VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Presentation of Papers -- Acting Hon Majority Leader, are we ready to present the Papers in respect of item 4?
Madam Speaker, we have three Papers to present and the Hon Minister of State at the Office of the President will present one. And I would crave your indulgence, so that he can lay the Papers for items (4)(a) and (b) 4
Item 4(a) -- to be presented by the Hon Minister for _Finance and Economic Planning.
Item 4(c) is not coming on? Is it? -
Madam Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Health is here and with the indulgence of my,Hon Colleague Minority Leader opposite, I would want to ask your permission to allow him to lay the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister. By the Deputy Minister for Health (A/Ir Robert./'. Mettle-Nunoo) (on behalf of the Minister for Health) - Ministry of Health's Audit Report Implementation Committee (ARIC) Statement on the Auditor- General's Reports for the years ended 31st December 2007, 2008 and 2009. Referred to the Public Accounts Committee.
Hon Members, item 5 then?
Yes, Hon Member?
Madam Speaker, the documents said to have been laid, have you seen copies? 1511 Papers 27 February,
I will check up.
They have not come here; they should not pretend that they do not know what is right. They have not been brought here; where are they?
Hon P. C. Appiah- Ofori, if we give you copies and we do not lay the Report today -
They have not come.
You will get them.
Madam Speaker, I understand the frustration of Hon P. C. Ofori. But the understanding is that - and also the Standing Order provides that the Paper is laid and then it is distributed. So he can be sure that once the Paper is laid, enough copies have been brought to Parliament and so they would be distributed and he would definitely get a copy.
What kind of behaviour is this? We try and behave as if we are not honest.
Madam Speaker, Hon P. C. Appiah-Ofori used a language that is very unparliamentary. He said: "We" try and behave as if we are not honest, which is very unparliamentary and I wish he could withdraw it.
Hon P. C., objection has been taken.
Madam Speaker, send somebody to the mails room and if he finds the documents there, I will withdraw the statement immediately; other than that, I stand by it. Somebody should go and verify whether they are there.
Madam Speaker, you just said that the Papers should now be distributed. So the distribution would take place. It is not as if the Papers were in their pigeonholes before they were laid. So he would have to understand the process and I will crave your indulgence for him to go ahead and apologize for referring to other people as not being honest, so that we can move on. Madam Speaker, I think you should encourage him to do so.
Well, he says if he sees the Papers, he would withdraw it. Have you got the Papers to show him now?
Madam Speaker, I think that the issue that was raised about the laying of Legislative Instruments (L.I.s) and that generated a lot of debate, was to the effect that if a Paper is to be laid, the Clerk- at-the-Table is sure that enough copies have been brought. And this morning, I am sure that this is what has been satisfied, that is Why they have been laid. So for anybody to' be talking about the distribution, which in your own direction- it has been laid and it is for distribution. So we must trust each other and we must trust that the Clerk -at-the-Table would not mislead you the Speaker and all of us. Therefore, having laid this, I think that it is only proper for us to accept on the basis that there are sufficient copies. For the comment he made - he is my senior Brother, I think that there was really no need for him to say what he said. And so, he should withdraw it. The implication of being honest, I do not know who he is referring to but it is not fair to use it in Parliament. Parliament is an Honourable and august House and we must use descent language.
Hon P. C, I am reliably informed that the Papers are ready and Will be distributed today. If so, then your comment, would it be in order? If not, why do you not just withdraw
Madam Speaker, I withdraw it.
I thank you, Hon Member. Shall we continue? I hope you would serve him with his copies today? Leader, let us move to item number 5 and start with the debate.
Madam Speaker, may I request that once the Hon Deputy Minister is here and laid the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister, could we take item 9, so that we can discharge him?
Well, we had agreed on this already and item 9 was going to be taken by the Second Deputy Speaker, who is not here. He would come; you see - this is why I tell you Hon Members that we also plan our programmes. I was not to take item 9. If I tell you that I have the Bill here-because I was not going to take item 9 - I would not be telling you the truth. What is wrong with taking item 5? The Minister must come everyday if he can. We will welcome him here - everyday; so if he can stay a little longer because the Second Deputy Speaker has just gone to see the President about the ECOWAS meeting; he would be on his way. So let us start with item 5; we have a lot of people who are going to make Statements. I know the Minister wants to go but --
Madam Speaker, we can go with Motion number 9.
I did not say we should go with Motion number 9. I said I am not going with Motion number 9 -
Item 5, I made a mistake. Sorry, Madam Speaker.
All right. Thank you. Motion number 5 then.
Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion to thank the President for his Message on the State of the Nation. Madam Speaker, on the 7th of January, 2009, the destiny Of this Country, Ghana, was handed Over to the President and his team to govern--- with the firm promise to manage the resources towards a better Ghana. We are in the fourth year Of President reign and we have just listened to his fourth State of the Nation Address. Looking critically at what has happened in the country for the past three years and looking at
You know you have ten minutes?
-- and looking at his State of the Nation Address, the question one would ask is - is 2012 Ghana better than 2003 Ghana? The answer, Madam Speaker, in my opinion is, no. [Interruptions_] And I would justify why I am saying it is, no. [Interruptions] Madam Speaker [Interruptions] --
Let us hear from the Hon Member.
Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleagues on the other side are saying, "yes", because they think the mere provision of exercise books, the mere provision of school uniforms, the mere construction of school blocks are enviable achievements. What I am saying is that, these are not enviable achievements and these are not legacies to be proud of. The fact of the matter is that, Madam Speaker, all governments since independence have also constructed school blocks, they have also supplied school uniforms, they have also supplied exercise books. Achievements -- [interruptions] - that are enviable, Madam Speaker, are those that have to do with coming out with effective social intervention policies to mitigate the effects of hardships on the people. These are enviable achievements and by this, I mean examples like National Health Insurance Scheme, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, the free bussing of people, mass spraying of cocoa farms and those social intervention programmes that were
Madam Speaker, I have a point of order. Madam Speaker, I really find it extremely difficult that my Hon Brother on the other side can get up and give his own meaning to "social intervention", to the extent that he describes "provision", a major policy - giving free school. uniforms to children is not a policy, giving free exercise books, in his opinion, is not 4 an intervention - [Interruption] - The school feeding programme that they brought, increasing it from 5,000 to over 1,000,000 is not an intervention and he defines his own "intervention".
Madam Speaker, he is completely misleading the House [Interruption] -- It is not a matter of opinion. Madam Speaker, he is misleading Ghanaians and he must tell me where he is getting those meanings from. Which dictionary?
Hon Member, unless you show me the Order which shows that giving an interpretation to something is wrong, I will find it difficult to uphold this point of order.
Madam Speaker, I think, immediately we get up an say "he is misleading the House , the Order becomes very clear. All of us here know exactly which Order talks of when one get up and misleads the House. Madam Speaker, it is on that Order that I am coming and saying that the Hon Member must do the honorable thing by just_going straight and telling Ghanaians what this Government can do and not trying to change history.
Hon Member, I thank you. You are out of order. Hon Member, carry on.
Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague is rather misleading the House. Madam Speaker, the reality of the situation is tIi)at the state of the nation, Ghana is not healthy. There are problems such as increasing poverty, mass unemployment, lawlessness, chaos, insecurity. The example I will give concerning security is the killing o the two policemen in the past one month. This shows that there is insecurity in the country. Madam Speaker at this point, I would want to be sectorial in my approach. Madam Speaker, educational standards m the country are falling , especially at the basic school level and this has to do with public basic education. Pass grades in schools have been going down for the past three years.
For example, in 2011, 375,280 pupils took the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) examination. Out of this figure, 176,128 passed; 199,152 failed. The question is, what are we doing with these 199,152 pupils? We wanted to hear this in the State of the Nation Address but nothing was said. Madam Speaker, if you look at -
Actually, I know you can have free speech here but do not put fear into people.
Madam Speaker, I am not putting fear into people; I am just trying to draw attention to what can happen if -
You can draw attention without saying that it could happen here.
I said "could happen here".
No, that is what I am objecting to. You said you were drawing attention to Tunisia, yes, but "could happen here". Please, let us not put fear into people. We are happy in this our country. This is a fact.
Madam Speaker, I am saying that the 199,152 pupils who left school last year, have nothing to do. Last
Is it a point of order? If it is not a point of order, I will
Yes, it is a point of order. Madam Speaker, it looks as if our Hon Colleague made a very serious statement that there is insecurity in this country, as if this is the first time a situation like this has happened. Some high profile killings were there in this country - the Ya-Na was killed, Mobile was killed, several people were killed, policemen were killed - Do We equate these to insecurity more than what has happened during Prof Atta Mills reign? He should withdraw that statement.
You are out of order. Yes, carry on.
So Madam Speaker, I would want to prompt the powers that be that there is the need to look at this programme seriously. Madam Speaker, if you look at the Agenda for aBetter Ghana, page 69, there was a firm pledge by the President and his Government that they would see to it that cost of education becomes affordable. What do we see now? The state of the nation now is that, cost of education in Ghana is very expensive, especially senior high school education and university education. As a result of this, we have a lot of good students who are unable to continue with their education. We must also know something about this. Again, Madam Speaker, there was mention of flee school uniforms and this ratio of three is to five (3:5) -- Madam Speaker, I beg to differ this is an exaggeration. If you go to my constituency, for example, in a class of
What is the correct ratio then because you seem to be correcting things?
Madam Speaker, there is the need to commission people to go round and find the correct figures. But what I am saying is that, it is not true because I have done my own research and I have come to a conclusion that, using my constituency and Asunafo North Constituency and then Asutifi North and South Constituencies, this figure is an exaggeration. Madam Speaker, the true state of the nation is that, standards of education are falling because there is discontentment among teachers, especially newly trained teachers who have not been paid for the past one year. Then non-professional teachers who have been employed for the past one year and who have not been paid. They are not well-motivated to teach. There is also the need to look at this. Then Madam Speaker, on page 70 of the Manifesto for a "Better Ghana" - [Interruption] - I am making reference to it. Madam Speaker, in their determination to ensure quality education, they accepted the fact that it must start from the scratch, that is, the kindergarten. So there is a promise there that in the course of the four years, they will ensure that pre-school teacher training colleges are established in all the ten regions of Ghana. What do we see now? Not even a single one has been established. Again Madam Speaker, there is also a promise to polytechnic students that their status would be redefined when NDC comes into power. Now, we are in the fourth year and what do we see? Nothing has been done. But the pledge was that, they would look at this as a matter of urgency; they would give prior attention to the grading and placement of polytechnic students. Now, polytechnic students are crying because this has not been done -
Try and wind up now; your ten minutes are up.
Then Madam Speaker - [Interruption.]
Yes, is there a point of order?
On a point order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Brother was quoting figures from a manifesto. The President gave a State of the Nation Address. So I think he is out of place. Instead of using the State of the Nation Address, he is using another booklet.
Madam Speaker, I started by saying that the state of the nation is not healthy. It is not healthy in the sense that those things already elaborated are missing in the system. Madam Speaker, finally, in all the budgets and in all the State of the Nation Addresses, except the last one, there was
Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion, that was moved by Hon Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka and supported by Prof. Gyan-Baffour and also thank the President for his State of the Nation Address. In fact, the initial comment I would want to make is that, in his presentation, the President was just brilliant. [Hear! Hear! ] In fact, he went straight to the point and executed the job as was demanded of him under article 67 of the Constitution. Madam Speaker, I will quote briefly. Even in this introduction, he just summed up the state of the nation and went ahead to tell us how he was going to do the job. Madam Speaker, with your indulgence, I will just quote the section. "Article 67 of the Constitution requires the President at the I beginning of each session of Parliament to deliver a message on the state of the nation." "I intend to do just that; to deliver a message on the state of the nation which l daresay is stable and in a reasonably good health." Madam Speaker, he has told us that the state of the nation is very stable and is in a reasonably good health. In fact, we need not enumerate the things that are going on in the system. There are various projects going on and if I mention them, I will bore Hon Members Indeed, several roads are being opened up - even in Accra and this has eased the traffic situation in the country. I believe that we are all witnesses. We all see it. I am not going to bore you. This is because we all ply these roads and we are employing them. So for Hon Members not to see them, that is their own problem- In addition to these, in his presentation, the President was very calm, notwithstanding the heckling that they put him through, he was very calm delivered the message as he was expected to do and I commend him for that. Madam Speaker, this country is enjoying a lot of peace. Yes- And this cannot be taken for granted. We are enjoying this peace because the President has taken measures to ensure that facilities are in place for a peaceful country. To give examples, the strength of the Ghana Police Service has been increased by over four thousand. The police has been provided with modern forensic equipment to help detect crime and prevent crime in other stages. Indeed, unlike previously, the police did not have sufficient vehicles and even the vehicles they had were these 4x4. Currently, they have been provided with more vehicles that are very robust. They have been given LX 10 and these vehicles are very good and durable and will assist them in the performance of their duties.
In order to motivate the police, under the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), their salaries have been greatly enhanced and this is a lot of encouragement to the Ghana Police Service and I commend them for doing a good job. I think we should also commend the President for ensuring that the police are provided with good facilities and their salaries enhanced as a way of motivation to enable them continue with their work. Madam Speaker, in these days of transnational crime, there is the need for us to ensure that our borders are very secured. Indeed, we should commend the President for making sure that the Ghana Immigration Service is given the opportunity to install digital surveillance equipment along strategic points on the borders, so that twenty-four hours, the borders will be under surveillance. I think that this is a very good thing and it would go a long way to ensure that our borders are secured Madam Speaker, we know we have a lot of resources and there is the need for us to protect these resources and ensure that we benefit from them. In fact, if we are not able to protect our resources, then we would have to forget it But in order to ensure that our resources are safe, the President has equipped the GhanaArmed Forces. In fact, not too long ago, some Naval ships have been inaugurated at Sekondi/Takoradi to assist the police in their monitoring duties. Madam Speaker, what is even more encouraging is that, one of the biggest problems we face as Members of Parliament is being solved. We do not have offices but we all see the work that is ongoing on the "Job 600". The work is progressing steadily and the President has indicated that he is confident that he will be the first President to address us -from that office and I believe it shall surely come to pass. [Hear!Hear!] Early next year, by the grace of God, I think the President will have the opportunity address us as he has said. The President has also assured us that there are three initiatives that he has instituted. That is the establishment of the Member of Parliament (MP's) Constituency Development Fund and the provision of National Service Personnel to serve as Research Assistants to MPs. I think the third one is about the building of offices for MPs in our constituencies but these promises have not yet been fulfilled. But I believe strongly that - they are three, I have mentioned them. These three are all in the process and I believe strongly that the President has given the assurance that he will work with MPs to review these initiatives he intends to bring on board. I believe that even if we are not able to have them this year, surely, when he comes into office next year, which shall surely come to pass, we shall all be beneficiaries of these very good initiatives. Madam Speaker, on this note, I would not bore Hon Members much because a lot has already been said. I thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion. MS Beatrice B. Boateng (NPP -New Juaben South): Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity granted me to contribute to the debate on the State of the Nation Address that was presented by the President last two weeks.
