Chaos In Parliament … As MPs exchange words in budget debate

DOE ADJAHO (1)The second day of debate on the 2014 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government in Parliament yesterday turned chaotic, as some members used unsavory words on each other.

The debate was characterised by accusations, counter-accusations, and name-callings which lasted for over three hours.

In the heat of the debate, the Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, felt offended at the comments of some members and threatened to crack the whip if any member disrespected the chair.

“People on the gallery are watching us. Let us be careful on the words we use on each other,” he urged the members.

The debate began on a calm note until the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Hannah Bissiw, after contributing to the debate, described persons who opposed the budget as “Abroh”, an Akan word which means someone who does not want to see the success of anything.

The minister’s comment infuriated members from the minority side who asked her to withdraw the word and apologise because it impugned bad motives.

Rising on a point-of-order, Kofi Frimpong (NPP-Kwabre West) said “because we (Minority members) are playing our role of putting the government on its toes, she is calling us ‘Abroh’. It is derogatory and she must apologise to us”.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Nitiwul, said the word used by the minister was not only un-parliamentary but impugned bad motives and added that if the minister refused to withdraw her comment, members from the Minority would retaliate with proper insults and would not withdraw when asked to do so.

Dr. Bissiw felt reluctant to withdraw her statement and said that the word she used did not impute any improper motive

After back and forth arguments on the issue, the minister was asked by the Majority Leader, Dr.Benjamin Kunbuor, to withdraw that comment before she withdrew the comment.

Contributing to the statement, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu, said the government was very honest with Ghanaians by admitting to the fiscal challenges it faced and outlining how it intended to resolve those challenges.

He commended the Ministry of Finance for taking a bold decision to push for an increment of the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate from 12 per cent to 15 per cent.

He decried the country’s foreign exchange balances, and stressed the need to increase non-traditional exports in order to shore up the foreign exchange balances.

Prof George Yaw Gyan-Baffour (NPP-Wenchi), said managers of the economy were sitting unconcerned while the economy heads towards the drain.

He said GDP growth rate in 2012 was 7.9 per cent but this year, dropped to 7.4 per cent while interest rates, fiscal deficit of the country recorded increases.

He urged the government to stop borrowing from the domestic market and consider other sources of funding because that activity was crowding out the private sector from accessing funds from the market.  By Yaw Kyei

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