The Minority Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) yesterday boycotted the ongoing vetting of deputy ministers designate because of what they described as a decision by the Majority MPs on the committee to impose the vetting on them.
The Minority MPs said the decision reached between the Majority and the Minority sides was for the first set of the vetting to be completed last Tuesday for the committee to go on break and return in May to vet the remaining nominees.
Despite the boycott, the Majority side went on with the vetting of six deputy ministers designate.
When contacted, a Minority MP, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, had last Friday served notice that the Minority could not sit at the vetting beyond last Tuesday.
He said the Minority MPs were, therefore, surprised at the decision of the Majority to continue with the vetting of the deputy ministers designate, which he described as elephant size.
Mr Ablakwa told journalists that by the turn of events, the Majority was not being fair to the Minority or showing respect to the Minority.
Due diligence questioned
Mr Ablakwa, who is the MP for North Tongu, said the Majority wanted to force the committee to undertake a hurried and shoddy vetting of the nominees, saying that would not allow for due diligence and thorough vetting, as required by the Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament.
He said the curriculum vitae (CVs) of some of the nominees came late at night, which did not give members of the committee enough time to scrutinise them.
Responding to the issues raised by the Minority, the Majority Chief Whip and member of the ACP, Kwesi Ameyaw-Kyeremeh, told the Daily Graphic that when the business statement was read in Parliament last Friday, Mr Iddrisu said his side could only cooperate up to Wednesday, saying that they were tired and needed some rest.
He said he was, therefore, surprised that the Minority failed to show up.
Sanity in mining
The issue of the devastating effect of illegal mining on vegetation land and water resources took centre stage when the Deputy Minister designate for Lands and Natural Resources, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, appeared before the ACP.
She advocated a review of the stability agreement that the country had signed with some mining companies as a measure to bring sanity to the mining sector.
“We have the mandate to protect the interest of Ghana, so in executing these agreements, we have to be diligent and look at them in detail and make sure that they will not be to our detriment,” she told the committee.
She added that apart from the directive to illegal miners to stop their activities, more needed to be done to roll out the multilateral and integrated mining programme in a comprehensive manner to address mining challenges at all levels.
For his part, the Deputy Minister designate for Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, underscored the need for robust supervision at all levels of education to ensure accountability and enhanced performance, especially at the basic level.
He further observed that the increasing cases of encroachment on school lands could be addressed through proper land title registration, stressing that the time had come for educational institutions, the Ministry of Education and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to collaborate and get proper documentation for school lands.
When he took his turn, the Deputy Minister designate for Railway Development, Mr Andy Kwame Appiah-Kubi, said one of the huge challenges that the Railway Development Ministry would have to grapple with was how to effectively relocate people who would be affected when the construction of rail lines began.
“The rail project will be carried out in six phases, with substantial work expected to be done before 2020. In phase one, we will engage all people who have encroached on rail lines for a possible relocation. Where the need for a compromise arises, we will be diligent in handling it to avoid litigation that can stall work,” he said.
Works and housing
On the perennial flooding in the capital city, the Deputy Minister designate for Works and Housing, Mr Eugene Antwi, said an inter-ministerial collaboration was the way to address the challenge.
He further stressed the need to bring the Public Works Department (PWD) back to its feet by creating an avenue for it to use more of its internally generated funds (IGFs) to carry out its activities.
Two other deputy ministers designate were vetted. They were a Deputy Minister designate for Communications, Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei, and a Deputy Minister designate for Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Kwesi Boateng Agyei.