Madam Speaker, I would want to congratulate the President for coming to fulfill a constitutional obligation. But for the entire statement on the nation, I have a few comments to make. One, there is lack of continuity and consistency in all the four messages. that the President delivered to this House. Why am I saying this? Madman Speaker, one expects that every year, we would have the President coming to review what he had already done, what he promised us, what he has been able to do, what he has not been able to do and what he intends doing to achieve that. For instance, not too long ago, my Hon Brother said that the President said he was going to provide MPs with offices in our constituencies. He has not been able to do that. What explanation has he given to us ever since? That has not been done so it lacks continuity and then the consistency. Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed (retd) - rose--
Is it a point of order? Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (retd): Yes, Madam Speaker. The Hon Member is misleading this House. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, thank you for the input from my Brother. However, but I want to tell my Brother that the President did not come here to promise us what he is going to do. If the President promised to do that, we expect him to come and tell us that "So far, out of the 230, I have been able to do that much". This is the continuity we are talking about; this is the consistency we are talking about.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Colleague on the other side seems to be getting off the point. The President gave a State of the Nation Address last year. So, he is giving another State of the Nation Address from a period to a period. So, what he has said this year cannot be hammered on again- I think she is missing the point. He has given a state of a period from last year to this year. So, please, she should get the picture well.
Madam Speaker, Iain reminding my Brother that the President has been given four years of a term and he is supposed to give an Address that covers the period. This is because this was his last State of the Nation Address and we want to know what has been covered for the 4 years. So he should allow me to make my point - [Interruption]
Hon Member, you see what heckling is? Order! Order! That is how far my power goes. [Interruption] Order! Order! Carry on.
Madam Speaker, the President talked about 3.5 million uniforms given, I would want to find out
Whether the faith-based schools are also part of it. They are part of the entire population of school children in the country and if he claims "he is giving so much, then I have not seen one faith-based school that wears a uniform. So, I would Want to find out whether the statistics is all right. Schools under trees, a good project; he came to continue it. We want to find out how many schools were under trees that he came to meet. How many has been done so far and how many are left? We would want to find out these, so that it makes meaning, it gives consistency and continuity. Stoppage of shift-system in Accra that was specifically mentioned. I would want to inform the House that there is a seemingly stoppage of the shift-system in Accra but it has brought in its wake hydra problems that cannot be equated to anything. Large size of classes, truancy in schools, teacher dissatisfaction and then parents' inability to pay travelling and transportation expenses from the schools they were in first to other places. I have done my research since the whole of last week and I am giving you the facts. The President came here and said he would ensure that he gives special education a move. What has he done? He has not told us anything; since 2009 to this time, we have not heard anything about special education. Again, he said - "Ekua, luckily, I have retired butI am Working". He also said he was going to provide teachers with a lot of motivational packages. Twenty per cent of teachers who are teaching science and ICT, 20 per cent of their salaries, up to this time, nothing has been done. He said he was going to give teachers who were undertaking Distance Education study leave; he has not done anything about that. He said he was going to give teachers their allowances; he has not done anything about that- The Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) that he promised, it has made teachers so confused than even before. Teachers cannot tell how much they are taking and how much is expected of them. Talk about teachers, if you talk about quality, nothing has been said about assessment in schools. Assessment in schools are wholly done by donor agencies. Government of Ghana does not do anything about quality and then if we are talking about education and for that matter, quality, the teacher who is the driver of education has completely been forgotten. Where are we going to get the quality from? So, it is not surprising that standards of education are falling and it continues to fall even more around this time. Madam Speaker, talk about teachers in the secondary schools, they are wailing, they are Wailing, they do not even know what happens to their promotions. The SSSS, the least said about it the better. Just last week, we heard and it is still in existence that polytechnic teachers are on sit down strike. What has caused all these? I do not see why somebody would want to joke with education, which is the pivot of every development in this our nation.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Sister on the other side said the President did not tell us the number of schools under trees in his Address. I would want to advise her to
The next speaker is Hon John Gyetuah.
(NDC -Amenfi West): Madam Speaker, my name is "Gyetuah John".
Did I say something different? [Laughter] . Hon Gyetuah, ten minutes.
Thank you very much Madam Speaker for the opportunity to add my voice in thanking His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana for fulfilling his constitutional mandate by delivering a Message of the State on the Nation. Madam Speaker, as someone coming from a cocoa growing area, I believe I will have to talk about the cocoa industry and I am very glad that as the Constitution stipulates, article 35, clause 7 of the 1992 Constitution states and with your permission, I beg to quote: "As far as practicable, a government shall continue and execute projects and programmes commenced by the previous Government." I am very happy that indeed, His Excellency-the President of the Republic of Ghana has continued the projects that were commenced by the previous Administration. It is a welcome idea, it is a judicious idea that he has actually taken. It is a very good decision and I know that we need to save from the national kitty; the little that we have in the national coffers - we have to use it judiciously. And that is exactly what the President has done.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague says, that the President has continued all the projects that were started by the previous Administration and I would want to let him know that not all. The Nsawam to Suhum road is virtually abandoned; the affordable housing project has been abandoned -
Hon Member, stop there. No, no. Let us be practical. He did not say all projects. Did the Constitution that he quoted say all projects? He should continue.
So I wish he says that some of the projects. It is not all the projects. Some of the projects.
Yes, Hon Member, he said use "some of the projects". Yes, Hon Gyetuah, he says you said all but say "some". Is that all right?
Madam Speaker, I said almost all the projects. But he is aware that the housing project, His Excellency has completed some of the houses. You cannot just say that he has abandoned the housing project. It is never hue; it is never true that His Excellency has abandoned the housing project. To my very good Friend, my bones are ossified I am not sure this heckling can advert my attention in any way -
Yes, some of the projects have been completed. Can you continue?
Madam Speaker, I am surprised my Hon Colleague made this input. I said he had not been able to tell us how many have been done. What he has indicated is not the same as how many have been done except by the end of the year -
You asked, what was in existence and what he has done and What is there. I would want you to realize that there was something in existence.
Madam Speaker, who gave him the floor? Madam Speaker, I thought you gave the floor to the Hon Member for New Juaben South to make her contribution?
Madam Speaker, and then the Hon Member of Parliament for Sege suddenly gets up to seize the floor from her. I thought the floor ---
Well, he said he was making a point of order and he read it and the Hon Member has explained that this was the meaning -
Madam Speaker, suddenly, without explanation, he got up and interjected again without your permission.
Carry on, Hon Member.
Madam Speaker,I would want to bring it to the attention of my Hon Member that for once, I am surprised how he understood this statement. The Please, allow me to continue. Madam Speaker, we know we are in decentralization and District Directors have been put in-charge of quality education and everything that is connected with education. I must say that up to this time -- February is almost ending, the GoG funds have not got to them. The last one they got was in December and for a sector like education, only 1.4 million [Interruption.] Yes, I have done my investigations. Only 1.4 million was given to them and since December, nothing else but they are still working under these conditions. Under this condition, are we seriously asking for quality education? What do we expect our people to do? Madam Speaker, I would want to end by saying that education must be tackled seriously. The students are not happy, the pupils are not happy, teachers are not happy, education directors are not happy, parents are not happy. Everything is in disarray. Madam Speaker, a lot needs to be done. The picture of education in the country now is very appalling and until something
Madam Speaker, with regard to the cocoa industry, I know it plays a significant role as far as the economic development of this nation is concerned. And as such, there are several measures that the Government has actually put in place to ensure that We get the required yield that we want. As part of the programme, I know that in the year 2010/2011, we had a yield of 1,024,553 metric tonnes of cocoa and it is the best. I know that during the previous Administration- 2005 and 2006 -they also had 740,45 9 and that was the highest. As such, we have every right to praise the Government for doing that. - However, Madam Speaker, we have some problems with regard to the cocoa spraying exercise. The inputs, the chemicals that are supplied to the cocoa farmers, they are woefully inadequate and as such some of the farmers did not even get some of these chemicals to spray their cocoa. I would Want to appeal to the Chief Executive of COCOBOD and the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to ensure that this year, they have to supply adequate chemicals to the farmers, so that we can get the right yield that we want. On the fertilizer this March, I believe that if the Government is ready to supply it, it will catch the heavy rains, so that the farmers will get the right yield. So I believe that the fertilizer should be supplied timelessly, so that the farmers will do better. Madam Speaker, I am very glad looking at page 11, the penultimate paragraph and I beg to quote: "The Government has absorbed the 5% contribution by communities to the capital cost of construction of rural water systems in the rural communities." This is a very welcome idea. Indeed, it is clear discrimination against the rural folk. When we are constructing any facility with regard to the water system in the urban centers and other areas, we do not call those in the urban centers to contribute a penny. But here lies the case that those in the rural settings where poverty is the highest propensity, they are called to pay. It is a welcome idea that the Government has actually absorbed this funding, so that the rural folk will enjoy whatever facility that they desire; it is a welcome idea. I believe that we have different rainfall patterns in the whole country. Western Region for instance, has a separate rainfall pattern and as it has been stipulated in the programme, that some of the contracts have been awarded for them to construct boreholes and other things, this is the time. The torrential rains will just set in somewhere in May or June and if contractors do not get to site earlier, we will find ourselves in a very difficult position. So I pray that contractors who are given contracts will get to their sites and then commence the programmes as early as practicable. Madam Speaker, I am also happy that infrastructural projects like the school buildings and other road constructions are being constructed. But the fact is that, looking at the tertiary level and the basic level education, I can point to the fact that at the basic level, when the school building is constructed, there is no wiring, and I would want to appeal to the Minister for Education and the policy makers to ensure that the basic schools which are constructed, must include the wiring, so that when the building is constructed, the wiring will be part of it. In this era of technology, you get to most of the rural areas and you see very good school buildings that have been built
Thank you very much. You were dead on time. Yes, the next speaker will be Hon Yaw Owusu Boateng.
Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to take part in this debate. Early on, some of my Colleagues have talked about the fact that there is serious deterioration in education in this country and I would want to associate myself with that. In the 2009 State of the NationAddress by Prof. Mills, page 20, paragraph 5, with your indulgence, I beg to quote: "The Government will pay special attention to pre-tertiary education, particularly basic education including special education in order to build a strong foundation for learning an.d continuing education." - If you have to compare it with what happened during President Kufuor's NPP regime, you will find out that when we took over in 2001, the pass rate was 60.4 per cent, which was the lowest during that time. It went up from year to year until we left and they took over for it to come down once again. [Interruption.] In 2006, the pass rate at BECE was 61.91 per cent and then in 2007, it was 61.28 per cent, in 2008, when we were leaving, it was 62. 12 per cent, which was the best in 15 years.
On a point of order Madam Speaker, well, I detest to stop his spirited argument. But on page 4, he said the President misled us by saying he constructed 1,700 schools; the President did not say that The paragraph that he referred to says that the contract for the construction of over 1,700 classroom blocks for schools under trees have been awarded throughout the country. He did not say he has constructed them. So please, the Hon Member on the floor should set his records straight.
Madam Speaker, I think the Hon Deputy Majority Leader is actually not listening. Madam Speaker, I am sorry about that because if he had allowed me to land, he would have seen that that figure that he is talking about can never ever be true. They inherited 3,947 schools under trees in 2009 and then during the budget presentation -- the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning said that 1,226 schools under trees were constructed. On school feeding --
That section that he read, he said "awarded". Is it the same as "completed"? That is what the Hon Member is objecting to.
Madam Speaker, what I am saying is that if we inherited something --
Hon Member, let us leave out the inheritance. If somebody says "I have awarded --"
Madam Speaker, in the budget, it was said that 1,226 schools were completed. So you can never have that figure of 1,700 again to award to somebody when the figures are not there. That is where I am arguing from; that is the sound point. So why the inconsistency?
The Hon Member is saying that the budget says this and the President .says that; there is no consistency.
Madam Speaker, I do not know the logic my Hon Friend is arguing from. The budget said they have finished the construction of 1,200; the President said now 1,700 have been awarded on contract. What is wrong with that?
Hon Member, so you mean again?
Yes, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, in addition to the 1,200. completed, the President, in his State of the Nation Address, now says that they have awarded 1,700. In fact, Madam Speaker, the truth is that this is What the President has said and he cannot tell us that the President rather said he constructed and that it might not be true; the truth is what is stated here; what he has said is what is stated here.
Madam Speaker, with all due respect, if you have 5,227 schools that were constructed under the NPP -- The first time that we saw schools under trees, we had 5,227, except that the Hon Deputy Majority Leader is disputing this figure. He should go back and check and he would find out that it was 5,227 and my government, the NPP Government constructed 1,280. If you take it out, it means NDC inherited 3,947 and if their own Minister for Finance and Economic Planning says they have constructed 1,226, what figure is there for them to get the 1,700 to award? That is all that I am saying. So he should do his mathematics and he would find out that he cannot ever have the 1,700 for them to award. That is all that I am saying, Madam Speaker.
Hon Members, can we move on from here? He has explained; let us move on. Hon Member, you were to stop at 12.34 p.m., it is only 12.31 p.m. I will allow you two more minutes and finish at 12.36 p.m.
Madam Speaker, President Atta Mills is saying that he has distributed 60,000 computers throughout the country -
Hon Member, let us hear him. If we are going to have these points of order every time, we are not going to move on at all. It is a serious point of order, like he has broken some of the rules? Let us hear you.
On a point of order Mr Speaker, I have a serious point of order because the Hon Member on the floor is quoting a figure which we do not have in the State of the Nation Address. Madam Speaker, I would Want to remind him that if you say schools under trees, it is not a static figure. Therefore, if during their time it was 5,200 plus, that does not mean that the schools guider trees would not grow. Therefore, you cannot do your mathematics and come out and say that the figure quoted in the State of the Nation Address is wrong.
Hon Member, in this House, if you make a statement, a point of order could be taken to correct it. If he corrects it and you do not accept it, we leave it there and you carry on. So either you accept what he is saying or you do not accept it and then We carry on.
