Parliament is expected to commence sittings for the third session of the 8th Parliament at 10am today, Tuesday, February 7, 2023.
The House went on recess for the Christmas festivities in December 2022 following the approval of the 2023 Appropriation Bill.
The new session is expected to have a new leadership for the Minority side of the House.
Haruna Iddrisu has been removed as Minority leader and replaced with Cassiel Ato-Forson.
As part of the leadership changes, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, MP for Ellembelle replaced Ketu North MP, James Klutse Avedzi as the Deputy Minority Leader while Kwame Governs Agbodza replaced Asawase MP, Muntaka Mubarak as the Minority Chief Whip.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin would also be expected to admit papers, petitions, motions for debates and questions to be answered by sector ministers during this meeting.
Before the House rose, it added two new loans to the debt burden of Ghana’s already debt-distressed economy, which is seeking support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is currently negotiating tumultuous debt exchange programs with domestic and international creditors.
According to the House, 30 million Euros has been authorised as a loan to Finance the “Government Goes Solar Project” and another 116 million Euros to finance “the 330kv Accra-Kumasi Transmission Line Project.”
Despite the precarious state of Ghana’s debt situation, said to have reached an unsustainable level, the Minority group told the House they found it necessary to support the new loans – despite their general aversion to new loans for Ghana – because the terms of the facilities seemed favourable.
A raft of new laws was passed, including legislation providing for a reduction in the E-levy rate from 1.5 percent to 1 percent and an increase in the VAT rate by 2.5 percent in line with the new tax policies of the government.
There was also intense and relentless opposition to the National Cathedral Project by the Minority in Parliament forced the Government to abandon an 80 million Ghana cedis proposed allocation to the controversial project.
The government was forced to abandon its quest for the amount in a bid to save the budget of the Ministry of Tourism which would have been held hostage had the government not yielded to the demands of the Minority.