The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has instructed the Business Committee to schedule appearances by three ministers next week to provide explanations for the delayed payment to members of the National Food Suppliers Association over the past two years.
The ministers of Finance, Education, and Food and Agriculture have been directed to address the House and shed light on the cause of this challenge, enabling Parliament to assist the Executive in finding a solution.
In his address to Parliament, Speaker Bagbin recalled his surprise visit to the Buffer Stock Company in June 2022, which unsettled some individuals who mistakenly believed he was encroaching on their responsibilities.
Acknowledging the current situation, Speaker Bagbin agreed with the Business Committee’s decision to program the appearance of the three ministers before the House.
“As the leader of this House and the Head of the institutions, it is important that I keep drawing your attention as the representative of the people so that you can properly represent the interest of your constituents.
“Now, this is where we are now. And so, I agree the Business committee programme for the three ministers to come before the House. The three ministers should tell us why the challenge; we will be able to assist the Executive to solve some of these problems,” he stated.
The Speaker’s directive followed an application made by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the National Democratic Congress MP for North Tongu. Ablakwa raised concerns about the absence of the delayed payment issue in the business statement presented by Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin.
Ablakwa highlighted the ongoing picketing and demonstrations by food suppliers at the Buffer Stock Company over the past four days, emphasizing the national significance of the delayed payments.
Ablakwa cited a distressing video, shared by the Minority Leader, depicting affected women rolling on the floor at the Buffer Stock Company premises.
Expressing his concern, he recalled the Speaker’s visit to the Buffer Stock Company on June 23, 2022, where the worsening food situation was already cautioned.
Given the urgency of the matter, Ablakwa appealed for the Finance, Education, and Food and Agriculture ministers to be expeditiously scheduled for appearances before the House.
He also highlighted reports of the Minister of Education’s request to the Finance Minister for a release, which had not been granted. Ablakwa stressed the need to address the plight of starving mothers and children and urged swift action by Parliament.