The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has asked the Business Committee of Parliament, to re-schedule the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s appearance before the House to answer questions filed by members.
He explained that it was obvious Mr Ofori-Atta would not be able to appear before the House due to other engagements.
Mr Osei-Owusu gave the directive in response to a request by the Minority caucus that most of the pending questions had been advertised in the name of Mr Ofori-Atta in the Order Paper since June 2021, yet he only kept giving reasons not to appear in the House to answer them.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament yesterday, the Minority Chief Whip, Mr Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, said the Minority found such conduct “very unacceptable since Mr Ofori Atta could find time to go round the country for town hall meetings but does not want to answer to the representatives of the people.”
Mr Muntaka raised the concern soon after the Majority Chief Whip, Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh, had proposed that the House vary the Order of Business and consider a motion for the approval of the Report of the Finance Committee on Ghana’s subscription to 11,996 shares ($11.9 million) allocated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank.
But Mr Muntaka said the House had scheduled about 10 questions for the Finance Minister to come before the House to answer them yesterday.
He said per the Standing Orders, the minister was to answer questions within two weeks after the notice of the questions had been served on him.
He, therefore, was worried that if Parliament kept accommodating the Finance Minister’s excuses, he would gloss over the questions he was supposed to answer.
“I would plead with the Speaker that we may want to vary some work and I do not have any objections to that but we should give a definitive instruction for the Finance Minister to come and answer the questions so that we do not leave it in the pool for them to get lost.
Speaking in support of the Minority, the Mr Annor-Dompreh, agreed that those outstanding questions advertised in the name of the Finance Minister had gone through the necessary process.
He, however, expressed doubt that those questions were admitted eight months ago.
“In this House between leadership, we have come to a working agreement that where a sector minister is unable to attend upon the House, at least we should have correspondence a day ahead of the day he is billed to answer the said questions.