting the Constitution in such a blatant manner. How can a witchcraft bill be interpreted by the President to be financial matters? And for those reasons, the President arrogates to himself powers that he doesn’t have. He’s usurping the constitutional powers of the Speaker. We can’t sit down and allow that. I believe that if the President does not rescind his decisions, Parliament must take him to court. We should take him to the Supreme Court for the court to rule. The President has absolutely no powers under Article 108.”
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