Parliamentary discussions from 13-16 June, 2017

  1. Customs (Amendment) Act 2017 Passed

MPs passed the Customs (Amendment) Bill 2017, which removes certain taxes paid on the importation of vehicular parts or car “spare parts”. The Act which seeks to amend existing Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) will “provide for a zero-rate of duty payable on specific imported vehicular parts.”

2. Proposed budget for GETFund activities for the year 2017 approved

A total of GH¢790,224,149 to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) was approved for 2017 activity year. MPs want allocations to the fund increased for effective undertaking of educational projects in the country.

Speaking on the floor, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa (MP for North Tongu) said “capping of GETFund disbursement by Minister of Finance will see a shortchange of GH¢158,770,200.” According to him, GETFund received around GHS 95 million in 2016; however the amount allocated for this year will not suffice in carrying out the government’s free senior high school programme.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu (MP, Tamale South) said, “The new GETFund formula fails to highlight the government’s priorities on education.” He went on to ask whether GETFund’s allocation will support infrastructure or the free senior high school programme. He also called for GETFund support to the Veterinary College in Pong-Tamale in the Northern Region.

On her part, Deputy Minister of Education, Barbara Ayisi Asher (MP, Cape Coast North) said government is going to establish Kindergarten in every school to aid early childhood education.

Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu (MP, Suame) said the capping of GETFund’s allocation this year is part of the government’s plan of stabilising the economy; he continued by saying GETFund was set up to complement the work of ministry of Education, not to supplement it.

3. MPs discuss Terrorism and security at the house

The MP for North Tongu and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa presented a statement on the global fight against terrorism. Several MPs chimed in with comments about how terrorism has disrupted the way nationals of countries live. MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini in his comment called for tightening of security in and around Parliament.

MP for Ningo-Prampram, Samuel Nartey George said Ghana is not immune to terrorism; “we cannot sit down and look unconcerned”, he added.

The Minister for Defense and MP for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul indicated that Ghana is prepared to stop terrorism however, “we must be careful to not draw attention to ourselves.” He also called on Ghanaians to volunteer information about any suspicious activity around them.

4. MPs discuss children in Ghana on Day of the African Child celebration

In a commemorative statement read to the house by Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Mrs Gifty Twum-Ampofo (MP, Abuakwa North), the government assured Ghanaians of ‘continuous protection of all children.’ The statement went on to wish all children in Ghana well as Africa celebrated Day of the child today [Friday].

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