Debates of 18 May 2018

MR SPEAKER

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 17th May, 2018.

[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 17th May, 2018.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, Correction of the Official Report of Tuesday, 15th May, 2018. Any corrections?

Speaker
Mr Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Member?

Speaker
Mr Ablakwa

Mr Speaker, I would want to point out few corrections on the last but one paragraph on column 5. It is supposed to be “Right to Information Bill, 2018'', and not “Right to Information Bill, 298''. Mr Speaker, just beneath that paragraph also, it is supposed to be “Ghana Integrated Bauxite and Aluminum Development Authority Bill'', but the word “Development'' is omitted, so if it could be corrected.

Speaker
Mr Ablakwa

[No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 16th May, 2018.]

Speaker
Mr Ablakwa

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Okudjeto Ablakwa?

Speaker
Mr Ablakwa

Mr Speaker, I would want to indicate that we only received the Official Report for 15th May, 2018 in our pigeon holes. I have checked with Hon Colleagues and realised we do not have the Official Report for 16th May, 2018.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Very well. Thank you very much. Business Statement for the Second Week. Hon Chairman of the Business Committee?

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Speaker
Majority Leader/ Chairman of the Business Committee (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu)

Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 17th May, 2018 and arranged Business of the House for the Second Week ending Friday, 25th May 2018.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its report as follows

Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read any available communication to the House whenever they are available. Question(s) Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has programmed the following Ministers to respond to Questions asked of them during the week: No. of Question(s) i. Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources -- 2 ii. Minister for Energy -- 3 iii. Minister for Communications -- 5 Total Number of Questions -- 10 Mr Speaker, three (3) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to ten (10) 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 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 and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Re-Schedule of Briefing by Commission of Inquiry Mr Speaker, the Business Committee hereby informs all Hon Members that due to extenuating circumstances, the proposed briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on the creation of new regions in Ghana, originally scheduled for Friday, 18th May, 2018 has been re-scheduled to Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018. The venue remains the same, that is the D. F. Annan Conference Room and the time is 12.00 noon. Further details, if any would be communicated to Hon Members in due course.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its report as follows

Public Holiday Mr Speaker, Friday, 25th May, 2018 is Africa Day, a Statutory holiday and it is expected to be observed as such. 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 *346. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when the Upper Yilo and Manya Krobo areas' water extension project from the Bukunor Water Plant would be completed. *366. Mr Suhuyini Alhassan Sayibu (Tamale North): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when the water challenges facing communities such as Bug-Yili, Taha, Gbalahi, Gbirma, Kulaa and Kpintaliga on the same stretch of road in the Tamale North Constituency will be solved. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Annual Report of the National Road Safety Commission for the Year 2016. Motions -- (a) Adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination of Ms Cynthia Jane Naa-Koshie Lamptey for appointment as Deputy Special Prosecutor. (b) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Public Debt Manage- ment Report for the 2017 Fiscal Year. (c) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Report on the Manage- ment of the Energy Sector Levies and Accounts for the Year 2017. (d) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds for the 2017 Fiscal Year. Committee sittings. Questions -- *351. Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah (Buem): To ask the Minister for Energy when the following commu- nities in the Buem Constituency will be connected to the National Electricity Grid: (i) Woadze (ii) Oseikrom (iii) Nanankor (iv) Kayadan (v) Atakrom (vi) Odumasi (vii) Asele (viii) Amoako. *371. Mr Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze (Central Tongu): To ask the Minister for Energy when the remaining forty-two (42) commu- nities in the Central Tongu District will be connected to the National Electricity Grid. *372. Mr John Majisi (Krachi Nchumuru): To ask the Minister for Energy why the Self-Help Electrification Projects started in the Krachi Nchumuru and Krachi West Districts in 2016 have come to a standstill. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Joint Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Communications on the Right to Information Bill, 2018. Motions -- (a) That this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the disposal of Government vehicles by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service. (Moved on Thursday, 25th January, 2018 by the Hon Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr James Klutse Avedzi and seconded by the Hon Member for Fanteakwa South, Mr Kofi Okyere Agyekum). Debate to continue (b) That this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana (Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions) for the year ended 31st December, 2015. Committee sittings. Questions -- *310. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Communica- tions the expenditure breakdown of the Digital Address System which was launched recently by H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana. *311. Mr Edward Kaale-ewola Dery (Lambussie/Karni): To ask the Minister for Communications what steps are being taken to curb the network interferences from our neighbour, Burkina Faso, which is affecting communication in the entire Lambussie District. *373. Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah (Buem): To ask the Minister for Communications what is being done about the 780 km fibre optic cable laid from Bawku to Ho, in terms of getting the Districts along the cable connected. *374. Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah (Buem): To ask the Minister for Communications when people of Guaman, Atakrom, and Nsuta will have network for communication. *375. Mr Samuel Nartey George (Ningo-Prampram): To ask the Minister for Communications the current state of the commercialisation of the National Information Technology Agency's infrastructure. Statements Motions -- Second Reading of Bills -- Witness Protection Bill, 2017. Legal Aid Commission Bill, 2017.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its report as follows

