Parliament’s Focus misplaced – Dr Raymond Atuguba


Dr. Raymond A. Atuguba, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana’s School of Law, has said that Parliament has focused on corruption as the number one problem and overlooked other socio-economic issues that fall under their oversight functions.

He was speaking at a public forum organised by Centre for Social Democracy on the topic

He said that parliament had generally allowed the Executive, without real parliamentary input, to foist on Ghanaians, mainly due to promptings from external masters, and without real and scientific bases, corruption, as the number one problem of Ghana.

However, he argued that corruption was a problem but not the problem.

Dr. Atuguba sighted poor quality of education, carnage on roads, poor healthcare, and illegal assault on media freedom as other areas that Parliament needed to oversee as part of their oversight functions.

According to Dr. Atuguba, research conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa indicates that 88% of children and adolescents will enter adulthood without a basic proficiency in reading and this he said raises the issue of quality and not quantity in the just implemented free senior high school policy.

He questioned parliament’s scrutiny of the policy before the Executive’s decision to roll it out.

Dr. Atuguba said estimates showed that Ghana had been losing over 1 billion cedis yearly due to road accidents. The loss correlates to 1.7% of the country’s GDP.

In the area of health, he sighted an instance where in New York City, an emergency City Council meeting had been called because the average response time for an ambulance in the City had increased from 7 minutes to 9 minutes as compared to Ghana where it took hours, and sometimes days for ambulances to arrive, and to take patients to hospitals that had no basic facilities.

Dr. Atuguba expressed his inability to understand why corruption was the number one issue in Ghana

He said that the focus of parliament appeared to be on petty thievery instead of the billions lost through mega thievery by the multi-national and trans-national companies.

He sighted a report by ISODEC which revealed that Ghana was losing US$340 million annually, due to Illicit Financial Flows, and referred the Ministry of Finance’s recent statement that their revenue projections were short by 2 billion cedis.

Furthermore, he said that the executive had not only targeted the wrong aspects of corruption,  but also formulated the wrong responses to corruption.

Dr. Atuguba applauded parliament for rejecting the bill on the establishment of an office of a special prosecutor and argued that the establishment of that office was in violation of Article 88 of the Constitution and would not have passed the muster of our Supreme Court.

He urged parliament to scrutinise executive plans and budget, change them where necessary and refocus the Nation on what matters to Ghanaians.


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