Parliament unhappy with Transport Minister …for declining House’s invitation

Parliament is unhappy with the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, for not honouring an invitation by the House to answer questions to be posed by his colleagues.

The House noted that the culture where ministers decide when to respond to questions would not be tolerated henceforth.

Mr Asiamah was scheduled to answer nine questions yesterday but was absent. A letter dated Tuesday, June 20, 2022, signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry and received moments before the commencement of sitting, said the minister “unavoidably” could not make himself available.

The letter subsequently asked the House to reschedule the question time for the Minister to tomorrow Thursday June 23, 2022.

Objecting to what he considered disregard for the House by ministers, Minority Chief Whip and National Democratic Congress (MP) Member for Asawase, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, said ministers ought to take the House seriously.

“Mr Speaker, some ministers are turning this House into a joke and that is why they waited until the morning of the appointment and run here and say they cannot come because of one reason or the other,” he stated.

According to the Asawase MP, the questions were transmitted to the ministries long before the Business Committee meets on Thursdays to programme the ministers for specific days in the week.

Though he admitted that the minister used to be regular in the House to answer questions, “Of late, I can recollect that this is about the third time I am raising concerns about his inability to appear in the House.

“Mr Speaker, you must help this House to hold these ministers accountable because this is one of the tools we can use to hold them accountable. So for the ministers to be choosing and picking when they want to come to this House is not proper.

“If we allow this to stand, this House will continue to be weak. Avoiding to come to respond to questions in this House is refusing to answer to the ordinary people of this country,” Alhaji Muntaka said as he prayed the Speaker to compel the ministers to appear before the House “soonest”.

Siding with the Minority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Nsawam Adoagyiri and Majority Chief Whip, said it was time to name and shame absentee ministers.

“Mr Speaker, some of the ministers work diligently and make it a point to respond to this House. I think we must name and shame ministers who take this House for granted.

If for any reason a minister would not be able to attend upon the House, he or she should inform us ahead of time and not on the day of the questions. This certainly should be the last one,” Mr Annoh-Dompreh said.

Giving his directive, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin said but for the intervention of the leaders, he would have referred the minister to the Privileges Committee of Parliament, because his failure to attend upon the House violates Article 122 of the 1992 Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Order 28.

The Speaker, however, rejected the minister’s request to respond to the questions tomorrow because “he can’t pick and choose” and subsequently asked the Business Committee to re-programme the minister for a different day. 


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