MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings. Hon Members, any corrections? Page 1, 2, 3, …10 -- Yes, Hon Member for Afram Plains South?
Mr Speaker, my Constituency is Afram Plains North. Please let us take a look at page 9, item numbered 6, paragraph 2 which reads with your permission; “The First Second Deputy Speaker …” It should rather read; “The First Deputy Speaker…”
Thank you very much. Any other corrections? Page 11, 12…15. Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 31st May, 2018, as corrected be hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. We do not have any Official Report today. Is Hon Stevens Siaka in the Chamber? Hon Majority Chief Whip, do we do the Business Statement before we go to the -- ? Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Business Statement for the fourth week.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read any available communication to the House whenever they are available. Question(s) Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has programmed the following Ministers to respond to Questions asked of them during the Week: No. of Question(s) i. Minister for the Interior -- 2 ii. Minister for Health -- 6 iii. Minister for Education -- 5 iv. Minister for Roads and Highways -- 5 Total Number of Questions 18
Mr Speaker, four (4) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to eighteen (18) Questions during the week. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by the Rt Hon Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members in accordance with Standing Order 72. Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Standing Order 119. Papers and committee Reports may also be presented to the House. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the Week. Conclusion Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week under consideration. Questions -- *367. Mr Richard Mawuli Kwaku Quashigah (Keta): To ask the Minister for the Interior how many persons were admitted into the Immigration Service in 2016 following the advertisement for which one hundred Ghana Cedis was paid by each applicant to the Service. *368. Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (Ho West): To ask the Minister for the Interior the status of Police investigations of the whereabouts of Mr George Kormla Ackorley, from Saviefe Deme in the Ho West District, who went missing during the annual SASADU Celebration on 25th November, 2017 at Alavanyo in the Hohoe Municipality. Statements -- Presentation of Papers -- Budget Performance Report in Respect of the Ministry of Energy for the Period January to December, 2017. Motions -- (a) Second Reading of Bills -- Right to Information Bill, 2018. (b) Adoption of the Report of the Joint Committee on Mines & Energy and Finance on the Development Agreement Grant- ing Stability Terms to AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited (AGAG). Consequential Resolution (c) Adoption of the Report of the Joint Committee on Mines & Energy and Finance on the Tax Concession Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited for Obuasi Mine Re-development. Consequential Resolution Consideration Stage of Bills -- Witness Protection Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Questions -- *376. Mr Philip Basoah (Kumawu): To ask the Minister for Health when work on the Kumawu District Hospital project, which has stalled for over a year, will resume and be completed. *377. Mr Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze (Central Tongu): To ask the Minister for Health when works on the Ketu North District Hospital will be completed. *378. Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (Adaklu): To ask the Minister for Health when the completed phase of the new Legon Hospital will be fully operationalised. *410. Mr Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze (Central Tongu): To ask the Minister for Health when the Volta Regional Hospital will assume the full status of a teaching hospital. *412. Mr Yusif Sulemana (Bole/ Bamboi): To ask the Minister for Health when the construction of the Bamboi Polyclinic will be completed. *413. Mr John Kwabena Bless Oti (Nkwanta North): To ask the Minister for Health when work on the Nkwanta North District Hospital will commence. Statements -- Consideration Stage of Bills -- Witness Protection Bill, 2017. (Continuation) Committee sittings. Questions -- *313. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Education when construction works on the Apersua Community Day Senior High School ‘E'-Block will be completed. *314. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Education when construction works on the 12-Classroom Block being constructed at Klo-Agogo Senior High School will be completed. *333. Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga (Garu): To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry has plans to establish a library in the Garu-Tempane District since there is no library facility in the District. *353. Mr Mohammed Abdul-Aziz (Mion): To ask the Minister for Education how much Government has spent so far on the imple- mentation of the ‘Free Senior High School programme.' *369. Mr John Majisi (Krachi Nchumuru): To ask the Minister for Education the specific plans the Ministry has to ensure that Ghana's Inclusive Education Policy launched in 2015 is implemented. Statements -- Consideration Stage of Bills -- Legal Aid Commission Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Questions -- *361. Mr Eric Afful (Amenfi West): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when will the contractors on the Aboi - Nkwanta - Mumuni road and the Mumuni - Prestea road resume work. *362. Ms Linda Obenewaa Akweley Ocloo (Shai-Osudoku): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when work on the Luom road, in the Shai-Osudoku District, will commence. *363. Ms Linda Obenewaa Akweley Ocloo (Shai-Osudoku): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Dodowa - Afienya stretch of the Dodowa - Ashaiman road will be rehabilitated. *381. Mr John Frimpong Osei (Abirem): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when construction of the Abirem - Nkawkaw road will be completed. *382. Mr Suhuyini Alhassan Sayibu (Tamale North): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when work will commence on the Taha to Kulaa road. Statements -- Motion -- Third Reading of Bills -- Witness Protection Bill, 2017. Consideration Stage of Bills -- Legal Aid Commission Bill, 2017. (Continuation) Right to Information Bill, 218. Committee sittings.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Business Statement as presented. Mr Speaker, mine is more of seeking your guidance. On the 4th of July, 2017, I made a Statement on the Floor of this august House, calling attention to the damage being caused in the three regions of the north of this country; particularly, Builsa South with regard to the illegal harvesting and export of rosewood. I had hoped that as the Statement was referred to the Committee on Lands and Forestry, I would have had a response in the Chamber as you had directed. It is almost one year and I have neither heard anything, nor is there any action being taken. Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from you what my next cause of action should be, since the directive that you gave in referring the Statement to the Committee seems not to have occupied their attention. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Member, it is for the Business Committee to programme and invite the specific Hon Minister to follow through with the directive. I suggest, that you pick the specific order from the Hansard Department and bring it to the attention of the Business Committee so that they would invite the Hon Minister to come and provide the Answer.
Mr Speaker, very well; but it was referred to the Committee on Lands and Forestry.
Then you know what to do next. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, he is out of order.
I knew he was out of order, but I deliberately allowed him. If you want to comment on the Business Statement then I would give you the floor. Hon Member for Effutu?
Mr Speaker, I rise to comment on the Business Statement and I have three issues. Mr Speaker, I am fortified by your ruling that when it comes to comments on Business Statements matters are at large and Hon Members have a broader space to navigate on matters of national importance. Mr Speaker, fortified with that, my first issue is that the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry announced a dispensation for pharmaceutical companies and accordingly placed on ice the importation of some 49 drugs. Mr Speaker, upon making that Statement on the Floor of the House he assured us that every thing possible would be done to ensure that, the value chain is realised. In other words, the printing industry would also get a bite of it. The Rt Hon Speaker, upon being notified of this commitment, urged the Business Committee to programme the Hon Minister to address this House on whether or not the assurance which has been given had been followed through, that is, whether the pharmaceutical companies are now being compelled to patronise our local printing firms for labelling purposes. Mr Speaker, this is because they cannot get a dispensation and still import their labels from India and China when we have the capacity in Ghana.