Madam Speaker, in any case, I did not know that more schools under trees are being created under the NDC Administration. When they came, they said they came to solve the problem. Madam Speaker, I said one clear statement that was made by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Prof Atta Mills was that he has distributed 60,000 laptops to Ghanaian children. Madam Speaker, I will go back to my own constituency - Akim Oda. Akim Oda Constituency has 40,000 children at basic schools, not private schools -basic
We would have two more and then move on. Deputy Minister for Energy (Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah): Madam Speaker, I rise --
Madam Speaker, I beg to add my voice to this uplifting State of the Nation Address delivered by His Excellency President John Evans Atta Mills, in accordance with article 67 of the 1992 Constitution. - Madam Speaker, let me begin by thanking President Mills for steering the affairs of this country to a stable and very good health as he himself described it, against the backdrop of a world economy in shambles. The European crises can be mentioned, the recession in the United States of America, the instability in the Middle East and even around us in Africa. Yet, We are able to point to an economy that has really recorded envious numbers -- growth rate of 14 per cent, sustainable single digit inflation in decades, increase in investor confidence; and we would talk about the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre's (GIPC's) record of seven billion of recorded projects that have been documented. Madam Speaker, the achievements in education, health and agriculture are very exciting but I would focus on energy. The President was very clear with numbers in the State of the Nation Address. When the President was speaking, he spoke clearly about our generation capacity and made it clear what we meant -- 1,800 megawatts -- and said that we have already added about 400. Three hundred and seventy-six (376) megawatts were added.
On a point of Order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague is saying that energy production has been improved. It is a fact and we are all aware that yesterday, in the whole country, there was a total blackout. What does he say to that?
Well, since this-is not Question time, I am afraid, I cannot take it. Mr Buah; Madam Speaker,I think that 1.the points were so uplifting that he was just trying to change my rhythm. But Madam Speaker, the good news is that, in record time, there was a system collapse, it was brought back in record time, in three hours. That occasionally happens but I am happy that the engineers were on top of that "matter. Madam Speaker, we continue with the "Better Ghana Agenda" on rural electrification. The President was very clear on numbers. He talked about what has been added just in three years - 1,700 communities that we can count and point to, added. He also talked about money that has already been secured and projects that are ongoing and made it clear that by the end of this year, we are even going to exceed the number - 4,000 communities are going to have access to electricity. This is record achievement of this Government. Madam Speaker, the President talked about a lot of things and even mentioned renewable energy. We came to this House and made sure we have innovative approaches to ensure that we go to where the world is going --renewable energy - where we are going to ensure that there would be feed-in tariffs and ensure that even the private sector, ordinary people who are building houses would start using solar and others, so that we can steer this country towards using power for real industrial growth. Madam Speaker, what was so exciting was the President's focus on oil and gas. The President said that what he was so committed to was to ensure transparency and accountability in this oil industry, against the backdrop of an Africa where countries have discovered oil and it has generated into corruption and has brought about so many problems. We are very proud of this President. This is because of his leadership and the support of this House. This House passed the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill under his watch and we have implemented it to the letter. Because of that the President was able to come here and tell us that just in the first year of oil production, just how much money we got 444 million --- and also how much oil
was lifted -- four lifting 3.9 million barrels. This is transparency at its best. Madam Speaker, the President went forward and also talked about the fact that because of what we put in the law, there is a Public Accountability Committee to oversee the reports that are being produced, to ensure that ordinary Ghanaians are part of the transparency process. Madam Speaker, the President also went ahead to talk about how he has restructured the energy sector where we would focus to ensure that we have an independent regulator that will ensure that the people of Ghana will really benefit from this industry. We talk about the establishment of the Petroleum Commission and talk about an independent board - He was so sure that these were eminent Ghanaians that were not clothed with either a political, a tradition of left or right, people who would straight up, talk and head this Petroleum Commission to the benefit of this country. Madam Speaker, but what was exciting was also the drive on what the President is doing in terms of gas; and the President's vision was that while we are so excited about oil discovery, we should be more excited about gas because it is gas that would drive our industrial growth. The President again was right in leading that effort to set up the Ghana Gas Company, and also travelled all the way to China to win one of the best economic diplomacies in centuries, an African President going to a country and using his skill and coming back with the very low interest loan of three billion. That is why of which we are on course to developing a very modern gas infrastructure that would transform this country, that would make sure that we would not only have gas to power our thermal plants, but to translate them into industries that would use the gas to boost agriculture. Madam Speaker, this is the vision of this President. But more importantly, because of his efforts, he is going to help us see a massive industrialization in Ghana but more importantly, in the Western Region. Madam Speaker, this is the direction that this President has taken this country in the midst of difficult times and we are very proud of all these achievements.. Madam Speaker, with these few words, I would want to thank you for the opportunity and thank the President for his leadership.
Thank you, Hon- Deputy Minister. The next Member to speak will be Hon S Catherine Afeku, 10 minutes, please.
Madam Speaker, I beg to support the Motion in thanking His Excellency our President, Fiifi Atta Mills for delivering his constitutionally mandated State of the Nation Address. Madam Speaker, in the next -ten minutes, I will focus on telling this august House and the nation, what the President failed to tell us which is the true state of the nation, mother Ghana. In so doing, I will elaborate on most of the promises that our President made to us over the past three years that are left unfulfilled. Madam Speaker, why do I say so? On page (7) of his first State of the Nation
On a point of order: Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague made reference to the President's first State of the Nation Address. I thought we were debating the resent State o the Nation Address. I urge mg Hon Colleague to focus on the present State of the Nation Address.
Hon Afeku, please, let us focus on the topic before us.
Precisely. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
I am not saying you cannot refer, but to read it and draw our minds back to it as if we were discussing that. Let us discuss the present one.
Madam Speaker, I am so grateful. It was to refer to an unfulfilled promise of bringing justice to unsolved mysteries that are still lingering. Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji) Ahmed (retd): On a point of order: Madam Speaker, the Hon Member is contradicting herself. She started by saying that she wants to thank His Excellency the President for "delivering"; -- now, she is contradicting herself. I would want to remind her to stag focused and after that, we will tell her karibu sa "na (you are very welcome), Asante sa na (thank you). Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Well, that really is not a point of order.
Madam Speaker, you are very great. Madam Speaker, the one-time health insurance premium is something that all Ghanaians are looking up to. It was a promise that was left unfulfilled. We the people of Ghana want to know the true state of the one-time health insurance premium promise. Madam Speaker, when the good people of the Western Region celebrated the first oil, we were promised by our Hon Minister for Information (not Mr Fritz Baffour) that a deep sea port would be manifesting in the Western Region and this was in the second State of the Nation Address. Higher efficiency gas turbines ensuring dependable electricity supply will also be made available to Ghana. Madam Speaker, as we speak, my Hon Colleague has already alluded to it; last night, most of us were in darkness. This promise has still not been fulfilled.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I think the Hon Colleague is making reference to things that are ongoing and I am sure that she is making these points because when the President spoke, she was mourning and was so deeply in it with her red ribbons in mourning that she did not pay attention to the President. Madam Speaker, the deep sea port that she is making reference to, the Ministry of Transport is already far advanced with the process and all those are ongoing. I will be happy that the Hon Member will check her facts before bringing some of these issues to the House.
The Hon Member said what you said has not been done, it is ongoing. Is that so?
Madam Speaker, the State of the Nation Address. mandated by the Constitution is not to talk of future things, it is to tell us the state of the nation. So I will ignore my Hon Colleague. We are both from the area where the true state of the nation is employment for our people and I will just go on
I do not think you can ignore him?
Yes, Madam Speaker.
When you say the "state of the nation", it is on the date he gave his Address. If at that time he has not started, it is one matter. If at that time, it is ongoing, it is also a state of a nation.
Madam Speaker, to be fair, it had not started Even the site is still a challenge and he knows. So I will go on. It had not been started.
That is a point of disagreement; she can decide not to take it but it is on record.
He knows. People were demonstrating even two days ago. So there has not been any job started on this gas project; we just completed the loan. So I will ignore him.
Let us not debate it further.
Madam Speaker, I was trying not to comment but I am very worried about my Colleague that as we try to -
Do not be worried about me.
Bring development to our area; I do not want the world to see her trying to put obstacles in the way of progress.
Madam Speaker, I resent that point. I am on my feet and you have given me ten minutes. I think he is just heckling me for his own good.
I will increase it.
Thank you. Madam Speaker, employment-- Madam Speaker, the President promised us that he will do everything possible to remove young people on the street, people leaving senior high school with no practical qualifications. To day, we have a group called "Unemployed Graduates Association" still "roaming Ghana. Madam Speaker, it is an unfulfilled promise. Madam Speaker, I will go on to a housing policy that our President promised us; he had given a mandate that all the District and Municipal Assemblies (MMDAs) were going to have a sizeable chunk of the Common Fund to be invested in a housing policy. To date, not even a stone has been put down in any of the MMDAS - another unfulfilled promise. Madam Speaker, I do not want to inflict Wounds on our security services; the less said about the STX the better. We will say yamutu; unfulfilled promise- Representation of the People Act (ROPA). Madam Speaker, as an avid advocate for the people living in the diaspora, our President promised in his State of the Nation Address, which was given two weeks ago, that voting, which is the right of every Ghanaian citizen living in or out will be a reality. As this biometric registration shows up into, three weeks, what is the fate of our brothers and sisters outside of Ghana? It was a promise given to us in this House, unfulfilled.
Madam Speaker, I come from a fishing community. I was elated when the President talked about a Fisheries College in Anomabo. This year, the unfulfilled Anomabo Fisheries College has metamorphosed into Elmina and it is going to be a satellite college, and inauguration will be done for work to commence in the future. Madam Speaker, I must say I was disheartened; it did not happen for Anomabo, it will not happen for Elmina. Why do you keep us in this unfulfilled state of promise? I was not happy and I must say people in the area where our fisher-folks were looking forward to learning something in the fisheries technology were deeply disappointed. Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji) Ahmed (retd): On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Member made reference to the ROPA. That is a matter that is embellished in the work of the Constitution Review Commission and I would want her to take that on board.
Madam Speaker, I am referring to the State of the Nation Address and the President did not talk about it I do not need to hear from him and what the Constitution Review Commission will say. I am referring to the President's Address; it was not mentioned. I will move on. Madam Speaker, Members of Parliament in this august House, we are always inflicting wounds on ourselves. Our dear President promised us Constituency Development Fund, it did not happen. He promised us our constituency offices; it did not happen. Three out of 230 - and he did actually say "Watch my lips, this time, I will make I it happen"; it did not.
On a point of Order: Madam Speaker, I am the Chairman of the Works and Housing Committee and I would want to invite my Hon Colleague to visit the place and see the wonderful Work that is going on there. For the first time, that building that remained rusty, today, it is seeing some refurbishment. Work is in progress and I can assure her, as the President said, we will have the place for use next time. I do not know whether she can come back but if she does, she will have access to it.
I thank you, Madam Speaker. What I sought to do is to elaborate on the unfulfilled promises. He is confusing the construction of the Party Headquarters with "Job 600". So I will not even go there. That is where there is a job ongoing, not this one. Please, he should not disrupt me. The good people of Ghana who have sent us here expect us to have our offices. It was a promise made by our President and we must hold him to it. Madam Speaker, I wanted to talk about unemployment. Graduates who are now coming together to form an association to even label themselves as "Unemployed Graduates" is not something Ghana should be proud of. Madam Speaker, when we came in 2009, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) pledge was
End up now. Wind up.
Yes,Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I still would like to find out in this State of the Nation Address why our President did not find space -- not even a paragraph -- on gender development. Not a sentence that just goes to show that this true state of the nation -51 per cent of the population was not mentioned in the President's Address. I cannot but say that the true state of the nation on unemployment, graduate disenchantment, fisher-folk not being happy, teachers not being paid and even Members of Parliament not having their promises fulfilled, cannot be the true state of the nation. Madam Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for granting me this space. -- [Hear! Hear!] _
You say "cannot be the true state of the nation", it is the true state of the nation? According to you, that is what you are saying, it is the state of the nation. I do not understand your last line.
Madam Speaker, some of the things he said did not truly reflect on my aspirations. I thank you.
I thank you. We are going to have two more contributions. I think the next Hon Member to speak will be Hon Albert Abongo.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity -
Ten minutes, please. MR-Abongo: Yes. Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion to thank His Excellency the President for appearing before us in fulfillment of the constitutional mandate to speak to the State of the Nation Address. Madam Speaker, His Excellency touched on several important areas as far as the development of this country is concerned. But I will limit myself to just a few of them. Particularly, one area will stand the test of time and that is the establishment of two science universities in this country. These will stand in the name of His Excellency the President and his Government for decades to come. Madam Speaker, the University of Health and Allied Sciences in the Volta Region and the University of Energy and Natural Resources, in the Brong Ahafo Region, the two universities will go a long way to close the gap in the training of science graduates in this country. We have a lot of our children who qualify to pursue science education in various fields in this
country and yet have lacked the opportunity to do so. This is because of the limited facilities in our tertiary institutions in this country. So you can imagine what legacy His Excellency the President under the "Better Ghana Agenda" would be leaving for the people of this country. I must say that private universities have done a lot to complement Governments effort in tertiary education in this country, but they have often shied away from science education. So it is in the right step that under the wisdom and under the good leadership of this Government, looking for a "Better Ghana" for the people of this country, we have decided that two universities, particularly science universities, should be put up to run to the benefit of the people of this country. Madam Speaker, indeed, a lot of resources have already gone into establishing these two universities; building the infrastructure and also training the resource people to man these universities. Additionally, even to increase the capacities of the existing universities to. improve on teaching and learning at the tertiary level. Madam Speaker, he also talked about the expansion in infrastructural development in the areas of the oil and gas. These are areas, Madam Speaker, that will create the jobs that we are yearning for in this country for the numerous graduates who have come out without anything to do. As a country, We could choose to employ all the graduates but they will have nothing to do and this is a situation we face in most of the government institutions that we have today. We often will ask, are these people working in the offices that they find themselves? So for the Government that is looking into investing heavily in these sectors, it means that the future has a lot for all these people who are not employed and those graduates, we will continue training, that the opportunity is out there for them under the "Better Ghana Agenda" of the President. Madam Speaker, you can see rightly that with the heavy investment with the US$3 billion Chinese loan, we are on course to ensure that no stone is left unturned to ensure that this country moves in the right direction. That is why some people are scared about what will happen with such huge investments. They are scared that this will turn this country round just within three to four years. Hon P. C. Appiah-Ofori agrees with me that this money will do a lot for the
On a point of order.
