Parliament approves 24 ministers, US$150m for GARID project… despite Minority opposition

At the emergency meeting of Parlia­ment in Accra on Friday, the House approved the nomination of 24 persons as ministers and deputy ministers of state, amid opposition from the Minority caucus.

However, the Majority, unper­turbed by the opposition, adopt­ed and approved the report of Appointment Committee, which recommended the approval of the nominees by a majority decision.

Dr Bernard Okoe Boye
Dr Bernard Okoe Boye

Notable among the nominees, were Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, Minister of Health, Ms Fatimatu Abubakar, Minister of Informa­tion, Ms Darkoa Newman, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Ophelia Mensah, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, Lo­cal Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Ms Lydia Seyram Alhassan, Sanitation and Water Resources, and Mr Andrew Egyapa Mercer, Tourism, Arts and Culture.

In a spirited defense of the nom­inations, Majority Leader and MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Mar­kin, said the nominations were justified as they would enhance the governance of the country.

According to him, qualifica­tion to the office of minister and deputy minister are outlined in the constitution and that their col­leagues were motivated by politics rather than substance.

He said: “Our colleagues were part of the approval process at the Committee level. It is in bad faith for them to turn around to say that they don’t want to participate.”

Led by Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, MP, Ajumako/Enyan/Esiam, the Minority walked out of the pro­ceedings en masse to register their opposition to the nominations.

The caucus cited what it said was the ongoing economic and power crisis, which needed attention rath­er than an addition to the number of ministers.

According to them, the approv­als would mean extra financial strain on the coffers of the state.

“Mr Speaker, the Minority does not support the nominations of these ministers, because our coun­try has gone through and continues to go through very very difficult times including creeping economic crisis, food insecurity, “dumsor”, and debt default as a result of reckless borrowing to finance consumption.

“Ordinary Ghanaians continue to bite the bullet and businesses are struggling under a high tax regime, high inflation amid a sliding and depreciating currency. In times like this, we expect the government to signal to the people of Ghana and the investment community that the government is ready and willing to do things differently to restore the needed confidence in our economy.

“It cannot be the case that while the government has asked the people of Ghana to tighten their belts, the government has loosened its belts.

“Piling up ministers and deputies does not signal to the Ghanaian that the president understands the seriousness of the mess created. This government must downsize and signal to the people that it cares and is ready to reverse some of the losses,” Dr Forson posited moments before he led his caucus to storm out of the House.

The House, meanwhile, also approved a US$150 million facility for the second phase of the Great­er Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project de­spite opposition from the Minority.

The approval was down to votes where the Majority prevailed by 137 to 132 votes of the Minority.

The meeting was also used to swear into office the new MP for Ejisu, Kwabena Boateng, who won the by-election in the constituency to replace the late John Kumah.


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