Parliamentary scrutiny of all international transaction undermines government business – MP

Papa Owusu-Ankomah, NPP MP for Sekondi, on Thursday argued that the constitutional provision which makes it mandatory for Parliament to approval all international financial transactions was undermining government business.

“If every international financial transaction is brought before the House for approval, then the business of government would grind to a halt,” he said on the floor of Parliament.

He made the observation when seconding a motion for the approval of the Subsidiary Agreement between Ghana and China Development Bank Corporation (CDB) for $850 million to finance the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project.

The credit facility is part of the Master Facility Agreement between the Government and CDB for $3 billion to finance infrastructural development projects under the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah explained that in the light decisions by the Supreme Court and current matters that are before the courts, it was important for the legislature to take note of Article 181 of the Constitution that prescribed that all international business or economic transactions be approved by Parliament.

He said that provision was inimical to development and did not promote healthy governance, urging the Finance Minister to collaborate with the Attorney-General to deal urgently with issue.

The MP noted that before the 1992 Constitution, there was a Public Agreements Board that treated all international agreements by any Ministry, Department and Agency, approved such transactions and made recommendations to government, which Parliament was doing now.

He argued that if government had to wait for Parliamentary approval for all such international agreements and transactions, development would move at a pace inimical to the well-being of the country.

Government at various occasions has harped on the need to commercialise the natural gas from the Jubilee Field, stating that the speedy development of the Western Corridor Gas Project was critical for reliable supply of natural gas to operate thermal power plants in the Western Corridor.

The project, which is to be developed by the newly-created Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), would include a pipeline from the Jubilee Field to the Osagyefo Power Barge and another to connect Takoradi Thermal Power Complex and the West African Gas Pipeline Project.

Source: GNA

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