Govt may not be able to pay salaries, we have to show leadership – Bagbin tells MPs

Speaker Alban Bagbin has told Members of Parliament that information available to him indicate that if something is not done in the next three months, the government may not be able to pay salaries of workers.

He has therefore urged the lawmakers to show leadership.

“Honourable members, the information at my disposal, this is not something to discourage the committees from doing their work, if something is not done within the next three months government may not even be able to pay salaries. So we have to take leadership, we have to do a lot of things. With this the House is accordingly adjourned to Friday,” he said in Parliament on Thursday February 24.

As part of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday, Deputy Majority Leader Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin expressed concerns over the possible effect of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on Ghana’s economy.

In his view, the conflict is going to have an impact on import and also the strength of the local currency, the cedi.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament the Effutu lawmaker said “As a businessman, I am worried. I am concerned knowing that the value chain is going to be affected, imports will cost, duties will cost and if you look at what is happening to the cedi, now dollar is moving around a certain figure.

“This is about an international catastrophe which is affecting mother Ghana and the need for us to take away the politics and now have a new way of thinking to support our government. My Speaker, the call to evacuate Ghanaian citizens from Ukraine will come at a cost, no European country will evacuate our citizens for us, NATO will not do that, America will not do that.

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“There is going to be pressure on the limited resources that we have and as a nation, Ghanaian businesses who are supposed to do well to pay taxes they are going to suffer, their businesses will not do well the way they expect, their projection will be affected, that is the reality and I must bring this to the attention of all of us so that any policy that will be brought will be seen in that light.

“Of course Honourable Minority leader, you have not spoken into the mic but if you are talking about the E-levy, this is the more important reason why we need it. If you are talking about the E-levy, that was the next point I was getting to, that we should engage around it and find a way of generating revenue as a country to save the situation. Because we are not in normal times, Haruna Iddrisu couldn’t have raised this matter at a better time than now. This is a patriotic call from him.”

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu asked the government to take immediate steps to evacuate Ghanaian students from Ukraine following the crisis with Russia.

He said there is the need to assure the students and their parents that they have the support of the Government of Ghana and all Ghanaians.

“I mentioned this matter to the speaker that I wanted to invoke Order 72, to raise the matter of urgent public importance, which is to call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for the Interior, Minister for Finance to work together to take urgent steps to ensure the safety of of Ghanaian students in Ukraine, and to work towards the immediate evacuation of Ghanaian students, those studying in Ukraine.

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“This, we must do to assure the students and their parents that they are Ghanaian and they deserve our support. So it is a matter of urgent public importance because the Minister of Finance must make money readily available to the Foreign Minister.

“The situation in Ukraine is very worrying,” the Tamale South Member of Parliament said on the floor of the House.

The Government of Ghana had expressed concerns about the safety of Ghanaian students in Ukraine following the crisis with Russia.

In series of tweets, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said “The Government of Ghana is gravely concerned about the security and safety of our over 1000 students and other Ghanaians in Ukraine and has asked them to shelter in place in their homes or in government places of shelter, as we engage the authorities, our relevant diplomatic missions and our honorary consul on further measures.”

Meanwhile, Ghana’s Honorary Consul to Ukraine, Dr. Albert Kitcher has said it is not possible to evacuate Ghanaian students and Ghanaians in general from Ukraine at the moment following the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

He said the airspace of Ukraine has been shut hence, air travels are not possible.

Alternatively, he said, Ghanaians living close to the Russian borders will need to relocate to safer locations in Ukraine.

Speaking on the mid day news on TV3 Thursday February 24, Dr Kitcher said “The Ghanaian community is safe despite the early morning issue we all woke up to. As of last night, there was a state of emergency which was declared and because of that I sent messages to them.

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“So, I will say that our people are safe and I have spoken with some even this morning.”

He added “Where we are now, if we have everything we cannot evacuate because the Airspace of Ukraine is currently shut. What can be done is, if we identify any areas that prove to be problematic or people will be vulnerable there, to relocate them or evacuate them to a safer place.

“We had all these in plan knowing this will develop, so already, the Mission and the Ministry was working on the modalities to get the students out .

“If there will be any evacuation it will be an evacuation to safer place. We ourselves are looking at the situation, as it is now, if a place is so close to the Russian border we will want people to move from there. I had a communication also from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine and they advise that people stay calm.”

Although Ghanaian students in Ukraine have said they are safe in the interim, they have asked the Government of Ghana to prioritize evacuating them from that country due to the crisis with Russia.

President of the Ukraine Chapter of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Dr Phillip Bobie Ansah also told TV3’s Komla Adom on the Mid day news on Thursday February 24 that “absolutely, we are all safe as we speak now.”

Regarding the plea for them to be evacuated, he said “we have heard responses from the embassies.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana


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