Gov’t lays Restriction Bill in Parliament to deal with COVID-19

Gov’t lays Restriction Bill in Parliament to deal with COVID-19

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

The government has laid the Imposition of Restriction Bill in Parliament to deal with the growing cases of COVID-19.

The Bill was brought to the House by the Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, under a certificate of urgency.

Ghana records a total of nine cases of coronavirus infection

While recognising the fundamental rights enshrined in Article 21, the Bill also takes into account the circumstances under which these rights may be curtailed in the interest of public safety and order.

The Bill, when passed, will give sweeping powers to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to impose restrictions on Ghanaians to deal with the coronavirus infection.

The President will also be clothed with the power to restrict movements, including entry into Ghana.

Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak

But the Minority in Parliament has described the powers that would be exercised by the President when the Bill is passed into as “too broad.”

“Going through it [Bill], I didn’t see anywhere in it [where] coronavirus [was] mentioned… and I also think it wants to give the President unlimited or a blank cheque. I don’t see how Parliament will serve the interest of this country by doing this,” Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, said.

The legislator wants the government to activate its powers under the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851) rather than asking for new powers.

“I believe they are not ready to use the Public Health Act because if they were, they will see that this situation that we find ourselves is perfectly dealt with in the Public Health Act. That is the best for now,” Mr Muntaka said.

Ghana has recorded its ninth case of coronavirus infection since the first two were announced last Thursday.

The President has directed the suspension of all mass gatherings, including churches, funerals and conferences in a bid to contain the situation.

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