Hon Member, you could put your case before the Committee on Government Assu- rances so that they would invite the Hon Minister to give you the information. If you have any other matter -
Mr Speaker, yes. I said that I have three issues. Mr Speaker, I only said that because there was a directive by the Rt Hon Speaker, that is why I am following-up. This is because he gave the directive and it is in the Hansard.
Yes. So follow it up with the Committee on Government Assurances.
Mr Speaker, very well. On my second issue, the Constitution, under article 103, mandates your committees to take up serious matters and interrogate same. Mr Speaker, we are aware that the recent Police and Military clashes led to the Hon Minister for the Interior coming to brief us in this House. Mr Speaker, I expected that the Business Committee would, as part of their deliberations, consider making a referral to the Committee on Defence and Interior to look into the matter in accordance with the rules of this House. Mr Speaker, since we do not know whether your Committee could suo moto take up the matter, it could only be proper that the Business Committee gives such mandate to your Committee to look into the matter. Mr Speaker, this is because, the people of Ghana would want to know what your Committee has done on this matter. Therefore, I invite Mr Speaker to direct the Business Committee to make a referral to the Committee on Defence and Interior to engage the Military and Police high commands on this matter and report same, because this is the platform for the people's representatives and the people would want to know the extent to which --
Hon Member, you have made your point. The important thing is that, the Business Committee does not programme Committees but they programme the business of the House. The Speaker may direct a committee to investigate a matter. I understand that there was a joint Statement on the floor of the House, but I was not in the Chair and not even in the Chamber. If the Speaker in the Chair thought that there was any other outstanding matter that had to be investigated, I am sure he would have directed so. Hon Member, nothing bars the Committee from engaging the Hon Ministers for further information if need be. But as far as I am concerned, that matter has been resolved and new matters have not come out since. So it is not open to me to make any new directives. Afenyo-Markin: Mr Speaker, very well. I take it that my application has been determined in one way or the other. Mr Speaker, my last issue has to do with misreporting by the media. When we deliberate on matters and some reportage is done and the inaccuracies create confusion, then it becomes worrying. Mr Speaker, yesterday the Daily Guide Newspaper and Daily Graphic reported that the Minority in Parliament had questioned the wisdom in the government's decision to use oil revenue to fund the Free Senior High School Policy. Mr Speaker, I believe that this could not come from the Minority, because, I know that the Minority side supports the Free Senior High School Policy and they would want to support the utilisation of the oil revenue for the Free Senior High School Policy. So, Mr Speaker, I see this as misreporting of the facts.
Hon Member, we are dealing with the Business Statement for the week. If there is a misreporting, then it is open to you to use the Hansard which is the Official Report to challenge the newspapers' reports. This is what I would suggest you do. Challenge the newspapers' reports by referring to the verbatim report which captures exactly what was said. I believe that you are done?
Mr Speaker, I am concluding.
Yes, Hon Dery?
Mr Speaker, I am grateful. Mr Speaker, two weeks ago, I raised an issue that had to do with a Question I filed to the Ministry of Aviation before the House went on recess. Mr Speaker, indeed, it was published, but when I looked at the Business Statement subsequently, the Question never found space there. I just want to seek your guidance as to whether the Business Committee wants me to file a new Question, because this is the third time I am raising this issue. Now, if the idea is for me to file a new Question, then they should let me know because when I went through the Agenda, I thought I would find it in there. I did not. Mr Speaker, my fear is that the Business Committee may forget about that Question, but it was published. Mr Speaker, so I would want to know if you would direct that I should file a new Question so that I would do that. Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Hon Member, once it has been published, it is now left to the Business Committee to schedule it. There is a huge backlog of Questions that have not been admitted yet, because the Questions are dumped there and you would find one person asking about 10 or 15 Questions at a time or on one day. So, when we sit to admit or review the Questions and we take 30 or 40 Questions a day, you find that they all relate to either one person or a maximum of two persons. So, there is a huge backlog and large quantities have been admitted, and the Business Committee is yet to programme them. So, once it has been admitted, then it means it has been admitted and it is left with the Business Committee. However, because of the large numbers, we are not moving as fast as we ought to. Yes, Hon Agbodza?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, during the presentation of the last Business Statement, I raised an issue about the Research Assistants for
Yes, Hon Member for Bolgatanga Central?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, mine is in respect of two Urgent Questions I filed. These two Urgent Questions were in respect of regulatory breaches of the GCB Bank as far as its obligations to the public, the Securities and Exchange Commission and to the Bank of Ghana are concerned. Mr Speaker, I feel that these issues are time bound. Only yesterday, I saw on the web page of Ghana Commercial Bank a purported filing of the report, and that report is a condensed Financial Statement which does not comply with the international Financial Reporting Standards. It does not comply with the Special Deposits Act; it does not comply with the Companies Code and cannot be relied upon by any investing public. Mr Speaker, in my opinion, this is a very urgent matter, and we need to deal with it, given the situation we find ourselves and our banking sector in. I just would want to find out whether it would find space next week.
Hon (Dr) Heloo?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I also would want to use this opportunity to talk about the east wing of the 10th floor of the Tower Block which was gutted by fire about a year ago. The ceiling is off and slabs are showing. This could fall on anybody at any time. I wish Leadership takes up the matter and ensure that the ceiling is fixed. Actually, I have asked a Question on it. It would come to you later, but it is a very dangerous situation and anything could happen to anybody at any time. Thank you.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, my concern is not very different from the concern of the Hon Member who just spoke before me. I filed some Questions in the last Meeting of Parliament; they never found space in the Business of Parliament throughout last Meeting. I have also seen the Agenda for this Meeting of Parliament but I cannot find those Questions. I would want to bring it to the attention of the Business Committee to see how that could be captured, at least, in this Meeting of Parliament.
Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, the Hon (Dr) Apaak asked for your guidance and you gave him. The matter, as he said, was referred to the Committee on Lands and Natural Resources. Probably, we would follow-up with the Leadership of the Committee and know the status of work done so far by the Committee. Mr Speaker, with the Question relating to Hon Members having filed Questions which have not been programmed for Hon Ministers to answer, I would advise that maybe, Hon Members especially, the Hon Member who was complaining that the Question was filed last Meeting and has not even appeared in the Agenda for this Meeting should get in touch with the Table Office to know the status of those Questions, whether they have been admitted or not. They should get in touch with the Table Office to ascertain whether or not those Questions have been admitted by Mr Speaker. After that, if they were really admitted, they could be brought to the attention of the Business Committee for programming. Mr Speaker, to the Hon Agbodza, the east wing of the Tower Block is an extension of the Job 600 Tower Block, which is being carried out. We are all aware that the offices that we have in the Tower Block are up to 252 or 253, which means that about 22 or 23 of our Hon Members do not have office accommodation. So we are extending the building to enable us have offices for Hon Members of Parliament who do not have offices as of now. Maybe, the workers could be advised to minimise the noise levels and to also ensure that we do not put Hon Members at risk.
Hon Chief Whip, I think the important point he raised was that Hon Members have not been briefed about what is happening and if there are any precautions to be taken; how and where. I believe that is a very critical concern he has raised.
Fortunately, Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee who is also the Chairman of the House Committee is with us now. I believe he has taken notes. Probably in the coming week or weeks, we would have to programme him to brief Hon Members on what is happening so that they get the details of the development. Mr Speaker, on the question posed by the Hon (Dr) Heloo, relating to the ceiling of the east wing of the 10th floor because of the fire that guttered at that side of the Job 600 Tower Block last year, we would get in touch with the Development Department to quickly fix it because it is very uncomfortable. Last week or two, I passed there and I saw that it is not in the best shape. Therefore we would have to fix it quickly to bring back comfort to Hon Members. I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, on the research assistants, we met two weeks ago and took a firm decision that with Hon Members whose nominees met the criteria, the Clerk to Parliament should go ahead and issue appointment letters. Most likely, from 1st July they would be engaged to take office.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, let me give your back benchers the opportunity. Yes, Hon Ras Mubarak?
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful. Last week a couple of issues were raised. One of them was the issue in relation to the National Identification Authority. There was the indication that a Committee of the Whole would be briefed yesterday, the 31 st of May, 2018. Unfortunately, it did not come off. Looking at the interest it has generated in the public, it would be useful if the House could be briefed as soon as possible and if the Hon Majority Chief Whip could give an indication as to when that would be? Mr Speaker, secondly, an issue was raised by one of my Hon Colleagues, Hon Governs Agbodza, in respect of construction works around the Parliament All right. That has been dealt with? Mr Speaker, I have been told that that has been taken care of.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, I would now want to listen to you.
Mr Speaker, it was just about the national identification that I wanted to draw the attention - I am a Member of the Business Committee. We need to programme it for some time next week so that they would come and brief us as was promised yesterday but for obvious reasons we could not do it. That was what I wanted to bring to the attention of the Hon Chairman. Thank you very much.
Hon Majority Leader, do you have anything to say since that matter was brought to your attention last week? National Identification Authority?
Mr Speaker, apparently they communicated to us yesterday, and the Clerk-at-the-Table has indicated to me that -- He came and gave me a signal to that effect. I believe because of the intensity of the discourse yesterday relating to the presentation by the Hon Minister for Communication, I got a bit distracted. I would say that we would endeavour to find space for it next week, Thursday. There would be no Cabinet meeting, so
Very well. Hon Members, the Business Statement as presented is hereby adopted. Item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Questions. Hon Members, three Hon Ministers have been programmed to answer Questions today, Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection has waited for her turn for a while. I would invite the Hon Minister responsible for Gender to answer her Question.
Mr Speaker, before then, to give an indication that in all likelihood the Question listed as 304 would be programmed for next week, likely to be Wednesday, because there is an emergency Cabinet meeting slated for Tuesday at which the Hon Minister is required to be present -- on Wednesday or Thursday. I do not know what programme we have done for the Business Statement. I should think it was not part of it, but to assure us that certainly we can take that one next week.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is not telling us anything about the whereabouts of the Hon Minister for Special Development Initiatives. You called the Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection but he was talking to -- No information has come to us either from him or her, and we are at a loss. Where is she and why is he seeking that it be sent to next week? This is a Colleague Member of Parliament and my belief is that, they should rather take the work we do here more seriously than others who are not Hon Members. She has not forwarded any Answer; she has not communicated to the House and now the Hon Majority Leader proposes that it would be sent to next week. We would be happy to know her whereabouts and why she failed to come or communicate to the House officially about her inability to come? I believe this is very useful information that may help the House. So if the Hon Majority Leader could assist us with her whereabouts. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, she travelled out, but she is now back, and she sent word to me that she is working on the Answer. It explains why the Answer does not find expression on the Order Paper. Ordinarily, the Answer should be provided, if she is to appear to answer the Question. She informed me last night that she is working on the Answer and she is not too sure that it would be ready today. That was why I said that it should be the next Sitting day after today, which is Tuesday. Tuesday is another Cabinet day, and she is required to respond to some issues on Tuesday at the Cabinet meeting, which was why I said that, we would then have to find space for her on either Wednesday or Thursday. So Mr Speaker, as a matter of record, since the Hon Minority Chief Whip said that she should take this House more seriously -- As a matter of record, she takes this House seriously, and she would attend to her responsibilities in the fullness of time.
Mr Speaker, I would not have come back, but for the qualification by the Hon Majority Leader that she in fact takes this House seriously. Mr Speaker, nothing points to that, because he knows that the Hon Minister does not work alone in that Ministry; others, including the Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection have done that before. In a situation where they are not able to come, they write officially to the House before the time. So if she really takes this House seriously, she should have done the right thing. He said that the Hon Minister is putting up the Answer. Mr Speaker, for the information of the Hon Majority Leader, this Question has been on the burner for more than six months. If she put the answers together last night, it tells how seriously she takes this House. So I beg of the Hon Majority Leader that the Hon Minister does not take this House seriously, because if she does, she would have written to us officially. Even if she was away, she would have instructed her officers to write to this House, instead of just calling you last night to tell you that she was then putting the answers together. I beg to differ; she does not take this House seriously. If she does, she would have done it properly and differently than just calling you to say that she was putting the answers together. Mr Speaker, having said this, I believe that if the Hon Majority Leader is assuring us that she would be here next week to answer the Question, I would urge my Colleague, Hon Aziz, to be patient and let us wait for Tuesday or Wednesday, as the Hon Majority Leader said, so that she comes to answer the Question. We hope that next week she would not come with another excuse. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, first, I did not say she would be here on Tuesday or Wednesday. I said Wednesday or Thursday, so when I talk, he should please listen to me. I did not say Tuesday or Wednesday; I said Wednesday or Thursday. That is number one. Mr Speaker, number two, I never said that she called me, because when he said she called me, he put his --
I did not say she called me last night - Please have patience. I was with her at a Cabinet meeting and I really spoke with her. I did not say that she called me, please listen. So that is number two; he got it wrong. Mr Speaker, number three, I never said that, by what the Hon Minority Chief Whip is saying, she only got to dealing with the Answer last night. I never said so.
It does not mean that she started working on it last night; it does not. You are getting everything wrong. She might have started working on it maybe about a week ago or two weeks ago. I am just telling you, do not make wrong inferences from what I say.
Can the Leaders stop these exchanges and address the Chair? 12. 24 p. m.
Mr Speaker, he is getting so tangential. I state the facts, but then he goes tangential drawing his own inferences for this occasion -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, so the Hon Minority Chief Whip should listen to me when I speak and not make wrong inferences from what I say. Mr Speaker, but as I said, we would create space for her on Wednesday or Thursday for her to come and answer the Question; that Question must be answered.
Very well, Question numbered 304 is deferred. Question numbered 352 standing in the name of the Hon Member for Asawase and Hon Minority Chief Whip.
MINISTRY OF GENDER, CHILDREN
AND SOCIAL PROTECTION
Mr Speaker, the WAEC Centre in Kumasi was commissioned in July 1993 at a time disability issues were not on the front burner. The Centre has located the examinations hall and the office of the Controller and Accountant General on the ground floor for easy access by Persons with Disabilities. The officials at WAEC have also indicated that portions at the entrance where there is an elevation of 2- 3 inches onto the veranda will be levelled to make it more accessible. The Ministry launched the Ghana Accessibility Standard for the built environment in 2015 to ensure universal accessibility. All relevant institutions like Ministries of Works and Housing, Roads and Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority are being engaged to enforce the inclusion provisions in Ghana's building regulations, so that they become requirements in construction. Under my direction, the National Council on Persons with Disability held meetings with officials at the WAEC headquarters on the need to make their facilities accessible to Persons with Disabilities. The WAEC office will be provided with a copy of the Ghana Accessibility Standard for the built environment to guide the redesign of existing buildings and new ones under construction. The Ministry will also monitor the situation at the WAEC Centre in Kumasi to ensure that the entrance work is done in the shortest possible time. Again, we are collaborating with key institutions to ensure that the provisions in the Standard are implemented. Mr Speaker, I have brought a copy of the building and construction materials accessibility standards for the built environment as well as the photographs of the current building of the WAEC institution that I would submit to the Table Office. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, in the second paragraph of the Hon Minister's Answer, with your permission, I would quote: “The Centre has located the examinations hall and the office of the Controller on the ground floor for easy access by Persons with Disabilities.” Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether it is an answer that has been given by the WAEC and if this has been inspected? This is because when we go to the building -- as she showed, the examination halls are up; it is other offices that are on the ground floor. Is it that the offices on the ground floor have now been broken into a hall and the offices have been moved up? How do they claim the examination halls are now on the ground floor when there are two storeys up? So I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether it is an answer that has been given by WAEC or her officers have been there to inspect that the examination halls are now on the ground floor? Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, they have not broken up the building. They have indicated that portions at the entrance would be made accessible, so that Persons with Disabilities could come and have access to the answers that they need. But the building has not been broken up.
Hon Minister, if I understand the Hon Minority Chief Whip correctly, what he knows is that the examination halls are, in fact, upstairs. Now, are you suggesting that as at the time you are providing this answer, WAEC has created another hall downstairs for Persons with Disabilities, or what has happened? It does not come out in the answer correctly.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The National Council of Persons with Disability has discussed this issue about locating it at the bottom. So the headquarters is making sure that it is made accessible.
Hon Member, I would not admit this question, that a Minister of State should encourage other people to sue agencies of State. Kindly ask another question.
Mr Speaker, I said that because in the Disability Act, the National Council on Persons with Disability can sue and be sued. And I am saying that now that the grace period of ten years has matured -- We have the likes of WAEC that has failed to create access to enable Persons with Disability to have space when writing examinations or when on visit. This applies to many other buildings. May I know from the Hon Minister whether with that power given to the Council by the Act, they would take advantage of it to begin to get all high- rising structures that have failed to comply with the Act? This is because the only way the Council can get people to comply with the Act after the expiration of the ten years, in my view, is to begin suing them. Mr Speaker, I do not know if it is not a fair question.
The Hon Minister would do her work as part of the Executive. Whether any agency would sue or not should not be a question that should be referred to the Hon Minister to encourage. So, she would do her part as the Executive to bring attention to the law. But as for suing, anybody who has the right would decide whether or not to sue. So, I would not allow this question. You may ask another one.
Mr Speaker, I would ask my last question. I would want to find out from the Hon Minister when she would get confirmation from WAEC, Kumasi, that what they promised doing would be done? This is because the November/December Examinations (Nov/ Dec) would soon be around the corner. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, WAEC is not under my responsibility so I would liaise with the appropriate Minister to see how soon we could get the place made more accessible. Thank you.
Yes, Hon Kwame Agbodza?
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful to the Hon Minister for coming to answer this Question. Mr Speaker, before I ask my question, Parliament must take this issue about accessibility and the rights of Persons with Disability very seriously. It is a major issue that we must all deal with. Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, she said the ground floor is being prepared to be accessible. We all know that all disabled people do not take one examination. Whatever examination is conducted on the ground floor does not mean that everybody could take that examination. Would the Hon Minister consider urging WAEC to make all the floors that are publicly used accessible? It is not only people taking the examination. Workers could also be disabled people and they have the right to access their offices on other floors.
Mr Speaker, as I indicated in my response, I am not responsible for WAEC, so I maintain my statement that I would get in touch with the Minister responsible.
Hon Member for Effutu?
Mr Speaker, in paragraph 1, the Hon Minister stated that the Centre was commissioned in July, 1993. I would like to know whether there is any evidence on record to suggest that efforts were made in the past to make the centre disability friendly? [Interruptions.]
Hon Minister, do you have any evidence of previous efforts made to make the examination centre disability friendly?
Mr Speaker, physically, it has not been brought to my attention that any effort has been made. However, in the area of awareness, we are working on that.
Hon Member for Kumbungu?
Mr Speaker, could the Hon Minister confirm if other offices in the WAEC building in Kumasi are disability friendly?
