The Minority in Parliament, has said that it will not participate in any business that has not been advertised in the Business Statement, the programme schedule of the House, including the Electronic Transactions Bill, 2021 (E-Levy).
The Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, on Friday, said any attempt by the Majority to introduce unplanned business to the House, would amount to ambush, which would not be countenanced.
“Mr Speaker, we want to state it on record that the business statement is clearly indicating that we are not taking the E-levy bill [this] week. We don’t want any situation where during the week, attempts will be made to introduce it because any attempt to do that will be ambushing.
“Mr Speaker, I don’t want to say we will resist it but that will not be acceptable because the Standing Orders are clear that business statement determines what we do in the week.
“So if the business statement is not indicating that we will be doing E-levy, [we don’t expect E-levy in the course of the week]. But if the idea is to introduce it unplanned, that we will not accept,” Alhaji Muntaka, MP for Asawase, stated.
The notice followed the presentation of the business statement by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin. Missing on the agenda, was the E-Levy Bill.
In response to the concerns of the Minority, Mr Afenyo-Markin, MP, Effutu, said motions as stated in the statement, included the E-levy and shouldn’t necessarily be mentioned explicitly.
“If you look at paragraph 2 [in the business statement], Mr Speaker, it is stated that ‘motions may be debated with their consequential resolutions, if any. This includes the E-Levy.
“Don’t create the impression with mischievous intent that government does not pursue its own policy. We have provided it in the statement. We don’t have to mention E-levy.”
According to Mr Afenyo-Markin, the E-Levy was already before the House because what was laid by the Finance Minister before the House went on recess in December, 2021, has not been withdrawn.
He urged the Minority to support the bill when the House turns its attention to its passage or otherwise.
Mr Afenyo-Markin, meanwhile, told the House on February 4 in a business statement that there was a likelihood that the current bill would be withdrawn and re-laid.
“The Honourable Minister for Finance has, therefore, given indication after his nationwide engagement with the citizenry on the bill, of the likelihood of the withdrawal of the bill and reintroduction of same on Friday, February 11, 2022, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
“In the event that he is unlikely to withdraw and reintroduce the bill on Friday, February 11, 2022, he may do so Tuesday, February 15, 2022,” Mr Afenyo-Markin.
He had told the House that “The sponsoring minister has given an indication that he would not be ready. The House would be accordingly informed about a new date for the interrogation and possible passage of the bill.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI