Members of Parliament are expected to resume sitting today (May 19, 2020).
This will be the second meeting of this session and about 36 Bills are expected to be presented to the House within this meeting.
The 36 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 several debates concerning the resumption of parliament as COVID-19 demands social distancing.
The Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Ocquaye hinted ometime back that they may consider using the International Conference Centre because it will afford them the opportunity to spread the MPs so they do not sit close to each other.
“For the time being, we will want to leave one seat in between every two members so that you sit in a way that will be healthy for us and also we will be showing a good example…Meanwhile, we are in the process of making all relevant arrangements if we can relocate temporarily to the Conference Centre…And maybe these things will make people realize that Ghana is in need of a more spacious space. In future, all these will be considered. As much as possible, leave one seat in between,” he said.
He also said this move could inform Ghanaians that Parliament really needs a new chamber.
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.
Ghana’s COVID-19 cases as at May 18, 2020 stood at 5,735 with 1,754 recoveries.
The death toll still remains 29.