19 June 2014

Ghana: Pilot Pulls Stopper On Terkper

PARLIAMENT'S EXPECTED engagement with the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Seth Terkper, over the state of some aspects of the Ghanaian economy, was yesterday, put on hold, as the Minister was held up in Abuja, the administrative capital of Nigeria.

Members of Parliament (MPs), who were keenly waiting to subject the Minister to a barrage of questions, were overly disappointed, when the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, announced that Mr. Terkper would be in the House at 11:00 GMT to answer their questions.

But, at 11 a.m., the House was informed by the First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton-Odro, who had taken over from the Speaker, that the Minister was still in Abuja, explaining that the pilot who was to fly the plane from Abuja to Accra had suddenly taken ill, and that the airline was looking for another pilot for the journey to Accra.

This explanation drew varied responses from the legislators, with the majority side insisting that that happening was an occurrence no one had control over. But, the Minority side was bemused by the explanation, some suspecting that the Minister was trying to dodge very obvious questions the side would throw at him.

But, the leadership of the House agreed with the First Deputy Speaker to reschedule the engagement to today, after the House waited in vain for the arrival of the Minister. Mr. Terkper had earlier obliged the House to answer questions served on him through the Speaker of Parliament, a stance which aroused the interest of members to gleefully welcome him into their fold.

Three MPs - Mr. David Oppon-Kusi (Ofoase/Ayirebi), Mr. Justice Joe Appiah (Ablekuma North) and Mr. Yaw Afful (Jaman South) - were advertised on the Order Paper dated Wednesday, June 18, 2014, to ask the Minister some questions.

Mr. Oppon-Kusi, according to the Order Paper, was expected to ask Mr. Terkper "which types of imports or companies are allowed to use the bonded warehouse facilities, and the impact of the operations of bonded warehouses on the economy."

The Ablekuma South Legislator, on the other hand, was expected to ask the Minister what steps the Ministry was taking towards the sustainability of the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy. While Mr. Yaw Afful was also to ask the Minister "how much has so far been realised from the President and his Minister's voluntary 10% pay cut."

A written response the Minister was to deliver in Parliament, advertised in the Order Paper, revealed that an amount of GH¢327,363.69 had been realized, as at May ending, from the 10% voluntary pay cuts in the salaries of members of the Executive arm of government.

Last year, the Minister announced a plan by the Executive to voluntary give 10% of their salaries towards to construction of Community Based Health and Planning Systems (CHPS) compounds, aimed at making health care accessible to all.

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