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03.02.2010 Business & Finance

Minority restrains Deputy Finance Minister

By GNA
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Minority restrains Deputy Finance Minister
February 02, 2010
Accra, Feb.2, GNA - The Minority in Parliament on Tuesday restrained Mr. Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance, from answering questions for the Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor.

The Minority argued that the questions bothered on issues relating to policy and that it was important for the minister himself to answer them.

"Our disagreement has nothing to do with the competence or the incompetence of the Deputy Minister but issues relating to policy must be dealt with by the sector minister himself," Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader said.

He said the questions touched on the very kernel of economic policy for which the Deputy should not handle.

Mr. John Akologo Tia, Deputy Majority Leader's plea to convince the house on the basis that the minister himself was attending to certain pressing issues at the Castle could not convince the Minority.

They only granted a reprieve that could allow the Deputy Minister to answer questions not related to policy issues.

Mr. Tia said the obstruction could stagnate and delay business of the house.

Mr. Doe Adjaho, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said the house could progress if the reason for the minister's absence was reasonable.

He said this problem could also be addressed if standing order 61 which allowed only Ministers and not their Deputies to answer questions relating to their ministries was reviewed.

The Speaker, Justice Mrs. Joyce Bamford - Addo, ruling on the matter, said question time in Parliament was meant for Ministers not Deputies.

She however, said a Deputy could answer question for his Minister only if the substantive had travelled out of the country or he or she was sick.

"The house is in love with Ministers, we want to see them in the house," she said noting that in the case of the Finance Minister, he had not travelled outside the country.

There was a thunderous "No" when it was the turn of the Mr. Rojo Mettle Nunoo Deputy Minister for Roads and Highway from the Majority side.

This drew Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyemang into the debate who argued that the "No" could not help matters and could create future problems.

He said Mr. Nunoo should be allowed to answer the questions, a stand that Mr. Ambrose Dery, Deputy Minority Leader also agreed to but the Majority refused on the bases that since Mr. Nunoo is also a Deputy Minister, the question should be reserved for the Minister himself to answer.

The Finance Minister was to answer three questions on Friday but did not appear before the house on the basis that he was attending to some pressing issues relating to his Ministry.

It was deferred to today Tuesday February 2, 2010, but he still could not make it to the House and as a result the question was shelved for another day.

Later in the day, Mr. Albert Kan Dapaa, Member for Afigya-Sekyere West, Ranking member for Finance Committee, presented an audit report on the management of Ghana Police Residential Accommodation.

He said the audit was conducted to ascertain how the provision of suitable, decent and adequate residential accommodation for the Police was being addressed and why there was over crowding in the Police barracks and several building projects meant for the Police were uncompleted and abandoned.

Mr. Dapaa said the Auditor-General found that recruitment and transfer in the Ghana Police Service did not match with provision of residential accommodation leading to overcrowding.

According to the report, the Auditor General recommended the use of Police land as equity to attract private financing in the provision of residential accommodation for the servicemen.

GNA

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