Committee sittings. Public Holiday (Africa Union Day)

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much Hon Majority Leader.

Speaker
Mr Edward Kaale-ewola Dery

Mr Speaker, thank you. Before we went on recess, I filed two Questions that were still outstanding; one for the Hon Minister for Communications and the other for the Hon Minister for Aviation. But that of the Minister for Communications is part of the Business Statement, but I do not find that of the Minister for Aviation. So, if that correction could be made as early as possible. Mr Speaker, it has to do with the Wa airstrip and when commercial activities would begin on it. Early on, the Minister answered a Question and gave us a promise that by February, 2018 commercial activities would commence. I asked a follow-up question and I thought it should have been part of this Business Statement. That was not answered.

Speaker
Mr Haruna Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, I should thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, but subsequent to the Business Statement, yesterday I made a request to you on the basis of Standing Order 72, given the security developments in Tamale of the violent clashes between the Police and the Military who are entrusted to maintain law and order, you respectively directed that the Hon Ministers for Interior and Defence, probably, this time, accompanied by their service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Chief of Defence Staff would come and apprise this House. But I can understand that we had finished the Business Statement before you made that ruling. And so, the Leader of Government Business would have to find space so that the Hon Minister for Interior, accompanied by the IGP and the Chief of Defence Staff, led by the Minister for Defence, so that we can see what camaraderie we can achieve in terms of the police and the army or military working together to maintain law and order. Mr Speaker, the other issue is that today, you would notice that some Questions stand unanswered. You also directed that the Hon Minister for Agriculture appears. I am not too sure he may be available today. It means that the Question standing in the name of Hon Kwabena Mintah Akandoh for the Minister for Agriculture to answer on one liter (1lt) Rockstar, which is supposed to be a cocoa insecticide would have to be rescheduled. Mr Speaker, I also have a letter from the Minister for Finance —

Speaker
Mr Speaker

It appears there is a Deputy Minister for Agriculture in the House. We do not know —

