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21.10.2005 General News

Parliament set to witness heated debates

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Accra, Oct. 21, GNA - Two bills, which have attracted public outcry over delays in passage, would be presented before Parliament when it reconvenes next week.

Parliament is likely to pass the Domestic Violence and Disability Bills during its next session, which begins on October 25. There have been public agitation over perceived delays in the passage of the bills but Mr Jones Kugblenu, Director of Public Affairs at Parliament House, said the bills have not been brought to Parliament as yet but it was expected that the Ministries working on them would expedite work on them and present them before the House during its next session, which runs for eight weeks.

In an interview with the GNA, Mr Kugblenu said it was wrong for the public to think that Parliament was dragging its feet in the passage of the two bills, when the bills had not been presented before the House. The next session is likely to generate a lot of heat and argument as Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, presents the 2006 Budget on November 10, while the People's Representation (Amendment) Bill and the Whistle Blower Bill would also come before the House.

Public forums on the People's Representation (Amendment) Bill have already seen some heated discussions with a section of the public kicking against the bill.

Parliament is likely to witness more of such heat when the bill is introduced in the House.

According to Mr Kugblenu, the Mineral and Mining Bill would also be presented to the House.

He, however, said the Mines and Energy Committee would have to take another look at the bill because of reservations expressed by a section of the public over some portions of the bill.

He said the House was also expected to work on various loan agreements and other financial instruments during the session. On arrangements made so far to house new members of Parliament, Mr Kugblenu said the flats were ready for occupation and the whips were working on the allocation.

On progress made on the refurbishment of the Chamber, he said work has been completed on the air conditioners but major electronic work was still ongoing.