Today In Parliament: 12/12/2018

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Proceedings started with laying of reports of some committee on the budget estimates especially that of the special budget committee. This process was however paused to make way for continuation of the consideration stage of the age old Right to information bill, RTI bill.

Before this, minority leader Haruna Iddrisu (Possibly cos his neck is on the line given an assurance to media coalition for the passage of the RTI bill for a passage before the house rises later this month) could be heard signaling his counterpart on the other side Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu for the RTI bill to be taken.

To cut to the chase, the amendments went on from clause 32 to 40 after which the house returned to the budget estimates.

We would later find out that the pause to attend to RTI bill was because reports on the estimates were not ready. (We will return to the budget estimates especially that of Sanitation and Water Resources a bit later).Nonetheless, this will surely register as progress.

After proceedings Chairman for the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ben Abdallah told the media the budget is to blame for the inability of the house to pass the RTI bill. The Offinso South MP argues in the scheme of priorities the budget ranks higher.

He nonetheless directed the media and the public to the local government Act which he argued has provisions similar to the RTI bill.

Now back to the budget estimates, over 246 million cedis was approved for the Sanitation and Water Resources ministry.

Among the allocations in the budget of the ministry are over 18,000 cedis for entertainment. A similar amount for clothing allowance, over 44,000 cedis for watchman allowance, 88,000 cedis for enlistment and recruitment into security.

These aforementioned estimates ranking member for the Committee on Water Resources, works and housing Sampson Ahi argues are unconscionable. He explained the entertainment allocation is for the pleasure of the sector minister Cecilia Dapaah.

But Chairman for his committee Nana Kofi Amoako disagrees. He argues every figure in the budget estimate is justified.

Well, more budget estimates were approved subsequently all ahead of the approval of the appropriation bill to take place later which will give the President the legal backing to spend from the consolidated fund to keep government running.

That’s your wrap from the house of the Legislature today. #GhWeDey

Source: Irahim Alhassan

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