The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has given an assurance that in spite of the tension between the two sides of Parliament, he will contribute his best to manage the House.
The Speaker said it was important that the House led by example as the people were looking up to Members of Parliament (MPs), particularly the leadership, to act and take decisions that would inure to the benefit of the nation.
“The people are looking up to us; they are not looking down because we are not down, we are up; and that leadership we must not fail to provide,” he said.
Mr Bagbin gave the assurance following incidents that preceded the tabling of the motion, the consideration and subsequent passage of the Electronic Transactions Levy (E-levy) Bill.
The Speaker admonished the leadership of the House to desist from pulling surprises on him.
According to him, he had no idea the bill had been tabled for discussion on Monday, for which reason he was shocked when it was moved.
“When you keep on giving surprises to the Speaker, the Speaker will also give you surprises,” he warned.
Mr Bagbin added that the walkout by the Minority was also shocking, saying “the movement of the motion was a surprise and the walkout is another surprise,” he said, adding: “The situation is sometimes overwhelming”.
The Speaker further said that although it was the President’s birthday on Monday, it was not an occasion for MPs to be pulling stunts on him.
The Speaker, who returned to the chair after being away for a medical review in the United Arab Emirates, also urged members of the House to maintain the ethics, courtesies and respect for one another by using courteous language in discourses in the House.
He also expressed his appreciation to MPs for holding the fort in his absence.
“I just want to tell you that I have landed and I want to thank all of you for holding on in my absence, especially my deputies for presiding, the leadership for assisting and guiding you to manage the House and members for your patience and comportment and attention,” Mr Bagbin said.
After the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, had tabled the motion on the E-levy Bill, the MP for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng, seconded it, after which the Majority Caucus moved for the bill to be deliberated on in the House.
The Minority, however, expressed their disgust about the situation, describing it as an ‘ambush’.
According to the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the Majority Caucus ambushed the Minority by smuggling the consideration of the bill into the Order Paper.
“We have, time and again, warned and cautioned that we never want to be taken by surprise on a major economic policy of the government and we will not accept that culture.
“When the business statement was presented last week, it (E-levy) was not part of the business approved for the House.
“Parliament cannot be that when a side is convenient with its number, then the business can go on. It cannot be; we will not accept that culture.
When the Majority did not have the numbers, they weren’t ready; now that they have the numbers, they say we should do business,” Mr Iddrisu said.