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21.05.2007 General News

FDB, GSB Amendment Bill To Be Withdrawn

The Food and Drugs Board Amendment Bill currently before Parliament is to be withdrawn to allow for a comprehensive determination of the laws establishing the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) and the Food and Drugs Board (FDB).

Outlining the business of the House for the Third Session of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, to the Parliamentary Press Corps, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Felix Owusu Adjapong, explained that he would be holding discussions with the Speaker, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes and Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, to effect the withdrawal.

The current session is expected to last 11 weeks.

Mr Owusu Adjapong said the amendment was originally expected to be straightforward, "but we have realised that a wide range of issues are associated with it.”

He pointed out that the GSB and the FDB were vital national regulatory bodies, which required major attention, and that “we must not rush the process of amending the bill”.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea, who chaired the session, emphasised the need to withdraw the bill and said it was important that the confusion surrounding the two institutions was resolved amicably.

The Food and Drugs Board Law was passed in 1993, and nearly four years later when the board was constituted the GSB was still playing the role of the FDB, resulting in a bitter outburst two years ago that warranted the introduction of the amendment.

On the question of beefing up of security for MPs within and outside the House, Mr Adjapong said discussions were underway between the Ministries of Parliamentary Affairs, Energy and the Interior to enable them to come out with something comprehensive.

"We, however, cannot outline in full what is being done already on the ground. But you can see that the number of policemen for instance on the premises has gone up significantly", he added.

He said Parliament was in the process of introducing electronic swipe cards that would restrict the premises of the House to accredited persons, stressing that "this would fully provide security for all in the House."

Mr Adjapong said the Bank of Ghana Amendment Bill, 2007, Geneva Convention Bill, 2007 and the Data Capture (Registration) Protection of Personal Information Bill, 2007 have been slated for consideration and passage.

He said the Report of the Joint Committee on Finance and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Anti-Money Laundering Bill would be laid.

The Ministers of Communication, Finance and Economic Planning, Transportation, Food and Agriculture as well as Energy would appear before the House to answer questions, he said. — GNA