Attendance on the first day of parliament's reopening from its longest recess was very encouraging, as lawmakers on both sides turned up in their numbers for the commencement of the Third Meeting of the First Session of The Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic on Tuesday, 26 October 2021.
During this meeting, which is expected to last nine weeks, a total of 56 Bills is expected to be presented before the House among other things.
The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021, currently at the Consideration Stage is one of the key items on the Agenda.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2021 both of which are at the consideration stages as well as the Affirmative Action Bill 2021, Intestate Secession Bill 2021, Rent Bill 2021 and Small Scale Mining Bill 2021 are among the 56 Bills expected to be presented to the House.
The Speaker, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin in his welcome address, reminded MPs about the tight agenda ahead of them, especially with the consideration of the 2022 Budget and Financial Policy of Government, the Appropriation Bill and other important Bills before the House.
The lawmaker urged all MPs to give maximum support to the Chair and leadership so as to speed up their activities and also pleaded with the various Ministers to respond to calls from the House and respect the timetable of the House while urging them to take keen interests in the preparation of their Ministries’ budgets.
He noted that the Regions of Ghana Bill, 2021 and the Standing Orders Bill, 2021 are two important Bills to attract the attention of the House and charged the MPs to work hard to enable the House to pass all outstanding Bills which he said could be achieved only if they punctually attend parliamentary sittings regularly.
The Speaker regrettably disclosed that the perception that former MPs get a lot of goodies after their time in Parliament and live lavishly is a mirage but rather, former MPs are dying from poverty and cautioned the public resistance to any improvement in the lot of MPs saying it is a threat to the freedom Ghanaians are enjoying.
He said all the noise that people have been making that MPs are enjoying are untrue and that he has been called upon weekly to go for funerals of former Members of Parliament who are dead because they could not go out of their house to buy prescription drugs.
The Leadership of the House in their welcome addresses expressed the hope that both sides of the House would give their utmost best to ensure that parliamentary work is not adversely affected.
The Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu underscored the need for a careful balance in assessing the anti-LGBTQ Bill and assured that Parliament would not be pressured by international relations to go against Ghana’s interests.
The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu on his part congratulated his counterpart Majority Leader for being elected by the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) as the Association’s Acting Vice-Chairperson.