I think the Answer she provided with the pictorial evidence suggests clearly that the other places are not accessible and they are working to ensure that they would be accessible. I think that should be sufficient. Very well, Hon Minister, thank you for attending upon the House. I would want to congratulate you for the record. You have always promptly appeared to answer your Questions. [Hear! Hear!] You are discharged. The next Question is for the Minister for Roads and Highways, another Minister who takes his responsibility to Parliament seriously. Hon Minister for Roads and Highways? The first Question is in the name of the Hon Member for Sege, Mr Christian Corletey Otuteye.
MINISTRY OF ROADS AND
Background Mr Speaker, Prampram is the district capital of the Ningo - Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region. The total route length from Prampram to Anyaman is 24 kilometres (km).. Current programme There is currently one GoG funded project on-going, that is, the Upgrading of Prampram - Anyaman Road (10km). The project start point is 7km from Prampram and ends at km 17.
Yes, Hon Member, ask your follow-up Question.
I would like to know who the contractor is and the total sum?
Mr Speaker, the name of the Contractor is Messrs. I. B. Maigida Limited and the original contract sum was GH¢7,283,000, but it has since been revised to GH¢24,330,000. The revision in the contract sum was occasioned by the rescoping of the original works.
Mr Speaker, from the explanation, the Hon Minister said that the Contractor asked for additional time. I would like to know why; and what duration of time is he looking for? Is it due to lack of payments or due to his own fault?
Mr Speaker, it was contained in my Answer that the project has delayed because of delayed payment on the part of the Employer, and the Employer was Government at the time it was awarded. So, it is only fair that if payment is being effected and the Contractor is coming back, we renew the period for the execution of the project. It is only fair for the Contractor to ask for that which is being considered. I would want to assure the Hon Member that it would be done. The extension being requested would be granted to enable the Contractor come back to continue with the work.
Are you done?
Mr Speaker, yes.
This is a constituency -specific Question. We have developed the practice of not allowing follow-up questions from persons outside the constituency. Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo — rose --
Hon Member, where is your constituency? This is Sege in Greater Accra Region.
Mr Speaker, my Constituency is Hohoe. If you look at lot 2 on page 18, Hohoe has been mentioned and that is why I rise to ask a question.
Hon Member, I think you are misleading yourself — [Laughter] Hon Members, this is a constituency - specific question and so I intend to move on. Hon Members, the next Question is in the name of Hon Twumasi Kwame Ampofo, the Member of Parliament for Sene West. Construction of Atebubu-Kwame Danso Road and other Feeder Roads Q.344. Mr Kwame Twumasi Ampofo: asked the Minister for Roads and Highways what plans the Ministry had put in place to construct the Atebubu - Kwame Danso road and feeder roads such as Kwame Danso - Akyeremade Battor, Kwame Danso - Konkonse, Kyeamekrom - Chababa, Kyeamekrom - Tatto Bator, Menkor - Todaykope and Shafa - Dogondage.
Hon Minister, we are interested in knowing what is happening at Menkor — [Laughter.]
Atebebu -Kwame Danso Background Mr Speaker, the Atebubu-Kwame Danso trunk road is 30.8 km long with gravel surface. The road is located in the Atebubu-Amantin and Sene West Dis- tricts of the Brong Ahafo Region. Current programme There is no major construction pro- gramme on the road. However, routine maintenance grading is currently ongoing Future programme The road has been packaged for up- grading works. Procurement will com- mence in the fourth quarter of 2018. Kwame Danso - Akyeremade - Battor Background Kwame Danso - Akyeremade - Battor is a 20.9 km feeder road located in the Sene West District of the Brong Ahafo Region. It is a gravel road with fair surface condition. Current programme There is no major construction programme on the road. However, the road has been receiving annual routine maintenance (grading) activities to make it motorable. Future programme Engineering design studies will be carried out on the road in the fourth quarter of 2018 to determine the appropriate intervention for consideration when funds are available. Kwame Danso - Konkonse Background Kwame Danso - Konkonse road is a 57.5 km feeder road with 25 km gravel section and 32.5km earth section. It is located in the Sene West District of the Brong Ahafo Region. Current programme There is no major construction programme on the road. However, the 25 km gravel section of the road has been receiving annual routine maintenance (grading) intervention to make it motorable. Future programme Engineering design studies will be carried out on the entire road in the fourth quarter of 2018 to determine the appropriate intervention for consideration when funds are available. Kyeamekrom - Chaba Background Kyeamekrom - Chaba is a 22.2 Km feeder road located in the Sene West District of the Brong Ahafo Region. It is an earth road in poor condition. Current programme There is no major construction programme on the road. However, the road has been receiving annual routine maintenance (grading) intervention to make it motorable. Future programme Engineering studies will be carried out on the road in the fourth quarter of 2018 to determine the appropriate intervention for consideration when funds are available. Kyeamekrom -Tatto -Battor Background Kyeamekrom -Tatto - Battor is a 21.6 km feeder road located in the Sene West District of the Brong Ahafo Region. It is a gravel road with fair surface condition. Current programme There is no major construction programme on the road. Future programme Engineering design studies will be carried out on the road in the fourth quarter of 2018 to determine the appropriate intervention for consideration when funds are available. Menko -Todaykope Background Menk-Todaykope road is a 15.0 km unengineered (track) road located in the Sene West District of the Brong Ahafo Region. Current programme There is no major construction programme on the road. Future programme Engineering design studies will be carried out on the road in the fourth quarter of 2018 to determine the appropriate intervention for consideration when funds are available. Shafa -Dogondage Background Shafa - Dogondage road is a 19.2 km feeder road located in the Sene West District of the Brong Ahafo Region. It is a gravel road with poor surface condition. Current programme There is no major construction programme on the road. Future programme Engineering design studies will be carried out on the road in the fourth quarter of 2018 to determine the appropriate intervention for consideration when funds are available.
Hon Member for Sene West, you may ask your follow-up questions.
Mr Speaker, based on the Answers provided by the Hon Minister, he would testify that there is no ongoing work in the entire district or Constituency. All the roads are very bad in shape and on the main road, which is the Atebubu - Kwame Danso Road, the Hon Minister says that there is ongoing maintenance work. I would like to know the contractor who is doing the maintenance on the road and when he started the maintenance. This is because I returned from Kwame Danso this Tuesday and I did not see any maintenance ongoing. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, on Atebubu - Kwame Danso Road, the Hon Minister said that they have packaged the road and there would be upgrading in the last quarter of 2018. I would therefore like to know the type of upgrading works the Hon Minister is talking about. Is it asphalt or bituminous surfacing?
