Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament on Thursday directed Chief Directors of the various Ministries to expressly communicate the absence of any Minister scheduled to answer questions on the floor of the House.
This followed the absence of the Fisheries Minister, Naa Afoley Quaye, nor her Deputy, Mr Ato Cudjoe to respond to three questions related to the sector, advertised on the Order Paper for the day.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu explained that the Minister had travelled outside the country; and the Speaker could not fathom why neither the Deputy Minister nor the Chief Director was not present to stand in for the Minister.
Speaker Oquaye therefore suspended sittings for the Deputy Minister and the Chief Director to appear before the House to verbally answer the questions.
Some hours elapsed, and when the House resumed sittings, the Deputy Minister was still not present, but it was learned that the Chief Director came to the House but left before sitting resumed.
Speaker Oquaye said: “As a House, we are here to work”, and that the questions advertised had been long standing ones, and it was important that the Chief Director accompanied the Minister to answer the questions.
The Speaker wondered why the Chief Director had not written expressly to inform Parliament of the non-availability of the Minister.
Prof Oquaye observed that Ministers could move from place to place, but the Chief Director must ensure that there was written correspondence to the House, when they have business to do in the House.
The Majority Leader apologised on behalf of the Minister, and later laid a paper on behalf of the Minister of Finance, who was also not available.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu announced that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice had furnished him with the schedule of movement and suggested if other Ministers could do same.
Mr Inusah Fuseini, MP for Tamale Central cautioned that Parliament could not play second fiddle to the Executive, and threatened that the House would withhold the subvention of the Ministries if they treated the Legislature with impunity.