Ghana: Parliament Constitutes 2 Committees to Oversee Urgent Businesses

21 January 2021

Parliament has constituted two committees to oversee urgent businesses of the House in the interim, pending the passage and review of its new Standing Orders.

They are the Appointment and Business Committees, that have been tasked to vet nominees of the President to various ministries, and draw up the business of the House till about the end of next week when work would be completed on the new Standing Orders.

Moving the motion for the approval of the Committee of Selection's report, signed by the Speaker of the House, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus, Haruna Iddrisu, said the Committees would stand dissolved upon the coming into force of the new Orders.

"After coming into force of the reviewed Standing Orders, the Committee [of Selection] would submit to the House the list of the Chairmen, Vice Chairmen and other Members of all Committees.

"The Committee [of Selection] respectfully recommends to the House to adopt this report and approve the membership of the Business and Appointment Committees as composed", Mr Iddrisu, MP, Tamale South, urged Parliament.

Seconding the motion albeit amidst objection to the numerical composition, with emphasis on the Appointments Committee, Deputy Leader of the Majority Group and MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, said his side would be disadvantaged if same was maintained.

Fortified by Standing Order 109(3) which stipulates that "A Deputy Speaker or any other Member presiding shall not retain his original vote while presiding", Mr Afenyo-Markin feared should there be a tie on the Committee, chaired by the First Deputy Speaker, his side would be disadvantaged in voting.

He advocated for 13:12 membership ratio in favour of the majority group minus the Chairman.

Mr Afenyo-Markin said this was in the spirit of consensus building and partnership for the good of the House and the country at large and not engrained in bad faith.

But, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, MP for Asawase, dismissed Mr Afenyo-Markin's fears stating that chairpersons of the committee have always voted anytime there was a tie.

Coming under Standing Order 200, which states that "In Committees, the Standing Orders of the House shall be observed so far as applicable", he said that provision gives the leeway for discretional decisions to be taken.

Mr Bagbin in his ruling, said the reviewed Standing Orders, if approved, would address grey areas and the new challenges the Eighth Parliament has presented.

Other leaders on the Appointments Committee include Afenyo-Markin, Deputy Chairman and Haruna Iddrisu and Alhaji Muntaka as Ranking and Deputies. The Business Committee on the other hand would be chaired by leader of the Majority Group, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu with Mr Iddrisu as Ranking Member.

More From: Ghanaian Times

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