Parliament’s lawmaking and policy approval powers could transform the country’s industrial fortunes if exercised effectively, Executive Chairman of Tropical Cables and Conductor Limited, Dr. Anthony Oteng Gyasi, has said.
He said Parliament makes laws and approves governments’ spending; and policies and by this, remains the only body capable of using law or legal means to direct and stimulate the country’s industrialisation and economic development.
“Apart from making laws, Parliament is responsible for approving national budget and other policies of the government; so essentially, in my opinion, Parliament is critical if we are to use law and legal means as a way of developing industry. So that is the role in which l see Parliament,” he said.
For this to happen, however, he said the legislative body should begin to work constructively in the interest of the country and not necessarily the various political lines represented in the house.
Regarded as one of the country’s most successful industrialists, Dr. Oteng Gyasi, who is also Chairman of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), spoke during a meeting between captains of industry and parliamentarians in Accra organised by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI).
The meeting was attended by Majority Leader of Parliament and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ellembelle Constituency and Ranking Member of Parliament’s Trade, Industry and Tourism Committee, Emmanuel Armah Buah.
As the people’s representatives, he said MPs had the power to make laws and approve policies to drastically change the economy from being import dependent to an industrial and manufacturing hub on the continent, and to also bring the sort of economic transformation that Ghanaians so much desire.
“It is only Parliament that can approve taxes, so I expect that if taxation can be used to improve industry, how is it using import duty as a way of promoting industry?
“How does Parliament use its power more as helping to raise revenue and helping to structure industry toward the kind of structural change that we all talk about?” the former AGI President added.
For instance, for a long time now, he said AGI has been advocating taxes to be moved from the pre-production stage to post production stage, as commonly practised in most industrialised countries.
Explaining further, he said: “The taxes can be transferred from the stage where you have the chance to produce. So the question is, how does Parliament help us to do this? This is the kind of role I expect from Parliament”.
Responding to the concerns raised by Dr. Oteng Gyasi, the Majority Leader and MP for Suame Mazagine said: “Who fashions the policy? It comes back to the quality of materials we have in the Cabinet. It is Cabinet that has the responsibility to evolve policy. Then, the policy will come to parliament just for us to see whether the programmes fit into the policy of the government. But the policy itself is determined by the ruling party.”
Mr. Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, however, believes that the country’s industrial woes and economic development at large could change for good if the role of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) is strengthened.
In this regard, he said all political parties could be coerced to design their manifestos around a nationally accepted long-term development plan drafted by the NDPC.
When this happens, he said, no ruling party will be able to carry out activities that are not in sync with the country’s long-term development goals.