VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. The Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 13th June, 2018. Page 1 …. 12.
Yes, Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, page 13, paragraph 15, there is a typographical error: “A committees of the Board consisting of members and non- members may be chaird” The letter “e” is missing in “chaird”. Mr Speaker, on page 14, paragraph 19, I wish to be guided by Mr Speaker. Yesterday, at the Consideration Stage of the Witness Protection Bill, 2017, there was no amendment listed under clause 13. After the Question was put, a matter was raised about clause 13. The House rose on the understanding that the Hon Attorney-General and
Mr Speaker, if you look at page 13, paragraph 13 of the Votes and Proceedings it says “deferred”, which means that no decision was taken fully on clause 13. It is as a result of what the Hon Member said. However, the Question they said was put, was on the advertised amendment, which is the quorum at a meeting of the six. That also should not have come because the membership of this Board was not determined. Therefore, until it is determined, that is when we would know what would form the quorum. So, I think that it should be reflected. On the first issue he raised, I made a further amendment.
On that point, shall we give a direction? Is it inextricably connected? Is it one and the same thing essentially?
Mr Speaker, what I said was that there was no --
I have got that one. Are you raising another issue?
I was saying that the Hon Member said we took a decision and we did not take any decision on it. If you look at the Votes and Proceedings, it says “deferred”, which means that no final decision was made on clause 13, which means that there is a problem because we have “deferred”, and “agreed to”. No decision was made on clause 13. The Hon Member is right in what he said.
So, it should be captured as “deferred”? Is that not so? The Table Office should take note and correct it accordingly. Any further corrections?
Mr Speaker, on page 13, paragraph 15, the Chairman did not have an amendment. His amendment was further amended, and I am the one who proposed that further amendment and he agreed. Mr Speaker, that was where we said that “A committee of the Board consisting of members and non-members may be chaired by a member of the Board”. It was not what the Hon Chairman proposed; there was a further amendment.
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 13th June, 2018 as corrected be hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, correction of the Official Report of Friday 1st June, 2018. Hon Members, Business Statement. Chairman of the Business Committee and Leader of the House?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Wednesday, 13th June, 2018 and arranged Business of the House for the Sixth Week ending Friday, 22nd June, 2018.
Arrangement Of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read any available communication to the House. Question(s) Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has scheduled the following Ministers to respond to Questions asked of them during the week: No. of Question(s) i. Minister for Trade and Industry -- 3 ii. Minister for Lands and Natural Resources -- 1 iii. Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development -- 1 iv. Minister for Aviation -- 1
v. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice -- 1 vi. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration -- 2 vii. Minister for Education -- 6 viii. Minister for Roads and Highways -- 5 Total number of Questions -- 20 Mr Speaker, Eight (8) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to Twenty (20) Questions during the week. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by the Mr Speaker may be made in the House by Hon. Members, in accordance with Order 72. Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading in accordance with Order 120. However, those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Pursuant to Order 75, Papers for presentation to the House may be placed on the Order Paper for laying. Committee reports may also be presented to the House for consideration. 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 -- *284. Mr Richard Mawuli Kwaku Quashigah (Keta): To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether there is an implementation plan for the ‘One District, One Factory' policy initiative or not, and if so, whether the Ministry will furnish this august House with a copy. *300. Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah (Buem): To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether there is a standardised structural design for the ‘One District, One Factory' initiative and who will be responsible for providing it. *364. Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah (Buem): To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry the responsibility of Government in the ‘One District, One Factory Project.' Statements Presentation of Papers —— Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Export-Import Bank of Korea for an amount in Korean Won not exceeding the equivalent of ninety million United States dollars (US$90,000,000.00) to finance the Establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD), Bunso Campus Project. Motion —— Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of two million, three hundred and two thousand, four hundred and sixty- nine euros and fifty-eight cents (€2,302,469.58) on project equipment and materials in respect of the Establishment of an Environmental Monitoring Laboratory at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa. Consequential Resolution. Consideration Stage of Bills — Witness Protection Bill, 2017. (Continuation) Right to Information Bill, 2018. Committee sittings. Questions -- *385. Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe (Akatsi North): To ask the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources the criterion used in selecting representatives of the District Assemblies in the Volta Region to compose the Volta Regional Lands Commission. *386. Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane (Nabdam): To ask the Minister for Inner- City and Zongo Development what project(s) he intends to undertake in Nangodi Zongo in the Nabdam District for the year 2018. *387. Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (Adaklu): To ask the Minister for Aviation whether the removal of the 17.5 VAT on domestic airline tickets has led to the reduction of domestic airfares. *389. Mr John Majisi (Krachi Nchumuru): To ask the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice the extent to which the Marrakesh Treaty has been implemented in Ghana since its ratification in 2017. *396. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration whether Ghana has any diplomatic relations with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. *397. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration whether there are plans to open an embassy in the State of Palestine.
Statements Motions — (a) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Czech Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital Gains. Consequential Resolution (b) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital Gains. Consequential Resolution (c) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the Republic of Mauritius for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital Gains. Consequential Resolution (d) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Republic of Singapore for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital Gains. Consequential Resolution Consideration Stage of Bills -- Legal Aid Commission Bill, 2017. Right to Information Bill, 2018. (Continuation) Committee sittings. Questions — *353. Mr Mohammed Abdul-Aziz (Mion): To ask the Minister for Education how much Government has spent so far on the implementation 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. *403. Mr Eric Afful (Amenfi West): To ask the Minister for Education when works on the following GETFund projects will resume: Six Classroom Blocks at Effiena, Prestea Nkwanta, Woman-No-Good, Wasa Brekum, Asankran Bremang, Oda Kotuomso, Ahwiam, Gonukrom and Ohiamatuo, all in the Amenfi West Constituency. *404. Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe (Akatsi North): To ask the Minister for Education what the Ministry is doing to prevent the public universities from charging exorbitant fees on admission forms. *405. Mr Eric Afful (Amenfi West): To ask the Minister for Education the causes of the high rate of sexual harassments in our basic and senior high schools in Ghana and what the Ministry's preventive measures are. *406. Mr John Kwabena Bless Oti (Nkwanta North): To ask the Minister for Education when works will resume on the Community Day Senior High School in Damanko, which appears to have been abandoned. Statements Consideration Stage of Bills — Legal Aid Commission Bill, 2017. (Continuation of debate) Right to Information Bill, 2018. (Continuation of debate) 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 on 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 Motions — Third Reading of Bills-- Witness Protection Bill, 2017. Legal Aid Commission Bill, 2017. Consideration Stage of Bills — Technical Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2017. Right to Information Bill, 2018. (Continuation of debate) Committee sittings.
Hon Majority Leader, I thank you.
Mr Speaker, I rise to raise an issue. Mr Speaker, before we resumed for this Meeting, there was an issue with regard to some sports men and women who acquired visas to attend the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Mr Speaker, in line with what my Hon Colleague just said, I am just trying to find out, with your guidance, whether we could do something to help ourselves in this direction. Mr Speaker, Order 60 (3) talks about the number of days or the period within which a Minister should respond to a Question from the House. Is it possible that the order in which Questions are listed, the dates on which the Member files the Question is always available so that everybody could tell whether the Question is being answered within time? Mr Speaker, it did not start from this Parliament, but it would be self-guiding that if I ask a Question, the date on which I filed the Question is always tracked and carried along. I have asked Questions before of which Answers were provided along the way by the Hon Minister, but it was still captured and I was compelled to ask the Question though the Answers were already available. Mr Speaker, so if you could direct that the date on which we filed a Question is attached to it at all times, so that when a Question is taken, we would know whether the Hon Minister complied with Standing Order 60 (3). Mr Speaker, my second point is that we have been given an assurance that very soon, Hon Members who requested for research assistants would get the go- ahead to recruit them. We still have not heard anything. Is it possible that we would be notified when our applicants qualify and when they would be appointed? That is very important to us. Many Hon Members of Parliament still have to do many things by themselves. I think it is your wish that we get that support to enhance our work. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, the security of Hon Members in this House is very important; especially with the usage of the elevator or the lifts. Yesterday, a very unfortunate incident happened. An Hon Member of this House, who is not just an ordinary person but an Hon Deputy Leader, was left out and a stranger was on the elevator. She was so bold to have told the stranger to come out from the elevator. Mr Speaker, I wish to draw your attention because in the High Courts, it is boldly written that an elevator is meant for Judges; an Hon Member of Parliament would not be allowed to enter that elevator. So, if we have elevators prescribed for Hon Members of Parliament, it should be meant for us and nobody else. Mr Speaker, once again, Hon Members of Parliament need your protection. Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, the issue of the National Health Insurance Levy was raised, and the National Health Insurance Authority was to brief the House. The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) Secretariat was also to brief the House. These did not take place this week. Could the Hon Leader tell us whether the brief from these two institutions would be factored into next week's programme? Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I commend the Hon Majority Leader for the Business Statement presented to the House. I filed a Motion in respect of a request to the House to instruct the Committee on Communications to look into residual issues surrounding the Kelni GVG issue. I wonder whether it may find expression sometime next week. Mr Speaker, I say so because, those of us on this side of the House may, at some point next week, be unavailable due to some exercises within our constituencies. Once one has filed a Motion, it would be important to know whether it would be tabled, just so one could avail himself to the House. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Hon Madam, please continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker --
Are you a madam now? [Laughter.]
Thank you, Mr Speaker. My submission is still on the issue of Questions. It seems sometimes, Questions get missing in the system. We are now in a technological age. Could we computerise the system so that when Questions are sent in, the date received, action taken and all that are well documented so that Questions do not get missing along the way?
Thank you. Yes, Hon Dr Apaak?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your kindness. Mr Speaker, I rise to find out why two Urgent Questions I filed with regard to Ghana's dealings with other nations have not been admitted. One of them has to do with the intent of the American authorities to deport 7,000 Ghanaians; 86 of them have already been deported. The information is that, Ghana's Ambassador to the United States of America (USA) is currently under pressure from the Americans to sign a document to warrant the deportation of more Ghanaians. In that regard, I filed a Question to seek information from the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration about what is going on, and if
Mr Speaker, to begin with, respectfully, I did not hear a word about the Question or clarification that Hon Woyome sought. I beckoned him to speak to the microphone. I recollect that the Hon Deputy Minority Leader also did not hear anything and he beckoned Hon Chireh, who also did not hear anything. Nobody heard him. I beckoned him to lean to the microphone, so that we could hear him. In fact, I did not hear anything. Mr Speaker, Hon Agbodza asked of what to do. He said that he filed a Question, and we should have the date on which Questions were filed attached to each Question. First of all, Mr Speaker is clothed with the authority; he is the sole person charged with the authority to admit Questions. It is important that I read this because three Hon Members asked about the same Question. Standing Order 66 (1) provides, and I beg to quote: “Mr. Speaker shall be the sole judge of the admissibility of a Question.” It is only when Mr Speaker has admitted the Question that officers of the Table Office can transmit same to the relevant Hon Minister or person responsible. Standing Order 66 (2) provides: (2) “When a Question is admitted by Mr Speaker, the Clerk shall at once communicate the text to the Minister or Member to whom the Question is addressed. (3) There shall be a Questions Record Book to be kept by the Clerk which shall be open to inspection by Members and which will record -- (a) the Questions asked by Members; (b) the Questions admitted by Mr Speaker and the time of their transmission to the Ministers or Members concerned; Mr Speaker, this should sufficiently answer the Question posed by the Hon Agbodza and equally so, the Questions asked by Hon (Dr) Clement Apaak. If he had availed himself to the provisions in these rules of procedure; otherwise called the Standing Orders, this question would not even be asked in the first place. He has a duty to trace and track the Question that he asks and the Table Office would assist him to know what and where his Question is. This is because, Hon Members are resorting to, every time the Business Committee presents its report, to then ask questions outside the Business Statement to say that they filed a Question four weeks and so on. They are responsible to apply themselves to Standing Order 66. Mr Speaker, when they do so, they would not be asking such questions on the Floor of the House. Mr Speaker, with the research assistants, we have discussed this matter on the Floor of the House and we have said to ourselves that we have given the criterion. Unfortunately, many Hon Members have not complied. We said to ourselves that the research assistants should have second degrees or a minimum of first degrees. If they have a first degree and are pursuing a second degree, they have submitted their thesis and not yet been awarded, the person would not qualify. We said that, that person should be of first class or second class upper. That is in respect of those with the first degrees. Mr Speaker, Hon Members are not complying and that was why we said by the beginning of July, those of them who have complied, their research assistants would be engaged. For those who have not complied, we would not lower the bar for anybody because Hon Members come pleading that ‘this person has a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate, he is very good and loyal to them and so on. We have set the criterion and are not going to lower the bar. If the person qualifies and has to be engaged, that person would be engaged. Mr Speaker, I believe this would “put paid” to the numerous pleas that are coming to Leadership. Mr Speaker, the security of Hon Members, much as I share the concern by the Hon Member for Nsuta-Kwamang, respectfully, it has nothing to do with the Business Committee's Report that I submitted. Mr Speaker, the next one has to do with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Levy and the brief to the House by the NHIA. Yesterday, they were here to brief us but before we went through the Motions, Hon Members had left and we had less than 25 of us in the Chamber as of the time we were adjourning. So, we said to them that they should go and come next week to meet us on Wednesday, by which time we believe Hon Members will be in attendance. So, that is the arrangement. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Education was here with us and we said to him that on the same day, he should get the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) operators to also be here with us. The question was asked about a Motion that has been filed and I believe that what I read out with respect to Standing Order 66 covers that question as well. On Hon (Dr) Heloo's Question, he says that he should be tracing and tracking Questions electronically or digitally. Again, the provisions in Standing Order 66 will satisfy the question. As for Hon (Dr) Apaak, I believe that I have already
Hon Majority Leader, thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, I appreciate the responses given by the Hon Majority Leader and the reference made to Standing Order 66 which Hon Members will address their minds to. If we go to Standing Order 60 (3), it also says and Mr Speaker, I beg to quote; “A Minister shall not take more than three weeks to respond to a question from the House.” I strongly believe that the Hon Ministers are also not complying with this provision, if not, Questions would not take more than six months to be responded to. So, if the Hon Majority Leader can inform the Hon Ministers accordingly, so that when Questions are transmitted to them, it does not take more than three weeks to be responded to.
Thank you very much. The Business Statement as presented is hereby admitted. We would want to put this matter of research assistants to rest. It has arisen on a few occasions on the floor of this House after the reading of Business Statements. Hon Members, if I may kindly have your ears. Sometimes, people come to discuss with me matters that have been very clearly made on the floor of the House, so please give me your attention. This matter was carefully discussed and provided for by the Board. [Interruption.]If I may have absolute attention please. Hon Members decided that they are not going to be people who will be appointed because their administration is capable of doing that and then allotted to Hon Members. The person must have confidence and trust reposed in him or her by the Hon Member so that they can work together. Hence, the person must be presented by the Hon Member of Parliament. Nevertheless, this must be compatible with the overall interest of Parliament because we want competent people, and what would happen would impact on the overall work of Parliament. Let us get the principle straight. I presided over that matter strongly and I helped to develop the standard. So, please, find a person who falls within the standard as clearly laid down, then the choice is yours. The person you will bring will automatically be given the appointment. Of course, their time is to your tenure. Therefore, it means that Parliament as an institution is not going to compromise that standard. It does not matter how closely related the person is to you -- it is not a matter of what you want only but what you want together with what would promote the work of Parliament as an institution. In case there are other pending issues that have not been handled, I am ruling that Monday which is 18th and Tuesday which is 19th all Hon Members who have sent appropriately qualified persons in line with the criterion that the Board has set down should accordingly be issued with letters by the Clerk to Parliament. If you fall outside the parameters of the qualification which has been duly established, a letter would not be issued to you. Thank you. Hon Members, items numbered 4 -- Questions. Hon Minister for Education, could you please take the appropriate seat? We would take Question numbered 313 standing in the name of the Hon Member for Yilo Krobo. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, Hon Members would have noticed that the Hon Minister responsible for Education was with us in the Chamber a while ago, but today is a day for Cabinet meetings and because his items would be the first to be considered, he had to rush out to be in attendance. Mr Speaker, so, he indicated to us that if it meets our pleasure, he would request his Hon Deputy Minister, Dr Adutwum, who is also a Hon Member of Parliament, to stand in his stead and answer the Questions filed by the Hon Members. Mr Speaker, so, subject to your indulgence and that of my Hon Colleagues, the Hon Deputy Minister would answer the Questions.
Indeed, we all saw the Hon Minister sitting and waiting for us to start so that he could do his job and go and see to other things. Hon Members, as we also demand that Hon Ministers should come personally to answer our Questions, just as the Hon Member for Adaklu has been insisting upon, we must also come to the House in time. Honestly, it is not in the interest of Mother Ghana for a Hon Minister to sit and wait for two hours to answer a Question before he could go. Is it right for all of us? No, it is not. In fact, in the House of Commons, one of the things that is often done is for a Minister to answer his Question out of turn, not as listed on the Order, Paper and then he could go away to serve Britain in a different way.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
Hon Deputy Minister, thank you very much. Hon Member, any further question.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister indicated in his Answer that the Ministry is engaging with the consultants and the contractors to strategise for the early completion of the outstanding E-Block projects. Mr Speaker, may I ask the Hon Deputy Minister what has accounted for the delay in the completion of the projects?
