- The laying of a committee report on the Ghana-US military partnership agreement before Parliament was on Thursday postponed by the Speaker
- This followed the failure of the two sides of the House to come to a consensus on the report
- While the Majority stated that the report was ready to be laid for debate, the Minority insisted that it was not ready
The Minority in Parliament, on Thursday, March 22, blocked the laying before Parliament of the military partnership agreement between Ghana and the US.
The Joint Committee on Defence and Interior and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, was expected to lay their report on the agreement seeking to ratify the hosting of US military troops in Ghana.
But there seemed to be a disagreement between the two sides of the House.
While the Majority said the report was ready for to be laid for a subsequent debate, the Minority insisted that the report was not ready.
Deputy Majority Leader, Adwoa Safo, who spoke for her side, disclosed that she had been informed by the Chairman of the Committee that “the report is ready, but it is not being taken today, we are only laying it and the report will be taken tomorrow [Friday].”
But her counterpart from the Minority, James Avedzi, vehemently disagreed saying, “The indication I have from the ranking member of the committee says that the 5(C) is not ready so I don’t know where the chairman is coming from. So the report for this agreement is not ready.”
The Speaker, Mike Ocquaye, had no option than to rule for the laying of the report to be postponed in order that the two sides could reach a consensus on it.
“If the report is ready it is ready. If it is not ready, you negotiate and if there is a negotiation and there is understanding I [will] proceed. [But] it appears there is clearly no negotiation so no progress”, the Speaker said.
The Ghana-US military partnership agreement which has come to be known as the US military base deal has become a contentious issue since the information became public.
The agreement which will give some space around the Kotoka International Airport as a camp for some US military forces in Ghana will exempt the US government from paying taxes on equipment that is brought to Ghana.
Also, the US troops will be given the chance to set their own telecommunication system, although they will be allowed to use Ghana’s radio spectrum free of charge.
All of these, among many other things, will be given to the US in exchange for $20 million of training for the Ghana Armed Forces.
Many Ghanaians have deemed the agreement as an insult to the sovereignty of Ghana and have kicked against it.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise to see not willing to allow the report to be laid before Parliament.
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