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, I have a couple of them. Apart from the Minister for Agriculture, the Minister for Finance was supposed to appear to answer a Question. It appears they have also said that it should be rescheduled. We would want the Hon Minister for Finance to be available, and as you insisted yesterday, that he responds to it in person. There is also the issue of the Minister for Special Development Initiatives who is unable to appear to answer the Question of Hon Mohammed Abdul-Aziz, Member of Parliament for Mion. That also has to be rescheduled. Mr Speaker, the Electoral Commission (EC) would have to be prepared adequately in advance to give meaning to the vision and determination to the President to create the additional regions. I brought it up at the Business Committee. Their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure need to be updated. They need to get the Bio-data and other logistics improved. They have to prepare ahead of time. And so, we believe that the Hon Minister for Finance, this time, with the Electoral Commission must also give us an elaborate plan on how they intend to walk the process of conducting the national referendum on the matter of the creation of the regions and how they would get the releases. Mr Speaker, I could not be part of the Special Budget Committee meeting. I related to the leader, but I believe that the EC would have to come back with prioritised expenditure for us to make recommendations to the Executive. Mr Speaker, I thank you and trust that the Hon Majority Leader would carry on board all the outstanding Questions. It is important to us that we exercise this oversight properly and that Hon Ministers appear before this House.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the Hon Member from Upper West who asked the first two Questions says there are two outstanding Questions that he filed. He sees that one has been programmed and the other one has not been programmed for next week. Mr Speaker, I would suggest to the Hon Member that the other one would be subjected to the usual processes, once the Rt Hon Speaker has admitted it. It would come before the Business Committee and we would then find space accordingly. But to reiterate the fact that the Business Committee does not generate its own agenda. It is always matters that are referred to us that we act on and programme. And so he may contact the relevant officers who would tell him where it is and if it comes before us, we would certainly programme same. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader raised a matter that happened in Tamale between some members of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service. Mr Speaker, my understanding as captured by the Votes and Proceedings is that he entreated you to invite the Hon Ministers responsible for Interior and Defence to apprise the House on the matter. Once the Rt. Hon Speaker agrees to the request, the relevant resort would be applied. I heard this -- because I was not here when he raised the matter -- I heard it subsequently. At Cabinet meeting yesterday, I related to the Hon Minister for Interior who was with us. The Hon Minister responsible for Defence has travelled and is not yet back. So, the Hon Minister for Interior said he would confer with his colleague and offer the appropriate response once the appropriate request is made from Parliament.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Speaker
Some Hon Members

Eeiii!

Speaker
Some Hon Members

Intercourse?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I am applying the Queen's English. [Laughter.] Let those of them who understand, understand! [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, so, the Committee had a very useful engagement with them and a few outstanding issues are supposed to be related by the EC to the Committee. I guess in the fullness of time, we would get to know where we are. Mr Speaker, I guess that is about all. Mr Speaker, let me assure the Hon Minority Leader that the proper things would be done by the Business Committee. But to also advise that if the Hon Minority Leader has anything under his armpit, he should bring those things out when we meet so that we could attend to them. Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

— rose --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Afenyo-Markin?

Speaker
Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin

Mr Speaker, I thank you. Mr Speaker, I rise in respect of an application by the Hon Minority Leader to which application a ruling was made and is captured on page 9 of the Votes and Proceedings of this House dated, Thursday, 17th May, 2018. The said matter involves the insecurity in Tamale Metropolis. Mr Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to article 103 --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, you said that matter has already been ruled upon. If you would want to do anything about the ruling, you may come as by the rules. That is the end of the matter. The Business Statement for the week is hereby admitted accordingly. Hon Members, item listed 4 on the Order Paper -- Urgent Question. It stands in the name of the Hon Member for Juaboso to the Hon Minister for Agriculture.