Mr Speaker, I am glad this question has been asked. What accounts for the delay is the fact that contracts were awarded for projects that did not have any moneys allocated. So, as revenues come, the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) is doing everything possible to pay contractors as we move ahead with this project.
Mr Speaker, may I find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether the Apersua Project is not one of the World Bank-funded projects?
Mr Speaker, based on the records available to me, the Apersua Project is not one of the World Bank- funded projects.
Hon Member, you may proceed to Question numbered 314 which also stands in your name. You may ask any further question if you have any and then proceed straight to Question numbered 314.
Mr Speaker, let me ask Question numbered 314. Completion of 12-Classroom Block at Klo-Agogo SHS 314. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey: Asked the Minister for Education when construction works on the 12-Classroom Block being contructed at Klo-Agogo Senior High School would be completed.
Mr Speaker, the12-Unit Classroom Block being put up at Klo Agogo Senior High School was awarded in May, 2012 at a Contract Sum of GH¢649,143.00. The Contractor executing the project is Messrs Paulpet Company Limited and the Supervising Consultant is Messrs AESL. The Contractor has executed 80 per cent of works on the project and has indicated through the Consultant, Messrs AESL that they will complete the project before the commencement of next academic year. (2018/2019) Mr Speaker, the project which is on course and is at its advanced stage of completion and will be ready for use by the School in the 2018/2019 academic year.
Mr Speaker, in paragraph 2 of the Answer is an indication captured that the project would be completed before the commencement of the 2018/19 academic year. May I find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether the consultant indicated the reason work has stalled on the project?
Mr Speaker, just as I indicated earlier, our funds were not allocated and placed somewhere for this project. The Ghana Education Trust Fund) GETFund is doing its very possible best to ensure that moneys are available and contractors are paid so that projects could proceed. So, the good news is that it would be completed so that students could sit in them and learn in the 2018/19 school year.
Hon Member, have you exhausted your questions?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am done.
Question numbered 333. Hon Member for Garu? Plans to establish a library in the Garu- Tempane District 333. Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga asked 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.
Mr Speaker, the Ghana Library Authority is an Agency under the Ministry of Education. It is mandated to establish, equip, manage and maintain public libraries in Ghana. The Authority exists to provide a comprehensive and accessible public library service to promote lifelong learning among the populace with the objective of ensuring the development of the individual's social and intellectual capabilities and the creation of a well- informed society for national development.
Mr Speaker, from the Hon Deputy Minister 's response, especially in paragraphs 2 and 3, the Hon Deputy Minister said and I quote that the Library Service exists to promote: “..lifelong learning among the populace with the objective of ensuring the development of the individual's social and intellectual capacities and the creation of a well- informed society for national development.” Mr Speaker, I would like to quote the budgetary allocation from the Ministry and the Ghana Library Authority. In the year 2017, the amount allocated to the Ghana Library Services was GH¢53,000.00 for goods and services, and in the year 2018, from the budgetary allocation for goods and services, there was no capital expenditure. The total allocation is GH¢150,000.00. Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Deputy Minister that from these allocations that the Hon Deputy Minister has quoted, is there any serious commitment by the Ministry to ensure that library services are provided to ensure the social and intellectual capacities and the creation of a well-informed society for national development as quoted by the Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, I know my Hon Colleague has spoken about year 2017. I wish I had taken and looked at the years 2012, 2014 and 2015 before I came here. Unfortunately, I did not -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, all I am saying is that, given the roles of libraries in national development as he rightfully alluded to, the next year's Budget is coming up, and we would do our possible best to advocate for more so that the libraries could perform their functions as specified by the Act that created them.
Thank you very much. Hon Member, is there any further question?
Mr Speaker, during the 60th anniversary celebration this year, it was promised by the Ministry and the Presidency that 60 libraries would be constructed throughout the country as part of the 60th independence celebration. Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether these 60 libraries which were promised during the independence anniversary address Garu-Tempane District is part, and whether it is part of the 254 that he talked about?
Mr Speaker, the 60th anniversary library project, obviously was not under the purview of the Ministry of Education, but I would research on it, and I would be happy to let my Hon Colleague know if one has been allocated for him.
Mr Speaker, as the last question, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister, what specific plans as indicated in the last part of his Answer, the Ministry is taking to ensure that they make some budgetary provision in the 2019 budget as part of delivering the promise that they are giving us here? This is because, I know the main source of funding to the Ministry is through the annual budget. So I would want some assurance from the Hon Minister that there would be some commitment in the budget of 2019 for the construction of libraries in the country and Garu-Tempane to be part of it.
Mr Speaker, we are committed to anything that would lead to the improvement of the wellbeing of our people. We would make every effort to see whether funds would be allocated for the construction of libraries. Mr Speaker, I cannot guarantee that Garu-Tempane would be part of them wherever allocation is made, but I would be very happy to make my Friend happy. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much. That brings us to the end of Question time. Hon Deputy Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House and answering our Questions. You are respectfully discharged. Item listed 5 -- Statements. Today is World Blood Donor Day. Hon Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings has a Statement. Hon Member, you may proceed.
Mr Speaker, the 14th day of June each year is recognised globally as World Blood Donor Day. This is recognised by all member-states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) since the year 2014. Its purpose is to educate people on the essence of utilising safe blood and blood products and as well express gratitude to those who have donated blood on a voluntary basis over the years. The WHO aims to have 100 per cent voluntary donors as the sole source of blood products in all countries by the year 2020. This can only be achieved if a concerted effort is made to encourage blood donations on a regular basis, rather than only on special occasions. Ghana still relies on replacement donation from family and friends and paid or coerced donation for majority of the blood in the blood banks. In the Greater Accra Regional Hospital for instance, just about 10 per cent of the blood collected all year round comes from voluntary donors. So, we are still very far from our objective of 100 per cent voluntary donations. Just to give an idea of how much blood is required, the hospital can use an
to celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood and to encourage those who have not yet donated blood to start donating; to raise wider awareness that blood donation is an altruistic action that benefits all of society and that an adequate supply can only be ensured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors; to highlight the need for committed, year-round blood donation, in order to maintain adequate supplies and achieve national self-sufficiency of blood; to focus attention on blood donation as an expression of community participation in the health system, and the importance of community participation in maintaining sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supplies; to promote the community values of blood donation in enhancing community solidarity and social cohesion and in encouraging people to care for one another and build a caring community; to promote international collaboration and ensure worldwide dissemination of and consensus on the principles of voluntary non- remunerated donation, while increasing blood safety and availability. In conclusion I wish to congratulate all those who donate their blood to save lives, and also to the medical staff, whose expertise makes the donation and transfusion of blood and blood products safe for patients across the nation. I would like to encourage members of the august House as well as the general public to donate blood whenever possible. Today, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Ridge, which happens to be located in Klottey Korle Constituency is celebrating a daylong event of blood donation. I invite you to visit the hospital today and make a donation if you can be able to do so. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I beg to contribute to the Statement on the occasion of the World Blood Donor Day. Mr Speaker, there are many occasions where the only item that can save a life is blood donated by another or a fellow human being and particularly in the labour wards, when there is a pregnant woman who is bleeding profusely. Most of the time, if not all the time, the only factor that can save the life is to have enough units of blood. Mr Speaker, there are some few challenges that I have identified in the hospitals when it comes to accessing blood. The first one is that of the processing fee. Before one gets the blood given to him, even if he donated the blood himself ahead of surgery, he is usually asked to pay some processing fee. We have had this over the years and it would be important to make sure that the National Health Insurance considers capturing all the processing fees on the items that are paid by the authority. Mr Speaker, the other one is that of the commercial donors. There are individuals that are considered as universal donors. They could give blood to any other fellow human being irrespective of their blood type and that is usually the O negative group. Unfortunately, most citizens do not know the individuals in their communities who belong to this particular group. Once we know them or they have been mapped, anytime any relative is in trouble, we could always reach out to them, except that most of the time, such people are sort of commercial donors. Because they are giving out blood regularly, they end up being paid something so that they could also get their blood back as quickly as possible. Mr Speaker, one of the biggest challenges we have with getting citizens to donate blood has to do with the packaging -- the messaging; the way we advertise the programmes. We usually say that we are having a blood donation exercise but ideally or really, what happens is that we have a free screening exercise. Before a person can donate blood, he or she has to be screened to be sure that that person is not hypertensive; that person does not take any drug for diabetes, the person does not have hepatitis and HIV. All these are done for free before a person donates. Mr Speaker, if the message goes out that a whole community would be screened for free, most people would come out. It is only when they are screened and we know those who are fit to donate that we can sell the message about the importance of donating blood to them. More often, we succeed in getting most of them to donate. One group that is very ripe when it comes to getting blood is our children or brothers and sisters in the senior high schools. When we need even one hundred (100) units of blood and we enter a senior high School (SHS), we can come back with 200 units in one day. This is because most of them are not hypertensive, diabetic -- they do not have all these lifestyle diseases that adults have. The only problem is that, we cannot go to the SHS empty handed; we need milo and ideal milk, and other few things that are used to entice them. Sometimes -- you would be amazed -- it is difficult for hospitals to find these items.