Appear personally : Govt Assurance C’ttee of Parliament directs ministers

The Chairman of the Government Assurance Committee of Parliament, Patricia Appiagyei, has directed ministers of state to appear personally before the committee to answer to questions pertaining to the fulfilment of the assurances they made to Parliament.
She said per the mandate of the committee, no minister who appeared before Parliament to make “promises, undertakings and assurances” should delegate deputies to speak to those assurances at the committee’s hearings.

“Once a minister is still at post, the minister is required to appear personally to answer those questions,” she directed.


Why directive?

Ms Appiagyei, who is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Asokwa, gave the directive when the Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Dan Botwe, appeared before the committee to answer questions on how he had fulfilled the various assurances and promises he made when he appeared before the Eighth Parliament as a minister of state.

Her directive was triggered by an attempt by the Local Government ministry to send a deputy minister, O. B. Amoah, to stand in for the minister, following a letter the committee wrote to the ministry asking Mr Botwe to appear before it.


But the committee objected to a letter from the ministry to allow the deputy minister rather than the minister himself.

No witch-hunting

Prior to commencement of yesterday’s hearing where Mr Botwe appeared himself, Ms Appiagyei said the committee acknowledged the attempt by the ministry to see a deputy minister respond to questions on assurances that were made by Mr Botwe.

She said the committee rejected the idea without any malice but on principles of the committee’s mandate.

She explained that the committee had the mandate not to witch-hunt but to ensure that promises, undertakings and assurances that had been given by ministers of state in Parliament were fulfilled.


The Ranking Member of the committee and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Nkwanta North, John Bless Oti, said: “Per the workings and principles as a committee, we only deal with ministers who are the heads of the various ministries.”

Responding, Mr Botwe told the committee when the ministry received the invitation for him to appear before the committee, Mr O. B. Amoah was requested to represent him since he was outside Accra on official duty.

He said he was therefore surprised to hear later on radio that he did not honour the invitation and should rather appear in person.

“Sitting here, I do not believe the answers are in person because they are officially given; these answers are sought from official sources and they are officially given by the ministers of state.


“So, I thought that an official, for that matter, a deputy minister, could stand in to give those responses,” he said.

Assurances

Mr Botwe had gone to answer questions on assurances such as the election or approval of presiding members, the elevation of Jasikan and Guan districts into municipalities and budgetary allocation to them, construction of jubilee markets, especially the Jasikan market, and the purchase of 10,000 motorbikes for assembly members in 261 assemblies.

Source: graphiconline

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