Mr Speaker, ‘upgrading' is upgrading in its technical sense, and I would want to assure the Hon Member that we shall bring up that road to bituminous level. Thank you.
Hon Member, your last follow-up question if there is any?
Mr Speaker, based on the Hon Minister's answers concerning the road network in the Sene West Constituency, would he assure the House that he would see to it that in the last quarter of 2018, work on the road network would be carried out as he said?
Hon Minister, the Hon Member wants assurance that you would do what you have said you would do.
Yes, Hon Member, what is your issue?
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's answer, he said these stretches of roads had been neglected for the past seven to eight years. I would want some clarity on that; how were these stretches like?
The Hon Member who asked the question understands the answer and that is sufficient. Question numbered 345 -- Hon Member for Ejura-Sekyedumase?
Mr Speaker, I beg to seek leave of you to ask the Question on behalf of the Hon Member for Ejura- Sekyedumase. He is currently in the Constituency to attend assembly meeting, and he has asked me, with your permission, to ask the Question on his behalf.
Hon Member, your application is granted. You may ask the Question on his behalf.
Very well, Mr Speaker. I thank you. Continuation and completion of Ejura Town Road Q. 345. Mr Samuel Abdulai Jabanyite (on behalf of) Mr Muhammad Bawah Braimah asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the 10 km asphalt overlay commenced in 2016 on the Ejura town roads would be continued and completed.
Mr Speaker the Ejura town is located within Ejura Sekyedumase Municipality of the Ashanti Region. The roads are mainly classified as arterial and distributor or collectors by Department of Urban Roads (DUR). Current programme The contract for the Emergency Asphaltic Overlay of Selected Arterial and Collector Roads in Ejura Municipality (10.0km) was awarded on 22nd April, 2016. The works commenced on 27th June, 2016, for completion on 27th December, 2016, which has since elapsed. A total road length of 0.66 km out of the 10 km has been completed. The progress of work to date is projected at 6.4 per cent physical completion. The contractor has demobilised from site as a result of the Employer's undue delay in paying for work done. The project is financed from the Ghana Road Fund. Future Programme Mr Speaker, the resumption, continuation and completion of the project depends on the Employer's ability to pay for the work done.
Mr Speaker, the Question that was asked was when the project would be completed? So, I would like to ask the Hon Minister what measures he and his Ministry are putting in place to raise the needed funding for the project to be completed? Thank you.
Mr Speaker, we are going through a process of either paying part of the contract sum to enable the contractor remobilise to go back to site or take steps to legally terminate the contract, repackage and reaward as quickly as possible. Mr Speaker, the Ministry and for that matter the Government is determined to see the completion of this Project. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, this Project appears to have a very dedicated source of funding because the Hon Minister has indicated to us that the funding is coming from the Road Fund. That clearly tells us that there is the availability of money. So, we would want to thank the Hon Minister for showing concern and interest but to urge him to expedite action as he has said so that it could be completed on time.
Thank you. The next item is Question numbered 359 which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Garu; Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga. Construction of the Eastern Corridor Road Third Phase (Garu-Nakpanduri-Kulungungu) Q. 359.Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga asked the Minister for Roads and Highways the steps the Ministry was taking to construct the third phase of the Eastern Corridor Road stretching from Nakpanduri through Garu to Kulungugu.
Mr Speaker, I would begin by giving a brief background to this stretch of the road. The Eastern Corridor road is the National Route N2. It starts from Tema Motorway roundabout, about 5 km north of the Tema port, and ends at Kulungugu on the north-eastern border with Burkina Faso. It is a south to north road corridor which traverses Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta, Northern and Upper East regions. The whole route covers a distance of about 695 km. It connects major towns like Tema, Atimpoku, Hohoe, Nkwanta, Bimbilla, Yendi, Gushiegu, Nakpanduri, Garu, Bawku and Kulungugu. The route is conceived as a north- south trade corridor, providing a shorter access to Tema port and improving integration between Upper East, Northern, Volta, Eastern and Greater Accra Regions of Ghana and also between Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The Eastern Corridor road project, has been packaged into Seven (7) Lots. These are: 1. Lot 1: Tema Roundabout-Kpong- Atimpoku-Asikuma Junction (91.0km); 2. Lot 2: Asikuma Junction-Hohoe- Jasikan-Poase Cement (147.2km); 3. Lot 3: Poase Cement-Dodo Pepesu-Nkwanta (78.2km); 4. Lot 4: Nkwanta-Oti Damanko (70.0km); 5. Lot 5: Oti Damanko-Bimbilla-Yendi (86.0km); 6.Lot 6: Yendi-Gushiegu-Nakpanduri (123.2km); 7. Lot 7: Nakpanduri-Bawku- Kulungugu (100km) Construction works in Lots 2, 4, 5 and 6 are at various levels of completion. However, progress has stalled due to delay in payment for works done. Current programme A contract is currently running for the Partial Reconstruction of Missiga - Garu road km (0.0-5.0) and Upgrading of Missiga - Kulungugu road km (0.0-10.0). Works commenced on 16th January, 2013 for completion by 15th April, 2016. Two other contracts have been awarded for the Regravelling of the Missiga - Garu road from km (5.0-10.0) and km (10.0-15.0). a. Regravelling of Missiga - Garu road km (5.0-10.0). This project commenced on 19 th September, 2016 and was scheduled for completion by 18th September, 2017. b. Regravelling of Missiga - Garu road km (10.0-15.0) The commencement date for this project is 19th September, 2016 and it was scheduled for completion by 18 th September, 2017. These contracts are located in the Bawku Municipal as well as the Garu- Tempane District of the Upper East Region, which are along the Eastern Corridor road. Future programme The Ministry of Roads and Highways is undertaking detailed engineering study from Gbintri to Kulungugu scheduled to be completed by mid-2019. Thereafter, funding will be sourced for the construction of that section of the road to commence. In the meantime, routine maintenance, including gravel patching and grading, are currently being undertaken and will continue to be undertaken to keep the road surface motorable.
Mr Speaker, in the meantime, what steps would the Ministry take to ensure that the portion of the road that is almost not motorable, especially between Garu and the Nakpanduri stretch, is fixed while we await the programme that he has outlined here?
Mr Speaker, I could not agree more with my Hon Colleague that that portion of the road is in a terrible condition. I can assure him. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon Minister for his assurance. In the last paragraph of the response of the Hon Minister on page 18 of the Order Paper, he tells us that the construction is at various levels and progress has stalled due to the delay in payments for work done. I am aware that a loan was secured from Brazil for Lots 5 and 6 portions of the road, which are Oti Damanko-Bimbilla- Yendi and Yendi-Gushiegu-Nakpanduri respectively. Mr Speaker, but the Hon Minister talked about the lack of funds or the delay in payment. Could he explain why? This is because we know a loan has been procured for those portions. Why is the contractor not paid? And why is work delayed on those portions of the road?
