Ministerial nominees: Stalemate persists; Minority determined not to approve – Ablakwa
North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa says the debate on the approval of the new ministerial nominees is in a stalemate.
According to him, discussions at a closed-door meeting between the leadership of both sides of the House had not resolved the issue yet.
Speaking in an interview on Joy FMs Newsnight on Thursday, he however stated that the Minority remains firm in its decision not to approve the new ministerial appointment.
“We are still standing where we stood when this report was put together, which is the fact that we are not endorsing any of these appointments,” he said.
The refusal to approve, according to him, is in Minority’s bid to have the government cut off its size, adding that “it is not as though we take issues with our colleagues who have received these nominations.”
He said the country is currently in economic hardship therefore the Minority cannot “endorse this nonchalant attitude.”
“Even members of the Diplomatic corps are calling on the President to downsize and so if we come along, we will be complicit and it will amount to a betrayal.
“It will mean that the people who sent us to Parliament and all the stakeholders …who are calling on leadership to downsize will mean that we haven’t listened and it will mean that we have no business being in Parliament,” he added.
He proposed a merger in some of the ministerial positions.
“Agric and Fisheries can be merged, Information and Communication can be merged, Railways and Transport can be merged – it was one ministry in the past under President Mahama, Chieftaincy and Tourism can be merged, Sanitation and Local government can be merged so that we reduce the numbers,” he suggested.
Meanwhile, prior to his comment, the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin urged parliamentarians to support the approval of the recently vetted ministerial nominees.
He said there is nothing in the 1992 Constitution that contradicts their qualification for the jobs.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, he said “as we know now, for the records, nobody has come out with any contrary view on these nominees.”
According to him, although members may have critiqued the size of government, “…the captain in charge is also constitutionally mandated to look at his vision and again move along with a certain number.”
“So I call on colleagues to do the needful by supporting this report so that by consensus, Mr Speaker, …Easter is just around the corner we are in the period of lent and fasting – Ramadan also just started, let us tell the country that because of the lent and Ramadan, every heat in us has been subdued and that we can make progress,” he urged.
It would be recalled that President Akufo-Addo on February 7, reshuffled some ministers in his government as well as nominated new ones to be approved by Parliament.
The Ministers were subsequently vetted by Parliament’s Appointment Committee for which a report was presented before Parliament to be debated.