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Angela Merkel's conservatives (CDU/CSU) have finally hashed out a coalition deal with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) that could break months of political deadlock in Germany. Negotiators have agreed on the division of key ministries - one of the last hurdles towards forming a government. It could end more than four months of wrangling since inconclusive elections in September. But the deal will still need to be approved by SPD members. Many in the party fear that re-entering a coalition with CDU/CSU could damage it in the long term. In a joint news conference on Wednesday, Chancellor Merkel said the agreement gave the basis for a "good and stable government". SPD leader Martin Schulz thanked the conservatives for making what he said were tough compromises. In a tweet, he said the deal "achieved a lot for people" and he would be recommending that his party members accept it. By: BBC
The Minority in Parliament on Wednesday failed to actively participate in discussing on the floor of the House, Rainbow Radio’s Parliamentary correspondent, Naa Dakuah Dodoo has reported. According to her, the Minority refused to comment on any business in the House after asking only three questions. The Minority she also reported failed to participate in a Finance Committee report discussed in the House. ‘’The Minority did not second any motion on the floor and that included a motion to adjourn sitting when the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu proposed.’’ The action by the Minority, comes barely 24 hours after staging a walkout in parliament Tuesday over the cash-for-seat report presented by the ad-hoc committee. NDC MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, has accused the Speaker of ‘‘exhibiting impunity in the highest order'' by referring the report to the Privileges Committee. He said the Speaker had no such powers and what he did showed that, Ghanaians voted for impunity and has received same. He went ahead to ask the Majority to run Parliament the way they want to. On his part, spokesperson for the committee, Buabeng Asamoah, chided the Minority for filing to incorporate their report when they had the chance.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Adenta, Mr. Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, has taken a swipe at the Minority for claiming that, it side was not allowed to factor its report into the final report on the cash-for-seat saga. The MP who speaks for the ad-hoc committee that investigated the saga, told Rainbow Radio’s Kwabena Agyapong that, the Minority had the opportunity to factor its report into the final report but chose not to. According to him, Dr. Dominic Ayine failed to incorporate the Minority report into the final work when he had the opportunity hence it makes no sense to make such claims against the Majority. The Minority report authored by James Klutse Avedzi and Dr Dominic Ayine claims Mr Morton forged documents to cover up the fact that expatriate businessmen and women paid monies to sit closer to the president during the Awards ceremony organized on December 8, 2017. The dissenting report also made adverse findings and damning accusation against the organisers of the Awards, Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF) for engaging in “deceitful practices” in the process of organizing the awards. But Mr. Buabeng Asamoah disputed them and accused the Minority of being political. He also justified why Alan Kyeremanten as a witness in the case, was asked to make a statement on the floor on Tuesday stating, he [Alan] is a Minister of State. He had every right to come to the floor of Parliament and make a statement.
The National Democratic Congress] NDC] Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, has lambasted the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Michael Oquaye, for ‘’exhibiting impunity’’ on the floor of the House yesterday [Tuesday] over the debate on the cash-for-seat report. The five member committee exonerated Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen of any wrongdoing in the controversial transactions, in their reported submitted before the House. The Minister was allowed to make a statement in the House but reacting to that, Inusah Fuseini said what the Speaker did was impunity in the highest order. ‘’That was impunity of the highest order exhibited by the Speaker…Was the committee established to investigate the conduct of MPs? Was that the reason? By what powers did the Speaker refer the committee report to the Privileges Committee? The legislator opined that ‘’when you vote for impunity, you get this result. We voted for impunity and that is why we are getting this result. The Majority members and the Speaker can do what they please.’’ He wondered why a witness was allowed to speak on the floor of the House and demand sanctions against the Minority. ‘’That is was clear impunity because they have their numbers and can do anything without recourse to the law. They can even cite all the Minority MPs for contempt and remove us from Parliament and run Parliament all alone, he told Kwabena Agyapong on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm.
Spokesperson for the cash-for-seat committee Yaw Buabeng Asamoah on Wednesday, refused to engage colleague MP from the Minority side, Inusah Fuseini, on the final report presented before the House. The Minority on Tuesday staged a walkout in Parliament on grounds that, the over 140 page report was not presented to them on time. The report, which exonerated the Ministry of Trade and Industry of any wrongdoing, was expected to be debated on by the House on Tuesday. But immediately after the report was laid, the Minority members through their leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said they needed more time to go through it before triggering any debate whatsoever. When called on why the Minority staged a walkout, Inusah Fuseini said they did not err by their action. He also slammed the Speaker of Parliament for ''exhibiting impunity in the highest order'' by referring the report to the Privileges Committee. He said the Speaker had no such powers and what he did showed that, Ghanaians voted for impunity and has received same. He wondered why the Trade Minister was allowed to make a comment on the floor of Parliament and allowed to chide the Minority. He went ahead to ask the Majority to run Parliament the way they want to. When called to discuss the issue with his colleague MP, Mr. Asamoah declined and said engaging with the Minority, would be a challenge for him. He said, I will not engage him on the issue on radio because the issue was raised in Parliament, the Minority had an opportunity to state their dissenting view in the report but they chose not to do it so why should I engage him on radio? If you want to speak with me on the issue that's fine but I will not do so with Inusah Fuseini on the line. Mr. Fuseini who said he had finished his submission asked the host to continue with Mr. Asamoah. Mr. Buabeng Asamoah slammed the Minority and described their action as unfortunate and politically motivated.