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. When I rose, I saw that there were so many Hon Members behind me, that was why I sat back. Mr Speaker, I would want to first thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for drawing our attention to this year's Blood Donation Day, which is exactly today, and more importantly for us to thank all those people who donate blood voluntarily. For us in Ghana, we need to inculcate in the youth the principle of being there for other people, that they should give blood and share life. This is the theme for this year's celebration. Mr Speaker, it is important for us also to look at the regulatory regime. The National Blood Transfusion Service has a draft bill on the drawing board, and now, it is for me to urge the Ministry of Health to ensure that they bring the bill for us to pass into law. Apart from getting volunteers and other people to donate blood to save lives, there are other blood products that can be manufactured. There are some people who by their religious beliefs do not think that they should transfuse real blood. But there are pharmaceutical products; they are products that can be manufactured and modified in factories which can serve the same purpose, sometimes as good as the natural one. That does not detract from the fact that we still need people willing to donate, because we do not have the facilities, and also because we do not have the regulation here. That is why I would urge that we pass the law. So, the Ministry of Health should fast-track this bill for us to do something about it. To the young ones who are listening to us in every community do not know when they would need blood. Blood is needed most by people who would want to give life. When somebody goes to deliver and there are problems about how much blood she has in her system, there are also those involved in accident and all of a sudden they would need just a pint of blood to save their lives. It is about this that we should thank those who have been doing it. I know people who have donated sometimes, over one hundred (100) times and they have no problem. Others are afraid to donate because they have to go through the screening, and they do not want to be told that they have a sickness that would not permit them. But that is also an opportunity for them to know their status and make sure they do not die needlessly when they can be helped to save their lives. So by donating, a person is sharing life; by donating a person is allowing somebody to be part of his or her life. I would urge everybody to support this campaign and we should always make the topic of blood donation part of our interaction with communities and our electorates. It is safe to donate; it is safe to save life. Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on the Floor. I would want to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement for bringing the attention of the House to this very important day. Mr Speaker, blood is essential to the life of every human being. In fact, we have always been talking about how to prevent or reduce maternal mortality in the country. The main cause of maternal mortality in Ghana is haemorrhage both prepartum and postpartum. The solution to this is through blood transfusion. It is very sad when at the point of wanting to give blood to a mother who needs it, unfortunately, there would not be some in stock. Mr Speaker, because of this challenge, many hospitals have adopted the plan of asking pregnant women to donate blood in advance before delivery. They would need to get a relative or a friend to donate blood to be stored in the hospital before they deliver. Unfortunately, the lifespan of blood is just 120 days. So, when a person even donates blood in advance, most of the time, it is not possible that the person would even get his or her own blood when they need it; they would have to get someone else's blood. What happens when people do not donate blood, so that when they need it they would get it? Unfortunately, many people in Ghana do not want to donate blood. We have a lot of superstition about this exercise. The Hon Members who spoke earlier have indicated some of the challenges to donating blood. I think we have to educate one another. We may not know when we would need blood. If we do not donate for a friend, on the day that we will need it, we would not also get it from a friend. If all of us build the habit of donating blood regularly, we would stock our various blood banks in the country to the extent that, there would not be the need to try call relatives or friends when we need it urgently. Most of the time it is when a person is going to transfuse that we closely test the blood. As we all know, it would not be possible to go through all the relevant tests before these bloods are given to the patients who need it. When they are donated voluntarily, those who do the test have the luxury of time to complete all the plethora of tests, so that they would only select those which are the right bloods to use. I think that the only solution is for all of us to build the habit of donating blood regularly, and not when we are called upon
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I would want to contribute to this Statement looking at the National Blood Transfusion Service, Ghana or for that matter, the blood banks within the health system. Mr Speaker, in my humble view, there is no aggression to the collection of blood and if you would support what I am saying, you would recognise that Parliament is a very good ground for blood donation. I believe that if we have an aggressive blood donation organisation, Parliament would have been the first point of call. Mr Speaker, the issue of blood is a very critical one and I also believe that what is lacking is the media staying strongly on such critical issues. If we look at the duration of media coverage of this important issue, of blood donation and for that matter commemorating an important day today, it will only be in minutes or seconds and it is gone. Mr Speaker, we need to be aggressive in our approach to encourage people, where they are a bit hostile that we can change this into sympathy and where people are ignorant about the importance and effect of blood donation, we can bring them to accept that blood donation is very critical for our people and for the development of the country. Mr Speaker, those who need blood the most are more often very poor people who cannot afford it. Currently, the practice is that if one requires blood, the hospital may be able to give him but he would have to replace it and it is done through a relative. For the fact that there is so much poverty, it may be difficult to mobilise a relative to come and donate blood. And so Mr Speaker, one ends up having to pay or give something and this is difficult. Mr Speaker, we just had reports that some private persons in Ghana sell blood. I would not mention the country but the fellow comes from one of our neighbouring countries. This is very unfortunate because we do not know how safe that is. We must ensure that our blood service takes up the mantle and does it. We should resource them to communicate properly and mobilise blood. Mr Speaker, the WHO sets two per cent of the population as the requirement for blood and if we are able to do this and have those clear targets, every year how much blood do we need and how much would we have collected. If we are able to analyse the gap, we would be able to ensure that we have enough blood for our population. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on the Floor of the House. In so doing, I would like to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement for bringing this important issue for discussion to allow us to commemorate World Blood Donor Day which serves to thank voluntary and unpaid donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need. Mr Speaker, the theme for this year's World Blood Donor Day is “Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life”. Mr Speaker, the essence of the advocacy is to help save millions of lives through blood transfusions. Even though blood donation is a life saving need, many people in Ghana are unwilling to donate blood. Hence, the average blood donation in developing countries including Ghana is very low. Indeed, in developed countries, blood donation rate is nine times higher than in low income countries. In Ghana for instance, this is the result of the perceptions and myths that surround blood transfusions. In Ghana for instance, majority of people believe that blood transfusion process is not safe and it exposes one easily to contracting bloodborne diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Mr Speaker, some people also think blood transfusion is only possible when the patient is a relative. Others simply would not donate blood on religious grounds. Mr Speaker, given that blood transfusion is a life-saving need, it is important for this country to develop a national blood donation system based on voluntary unpaid blood donations to achieve the goal of self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products. We need to increase the rate of public education to raise other misconceptions that deter people from donating blood. We need to approve a legal framework to back blood policies. Mr Speaker, it is also important to establish rewarding schemes that would attract and maintain voluntary unpaid blood donors to enhance the habit of donating blood by other citizens. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and thank you also.
Hon Member, you may continue. That would be the last contribution before Leadership comes in.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for such an important Statement on this occasion. Mr Speaker, blood is not for sale. It is rather the inefficiencies of the system that has created that aspect that today, when one goes to our hospitals, one has that situation where he might be asked to buy blood. In actual fact, we should work toward a society where blood is not for sale. Mr Speaker, I say this because the need for blood by anybody can occur at any time. It could be that one is losing blood, blood is coming out of the body either due to a cut, an accident or even due to physiological processes such as menstruation. When one menstruates and the blood comes out a lot, one might need blood. So, for any reason, any person can need blood. Mr Speaker, the second aspect is that, when one has some other sicknesses, like malaria, cancer and so many other simple sicknesses, the normal red blood cells that
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Minority Leadership?
Thank you Mr Speaker. I would want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement on this very important Statement about blood. Mr Speaker, we all know, and it is a fact that blood runs through our veins and that blood is saving life. Mr Speaker, just to talk on one area, which is about the paid or commercial donors. I believe that there is the need for the Ministry of Health to ensure that there is a regulation of these commercial donors so that they do not end up donating blood which would not be screened to detect whether it is good blood that could be given out to patients who need it. Mr Speaker, yesterday, I was listening to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and there was a news item about Nigeria, where there are a number of private blood banks. And these private blood banks take blood from the individuals without screening these bloods and these bloods are given out to patients. It was a story on BBC yesterday. Mr Speaker, we should not end up having a similar situation in Ghana. Once we have paid our commercial donors, it would end up having private blood banks and this would create a problem for us as a country. For this, the Ministry of Health should make an effort to ensure that these donors are regulated so that we do not end up having a blood bank which would not be controlled and regulated and which would have effect on the people. Mr Speaker, once again, I would want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for presenting this Statement to the House. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Minority Leader particularly, for being so concise. Majority Leadership, any contribution?
Mr Speaker, I believe all that has been said by Hon Members should be sufficient.
