The Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Fiifi Kwetey and the Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways, Mr Rojo Mettle Nunoo, were yesterday disallowed to answer a number of questions relating to their various ministries on the floor of the House.
The Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning was in the House to answer three questions advertised in the Order Paper to be asked by Hon. Joseph Ampomah Bosompem, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Akim Swedru, bordering on the practical measure the Government is taking to stimulate productivity and economic growth, the measures the Ministry is putting in place to reinvigorate the private sector to absorb the teeming unemployed youth with the freeze on the employment in the public sector and what the Government is putting in place in view of the current economic trend to stimulate private sector productivity.
But before the Deputy Minister for Finance could be given the opportunity to take the centre stage of the House to answer the questions, the Minority, led by their Leader Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, noted that the questions scheduled to be asked touches on the very root of the economy, therefore it will be very prudent to step it down and allow the substantive Minister to appear before the House to answer the questions.
Hon. Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, who is also the MP for Suame, argued that the reasons why the substantive Minister for Finance did not appear before the House has not been explained to the House and in addition some figures have been changed in the answers because the questions were supposed to be asked on Friday but due to the business in the House they were stepped down.
“The questions are very important that is why we need the Minister himself to come and answer them,” he added. The Deputy Majority Leader, Hon John Tia, disclosed that the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffour, was at the Castle having meeting with the President and some representatives from the Millennium Challenge Account but the Deputy Minister was equally competent and capable of answering the question, stressing that in the event where the House needs more clarification the substantive Minister can be asked to appear before the House.
Nevertheless the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Ambrose Dery and the 2nd Deputy Speaker, Hon. Michael Ocquaye, were of the view that this happens to be the first time the Minority Leader has requested for a Minister to appear before the House himself instead of his Deputy, therefore such consensus building in the House must be allowed to continue, adding that the questions go to the very core of the economy and affects every living Ghanaians, therefore the plea from the Minority Leader must be considered appropriately.
In her ruling, the Rt. Hon. Speaking Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo explained that only Ministers are allowed to answer questions on the floor of the House. She however hinted that it has always been the convention of the House to allow Deputy Ministers to answer questions when the Ministers are sick or have traveled outside the country.
She then stepped the three questions down for the substantive Minister for Finance to appear before the House but the back benchers of the Majority started registering their protest when the Rt. Hon Speaker called on the Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways to step forward to answer questions slated for his boss.
The Majority backbenchers were of the view that once the Deputy Minister for Finance was not allowed to answer the questions, the same yardstick should be used to measure the Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways.
Source: Ghanaian Observer/Ghana
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