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman for the Ghana Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Emmanuel Ankrah, says the union has not been officially informed over the ongoing demonstration being staged by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC-Ghana) and Industrial Workers Union (ICU), today [Wednesday] over ‘’persistent increment’’ in fuel prices. Mr. Ankrah in an interview with Kwabena Agyapong on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said the organizers should have formally informed them. The GPRTU works officially with letters and when planning to embark on a demonstration like this one, we circulate letters across the various branches after the national bo,dy has sanctioned it. He said although there is an increment in fuel prices, we have a formula for the increment and a meeting is held with stakeholders. That process is ongoing and so we felt it was needless to embark on a demonstration. He stressed, any member of the GPRTU who will join the demonstration without approval would be sanctioned. ‘’We have informed our various branches to inform members not to participate in the demonstration. We have to make use of the structures,’’ he noted. COPEC is embarking on a demonstration today [Wednesday] over what it describes as the persistent increase in the prices of petroleum products. According to the Chamber, the demonstration, which is in collaboration with the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), is to force government to further reduce taxes on petroleum products.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has issued a statement to express its displeasure at the decision by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) Industrial Workers Union (ICU) to stage a demonstration today over ‘’persistent increment’’ in fuel prices. NPA in its statement said the intended demo over hikes in the price of petroleum products is not justified. The statement issued from the Corporate Affairs Division said “We are however of the considered view that the reasons for the intended demonstration are anything but noble having regard to the interventions made time and again by the NPA by way of the Price Stabilisation interventions over the past three months.’’ Below is the full statement INCREASES IN EX-PUMP PRICES OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has received notice of an intended demonstration by the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) and Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) ostensibly in response to recent increases in price of petroleum products at the pump by some selected Oil Marketing Companies. We do recognise that the right to demonstrate for or against any course is a constitutionally guaranteed one and COPEC will be acting within its right as such. We are however of the considered view that the reasons for the intended demonstration are anything but noble having regard to the interventions made time and again by the NPA by way of the Price Stabilisation interventions over the past three (3) months. The truth of the matter are as follows: 1. Prices of petroleum products have been on the rise on the international market. For instance, the prices of petrol and diesel on the international market have increased cumulatively by 17% and 19% respectively since November 2017; 2. Under the current price deregulation regime which has been in effect since July 2015, price volatility on the international market is expected to directly impact domestic pump prices because government has no direct control over the setting of the bi-weekly prices of petroleum products; 3. However, being concerned about the impact of the upward trend of international market prices on domestic product prices, government has since December 2017 used upfront, the expected receipts from the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy (PSRL) in the price build-up as a mechanism to bring stability to prices; 4. Since 1st February, 2018, for instance, the PSRL which hitherto were GHp12/Lt on petrol and GHp10/Lt on diesel have been completely neutralized to reduce the impact of rising prices on the international market on Ghanaian consumers. This means that government has forfeited the revenue it would have collected on these products for the period 1st – 15th February, 2018 in order to cushion consumers; 5. This intervention by the government has brought down the expected increase of petrol’s price for the period 1st – 15th February, 2018 from 5.06% to 2.16% and from 3.60% to 1.26% for diesel; 6. Despite the expected increases above after the intervention, the actual price changes observed on the market at the moment range between 0.66% and 1.08%; 7. It is worthy to note that the large majority of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) still have their prices unchanged whilst some have even reduced their prices, and consumers are at liberty to purchase petroleum products from OMCs with competitive prices as expected under a price deregulated regime; and 8. The consuming public is hereby assured that the National Petroleum Authority will continue to monitor the prices of petroleum products on the market to ensure that they are set in conformity with the Prescribed Petroleum Price Formula. We wish to advise all interested groups that need further clarity on the current state of petroleum product prices to contact the NPA for a discussion. This will ensure that the public is not misled by those who are motivated by reasons other than those of national interest. Signed Corporate Affairs Division
