Speaker assures Finance Minister of Parliament’s support
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin on Thursday, assured Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, that the House “is always more than prepared” to support him to turn things around for the whole of the country.
The Speaker gave the assurance in his remarks on the floor of Parliament when the Minister appeared to brief the House on the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
“Well, we are all affected by what happens despite our differences in political colours; and so, anytime you are facing challenges, please, this is your home, this is where you should come to,” the Speaker said.
He noted that the Jubilee House or the Flagstaff House represented the State, while Parliament represented the people.
“This is where the powers are and this is where sovereignty resides. Well, sovereignty is in the people, and we represent the people, and the powers of government are also in the people and we represent them,” he explained.
“So, anytime there is any key issue, like a key policy, you need the approval of this House, very important.
You can get the go ahead from the Jubilee House or Flagstaff House but this House is the one that will have to approve and say it is in the interest of our people, go ahead to implement it.”
He told the Finance Minister that anytime he was having challenges, the House was always prepared to receive him and share views with him.
He said sometimes on the floor of the House, the Members might not be that direct but when they meet outside the floor and discuss things dispassionately, Members from both sides of the House propose solutions and some of those solutions could have helped them in approving some things in the country.
Concerning the budget, the Speaker said if members of the House had information, like the Minister, given them in his Policy Statement on the DDEP, there were some areas of the budget that they could have touched to help in the domestic debts restructuring.
“And so you are always welcome to this House. I am fully aware that Members know the challenges that we have in this country.”
He mentioned some of the major challenges the country faced as waste, ignorance and greed. He said the House was properly positioned to assist any Government to reduce these things – waste, ignorance and greed.
“We know how to do it and we are elected to do so, so we can always support you to do a better job.
We are not saying you are not doing a good job, but a better job than you are doing now,” he stated.
The Speaker said the pensioners were with him on Wednesday to pour out their hearts, and that he was happy they met the Finance Minister too, who was able to assure them that they would be exempted.
“And they are here today, they have even programmed not only to picket at your ministry but also in Parliament.
I am happy to hear that they are exempted. And what I can tell you is that live our pensioners alone,” the Speaker said.
“We can solve that without touching the pensioners’ small money that we’ve given to them.”
On the ongoing negotiations between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout for the country, the Speaker urged both the government and the Fund to carry the House along at any stage of their negotiations. —GNA