Parliament reconvened on Tuesday with a call to the Members of the House by the Speaker, the Reverend Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, to brace themselves up for a demanding meeting.
He said given the paucity of time, “it is anticipated that business for this meeting would be quite demanding”.
There would be the 2020 Budget Statement, consideration and approval of the annual estimates of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies and independent government institutions that draw on the Consolidated Fund, which would culminate in the passage of the Appropriation Act.
The Speaker gave what he termed, a “tall list” of Bills and Instruments, treaties, agreements and protocols that would be worked on, alongside a number of other items of business during the Third Meeting of the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament, before the House takes a break for the 2019 Christmas holidays in December.
The House has since last July ending been on recess, during which the MPs took some rest from chamber activities, but involved in committee works, engaged with their constituents, international parliamentary assignments and global conferences.
“Let’s give thanks to the Almighty God for his unflinching love and benevolence over the recess period. I am hopeful that you have been refreshed and with the regular visits to your constituencies, you are geared up for the task ahead,” the Speaker said, as he welcomed back the legislators.
Among the Bills to be worked on are the Narcotics Control Commission Bill 2019, Judicial Service Bill 2019; Affirmative Action Bill, 2019; Conduct of Public Officers Bill, 2019; Ghana Fertilizers Development Authority Bill 2019 and Ghana Fertilizers Company Limited Bill, 2019.
Others are Education Regulatory Bodies Bill, 2019; the two Constitutional (Amendment) Bills, 2019; Tree Crop Development Bill, 2010; Petroleum Exploration and Production (Amendment Bill), 2019 and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
Some instruments to be considered during the meeting include Chieftaincy (Membership of Regional House of Chiefs) Instrument, 2019; Tourism (Tourist Sites) Regulation, 2019; Meat Inspection Regulations, 2019; National Youth Authority Regulations, 2019; National Sports Authority Regulations, 2019 and Ghana Armed Forces (Amendment) Regulations, 2019.
The Rev Prof Oquaye announced that Mia Amor Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, would address the House, on Friday, November 15, 2019, to reciprocate that of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was given a similar opportunity when he visited the Caribbean nation recently.
The House, in collaboration with the National Council for Proper Human Rights and Family, would host Mrs. Sharon Slater, a renowned American advocate against the implementation pf the Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) at the next Breakfast Forum, to take place during the meeting.
The Speaker directed that MPs should present reports on programmes they attended outside the country, to serve as “a bank of knowledge for the House.”
“Indeed, any Clerk who fails to comply with the directive will be sanctioned,” the Speaker warned.
“I must add that my office is demanding reports on all conferences since January 2017 to be filed in my office before the end of the year.”
Committees which failed to oblige should not expect to travel anymore anyway.
The reports, he said, “are the property of Parliament and we should seriously build the institution. We require both hard and soft copies.”
Deputy Majority Leader Sarah Adwoa Safo, read the Business Statement for next week and called on her colleagues to work expeditiously on the Affirmative Action Bill to ensure more representation of women at the national political front.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu urged the House to be firm in discussing issues and to point out explicitly what was right or wrong.
The beginning of the meeting started rather late at 1145 hours.
Before getting down to the business of the day, Members from both sides of the House, shook hands, hugged and chatted excitedly.