That brings us to the end of Statements time. At the commencement of Public Business, item listed 6, Presentation of Papers, item numbered (i). Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee? Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman has informed me that all those listed under item numbered 6 are not ready yet. So we would rightly take them next week; either on Tuesday or Wednesday when they are ready.
Hon Majority Leader, could we move on to item 7 then?
Mr Speaker, as late as yesterday, we were having some discussions on the item listed as number 7, which covers items numbered 8, 9 and 10. Mr Speaker, in that regard, I would plead that we stand them down and re- programme them on Tuesday next week. Mr Speaker, in the event, we may have to go to the item numbered 12.
Item numbered 12, Witness Protection Bill, 2017 at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
[Resumption of Debate, from 13/06/ 18]
Hon Chairman of the Committee, I understand we are at clause 14. We have finished with clause 14. Clause 14 to 16 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 17 -- Funds of the Agency.
There is a listed amendment in the name of the Hon Chairman of the Committee. Ranking Member (Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee): Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 17, paragraph ( c), delete. It reads: “(c) any other moneys that are approved by the Minister responsible for Finance.” We said so because all moneys approved by the Minister for Finance for the Agency would have to come before Parliament, and that is already captured in clause 17 (a). Question put and amendment agreed to.
There is a further amendment in clause 17, which stands in the name of Hon Haruna Iddrisu.
Mr Speaker, in view of the earlier amendment by which clause 17 (c) was deleted, this becomes redundant. So it is abandoned.
Hon Members, the First Deputy Speaker would take the Chair.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
The Hon Minority Leader's amendment, has it been abandoned? In that case, can I put the Question on the entire clause 17? Question put and Motion agreed to. Clause 17 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 18 -- Accounts and audit.
Mr Speaker, the Ranking Member is acting as Chairman of the Committee. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 18 subclause (1), lines 1 and 2, delete “in relation to them”. The new rendition would read: “(1) The Board shall keep books of account and proper records in the form approved by the Auditor-General.”
Mr Speaker, for purposes of clarity, in clause 18 (1), the first line, the word “proper” really refers to relevance. We are talking about relevant records. So it should rather read: “(1) The Board shall keep books of account and relevant records in relation to them…”. The word “them” in that subclause refers to the Agency. So, “…in relation to the Agency in the form approved by the Auditor- General”. I believe that should be adequate and it sheds more light on that provision.
Mr Speaker, it goes without saying that this provision, which makes room for the keeping of books of accounts and proper records, is in relation to the Agency. So, if we are to put it there, it would be just out of the abundance of caution. However, it goes without saying that it is for the Agency.
Hon Chairman, this is your Bill, what do you say to that?
Mr Speaker, if you look at the rendition as it stands: “(1) The Board shall keep books of account and proper records in relation to them…” If we say “in relation them”, we are dealing with the Agency. If we are dealing with the Agency, and the whole clause relates to the Agency, then in the mind of the Committee, we felt that the phrase “in relation to them” would be irrelevant.
Mr Speaker, I support the amendment in the sense that the proposed amendment to delete the words “in relation to them” in clause 18 -- The Auditor-General, in prescribing the form of books of account that should be kept, did so for all Government agencies and not in relation to individual Departments and Agencies. So, it cannot be for the Auditor-General to prescribe the form of the accounts and records in relation to this Agency. The Auditor-General, in approving those, would take into account what pertains generally to all government Departments in approving whatever they are to come out with. It should not be that they would be separate from the standard form of accounts usually kept by governmental Departments. So, let us delete the portion that says “in relation to them” and maintain the standard form usually applicable to all government agencies.
Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Majority Leader and Hon Fuseini that to maintain the words “in relation to them” would be for purposes of emphasis. However, impliedly, if it is deleted, then one could interpret it to mean in relation to them. It is a matter of whether we want to emphasise the point, which is that, it is in relation to books, records and accounts of the Agency. The Hon Majority Leader made a further amendment that we do insert “Agency” or replace the word “them” with “Agency”. I see that if it stands the way the amendment is being proposed, it would make it clearer. Again, for purposes of emphasis, let us leave it like that. Mr Speaker, my only challenge was with the “books of account and proper records”; I know it is a term of art for the
I would want to find out from all of you; if you remove “in relation to them”, could it apply to any other agency other than the Agency in the Bill?
Mr Speaker, this subsection takes its authority from the constitutional provision of article 187 (3) which provides for purposes of clause 2 in this article. The various agencies and the authorities, that this subsection applies to have been listed in the subclause (2). Clause (3) of article 181 of the Constitution which provides that: “For purposes of clause (2) of this article, the Auditor-General or any person authorised or appointed for the purpose by the Auditor-General shall have access to all books, records, returns and other documents relating or relevant to those accounts.”
“The public accounts of Ghana and of all other persons or authorities referred to in clause (2) of this article shall be kept in such form as the Auditor-General shall approve.” Mr Speaker, so the Auditor-General approves of the form and in subclause (18), we are saying that the Board should ensure that the keeping of the record conforms to what the Auditor-General has approved. So I would agree with the Hon Deputy Leader if he says that “proper records” must be maintained because it is a term of art in the profession. Mr Speaker, we could then have “the Board shall keep books of account and proper records in relation to the Agency”. This is because “them” refers to the Board. But here, we refer to the entire Agency. So it must read: “The Board shall keep books of account and proper records in relation to the Agency in the form approved by the Auditor-General.” This is because it is the Auditor- General who does the approval of the forms as contained in article 187 (4) that I just quoted.
Hon Vice Chairman and Hon Deputy Attorney- General, the suggestion is that if we say “in relation to them” -- if we remove the “them”, it would appear as if we are talking about the Board only. But if we remove the entire “in relation to them”, then it would also not make proper reference to the Agency. So the Hon Majority Leader suggests that we should retain “in relation to” but to replace the “them” with “the Agency”. Hon Members, any suggestions?
Mr Speaker, if this Bill is passed into an Act, it is going to be applicable to the Agency. And this is what they are going to use in preparing the financial statement. So there is no need to say “in relation to them” in this Bill because no other Agency would apply what is written here.
Hon Member, that was the question I posed. Can it ever be interpreted to mean any other Agency? But the issue you raised is whether it is the Board or the Agency.
Mr Speaker, I am talking about the records in relation to the accounts of the Agency and not the accounts of the Board. We have dealt with this in many Bills and we have been repositioning and indeed re-crafting this subsection. But I believe for the sake of consistency, we should just comply with what we have been doing. This is because in recent times, we have relocated that. The “in relation to them” really confuses the picture. In this, who are we talking about? Is it the Board or the Agency? It is the Agency, without doubt. Mr Speaker, if Hon Members say that we should delete “the Agency”, then one might as well say that when we come to subclause 17, because we know what we are dealing with, we should just say “Funds” instead of the “Funds of the Agency” as we have there. It is the Funds of the Agency that we are talking about. Even though we know the entirety of this Bill is about the Agency, in clause 17, we mention “the Funds of the Agency”.
Mr Speaker, actually, it is very innocuous. I have been looking at other provisions. Mr Speaker, in the year 2016, the phrase “in relation to them” was used. In the same 2016, “in relation to the accounts” was used; and we are saying that let us improve upon that because we have provided a formulation which talks about the two things that we are talking about. The two do not mean the same thing and that is the reason when the Committee met, we thought that the “books and accounts” must be “the books and accounts of the Agency”. So, we thought that we should delete that to make it clearer. Especially, if you read clause 18 (1) together with clause 18 (2).
“The Board shall, within three months after the end of the financial year, submit the accounts of the Agency to the Auditor-General for audit”. The definite article “the” is used in there. So that is the Agency that is being referred to in subclause (1). So we thought that we should make it clearer by just removing that.
All right. Hon Members, let us agree on a rendition and take a decision. Which rendition is agreeable to the House? Is it “in relation to the Agency” or we remove “in relation to them”. From the Hon Ranking Member, we have used “in relation to” in many legislations already. So probably, it would be consistent to retain “in relation to”. But let us be clear that we are talking about the Agency and not the Board. You would write in relation to the Agency.
Mr Speaker, consistency notwithstanding, I thought the Committee agreed to improve the rendition a bit and
Mr Speaker, if we go that way, it would be useful to remove “the Agency” everywhere we find it. But in this particular case, “in relation to”, we thought was otiose and not necessary at all.
