Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has called on legislators to engage more and ensure consensus building, as the House reconvenes to commence the third meeting of the Second Session of Parliament, after nearly four months of recess.
He said: “this meeting should be more of engagement and consensus building and trying to understand issues and being tolerant to opposing views.”
Mr Afenyo-Markin, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu, made the call in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, in Accra, yesterday, ahead of the first sitting of the meeting on Tuesday, urged MPs of both sides (the Majority and Minority) to put the country ahead of partisan interest.
He noted that the country was not in normal times, and said that: “The market would respond negatively if we don’t appear to be working together. So I would want our colleagues on the other side to be sensitive to the optics and understand that we are in this together as a nation and we need to get the budget through”.
Mr Afenyo-Markin said in as much as the Minority has a constitutional duty to scrutinise government policies, members should let facts lead discussions in the House and not personalities.
“The over personalisation of issues will not help the course of governance and this certainly will not auger well for development of the country,” he advised MPs of both sides.
According to Mr Afenyo-Markin, transparency and accountability should be paramount in governance, hence the need for the 2022 budget to be reviewed to ascertain how it has performed vis-a-vis allocations, releases and how funds have been utilised.
The Deputy Majority Leader said: “we as MPs have a responsibility of oversight and when issues come, my expectation would be that sector ministers and agency heads give satisfactory explanation and engage more.
“We expect ministers and agency heads to come to committee meetings prepared with the necessary documents to avoid back and forth with members.”
Mr Afenyo-Markin noted that “in this hard global economic times, the House has a responsibility to hold the executive accountable, but in so doing, the House must not hold the executive hostage.”
He asked MPs to avoid the spectacle that followed the presentation of the 2022 budget, in November, last year.
Mr Afenyo-Markin said the drama that surrounded the 2022 budget and policies have not helped the course of the country a year on.
The 2022 budget presentation was followed by confusion as the Minority rejected the budget, a decision which was later reversed by the Majority caucus and upheld by the Supreme Court.
The House degenerated into violence on few occasions as both sides of the House battled for supremacy in the passage of the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI