Debates of 30 Jan 2013

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 11:10 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 11:10 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 29th January, 2013.
Page 1…6 --
rose
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member.
Mr Asante-Boateng 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yesterday, I was present and I was expecting my name to be on page (2) or 3 as it normally does, but I realise that I have been marked absent.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
At which page?
Mr Asante-Boateng 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, page
3.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
No! Where is your name marked absent?
Mr Asante-Boateng 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my name now appears on page 6, number 6.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Very well. The Clerks- at-the-Table to take note.
Mr Asante-Boateng 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Page 7…17 -- [Pause.]
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 29th January, 2013 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, Correction of the Official Report -- we would start with that of Tuesday, 8th January, 2013 --
[Pause] --
Maj Derek Y. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, I think we have still not received copies of the Official Report for 8 th January, 2013 and therefore, we cannot correct the mistakes.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
How many Hon Members have received copies of the Official Report of 8th January, 2013? -- [Pause] -- Well, surprisingly -- I thought yesterday Hon Members complained and I directed that we should get copies, so that we can effect the corrections today, if any. It is interesting. I have the 8th January edition but I do not have that of 9th January. So we would still defer them.
But Hon Members, it is proper for us to go ahead and do the correction when the subsequent ones -- it would be better and neater, so that the correction of the 8th January could be reflected in that of the 9th January; so we have to defer the item again.
Hon Majority Leader, what do you say?
Dr Benjamin Kunbuor 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that is the proper way to proceed, just in case the earlier one would have an effect on the subsequent ones.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Majority Leader, except that -- then the Clerk should ensure that all the outstanding ones are available by the close of the day, so that Mr Speaker needs not defer it any longer.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Very well, Hon Members, the correction of the Official Reports accordingly deferred.
Dr Kunbuor 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want with your leave to actually come under Standing Order 53 (2), to alter the Order Paper for today's proceedings in which we would take item number 4 on the Order Paper and the Addendum before we come back to Statements.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think I support the Majority Leader; it is something that we have discussed.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Very well. Hon Members, we move to the Commencement of Public Business, item number 4 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Very well. So move the Motion now.
MOTIONS 11:20 a.m.

Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin Kunbuor) 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the approval of the membership of the committee to advise the Speaker on the Appointment of other members of the Parliamentary Service Board may be moved today.
Mr Nitiwul 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
We now move to the Order Paper Addendum. Hon Majority Leader --
Committee to advise Mr Speaker on the Appointment of members of the
Parliamentary Service Board
Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin Kunbuor) 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that pursuant to clause (2) (b) of article 124 of the Constitution and section 5 of the Parliamentary Service Act (Act 460), the House is invited to approve the following membership of the committee to advise the Speaker on the appointment of other members of the Parliamentary Service Board:
i. Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh
ii. Hon Cletus Apul Avoka
iii. Hon Juliana Azumah-Mensah (Mrs)
iv. Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah
v. Hon Gifty Eugenia Kusi (Mrs)
Mr Speaker, there are quite a number of issues that would be of concern to the House and these issues would invariably have to be addressed by the Parliamentary Service Board and the specific provisions in Act 460 are clear in relation to the issues that would be referred. Given the fact that Parliament has just commenced and would be involved in a number of activities that
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul (NPP -- Bimbilla) 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion ably captured on the Addendum and just to say that, it is following the formula that was adopted by this House concerning the composition of membership that we have three from the Majority and two from the Minority. It follows that particular pattern.
Mr Speaker, I do agree that as the House would move into the second or third week of the House, we need to expedite action on certain things, especially welfare matters of the House and also of the Parliamentary Service. And it is important that we put some of these things before the House moves into proper motion.
Also, we should ensure that some of what happened in the last Parliament does not happen. For example, where matters of car loans have to come and Hon Members had to take a long time to -- If we start some of these things early enough, it would really help Hon Members to be able to get themselves better prepared for us to move forward.
Mr Speaker, I think the membership speaks for itself. The experiences of the Hon Members here really speaks for themselves and I am sure that they would be able to do a very good job to advise you concerning the composition of the
Parliamentary Service Board. I think it is a good beginning; the Hon Members would dispatch their duties with tact and intellect, so that we can get ourselves moving forward.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Question proposed.
Mr Simon Osei-Mensah (NPP -- Bosomtwe) 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on the floor and in so doing, I wish to say some few things.
Mr Speaker, this Motion needs to be dealt with with dispatch because of the paramount significance we need to attach to the composition of the Parliamentary Service Board, to enable them immediately start work and solve some pertinent issues affecting the welfare of Members of Parliament and to ensure that the capacity of Parliament is built to such a level that we can deliver to the satisfaction of the people of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, again, looking at the Hon Members who have been selected, these are people that I am very sure can deliver, such that the interest of this Parliament would be catered for in full.
With these few words, I do support the Motion and I urge this House to approve the Motion.
Mr James K. Avedzi (NDC -- Ketu North) 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion and to urge the House to approve the names that we have here but only to make one observation. That if you look at the number of the Hon Members here, which is five, two of them are women, and if you compute, it is 40 per cent. That is the only observation I have made and I would want to urge Hon Members to go ahead and approve this.
Thank you.
Mr Asamoah Ofosu (NPP -- Kade) 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on the floor on the appointment of these five huge men of this House to assist -- [Interruption]
An Hon Member 11:30 a.m.
Men and women.
Mr Ofosu 11:30 a.m.
Men and women. In the Bible a “man” includes a woman. So when I say -- [Interruption] --
Mr Speaker, I looked at the names of those here, to advise you and I see that Mr Speaker, if you do not get the best of advice from these Hon Members, then you would not get it anywhere.
Mr Speaker, included in the names is our immediate past Hon Leader of the House, Hon Cletus Avoka; he is on the phone now. [Interruption.] We also have Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, who was also one time Hon Deputy Leader of this House -- [Interruption] -- He was the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, a Deputy Minister and Leader of the Government Business. He rose to become the Hon Majority Leader and the Hon Minister for Parliamentary Affairs; he has been a Minister for Youth and Sports in this country; he has been the Attorney- General for this country. He has been the Hon Minister for Education, Science and Sports in this country; he has been the Minister for the Interior of Ghana and he has been the Minister for Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development (PSD) and President's Special Initiative (PSI) -- [Hear! Hear!]
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
I thought you were going to add that he was also a presidential aspirant? [Laughter!]
Mr Ofosu 11:30 a.m.
Yes, unfortunately he lost, -- [Laughter!] And lost honourably.
Mr Speaker, at least, I congratulate him for the bold decision as he prepares his exist out of this House.
rose
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member for Madina, do you have a point of order?
Alhaji Amadu Sorogho 11:30 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I am happy that he mentioned -- Unfortunately, when he lost, he conceded defeat honourably and that is what I thought he should have added, that he did not go to the Supreme Court; he conceded the defeat honourably.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, you are out of order.
Mr Ofosu 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Parliamentary Service Board is a very important instrument when it comes to the administration of Parliament, because it is going to deal with the welfare of employees of Parliament, from the Clerk to the security man in terms of boosting their morale, their conditions of services. And Mr Speaker, and other things not dealing directly with the welfare of Members of Parliament, but then to boost the efficiency of Members; like the provision of fixed offices, which for the past 20 years has been non-existent.
We have been using our vehicles and other places, less convenient as offices. Members have no place to eat; we eat at the foyer and other places and we are quite exposed to our visitors and everybody walking in and out of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, even drinking water -- water to drink -- unless you want to buy. Apart from that you can only get free water from the washroom.
Mr Speaker, I am sure that if you would get the best of advice from these people, it would not only be treated and given the Civil Service attention, but whatever advice they give you --
Mr Ofosu 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Member for the hope and assurances she is giving us, except to say that this is not the first time. The President was one time the Vice President and he has told all Ghanaians that at a point in time he was almost in charge of everything. But I hope and pray that this time round, he would perform and deliver the “Better Ghana”, so that Hon Members will not have free water -- [Interruption.] -- To drink only if they go to the washroom.
Mr Speaker, I am quite aware that the new block that the Hon Member is talking about should have been completed and inaugurated and made available for the use of Hon Members as far back as October last year. We have gone past that and here we are today.
So with the experiences and the background of those I have mentioned -- including those that I have not gone into detail, like Hon Juliana Azumah- Mensah and Hon Yieleh Chireh, one time Minister for Local Government -- Unfortunately, I fail to find him in the Chamber. [Interruption.]Appointments Committee? Very well.
I think they would give you the best of advice. And like I said, whenever you get the advice, it should not be given the Civil Service attention, but it should be used and used properly.
I thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr Richard Mawuli Quashigah (NDC -- Keta) 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion. From the list before us, it is obvious that these are very competent and capable persons as has been enumerated and put out by my Hon Colleague on the other side.
Mr Speaker, what is very refreshing is that my Hon Colleague on the other side recognised the fact that President John Mahama will do all he can, as it were, to advance issues that relate to the work of this House, especially Members of Parliament.
In that direction, I think that we would have to commend him for recognising that President Mahama is legitimately the President of this country. It is true that Hon Members of Parliament can only perform their duties effectively when they have sound mind and they are given all the requisite necessities, as it were, to perform their functions.
I have a lot of confidence in this Hon Ladies and Gentlemen who have been selected, that they would do that, which is expected of them to assist the Speaker to effectively meet the expectations of this House in order for the Ghanaian people to have the best of Members of this House.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Members, I would take one each and then conclude the debate.
Mrs Gifty E. Kusi (NPP -- Tarkwa- Nsuaem) 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion.
But Mr Speaker, as a former Member of Parliament yourself, Order 168 talks about the House Committee. Even before we go into Advisory Committee, Mr Speaker, I would want to advert your mind to the fact that the House Committee that takes responsibility for provision of services to Members of Parliament and staff, including accommodation, catering, medical care, library, research, is redundant in this House.
Dr Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to draw the Hon Member's attention to the fact that it would be an item subsequently for the Committee of Selection and by the procedure in this House, we do not anticipate what is eventually going to come to the House. I do appreciate that she has begun giving her advice already to you. But after the Motion has been adopted, we can take on board those other matters.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
I gave her the floor because she can decide that she does not want to do the work -- to be a member. That is the reason I gave her the chance to speak. This is because she can decide that, “yes, my name has been put here, but I do not want to be a member of the Advisory Committee.” And that is the reason I gave her the floor.
But I think that the point made by the Majority Leader is a very legitimate one. When we get to the substantive issue, then the advice would come.
Mrs Kusi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, from experience, I have been in this House for three terms -- I know what has happened to the House Committee. Mr Speaker, this is my fourth term and the Parliamentary Service Board has subsumed the House Committee, which is not functional. So the assurances from the Majority Leader are well taken and I know that maybe, this time, things are going to be better.
Mr Speaker, we all need to help one another in this House.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity and I would do the work if I am given the nod.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
The last contribution, Hon Member for Pusiga.
Mr Laadi A. Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion to approve of the Hon Members who have been mentioned.
I wish to also applaud the Leadership for making these nominations because they have actually not only made nominations but considered the 40 per cent women that have always been spoken of.
I also hope that the Hon Members will take up issues accordingly as we have heard my Hon Colleague from the other side mentioning that the House Committee had always been in existence but might has not been performing properly because of one or two reasons.
I hope that all of us in this House, for the benefit of not only Members of Parliament but also all other stakeholders will hold this up and make sure that this Committee works accordingly.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the debate and I would now put the Question.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, we go back to the original Order Paper. I have admitted two Statements for today and I would invite the Second Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:43 a.m.
Hon Members, I think customarily, since this is my first time in this Chair, I think I should say “Order”. Should I not?
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:43 a.m.


Statement on disasters in the country by Hon Bright E. Kodzo Demordzi, Member of Parliament for Bortianor- Ngleshie Amanfro.
STATEMENTS 11:43 a.m.

Mr Bright E. K. Demordzi (NDC -- Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro) 11:43 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make a Statement on fire disasters in the country.
Mr Speaker, barely three (3) weeks into the New Year, 2013, the nation has already recorded a total of 281 fire disasters nationwide, according to records of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS). This means that on the average, about 18 fire disasters were recorded each day. Some of the notable places where these fire disasters were recorded include the MTN warehouse on the Spintex road in Accra, Suame Magazine Market in Kumasi, BBC Industries in Tema, ECOMOG in Accra and MELCOM at Agona Swedru.
Mr Speaker, the GNFS categorised the fire outbreaks into domestic, vehicular, electrical, commercial and industrial. According to the GNFS, domestic fires recorded the highest outbreak during the period.
The most common causes of fire outbreaks in Ghana are:
Electrical, which results from overloading of electrical appliances, sub-standared electrical wires, fixtures and fittings, poor wiring, among others.
Pantry, primarily from leaked domestic cooking and exposure of naked fires to combustible materials.
Smoking, that is, the inappropriate disposal of smoked cigarettes.
Mr Speaker, the common attribute of the above causal factors is our refusal or inability to observe basic fire safety measures. Most buildings in the country, including high-rise buildings are without permits from the GNFS. New settlements are also sprawling in our big cities and towns without appropriate fire hydrants and assembly points. There are no access routes to our markets for fire tenders and it is also common practice to see traders in those markets erecting stalls and kiosks on fire hydrants.
Mr Speaker, the consequence of these attitudes is that the GNFS finds it extremely difficult to access some locations in the event of fire outbreaks while in some cases, the fire tenders had to travel long distances to access a fire hydrant. This is further compounded by the logistical challenges of the GNFS.
Mr Speaker, I must admit that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government within the past four (4) years did a lot to improve on the stock of logistics, particularly fire tenders and fire safety equipment for personnel of the GNFS. But there is still a lot to be done. The Government should therefore, double its effort in equipping the GNFS.
Mr Speaker, I also call on the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to be more vigilant in its certification of electrical and electronic appliances for the Ghanaian market. The Authority should complement this with periodic surveys of products in the market to determine the quality and suitability for the local market.
The GNFS, in collaboration with the respective Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) should ensure that fire hydrants are provided at vantage points. They should also provide access for fire tenders and other equipment at market centres, and this should include the decongestion of the big market centres.
Mr Speaker, finally, the GNFS in collaboration with the MMDAs should intensify the public education drive on fire safety and prevention including the implementation of the rules and regulations relating to fire safety and fire prevention.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh (NPP -- Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 11:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I listened to the Hon Member recount the effects of fire outbreak and it gives me memory of a sad event that occurred just last week in my constituency. On this occasion, I would wish to express my greatest condolence to the late Maame Afia Konadu of Adoagyiri who lost her life sadly through the fire outbreak.
Mr Speaker, I think this is a problem that has assumed a national dimension and which needs immediate attention. First of all, I have a few suggestions to put across.
Mr Speaker, I would have suggested that immediately, the matter be referred to the appropriate committee to delve deeper into it but for the fact that committees have not yet been finalised.
Again, I would want to quickly suggest that as a matter of importance, all public places in this country -- market places, schools -- should be provided with fire extinguishers immediately.
I wonder if as august as Parliament is, it has a fire control unit. It is a question I am asking, if we have. Again, the National Archives, whether it has a fire control department.
Having said this, what I would want to emphasise is that Government should do everything possible to resource the GNFS, and the State Insurance Corporation, now State Insurance Company to step up to educate the citizenry on the effects of fire outbreaks. I believe the Government has the money; they can do it, they should push a lot into these areas.
Mr Speaker, we live in this country where all of a sudden we have witnessed the payment of questionable judgement debts. [Hear! Hear!] So I think that the Government can do it and as a matter of importance, they need to do it immediately.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Dr Kwabena Donkor (NDC --Pru East) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the Statement about the recent spate of fire outbreaks and to draw the attention of the House to the fact that an associated calamity has crept into our body politic and into our nation without much notice and this associated calamity is unauthorised speed ramps.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, resume your seat. It is “Mr Speaker” and not “Mr Chairman”.
Dr Donkor 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it was a lapse of memory. I started by saying “Mr Speaker.”
So Mr Speaker, it is important that this House takes on board and directs, if possible, the appropriate Ministry to take a remedial action on the hundreds of illegal speed ramps, particularly in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei (NPP --Nsuta/ Kwamang/Beposo) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I stand in support of the Statement on the floor.
Mr Speaker, fire outbreaks should not be restricted to the cities alone. I am appealing to the authorities to look at the rural areas, especially the farming communities. As I speak right now, in my constituency, Nsuta/Kwamang/Beposo, there is a village called Asaase-Bonso; just last night, there was a fire outbreak and the entire village destroyed. Food crops have also been destroyed.
At this point, Mr Speaker, I am recommending agricultural insurance for farmers in this country. If there is National Health Insurance, if there is vehicle
insurance, then I think it is about time we had agricultural insurance in this country.
Dr Hanna L. Bisiw (NDC -- Tano South) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement on the floor.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, I believe you are still a care- taker --
Dr Bisiw 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Deputy Ministers are not caretakers.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Dr Bisiw 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we had lots of difficulties with our water hydrants. This is because these hydrants had been blocked with our stores, so when there were fire outbreaks, it was very difficult for the Ghana National Fire Service to get access to these hydrants.
Also, the access routes to the places where there are fire outbreaks have always been a challenge. So I will suggest here that the city planning should be taken care of and I feel that when you come to the Ministry of Water Resources,Works and Housing -- the Ministry has a role to play and then when it comes to the city planning, it is under a different Ministry.
I feel that in these Ministries, from Local Government and Rural Development, Water Resources, Works and Housing, there should be some sort of inter-sectoral meetings that would enhance collaboration, so that the planning of our cities and the protection or preservation of our water hydrants, would enable our Ghana National Fire Service to intervene timely when we have some of these unfortunate fire outbreaks.
When you come to our rural areas, in my district, for instance, last year, we had a fire outbreak that destroyed hundreds of acres of our farmlands and it went on to even affect some homes and lives.
So I would also add my voice to that of my Hon Colleague who just spoke and suggest that, when we take measures in the prevention of fire outbreaks or when we talk about the Ghana National Fire Service, we should extend them to the various districts and make fire tenders also available.
Also, we have a law on bushfires and those in the districts, when we go hunting for our grasscutters and the bush rats, when our dogs fail us, then resort to fire. I am sure the implementers of the law, if Parliament can come in here, and make sure that these laws are implemented and the people who break these laws are punished accordingly, I am sure that they will serve as a deterrent.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Ato Arthur and I will go to the back. Everybody would get the chance to speak.
Dr Stephen Nana Ato Arthur (NPP -- Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abrem) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I associate myself with the Statement. I think that what is very, very important, is for all of us to look at one of the major causes of fire disasters in Ghana.
One has to do with the constant blackouts we are facing in Ghana today. We were promised last year that the dumso dumso would be a thing of the past, but now, it appears that we do not know when we are going to have this dumso being a thing of the past.
Mr Speaker, a lot of lives are being lost, properties are being lost, even in Accra let alone in Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/ Abrem, it is so serious. I will suggest that people who lose their property be compensated adequately. Mr Speaker, it is becoming alarming.
Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, I think that -- [Interruptions]
Several Hon Members -- rose --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, there is another Statement on fire outbreaks and I think that perhaps, I would let the Hon Member make his Statement and everybody will comment before -- [Interruption].
Hajia Mary Salifu Boforo (NDC -- Savelugu): Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who just spoke mentioned something like “dumso, dumso.” I think most of us do not understand that word.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, he has resumed his seat. I am sorry that he did not catch my eye when he was on his feet. I am very sorry; next time my eyes would be sharp -- [Laughter.]
Can you turn off your microphone?
Hon Members, let me invite the Hon Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus- Glover, Member of Parliament for Tema East Constituency to also make a Statement about the recent fire outbreaks in Tema. After he has finished making his Statement, we shall take contributions from Hon Members.
Recent fire outbreak at the BBC Paints Factory in Tema
Mr Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover (NPP -- Tema East) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to speak on the recent fire outbreak at the BBC Paints Factory in Tema.
I would like the House to join me in sympathising with the management and staff of BBC Paints in this trying times.
Mr Speaker, on Saturday, 12th January, 2013, between the hours of 7.00 p.m. and 7.30 p.m., fire engulfed the BBC Paints Factory.
Mr Speaker, I witnessed the heat and destruction caused by the inferno to the factory. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the Ghana Police Service respectively. Mr Speaker, the fire fighters had to struggle for three days to extinguish the fire.
Mr Speaker, on behalf of the people of Tema East Constituency, I commend the (GNFS), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Tema Oil Refinery fire fighters and private water tankers for their support.
Mr Speaker, my Statement will touch on the following salient points 11:50 a.m.
1.Road accessibility within BBC factory.
2. Lack of water hydrant in the factory.
3. Provision of fire r ighting helicopter.
4. Insusrance cover for State Security Agents.
Accessibility within the Factory
Mr Speaker, accessibility within the factory to enable the fire fighters fight the fire aggressively was very difficult. The exit leading to the fire was completely blocked with drums, pallets and vehicles. The easiest access to combat the fire was through an adjoining organisation like Electricity Company of Ghana Warehouse.
Lack of water hydrant in the Factory
Mr Speaker, water hydrant is a legal requirement under the Factories, Offices and Shops Act 328 of (1970) to combat fire in the factories. Unfortunately, there was no water hydrant during the fire outbreak. The non-availability really impeded fire fighter's efforts to fight the fire head-on.
Provision of fire fighting helicopter
Mr Speaker, fighting fire needs strong modern equipment. One thing I detected that can facilitate easy combat of fire outbreak, is the need for government to assist GNFS to procure fire fighting helicopters in addition to what they have and that would make their work easier.
Mr Speaker, there was a hold up for about 40 minutes in the attempt of the National Fire Service to extinguish this fire. For 40 minutes, fire fighters at the scene of the BBC Paints factory could not effectively operate a mechanized ladder that had been brought to the scene. Some one had to be brought from home before they were able to operate this gadget. I think that Mr Speaker, it was highly unacceptable and very unprofessional.
Mr Speaker, the inferno at the BBC Paints Factory was very risky. The fire fighters fought the fire at the peril of their lives without any state insurance. The bravery exhibited by these fire fighters to combat the fire, in my view, was highly commendable. Mr Speaker, these fire men
out of their meagre resources, are able to insure themselves. I would want to implore the Government to look at the policy, if possible, to insure these hard working State security agents, for example our soldiers, policemen, BNI operatives, our national security operatives including these fire fighters. Mr Speaker, our senior national team, the Black Stars, sometimes, when they are going to play in the World Cup, are insured, how come our own State hard working security agents are denied this facility.
In conclusion Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for this opportunity you have given me to make this Statement. Tema is a well planned city, but unfortunately, the fighters had it tough to fight the fire because of poor road accessibility within the BBC Factory. Mr Speaker, the situation is even worse when you go to other parts of this country where the accessibility is a problem. Road designs and congestion, it behoves all of us to make sure that we are well educated on fire prevention techniques, good access in our homes, in our offices and in our shops. Mr Speaker, it is a duty again to empower the factory inspectorate division of the labour department to make sure that Act 328 of 1970 is implemented to the letter, so that offending factorates who do not have any fire fighting equipment in these premises are punished.
Thank you very much.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Thank you, Hon Member for Tema East for this fiery Statement on fire.
Mr Vincent Oppong-Asamoah (NDC -- Dormaa West) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to identify myself with the Statement on the floor of the House. You need not to be a mythologist --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, which of the Statements? Both?
Mr Oppong-Asamoah 12:10 p.m.
The first State- ment on the floor of the House.
I am saying that you need not be a mythologist to know that we are in a
difficult season, especially those who are coming from the North, looking at the weather.
I am particularly concerned about the way we treat our environment-- the destruction of our forest reserves; I am talking about bushfires. I know that in this country, it is illegal to use chainsaw, but what we see is that, our forest reserves are being destroyed day in day out. We see illegal timber operators all over the place. What I am saying is that, if we would be able to control these bushfires-
- 12:10 p.m.

Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member --
Mr Oppong-Asamoah 12:10 p.m.
Then what we have to do is to protect the environment, so that we do not destroy the little forest reserve that we have, endanger our environment --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, when the Speaker starts speaking, you resume your seat. I am asking the Hon Member on the other side of the House whether he has a point of order.
Mr Benito Owusu-Bio 12:10 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, I heard the Hon Member who just spoke made a comment that chainsaw usage is illegal in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, I think chainsaw usage by itself is not illegal but legal. So he is misleading the House by saying that. Also, we are talking about bushfires Mr Speaker, we are not talking about forest degradation and the use of chainsaws. So Mr Speaker, I think he is veering off the topic as well and he should go straight to the point.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, I think your first point of order, I accept, but the second one, the question of relevance is left to the Speaker. But the first point of order, Hon Member, he says that chainsaw per se is not illegal in Ghana. Unless you can show us that it is illegal, you would agree with him and proceed.
Mr Oppong-Asamoah 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was only talking about unlicensed
Mr Oppong-Asamoah 12:10 p.m.


chainsaw operators. Exactly that is what I meant. I know that at our local system, most of the Assemblies are licensing some of them and they can operate, especially, those who are operating legally the sawn- mills and the rest. I know they are doing legal business, but I am talking about those who are operating illegally in our various communities.

I also mentioned illegal timber operation; it has negative impact on the environment. Once we are not having rainfall, definitely, we are going to have the weather that we are having now and we are going to have fire outbreaks all over the place. I am particularly mentioning illegal operations because it is impacting negatively on the environment and that is why we are having these bushfires.

Just recently, Atebubu-Amanten experienced major fire outbreaks. This is because about 50 houses were destroyed as a result of those fire outbreaks. So as legislators, we have to also identify ourselves with this situation and protect the environment. I know our water bodies for example, streams, are drying up and that also is going to add more to the situation that we are having now.

So Mr Speaker, I support fully that Hon Members of the House also add their voices, especially those who are also advocating for the protection of our environment and in so doing, we should be able to handle some of these environmental issues, especially, the issue of bushfires.

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you.
I would call the Hon Member for Dome/ Kwabenya. All Hon Members would have their turn.
Ms Sarah A. Safo (NPP -- Dome/ Kwabenya) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to start by congratulating my Hon Brother Hon Titus-Glover for a very provoking Statement to this House and to also add my voice and associate myself with it.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, I wish to remind you that there are two Statements, would you also not thank your Hon Brother --
Ms Safo 12:10 p.m.
That of my Brother, Titus- Glover --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
So you are not commenting on the one from the Hon Member from Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro?
Ms Safo 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, on both but Hon Titus-Glover chose to comment on one, so I thought --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you for commenting on both.
Ms Safo 12:10 p.m.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I would want to add my voice by particularly diverting our attention to the promptness to which our Ghana National Fire Service respond to fire outbreaks in our country. Most at times, when there is a outbreak, we would all bear witness to the fact that it takes forever for the Service to get there. We do not have directions, we do not have street names, we do not have a way by which they can get to us.
I would also want to suggest that the Town and Country Planning Department, in planning, should take into consideration that in this age and time, the best way to direct a person to your house would be for you to give a residential address. Most at times, they get there when properties have been lost, lives have been lost and there is very little they can do about the situation.
Mr Speaker, both Hon Members' Statements identified one of the problems why these fire outbreaks are not being handled well by the Ghana National Fire Service, is due to our roads and the fact that most of our roads are not accessible. I have a similar situation in my constituency.
Mr Speaker, I think it is about time we added our voices to the rush in certain road constructions during election years. We have situations where roads have been attempted to be under construction and right after elections, they are left to lie like that. Go to Dome/Kwabenya, on the
streets of Dome, Taifa, Abokobi, Agbogba and you would find these things. I know that every Hon Member here would agree with me that our roads need more to be done if we want to solve the issue of fire outbreaks.
Also, we need to add to our curriculum for our children from the basic education level, on skills and techniques of fire rescuing. I know in certain advanced countries, they do train children as young as five and six years. These children can give you an outline of what they have to do in an event of fire outbreak. Let us ask ourselves, do our children, the children who are walking on the streets of Dome/Kwabenya know what they have to do in case of an outbreak of fire?
I also once again congratulate my Brother for a very thought-provoking Statement.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you, Hon Member. I guess you intend to congratulate your Hon Brothers?
Ms Safo 12:10 p.m.
Yes, my Hon Brothers on both sides of the House.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you.
Yes, Hon Member.
Mr Murtala M. Ibrahim (NDC -- Nanton) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker I rise to associate myself with the Statements made on the floor by my two Hon Colleagues. I would not do selective commentary but I would want to look at --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, with respect, I think that --
Mr M. M. Ibrahim 12:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
You have not heard me and you are thanking me. So, you sit down and hear me, then you stand up.
I think the spirit of the debate is not to provoke unnecessary debate. So let us stick to that spirit. All right? I was saying
these things in just not giving you a lead to engage in little asides.
Mr M. M. Ibrahim 12:20 p.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
I think that the issue of fire outbreaks in this country is of huge concern to all us, those who live in the cities and those who live in the rural areas. I think that it is a major concern. But it seems, in my view,that any time we have a major fire outbreak, the concern has always been, how do we get these things extinguished? In my opinion, I think as a nation, we should be looking at how we can even prevent them from occurring.
Mr Speaker, the reasons we experience this in this country are known to all of us. It is a fact that some of the electrical appliances that we use in this country, are of inferior quality and certainly, we are told day by day that if you use an inferior electrical appliance or even fewer wires to wire your house, you are bound to experience what we are experiencing.
Again, we have the Ghana National Fire Service which is well equipped by this Government but you cannot extinguish fire if you do not have water to do that. This nation, I believe, in almost every corner, we have fire hydrants. The simple questions we ask ourselves are, even those working at the Ghana National Fire Service, are they aware of where the fire hydrants are positioned? In other jurisdictions, if you park your vehicle where there is a fire hydrant, you pay a fine.
In our part of the world, you come and either people build on the fire hydrants or they provide structures where you cannot even identify whether there is a fire hydrant or not. I think that we need to look at that. I think that several comments have been made with regard to planning and Mr Speaker, as a development planner, I was so much concerned.
In planning, we say that in most developing countries, we implement before we plan. The simple question is that, are the planners we have in our institutions, the local government services, either the District or Municipal Assemblies, doing the right work or the
Mr M. M. Ibrahim 12:20 p.m.


political will is not available to implement what they are actually doing? I think that, that is what is missing in this country.

There is no area that is created in this country without identifiable places for either schools, toilets or places of convenience. Even a place where you can build schools, but the question is, when they come to lay out the plan of an area, all these things are provided. But within two or three months, either traditional authorities or those in town and country planning would find their way to sell the lands that are meant for certain other facilities.

Do we not have rules or regulations or laws that we must enforce to ensure that whatever the planners do, we follow it to the letter. I think that is hugely missing in this country. So, it is not a fact that our planners are not doing the right thing but the political will to respect what the planners provide for us and I think that we need to look at that.

Another major challenge has to do with our ability to enforce the laws. I believe that in this country, there are laws regulating every aspect of our lives. The question is, why is it that we have not been able to implement those laws? I think that we need to take a second look at enforcing the laws that we have, then certainly, we would regulate the way we put up our structures. I believe that if we do so, we may reduce this challenge that we experience, that is virtually becoming a perennial, that, day in day out, we have these fire outbreaks occurring. When they do occur, a lot of properties are lost, some even lose their lives as a result.

I think I would want to associate myself with the Statement that was made by my Brother Hon Titus-Glover, when he said

that those who work at the fire services, most of them are not even insured, they do the insurance on their own. I think property owners, people who have stores, there is the need for some education to be done, that, if you have money and you have a store, you have a responsibility of insuring the store, such that when they do occur, as we experience day in day out, at least, you would have a cover. I think that some education also needs to be done.

Mr Speaker, I would want to conclude on the basis of even bushfires. My Brother made a point and said that, particularly those from the North; I think that is true because of probably, the nature of the environment, particularly when we are in the harmattan season. It is extremely difficult when we have fire outbreaks during the harmattan season to extinguish the fire because of the winds.

I think that we need to look at ways by which we can ensure that we would experience it anyway, but as and when we experience them, measures are put in place, so that we would not be affected as we have been affected day in day out.

Many of our farmers in this country engage in subsistence farming. Someone struggles to get about two acres of land, possibly plants his maize or rice and then there is fire outbreak. Since we do not have fire hydrants, the Ghana National Fire Service people would come with even their vehicles, sometimes we hear that there is no water or when they come and the water is finished, it would take them about three or four kilometres to get water.

I think measures must be put in place to ensure that at least, we provide fire hydrants in every corner and every part of the country.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, thank you.
Several Hon Members --rose --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, each and every one of you will have an opportunity to have a say on both sides.
Mr Phillip Basoah (NPP -- Kumawu) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think the issue on the floor is something which is so appropriate at this point in time, especially those who are in the rural communities. Someone may spend all that he has to make maybe, a tomato farm, cocoa and the like and within a given time, a short time, somebody's reckless behaviour can through that, cause fire outbreaks in those areas and the money that the person has spent would go to waste.
So, it is important that as a nation, we give serious attention to fire outbreaks because the effect that it has on the nation is so enormous. I think when it gets to this time, the most important thing that we need to do is to concern ourselves with the preventive measures.
Those who are in the rural areas, especially the Assembly Members, Nananom and the District Assemblies, it is important that they all get involved in helping to prevent fire outbreaks. This is because, if it does not happen like that and we allow it to go on as it has been going on in other parts of our areas, there are a lot of effects that it would have on whatever thing that they have done.
So, I would appeal to Nananom, Assembly Members, District Assemblies, Hon Members of Parliament to get involved in campaigning against fire outbreaks in their various areas, so that the people would have their peace when constructing or making their own farms.
This is what I want to put to the House.
Thank you.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Members.
An Hon Member -- rose --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I would want you to speak last. The next is Hon Sorogho. But Hon Member, even if you do not stand up, I will recognise you.
Hon Edwin Nii LanteyVanderpuye, Member of Parliament for Odododiodioo.
Mr Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye (NDC -- Odododiodioo) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the Statement made on fire outbreaks in the country.
Coming from the central part of the capital, my constituency witnesses fire outbreaks almost every week. Most of these fire outbreaks are as a result of poor electr ical connections or illegal connections by people who do not contract the appropriate electr ical contractors to extend electricity to their homes, shops and markets.
If you go to our markets especially, you have a system where there is total disorder in the market. You have people running chopbars right beside those who are doing electrical ironing, selling cassettes, used clothing and other things. There is total lack of planning in these markets. People are staying in their rooms or chopbars with gas cylinders, using the gas cylinders for cooking, using the same place for ironing and doing all sorts of things in these markets.
I think it is appropriate at this moment in time, when we are addressing these issues to call on our Metropolitan, Municipal, District, Councils and Assemblies to take a look —
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I am not aware of District Councils.
Mr Vanderpuye 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you are right. It is District Assemblies.
Also, let me bring into question our Unit Committees in these various wards and localities. This is because their basic responsibility is to protect the interest of the people by making sure that the laws and bye-laws of these Assemblies are adhered to but these are not done.
The other issue is, yes, we may talk about resourcing the Ghana National Fire Service. Government has given a lot of equipment but their human personnel is still very inadequate. I am happy we have seen in the newspapers the Ghana National Fire Service trying to recruit people but they have only one training centre. Unlike the Ghana Police Service that has about eight across the country, the number of recruits that come through their one training centre is always on the higher side.
But with the Ghana National Fire Service, you go to their training school and the facility there can only take 300 personnel at a time. I had a visit to the training school last week and even the facilities are not what we can call good enough for people who are going through training in order to protect us.
Mention has also been made of street naming and addresses. Mr Speaker, if you go to a town or a city like Lagos, in spite of the sheer number of people, you would see -- accessing houses, finding out where one is going, is almost easy.
If you travel to other jurisdictions where they have something they call “A” to “Z” which makes it so easy for people to access localities and houses --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
For the record, what jurisdiction?
Mr Vanderpuye 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, to be precise, the United Kingdom. We have even at this time, in an IT age, when it becomes easier for people to take their phones and google towns and cities, I still wonder why in our part of the world, we are still having problems with street naming and house numbering. All over the country, it is almost like we are living in another world.
On this note, Mr Speaker, I would beg that we take a serious view of this, encourage the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to do their best to make sure that they whip up their systems for the house numbering and, street naming, so that we can have a good database in order for the Ghana National Fire Service and these other agencies to access these facilities in times of fire.
Let me also take the opportunity, Mr Speaker, to say that some days past, there was a serious motivation and incentive for the setting up of Anti Bushfire Squads in our rural areas. These have gone down a little, and I think the best we can do if we cannot resource the Ghana National Fire Service enough in terms of personnel, let us encourage setting up of more Anti Bushfire Squads in our rural areas to reduce this perennial incidence of fire outbreaks.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, the Speaker does not recognise people who are not sitting in the Chamber, so I cannot see the Public Gallery.
Mr Kennedy N. Osei (NPP -- Akim Swedru) 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, first of all, I would want to thank my two Hon Colleagues (Mr
Titus -Glover and Mr Bright D. K. Demordzi). I think the Statements read by the two Hon Members are of much importance and we need to take a good look at the issues raised.
My worry is in relation to how we as a country can prevent these fire outbreaks. What I am saying is, our focus is mostly based on preventive and many of these fire outbreaks in the country are as a result of electrical problems.
If one travels elsewhere, there are policies and measures that ensure that there is a period where property owners are instructed or directed to change electrical plugs and do a new re-wiring. I know most of these fire outbreaks in the country are as a result of old plugs and old wiring systems in most of the properties.
I am of the view that, if we want to curtail this menace, which has engulfed the country for some time now, then the appropriate bodies should take a key consideration or look into these matters to ensure that these measures are put in place; and even if the measures are already there, the enforcing agencies must ensure that these problems are dealt with.
In resuming my seat, I would want to associate myself with the Statements and applaud them for their courage to come with these Statements for the august House to debate.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, I think this is your maiden speech as well, so I also applaud you for your maiden speech. This is the first time you are speaking?
Mr K. N. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
It is known as your maiden speech, so I also applaud you for your maiden speech.
Mr Nyarko Osei 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Kobena M. Woyome (NDC -- South Tongu) 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the makers of these wonderful Statements and would want to also congratulate the various contributors. They have made various submissions, what really contributes to some of these problems that confront us as a people.
One particular thing that I have witnessed over the period has been what I call institutional challenge. If you look at the work of the Ghana Standards Authority, I believe they are really not working effectively in view of the fact that certain gadgets that get into the country and how the standard of these gadgets are measured and allowed to be on our markets-- In fact, if you look at certain cables that are sold in the markets currently, you would realise that the resistance that these cables provide to the free flow of current through them has been a problem and so with time they generate the heat and melt and then of course, the result is fire.
These, I believe, we need to look at seriously. The entry ports -- the Tema Port -- I do not know whether it is probably the lack of capacity at the Ports, or maybe, the necessary gadgets to be able to measure effectively these items when they come in and how many days it takes to really get to know these gadgets that are coming, whether they are of good standard before allowing them to be cleared from the port.
That I think, is something we need to really look at and then probably, urge them to do more because the fake gadgets on our markets are clearly, I must say, on
Mr Kobena M. Woyome (NDC -- South Tongu) 12:30 p.m.


the ascendancy and how they get into the country is something we all must really look at. If you go to Okaishie where these cables, for instance, are sold, trust me, those who are very good sellers would ask you what grade you want, and if you are very lucky, they would tell you this is made here and of this quality, et cetera. I do not think it is good for us as a people.

If you do not have the money and you go in for the shoddy ones, trust me, you are rather buying your death warrant. This is because you do not know when that would generate the heat and cause fire in your own home or wherever you intend using them.

Then the perennial flooding that we have been having, as alluded to by my Hon Colleague, it is more attitudinal than probably one I would consider act of God. This is because, there are those that we may not be able to handle or do anything about as a people but there are those that we can prevent. The way we manage our waste and our homes, is one that we need to really look at and then have a kind of education on. We are not managing our waste well, we throw our garbage --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, can you sit down please. Fire and water -- I thought we were talking about fire and now, you are talking about flooding. Fire and water, can I know how they are related?
Mr Woyome 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought we were to make various contributions to the two Statements and I remembered the first Statement that was made mentioned bushfires and also talked about some flooding in and all that? So, I just wanted to look at them.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
I am holding the Statement in my hand and with the greatest of respect, there is nothing about flooding here. And fire and water, really, I do not see the --
Mr Woyome 12:40 p.m.
Thank you very much.
So by that, I would want to veer and look at the issue of bushfires. In fact, in my own constituency, we have had series of these and we have had a lot of problems where peasant farmers with hard earned money would sometimes lose everything when maybe, suddenly, fire engulfs their produce and crops, et cetera. And sometimes, I think it is also due to lack of education.
I would want to agree with my Hon Colleague who suggested that in times past, we used to have some squads that were volunteering, they were helping and assisting in educating others to assist in controlling and preventing fires in our various communities.
Also in the event that these things happen, the losses, how are they managed? That is why I would also agree with my other contributor who made mention of agriculture insurance. I think it is about time we started looking at this and the category of farmers that should benefit from this. In fact, I understand, currently, that the cocoa farmers are likely to be enjoying this.
I think we should be looking at other cash crop farmers, cotton, especially our jute farmers in these areas in the North. They must also probably be looked at in terms of how losses are managed in their chosen profession.
In fact, the issue about availability of water hydrants at the various localities, I think has to do with more of the planning that goes on -- I think it is not being synchronised properly. The roads sector does its planning and the building and housing sector does its own planning.
There is no synchronisation and you realise at the end of the day, where we used to have water hydrants, currently, because of probably not understanding what the housing sector does in that area and the possibility of having key industries, or residential apartments or residential houses there, we just proceed to construct the road without taking into consideration laying pipes to wait for some of these apartments or whatever construction to take place.
We are not synchronising our way of planning and therefore, it has this adverse effect when such disasters strike. I think we need to look at that as a people. Maybe, these institutional challenges must be probably looked at and critically, so that we overcome all these challenges and then have these minimised to the barest minimum by the grace of God.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Henry K. Kokofu (NPP -- Bantama) 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I feel privileged to associate myself with the two Statements made so far and I believe it is not by coincidence that they happen to be on the floor because of their importance.
Mr Speaker, it is easy to bemoan the damage caused by fire outbreaks but when it comes to the preventive measures that we need to put in place to check some of these things, we normally go to sleep.
Now, we are talking about causes of fire outbreaks and we have the urban and the peri-urban setups. Again, we have the rural setups where most of our natural resources are located. An Hon Member
made mention of this “mobisquad” and it goes to prove that in natural resources management strategy, they normally call in the collaboration of the local communities to help with some of these fire prevention and control mechanisms. But when it comes to the urban and peri- urban centres, it is difficult to have volunteers and therefore, one relies on the fire fighters as a means of controlling fire.
So it is imperative on all of us as a people to really understand the preventive measures that need to be put in place, so that we can prevent some of these fire outages. It becomes more dangerous and serious when it happens in factories where there are laws, rules and regulations to check some of these things.
Fire today stands accused simply because it has proved to be the bad servant; otherwise, it is a useful tool that we all use in our households, everywhere. But when we lose control of it and allow it to do its own thing, that is where the havoc comes in. So I think that as a nation, we need to make sure the preventive measures as enshrined in our laws -- the by-laws and rules and regulations -- are adhered to strictly.
If we go to our rural setups, people are fined if they go out there, burn their farms and it gets out of hand and stress other people, they are made to face the full rigours of the law -- at the local levels. Now, if there is fire outbreak, we have the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana National Fire Service to investigate it. We do not know what comes out of the investigation processes -- whether recommendations are made, whether people are found culpable -- I mean, because out of people's negligence, the fire outbreak may happen.
So I would like to say that investigation reports are made public, so that people would know exactly what happened, who are responsible and whether they are made to face the law.
Ms Laadi A. Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the contributions by the two Hon Members who earlier spoke on fire outbreaks.
Mr Speaker, the issue of fire outbreaks cuts across various sectors and the whole country. Worse of it is when you come to the northern sector, where during the harmattan, the North-East Trade Winds take advantage of the lack of rains, and blow so vigorously that the least drop of any fire from either cigarette or the carelessness of our young men --
Unfortunately, they are ignorant because they do not know what harm they would be causing as most of the northern sector and our people are associated with cattle rearing. You would realise that immediately there is any drop, the whole place catches fire. It goes very wild with the help of the North-East Trade Winds and it causes a lot of havoc. Farms are burnt, bushes are all burnt and our animals are left to their own fate. The cattle have to travel long distances in order to graze, which is very bad for those of us who actually rear cattle.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member keeps mentioning mobisquads. I do not know the animal called mobisquads.” What is mobisquad”?
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
She is living in revolutionary times.
Ms Ayamba 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, mobisquads, I am referring to people who have been trained or asked to work as volunteers in order to put off fires that spark off without any -- We have squads that have been formed in the various communities. [Interruption.]
rose
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
Mr Osei B. Amoah 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
I would want to state that the Hon Member on the floor just made some sweeping statements without facts and figures. Can she please, give us proper information about what the Government has done in respect of -- [Interruption.] Why not? “”More than enough” -- we still have a lot fires going on and it is a serious problem and I think that at least,

we should be satisfied with -- [Interruption] -- figures and facts that can convince us that “more than enough” has been done for the nation; not that something has been done for -- In my constituency, a lot of things are happening and we have only one tender.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, thank you very much.
Hon Member, continue.
Ms Ayamba 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would wish to state that notwithstanding the fact that we might be politicising issues here and asking that figures should be given, it is unfortunate -- it is something that has happened and whether we like it or not, we have heard and seen --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, I thought you would take a cue from the Speaker and proceed on your contribution without engaging in debate? So I would want to hear your contribution.
Ms Ayamba 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this is actually a very big problem that needs to be handled with a lot of care. Rules, regulations and laws must all be put in place. In the cities, we talk about fire outbreaks in places where we do not even expect fire, for instance, the BBC Paints factory that got engulfed, somewhere last week -- I cannot remember the date actually.
I watched it on television and I saw how people just looked on and the blaze went up and the Ghana National Fire Service men struggled to put out the fire. It was very, very devastating. The fire officer who was around came out eventually and said they had refused to tell them what was actually inside the stores, which would help them know how to put out the fire. It was very bad, because these people would not give any vital information that was needed.
Mr Speaker, the other issue is that when we say our fire officers do not get to places on time -- if you listened to the sirens and other people rushing to go and put off fires on our main streets, you would realise that even when the sirens are blowing, vehicles that are on the road causing traffic are not ready to give way to these fire people to go and put out the fire, which is not the best for us.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Members, let us have some order, please.
Hon Member, I think that you should be concluding.
Ms Ayamba 12:50 p.m.
They should note that it is very important for them to give way to vehicles that are going to undertake such activities.
In some of the places, Mr Speaker, candles are lit throughout the night and people go to sleep with these candles burning. Anything can happen -- rusty cylinders are being used. Sockets, where we put our gadgets for our televisions, fridges, fans and what-have-you -- Most of the buildings, the wiring that has been done has been there for so long and with time they wear and tear and eventually, they cause fire outbreaks.
So, in my opinion, I would suggest that there is the need for education, the need for more equipment for especially the fire volunteers in the villages and the need for more support by us in the House here, when even we are back in our constituencies, to talk to our people on how to take care of themselves when it comes to fire.
Mr William Owuraku Aidoo (NPP -- Afigya Kwabre South) 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to congratulate my two Hon (Level 100) Colleagues for their maiden speeches that they ably delivered.
Mr William Owuraku Aidoo (NPP -- Afigya Kwabre South) 12:50 p.m.


Mr Speaker, would you permit me to also be the first person to congratulate you on your first day in the Chair, taking control of the House.

I wish specifically, to contribute shortly on the fourth salient point made by Hon Titus-Glover, that is, the insurance cover for the State security agents.

As a beneficiary of a quasi-state insurance cover while working for Sussex Police in the United Kingdom, I know how useful that insurance cover is to members of the security forces. When one is going to work and one knows that one is ably covered by an insurance, one works without worrying too much about the family in case of any eventuality.
Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho 1 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, we do not have a Member of Parliament for Abokobi. It used to be Abokobi-Madina. I am now the Member of Parliament for Madina. So, as a newcomer, he would have to -- My name is Alhaji Amadu Sorogho. [Interruption.] No Abokobi. Abokobi is part of the Dome- Kwabenya Constituency. [Interruption.] He mentioned me.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, continue.
Mr W. O. Aidoo 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Madina, Alhaji Sorogho is here and I am sure he will impress upon the Government to expedite the initiation of insurance cover for especially the Ghana National Fire Service -- [Interruption.]
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on the floor has just made a comment that the Hon Member for Abokobi has very strong influence on Government and Hon Sorogho resisted that. But when he mentioned the Hon Member for Madina, he is comfortably sitting there. I would want to know if he has that strong influence on Government and to what extent. He should explain.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
I wonder whether this is a point of order. I think Hon Sorogho would be on his feet soon and he would explain to us the level of his influence, whether he is a caretaker Board Chairman or continuing Board Chairman or outgoing Board Chairman. So he will tell us the extent of his influence. I am sure he will take that on board in making his comments.
Hon Member, continue.
Mr W. O. Aidoo 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as I said, I hope that Government will expeditiously implement insurance cover for all State security agencies, especially the Ghana National Fire Service personnel who day in day out go through excessive danger in the course of their duties.
Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, it was going to be a very short contribution. I stood with a little trepidation, being my first contribution, I would crave your indulgence and thank you and once again, congratulate my Hon Colleagues for their maiden Statements.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Thank you also for your maiden speech, well said, well spoken. Thank y ou, for congratulating me.
Hon Member, can you turn off your microphone, please? My Hon Friend from the West?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda) 1 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement and to make just three quick contributions on both Statements and then take my seat.
The first one is, Statements on fire outbreaks are becoming as chronic as the fire outbreaks themselves. I remember the Fifth Parliament lamented on it and certain steps were taken -- and I must even congratulate the Fifth Parliament on making very good contributions so long as fighting fire outbreaks is concerned. With this, specifically, I would want to talk about the amount of loans that were approved here just to purchase fire fighting equipment. We went to the extent of even passing the Electrical Wiring Regulations, 2012, that is L.I. 2008 in this House.

What am I saying? If you go through the Electrical Wiring Regulation, 2012, L.I. 2008 that was passed in this House, brought by the Hon Minister for Energy, Hon Dr Oteng Adjei, everything is spelt out there clearly. [Waving a copy of the
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, is that a copy you are holding in your hand?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. That is the Electrical Wiring Regulation that was passed by the NDC Government in 2012 in this Chamber.
Several Hon Members -- rose --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, with respect, I think that we know who passes Regulations.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, do you mean I should --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
If you read the Regulations -- Look at the back, please. Passed by who?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1 p.m.
Passed by this House, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Yes; do not provoke --
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not intend provoking debate.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Do not say much. I have intentionally refused to see my very good Friend, Hon Kofi Frimpong. If you continue that way, I will be looking his way; I will just look his way.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker; except that I enjoy him when he is doing that.
Mr Speaker, Hon Members are talking about law enforcement and I think it is very true. Most at times, the laws concerning fire fighting are not seriously enforced. It is clear even when you are sitting in our public vehicles, even our private vehicles, most people drive their vehicles without fire extinguishers. You get to a police check point, they would check your vehicle and tell you “Continue.”
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1 p.m.


Mr Speaker, even beside that, when you come to the public institutions and public buildings, take the route from the Independence Square to Chorkor and you would realise that there are pre-colonial structures on the road. How often do we re-wire such buildings? And the worst of it is that -- Recently, there was a fire outbreak in a discotheque in Brazil. Within a few days, some people were arrested in connection with that.

But normally, we do not see that happening in Ghana. Public institutions got burnt, public property got burnt, households got burnt, then we hear that, somebody lit a fire, somebody was heating something, somebody was ironing and nobody is arrested in connection with such activities. Then in the end, we turn out counting the number of fire outbreaks that we have, get some superstitious solutions and we sit down waiting for the next event and we go back and continue the lamentation.

Mr Speaker, I thank my Hon Colleagues for bringing this matter to our attention and I hope that this is going to be the last Statement on fire outbreaks. This is because critical, empirical, scientific solutions are going to be found and the law enforcement agencies are going to strictly enforce the laws -- and the strong Hon Member who has influence to control some of those things is also going to act.

With these few words, I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity given me.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Members, Order 72 says that there should be a limited time not exceeding one hour to comment on Statements. But in this case, we started, I believe, at 11.38 a.m.
and I also believe that there were two Statements, so I am right to say that, perhaps, each Statement is entitled to one hour. So it is 1.06 p.m. We have about 30 minutes more to contribute. So I would plead that in order to have as many Hon Members as possible to contribute, I would give every Hon Member five minutes. I am sorry.
Mr Alex K. Agyekum (NPP -- Mpohor) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Statements.
First of all, I would like to thank the two Hon Members for a brilliant work done. There seems to be some trend. I would want to get your guidance on this and I say this with reference to Standing Orders 134 and then 136. With your kind permission, I would like to read some portion because I know you are well versed in these Standing Orders.
Order 134 says --
“Every Bill passed by Parliament shall be presented to the President for assent. The President shall signify within seven days to Mr Speaker whether he assents to the Bill or refuses to give assent unless the Council of State indicates that it is considering the Bill.”
When we come to Standing Order 136, it says --
“No Bill introduced into Parliament by or on behalf of the President shall be delayed for more than three months in any Committee of the House .”
Mr Speaker, I would want to believe that this is the Sixth Parliament of the
Fourth Republic and all these issues that we are discussing, I know, they have been discussed thoroughly on the floor of this House. Recommendations from agencies, commissions of enquiry into some of these fire outbreaks, I would want to believe have been submitted. I would want to find out your guidance on this. At what point -- Is it the enforcement that we lack, that is why actions are not being brought upon this?
I would also want to contribute and add that the recommendations made by the two Hon Members are just in line with all what we expect --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Member, let us use the short while to comment on the Statement. I appreciate the point you are making but I do not intend to give guidance on it. So, if we can just focus on the Statement on the floor.
Mr A. K. Agyekum 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you very much for this and to say that the recommendations made by the two Hon Members in their various Statements are such that if we add our voice and throw our weight behind them and all those agencies concerned do their work, I believe strongly that the incidence of fire outbreaks and the havoc that they cause in this country would be minimised. It only lies with the political will and all those agencies concerned to do as expected.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr George K. Ricketts-Hagan (NDC -- Cape Coast South) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to add my voice and associate with the Statements made by the two Hon Members about the numerous and unacceptable
number of fire outbreaks that we get in this country.
Mr Speaker, just about a week ago, one of the oldest primary schools in my constituency, Amanful Boys School, got burnt down completely and we had to hurriedly make provision in a sister school for the children to continue with their education.
I think one of those things most of us have observed in this country is about the lack of health and safety inspection in our public buildings, places of work, schools and other places. It looks as if we do not take health and safety very seriously in this country. When you go to most public buildings, the buildings are poorly equipped both in equipment, access to the building and even exit doors that in case of fire, people could get out of the building.
Most of the time, you would find doors being obstructed by either furniture or other objects. We need to take health and safety very seriously as some Hon Colleagues have already indicated. It is good to have good hydrant system, to have fire engines to put out fire. But it is extremely important that we look at preventive measures to prevent fires from occurring in the first place.
I would also want to talk about training of companies and public buildings which have people who are responsible for training people, so that they help in times of fire outbreaks. If you go out of this country to Europe and other places, their buildings have fire wardens, people who in case of fire, would tell people where they should assemble.
Also there are times where they have fire drills, so that people will have an idea or the education, what to do when there is fire outbreak.
Mr Kwaku Asante-Boateng (NPP -- Asante Akim South) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to associate myself with the two Statements made on the floor by my two Hon Colleagues.
Mr Speaker, I think as a nation, we have not, as it were, positioned ourselves well in combating some of these fire outbreaks when they occur.
In the first place, I would want to pause here and ask a few questions --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
I hope they are rhetorical questions because I am not in the business of answering questions?
Mr Asante-Boateng 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, yes. I ask myself, how many of our resources as a nation are located in the rural areas as against the urban centres. In trying to position ourselves, I believe, as a country, there is the need for us to study the built- up areas of our environment.
Even if you take Accra-Tema, for instance, you will realise that most of the built-up areas in these two cities do not have access roads. So, if as a nation, we go ahead and acquire fire tender equipment that cannot access most of
these communities, then what are we talking about? If you look at our rural set- up, Mr Speaker, you will realise that cocoa contributes significantly to our resource basket as a nation but in case there is fire in the country now and it has to do with some of these rural communities that plant cocoa, how are we going to combat this fire in the rural communities? Even talking about these other areas, how many of our fire hydrants are accessible by this fire tender equipment?
Mr Speaker, what I am trying to say is that, as a nation, if we want to move forward in trying to have a very effective solution to this fire problem, we have to sit down and make a critical analysis of our environment, such that we will be properly informed what equipment that we need to acquire in order to assist us combat these fire outbreaks.
Mr Speaker, I am saying this because I realise that if as a nation, let us say, we have ten regions, if we can get even two helicopters for each region and we have dedicated fire hydrants in the regional and district offices of the Ghana National Fire Service whereby in case there is fire outbreak in any of the districts, the helicopters can move from their respective destinations. We can make phone calls from the other districts or regions, so that they can draw from the pool, I believe in no time, we would be able to combat this fire.
Mr Speaker, I am not saying that these fire tender equipment that we have at the moment are not contributing to the solution to these fire outbreaks but what I am trying to say is that, as of now, they have their limitations and all of us are aware of this. Just yesterday --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I believe that this is your conclusion -- [Laughter.]
Mr Asante-Boateng 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in trying to sum up, just yesterday in my constituency, there was a fire outbreak where thousands of acres of cocoa farm around Obogu and Danso areas were burnt and it would surprise you that the fire tender equipment that was sent there
-- 1:20 p.m.

Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, and so, in conclusion --
Mr Asante-Boateng 1:20 p.m.
In conclusion, what I am saying is that we have not as it were, positioned ourselves as a nation to fight these fire outbreak menaces that we have round our neck.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
I plead with Hon Members to keep it short so that everybody can have a bite of the cherry.
Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh (NDC -- Juaboso) 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in Ghana, when we talk about fire outbreaks, we make it look as if it is far from us. It can happen to everybody. We have been hearing about fire extinguishers and what have you. But I sincerely believe that we should strongly advocate for fire extinguishers in every household. This is because inasmuch as the Government is providing fire tenders, it is very important that individuals take their own necessary precautionary measures.
So it is important we advocate -- we have heard a lot about various advocacy but less talk has been heard about fire tenders or fire extinguishers in every household. I believe it is one of the strongest precautionary measures and if we take, is going to help us.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Henry Quartey (NPP -- Ayawaso Central) 1:20 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statements made by my two Hon Colleagues. Indeed, one wants to ask the question, why are we experiencing too many fire outbreaks in the country? In Ayawaso Central, within the last two or three months, there have been numerous fire outbreaks. As a matter of fact, last week, there was one of them and I had to rush to the scene. In tracing the cause of the fire, the officers of the Electricity Company of Ghana told me boldly that the transformers could no longer take the load that consumers are using.
Mr Speaker, my humble plea to the respective authorities is that, it is about time that they sent competent people to the fields to inspect houses, factories to ensure that they have up to date equipment in their respective houses and then also build more transformers to be able to take the load in the constituency or for that matter, across the country.
Mr Speaker, since I do not have much time to speak, I would want to congratulate you on the first day in the seat. I also hope that the good people of Esikadu/ Ketan will be happy seeing you in the seat.
I thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
I saw the Hon Member for Shama trying to catch my eye.
Mr Mathias Kwame Ntow (NDC -- Aowin) 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in just one sentence, I would want to summarise all that Hon Members have said.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Thank you Hon Member, you have finished with your sentence.
rose
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
You want to continue?
Mr Ntow 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to congratulate you for the first time as an Hon Member from the Western Region and for the good people of Esikadu -- [Interruptions]. On behalf of the good people of Aowin Constituency as well, I congratulate you and pray that you go higher heights.
Thank you .
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
It is said that brevity is the spice of life, your contribution was one sentence and I thank you very much.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (NPP -- Dormaa Central) 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Chair on my own behalf and on behalf of a few liberal thinkers, who think alongside with you. Congratulations.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
: Thank you, Hon Member.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:20 p.m.
On this fire issue, Mr Speaker, I think this should be a very serious worry for all of Members of Parliament and I wish to congratulate our Colleague who made the Statement on this issue.
Let me say Mr Speaker, those of us who are leading this country, politicians so to say, I think we have a big role to play in making sure that Regulations are enforced, things that we should do are implemented and efficiently, so that some of these things can be brought down a bit. To come to talk about statistics, it is worrisome and I am not very surprised that my very good Friend, Hon Alhaji Sorogho, is getting ready, representing the Leadership of his side to talk on this matter.

