The Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is still on the heels of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta to furnish Parliament with the cost involved in President Akufo Addo’s recent travel to some parts of Europe and South Africa on a charted private jet.
The Member of Parliament filed an urgent question requesting the Finance Minister to provide, “how much the President’s recent official travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa in May this year cost the Ghanaian Taxpayer.”
Though the urgent question was admitted by the Speaker and advertised on the Order Paper to be taken on the Floor of the House on Thursday, June 17, 2021, the question was conspicuously missing on the Order Paper on the said day.
When the MP inquired from the Leadership about what occasioned the removal of his question from the day’s activities, he was told that the Finance Minister had asked to be given some more time to provide the answers required, and that the question would be rescheduled for another day.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa once again raised the issue on the Floor of Parliament on Thursday, June 24, 2021, when his urgent question was not captured in the scheduled questions for Parliamentary sittings in the week ahead.
The Minority Spokesperson pulled a protest on the Floor of the House shortly after the Business statement was presented by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin. He said he did not understand why he filed two urgent questions at the same time to be responded to by the Defence Minister and the Finance Minister, yet only the Defence Minister has appeared on the Floor to provide answers.
“The Business Statement for the whole of next week has been provided and the Minister for Finance still does not feature. Our Standing Orders are very clear. Urgent questions cannot go beyond ten working days,” he observed.
He accused the Business Committee of pampering and shielding the Finance Minister from answering the question and thereby encouraging him to evade accountability.
“We shouldn’t create the impression in this country that there are probably super Ministers who can decide on what terms they work with Parliament when our Standing Orders are very clear. So, Mr. Speaker, your intervention in this matter is key.
“The Business Committee cannot appear to be assisting the Finance Minister to evade accountability, and this House will not countenance that. Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of transparency and accountability, the Minister for Finance must be subject to out Standing Orders. He is not above the Standing Orders of Parliament,” he said.
However, in a response the Deputy Minority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin said, “I believe that it was at the instant of Mr. Speaker. But be assured that I would contact Mr. Speaker so that same is rescheduled. It is not about the Minister avoiding your question, no. It was stood down at the instance of Mr. Speaker so it would be addressed.”
Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com