Press spotlights fireworks in Parliament over fate of 2022 budget, others

The report of fireworks in Parliament today as the House resumes to determine the fate of the 2022 Budget Statement…

The report of fireworks in Parliament today as the House resumes to determine the fate of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government following the controversy that accompanied its rejection last Friday is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Ghanaian Times reports that there is every indication that there will be fireworks in Parliament today as the House resumes to determine the fate of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government following the controversy that accompanied its rejection last Friday.

The Majority caucus has dismissed the decision of the House describing it as “null, void, and of no effect” and expressed its determination to undo the rejection.

The House, presided over by the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, last Friday rejected the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government after the Majority caucus staged a walk-out leaving their Minority colleagues in the House to toss the budget.

Shortly afterward the Majority at a press conference after the 137 opposition lawmakers took the decision in their absence from the chamber said, the House was not properly constituted to take that decision.

“That whole procedure was unconstitutional. As far as we are concerned, it’s null and void and has no binding effect on anybody. The motion on the budget, as far as we are concerned, hasn’t been pronounced on by Parliament, and it’s still standing in the name of the Finance Minister and in the fullness of time, a properly constituted House, not one presided over by the Rt Honorable Speaker, will make the decision,” Majority Leader, OseiKyei-Mensah-Bonsu told the media on Friday night.

The newspaper says that the World Bank has urged Ghana to accelerate economic transformation by creating more decent jobs for its growing youthful population to address the fast-paced unemployment challenge in the country.

The Bank noted that although the country had over the last two decades, become a rising star in Africa, nearly doubling its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and halving poverty rates, challenges of unemployment remained a major setback to economic growth.

By 2040, the country’s population (currently 30.8 million) is projected to rise to 45 million, with 58 per cent of the population under 30 years.

This implies that around 10 million Ghanaians would enter the labour force between now and 2040.

The Ghana Living Standards Survey round seven (GLSS7) has also noted that the country’s unemployment rate for the population aged 15-35 years has reached 12.6 per cent.

Also, more than 70 per cent of current jobs are in the informal sector of the economy while over 65 per cent of formal jobs are categorised as “vulnerable employment [an employment, often characterised by inadequate earnings, low productivity and difficult conditions of work].”

Owing to this situation, the Bank, through its “Ghana rising: Accelerating economic transformation and creating jobs” report, proposed a pathway for Ghana to accelerate economic growth through digital technologies and high-value services to drive the creation of more and higher-quality jobs.

It said, the country needed to rapidly increase its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI – which stood at US$874.01 million at the first half of 2021), services exports, and access to physical and digital infrastructure.

The Graphic reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that a reform of the system, under which legal education currently operates in Ghana, is necessary to accommodate current realities, adding that the new system should be will have to be girded by a strong element of sustainability.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “Sustainable legal education will have, as its base, the establishment of a regime that will consider the pressing needs of the growing law student population and the expected demands of the generation unborn that will study law. It will be qualitative in its operation, but with a fair and balanced quantitative selection system”.

He also stressed that “it must also streamline the regulatory dualism between the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission and the General Legal Council when it comes to legal education. I have to restate my conviction that the General Legal Council must have the final say. “

The President made this known on Monday, November 29, 2011, when he delivered a speech at the International Conference on the Future of Legal Education in Ghana/Africa, held at the Auditorium of the University of Ghana School of Law, Legon, Accra.

He indicated that he has already asked the Attorney-General to fast-track the balance of consultations on the Legal Profession Bill, and lay it before Cabinet and, ultimately, Parliament as soon as possible for enactment.

“This Bill aims to address comprehensively the issues of legal education in Ghana today. It must dispel the notion that the legal profession is a guild, a small club of mostly men, which is difficult to penetrate”, he said.

The newspaper says that the Ministry of Health has taken delivery of additional 3,086,280 doses of COVID-19 vaccines since Monday, November 22 this year to boost the national journey towards herd immunity.

The number comprises 1.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines purchased by the government under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and 1,736,280 doses of Pfizer vaccines from the United States of America, bringing the US-donated vaccines to more than 4.2 million doses since September, and 150,000 doses of the AstraZeneca from the government of Greece.

This brings to 12,324,710 the doses of vaccines that have come into the country so far.

The ministry is expecting over seven million more vaccines before the close of the year.

Data put out by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) indicates that more than 5,451,291 people of the entire population had received their first jabs, while only seven per cent of the number targeted to reach herd immunity has been fully vaccinated.

The national target is to reach at least a 60 per cent herd immunity by vaccinating at least 20 million people by the close of the year.

Presenting the vaccines from the US through the COVAX facility, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan, said the support was to save Ghanaian lives as America worked together with other countries to defeat the virus.

“These doses are the same safe and effective vaccines used in the United States.

There is no better time for Ghanaians to protect their families and communities by getting the jab,” she said.

“In September, President (Joe) Biden committed to donating 1.1 billion doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine worldwide.

The Greek Foreign Minister, Mr Nikos Dendias, said Greece was committed to supporting Ghana to beat the global pandemic not because his country was out of the woods but because of Greece’s commitment to the strong relations between the two countries.

“This is an expression of solidarity of Greece to Ghana and its people. Greece actively supports Ghana in fighting the pandemic.

It is important for countries to share their resources so that together we can win the fight against the pandemic globally,” he added.

“The purpose of my visit is really to pave the way for the businessmen to invest more and do more,” Mr Dendias underlined, adding that the two countries could also focus on collaborations in maritime security, energy and tourism.