Mr Speaker, I believe you were bringing the matter to a closure and I believe that was the sense of the House. Mr Speaker, for purposes of consistency, even in this Act, there are a number of provisions in here where “Agency” has been emphasised and it does not take away anything. It is just for purposes of clarity and for consistency. Mr Speaker, if we come to clause 14, it talks about the day to day administration. Mr Speaker, it does not take away anything; it is just for purposes of clarity and consistency. Clause 14 talks about the day-to-day administration, which implies the administration of the Agency. Clause 14 (1) talks about the administration of the Agency; it is there. When we come to clause 18 (5), everybody could interpret “financial year” to mean the financial year of the Agency. Then again, “agency” is put in there for the purposes of emphasis. So, if we come to clause 18 (1) and we want to make it clearer and easier for interpretation purposes and we agree on “in relation to the agency”, the emphasis on “agency” does not take away the colour and the meaning of it. Rather, it re- emphasises the point that there may be a Board and an agency that is charged with the responsibility of the day-to-day administration, and its duty is different from that of the Board. Mr Speaker, earlier before the intervention, we should stick to that and make it more consistent with respect to this Bill that we are considering. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I do not think we should belabour this point so much. So, we would go along with the suggestions made by the Hon Majority Leader and insert “agency” in place of “them” and then maintain the phrase, so that it becomes “in relation to the agency”. We could then continue.
Mr Speaker, well, I think that we have reached a consensus, except that I would want to improve on that. The further amendment should be the insertion of “in relation to the agency” because we have already deleted --
So, the new rendition would be: “The Board shall keep books of accounts and proper records in relation to the agency in the form approved by the Auditor-General.” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, there is no further amendment, but I would want to bring to the attention of the Committee an issue that engaged the attention of the House over the crafting of a recent legislation. It has to do with the formulation in clause 18 (2). It thus states with your permission: “The Board shall, within three months after the end of the financial year, submit the accounts of the Agency to the Auditor-General for audit.” Subclause 3 then provides: “The Auditor-General shall, not later than three months, after the receipt of the accounts, audit the accounts and forward a copy of the audit report to the Board.” Mr Speaker, to flashback, we said that this construction infringes the constitutional provision that allows the Auditor-General to audit within six months. So, this constricts space for the Auditor-General. So, as we did for the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act -- [Pause]. Mr Speaker, when we came to deal with the accounts and audits of the Office, we said in section 25, and I beg to quote: “(1) The Board shall keep the books of accounts and records in the form approved …” We have dealt with that. Subsections (2) and (3) then says: “The Board shall submit the accounts of the Office to the Auditor-General for audit at the end of the financial year. The Auditor-General shall, within six months after the end of the newly preceding financial year, audit the accounts and forward a copy each of the audit report to the Minister and the Board”. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader points out a challenge. Yes, the challenge is the space given to the Board to submit -- We cannot also then say that they should be given three months and then constrict space, which is a constitutional imperative, to the Auditor- General. That was why we said it should be done at the end of the financial year. Of course, they would act within reasonable timelines; but we do not want to say that they should have three months and then constrict space for the Auditor-General as provided for by the Constitution. Mr Speaker, I believe if we had such a construction, it would be better and consistent with what we have done recently.
Mr Speaker, the reference made by the Hon Majority Leader to the provision in the Constitution for the Auditor-General is on page 124 of the Constitution, article 187 (5), and I beg to quote: “The Auditor-General shall, within six months after the end of the immediately preceding financial year to which each of the accounts mentioned in clause (2) of this article relates, submit his report to Parliament…” It is within six months; it is not that the Auditor-General shall use six months to prepare the accounts. So within six months the accounts must be ready for
Mr Speaker, I have a feeling that the Hon Majority Leader and the Hon Deputy Minority Leader are reading two different provisions. A responsibility is given to the Auditor-General to audit some State institutions and report directly to Parliament within six months. This responsibility was given to the Auditor- General to audit the activities of an Agency and submit that report to the Board, which would submit it to the Hon Minister, who would then submit it to Parliament. So they are two different things. The Auditor-General has no responsibility under this Bill to submit the audited report of the Agency to Parliament. [Interruption.] No, it is the Hon Minister; it is here in clause 19. [Interruption.] I am saying that he is reading two different things. The formulations that we have done all over the years -- [Interruption] -- is here. When you look at the National Youth Authority Act and the Development and Classification of Claims Act -- [Interruption]. Mr Speaker, they are talking about two different things and the thing is that where a responsibility for the auditing of a public corporation is to be undertaken by the Auditor-General and a report of that audit is presented to Parliament, the Constitution says that he must do it within six months. Do not read it to include, “where” -- because it is the Auditor-General's responsibility to audit all public offices. All right? -- [Interruption]. So, if the Auditor-General audits all public officers but has no responsibility to submit the Report to Parliament, but to send the Report back to the -- [Interruption]. Mr Speaker, I have been violently opposed by both the Hon Minority Leader and Hon Chireh. So, I would resume my seat because they say that it cannot be true. Maybe, they have a better explanation.
Mr Speaker, under the Constitution, the Auditor-General is an officer of Parliament and that duty he performs, regardless of what we command in this Act, means “to agree with the Hon Ranking Member on the first leg”. When he audits any public officer, he has an obligation and that is why every year, he brings the audited accounts to Parliament. That is different. Now, we expect the Agency Board to also give us their report through the Hon Minister. It can be about the activities, but included in this is the audited report. This is because some of the things that will be reported on would include expenditure and how things have been done. So the most appropriate thing is that if you have that report, it would be better to add the audited report, which in any case would have come to Parliament. This is because the Auditor-General can send it directly but we still need the Board to also see it and if they have any comments on that part, they would also make it available to the Hon Minister who will then be reporting -- Mr Speaker, again we receive that almost every now and then; all the public institutions under the Ministries, the Hon Minister has to report on them. Yesterday, the Rt Hon Speaker referred to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) having to give us a report in which the details of all the transactions that have been carried out, would be contained. Such a thing, it is the Board of the PPA that would submit it and they will also have to submit to us audited accounts if they can get them. They could even send a special report also to the Hon Minister who would bring it to Parliament. For this, I think that this command here is purely for the Board and the Hon Minister to also report directly to us and not the Auditor-General.
Hon Majority Leader, what is the real issue you were raising in respect of clause 18?
Mr Speaker, the issue I am raising has to do with the curtailment of the time that the Constitution says should be granted the Auditor-General to work and report to Parliament. Now, by what you have done or what is here it says: “The Board shall, within three months after the end of the financial year, submit the accounts of the Agency to the Auditor-General for audit.” That is clause 18 (2). Clause 18(3) then provides: “The Auditor-General shall, not later than three months, after the receipt of the accounts, audit the accounts and forward a copy of the audit report to the Board” Mr Speaker, I am situating this against the backdrop of the Constitutional provision in article 187 (5) which provides: “The Auditor-General shall, within six months after the end of the immediately preceding financial year to which each of the accounts mentioned in clause (2) of this article relates, submit his report to Parliament..” That is where the catch is. If we compartmentalise as we have done and we are saying to ourselves that the Auditor-General shall work within just three months -- That was why we said to ourselves when we were crafting the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP)
Hon Majority Leader, the Auditor-General's six months has a reference point from the beginning of the year. So they are constitutionally enjoined by mid-year; by the end of June, they should have finished all reports. So, the reference point; we cannot give him three months from here and another six months from there because the six months starts from January which is the beginning of the year. No, but my Hon colleague said that we have given him three months. Yes, he is still entitled to only three months more. So long as he receives it within the six months' period, he would still be within his right to finish. But whatever happens, if an Agency is not compliant, he could report that he did not get the report of such Agency. Certainly, he is obliged to submit his report to Parliament by close of June.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, is it for nothing that the Constitution provides that he should work and submit his report within six months? It is not for nothing. Now, we are restricting and constricting space if we say that they have three months and the Auditor- General has three months within which to operate. That is the problem that I see and which the House also saw -- [Laughter] -- and translated that sentiment into the crafting of the Bill. Mr Speaker, I am just drawing your attention to what we did. This discussion went on at the time and we ended up doing what we did in the OSP. My Hon Colleague, Hon (Alhaji) Inusah Fuseini is in another world. We are talking about the Constitution. - [Laughter] - I am talking about the Constitution - how to find the spirit and intent contained in the Constitution translated into the Bill. That is what I am saying and he does not seem to understand the issue that I am raising.
Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Speaker, what he said is very correct. Firstly, we said within three months; if anybody is keeping accounts properly then by end of January the person should submit to the Auditor- General. Mr Speaker, it is “within three months” - It does not say that the person has three months to do so. So if the person is able to present the report in January, the Auditor-General would still be able to do that. Mr Speaker, he is making the “three months” we are adding here look as if it starts from that day. No. Mr Speaker, we are saying that it is when the person has the accounts that he can audit. Mr Speaker, so the argument he is making about the OSP does not arise at all ; he still has an obligation. Under the Constitution, the Auditor-General has a power to surcharge and if anybody is non- compliant, the Auditor General would
Hon Majority Leader, I want us to discuss this part; if you read Act 959, it says that the Board shall submit the accounts to the Auditor General at the end of the financial year, simplicita. It has not given any timeline within which it is to be submitted. So if he submits it in May then the Auditor-General is required by the Constitution to submit his own audit by close of June and so he is left with one month. But what this clause is doing is to give a period within which the Board must submit the report such that at minimum, the Auditor General would have three months. Probably, this is better for the Auditor General rather than say that they should submit it at the end of the year. No accounts can be submitted at the close of the year because it is prepared after the year has ended. We have to be sure that in any case he should not wait beyond three months before he submits the accounts and that is where I believe the gravamen of the matter is. What we did with Act 959 is probably too open, because the agency is not limited to the time period within which they
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, in answering your question, I believe that we should -- [Interruption] We have seen instances where the Auditor General said in submitting his report that an agency failed to present its report. So to prevent that occurrence, if we could give the agency some time limits within which to submit and the remaining time is long enough for the Auditor-General to carry out his constitutional duty then I would suggest so. Mr Speaker, in that case, the three months given to the agency to submit the report would be too long.