Mr Speaker, the information available to my Hon Colleague is right. A loan was indeed secured from Brazil, as he said. The loan was regulated by a contract. The contract expired because the employer did not discharge his side of the obligation before the close of the year 2016. I would want to assure him that counterpart payment expected from the Government has been paid up to date. So steps are being taken to get the loan contract renewed, so that the Brazilian Government would also honour its responsibility. That would be done any moment from now. It is with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice's Department and the Ministry of Finance. As soon as the loan contract is renewed and we get the Brazilian Government to honour its side of the obligation, the construction period would be extended and that portion would be done because there would be money available to pay for it.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to refer the Hon Minister to the last paragraph of page 18 of the Order Paper, where it was stated that the works had stalled due to delay in payment. During the State of the Nation Address, His Excellency the President, promised us that he would do everything possible to get funds for the work on the Eastern Corridor road to be completed. In fact, he spoke Ewe. If I may be allowed to quote him, he said, “nuveve la ze veveme wo da ne le na”. To wit, anything that is very important is cooked with the urgency that is required. Today, we are told that payment has delayed. I would like to know the exact situation. What should we expect from his Ministry?
Mr Speaker, I can confirm to my Hon Colleague that in the President's State of the Nation Address, he made that statement. I also would want to assure her that we have a President and a Government that delivers whatever is promised. The President said that he would take steps to ensure the completion of that road because of its strategic and economic importance. The President talked about the completion of that road within the term given to him and his Government. I would want to assure her that the programme is on course. The House may be happy to hear that only yesterday, at a Cabinet meeting, it was one of the major roads that was subjected to critical
Hon Member, you ceded your time, so you are done. Available Hon Leader, does the road also pass through your constituency?
Mr Speaker, that is so. Indeed, the second phase starts from Asikuma Junction in my constituency. Mr Speaker, I know the section between Adzokoe and Kpeve, which is four kilometres, and it is a very short distance; but it is in an atrocious state. The Hon Minister just gave an assurance that there is a section in the Northern Region that he would take steps to put in a motorable state even though it has not been constructed. Mr Speaker, may I implore the Hon Minister to also consider directing the Regional Director of Highways to also take steps to, as soon as possible, make that section in South Dayi motorable until the review of the contract is done or other decisions are taken on it. That is Adzokoe to Kpeve, which is four kilometres.
Mr Speaker, I am particularly excited by this question asked by my Hon Colleague Member of Parliament. Apart from that, he is a twin and so am I. He is Kakra and I am Panyin. So, I am excited by his question and the fact that the road passes through his constituency. I would want to assure him that I would personally take particular interest in that.
Very well. The next question is in the name of Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane of Nabdam Constituency. Commencement of Asonge-Zalerigu- Pelungu Road Q.360. Dr. Mark Kurt Nawaane asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when work would start on the Asonge - Zalerigu - Pelungu stretch of road in the Nabdam District.
Mr Speaker, Background Asonge - Zalerigu - Pelungu road is a 7.2 km feeder road located in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region. It is a gravel surface road with fair to poor surface condition. Current programme Tenders for the upgrading of the road were received and opened on Tuesday, 12th December, 2017. The contract was awarded on 2nd March, 2018 and possession of site was given on 25th April, 2018. Contractor was issued with notice to commence workon 22nd May, 2018, for a period of 12 calendar months. The works shall be completed not later than 21st May, 2019. Currently, the contractors are in the process of mobilising to site to commence work on this project.
Mr Speaker, it appears that mine is not a promise but really a contract has been awarded. I would like to know whether it is still A&N Ghanem Company Limited who is working on the road or a new contractor?
Hon Minister, who is the contractor?
Mr Speaker, my information is that the road has been awarded and if he listened to my Answer, it has been re-packaged and awarded. So I do not have the answer with me, whether it is a new contractor or not. The contractor's name is Trade Vision but from the Answer given, it appears that it is a new contractor who is on the road. So, I would plead with him to work closely with the contractor behind the scenes, since it is in his constituency, as we carry on with the conversation to see how the works are going on.
Mr Speaker, it appears his answer is quite not specific to me. If he takes a look at the Answer that has to do with the tenders for the upgrading of the roads which were received and opened on Tuesday, 12th December, 2017, when we talk of the upgrading of the road, what is the status or what is it about?
Hon Member, your question is not clear.
Mr Speaker, it is written in the Answer that the road is going to be upgraded and I am asking, to what extent is the road going to be upgraded? It appears non-specific to me.
He has already answered that upgrading is a technical term, which means that the road would be made to --
Mr Speaker, is it up to the sealing level? What type of upgrading is he talking about?
Hon Minister, can you explain to him what the technical term, ‘upgrading' means? Hon (Dr) Nawaane, resume your seat.
Mr Speaker, a road could be at different stages; at the earth, gravel or whatever stage you find it. It could even be at the sub-base, base or primer seal levels, but upgrading of a road means developing it through all the various stages and bringing it to a level that is acceptable, smooth and has received bitumen. This particular road we are developing, upgrading and enhancing it to bitu- minous level that it would be acceptable to him.
Hon (Dr) Nawaane, you have exhausted your follow-up questions.
Dr Dakura, how are you related to that road?
Mr Speaker, by being a kinsman of the people of Bolgatanga, I am related.
Your constituency is in the Upper West Region, to the best of my knowledge, and Nabdam is in the Upper East Region. So, I will not allow you, otherwise I will breach the principle.
Mr Speaker, I happen to be going there to buy dogs [Laughter.] -- I attend the dogs market and I am very conversant with the road. I am very convinced that if that road is not constructed, Dagaabas will find it difficult to go to Bolgatanga to buy some more dogs.
To that extent, you are very well represented by the Hon Member of Parliament seated behind you. [Laughter] --
Hon Jinapor, you were showing me how we are related to that road.
Mr Speaker, I was taking it from an ideological and political point of view.