Hon Member, that was not a point of order. Hon Member, can you now wind up?
Madam Speaker, to translate "Na won pe wei, na wo pe den" to the understanding of my Hon Colleagues who do not understand Twi -- I understand better -- it means, "If you do not want this, what else do you want?" So, this is what His Excellency has for the development of this country. Madam Speaker, on this note, I urge my Hon Colleagues to thank the President for the State of the Nation Address.
Thank you, Hon Member. We have two more Hon Members who will contribute before we move on. Hon Justice Joe Appiah, you have ten minutes.
Madam Speaker, Proverbs 23: 18 tells us that there is surely a future hope for us and our hope will not be cut off, Madam Speaker, the Constitution enjoins the President under article 67 to deliver to Parliament a Message on the State of the Nation- [An Hon Member: He is reading] - I am referring to my notes. Madam Speaker, I have a few salient points to talk about, starting from providing jobs for the unemployed youth who roam about without hope of salvation. Madam Speaker, we were expecting His Excellency to touch on policies that can create wealth for the people of this country- But Madam Speaker, he woefully failed. Madam Speaker, I would also want to touch on the inability or failure of this Administration to tackle agriculture, especially the cocoa industry. Madam Speaker, the spraying of the cocoa trees and input of fertilizers to boost production are inadequate and they are woefully lacking.
On point of order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague on the other side said there were is no insecticides for spraying cocoa I am a cocoa farmer at Sefwi Beboase and I can assure this House that cocoa insecticides are distributed to the spraying gangs and they are spraying. So he should clarify where he is coming from because we the cocoa farmers in the Western Region, which produces two-thirds of the nation's cocoa, cannot testify to what he is saying.
Madam Speaker, even his Hon Colleague, Hon John Gyetuah said it Madam Speaker, may I crave your indulgence - I am on the economy
So, you do not accept the correction. Is that so or you have accepted it?
No, I do not accept it, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to read an extract from His Excellency's Address on the economy: "Over the past three years that I have been President, much has been achieved in pursuance of our Better Ghana Agenda. Even though we have experienced internal and external constraints, we have reason to be hopeful of Ghana's future-" Madam Speaker, His Excellency mentioned his intentions of addressing the high cost of living; he did not mention the high cost of living in this country. Madam Speaker, gari as a staple food in all the regions is sold --Under the previous Administration, it was sold at GH¢1.50. Now, gari is being sold at GH¢3.00 That is 100 per cent increase - [Uproar] -- Madam Speaker, a loaf of bread which was sold for GH¢1.50 is now being sold at GH¢3.50; that is 150 per cent.-- [Interruption]
On a point of order. Madam,Speaker, the Hon Member is misleading this House. The price of gari varies with the months depending on the availability of foodstuffs on the market. I am from a gari producing area and the price goes up and down. So, for him to quote that the prices - without saying at what point of time, he is just not telling the --'He should give us the source and the specifics.
So, what is the price of gari now as of today?
What I am saying is that the price of gari is not fixed; it varies. So, if he is giving the price, he must state the time and the source as of today. That is all I am saying. Otherwise, to say that the price of gari is so much, is not the case.
Yes, but the price will depend on a daily basis. But even if you take this into account, the price as of today, if you take it into account - So what is the price of gari in your area? That will help the debate more. Is that not it?
Madam Speaker, all I am trying to say is that, he must tell us the time he is referring to, where it is now or some months back or at what point in time and where because the price also varies from place to place.
Madam Speaker, I just bought gari this morning, at Kaneshie. It is GH¢3.5O. This morning, I bought alonka of gari. It is in my car right now. Olonka of gari is GH¢3.50. I knew I would be talking about it, so I bought it this morning. It is in my car just now. Madam Speaker, kenkey which was sold at 20 pesewas is now 50 pesewas with a shrink size - very small size- That is 150 per cent. Purified sachet water which was sold at two pesewas is now 10 pesewas. Madam Speaker, is that the "Better Ghana Agenda" we were promised? That is 200 per cent. The ordinary Ghanaian like me does not understand the big economic terms and theories like "economic stability, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), micro and macro stability, economic crunch" and others. At the end of the day, the ordinary Ghanaian needs at least, three square meals a day; he is not getting it. Money in his pocket, he is not getting it. So, is that the "Better Ghana Agenda" that we were promised? That is so.
Madam Speaker, it will shock you to learn that a single room in my constituency, a small one-room 18 Costing GH¢70. Some even cost GH¢l.00 and if one is to pay two years advance Tent, it would cost about GH¢3,000. ls that the "Better Ghana Agenda " We were promised? Madam Speaker, the previous New Patriotic Patty (NPP) Administration secured a grant of US$547 million from the United States 0fAmerica. Fortunately, many roads haC_1 Peen constructed in the country to facilitate the movement of goods and people to places where it was difficult to access and yet the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Administration Or His Excellency President Mills is claiming credit with their so-called slogarli "Better Ghana Agenda". When we brought the money, "the money was big Woo! " That is What we said and now, all these projects have been done and yet the NDC is claiming them with their flags and everything. Madam Speaker, now, I will talk on education. The N_DC Administration has woefully failed this country in education. The Basic Education Certificate Examination (B ECE) results are nothing to be enthusiastic about. Is this the "Better Ghana Agenda"? Madam Speaker, free textbooks or free uniforms is net the solution. In my hometown, Akim Oda, as the Hon Member said, there are 40,000 people in Akim Oda and they tell us that they have given us 60,000 laptops- is it the "Better Ghana Agenda" we Were promised? Madam Speaker, it is not!- Madam Speaker, on energy -
Unnecessary interruptions of electricity supply is just destroying our electrical appliances. Madam Speaker, load shedding and power rationing - Yesterday, the whole country was in total blackout. ls that the "Better Ghana" we were promised? During the Kufuor Administration, we did not realise this kind of power outages; it is unprecedented in NDC Administration.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I think my Hon Brother should take his time and present his facts. If he is saying that, yes, there was total light off yesterday and that Ghanaians, all of us were not happy, yes. But to go further and say that this is the first time it is happening, Madam Speaker, he knows that it is not true. [Interruptions] Madam Speaker, Ghana @ 50 at a time that several Presidents across the globe were here, lights went off Madam Speaker, we did not - [Interruptions] - I would excuse him, perhaps, by that time, he was somewhere and he did not even realize it. Madam Speaker, the words: dum so, dum so came during President Kufuor's tenure where almost everyday there was light off. Madam Speaker, we did not blame them because we knew that it was something that they could not control. Just last week, this Government told the whole nation that the gas that was coming from Nigeria_the Nigerians sent us a message that there was a problem with their gas supply and for that matter, it was going to be erratic. Madam Speaker, this was communicated to Ghanaians and they accepted it. NDC came and for him to have got up and said this, Madam Speaker, he is misleading us and he must withdraw it and apologize. This is not the first time that this thing has happened; it has happened several times.
Madam Speaker, the blackout affected the whole country yesterday; it has never happened in the history of this country. [Interruptions] He should mention the dates. Madam Speaker, I am touching on corruption. -
Hon Member, wind up now. Your time is up.
Madam Speaker, huge awam judgment debts paid to the tune of GH¢68O million in three years. That is about US$500 million. Is that the "Better Ghana" We have promised in this country? [Interruption]
Madam Speaker, this is a very important House and when we are making statements, we should be conscious of what we are saying. Judgment debts were not created by the sitting Government. The judgment debts came from somewhere. But then if we talk about Woyome, O. B. Amoah has been woyomied. [Interruptions.] No member of our Government has been woyomied. So he should be careful. Where did he get the money from? Behave like human beings; do not hoot. We are in Parliament, an august House, we do not hoot at anybody. I have the right to speak, I was voted to come here and I have the right to speak my mind. [Interruptions'.] Do not hoot. I thought you had learnt your lesson from the red card. This is a big lie. Who caused the judgment debt? Who caused it? [Interruptions.]
Order! Order! Hon Appiah, your time is up.
Madam Speaker, I am Winding up. On elections -
Your time is up. The next Hon Member to contribute; and it will be Hon Joseph Annan - ten minutes. Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry (Dr Joseph S. Annan) (MP): Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion, that this Honourable House thanks His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation, which he delivered very ably to this august House on 16th February. Madam Speaker, this is under the constitutional obligation, under article 67 of the Republic of Ghana. But beyond the constitutional obligation, I think we can all attest that this particular State of the Nation Address was delivered with passion, commitment and poise. Madam Speaker, it was a landmark delivery despite the initial dark mood that we saw in the House. There was a pugilistic and confrontational attitude that was brought before His Excellency the President. But Madam Speaker, by the end of the session, one could see that His Excellency the President had defused the tension. He had defused the tension in such a way that we can say the purpose of it was to forge unity for this House, for the people of Ghana and to put forward, not only what has been done but to describe our common vision for the way forward; a common purpose for the people of Ghana. Indeed, Madam Speaker, this is the mark of a man who was in control. This is the mark of a man who has true leadership qualities. Madam Speaker, the State of the Nation Address gave us an opportunity to see the catalogue of the results that have been achieved by His Excellency's Government, the NDC Government. Of course, we have all heard of what has happened within the domain of macroeconomics, the education sector, job creation, agriculture, water, energy, health and so on. Let me just underscore the importance of the macroeconomic success.
Madam Speaker,on a point of order. My Hon Colleague over there is making- an allusion to the fact that the agricultural sector has been doing so well. But Madam Speaker, I have before me the figures of the 2012 Budget - the GDP growth in agriculture has dropped from 5.3 per cent in 2010 to 2.8 per cent in 2011 -- [Interruption] --- So the so-called investment being made in agriculture, what has been the impact? We are not seeing it at all because the growth in agriculture is going down.
Madam Speaker, I am referring to the cotton sector -- [Interruption] - where 22,000 farmers are working to produce the 2012/2013 crop, which is estimated at 6,500 tonnes.this year -- a four-fold increase on what we did last year. And I think the Government needs to be commended on that. These are not government figures; these are figures from the private sector who have come and invested millions to make it possible for our farmers in the North to be able to get decent livelihoods and money in their pockets.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I think I have said it here and I would want to repeat it. The achievement in the cocoa sector, which they are talking about - all farmers here know that if they planted cocoa in 2009, they would not have reaped anything. It is the achievements, the strategies and the programmes that the previous Administration put in place, that is what they are reaping from.
Madam Speaker, we are reaping the benefit in our time. Madam Speaker, not only that, we have given 80 per cent of the world cocoa price to the farmer.
Yes, wind up now; Wind up.
Government has intervened to make it possible for farmers to recognize the fact that it is behind them to make it possible for them to obtain decent prices and decent living. In the fisheries sector - Madam. Speaker, I come from a fishing community. The Komenda /Edina/Eguafo/ Abrem (KEEA) fishing community in Elmjna has benefited from the turnkey fish processing plant that is going to come. And as we heard earlier today, the "fishing college is also on its way --- [Interruption]
Madam Speaker, that is
On a point of order Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague is making so much noise about --
Is it a point of order or you are going to contribute?
Point of order about the price being paid to cocoa farmers now. Madam Speaker, the bonus being paid to cocoa farmers now has been reduced and the so-called 80 per cent paid to cocoa farmers has not improved their livelihood. This is because fertilizer which used to be sold at 147,000 old Ghana cedis is now being sold at 300,000 old Ghana cedis. And therefore, the farmers are not able to purchase inputs to increase their yield. So the so-called 80 per cent being given to the farmers has not improved their livelihood at all. Farmers are crying that their bonuses are being slashed.
Thank you, Madam Speaker-
Yes, carry on and wind up, please.
Madam Speaker, let me say that His Excellency promised change - [Interruption] - Let me end by saying that in terms of livelihoods, a prison officer in 2009 had a pension of 1.5 million (GI-I¢150.00); today he has GH¢-450.00 in his pocket. A Principal Superintendent, a teacher who was earning GH¢270 a month in 2009, today, Madam Speaker, he or she has GH¢790.00 per month. [Interruption]
And so, Madam Speaker, may God bless the President and that he may continue to confound his enemies. On this note, Madam Speaker, I join my Hon Colleagues to thank His Excellency the President for a very skilfully delivered State of the Nation Address. I thank you _
You mean you want to make a point of order after he has finished?
Madam Speaker, in fact, my Hon Senior Colleague - I think he has just left the Chamber. Hon E. T. Mensah made a very serious statement here. I got up but I did not catch your eye. He said Hon O. B. Amoah has been "woyomied" -[Interruption.] Yes, that is what Hon E. T. Mensah said. [Interruption] Even the Hon Minority Chief Whip got up. I got up but when he got up, I sat down. We had wanted him to withdraw that statement.
Let me stop you at this stage. You know that Standing Order 93 (5), if you had. got up at the right time and objected when he was here- But from that Order, you cannot complain and chastise the Speaker. Hon Members, let us look at the Order. I would like us to read this Order because if you want to do that, you come by a substantive Motion. So let us leave it. You have said you did not catch my eye.
Madam Speaker, accepted. Thank you.
If you had caught my eye, I would have asked you to confront him but he is not there. Let us not chastise one another. The rules say that if you want to do it, you go by -- I think this ends the matter. This ends item 5 for the day. We have had about five or six Hon Members contributing from each side. You will have more time this week to finish it. Hon Pelpuo, what will be the next item which will be taken by the First Deputy Speaker?
Madam Speaker, we can have item 5 because the Deputy Minister for Communications is here and he is ready to move the Motion.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, I see Hon Kofi Frimpong is not properly dressed in the Chamber. He is naked. I see him naked in the Chamber.
Well, I cannot see him. Hon Members, let us do some business. Time is far spent.
Where is the Chairman of the Communications Committee?
Mr Speaker, it is a joint referral, so I would want to move the amendment.
Hon Members, this is a one -- clause amendment, so we have the clause.
BILLS - CONSIDERATION STAGE
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, the clause, line 2 , delete "(g) and (h)" and insert "(g), (h) and (i)". Mr Speaker, the reason is that the paragraphs being repealed are "(g), (h) and (i) and not only (g) and Q)". Question put and amendment agreed to. The clause as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. The Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Electronic Transactions (Amendment) Bill, 2011. Item number 7 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Communications is not here himself but his Deputy is here to move this Motion and I will ask your permission with the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues opposite for him to move the Motion on his behalf.
