‘Parliament has reduced itself to a clearing house of Executive embarrassment’ – Minority Leader
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu says Parliament has contributed to the current economic crisis.
According to him, Parliament must accept its share of responsibility for the current economic difficulties the country is facing.
The legislator says the crisis is due to excessive borrowing by, especially this government, but Parliament failed to restrain them.
“Excessive borrowing – who ought to have checked government not to borrow or over-borrow –the Parliament of Ghana. So Parliament must accept some blame and some responsibility for not keeping the Executive to check. The consequences of excessive borrowing are now being felt by all of us,” he said.
Speaking during a core leadership conference organised by the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Iddrisu argued that Parliament has been lax in its oversight responsibility and has just allowed almost all loans to go through without stamping its authority.
This, he noted has increased the debt stock beyond 100 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
“Parliament’s role as the defender of the people’s interest is lost. So how did we get here, how come we didn’t anticipate it? Article 181 – It is only Parliament that approves the terms and conditions of a loan, so if we’ve borrowed and now we have exceeded 100 percent of GDP. How come we couldn’t anticipate it happening?” he questioned.
He cited the Sinohydro loan which was approved by Parliament.
“You have government arguing that I am doing barter of bauxite. Where the road to the bauxite site is not even constructed. The Parliament of Ghana ought in the defense of the people’s interest, ought to have rejected that because the barter has failed. Sinohydro is due for payment you don’t have the bauxite,” he lamented.
According to him, “Parliament has reduced itself to a clearing house of Executive embarrassment” by not scrutinising government policies.
On his part, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who is also the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs attributed the poor oversight from Parliament to weak committee structures.
He proposed that key committees of the House should be chaired by members from the Minority.
“The structure of our committee system in Parliament is not helping us to grow our Parliament. When you have a system where all committees are headed by the members from the ruling party, certainly you have these dividends, you will really lower the standards of Parliament. Which is why since 1993, our Parliament has been rated very lowly when it comes to the oversight of our responsibilities,” he said.
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