Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Health Minister has withdrawn the National Vaccine Institute Bill, 2022, which was placed before Parliament on July 25, 2022.
The Minister said the withdrawal had been necessitated by certain critical issues that came up during the consideration of the Bill by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health.
He said after consultations, they decided to withdraw the Bill and do some of the amendments incorporated into the Bill to enable them cut down the consideration stage time that would be wasted in the Chamber; saying “and that is the rationale behind the withdrawal of the Bill”.
“And immediately my leave is granted I will seek leave to actually relay the new one that had the amendment incorporated to enable us work faster in the Chamber,” Mr Agyeman-Manu said.
Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament said Order 132, which touches on withdrawal of Bills says “Either before the commencement of public business or at the commencement of any stage of a Bill, the Member in charge of the Bill may make a motion without notice for its withdrawal.”
Adding that that was exactly what the Minister had done and that the Minister had the right to do so under their rules.
He subsequently granted the Minister the permission to withdraw the first Bill, which was laid on the 25th of July, 2022 and then gave him the opportunity if the new one was ready to present it to the House.
The Speaker then directed that the earlier Bill (National Vaccine Bill) dated 25th July, 2022, be withdrawn and the referral to the Committee for Health for consideration was also accordingly withdrawn.
The Minister then tabled the revised Bill before the House – An Act to establish the National Vaccine Institute to provide for the coordination supervision of research, development and manufacturing of vaccines and serums and for the related matters.
The Speaker subsequently referred the revised Bill to the Health Committee for consideration and report to the House.
However, the Speaker upon a careful examination of a copy of the revised National Vaccine Bill, 2022, indicated that the supposed revised Bill had not been gazetted.
Speaker Bagbin said the new Bill had to be gazetted before it could be laid before the House.
Mr Agyeman-Manu, who reiterated the urgency with which they were working on the Bill, appealed to the Speaker to allow the Bill to be laid under a certificate of urgency.
“What I can simply do is to ask you to withdraw it and then if you want to can through a certificate of urgency, the procedure is there in the Standing Orders, you can do so. Then we can consider it as one of the urgent Bills.
“For as it is now, it is not properly so called a Bill to be laid in the House. So, please you may withdraw that and then go and put your House in order.”
Speaker Bagbin subsequently directed that Bill be withdrawn and that the referral to the Committee on Health for consideration and report to the House was also withdrawn.
“The reason been that what was laid is actually not a Bill. It is a draft Bill and in fact, it is entitled revised version of the National Vaccine Institute Bill, 2022, and it has not been gazette. So, it is neither a Financial Bill nor an urgent Bill. And so, I accordingly direct that all the actions and the narratives given in connection with this matter be withdrawn.”