Executive Director for Africa Center for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), Dr Rasheed Draman, has revealed that as parliament resumes its proceedings today, May 24, 2022, one of the big issues he expects to be addressed is the one on absenteeism.
Dr Draman indicated that he expects the privileges committee to have done its work by now regarding the three MPS dragged before the committee for absenting themselves from parliamentary proceedings. He explained that it’s now time to bring the matter back to the plenary.
The ACEPA Executive Director noted that Ghanaians are also expecting to see some closure on the matter because over the years, parliament after parliament, the issue “about absenteeism has been a thorn in the flesh of our legislature”.
“I think the big issue after e-levy is the issue of absenteeism and the referral to the privileges committee that was done by the Rt Honorable Speaker before the House went on recess; albeit there were controversies even around that in terms of procedure and so on… I just hope that this time around, parliament will get it right and set a very good example to the extent that you are hired to show up and work and if you don’t show up, I think that the rules that parliament itself set for the House should be allowed to take course.”Dr Rasheed Draman
Commenting on the possible return of the Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya, Adwoa Safo, who is one of the three embroiled in the absentee issue in parliament, Dr Draman highlighted that her appearance will be good news for the House.
“… If she is coming back, I think that that is good news, not only for parliament but I believe also for the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, particularly at this time… The flooding that is going on in our country, all the people that are going to be caught in this are basically people that are very vulnerable in our society. They need protection and I think that this minister is at the center of it and she can’t be absent from the ministry and from parliament. So, I think it’s good news that she is going to be around.”Dr Rasheed Draman
Return of the Agyapa deal to parliament
The Executive Director of ACEPA, touching on the ratification of the Agyapa deal in parliament following the Minority’s decision not to compromise on the matter, he called for consensus from both the Minority and the Majority. He expressed that the leadership of parliament will have by now learnt “important lessons from all the issues and the controversies surrounding the e-levy”, to make better judgement on the issue.
Dr Draman explained that at the end of the day when there is chaos, the “portrait that is painted of our parliament is not a good one” and it affects those in the majority and minority.
“The Agyapa deal; we heard civil societies, we heard the Minister for Finance, we heard the former President, we heard the Minority group in parliament… So, I hope they have learnt some lessons and that they are going to do things differently. It has to take a lot of negotiations. For instance, e-levy came in [and] many said the Minority were not consulted before… What is it that is going to be done differently this time around so that at the end of the day, if there is any give and take that needs to take place, that is done before the bill makes its way to the House, so that we avoid those chaotic scenes that visited all of us during the course of the passage of the e-levy?”Dr Rasheed Draman
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