The Minority in Parliament yesterday declared its intention not to be part of any processes and decisions of the House regarding the approval of loans and agreements in the transition period until it receives copies of handover notes of the government from the Administrator-General.
It expressed concern over the government’s attempt to ensure that Parliament approved loans, suppliers’ credit and project implementation agreements in the “injury time”, contrary to the Presidential (Transition) Act which required Parliament to be served with copies of the handover notes by the Administrator-General.
But the Majority said the decision by the Minority not to participate in the business of the House until it received handover notes from the Administrator-General was intended to divert attention from the passage of the Right to Information Bill (RTI Bill).
Responding to the concerns of the Minority, the Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, told journalists that Ghanaians, especially civil society organisations and senior journalists, were putting pressure on Parliament to pass the bill which had been in Parliament for 13 years.
Addressing the Parliamentary Press Corps earlier, the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, had said the Minority considered the attempt to take new loans in the transition period bewildering and a betrayal of good faith.
“We regret to say that we cannot be part of processes and decisions which, in our considered opinion, are illegitimate,” he said.
He said the Minority could come to Parliament and be mute, not contribute, not participate in the debate, decide not to go to the chamber or walk out.
Presidential (Transition) Act
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu referred to Article 6(3) of the Presidential (Transition) Act, which states: “The handing-over notes shall reflect the accurate developments which have taken place during the tenure of office and the projections of developments to take place before the end of the full time.”
He said projections of the government, as expressed in the handover notes, would help Parliament determine what outstanding business to conduct.
However, he said Parliament had not received the handover notes from the Administrator-General covering the activities of the Presidency, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), regional ministers and district chief executives.
Besides, he said Parliament had not been given any reports relating to the projections of developments that the government envisaged in the transition period, while more than 90 per cent of the business conducted in Parliament was public or government business.
Speaking to journalists, Mr Ibrahim said the NPP had told Ghanaians, through the media, that it would pass the RTI Bill when the party came to power.
Therefore, he said the posture of the Minority in Parliament was to prevent the current government from getting the credit for passing the bill for it to have the opportunity of doing so when it assumed the reins of power.
Mr Ibrahim said it was wrong for the Minority to hide behind clauses to take a decision not to be part of business in Parliament.
He said it was important for the Minority, whose party would soon come to power, to demonstrate its commitment to transparency and accountable governance by supporting the passage of the RTI Bill.
As of the time of going to press, both the Majority and the Minority had returned to the chamber to continue the business of the House.