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Petroleum bills generate argument in parliament

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The Majority and Minority in parliament, on Friday, debated over which of the two petroleum bills; the Petroleum Management Bill and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill, should be passed first.

Mr Cletus Apul Avoka, Leader of government business, presenting the business of the House for the week ending November 19, 2010, said motions for the second reading of the Petroleum Management Bills would be moved on Friday November 19, 2010.

Mr P C Appiah Ofori, Member of Parliament for Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa questioned the rationale behind the second reading of the bill without working on the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill.

He argued that the first thing to do was to work on the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill to give the basis for the passing of the Petroleum Revenue Bill.

He questioned that, if Ghanaians did not know what they produce, how would they determine the revenue that would be derived from it.

He called on the leadership of the House to accept working on the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill first before thinking of the Revenue Management Bill.

Mr Ambrose Dery Deputy Minority Leader said government must not be in a hurry to pass the bill but must be careful to ensure that “our national interest was safeguarded”.

Mr Avoka said papers for the Petroleum Management Bill was laid about six months ago, and discarded the notion that government was in a haste to pass the bill.

He said he was aware that the Petroleum Management Bill would be passed before the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill, but urged the house to exercise restraint and allow the papers for the bill to be laid, so that the joint committee working on the bill would determine, which of the two bills to be passed first.

Source: GNA

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