You are not allowed. [Laughter] --
Thank you, Hon Minister for attending upon the House to answer the Questions. You are discharged. I admitted one Statement on the Basic Education Certificate Examination (B.E.C.E)
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I would like to take this opportunity to make a Statement on the Basic Education Certificate Examination which starts on the 4th and ends on the 8th of June, 2018. Mr Speaker, the completion of basic education is actually the beginning of one's academic life. It is the assessment of a nine-year period of learning and the longest learning phase for an academic certificate. It involves commitment, self-reliance, diligence and faith in God. However, there are challenges on the academic journey. The education sector is faced with some challenges such as the lack of ICT material. There has been previous reports of pupils using stones to represent the computer mouse. It is based on such challenges in the sector that I congratulate all the candidates for their perseverance and commitment to pursue education. I will like to assure them that, as they sit to write the exams, we are behind them, cheering them to the finish line. Mr Speaker, even though the West African Examinations Council has put in place mechanisms that are to prevent leakages, I will like to call on school management and candidates to refrain from indulging in examination mal- practices and rather engage their efforts in revising. Mr Speaker, engaging in examination malpractices will nurture the habit of cheating and corruption in these young ones. They are the future of this country, and as such, our future Members of Parliament, doctors, teachers, architects and so on. Mr Speaker, you will agree with me that Hon Members in this august House did not engage in such practices and that is why they bear the title “Honourable”. This is the virtue we want to see in our future leaders. Mr Speaker, this year, a total of five hundred and nine thousand, eight hundred and twenty-four (509,824) candidates will be sitting for the exams, a significant increase of 8.9 per cent from last year. The increasing numbers of candidates show that the Free Senior High School Programme by the Nana Akuffo Addo Government is a step in the right direction. Mr Speaker, no one can deny the fact that an educated citizenry is one of the transformative catalyst that will usher a country into development, eradicate poverty and prevent ignorance. Mr Speaker, education must not be the sole responsibility of the government. The support of parents is also necessary to achieve the success we want to see in these young ones. Parents must continue to play their part in the education of their children to complement the efforts of their teachers. Mr Speaker, the contribution of teachers to ensuring quality education cannot be underestimated. And I will like to acknowledge and appreciate the commitment and efforts of teachers all over the country, especially those in rural and deprived communities who are working to ensure that the Ghanaian child is educated. The menace of teenage pregnancies has been very worrying in recent years. Mr Speaker, I believe with the combined efforts of school authorities, parents, relevant government institutions and all stakeholders in the education sector, this can be curbed or brought to its barest minimum, and this will surely be a great achievement for us all. Mr Speaker, I will therefore take this opportunity again, to remind parents and their wards of the free and quality education policy of this government. The free education policy covers all expenses in not only the high schools, but also technical and vocational institutions. Mr Speaker, I hereby encourage students to take advantage of technical and vocational education especially, those with very special talents and interests. They should not underestimate the relevance of the field. Mr Speaker, at this point, I will like to wish all the candidates good luck in their exams and assure them of government's continuous support here and beyond. May they come out with flying colours and make us all proud. Thank you once again, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
Hon Members, I would admit a contribution each from either side of the House and then we would move on. Hon Nortsu-Kotoe?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity granted me to join my Hon Colleague and the House to wish the
Yes, Hon Member for Okaikoi Central?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, and would want to make a few comments. Mr Speaker, I believe most of us have contributed to the growth of the final year students who would be writing their examination on Monday. I am sure most Members of Parliament have visited them and have given them the necessary pep talks. Mr Speaker, I must commend the parents, the Government of Ghana and everybody who has taken keen interest in the development of these children. Mr Speaker, on my visit to my students, sometime this week, I advised them, and I am doing so for every student who would be writing the examination on Monday to stay away from sending external materials to the examination room and to also report to the examination centres on time. This is because if one is able to get to the centre on time, he would be relaxed and go through what he has been taught, revise and be able to sit and write the examination well. I also urged the students to take a critical look at the instructions that would be given them with regard to how to answer each question, because one's understanding of the instructions makes him answer the questions correctly, and I urged them to do same. Mr Speaker, I wish every student, especially those in Okaikoi Central and in the country at large success in their examinations. Thank you very much.
Very well. On behalf of all Members of Parliament, I wish all children writing the BECE examinations success. At the Commencement of Public Business. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we can deal with item numbered 6.
Very well. Item numbered 6 - Presentation of Papers.
Can we proceed with item numbered 7?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is caught up in a meeting now. I have the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice. If I might seek leave for him to lay the documents on behalf of the Hon Minister?
Very well, Hon Majority Leader. Item numbered 7 -- Presentation and First Reading of Bills.
BILLS -- FIRST READING
Item numbered 7 (b).
Yes, Hon Member for Effutu?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for exercising your power of recognition in my favour. These procedural Motions that are moved and pronounced, for instance, as “Report duly laid” Like the Committee on Education laid a report, you said it is for distribution. Mr Speaker, you have the interpretation power in your bosom. When they say a Report is laid, does that mean that the Report is before the House, that it would be laid as we know or that they have laid it right here on the Table, or that it is still being tied and we would take advantage of the 48 hour rule and later bring it? Mr Speaker, you would be the best person to educate me on this matter.
Hon Member, if you truly need education on this matter, we should return to your first year in the House. After six years in the House, you do not need to be educated on what it means when we say a “Report is laid”. What it means is that it is ready before the House. The Clerk brings the bulk but the Chairman of the Committee lays one copy at the Table and the rest is for distribution. Item numbered 7 (b).
Please, resume your seat. Companies Bill, 2018 AN ACT to amend and consolidate the law relating to companies to establish the Office of the Registrar of Companies and provide for related matters. Presented by the Deputy Attorney- General and Deputy Minister for Justice (Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka) (on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.) Read the First time; referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee was ready to have us start items listed as numbers 8 and 9. But because they are matters that really would excercise the minds of many Hon Members, I pleaded with them that we relocate the movement of the Motion to next week. So, those two Motions would be taken next week. Equally so would we defer the consideration of the Witness Protection Bill to next week. Mr Speaker, there are three Committee meetings slated for today. I am told one meeting has been held, two other meetings may have be to held, and today being Friday -- Mr Speaker, did I say three Committee meetings? Indeed, six Committee meetings have been programmed to be held. Today also being Friday, Hon Members may want to prepare to leave for their various constituencies. That being the case, I move that this House takes an adjournment until Tuesday next week at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Yes, Hon available Leader?
Mr Speaker, we are in support of the deferment of the three Motions to next week, save that we would be glad to know the exact days so that Hon Members would be available. On that note, I second the Motion for adjournment for today.
Hon Leader, what else?
Mr Speaker, what is your description of the Hon Colleague? You described him as the available Leader, but he is the available acting Leader and not available Leader for the Minority.
Very well. Hon Members, the Motion for adjournment has been moved and seconded. Question put and Motion agreed to.