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Deal with MPs, ministers who travelled to Qatar amidst budget debate – Mahama to Akufo-Addo

Former President, John Dramani Mahama, has charged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to exercise his authority against some ministers and Members of Parliament who travelled to Qatar to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The presence of some ministers and MPs in Qatar for Ghana’s participation in the World Cup has attracted heavy criticism.

Some critics have pointed out that their travel coincided with parliament’s debate on the 2023 budget while others have cited the current state of the economy as grounds against the decision by the ministers and MPs to travel to Qatar.

John Dramani Mahama, while addressing the 13th congregation of the Accra Business School on Saturday, December 3, described the action of the ministers and MPs from the governing New Patriotic Party as a dereliction of duty by public officials never seen in the history of Ghana before.

“In the wake of all these disturbing happenings, government MPs and cabinet ministers seem to have no interest in appearing as the people’s representatives to debate the government’s own budget for 2023. Many have rather chosen and have been permitted to go on vacation to go and cheer the Black Stars,” he said.

“Only a handful of MPs on the minority side have shown up in Parliament this week to participate in the budget debate and defend the policy choices therein. I dare say never has a government shown disinterest in working on its own budget at a time of great economic crisis and suffering, during which utmost seriousness and urgency are required to address the problems that we face,” he added.

The former president, therefore, called on President Akufo-Addo to take action against the officials involved.

“This represents an unprecedented dereliction of duty and responsibility, and I think the President must be putting his foot down on this,” he said.

Parliament commenced debate on the 2023 budget on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.

The exercise which is deemed heavily crucial to the government’s ongoing negotiation with the International Monetary Fund was however poorly attended by MPs from the ruling party.

Out of the total number of 275 members making up their majority caucus, less than 30 from the governing NPP were recorded present in parliament on the day of the debate.

This was subsequently followed by photos being shared on social media by leading cabinet ministers including the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation Ursula Owusu-Ekuful indicating her presence in Qatar.

Meanwhile, a technical advisor at the Office of the Vice President, Dr Kabiru Mahama, has described the action by the officials as unjustifiable.

“I am sure that this is something the President will be very appalled at because the Members of Parliament are expected to sit through the debate of the budget.”

“That exercise of discretion by the cabinet ministers involved in this particular case was exercised without critical reflection on the situation because nothing justifies the fact that you are in this situation, and you go to Qatar to cheer the Black Stars,” Dr Mahama is quoted in a report.





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