Mr Speaker, ordinarily, we would not have any objection to the Hon Deputy Minister standing in for the Hon Minister. But the Hon Deputy Minister seems so anxious. But we would oblige him all the same. Suspension of Standing Order 131 (1) Deputy Minister for Communications (Mr Gideon Quarcoo) (on behalf of the
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 13 1(1), which require that when a Bill has passed through the Consideration Stage, the Third Reading thereof shall not be taken until at least, twenty-four hours have elapsed, the Motion for the Third Reading of the Electronic Transactions (Amendment) Bill, 2011 may be moved today.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Hon Members, this is a procedural Motion, so I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker, as you are aware, normally, in trying to rush Bills through fig: stages, in fact, when it is of an urgent nature, In the Hon Deputy Minister who just moved this Motion tell us the urgency that is residing in this Bill, why it cannot wait for twenty-four hours for us to do the Third Reading and he is- trying to suspend the Order?
Hon Minority Chief Whip, you are right, that this is a non-controversial issue. On that basis, let me put the Question - V
Hon Member for Manhyia, I have made my ruling and you know you can only challenge me by a substantive Motion.
Mr Speaker, I will dare not challenge your ruling - I cannot. But Mr Speaker, if it is not urgent, it is not critical and it is non-controversial, then it can wait
Hon Members, I do not have the committee's report before me during the Second Reading where the Committee is supposed to report whether this is a Bill which is urgent and ought to be taken -through all the stages in a day. I do not have that but I have just been informed that it is urgent. I have just been informed by the Table Office that it is urgent -
Mr Speaker, in fairness, as the Deputy Ranking Member of the Committee, it is urgent because it Will help on-line registration and it will also improve the revenue base of the nation - [Interruptions]. So I will support the exigency and respect your ruling - [Interruption] ' Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly:
BILLS -THIRD READING
Item 9 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Health is unavoidably absent and has asked his Deputy to represent him to move the Motion on his behalf. And I will like to ask your permission with the indulgence of my Colleagues opposite for him to move the Motion on behalf of the Minister for Health.
Mr Speaker, this House has had an occasion to remind leadership on the Majority side to endeavor to inform us of the whereabouts of Ministers of State when they are unable to attend to the business of this House, while we try to indulge their Deputies to stand in for them. It is important that we know that taking other things which are less important than the business of Parliament take precedence over their functions here. ' So it will help us if the Deputy Majority Leader can tell us why the Minister for Health is not able to be in this House today. It is not enough to say that "he is unavoidably absent"- If he is on an official duty, that is the more reason he should tell us what official duty he is on.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, they want to know where the substantive Minister is.
Mr Speaker, we are all aware of the recent outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in the northern part of the country. The Minister, in response to reports reaching his office, has acted quickly by making sure he is in the North to address the issue personally. So Mr Speaker, he is on his way to the north of the country to address the recent outbreak of CSM.
Mr Speaker, we were not aware there is CSM outbreak since the President did not mention it. But since the Minister is not here, we will indulge him. Thank you.
Hon Members, ordinarily, when a Minister has business in the House and for one reason or the other he is not able to attend to it and wants his Deputy to handle it, he would normally write to the Speaker, who informs the Leaders of both sides. Or the leadership in charge of Government business informs Members opposite in good time, so that by the time you make the application, they are aware, so that it does not create any problem. So in future, let us try to go by that practice.
Hon Member for Manhyia, what do you have to say?
Mr Speaker, but for a fact that CSM is a killer in this country, I would have sat down for him to move.
Hon Member, What statement are you making?
I am not making a statement, Mr Speaker.
So what are you saying?
Mr Speaker, the Minister for Health -
Hon Member, please, please --
Mr Speaker, no, no. Mr Speaker,.it is not right -
Hon Member, the Deputy Majority Leader was applying to the House, indeed, through me or them to indulge the Hon Deputy Minister for Health and he wanted to explain why the substantive Minister was not here and he offered the explanation.
I have a contrary explanation.
Please, please, we have leaders here and we have to recognize them as such. He asked for a reason and .the reason was given by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. If you have a statement to make on CSM or you have any contrary view, you have to process that view through your boss for now. The practice is that, we do not call everybody whether a Deputy should be allowed or not. So Hon Members, we proceed. We proceed with item 9. Hon Deputy Minister or Health.
BILLS - SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I rise to move the Motion that the Public Health Bill, 2O11 be read a Second time and in so doing make a few comments.
Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
Precisely so Mr Speaker.. Our Standing Orders are very clear on the language to use when you are in this House moving a Motion and for the information-of the Deputy Minister, you rise in your place and you state, "I beg to move", it is not "I rise to move the Motion. . ." [Interruptions.] You beg to move a Motion and then you go ahead to move the Motion that is contained in the Order Paper. One does not come to this House and develop his own language. There is a clear procedure on how to go on to move any Motion in this House.
Hon Deputy Minister, can you continue.
The object of the revised Bill is to consolidate and provide comprehensive legislation on public health. The objective cover the promotion of public health and wellbeing, -strengthening of public health infrastructure, the provision of essential public health services, the encouragement of campaigns and campaign committees to create awareness and maintain healthy environments, provide fair and appropriate penalties for contravention of the provisions of the Bill. - The Bill also through its consolidation, tries to re-enact colonial Bills that are out of date relating to infectious diseases, mosquitoes, quarantine, vaccination, public nuisance and modern enactment on tobacco, food, drugs and medicines. The Bill is guided by equity, social justice, public education, awareness and holistic health attitude. Other considerations are individual and social responsibilities, rights, informed consent and partnerships. The Bill deals with nine sections, including communicable diseases, vaccination, quarantine, vector" control, environmental sanitation, tobacco control measures, food and drugs, clinical trials, miscellaneous provisions including Patients Chapter, International Health Regulations and Declaration of Public Health emergencies. I thank you, Mr Speaker. Question proposed
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion and present the Report of the Committee. 1.0 Introduction Mr Speaker, in accordance with article 103 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the former Minister for Health, Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh on 22nd July, 2011 laid before the House, the Public Health Bill, 2011 Pursuant to article 106 of the Constitution and Standing Orders 125 and 178, Madam Speaker referred the Bill to the Committee on Health for consideration and report to the august House. 2.0 Consideration of the Bill The Committee on Health as part of its mandate under article 106 (4) of the Constitution of Ghana and Standing Orders 125 and 178 published in the media requests for Written memoranda on the Bill. The Committee provided organizations which presented memoranda the opportunity to defend their proposals. The Committee further "held several meetings with stakeholders in the health sector to examine the Bill in detail. The Committee is grateful to the following for their inputs and support during the deliberations: V 1. The former Minister for Health, Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh. 2. The Chief Executives, Food and Drugs Board. 3. Officials of the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service. 4. Officials from the Attorney-General's Department. 3. Reference documents - The Committee made reference to the following documents during deliberation on the Bill: 1 1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. 2. The Standing Orders of the - Parliament of Ghana. 3. Memoranda from the public. 4. The Public Health Bill, 2011. 4.0 Background It is obligatory that all governments throughout the world promote and ensure that their citizens obtain good health care. However, most ordinances on good health care in Ghana were enacted in the colonial era and are not responsive to current health needs. It has therefore, become imperative that all these colonial legislations scattered in various enactments be repealed to satisfy current health care needs. The enactments are the Mosquito Ordinance, 1911 (CAP 75), the Infectious Diseases Ordinance, 1908 (CAP 78) and the Quarantine Ordinance in 1915 (CAP 77). They cover infectious diseases, mosquito, quarantine, vaccination, public nuisance and tobacco, food and drugs. Legislation is also being proposed on issues of tobacco smoking, food and drinks, patient's rights, international public health law, communicable and non- communicable diseases as well as environmental sanitation due to the health threats associated with them. The Bill - further encapsulates international laws enacted and ratified by countries worldwide to ensure equity, social justice, public education and awareness as Well as a holistic attitude to health. The international instruments include: The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Right of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. Overall, the Bill seeks to bring together colonial enactments on infectious diseases, mosquitoes, quarantine, Vaccination, public nuisance and modern laws on tobacco, food and medicines. It further captures international laws to ensure that We come on level terms with other countries in the world in terms of health care. 5.0 Object of the Bill The object of the Bill is to: promote public health and well- being; strengthen public health infrastructure; provide essential public health services.and functions; identify roles and responsibilities of the public health agencies; encourage communities to create and maintain a healthy environment; support programmes and campaign intended to improve public health; educate individuals about public health risks; provide for the early detection of diseases and other public health hazards; respond effectively to public health emergencies; require regular reporting and accountability for public health agencies; provide fair and appropriate penalties for contravention of the provisions of the Bill; and respect individual rights. 6.0 Contents of the Bill The Bill is divided into (9)parts and 174 clauses. The various parts capture the following issues: 1. Part One (Clause 1 to 19) This part spells out how communicable diseases should be handled. It indeed specifies how infected areas should be cordoned off and how houses in such areas should be marked. It further indicates how persons removed from such areas would be compensated. 2. Part Two (Clause 20 to 39) This part deals with vaccination. It provides generally for the appointment of public vacinators (Medical Officers) and their functions. It further spells-out vaccines for children and adults as well as those that are compulsory. 3. Part Three (Clause 34 to 39) - Part three regulates measures to be taken to prevent the introduction of an infectious or contagious diseases into the country. It also indicates how persons with such diseases when identified can be quarantined and treated to prevent further spread of the disease. 4. Part Four (Clause 40 to 49) ' The destruction of vector constitutes an important aspect of malaria control. This part therefore spells out how premises should be kept to prevent situations that would encourage breeding of mosquitoes. It also provides for penalties for breaches of the law and the power of the Minister to make Regulations. 5. Part Five (Clause 50 to 57) Environmental sanitation is essential for the Wellbeing of all persons. This part therefore, covers the selling of unwholesome food, noxious trade and damping of garbage in authorized places. 6. Part Six (Clause 58 to 79) Considering the harm that tobacco smoking has on the human body and the steady rise in the use of tobacco by the youth, Part Six provides for the prohibition of smoking in public places, tobacco advertisement, issuing of health warnings on cigarette packs among others-
This part also makes the Food and Drugs Authority the agency to deal with all issues relating to tobacco. 7. Part Seven (Clause 80 to 148) The Food and Drugs Authority is established under this part. The object of the Authority is to provide standards to regulate the sale of food, drugs, herbal medicinal products, cosmetics, medical devices and household chemical substances in the country. 8. Part Eight (Clause 149 to 165) This part deals with clinical trials. It requires a person who wants to conduct a clinical trial of a drug, herbal medicinal product or medical device to seek approval from the Food and Drugs Authority. It further empowers the Food and Drugs Authority to deal with all issues relating to clinical trial to ensure that the public interest is served. 9. Part Nine (Clause 166 to 174) The final part of the Bill provides for the Patients Charter and other International Health Regulations and other rniscellaneous matters. 7.0 Observations and recommendations 7.1 Tobacco control The Committee realized that the Bill prohibits the smoking of tobacco in an enclosed or indoor area of a work place or in any other public place. The Committee is however of the view that the recommendation of the Bill touches on the rights of persons who may wish to smoke regardless of its harmful effect. The Committee therefore, recommends provision of designated smoking areas in facilities to afford those who may wish to smoke the opportunity to do so. These smoking areas should have facilities that would ensure that the tobacco smoke does not emit to the non-smoking areas. 7.2 Membership of the Governing Board of the Food and Drugs Authority The Committee observed that the Traditional Medicines Practice Council has been given representation on the Board of the Food and Drugs Authority. The Committee considers this provision very laudable because the representation would provide the Board with information it needs to take decisions regarding traditional medicine. It would also reduce the tension that exists between traditional medicines practitioners and the Food and Drugs Authority. 7.3 Clinical trials Clinical trials are usually carried out to ascertain the efficacy of medicines or medical devices which may be of benefit to the public. It is done with the permission of an Authority. It is also supervised by a medical practitioner, dentist, or veterinary surgeon. However, if the process is not closely monitored and the right directions given, it creates room for abuse and ultimately it is the public that bears the brunt The Committee is, therefore, satisfied that the Food and Drugs Board has been given the mandate and the necessary powers to ensure that such trials are not abused. The Committee however, recommends that the Food and Drugs Board should use its expertise to bring all culprits to book to ensure that the vulnerable in society are not abused. 7.4 Public Health Disease Control The Bill provides for the control of public health diseases through quarantine, vector control, vaccination
and environmental sanitation Although the provisions emanate from colonial legislations they have been improved to respond to current needs. These provisions would ensure that outbreaks of diseases are controlled and environments are kept clean to prevent the breading of vectors. The Committee is satisfied that those who do not abide by the provisions in the Bill would be charged for non-compliaI1ce and those Whose properties are destroyed would be compensated when necessary. This in the opinion of the Committee would ensure that the environment is kept clean and public health regulations are obeyed. It is again recommended that the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service educate the public on these public health provisions to ensure compliance. 8.0 Proposed amendments The Committee after a careful deliberation on the Bill, proposes the following amendments: 1. Clause 3 -Amendment proposed --- Sub-clause (2) delete and insert the following; "The Minister may by Regulations provide for the removal of (a) A person suffering or suspected to be suffering from a communicable disease from a vehicle; or (b)A corpse or article suspected to be capable of spreading infection from the vehicle". 2. Clause 4 --Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (1), paragraph (b) delete and insert the following; "(c) To a refund of the whole or a Y,I part of the fee paid for the license or as may be awarded by a compensation board established under section 12". 3. Clause 8 --Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (1), line l delete "May order" and insert "shall by an order of a court" 4. Clause, 9 -Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (2), line 3 delete "the" and insert "that". 5. Clause 10 ---Amendment proposed -- Head Note delete "suspects"_ 6. Clause 11 -Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (1), line 2 delete "a person" and insert "a person". 7. Clause 12 -Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (2), line l delete- "claim" and insert" claims". 8. Clause 12 --Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (9), line 2 delete "Who becomes, for the purpose of the reference, a member of the compensation board, and" . 9. Clause 13 -Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (2), line 2 delete "compensation board" and insert "District Chief Executive". 10. Clause 13 -Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (1) delete and insert the following: "(l) A claim for damages or compensation shall be made within six months after the occurrence of an event under subsection (4) or (8) and the Compensation Board shall determine the matter within six months of the receipt of the claim"
11. Clause 13 --Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (3), line 2 delete "the compensation board". 12. Clause 14 -Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (1) delete and insert "A person in charge of, or attending to, or living with a person suffering from a communicable disease shall when necessary report to the appropriate Health Authority of the existence of the disease in the person". 13. Clause 16 -Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (1), paragraph (d), line 2 delete "latrine" and insert "place of convenience". 14. Clause 16 -Amendment proposed\ -- Sub-clause (1), paragraph (k) delete "by the beating of gong- gong or in any other manner" and insert "in an appropriate manner". 15. Clause 16 --Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (1), paragraph (p), line 1 after "granting" delete "a passport, travel certificate or". 16. Clause 16 -Amendment proposed _ -- Insert a new paragraph as follows: "for the disposal of the carcass of an animal". 17. Clause 19 --Amendment proposed -Interpretation: Insert "Place of convenience includes a latrine". 18. Clause 20 -Amendment proposed -- Subclause (3), line 3 delete "Act" and insert "Part" 19. Clause 21 -Amendn1ent proposed - Subclause (1), line 1 after "charge" inset "where applicable"- 20. Clause 21 -Amendment proposed: Head Note - delete "Free Vaccination" and insert " Public . Vaccination". 21. Clause 33 -Amendment proposed -- Paragraph (a), line 2 delete "within the preceding seven years". 22. Clause 33 '--Amendment proposed - Paragraph (b), line 1 delete "within the preceding four months"- 23. Clause 35 -Amendment proposed: line 1 delete "fit and proper". 24. Clause 36 -Amendment proposed - delete and insert the following: "(1) A District Assembly shall provide appropriate equipment, buildings and sanitary stations for the purposes of this Part; and (2) The Ministry may by executive instrument declare an area as a sanitary station or sanitary anchorage for the purposes of this Part". 25. Clause 42 -Amendment proposed -- In line 4 delete "the sanitary authority" and insert "District Assembly". 26. Clause 44 --Amendment proposed - Concluding Statement-- In line 2 delete "hundred" and insert "Fifty" and in line 3 delete "six" and insert "three". 27. Clause 45 ---Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (2) delete. 28. Clause 46 --Amendment proposed: In line 3 delete "that place" and insert "the assembly". 29. Clause 49 --Amendment proposed -- Interpretation - Insert "Vessel includes aircrafts". 30. Clause 50 -Amendment proposed: -Paragraph (a) delete "burial" and insert "disposal". 31. Clause 50 --Amendment proposed --- Paragraph (c) delete "burial" and insert "disposal of". 32. Clause 50 --Amendment proposed -- Insert a new paragraph as follows: "A person who contravenes sub- section (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifty penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than three months". 33 . Clause 51 +Amendment proposed - In line 4 delete "one thousand and insert "five hundred" and in line ' 5 delete "four years" and insert "two years". 34. Clause 52 --Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause 2, line '_2 delete "One thousand" and insert "One hundred" and in line 4 delete "five years" and insert "six months" 35. Clause 53 -Amendment proposed - Sub-clause 2, line 4 delete "one thousand" and insert "two hundred and fifty" and in line 5 delete "four years" and insert "two years". 36. Clause 54 -AInendment proposed - Paragraph (a), subparagraph (ii) line 1 delete "material" and in sub- paragraph (iii), line 1 delete "material".