Policy think tank, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK) has called for a fresh probe into the cash for seat saga. According to STRANEK ‘’…this fresh probe will go a long way to know the actual outstanding issues for a logical conclusion on this matter. ‘’ It has also lambasted the Majority for failing to factor into the final report from the Minority’s side. ‘’It is rather unfortunate that in this particular instance, the majority in Parliament is not rising above partisan interest to work diligently to save Ghana' s democracy and reputation. We believe that such a modus operandi on the side of the majority will not inure to the strengthening of the oversight responsibilities of Parliament. We therefore call for a fresh probe by an independent body,’’ the reported added. The five member ad-hoc committee cleared the Ministry of Trade and Industry from any wrongdoing. The 5-member Committee while presenting a 146-page report to Parliament for approval, February 6, 2018, stated: “… After the hearings and the analysis and evaluation of the evidence adduced before it has come to a conclusion that there is no merit in the allegations leveled against the Ministry of Trade and Industry as contained in the Motion and which culminated in the setting up of the Special Committee.” The committee further recommended that the Controller and Accountant General and the Ministry of Finance should consider in the formulation of the new Regulation of the PFM Act, adequate provision to cater for public-private partnership arrangement and emerging or contemporary issues. They also recommended that the practice of some Members of Parliament trooping to the media to make allegations against highly placed officials must cease. The committee further suggested that "MP's who indulge in such acts ought not to be heard in Parliament if they should thereafter bring those matters before Parliament for Parliament to deliberate on the matter.” The Minority presented a dissenting view on the saga indicting the organizer Ashim Morton and further accused him forging documents. Read below the full statement: Conduct a Fresh Probe on Cash for Seat Saga - STRANEK Having witnessed the events surrounding the Cash for Seat report, we at STRANEK condemn the conduct of the majority in not factoring the report of the minority in order to get a fair and candid report. It is rather unfortunate that in this particular instance, the majority in Parliament is not rising above partisan interest to work diligently to save Ghana' s democracy and reputation. We believe that such a modus operandi on the side of the majority will not inure to the strengthening of the oversight responsibilities of Parliament. We therefore call for a fresh probe by an independent body. Conclusively, this fresh probe will go a long way to know the actual outstanding issues for a logical conclusion on this matter. We are all involved in building our motherland Ghana
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has finalized its outreach program to be carried out in all the 10 regions of Ghana. A statement signed by Deputy General Secretary, Koku Anyidoho, said the finalization was reached at the party’s Functional Executive Meeting held today [Tuesday]. The exercise according to the statement will commence on Thursday February 8, 2018. Party members have been asked to participate fully in the exercise ‘’for maximum positive effect’’. Read Below the full statement: Press Release ————————— Re-Registration Outreach Exercise —————————————————- The Functional Executive Committee (FEC), of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), at its meeting on Tuesday, February 06, 2018, has finalised its Outreach Program to be carried out simultaneously in all 10 Regions. The Exercise, which commences on Thursday, February 08, 2018, has the following as Team Leaders: Upper West - Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu Upper East. - Alhaji Saeed Sinare Northern Region- Hajia Joyce Zeinab Mahama Brong Ahafo - Bede Ziedeng Ashanti Region - Koku Anyidoho Eastern Region - Kofi Adams Western Region - Anita Desoso Central Region - Joshua Hamidu Akamba Volta Region - Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo Greater Accra - Mahdi Gibril All Party members across the length and breadth of the country are being implored to take note and endear themselves positively to the process for maximum positive effect. For the avoidance of doubt, National Executives are not limited only to the Regions they have been assigned to, and are permitted to support colleagues in other Religions. Koku Anyidoho (Deputy General Secretary, Operations). For Immediate Release Tuesday, February 06, 2018.
The Minority members in Parliament on Tuesday walked out of the House after complaining the report of the five-man ad hoc committee was too voluminous. Rainbow Radio’s Parliamentary correspondent, Naa Darkuah Dodoo reporting the incident on Nyankonton Mu Nsem said, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu, indicated before the House that, they needed more time to go through it before triggering any debate whatsoever. Meanwhile, the committee has cleared the Trade Ministry of any wrongdoing after two weeks of probing the matter. The Committee in a 146-page report said “… After the hearings and the analysis and evaluation of the evidence adduced before it has come to a conclusion that there is no merit in the allegations leveled against the Ministry of Trade and Industry as contained in the Motion and which culminated in the setting up of the Special Committee.” The Committee, however, made the following recommendations: “That the Controller and Accountant General and the Ministry of Finance should consider in the formulation of the new Regulation of the PFM Act, adequate provision to cater for public private partnership arrangement and emerging or contemporary issues. “That there is a need to have a second look at the recall mechanism and ensure that it is not needlessly invoked at any time because of its mandatory nature in the Constitution. Upon a recall, Mr. Speaker may have to establish that there is a “prima facie” case and if Mr. Speaker is not satisfied that there is a good reason for the summoning, he may dispense with the meeting. This test is likely to curtail frivolous and vexatious request for a recall. “That the practice of some Members of Parliament trooping to the media to make allegations against highly placed officials must cease. The Committee is of the view that Members of Parliament who indulge in such acts ought not to be heard in Parliament if they should thereafter bring those matters before Parliament for Parliament to deliberate on the matter.”
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