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

— rose --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Minority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, the understanding we had per your ruling given that the Hon Minister had written to you yesterday, you directed that he should appear in person. Therefore we would be pleased if the Hon Minister comes in person. Mr Speaker, we would want to encourage Hon Ministers' attendance to the House by themselves except where it is necessary and compelling that they are not able to come, then Hon Deputy Ministers can stand in their stead. I mentioned it to the Hon Leader of the House, so we would wait for the Hon Minster for Agriculture to respond to this Question. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Very well. Except that we have not heard why the Hon Minister is not here. So let us hear from the Hon Majority Leader and not to jump the gun.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, unfortunately, at the time when you proffered a directive -- I would not say a ruling -- I was not in the Chamber at the time. But I am told that when we got to Question time, you directed that that particular Question should be stood down for the substantive Minister to respond to same. Unfortunately, the Hon Minister is still outside the jurisdiction and is not yet back. Mr Speaker, yesterday the Hon Deputy Minister indicated to me that he had just been told and that he needed time to study the response in order to position himself to be able to respond to it effectively today. But because the directive came from you that the Hon Minister should be the person to respond to same Question and the Hon Minister is unavailable, I would plead that we stand the Question down to allow the Hon Minister to come and respond to it. He is due to come back this weekend. So I believe next week Tuesday or latest Wednesday, he should be with us to respond to the Question. The Business Committee would take due cognisance of it and may programme that Question for next week.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Is the Hon Deputy Minister in the position to answer the Question?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, because of what happened yesterday, I have not --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, yesterday there was nothing said about the Hon Minister having travelled. It was not a matter before the House as of yesterday. So if that is the position today, the Hon Majority Leader may seek permission for the Hon Deputy Minister to answer the Question for him, and then we shall deal with the matter as it is today.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, my information is that my Hon Deputy Majority Leader yesterday gave that information out, that the substantive Minister had travelled. The Rt Hon

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, I do not want this matter to be misrepresented, because we would also not want to set any precedent. Hon Members, generally speaking, we have allowed Hon Deputy Ministers to answer Questions. If the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture is here, he should take the appropriate seat if he is disposed towards answering the Question. We are talking about today's events.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we have an Hon Deputy Minister who is one of our own here with us. He tells me that he is ready to answer the Question, but Mr Speaker, the matter rests with you. Perhaps as I said, you did not hear the response from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader well. Against that backdrop of your own directive yesterday, if you would allow the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture to answer the Question, he is ready anyway.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture, you may take the seat and answer the Question. Hon Member for Juaboso?

ORAL ANSWERS TO URGENT

QUESTIONS

MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE

Speaker
Minister for Food and Agriculture)

Mr Speaker, Rockstar (Bifenthrin 2.5EC) is a registered pesticide in Ghana for use in the agriculture sector, particularly for the control of pest in cocoa. It was originally imported from India by West Africa Commodities Company Limited. It was tested by Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September 2016, and listed under provisional clearance (PCL) for commercial purposes. This means the license was given for a period of one year and must be renewed or fully registered thereafter. According to the EPA, West Africa Commodity Company Limited in 2017 approached them to have Rockstar fully registered. Samples were therefore presented to EPA for testing by CRIG. It was discovered that the Rockstar presented this time round came from a Chinese manufacturer and could therefore not be accepted to be the same as the original one from India that had been tested earlier. The CRIG through Cocoa Board duly informed the Ministry of Agriculture and the EPA who are responsible for the registration and post registration surveillance of such pesticides about the development. Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture therefore tasked Cocoa Board to conduct further investigations on the presence of the new Rockstar on the Ghanaian market for action to be taken. The Ministry of Agriculture is awaiting the report for this investigation. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Mr Akandoh

Mr Speaker, I have a copy of the chemicals that have been approved by Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) here [He raises a leaflet] -- and there is nothing like Cocoa Doctor Rockstar as of March, 2018. This is a copy. Mr Speaker, the Cocoa Rockstar, as the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture has already indicated, was approved in 30 millilitre volumes originating from India and the Manufacturer is “Adventure”. I also have a sample of the fake Cocoa Rockstar here and the origin of that is from China; the manufacturer of this is different and the volume is one litre. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister has said that investigation is ongoing. I bought this chemical as recent as 17th April, 2018. It is still on the market. What steps are they taking to retrieve these fake chemicals on the market?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I was not here yesterday but I have had a second look at the Question and, indeed, the issue that my Hon Colleague has raised is a very critical matter, but it is not within the remit of the Ministry of Agriculture. Really, it should have been for the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. This is because these ones are under that Ministry and not that of Agriculture. [Interruption.] -- Yes.

