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26.08.2003 General News

Parliament recall is timely and necessary - Majority

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Accra, Aug. 26, GNA - The Majority Leader, Felix Owusu-Adjapong on Tuesday said the recall of Parliament to consider urgent national issues during the past seven days was very timely and necessary.

He said the House was able to discuss and complete a number of important items such as the extension of the State of Emergency in Dagbon, loan agreements on the Odaw river project and ADB financial support for farmers, formulation of a way of assigning members to the various committees of the House and the passage of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

Mr Owusu-Adjapong said this at a press conference immediately after the House had passed the NHI Bill to throw more light on it. He said in all their interactions with stakeholders, such as the SSNIT, the Ghana Medical Association, organised Labour and others it evidently clear that the NHI Bill was the best for the country.

"We were assured by the SSNIT that the two-and-a-half deductions of the workers contribution to support the implementation of the scheme will not affect their operations."

The Majority Leader said it was unfortunate that the NDC Minority boycotted this important debate and had wished that the 52 amendments to the bill, which the Minority claimed to have were not presented to the House.

Mr Owusu-Adjapong said the recall of Parliament and the discussion of important national issues were in line with the constitution and debunked the view of the Minority that the recall was not urgent and therefore, unconstitutional.

The Senior Minister, Mr Joseph Henry Mensah said the NPP's visionary NHI Bill is a superior way of handling health issues and is different from the cash and carry system introduced by the NDC. He said the Minority should have been in the House to debate the bill since they have been elected by the people to carry their views on national issues but by their boycott, they have lost the opportunity to push their views across.

The Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Afriyie described the passage of the bill as a revolution and that it was one of the most important bills ever passed which enables contributors to the SSNIT Fund another benefit apart from their pension.

He said this would make the health system "sit up" and would enable Ghanaians of walks of life, especially those in the rural areas to enjoy good healthcare.

"I am very satisfied that the bill had been passed, but I had wished the Minority had taken part in the deliberations."

Dr Afriyie said the real job has now started and a lot of education have to be done within the coming months before the bill get the presidential assents and become operational.

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