Ghana's MPs are expected back in the House tomorrow

Speaker of Parliament Professor Mike Oquaye has recalled Members of Parliament (MPs) from indefinite suspension for the third time in less than a month to consider waiving of Value Added Tax (VAT) on donations to fight Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19).

The lawmakers are expected in the House tomorrow Thursday April 30, 2020.

A statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Ms Kate Addo indicated that “The sitting, will among other things, consider waiving Value Added Tax (VAT) on donations of stock of equipment and goods for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The statement added that MPs would also consider “permitting the deduction of contributions and donations towards COVID-19 as allowable expense for tax purposes.”

Furthermore, the lawmakers would consider “extending the due date for filing of taxes from four months to six months after the end of the basis year.”

The measure has become necessary due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the livelihoods and life in general.

The latest recall is the third time by Speaker Oquaye since he suspended the sitting indefinitely on Saturday, April 4.

The House was expected to adjourn indefinitely and go on recess after the first meeting of the fourth session of Parliament.

However, Professor Oquaye told the legislators that they could not go on holidays because “we are not in ordinary times,” referring to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the House described the move as dictatorial and threatened to seek legal redress.

“What he has done remains the gravest ever threat to Parliamentary democracy in Ghana and an assault on the Minority in Parliament.

“He simply doesn’t respect due process. He simply doesn’t respect rule of law,” Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told journalists outside the chamber.

However, the minority group is yet to seek constitutional interpretation of the actions of Speaker Oquaye at the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land.

Previous recalls

It would be recalled that the MPs were brought to the to consider a statement from the Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta on expenditure to fight the pandemic, which the NDC MPs said should have been done before they rose.

Again, on April 15, MPs were recalled to consider the appointment of Ledzokuku MP, Bernard Okoe-Boye, as Deputy Minister for Health.

The indefinite suspension allows the Speaker to recall the House at any time it is necessary to do so without the necessary 14-day notice if Parliament were to adjourn indefinitely.