Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, has reprimanded Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, for her interjection during a debate in Parliament Tuesday, November 28, 2023.
This was when a debate on the Import Restrictions Bill was being debated in the House. The Minority in Parliament had raised concerns about the laying of the Legislative Instrument (LI) in the House.
Madam Owusu-Ekuful, the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West had insisted the Minority’s opposition to the Bill was needless because the L. I had not been laid.
“I have no idea what we are debating in this house today. There is nothing before the house so as you [Speaker of Parliament] indicated to the Minister [of Trade, KT Hammond] that we are not yet there, I thought that you would tell my colleagues on the other side that there’s nothing before us.”
Speaker Bagbin who did not take the interjection lightly reprimanded her.
Following a tense exchange with the Speaker, Bagbin sternly addressed Owusu-Ekuful: “Minister, do you listen to yourself when you are talking? If you were here from the very beginning before we started, why did you say no when I asked if you were here from the beginning… This is not the Ministry of Communications, this is Parliament. Resume your seat.”
Meanwhile, the Trade and Industry Minister, KT Hammond, had earlier indicated that the Minority’s opposition to the L. It is a stab in the back after having pre-laying discussions with the caucus.
According to Mr. Hammond, the only reservations the Minority had on the L. I was some items that were listed among the products, and not the Instrument itself.
“In that meeting chaired by Dominic Ayine, I tell you today, they [the Subsidiary Committee] added bits and pieces… their concern was on some items put on the L.I. The conclusion was that subject to these suggestions they have raised, they were quite happy,” he told Accra-based JoyNews on Monday, November 27, 2023.
“It had no reason to believe that the two draft regulations were not within the ambit of the parameters set under Article 11 Clause 7 of the Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament,” portions of the Committee report he quoted indicated.
He described the Minority Leader’s opposition to the L.I. as a ‘duplicity’ following the consensus reached as quoted above, before presenting the law in Parliament.
“You get upset and at the end of the day, you think they are stabbing you in the back,” he added.
When asked if he believed he had been stabbed in the back, his response was in the affirmative.
The lawmaker agreed to go by the flow which he says didn’t make sense in its entirety, because the L. I was made on a substantive Act that has been through Parliament.