Speaker
Mr Haruna Iddrisu

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member -- [Interruption.] -- Yes?

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, we have not got to injury time for the Hon Majority Leader to want to come to the aid of the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, Order 66 (1) states and with your permission, I quote

“Mr Speaker shall be the sole judge of admissibility of a Question.” Mr Speaker, you have appropriately and rightly admitted this Question by the Hon Kwabena Akandoh for the Hon Minister for Agriculture to answer. Let it also be known by the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business that in this House, he has introduced the Hon Minister for Agriculture supervising the cocoa sector by a referral from the President and Cabinet. Therefore this Question is appropriate. It is cocoa insecticide and agriculture and not army worms. He should allow the Hon

Speaker
Mr Speaker, Order 66 (1) states and with your permission, I quote

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member for Juaboso, the owner of the Question?

Speaker
Mr Akandoh

Mr Speaker, the first supplementary question has not been answered by the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture: the steps they are taking to retrieve -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I said that the original Rockstar is in 30 millilitres volume and the origin is India. The manufacturer is “Adventure”. That is the original one. The volume of this one is one litre -- [He raises a bottle of Cocoa Rockstar insecticide] -- and the origin is China; the manufacturer is Sichuan Leshan Fuhua Tongda Agro-Chemical Technology Co. Ltd. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister said that they are aware and have set up a committee to investigate the matter. I had this chemical as recent as 17th April, 2018. While they are investigating, the chemical is still on the market. What steps are they taking to retrieve the chemical from the market, because it is dangerous to our health?

Speaker
Mr K. N. Osei

Mr Speaker, if I listened well to my Hon Colleague, his question is more related to certification and that is done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [Uproar]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, order!

Speaker
Mr K. N. Osei

Mr Speaker, even though I agree with him that the chemical on the market could have detrimental effect on cocoa, I have indicated here that when we first heard the issue, the Hon Minister for Agriculture himself tasked a committee to investigate and bring a report to him. As we speak, the report is not yet ready. [Interruption.] I made mention of it in my presentation.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister, for how long?

Speaker
Mr K. N. Osei

Mr Speaker, I can assure you that it would not take too long.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister, you are telling us here; we do not know that a committee has been tasked. How long?

Speaker
Mr K. N. Osei

Mr Speaker, the report should be ready by the close of the month. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Akandoh

Mr Speaker, every chemical in the cocoa industry must be approved by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), which is under the Ghana Cocoa Board. So, the issue of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation is flawed.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

rose

Speaker
Mr Akandoh

Mr Speaker, so I would clearly want to know when the report would be ready because the chemical is still in the market.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, the question has been answered; it is by the close of the month.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I rose up earlier when my Hon Colleague argued his case. Questions should not be argumentative. He should ask a simple question, and the Hon Deputy Minister would respond to it. Mr Speaker, it is important to recognise that whatever CRIG does is certified by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA). The certification is done by an Agency under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. The approval for use is ultimately done by the Ministry of Agriculture, but the certification is by CRIG, which liaises with the FDA. That is the truth. He argued his case on a wrong premise.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The question has already been answered; it would be ready by the end of the month. I just waited for this to finish to make an order on it.

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, I know the Hon Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, and I know him as a cocoa farmer. I know the Hon Majority Leader as a cocoa farmer. Like all other cocoa farmers in the country, he must be interested in the remit of this Question and what this means in the Government's quest to fight, using insecticides as a tool. Mr Speaker, but he said that a Question should not be argumentative; does it lie in his bosom to answer the question for the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture? Mr Speaker, my question. [Laughter.] This also borders on trademark, which is regulated by rules and laws. Would the report be interested in it in order to correct that the person with the right trademark has ownership? Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, as to the time of reporting, leave that to me for now. Is there any other question?

Speaker
Mr Akandoh

Mr Speaker, would the Hon Deputy Minister be charitable enough to let us know the composition of the committee, so that if we have some other follow-ups, we would be interested in the matter?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Do you mean the Ministry's position?

