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Speaker summons MPs for undisclosed ‘urgent business’

Members of parliament have been summoned to appear before the House for a two-day sitting on Thursday and Friday to consider what the Speaker’s office has described as “urgent parliamentary business”.

A statement dated April 23 which was signed and issued by the Speaker of Parliament Prof. A. Micheal Oquaye fell short of details of the “urgent business”.

The MPs have since March 30 been on recess and are expected to resume on May 15.

“The speaker of parliament hereby direct that parliament shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary be recalled from the recess to sit on Thursday, the 26th day of April to Friday, the 27th day of April 2018,” the statement directed.

Some minority MPs contacted told 3news.com they are unaware of the nature of the urgent business and that they have on the receipt of the summon been fishing for details.

According to some of them, the majority side has not been forthcoming with details and suspect they want to pull a surprise on them

Checks by 3news.com suggest the MPs are being recalled to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ebenezer Padi Adjirackor, in a letter dated April 17 requested the Speaker of Parliament to recall the MPs to consider and ratify the said Africa Union agreement, to enable President Nana Akufo-Addo to give it executive approval.

However, some MPs told 3news.com the suspect the recall is also to ratify the 2015 defence cooperation agreement that Ghana entered into with the US, which the government said was not ratified by parliament as required by the constitution.

 What is AfCFTA?

African heads of government agreed to establish a continental free trade area in 2012 and started negotiations in 2015.

The agreement is set to be signed by all 55 member states of the African Union, bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion.

The draft agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later.

The agreement will also liberalise services and aims to tackle so-called “non-tariff barriers” which hamper trade between African countries, such as long delays at the border.

Eventually, free movement of people and even a single currency could become part of the free trade area.

By 3news.com|Additional files from Aljazeera

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