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The notable happenings in the legislature today were not that many but certainly eventful. Let me attempt summarizing for your reading pleasure.
There were statements on inadequate number of women in Ghana’s Parliament. Deputy Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Gifty Twum Ampofo in her contribution called for new constituencies to be purposely created for women. Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu in supporting that call asked for 35 of such seats to be reserved for women all in the quest to ensure gender parity.
After this, came approval of budget estimates for the Energy Ministry and others.
Then came the most controversial issues for the day; Drones for blood. In fact the issue was so thorny that speaker Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye had to shelve it when it came up for first deputy speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu to take the seat following a warning from minority leader Haruna Iddrisu he and his charges had a position to state on the matter.
The move by the Speaker was also because the first deputy speaker was the one presiding when approval of the agreement was deferred to some minority concerns to be addressed. Chairman for the health committee Dr. Kwabena Twum-Nuamah was ushered in to present his report in which he disclosed GCAA has given greenlight for drones of Zipline to fly among other amendments to the original report.
Ranking member for the committee Joseph Yieleh Chireh was then called by the Speaker for his input and this is where the controversies would start.
The Wa West Mp would yield to minority Spokesperson on Finance Cassiel Ato Forson who had a pile of papers in front of him ostensibly to punch more holes into the $12.5m Zipline deal.
The speaker would however have none of that insisting the ranking member was to make his input to the report authored by his committee and not Ato Forson. This will bring minority chief whip and Asawase MP Muntaka Mubarak to his feet.
Nonetheless, his several interventions will be fruitless which eventually culminated into a reminder of an earlier request for a division or head count during approval of the deal. This request would however be opposed by majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu citing standing orders.
The first deputy speaker however granted the request of the minority.
So head count it was with the majority defeating their minority counterparts 102 to 58 votes to approve the controversial $12.5m Zipline delivery of emergency medical and blood products to public health facilities agreement.
After proceedings, the minority still registered it’s disdain for the deal. Ato Forson accused the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and for that matter government of perpetuating fraud arguing the cost of deal is inflated. He wants the vice president himself to speak to the deal and not the Director General for the Ghana Health Service Dr. Nsiah Asare.
Yieleh Chireh wondered why the deal didn’t involve the finance ministry.
Minority Spokesperson on communications ABA Fuseini for his part served notice the deal will be reviewed by any future NDC government.
Source: Ibrahim Alhassan