Speaker
Mr Akandoh

Mr Speaker, the composition of the committee investiga- ting the matter?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The report has not come.

Speaker
Mr Akandoh

Mr Speaker, I am not talking about the report. I am talking about the composition of the committee investigating the matter; it is not the report. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

You want the membership of the committee investiga- ting the matter?

Speaker
Some Hon Members

Yes.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister? [Laughter.]

Speaker
Mr K. N. Osei

Mr Speaker, I do not want to get it wrong, so I would come properly. I would make sure I come with the details of the committee. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Some Hon Members

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, what I would say may give guidance to other questions, which I would allow anyway. Hon Deputy Minister, if you would let the Hon Minister know that since the report would be ready by the end of May, 2018, on the first Tuesday, in June, 2018, he should be ready to appear before this House and apprise us of the situation. So, on the first Tuesday of the month of June, 2018, the House would like to know what the report says. Any other questions?

Speaker
Alhaji (Dr) Abdul-Rashid H. Pelpuo

Mr Speaker, given the dangers posed by the chemical, the fact that it is unlicensed, it is unknown, and it is not the original chemical approved by the Ghana Standards Authority, could the Hon Deputy Minister assure this House that he would call for its immediate withdrawal? Mr Speaker, would you add to the ruling that the chemical be withdrawn immediately from the market because it is killing people; it is destroying our cocoa industry and it is dangerous to use? Mr Speaker, I am appealing directly to you as well as to the Hon Deputy Minister.

Speaker
Mr K. N. Osei

Mr Speaker, the issue about the danger the Hon Member referred to, the Ministry could only issue a disclaimer. The issue about the danger of the chemical is under the remit of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They should call for it. We could only issue a disclaimer because of the cocoa aspect of it. We cannot call for a withdrawal of the chemical from the market. We may have to draw the attention of the Ministry, so that they could do exactly so.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister, cocoa matter is an important Ghana matter. You have found it necessary to institute an investigation. I get Hon Pelpuo's question to essentially mean that as an interim measure, what would you effectively do, particularly, since the Ministry can also give instructions to the appropriate control authority? Would the Ministry just do nothing? You are in the position to ask them to do something in the interim. So, please tell us and we would know what to do.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, respectfully, the Ministry of Agriculture cannot withdraw the chemical. It is not clothed with that authority. It is only the EPA that could do that. What the Ministry could do is to issue a disclaimer. In any event, I believe that it would be very preposterous on the part of any Hon Member to suggest now that that other chemical is dangerous. It could be dangerous and because it is not certified, what the Ministry could do immediately is to issue a disclaimer. That is what they could do now, but the withdrawal would have to be done by the EPA. Mr Speaker, that is how the system operates and so it could not be done by the Ministry of Agriculture. Mr Speaker, however, I agree that if it is harmful, then perhaps, by the time we go through the processes, the danger would have been caused already. That is why it is important for the Ministry to issue a disclaimer immediately and everyone would be clear in their minds that it is not a certified and approved product.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

I direct that the Ministry should issue a disclaimer immediately, and it should be before the close of today, and also draw the attention of EPA on the pendency of its committee and, as an interim measure, take steps towards correcting the situation. Hon Ablakwa?

Speaker
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa

Mr Speaker, I am most grateful and I must indicate that this Sunday, Hon Members of Parliament and cocoa farmers of this country would say special prayers for our Rt Hon Speaker. This is because you have been very erudite and wise in your rulings.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

I was educated on cocoa money.