37. Clause 54 -Amendment proposed --Paragraph (d) delete. 38. Clause 57 -Amendment proposed - Concluding statement -- line 1 delete "May be detained until". 39. Clause 97 --Amendment proposed: Insert a new clause after clause 97 as follows: "Cancellation or Suspension of Registration (1) The Authority shall suspend or cancel a license issued under this Part if information submitted in respect of the ' registration changes or it is found to have been inaccurate. (2) An applicant may at any time after suspension or cancellation of a registration re-submit new information on the food. (3) A person responsible for the registration of the food who fails to inform the Authority of a change in the information submitted for its registration commits an offence. (4) The Authority shall cancel an approval in respect of a registered food is not made available on the market after three years of registration". 40. Clause 169 -Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (1), line 3 delete "detained" and insert "quarantined". 41. Clause 172 -Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (2) line 2 delete "National Disaster Management Organization and other". 42. Fifth Schedule -- Amendment proposed --- Paragraph (b) delete "Artetrio Sclerosis" and insert "Arterio Sclerosis". 43. Fifth Schedule -- Amendment proposed: Paragraph (b) delete "Septiaemia" and insert "Septicaemia" 44. Fifth Schedule - Amendment proposed - Paragraph (b) delete "Poliomyeities" and insert "Poliomyelities". 45- Fifth Schedule -- Amendment proposed -- Paragraph (b) after Tuberculosis delete "or consumption". 9.0 Conclusion Since all governments are enjoined by law to promote good health, the Committee proposes the adoption and passage of the Public Health Bi-ll into law to ensure sanity in our environment and prevent the occurrence of public health emergencies as well as provide for fair and appropriate penalties for contravention of the law. Respectfully Submitted.
Hon Member for Manhyia -- In making your contribution, I want you to address the method of the Bill, Where you have made the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as the Third Schedule. And when there is an amendment to this Convention, how does it form part of the Bill? Hon Member, address that concern whether it has been taken care of in the Bill
Mr Speaker, I need clarification on your question.
I am saying that in your contribution, as the Deputy Ranking Member and the acting Ranking Member, I want you to address how we would - If you look at the Third Schedule of the Bill, we have the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as the Third Schedule, which has therefore, been made part of the Bill. If there is an amendment to this Convention, are ' there sufficient provisions in the Bill to take care of that amendment? I want you, in your address as a member of the Committee, to highlight on that.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support v the Motion on the floor and in so doing, I would want to bring to fore some observations that have been made as the Committee went through the Bill. Mr Speaker, if you look at the Bill, you might not necessarily see why We-put so many things together and one of the issues that come up is Why we add the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as a Schedule. Mr Speaker, Ghana was one of the first signatories to the ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control but it has taken us more than five years against even the provisions to bring- it back into our laws. It tells us that Ghana is very, very quick to sign international conventions and treaties Without thinking about how to incorporate it in the national law_ Mr Speaker, with that particular reference on attaching the Schedule, I still find that there are many parts of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that have not been incorporated in our law per the Food and
The reason I raised that point is that if you look at the Third Schedule, which is section 76, it is very important for us to address this matter to make sure that we are doing the right thing as a House. If you look at the Third Schedule, section 76, if you look at making Regulations, if we have to make further provision in respect of the Third Schedule and then Third Schedule is the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and then we come back to (h), amending the Schedule to this part. The question is that, do we use Regulations to amend Schedules to anAct or we amend the Act? That is a fundamental question and I want it to be addressed. All the Schedules that we have amended, do we use Regulations to amend the Schedules to an Act or we use Regulations to amend Schedules?
Mr Speaker, I now notice your difficulty. We cannot --
We cannot as members of the Committee -- I do not know whether this issue cropped up at your Committee. I want you to address it here and let us make sure that we are doing the proper thing as a House.
Mr Speaker, with your experience and your direction, I now see your difficulty. We cannot use Regulations to amend a parent Act; we cannot do that. During the Consideration Stage, we would take care of that.
Any further contribution? - _
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. This Bill is very important but it has taken long in coming. It covers many, many things including the tobacco that is being topical. It also deals with the environment generally, particularly the work of the Food and Drugs Authority. So anything that touches on public health -- And if you look at the issue of the Cerebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM), now that we are talking about it, the outbreaks that we experience in many diseases, it is partly because we have not effectively put in place a Public Health Act that can regulate things. It is important that after this Bill is passed, steps are taken to bring the Regulations quickly for us to be able to enforce many parts of the Bill and also make it operational.
What is important is that old laws, laws that are archaic, laws that were not even known, are all now going to be modernized and that is why the Bill is important. It is very topical and I would want all Hon Members to pay attention and vote for the Motion. Now, the issue of amending the Schedules - Indeed, we have a practice in this House where, for instance, when we are talking about the tax laws, where Schedules are normally - it is the Legislative Instrument that is used to amend them. Now, when we are talking about a Convention, the method he first sighted My Hon Colleague first sighted, it-is the best thing to do. If we have an amendment to that Convention, then first of all, it has to be ratified again by the member States before it is brought here and again, ratified or adopted by this House. In which case, you can then use the Regulations to amend any of the sections that we have attached or instead of that, attach that new version of any part of that Convention. It is easier to use Regulations to amend Schedules because Regulations are not as difficult to amend like the law itself. If we want to use the substantive law, it means we have to go through from the Ministry, Attorney-General's Department to Cabinet before it comes here. So we have in a number of cases, in this House, used Regulations to amend Schedules, not the substantive law, just the Schedules. And once we provide for it in the main law itself, then we are clothed with the authority to be able to do that. I think that this Bill has been so much talked about. I would urge all of us to let us -- We have done a lot of work on it as members of the Committee and also as a Ministry, where I was before, and I urge all Hon Members to vote for it. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, just for emphasis of what my Hon Colleague rightly said with regard to how we can get the Schedule amended. In fact, it is very, very important and we are grateful that you drew our attention to it. When we get to the Consideration Stage, we will make sure that it is explicitly stated, so that we can always use the Legislative Instrument to amend the Schedule. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for drawing the attention of the Committee to this very important item.
Hon Deputy Minister, do you want to wind up? I want to put the Question.
Mr Speaker, I would wish to thank Hon Members for their support. - Thank you.
Thank you Very much for your brief intervention. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Public Health Bill read a Second time.
Hon Members, I would urge the House that this is a very important Bill and therefore, the House should take special interest in this Bill. Hon Members, we are in breach of the Rules but it is not too late. I will do it. It is better late than never. Having regard to the state of business, I direct that we Sit outside the prescribed period.
Mr Speaker, at this juncture, it looks like we are unable to take the next item on the Order Paper. But since the Hon Deputy Minister is here and the Health Committee Chairman has just drawn my attention to item 16, that if we could spend some 30 minutes looking at it. This is because there are some young people and nurses who are eager and have been sitting here to observe proceedings on how we are going to deal with the Mental Health Bill. So I would crave your indulgence if you could move to item number 16 to take the Consideration of the Mental Health Bill. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
BILLS ---CONSIDERATION STAGE
[Resumption of Debate -from 22-02-2012]
Hon Members, clause 34. .
Mr Speaker, the amendment proposed is that No, it is clause 33, Mr Speaker. Clause 34, there is no amendment.
Hon Chairman, were you the one who moved the last amendment? The Votes and Proceedings of Thursday indicate that the Question was put by my Hon Colleague, the Second Deputy Speaker on clause 33 and agreed to.
Sorry, Mr Speaker, I thought we were to take it again. I remember we did it but since your attention has been drawn to it --
If it has been done, why do we take it again?
Mr Speaker, because it came on the Order Paper, I thought it was not properly captured.
Is it a practice that when a Question has been put on an amendment, then you take it again?
No, please- Mr Speaker, I just did not take note of the Votes and Proceedings. Clause 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill Clause 3 5 - Membership of a visiting committee.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 35, sub-clause (l), paragraph (a), line 2, after "Director" insert "Who shall be the Chairperson".
What is the reason behind the amendment?
Mr Speaker, the reason is that because the person will be coming from the Regional Co-ordinating Council and knowing the structure of our decentralized system, if in a region, someone at the directorate level, at the Regional Co-ordinating Council, is going to be a member of the visiting committee, it can only be proper to designate such a person to chair the visiting committee, so that he can take over almost all the districts that are within the region and that was in the wisdom of the Committee. At the Committee level, it was felt that we needed_to make the person coming from the Regional Co-ordinating Council chair the visiting committee meeting, so that he can appropriately brief the Regional Minister. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, it is in order. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 35, sub-clause (1), paragraph (c), line l, delete "private" and after "of" insert "not less than". The new rendition would read - "one legal practitioner of not less than ten years standing as a lawyer nominated _ by the Attorney- General". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 35, sub-clause (1), paragraph (e), line 2, delete "Committee" and insert "Team". The new rendition would read -- "one member of the Regional Health Management Team of Ghana Health Service".
Is that how they are called?
Mr speaker, on the ground currently, they are Health Management Teams.
And what about the district level?
It is the District Health Management Team. We have the Regional Management Team and the District Management Team. So they are "Teams". That is why for consistency, we should change it from "Committees" to "Teams". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, there is a further amendment that has not been advertised, and with your indulgence, we want to take it. That is the sub-clause (t), where we have on the Bill now, "two other committee representatives". Mr Speaker, we would want to split these into two; "one service user". MI Speaker, the simple reason is that, in the Convention on the Right of Persons with Disability-
Hon Member, move the amendment and let me get the amendment first, then you can justify it.
Mr Speaker, the amendment is that, we are breaking sub- clause (1) into subclauses (t) and (g). So that we will have a first (t) that will read "one service user" and a (g) that will say: "one other community representative".
Hon Chairman of the Committee, it is not for you to number it. You want to have a new paragraph to sub-clause (1)? So, you are abandoning what you have here? In sub-clause (1)?
Mr Speaker, not really.
So if you are not abandoning it, let us deal with it, then you can move the new amendment which is the new clause, then the draftsperson will number it as (j) or Whatever.
None I Mr First Deputy Speaker: Do you get the point I am making? "
Yes, Mr Speaker.
But let me hear from the Minority Chief Whip.
Mr Speaker, did I hear the Chairman of the Committee suggest that "one representative of service user? Or have we changed the definition of "service user"? In the interpretation section, "service user" means "a person who is receiving mental health care".
It will be amended.
But you have not amended it and you are using it as it stands.
The point he is making is a very important one.
Well, it has been advertised.
When you go and your amendment is not carried, what happens?
Mr Speaker, at the Committee level -- and I strongly believe that when we get there, this Honourable House will accept the new definition of a "service user".
Well, we will allow you to move it except that if it is not carried, then we have to go back to the Second Consideration Stage.
Mr Speaker, I think, as you said, if it is not carried, we will have problems. So maybe, we should step it down until we carry that amendment and return to it.
Let us move the amendment that has been advertised, then we move to the new paragraph that he wants to introduce.
MrSpeaker, I beg to move,_ clause 35, sub-clause (10), paragraph (D, after "representatives" insert "one with interest in mental health matters". So that the new rendition would be - "two other community representative with interest in mental health matters. . ."
Mr Speaker, he is confusing all of us now. He seeks to talk about" service user" for one. But he is now moving; if he moves this one as (t) and indicating one of them, they are two, one of them to be one, who is interested in mental health matters. But what will be the other one? So what he should say is that, is not moving this but rather move that (t) (b) one with mental health. The new rendition will then be "service user". But what is this interest in mental health person? Can he explain that?
Hon Chairman, the point being made is that, the way the amendment has been captured on the Order Paper, creates a problem. One of the means by which you do it is, if you maintain it, then you have to go ahead and mention the "service user" in it, then it would be complete. Or break it to read as follows: "two representatives". This represents the various interests that they are representing. That is, you make it different paragraphs, "one representative who has interest in mental health matters", then one representative representing the "service users". So I do not know which option you want to choose.
