Parliament has approved a €20 million loan agreement between the Government of Ghana and the German Development Bank Group, Frankfurt am Main, to finance the green credit line.
The facility, which falls under the reform and investment partnership between the governments of Ghana and Germany, is expected to help reduce carbon emissions.
Twice last week the House failed to approve the loan due to a lack of quorum for the decision, which was raised by the minority.
When the motion was introduced in the House on Tuesday, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, MP for Ajumaku Enyan Esiam, raised the minority’s concern over the quorum issue based on Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution and the recent Supreme Court decision.
Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Vice-President, presiding as President, after a count, indicated that he was confident that the numbers were up and, therefore, put the motion to a voice vote and it was approved.
However, this ruling by the Speaker was not well received by the minority side of the House.
Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamekpor, the MP for South Dayi, who again raised the minority’s concern over the issue of quorum for decision-making, said there were 98 MPs in the House at the time of the count and that House had not met the quorum requirement for decision-making.
Citing the Supreme Court in the case of Justice Abdulai v. Attorney General, Mr. Dafeamekpor said: “Parliament is first and foremost a deliberative chamber, where members come together to debate and discuss various matters of public interest. For this deliberative function, when the members are not yet called upon to vote to decide a matter (for example to approve a contract or a bill), but simply to discuss or debate it, the Constitution by article 102 sets a lower quorum threshold, i.e. one-third of all Members of Parliament – not including any member (Vice-President) who might be presiding at that time”.
“However, when Parliament needs to exercise its legislative power to decide or determine a matter before it, the Constitution sets a higher quorum threshold, requiring, in this case, that at least half of all Members be present. before the vote can take place. .”
Mr Dafeamekpor said: “Mr. Speaker, I submit that at the time the question was asked and a voice vote was taken, we were 98 members in this chamber. 98. Mr. President, therefore, I propose that the decision we have recently taken be invalid. Is invalid. Mr President, it is on the grounds that there was no quorum to decide.
“Mr. Speaker, I therefore challenge the ruling that the ‘yes’ were voted in accordance with motion number 11. Mr. Speaker, I further request the House for a count on the matter.”
Madame Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe-Ghansah, the MP for Ada, who noted that since they had the Supreme Court decision, they never had peace in the House, therefore urged the House to convey a full committee meeting to resolve the issue.
Mr. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, Deputy Majority Leader/MP for Efutu, who agreed with Mrs. Cudjoe-Ghansah on the issue of a Committee of the Whole meeting, proposed to the Speaker to adjourn for 30 minutes for leadership to meet and discuss the issue.
The President then suspended the session for 30 minutes.
When the House resumed, Dr Forson, who was the available leader on the minority side, said that in accordance with the decisions they had made at the conference meeting, the agreement was that the House should carry on with the business of the day.
He said the clerk made it clear to them at the conference meeting that they had the numbers; more than half representing the 138 required to form a quorum; saying “we have no problem, if indeed it was, the proof has been shown to us.”
Dr Forson, who said the minority would always raise quorum when needed, also called on members of the majority to take government business more seriously.
Mr Afenyo-Markin said they had no doubt in their minds that the tally made by the Table Office was correct.
He encouraged MPs to be punctual and regular in the House to deal with government business, as well as public business.