Speaker
Mr Ablakwa

Mr Speaker, it is very obvious. Mr Speaker, the chemical in question has a bold stamp “CRIG approved” and so I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister if he is aware of their claim that there is a “CRIG approved” stamp on it. That is why the Speaker's directive that a disclaimer should be put out immediately is very important because this would mislead cocoa farmers. Mr Speaker, so is he aware that there is a “CRIG approved” stamp on this illegal chemical?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, this exercise is further flogging a dead goat. Mr Speaker has directed that a disclaimer must be done before the close of the day. That is what is involved. What it means is that whatever affixation has been made is fraudulent. That is why the Ministry would come out with a disclaimer. This should settle the matter. It is an important information that has been given and I have not even sighted it anywhere. It is a fraudulent element and that is why the Ministry should come out with a disclaimer. Mr Speaker, further to that, CRIG would also conduct their own further investigations into the chemical content and see whether it has any adverse effects on cocoa and cocoa products.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The disclaimer and other steps should take care of that for the time being. After all, this matter would appear before this Honourable House again on the first Tuesday of next month. Any other question? Hon Minority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Haruna Iddrisu

We could only hail the Rt Hon Speaker's directive and the scientific additions of the Hon Majority Leader to protect his cocoa farms. Hon Deputy Minister, hail the Rt Hon Speaker's ruling in the interest of cocoa farmers. [Laughter.]

Speaker
Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Afenyo-Markin?

Speaker
Mr Afenyo- Markin

Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether he would be willing to invite Hon Akandoh to assist the Ministry in identifying the shop where he purchased the sample that he brought into the Chamber. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Afenyo- Markin

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

Mr Speaker, this would be very critical in determining the matter in issue, especially the source; where he bought it from and the receipt. It is a very good evidence and I support his call because he is coming from a cocoa growing area. So, he should help with the shop that he bought it from and the receipt he received so that the Ministry would be in a better position to identify which shop or company is selling these chemicals on the Ghanaian market. So, would the Hon Deputy Minister be willing?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member who asked the Urgent Question?

Speaker
Mr Akandoh

Mr Speaker, I would do so willingly, but the Hon Deputy Minister has, in the first place, not even denied --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, if you would do so willingly, then end there. Thank you very much. Hon Deputy Minister, the Hon Member would do so readily. This ends Question time for today. Hon Deputy Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House to answer our Questions. We would expect you on the first Tuesday of next month. Hon Majority Leader, any indication?

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, there is item numbered 6 on the Order Paper and that business is yet to be transacted.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Minority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Haruna Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, it is a straightforward matter and we worked with the First Deputy Speaker. I am sure the Report is ready for him to present before the House. I saw what he had worked on before evening, so I believe the Report from the Appointments Committee is ready. Mr Speaker, so, if the Hon Chairman of the Committee is ready to do that, then we could take that item.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business. Presentation of Papers -- Hon Chairman of the Committee. Hon First Deputy Speaker.

PAPERS

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, in sympathy with our Hon brothers and sisters of the Islamic Religion, we decided to make business very light today; this being the first Friday into Ramadan. Mr Speaker, accordingly, I beg to move, that this House stands adjourned until Tuesday of next week at 10 o'clock in the forenoon. Mr Speaker, before we adjourn, I would want to remind the House that as I announced during the presentation of the Business Statement, the Commission of Inquiry would meet the Hon Members from the four regions: Volta, Brong Ahafo, Western and the Northern on Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018 at 12 noon. Mr Speaker, as I said, we intend to even bring the time forward to 11.00 a.m. If after consulting with the Commission we come to a final determination, Hon Members would be communicated to. Mr Speaker, I thank you and I so move for adjournment.

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, I ordinarily should have just been seconding the motion for adjournment, which I do, but once the Hon Leader refers to the Commission of Inquiry on the creation of the regions, I would encourage as many of our Hon Members from the affected regions to show interest, particularly, when the question of time per the Instrument creating the Commission of Inquiry is becoming a matter that we have to look into. We are now in May. They have asked for time, but as I said, the Instrument -- Therefore, our Hon Members should take it seriously. Mr Speaker, so, I beg to second the motion for adjournment. Question put and Motion agreed to.

ADJOURNMENT