Parliament adjourns sitting for lack of quorum 

Parliament was yesterday forced to adjourn prematurely for lack of quorum to conduct public business. 

The House was to approve a €20 million credit facility between the government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the German Development Bank Group, to Finance the Green Credit Line under the reform and investment partnership 

It was the second time in five sitting days the House was forced to end business for the day for the lack of quorum. 

On Thursday March 10, 2022, the House could not approve a €38 million facility between the Government of Ghana and the Deutsche Bank of Franfurt for the construction of three 40-bed capacity district hospitals for lack of quorum.

An attempt by Tamale North Member, Alhasan Suhuyini, to force the House to early adjournment last Friday over lack of quorum was shot down by the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, because at the time of his application, the House was engaged in a private business. 

At yesterday’s sitting, when the Chairman of the Finance Committee and NPP MP for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng, presented his Committee’s report for the facility to be approved, same was seconded and supported by Minority NDC MP for Ho Central, Benjamin Kpodo. 

A quick count, however, by the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka, revealed that there was fewer than the required numbers in the House to approve the facility. 

Per Article 102 of the 1992 Constitution, “A quorum of Parliament, apart from the person presiding, shall be one-third of all the members of Parliament”.

The Asawase NDC MP suggested that in line with the Standing Order 48(2) the Speaker caused the bell to be rung for 10 minutes to draw members into the House; a bell which failed to recall members into the chamber.

“If quorums are raised, you cannot negotiate them out,” the MP for Asawase stated as his colleague in the Majority and MP for Nsawam Adoagyiri, Frank  Annoh-Dompreh, sought to water down the need for quorum considering the benefits of the facility to the country in his view. 

In an attempt to convince the House to continue with the approval, MrAnnoh-Dompreh said that before the commencement of business in the House, leadership agreed that the motion on the agreement be moved and passed because it would improve Ghana’s renewable energy mix aspirations.

“We are masters of our own rules, and I only want to plead with my colleagues that a motion has been moved; let’s wait for it to be seconded and then we can debate it. 

“It is very important that we deal with this matter as it cannot be shelved. I am not contesting the issues raised; you are right and I am just pleading that we let go and get this thing passed,” he said.

“Please, do not forget that there are very important fiscal variables in this agreement and partners who are waiting on this agreement to be passed as it is almost like a grant.” 

But Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka said “any attempt to carry on would create problems for all of us. I agree that this is a grant that is coming to us as a country at almost free of charge,” as he suggested that the approval be deferred to Friday (today) for both sides of the House to mobilize their members.

Backing down on his effort to push through the motion despite the lack of quorum, Mr Annoh-Dompreh said it was regrettable for an objection to be raised on the lack of quorum. 

“I would accede to the request by the colleague Muntaka that you [Speaker] do not put a question on the motion so that we take it tomorrow,” he said. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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