Mr Speaker, I would still come back to my initial position. I was violently opposed but I would come back to it. Mr Speaker, we are talking about two totally-different procedures. The Auditor General receives the accounts of a State agency, audits the accounts and submits a copy to the account -- [Interruption] -- He does not bring it here. Mr Speaker, what he would bring here would be his final report which is contained in the Auditor-General's Report. Mr Speaker, this formulation is that when the Auditor-General receives the accounts, he would audit same within three months and send same back to the agency. This formulation is in all the laws, probably except Act 959. When the report is sent back to the agency or State institution, the audited statement now becomes part of the report to be produced by the Hon Minister for onward submission to Parliament. Mr Speaker, that is what is contained in the law but the audited account of the agency would be contained in the audited statements that is presented periodically by the Auditor General to this House. Mr Speaker, so the procedure is different; when the statements of account of State institutions are received, the Auditor General is mandated within three months to submit the audited accounts back to the agency. This is different from submitting the report to Parliament, but within six months the Auditor General would have to submit it to Parliament and it would be contained in the reports that he brings here. So, we are talking about two different things.
Hon Member for Adentan?
Mr Speaker, it cannot be two different things. If that is what has been done all along then what is at stake is that, before the OSP, time had been set aside in the laws that have been passed abridging the Auditor-General's six months. That is what has been happening. Mr Speaker, because we cannot pass a law here opting out of the constraints of the Auditor-General's responsibility to report to this House in six months. So within six months, this House has been alert to the need to ensure that agencies would submit their reports to the Auditor- General on time. The question is that if we give all these agencies three months then we leave the Auditor-General three months to do the work that the Constitution says he should do within six months. Mr Speaker, we could construe three months to be within six months, but the question is whether or not we are not constraining the Auditor General's six months through the back door, because the Constitution is very clear and it says within six months of the end of the financial year. Mr Speaker puts it very succinctly by asking that could we expect agencies to rightfully put in their accounts immediately the year ends? That is the question. Pragmatically and practically, could any agency effectively deliver accounts at the close of the financial year in December so that the Auditor General's time starts running from January? That is the question. If as a House, we believe that, that cannot be done, then maybe we need to continue the practice of setting aside time for the agency. But the question would then arise that would three months not be too long an abridgement of the Auditor General's time? There would be abridgement. Mr Speaker, what he is saying is different and it is only an addendum, because the Auditor General would report on the accounts of this agency to this House by end of June, whether or not the Hon Minister would later on issue another report which would come to this House. The Auditor-General would necessarily report to this House, and in that case, is it constitutional to give the Auditor General only three months out of six months to audit the accounts that he is to receive? Mr Speaker, if this is construed to mean that the Agency has the right to keep its accounts till the third month of the year, what it means is that, technically, any Agency that submits on 31st March is within the rules. That means the Auditor-General has from 31st March to the end of June only to audit the accounts, return it for comment, receive it and prepare a final account to submit to Parliament. That would be an abridgement of the six months. It is very clear.
Hon Member for Adentan, what time period are we allowing the Agencies to prepare the accounts before the Auditor-General looks at it?
Mr Speaker, if the agencies cannot be trusted to be reasonable, my Hon Vice-Chairman is discussing a month, which is four weeks after the end of the Financial year.
For those who have been in the corporate world and in public service, in practice, could anybody guide us, what is the practical period within which they prepare their accounts? Is there anybody here who has that corporate experience, Hon Y. Chireh, with your experience at Agogo?
Mr Speaker, even the Bank of Ghana requires financial institutions to report or publish their accounts within a certain period. And normally, if one has a very large organisation with offices in all
the regions and they have to compile and bring the accounts for him to consolidate them into a report, the minimum would be three months. Now, my argument is that, it is not us constraining the time of the Auditor General. We are giving a guide, and we said within three months. So, any organisation that is able to do so even before the first month is within the three months. On the argument about whether we have taken some time from the Auditor- General, we have not. This is because, the Auditor-General under the Constitution would have one to submit. So, let us find out how many months he gives to the others. Mr Speaker, the issue is very simple, that one cannot produce the accounts of a very huge organisation within a month. The three months we have given is the most appropriate one. Has the Auditor- General come to complain to them? He has not.
Does he have to complain to us before we do what is constitutional?
Hon Member for Adentan, I have not given you the Floor. Hon Member for Bantama?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker I would contribute to the debate by saying that, mostly in the private sector, within three months after the end of the financial year, the accounts are normally ready for public audit and also for submission to any regulatory authority. And so if we give the Auditor-General six months within which they have to audit the financial information of the entity in question, in my opinion, that should be appropriate.
Mr Speaker, again, let us look at subclauses 2 and 3 and also the procedure. “The Board shall, within three months after the end of the financial year, submit the accounts of the Agency to the Auditor-General.” It is within three months. Where the Board submits the accounts to the Auditor-General, he has within three months to audit the account and submit a copy -- In total, that gives a period of six months. Mr Speaker, if they would want us to give the Auditor-General nine months, they can say so. But that is the total of six months. When the report goes to the Auditor-General, and he audits same and sends it back to the -- [Interruption]. It is a copy; he does not even send the report but a copy. So at that point that the Auditor-General sends a copy, he has already audited the accounts and the audited account is ready for submission to Parliament. Therefore I fail to see the inconsistency.
Hon Members, if anybody is going to propose an amendment, I would want the amendment now. Otherwise, I would put the Question on the existing clause.
Mr Speaker, we would want to propose an amendment one month.
You would want to formulate one month at where?
Mr Speaker, let me formulate it. “The Board shall --
Please, start from the clause. Which clause and which subclause?
Mr Speaker, clause 18, subclause 2, the new rendition being proposed is: “The Board shall, within 30 days after the end of the financial year, submit the accounts of the Agency to the Auditor-General for audit.”
Hon Members, the amendment before me is to delete in clause 18, subclause 2, line 1, after “within” delete “three months” and insert “30 days”. It is for the consideration of the House. Yes, Hon Dafeamekpor?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. The Hon Member has not given any justification for proposing 30 days instead of the three months or the 90 days. Mr Speaker, it is a notorious fact that public institutions, at the end of the financial year take time to gather and prepare the accounts. If we are going to legislate to limit them to 30 days as we have found out in the public accounts hearing, they would flout it and would not even give reasons why they are not able to comply with the law in 30 days. So I believe the three months as given is all right. This is because, it gives the Auditor- General the opportunity to audit the accounts and submit a copy of it to the Board within another three months. Mr Speaker, with all due respect to my learned Brother, the current amendment is unwarranted. And so I am opposed to it.
Yes, Hon Ahiafor?
Mr Speaker, having given me the opportunity, in addition, the phrase used here is “within three months”. If he is proposing that we change “within three months” to “within 30 days”, at the end of the day, when are they going to prepare the accounts for submission to the Auditor-General, knowing very well that that would be done at the end of the financial year? If it is within three months and they feel they can do it in 30 days, the 30 days is still within the three months. Other than that, when we limit them to 30 days, what happens if within the 30 days they have not been able to prepare the accounts for submission? If we give them more time to prepare the accounts, it is better than giving them a limited time within which they would have to do it. They would rush in preparing the accounts, and if there is a problem, they would be held responsible. So in doing it within the three months, if they use one and a half months or two months to prepare the accounts, they would forward same to the Auditor-General. Mr Speaker, on this basis, I am opposed to the amendment on the Floor.
Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
Mr Speaker, I am further opposing to the amendment because why do we fix what is not broken. There is nothing wrong with this formulation. Ever since this House was brought to existence in this Fourth Republic, this is how we have crafted our legislations. [Interruption] -- Why are you violently attacking me?
Hon Member, address me.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I need protection. Mr Speaker, the Auditor-General has worked within these laws which we have passed and has brought his report. Why are we creating a problem and proposing a solution? Today, what we are doing is to create our own problem and propose a solution. We are saying that the Auditor- General has within three months. Why do we want to limit it to one month, which is 30 days? So Mr Speaker, I do not think there is a problem. The problem that has agitated our minds for close to one hour is just an issue raised by the Majority Leader. The laws that we have passed, including those we are about to pass have the same formulation and we have never had complaints. So I do not know why we are fixing what has not been broken. We would have finished clause 17 or 18 by now.