Mr Speaker, when you say "one with interest in mental health matters" a service user necessarily is somebody who has interest because he
That is one of the options. .
Or the second option would be to add "the other".
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, to delete clause 35 (T) and in its place, insert the following. "Two other members, one of whom is a service user and the other a community representative".
But where is the "interest in mental health matters? That amendment you have moved now, how does it take care of the person with interest in mental health matters?
Mr Speaker, I have just been in contact with the technical people and they are of the view that, if you get the service user and you say "one other person representing the community", necessarily, it could be somebody from the non-governmental organization (NGO), it could be someone generally in the community that may be interested. It will open it rather than close it
Hon Chairman, if you go and take your Party Chairman, would it be illegal? If you just leave it there, "one person from the community", it Will not be illegal. So if you want to be specific to know who we are targeting, let us put it there; this is the time we are making the law, for the avoidance of doubt.
Mr Speaker, looking at the current rendition, I would want to suggest "one with mental health background". The background with mental health will be better than, say, "interest" because it could be anybody who does not have mental health background but he has interest. But if you say "somebody with a mental health background", it means you are being specific and it is targeted-- [Interruption] No, "somebody with mental background".
What does that mean?
Somebody with such a profession who has had a record, the person has a qualification in mental health, the person is certificated and that is more targeted. [An Hon Member; The person has suffered] - No, no, no. I am not saying that if you are suffering from mental health, it does not mean that you are certificated; certificated in terms of profession.
What he is suggesting is that, the person should be an expert in that field. Is that not the point you are making?
Mr Speaker, we are constituting a committee to visit a place to do an assessment. Let us look at the members. If we go through and look at the membership, his position probably is not tenable because we have a psychiatrist or other mental professional without a direct service; it is already there as (b). We even have somebody from the social services. So Mr Speaker, to bring someone with a background here, - is a bit superfluous. That is not the intention of this amendment.
Hon Minister of State, (b) has taken care of your interest, the point you are making.
Mr Speaker, I think if we leave it as the Chairman said, "a member of the community", even if it is the Party Chairman, he will have an interest and knowledge about the - So I would think that we should leave it to the community to choose.
Mr Speaker, I have tried to qualify it, so if you could allow me one more time to take it again. Mr Speaker, I am deleting the whole of 35 (0 -
Hon Members, why do we not adopt what is in the Bill? "Two community representatives", using the argument of Dr Asare, then they the people will know who to choose to represent them. Because "interest in mental health matters" then Dr Prempeh's argument will come in, but (b) takes care of that. .So if you want to get the community involved in the process, then leave the whole matter to the community to choose whoever they want to choose. The emphasis here is to get the community involved in the process.
Mr Speaker, we should not think the community here means a small village in my own PekyiNo. 2 which can be so organized.
But did you listen to what Dr Asare said?
Yes, I did.
Hon Dr Asare said if it is a Party Chairman, why not.
Mr Speaker, this is a committee with serious powers and it is not a committee that is going to do anything anybody can do. Mr Speaker, I think the intended was to bring professionals, maybe, NGOs in health- related matters to this committee, not any
Mr Speaker, I disagree with my Colleague from Manhyia. We should not pack that committee with only so- called experts. At times we need people with broad mind and idea about what is going on. We do not all need to be experts to have some knowledge to do mental work. Let us bring people in the community who have a very broad idea - [Interruption] It is the NGO which is going to choose them. Somebody has to be chosen and when we are choosing people, we do not call the whole of Pekyi together. The chiefs and even the elders will know somebody who will be able to give a good contribution and work for the committee. So, I think, let us leave it. Let us have a broad-minded person on the committee as well, not experts. Let us not staff the committee with only the experts, let us bring broad- minded people onto it. They may have ideas as to the layman's point of view and things would work better that way.
Hon Members, what do you mean by "community"? We have to be very careful. If you say "District", we know what we are talking about. If we say "Regional Team", we know what we are talking
Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Chairman needs some further addition to qualify this particular thing. We have civil society organizations in health. They are interested. And indeed, as you know, we have a Mental Health Society, we have other groups that are interested in mental health and I believe that if we qualify it by saying "one representative from these community-based civil society organizations interested in health"
If you said "community-based organization" then we all know what you are talking about. So, Hon Chairman, why do we not defer this matter, so that we can do some consultations and then you bring the rendition, to enable me put the Question on it?
All right, Mr Speaker. I agree with you.
Very well. So, we move on to the next clause. Clause 36 ordered to stand part of the Bill Clause 37 -- Submission of report.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 37, line 2, delete "or" between "Regional?" and "District" and insert "and". The simple reason is that the report having regard to our decentralized system, should not only be going to one of these but it should go to both. That is why I am seeking to amend the "or" to "and". So the new rendition Will be: "A visiting committee shall report and make recommendations after each meeting to the Board with information to the Regional and District Health Directors, the head of the mental health facility and the collaborating relevant agency." So, it should not just be the "Region" or the "District" but the "Region" and the "District".
So, in effect, your amendment is that: clause 3'7, line 2, delete "or" and substitute it with "and"?
Mr Speaker, I do not know why he is doing that. But in law-making, "or" stands for both "and" and "or". And it is the relevance-- If it is a district survey that they have done, you give it to the district. If it is regional one, of course, even if you leave it as this, they will still be obliged to submit it to the region. So, I do not think there is any need for us to amend by changing it to "and".
Mr Speaker, I would like a directive on this: "A visiting committee shall report ..." Do we necessarily have to add "and make recommendations" when the person has visited or the Board has told the committee to go somewhere and work? Oh, I have never seen it in any law. If they are asked to bring a report to the Board, a report includes a recommendation or not. But if they do not even have a recommendation, do they have to Write they have a recommendation. No, they do not necessarily have to make a recommendation. If you are a doctor and you go and see a patient and the patient does not need medication, do you give
Mr Speaker, it is just for emphasis, so that they do not go and make recommendation and they say they were only asked to report. But when we make it this way, it says that they can report without recommendation but when they do make a report with a recommendation, nobody can challenge why they recommended. So, it is for emphasis. But Mr Speaker, with regard to what Hon Yieleh Chireh said, as drafters, if they think the "or" will mean both parties should be given, I am all right.
Mr Speaker, I still want to disagree with this Hon Colleague of mine who is separating the report from the recommendation. The fact that it may be there, is why it is here. You see? So, if you just write a report-We can all submit a report without any recommendations. Now, if one writes a report and there is a recommendation, this law says one can do it. So, it does not subtract. It emphasizes, as the Hon Chairman says, the fact that in making a report, one can include recommendations. So, there is nothing wrong with leaving it as it is. It makes the person aware that it is not just going round inspecting mental health facilities. It is for them to also to look at and make recommendations. So it should remain as it is and the whole clause, nothing should be touched,
Hon Chairman, what if you add the word. "relevant" to read: "... to the relevant Regional or District Health Director" That puts the matter beyond doubt. So, if it is relevant to you, if the facility is in your -- what about that?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that further amendment, "relevant" be included in this.
So, move the amendment and let me put the Question. -
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 37, line 2, before "Regional" insert relevant so that the new rendition will be: "A visiting committee shall report and make recommendations after each meeting to the Board with information to the relevant Regional or District Health Director, the head of the mental health facility and the collaborating relevant agency."
Mr Speaker, if we are in a particular region, what is the need for the word "relevant"? It is not going -- if it is going to ten regions, each one will go to that particular Regional Health Director, so where is the need for the word "relevant"?
What is the need for the "District" because the question is that-- once you bring-_ in a district, because ordinarily, it is a regional team which is doing the visitation, yet we have included the "district" here.
They are going to a particular district, they should send it to that district.
Very well. They should send it to that particular District Director. That is where the issue of relevance comes in.
It beats my mind because if I understand "relevant Regional Director", it looks like it encompasses two regions and it affects two regions but it affects only one region.
Mr Speaker, I am saying that the man was a RegionalDirector, and in the case that we are making a law, indeed, a report can be written by this visiting committee, which affects another region. In that case, a relevant region is reported to, so it does not have to be where the location is. If the report - [Interruption]- Yes, supposing we have cases coming from a particular region or there are observations made about what they should do in other regions - So "relevant" region is very important; I support this amendment. So we should vote for it.
Mr Speaker, I am not sure if you have exhausted the other matters, but there was some issue with the clause that I Wanted to point out. Mr Speaker, it is to do with the same issue -
I thought we should exhaust one issue before we move to another one.
That is why I was not sure whether you have eXhausted it. That is what I said.
I have not put the Question.
It is on the same clause-
But not on the same issue. The issue is whether we should qualify the "region" or "district" with "relevant".
Yes, let me hear from the two of you, then I will --
In that case, I do not think it is necessary because this is in reference to a specific committee, which has been set up for a specific jurisdiction. So it is all clear what is being referenced in there.
But if it is for the region, then why are we bringing the "districts"? If we just want the report and recommendations to go to the Regional Director, why are you including the "district", what is the purpose? If you go further, we are giving copy to the head of the mental health facility. Why are we giving a copy to the district?
Mr Speaker, every facility would be located in a particular area in Ghana and that -
I thought you were going to say a particular district?
No, a particular area in Ghana and that area would be under a particular resident associated district in Ghana. Mr Speaker, it is very, very important that these committees, they can be district health facilities, they can be mental health facilities, they can be even national; the ones that we have now are located in Madina, Abokobi or for that matter, in a certain particular district. But it is of a national character. So if you so find out that the committee visits there and they realize that 85 per cent of the inmates there are from a
Madam Speaker, so it is very, very important. But more importantly, What are the district committees--- [Interruption.] Please, we are not arguing like that The district committees are set up in each region. So, they are for that matter, regional bodies. But you do not set up a district committee -
The reason you have given us makes the use of the word "relevant" imperative. This is because of your explanation that, the use of the word "relevant" becomes very, very imperative.
Mr Speaker, even further to that, if you look at the functions of the committees, they are to take complaints about staff officers and the rest of them. These are moving people, and if you are a staff at one particular place and you have a complaint and you are moved to another district or region, the report necessarily has to be sent to that other district or region for the follow-up action to be taken.
Mr Speaker, the report would be sent to the regional directorate of that committee. He would in tum inform the other Regional Director that, this is What we are seeing in my region and it is coming from Ave/Avenor, therefore, take action to stop whatever is causing it. He would not send the report to - The Regional Director of the convening region may attach a copy of the report to him. Legally, it would be sent to the region involved; he in turn would liaise with his colleague and tell him that "this is happening in my region and the cause is from your end" and they would attach a copy of the report to you.
Mr Speaker, the article "the" "the region or district", in fact, if the explanation had not been given that the "or" can stand for "and" as well, I would have wished that we maintain the Chairman's interpretation to stop this problem of relevance and non-relevance, so that we know that when you do a study or you investigate something in one district, you give a copy to them and by compulsion, the region must have information. I think that the "or" even though it might mean "and", it is not easy for a layman to interpret it as such. So I would want to go with the Chairmans original amendment and change the "or" to "and" and not introduce relevance to it.
Hon Members, I think I agree with the Hon Deputy Majority Leader because we ourselves, given the various views we are expressing about the clause, for the avoidance of doubt, let us remove the "or" and put "and" there, being the definite article qualifying it, we know exactly what we are talking about, so that we put the matter beyond doubt.
Mr Speaker, I do not agree with that suggestion. The suggestion is that, we still need to add the "relevant" because of the explanation I am giving. If you look at the functions of the committee, what they are to do, is to ensure human rights of mental patients and therefore, complaints about staff and the rest of them. I am saying that we should put the "relevant" Whether you make it "and" or "or" --
Very well, move the "relevant" and let me put the Question.
So I think that we should still put the "relevant" Question put and amendment agreed to.
Chairman, move your amendment "or" and "and" and let me also put the Question.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 37, line (2), between "region" and "district" delete "or" and insert "and". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, if you look at line (1) on clause 37, it reads: "a visiting committee shall report and make recommendations" It is making it incumbent upon the committee to necessarily always make recommendations even when it may not have recommendations. I think the appropriate thing should be: "shall report and include any " recommendations." This is because it is very possible that it is reporting but it does not really have any recommendations to make. But you are saying "report and make recommendations" and it is the operative word there "shall," "shall report and make recommendations." It means every time they report, they have to make recommendations.
Hon Deputy Minister, what do you say to that? I think there is a lot of -- He is making a very important point.
Mr Speaker, I tend to agree with what he is saying. But earlier, it is because it was Hon Dr Prempeh "Napo" who was saying it - [Laughter] I did not want to listen to him. So instead of the recommendations, we need to say that the main report "may make recommendation;" shall report and may - Just say that "and may make recommendations." I think that is a better thing.
Hon Deputy Minister, I called you. Yes, what do you say? The point being made which is true is that, it is not every time; you may not necessarily make any recommendation depending upon the situation. So that is the point the Hon Minority Chief Whip is making. How do we do it? It could be "and make recommendation if appropriate" or something "as appropriate".
Mr Speaker, I do not think that in this matter, we should give an option for anybody to make recommendations or not. It is compelling for them to make recommendations; that is what we want. But if we say "may make a recommendation", they may not make recommendation even when there is the need to make a recommendation. Yes; because there is a leeway for them not to make recommendations --
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, when you go to a place and. you make a particular recommendation and you go again and there is nothing new to make, what are you going to say? That is the point that they are making.
Mr Speaker, I would want to make reference to our own Standing Orders. Standing Order 161 --
Mr Speaker, I agree with the -
In fact, we agree with the essence of the point. Let us get the right language, so that I can put the Question.
The right one would be "shall make a report and include any recommendations." I beg to move.
But you see, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader also made a very important point that they Want you to make recommendations whether you like it or not.
Mr Speaker, there is no need to compel anyone in this case.
Very well. Let me get the rendition, so that it can be properly captured and then I would put the Question. Please, take your time. I am Writing it down.
A visiting committee shall report and include any recommendation-
Please, move the amendment properly in line with the Standing Orders. You were relying on the Standing Orders today. accordance with the Standing Orders.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 37, line 1, after "and" delete "make" and insert the Words "may include any". So that it reads - "A visiting committee shall report and include any recommendations".
Hon Minority Chief Whip, what about when we say "and may make recommendations"?
It sounds better, actually. Question put and amendment agreed to.
So it Will now read as follows: . "A visiting committee shall report and may make recommendations after each meeting with the Board with information to. . ."
