Parliament is to reconvene on January 18, 2011 to finalize work on both the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill.
The House began a three-week Christmas break on Wednesday December 21, without passing the two bills which are crucial for the administration of the nation’s emerging oil industry.
Majority Leader Hon Cletus Avoka had variously assured the House that the two bills would be passed. But a tall list of proposed amendments, coupled with pressure on Members of Parliament to pass the 2011 appropriation bill, compelled the House to put the two bills on hold until January 18, 2011.
The Majority side of the House has constantly been accused of slowing government business due to absenteeism on the part of key members and sometimes Ministers who are supposed to brief the House.
But speaking to Citi News, Majority Chief Whip, Hon. Gershon Gbediame rejected internal criticisms that his side should be blamed for not working hard enough to get the bill passed.
“It we wanted to extend the sitting, it would have meant that we were going to spend Christmas here. I can assure you that the over 200 amendments that have been filed will not less than one week to pass so it is not our fault. Nobody can accuse us for not doing our work” he said.
There are fears that by failing to pass the Bill, government would find it difficult to appropriately manage oil revenue coming from the Jubilee Field, which has already started commercial oil production. But, Minority Leader, Hon Kyei Mensah-Bonsu told Citi News there is no cause for alarm.
According to him, the release of the oil revenue into the Consolidated Fund is to be done on quarterly basis. This means that, passing the bills in January would not have dire consequences since the first tranche is likely to come in March 2011.