Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express show, the one-time Sports Minister bemoaned that several attempts to get the Finance Minister to the floor of Parliament to answer key questions have proven futile.
He noted that, the Majority has been a stumbling block and always finding an excuse to defend the Minister’s absence.
He noted that since Ken Ofori-Atta was sworn in as the Finance Minister, he has constantly failed to conduct his own business on the floor of Parliament; thereby delegating his duties to his deputies.
“When I was the Majority Whip, find out from Seth Terkper, I gave him a permanent seat. I gave the Attorney General a permanent seat and the Finance Minister. I said no, these guys we need them every day here. We’ll need them so they must have a permanent seat.
“Any day you get Seth Terkper ask him, the quarrel, this Chair will tell you, you cannot be sending deputies, you have to be here. So he comes to sit, he appreciates the challenges that is going on, when you’re talking the person appreciates the challenges,” Muntaka said.
“These guys are always when I say this they say why am I saying this, they’ve turned the Finance Minister as a tin-god. 99% of his business has to be done by deputies; always begging, o you know he’s in some World Bank meeting, he’s in an IMF meeting, some foreign donors have come he’s in a meeting, so he won’t have time for Parliament? he quizzed.
“Always, if you want today going to July ending, tell your reporter Parker to count the number of times the Finance Minister will come and conduct business. His own business, not that the one we Parliament want him to do, his own business that he has generated from his Ministry that he wants Parliament to get done, he won’t find time to come and do that.
“When it’s time for budget then he’ll come, when it’s time for Mid-Year Review then he’ll come. Other than that nothing,” Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka observed.
The Minority Chief Whip was reacting to the Speaker’s statement about the lack of funds for the smooth running of Parliamentary business.
Alban Bagbin had earlier stated that Parliament is broke and lacked adequate funds to run its operations.
Corroborating the Speaker’s statement, the Asawase MP noted, “As we speak, money for 2022, apart from salaries, not a dime has been released. Even what was released last week, after Speaker’s comment, were part of the outstanding for 2021.
“If you ask the Members of Parliament they will tell you that MPs cannot open their mouths to talk about salaries. Today is 30th, I know many civil and public servants have received their salaries. If you are in this house, the earliest you should expect, sometimes, a week after the month has ended… 5th, 7th, sometimes, 10th. At the peak of the E-Levy. It came after 15 days. You say you won’t allow E-Levy so they don’t have money to pay.”