Mr Speaker, it is exactly Where you just ended that is interesting me - "with information to". Is it your intention to send copies, or What kind of information? If it is copies of the report we will send to the Regional or District Health Directors, let us say so. You say "with information"; are we defining somewhere else what we mean by this information? If it is copies of the report which are submitted to the Board, which have to be given to these Directors, let us be explicit about that.
The question being posed is that, what type of information are you sending? Is it copies of the report?
Mr Speaker, it is obvious that it is copies of the report but l think we can go a step further by saying "with copies of the report to the relevant..." So I beg to move, that instead Of the information, "with copies of the report to the relevant..."
Hon Members, so we are deleting "information" and substituting "copies of the report". Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 37 as variously amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 38 - Other visitors-
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 3 8 , sub-clause (2), paragraph (b), delete and insert the following: "despite sub-clause (2), a relative, a member of the Visiting Committee or a person with legal authority who Wishes to enter the room shall state in Writing that although a warning has been given that the patient is dangerous the person still wishes to enter the room?
Mr Speaker, let us look at this intendment very well. A visiting committee gets to my facility, a patient says, no or the Director says, no; what time is this report going to be written or this permission going to be Written before the person decides to enter the room?
No. My understanding is that, you are warned and yet you still want to enter. Make a Written undertaken, which in law, is known as volenti non fir injurz'a.So that if you voluntarily assume risk, you do not blame anybody for whatever that patient, that harm or injury that patient may cause you.
In such a case, there should be a form that should be available in that facility for the person to sign. It is called "a waiver form".
The writing because that is the sense. When a surgical operation is going to be carried on a patient, a family member or someone authorized by him is made to sign a form to that effect.
So you sign a form. It is not writing. It is different.
The problem is that this is a Bill. So if you talk about a form, then you must go back and include the form in a schedule form.
Mr Speaker, that is solely very important. When you are dealing with the mental health status or mental health things about patients, these things must be Well documented in law. Everything about mental health related patients must be documented, and it is an approved and legal form that is there like a police form. When you go to the Police Stations in the country, it is the same form with spaces for. you to fill. It is not about Legislative Instrument (Ll). We have to make reference to it here, that it will come in an L.l. We have to make reference to what form that will come by the Minister's regulation. We have to make reference. Yes, you cannot just say. . . _
Hon Members, the Hon Member for Manhyia has raised a very important point. We are making a law and We should be certain about what We are making. If we talk about a form, then that form must be in a schedule and so we should then make reference to it if it is Schedule 1, Schedule 2, Schedule 3. We do not have the form and we do not have the Schedule. Do we defer it or we do it now?
Mr Speaker, I think that when we say in writing, we can add a bit to say "as specified in the Schedule". So that the authorities will know how to design this Schedule --
The Schedule will have to be in the law. "
Mr Speaker, that is why I am saying that we can let them bring a draft. We already have somewhere you go and fill the forms. So that already exists. I think it is just what we need to do. So I beg to move, that the amendment may further be amended by inclusion "as specified in the Schedule". .
Let me hear from you again.
Mr Speaker, I have a problem with the whole amendment itself, the way it has been captured. This is because it is referring to a sub-clause which it should not refer to. But what I would Want to say is that "in writing as specified in the Schedule".
Are we going to use the word "writing"? There should be some word there. ‘Something is missing. "Writing in a form as specified".
Mr Speaker, I further move that it should be "in writing as specified in the form in the Schedule".
"Writing in the form as specified in the Schedule."
Mr Speaker, I would want to take the amendment again. The amendment is that sub-clause (2), paragraph (b) -
Hon Member, you too, why this long, long amendment? The one there in (b), is there any difference between what the Committee has here now and what you are trying to do? ls there any difference?
Mr Speaker, at the Committee level, a lot of things we're thought of and it was agreed that we should just re-couch it. This is because if we look at what is in the Bill, it says that "where the person who wants to enter the room states in writing that although a warning had been given that the patient is_dangerous the person still wishes to enter the room." That is what was in the Bill. So in trying to expand it to say not to just limit it to any person -
Who is a person with legal authority?
It could be a representative of the person. This is because if you look at what we are doing
A representative of what?
Mr Speaker, if we look throughout the Bill, there are places where a court could make somebody a guardian. So that person is someone with legal - Mr First Deputy Speaker; Who is a guardian?
Mr Speaker, there are so many - someone can even have a lawyer whom someone has hired and the court has permitted that, that person could stand in for that person who is not, in this case, a guardian. All these things came up and it was felt that if we say "someone with legal authority" meaning that no matter where the person is coming from, once he has a legal authority -
So, that is why the one in the Bill, "where a person." And a person covers all manner of people- If you say a person, it covers all kinds of people. The ones that you are describing, they cover it. What we are interested in is to make sure that we do not do it and then blame the officials at the facility. So should we try to put in the necessary amendments, so that the facility is protected against any lawsuit and all those things?
Mr Speaker, the Bill itself, the numbering is wrong in terms of the clauses and secondly, What we are seeking to amend, he says delete sub- clause 2 and insert. And the beginning says, "despite sub-clause 2". It cannot be so. I would want to know whether it is-
"Subclause 2,.paragraph (b), delete and insert the following". It is only paragraph (b) of sub-clause 2.
That is why I am saying that, once it is the sarneisubclause, you do not make reference to it. You just say a "relative or member" because you cannot say "despite". Then it has to stand alone as another sub-clause, so that you make reference to the other one.
Mr Speaker, what the Chairman is trying to capture by putting in "despite sub-clause 2" is the effect of the word "except" which appears at the end of the preamble of clause 2. Really, it is not necessary. Clause 2, is saying that you can go in except that you have to fulfill
Especially when we use "despite" and we have "except" there. We have not deleted the "except" Chairman, look at your amendment again; I think you can improve -
Mr Speaker, you will agree that not majority of Hon Members of Parliament are lawyers , so we will agree with you that when you say a "person", it could refer to any of those that we tried to identify. ln that case, I would want to maintain it as it appears i n the Bill but then change it to read: "sub-clause 2 (b)" "Where the person who wants to enter the room states in Writing in a form as a specified in the Schedule that although a warning has been given that the person is dangerous, the person still wishes to enter the room." So, I am maintaining this one.
But the writing affects (a) and (b)? -
Mr Speaker, I take the amendment again.- Clause 38, sub-clause 2 (b), the second line after "writing", insert "in a form as specified in the Schedule." So that the new rendition will then read: "Where the person who wants to enter the room states in writing in a form as specified in the Schedule that although a warning has been given that the patient is dangerous the person still Wishes to enter the room".
Mr Speaker, I do not have a problem with it, but the only thing is that, if we put the form in the Schedule in the law, even if we want a little change, we will have to come back. Can we not make it such that it is prescribed in the L. If? I do not not know. Would it not be easier?
Mr. Speaker, we just said that Schedules are easily amended through L.I.s. When we were taking the Public Health Bill, Mr Speaker, we just
Mr Speaker, I think his fears are not to be entertained so largely because this form, as we are saying, specifies what ought to be there and what amendment will really be required in terms of what we are stating, is already typed out, you read it and say you agree despite what you have read and you have signed. So, I do not see many changes coming long after which will require an amendment. But as he rightly said, we can still do the amendment of the Schedule through L.I. which is easier to do. And to satisfy him better, guidelines which can be issued from time to time. But again, because we are going to provide for all these things in the L.I., let us leave it as it is in the Schedule because the L.I. will specify that one.
Hon Members, I will put the Question -- [interruptions] -- The Question? I am going to put it. Listen carefully --
Do you have an amendment? Well, clause 3 8, sub- clause 2, paragraph (b), line (2) between writing and that insert the following: "in the form as specified in the Schedule --" [Interruption]
Mr Speaker, let us go back to the sub-clause . It says "a visitor. or a member of a visiting committee shall not be allowed to enter a room of a patient who a mental practitioner considers dangerous except . . ." And when you even add all the effects, it still shall not enter the room.
Except, this is an exception -yes, (a)
Except the person who wants to enter the room states in writing that although the warning has been given that the patient is dangerous, that person still wants to enter the room. This does not give him the permission to enter the room.
No, no. If you state in writing that in-spite of the warning, I want to enter, you will be allowed to enter. In that case, you have assumed any risk.
Who will allow you to enter there?
Mr Speaker, I do not understand him because this sub-clause - listen - in making laws, the sub-clause has to be read together, you cannot take one and read and you say stop here because you have read the first part, they will not allow you.
All that we are saying is that, you are prepared to make the undertaking in writing in the form specified, the authority will allow you to enter.
MI Speaker, I agree and it is right but when you add (2) and (b) it- [Interruption]- Wait! 2 (a) is different. You are not understanding me. Mr Speaker, if you read (a), 2 (a) says: "a visitor or a member of the visiting committee shall not be allowed -" then that somebody who is not allowing you
Hon Prempeh, address the Chair.
The (b) says: "Where the person who Wants to enter the room states in writing that although a warning has been given that the patient is dangerous, the person still wants to enter the room . . .". He is still. not being allowed yet. So you want to over-ride the person who this man Wants to get the exception from and he has to bring it in because -
Mr Speaker, when you read clause 38 and you start from 38 (1), it is clear who has the authority to allow visitors. The subheading there is other visitors and one says the head of a mental facility and it goes on to describe whatever exception it is and conditions that you can apply in the sub-clause 2. So I think it is very clear, reading the whole section as to, who has the_authority.
The rule of I interpretation is that you read the whole -
Precisely. Mr Speaker, I do have an amendment to (b) and I was hoping -
But let me pronounce on this amendment.
I was hoping you will pronounced on the other one.
Mr Speaker, clause 38 --
Oh, I have put the Question.
MrSpeaker, clause 38, sub-clause 2 (b), if you look at it carefully, all the words that come on line one, the person, after persons, states - it is not necessary at all. That is, the words "who wants to enter the room". Mr Speaker, if you start reading clause 2 from its beginning; if a visitor or a member of a visiting committee shall not be allowed to enter the room of a patient who a mental health. practitioner considers dangerous except where the person states in writing". I do not know where the person who wants to -- if you did not want to enter the room, why are you calling him a visitor or a visiting committee. You are already seeking not to allow them to enter the room except when they do something. So those words there between "person" and "states" must be deleted and that reads "who wishes to enter the room". They already wanted to enter the room, that is why you are Calling them the "visitor" or "members of a visiting committee". Mr Speaker, if you delete the words, let me read to you What the full rendition will be and I am sure you will agree with me.
A visitor or a member of a visiting committee shall not be allowed to enter the room of a patient who a mental health practitioner considers dangerous, except where the person States in-writing as specified in the form attached to the Schedule, that although a Warning has been given that the patient is dangerous, the person still wished to enter the room." We do not have to qualify the person on the first line. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for putting the Question very soon after I sit down.
This is what we call "legal engineering" -- [ Laughter. ] You are an engineer.
Mr Speaker, he wants to do grammar with this amendment and bring it to be more elegant but as it stands now,
Hon Member, I think the Hon Chireh is absolutely right. It is just by way of emphasis; you are also right.‘Both Ways are right.
Mr Speaker, this is why the Hon Member for Manhyia ended up saying that the thing negates itself because by the time you go through that confused way of saying it, you will get confused. And that is why he thought that you had ended up not even -- [Interruption] - you are not really confused but not far from that - [Laughter]
In actual fact, the emphasis on (h), is not about the entering of the room. Because it has been taken care of already in the opening sub- clause. But it is undertaking, which would then let you take responsibility for whatever you do.
Mr Speaker, I support his amendment, so that the wording would be reader-friendly
Hon Minority Chief Whip, move the amendment and let me put the Question now.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 38, subclause 2 (b), line 1, delete all the Words between "person" and "state".
That is all?
Yes, Mr Speaker_ Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 38 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clauses 3-9 to 43 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, the sense of the House is that if we get to clause 50, which has two amendments -
Hon Members, when the application was made, it was made for thirty minutes [Laughter] But I will take it. ' Clause 44 -Appeal.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 44, subclause (1), line 1, delete "and" and insert "or".
Hon Members, this is a straightforward amendment. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4-4, subclause (5), line 2, after "patient" insert "or the personal representative of the patient"; Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 44 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clauses 45 to 49 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 50 - Custody of involuntary Patients.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 50, subclause (2), line 3, delete "that" and insert "the psychiatrist or head of the facility shall report to the police and". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 50, add the following new subclause: "Where the patient leaves the hospital Without the consent of the ' psychiatrist-or head of the facility before the expiry of the period specified on admission, any relative of the patient shall report to the police and the patient shall be arrested by a police officer without Warrant and returned to the hospital for the specified period".
Mr Speaker, "any relative" should be "any person". "Any relative" that we have on line 4 of the new subclause should read as follows: "Any person shall report to the police and the patient shall. . ." So it should be "any person" not only the relatives. _
In other words, we are deleting "relative of the patient" and insert "any person."
Mr Speaker, I think that the amendment as proposed, if the Chairman agrees, it should further be amended by the removal of "relative" and in its place, we put "person". This is because it is not only relatives who would fnd these persons escaping, it can be anybody and "person" would be more appropriate. Mr Speaker, he agrees, so I so move.
So what We are actually deleting is "relative of the patient" and insert "person"? Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 50 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, it is past three o'clock - [Interruptions] So Mr Speaker, before you adjourn the proceedings of the House, I would want to take this opportunity to thank you and Hon Colleagues sincerely for your co- operation. I think We have worked hard this afternoon.
Hon Maj ority Chief Whip, you should wait for the Mace to be straightened, to stand upright before you make any - Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Mental Health Bill for today.
Mr Speaker, just to say that it was a very good job done and I would want to thank you for the hard Work and also for the co-operation of Hon Members. More grease to their elbows.
Hon Majority Chief Whip, I hope you have taken note of all the people who were present?
Mr Speaker, While I am supporting the comments of the Majority Chief Whip in thanking Members, just to remind the Deputy Minister that, as we continue to indulge him, he should ensure that Members continue coming here in support of the Work that he is doing. This is a very, very important Bill. We can see our colleague patriotic nurses sitting here since morning and that is pushing and urging some of us on to stay this late. But as he is very much aware, this grease that Majority Whip is applying is only coming to soil our clothes.
Hon Members, I thank you very much, you ordinarily do not Sit on Mondays, but today being Monday, Sitting up to this time, well after three o'clock, I think that you have done very, very well. On that note, the House is adjourned till tomorrow at ten o‘clock in the forenoon. Thank you very much for your support and co-operation.
The House was adjourned at 3.37 p.m. till Tuesday, 28th February, 2012 at 10.00 a.m.