Mr Speaker, the Ghana law allows corporate entities up to April to file their accounts.
Which law are we referring to?
Mr Speaker, the GRA requires that entities file their accounts by the 30th of April.
Is that the Ghana Revenue Authority?
Exactly, Mr Speaker. So if we are going to restrict -- no accountant can do that within one month after the close of year. This is because the holidays and many things take some of the days out. They cannot do it within 30 days. So I believe if we say that they should get their accounts ready within three months, it is practical and then we can extend it, that within three months, the Auditor-General would also have three months to prepare the accounts and has the right to demand that the Agency submits the accounts within the period specified. I think it would be within their right to demand that. But if we put it within one month, then we are creating a recipe for them to default and I do not believe that is what Parliament is here to do. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member for Suhum, you are not on your feet?
Mr Speaker, it seems I am on my feet. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, if I understand correctly, I think the provision in clause 18 (2) is at variance with the provisions of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, fancy the situation where the organisation is able to prepare and submit its accounts within the first month after the end of the financial year to the Auditor-General. The Constitution still gives the Auditor-General six months within which to prepare and submit its report. But this law is saying that three months after the submission of that account to the Auditor-General, the Auditor-General must necessarily complete and submit the report, which reduces it then to four months, which is unconstitutional. This is because per the Constitution, it does not matter whether one week after the end of the financial year they are able to submit their reports to the Auditor- General or not. The Auditor-General has six months within which to complete --
No, that is not correct. The six months counts from the beginning of the financial year.
From the end of the financial year, Mr Speaker.
The Auditor-General shall within six months after the end of the financial year -- So the Auditor-General's time period is given. So, anytime the Auditor-General starts, he must finish by the end of June?
Mr Speaker, by the end of June precisely. Now, this provision in clause 18 (3) says that the end entity must provide within three months, and I am saying that assuming they are able to do so by the end of the first month -- then the next provision says that the Auditor-General has three months from that date to submit the report. But the Constitution says that in total, he has six months. So this is restrictive.
Yes. This is because they have within three months to submit their reports.
But Mr Speaker, when they actually do submit, the time per this new law starts counting for the Auditor-General. We do not say that because in total they had three months, so when they have submitted after a month, we would still wait till the end of three months to say that the Auditor- General has additional three months. Mr Speaker, the language there, if we want to maintain it, would it be that in any case, the Auditor-General shall submit its report within six months after the end of the financial year without referencing when the institution itself submits its report? Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I really did not want to raise any issue about this matter but for the misrepresentation he is giving. The issue is very simple. They are concerned about us deducting sometime from the six months given in the Constitution. We have explained that Parliament of Ghana is to receive the Auditor-General's report within six months. We are guiding the institution on how they could facilitate that. Therefore this is not something to do with the Constitution. It is guidance to the organisations. Secondly, as my Hon Colleague said eloquently, if he was in the corporate world, he would understand that accounts have to be collated from various branches and prepared by the end of 31st December and within 30 days.
Hon Members, let us look at this again. The subclauses 2 and 3 stipulates that the Auditor-General shall not later than three months after receipt of the accounts audit the accounts and forward a copy to the Board. That is totally different from the period within which the Auditor-General should report to Parliament. So we are giving the Auditor-General an assignment which should be finished within three months and report to the Board. We are touching his responsibility to report to Parliament. I think we should get that clear. That is where the confusion is coming from. The Auditor-General's constitutional mandate to report to Parliament has not been touched here. What this Bill is seeking to do is to say that the agency should submit its report within three months. Three months after that, the Auditor-General must have also audited it and given a copy to the agency. That has nothing to do with reporting to Parliament, which is the constitutional imperative here. So I think the issue here is whether or not we want to amend “within three months to within 30 days”.
Mr Speaker, I tend to have three laws that were passed recently before me. We have the Zongo Development Fund, the Coastal Development Authority Act and the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act. Mr Speaker, in all of these three, there is no consistency of this House. Mr Speaker, looking at the Zongo Development Fund Act, section 25, it sits well with what has been proposed with this Bill that we are considering.
In fact, it is only the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Law, which is the odd one out. The odd one out was profusely argued by the lay majority leader. I think it was an error. We should return to the rightful path; we should have the others guide us and continue on the path to righteousness.
Mr Speaker, we are getting some indication from the Attorney- General's Office that, they keep giving us the right rendition which appears in the Coastal Development Bill other than in the Office of the Special Prosecutor Law. So to move on and for the consensus of the House, we would have to stick to the two laws that we have passed and be more consistent. I think the one in the OSP Bill as you said, probably, was a major diversion from our usual consistent path. Thank you.
So, if the Hon Member for Adentan withdraws his proposed amendment, I would put the Question on that before I can proceed.
Mr Speaker, I noticed that subclause 4 of clause 18 refers to the Internal Audit Agency Act. I would withdraw based on the current discussion, but reserve the right to come back on this matter -- [Interruption] not at third Consideration Stage, after review of the Internal Audit Act.
Hon Member, your right is always opened to you. Hon Members, I would put the Question on clause 18. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 18 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, we would do the last one, which is clause 19. Clause 19 -- Annual report and other reports
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 19 subclause (1), line 1, delete “one month” and insert “thirty days”.
“The Board shall, within thirty days after the receipt of the audit report, submit to the Minister an annual report covering the activities and the operations of the Agency for the year to which the report relates.” Mr Speaker, we brought this amendment, one, for consistency, and two, for the practical effect that we have 28 days, 30 days and others for different months. So we wanted it to be consistent and make sure that there is no ambiguity in this matter.
Very well, I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker, before you do, in the Bill we are considering, in all the time lines that we have given, we have been stipulating it in months. And then we get here and we would want to stipulate it in days. I would just want to draw the House's attention that if we are going with days, we do so for purposes of consistency. If we are doing months, we should also stick to it. The Interpretation Act is so clear on that. Mr Speaker, to divert -- Just in clause 18 (3), we talked about three months for submission of account, and then just after that, we are going into days. I would want the Hon Chairman of the Committee to consider the proposal that I have made.
Mr Speaker, we thought that days more consistent; days was more ascertainable. This is because, we have 31 days a month and 28 days a month. In fact, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader's last submission has won me to her side. When she said that just in the previous clause, we said three months and then we come down and we are saying “days.” Actually, the intendment was to depart from the use of “months” to the use of “days”. The Committee said we should depart from the use of months to the use of days. When we use “days” it is more ascertainable.
Hon Members, what is the position of the Committee? I would want to do this quickly. Do you want to maintain it or do you want to withdraw?
Mr Speaker, the Committee at this stage is not unanimous. The Hon Ranking Member has been convinced by the argument of the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Therefore I would further advise the acting Chairman to withdraw it. This is because, the Interpretation Act clarifies all this in terms of what a month is.
Mr Speaker, I suspect that when it comes to these matters, you are in as good a position as any one of us to guide us. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague from Wa West has put it rightly. If the Interpretation Act has already defined it, what is all this business introducing cacophony and all this confusion? [Laughter.] Let us stick to what the law says.
Mr Speaker, in the face of -- [Pause] -- the opposition and the law, I stand to withdraw the amendment that we proposed. But we fail to be intimidated.
I stand to reason that both proposed amendments to clause 19 are withdrawn, because they are in the same spirit. Clause 19 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I would like to make an intervention, that today being a “Friday” -- [Interruption] -- It is a Thursday, but it is a Friday, because tomorrow is a holiday. Mr Speaker, many of us would have to be in the constituency with our Moslem brothers and sisters as they break the fast and I have indication that the Hon Deputy Minister of the Ministry that is actually leading this Bill also has to be somewhere in the north as well and we have to be considerate. Although my constituency is in Accra, I know many Hon Members would have to travel. So, Mr Speaker, with your indulgence and with that of my Hon Colleagues on the Minority, we could bring the proceedings to a closure at this point. That is our proposal. We fall in your hands because we have sat beyond the stipulated period that we are prescribed to Sit. So Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House adjourns to Tuesday, next week.
We are still within our Sitting period. It is not 2.00 p.m. yet.
Mr Speaker, I cannot but agree with the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, today is the last working day of the week and also of fasting. Tomorrow is a festive mood. Mr Speaker, we need to prepare for that. I live in the Hon Deputy Majority Leader's constituency and I am going to pray there. The road is far. I must start early. So Mr Speaker, we pray you that in view of the fact that today is the last working day of the week where Hon Members would be in their constituencies, the last day of the fasting when our Muslim brothers, including me, would be preparing to celebrate the Eid tomorrow, you may bring the curtains down on today so that we reconvene on Tuesday. So Mr Speaker, I second the Motion for adjournment.
That brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage. Question put and Motion agreed to.