General News of Friday, 18 May 2018
The Minority in Parliament has demanded that the Speaker forces the Agriculture Minister to the House to answer questions after his no-show stalled consideration of an urgent matter on the floor.
The leadership of the Minority rejected explanation for Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto’s absence describing it as disrespectful to the house.
“Mr Speaker, today is the third sitting day and unfortunately on each of the days we are confronted with the failure of the minister to be in the House to answer questions…with the greatest respect, the Agric Ministry have five ministers…” Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak said on the floor Thursday.
“Sadly, our colleague, the former Kwadaso MP was the ranking member for the Food and Agric Committee. He was the type who does not have the patience for a deputy minister to answer questions on the floor…today he is the minister and doesn’t find it necessary to come and answer questions,” he said.
Dr Afriyie Akoto was to appear before the House to answer an urgent question on the alleged marketing of unlicensed chemicals for cocoa farming and production.
The Juaboso legislator, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh wanted answers as he claims some of his constituents have used the chemicals which have led to devastating consequences for them.
The minister’s letter communicating his absence from the House was only made known when the Speaker, Prof Mike Aaron Quaye directed the question to be asked.
“They wrote the letter just this morning when we have printed the order paper and Mr Akandoh has the people affected to sit in the public gallery,” Muntaka said.
The Asawase MP said the Agric Minister needs to be warned because he is fond of always sending his deputies to answer questions on the floor.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Sarah Adwoa Safo, pleaded with the House to reschedule the question to enable the substantive minister answer since he was out of the jurisdiction.
“It is not intentional that he is not here…he is currently out of the jurisdiction,” she said.
The unhappy Speaker said he may be forced to take a tough stance against ministers who absent themselves from businesses of the house.
“This House is concerned about ministers coming appropriately to answer question and majority leaders please inform them [minister] generally that we have resumed work. We want ministers to answer the call of parliament,” he said.