Parliament resumes sittings today

Parliament will later today [Tuesday, May 19, 2020] commence sittings for the second meeting of this session.

About 36 Bills are expected to be presented to the House within this meeting.

These Bills include the Affirmative Action Bill, 2020, the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2020, the National Ambulance Service (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2020. Eighteen Bills are currently at the Committee level and expected to be worked on during this meeting.

There have been concerns about Parliament’s resumption amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been various suggestions as to how the House should operate and have its sittings to prevent a possible spread of COVID-19.

In a bid to observe social distancing protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu says some members may have to sit at the public gallery during proceedings.

He said in an earlier Citi News interview that, “we’ve also stopped the public from visiting to observe proceedings. That space is free and as part of discussions, we are thinking that perhaps if members come in their numbers, we may ask some of them to relocate upstairs, to populate what otherwise should serve as the public gallery.”

Akandoh’s suggestions

The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh in an interview last week also made some proposals that the House should sit in batches or convene intermittently to protect legislators from the virus.

“They should call us to come and deal with specific issues and then go back. By now every Member of Parliament should have been tested. We travel more than anybody in this country. It should not be as though we are superhuman beings. I think if indeed we are going to be called to do a specific business, I do not have a problem. But sitting as though there is nothing at stake, I vehemently oppose that idea,” he said.


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