Mr Speaker, I would want to inform the House that he has been the Chairman of the Ghana National Fire Service Council and some of the challenges can be put right at his doorsteps. Mr Speaker, if you pick Regulation --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I remember the Speaker declined the invitation to protect Hon Members before they could protect themselves. And Hon Alhaji Sorogho has not protected himself. So I take it that he agrees with what is being said or he will respond at the appropriate time?
Alhaji Sorogho 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would respond at the appropriate time.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
: Thank you very much.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you see, I told you he is my very good Friend and he would not want to heckle and embarrass me in any way.
Thank you my Hon Colleague.
Mr Speaker, we have Regulations. There are several buildings in this country that may not necessarily be designated as public buildings but need to have fire inspection at least, once every year. Churches, schools, things that should be put, therefore, fire safety and protection are just not there. Any building that houses more than ten people at any point in time, day or night, should see at least, one fire extinguisher. It is not available.
When we were very young, you go to my constituency and Dormaa Ahenkro was a very beautiful town in this country like all other big towns in the Brong -Ahafo Region, well laid, planning very efficient. You can stand at one end of a place and see through to the other end of the town. Today, when you get there, the situation is very miserable. Municipal Chief Executives (MCEs), District Chief
Executives (DCEs) and politicians, we are not enforcing the Regulations. In some instances, even in Accra, the Assembly men are the worse people. They actually identify places for people to start those businesses to block potentially good places, that we can use for roads to neighbourhoods, that fire tenders can ply through. You will see a whole market getting burnt down and fire tenders cannot enter the area to put off the fire. And I believe we have to do a lot more.
It looks like some of us who are afraid to lose our seats would not want to touch anybody because we would not get the opportunity to get to Parliament if we try to stop people from developing certain areas that should not be developed at all. There are several properties in Accra without permits, but we continue developing without permits and nothing happens.
The sad aspect is that, we sit down for somebody to put in a GH¢100,000, then somebody goes the following morning, that he is going to pull down; that is not acceptable.
So, that development should not start at all; we should not allow people to invest before you go and destroy the investment. I believe when these things are coming -- Now, nobody needs to be told the bad things of fire. Within two months, maybe, even one month, look at what has happened in our country and I think it is an eye opener for all of us. We should all contribute as leaders through advocacy and put in things that we can put in at the Assembly level to ensure that certain developments are stopped.
I do not even know, if it needs spiritual intervention Mr Speaker. I would beg that we should take the lead to do what we should do. And when I say “spiritual intervention”, Mr Speaker, I am a
rose
Mr Donkor 1:20 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, when he said “spiritual intervention”, I was wondering whether he meant “the battle is for the Lord.”
Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to plead with you to put on record that he is completely out of order before I even continue.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I thank you for congratulating me but that does not mean that you can instruct me. With respect, can you continue? If the battle is the Lord's, the battle is the Lord's. [Laughter.]
Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:20 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will never run away from this phrase, never. “The battle is the Lord's” and it will continue to be the Lord's and that is the spirit.
Mr Speaker, like I was saying, it looks like what is happening is not very normal and that is where I was prompting that even if it needs spiritual intervention, we should do so.
I can remember a former Member of Parliament (MP) who was on radio trying to castigate ex-President Kufuor for bringing untold hardships to people in this country, such that when somebody even wanted to commit suicide, Hon Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe would say it was caused by ex-President Kufuor.
So, where do you place the blame for fires even now, if that is where you want us to do politics? But that is not the --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, you started so nicely. I guess you also intend to end nicely; so in conclusion, Hon Member --
Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:20 p.m.
In conclusion, all I would want to say is that we should be very serious about these fire challenges. We need to do some prayers but let us enforce our Regulations and let us implement policies that will bring down these fire challenges that we are going through at the moment.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Thank you very much.
The Hon Member for Shama.
Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie (NDC -- Shama) 1:20 p.m.
I thank you very much Mr Speaker.
Actually, I was not intending to speak because so much had been said. But since Mr Speaker has recognized me, and the respect I have for him, I will contribute.
Mr Speaker, a lot has been said --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
I thought I saw you standing or if you did not intend to contribute --
Mr Essilfie 1:20 p.m.
Anyway Mr Speaker, at that time, since I did not catch your eye --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
So you will speak?
Mr Essilfie 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the issue of fire hazard is something that is worrisome to all of us and a lot has been said about it. But Mr Speaker, I agree more with my Hon Colleague from Aowin that we have to approach this pragmatically, in the sense that we talk a lot. But let me ask the question, we Members of Parliament in this Chamber, how many of us here can
say we have fire extinguishers in our homes? If you count 275 of us, most probably, a few of us will have them. How many of us have fire extinguishers in our cars? Only a few of us. But these are Regulations that are required. So, as we advocate for the citizenry to make sure they comply with the fire laws and rules, let us as the leaders of this nation be in the forefront of setting up the examples.
Mr Speaker, I know from the jurisdiction that I have lived, even if you built your own house --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
What jurisdiction, Hon Member?
Mr Essilfie 1:20 p.m.
The United States, of course.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
The “United States” of what, Hon Member?
Mr Essilfie 1:20 p.m.
The United States of America.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Mr Essilfie 1:20 p.m.
And precisely in the State of New Jersey. Even if you build your own house --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
What city Hon Member?
Mr Essilfie 1:20 p.m.
I lived in Sicklerville right next to Cherry Hill, close to Casuba City, of Atlantic City. -- [Hear! Hear!]
Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah -- rose
-- 1:20 p.m.

Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
Mr Opare Ansah 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have known the Hon Member since the last Parliament and I thought he was the Member from Shama. Now, I am not so convinced that he is even a citizen of Ghana. Can he reassure this House that he remains a citizen of this country?
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
These are grave matters that you have raised and I think the Hon Member for Shama will seek legal advice before he answers that question.
Mr Essilfie 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do know that even if you build your own house, before you move in, building inspectors will come and inspect the house and make sure the house conforms to human habitat and if it does not, you will not be given a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) to even go and live in your own house. But just as the Hon Agyeman-Manu said, apart from our own homes, a lot of places that publicly, we all gather, there is no fire extinguisher, there is not even an access to the building in the event of a fire outbreak.
So, it is important for us, if I may use the street parlance, to say that we have to put our money where our mouths are; and make sure that whatever we say, we are going to practise it. So, I am going to ask in all humility that all of us here, should set the example. If we go home and do not have fire extinguishers in our homes, let us acquire some. If we do not have them in our cars, let us do so, then we can be the advocate for the right thing to be done.
As long as we have poverty in this country and a lot of people live in homes that actually do not qualify for human habitat and they still connect electricity to those homes, through thatch to roofs and boards and whatnot, fire outbreaks will continue. So, we need to find ways
and means that we can use to curb these kinds of phenomena, so that we can bring to the minimum the fire outbreaks that we have in this country.
With these few words, I support the Statements ably made by my good Friends.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Thank you.
Hon Member, if you had wanted to speak, we may have been here for the whole day because even when you did not want to speak, you have made a very powerful statement.
Mr J. B. A. Danquah (NPP--Abuakwa- North) 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to add a few words to all that has been said.
As we sit in this Chamber, I believe if you conducted a fire audit of this Chamber, it would still not have passed as a proper Chamber fit for habitation. There are no fire sprinklers in this Chamber and if you look up, you realize that even there are no blinkers on the smoke detectors. You do not see any fire extinguishers in this Chamber.
So, I think charity begins at home and I implore our Parliamentary Service Board to take it up very seriously.
The other point is that, I believe we are looking for jobs for our insurance companies, but we must conduct a proper fire audit of all our public buildings and make it mandatory for all public buildings to have Fire Insurance Certificates. At the beginning of each year, this Chamber, at least, we must ensure that we have proper fire insurance for Members of Parliament Sitting in this Chamber because if any outbreak occurs, God help us --
Not long ago, our Foreign Affairs Ministry was burnt down by fire and yet we did not receive any compensation from any insurance company and this is really appalling and does not speak very well of our country and of our Government.
On this, I rest my case.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
I think that we will have maximum of two speakers on both sides. I think I will take one from this side and then Hon Sorogho, I apologise. The people who I did not take, Hon Justice Joe Appiah, I will recognise you the next time.
Hon Boniface.
Mr Boniface Gambila Adagbila (NPP --Nabdam) 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to register my appreciation for the two Statements made this morning.
The bottom line is fire and fire cuts across anywhere in this country. In the North, we commonly will talk of bushfire but you will realise that Mr Speaker, equipment purchased for the Ghana National Fire Service have to deal with only urban buildings. Most of the fires in the North that affect farmers, occur in the rice farms and even in the South, I have heard of cocoa farms getting burnt.
There is no equipment that has been purchased for the Ghana National Fire Service that can take care of fire belts in the northern sector. I would want to put it on record that, it is important for the Government of this country to begin to look at the equipment that can take care of fire belts in the northern sector.
My second point is that we have heard a lot about fire, fire, fire and so many committees and reports have been written. If we debate or make Statements on fire here, how are we going to ensure that some of the suggestions or very good proposals that have been made in the fire reports previously are properly implemented? We have the Government's Assurances Committee under our Standing Order 17 (4), it stipulates a lot of their roles.
This means, we have had so many assurances committees in this House, but we have not seen the real connection between the Assurances Committee and the implementation bodies. I will suggest that at this stage, we should explore for
one of the best Committee Reports on fire, so that we study and by this, we may need to invite the Fire Chief, the Town Planning and perhaps, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to meet with a committee of this House, so that together, we can ensure that enforcement and implementation of some of these laudable propositions we have been making take place.
On my last point. I was amazed and dismayed as well to hear about the operating of a common ladder. I would want to suggest that the Ghana National Fire Service should begin to train the people, the operators in their organization
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Member, do you mean the ladder at the BBC fire? The one by Hon Titus-Glover?
Mr Adagbila 1:40 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. Hon Titus-Glover in his submission, did indicate that at one of the fire outbreaks in Tema, a ladder was brought for the operatives to move up and there was no one in the Ghana National Fire Service who could operate it and they had to invite somebody from his home. I would want to suggest that training should be properly looked at and that the operators who, are in the field should be given more training than the top echelons, who, I believe, normally will carry all the training on themselves.
This, I believe, will help us and also, we should be able to monitor performance targets of our various institutions and hold them to it.
I am grateful.
Mr Justice Joe Appiah 1:40 p.m.
-- rose --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Joe Appiah, do you have a point of order?
Mr J. J. Appiah 1:50 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, my good Friend is giving us a very wonderful submission but he forgot to add fire extinguishers for the polling stations in this country. Last year, I had a problem in my constituency, that my ballot papers were burnt. If there were fire extinguishers, we would not have any problem --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Joe Appiah, you are -- [Pause] -- I do not want to say it. You know what you are, so turn off your microphone and then -- Thank you very much, Hon Joe Appiah; you are a gentleman.
Yes, would you want to conclude, Hon Boniface? I believe you have concluded?
I would take Hon Sorogho, Member of Parliament for Madina. We have been told he is a very influential man; he knows all about fire and I give him two minutes.
Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho (NDC -- Madina) 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think if the Government Assurances Committee were to be here, they would have taken note that from the beginning, you committed yourself by saying that you were going to give me fifteen minutes and that I should not talk. I kept quiet, you exhausted all the time, now, you are saying you would give me two minutes. Since I cannot challenge the Speaker, I would go exactly within the two minutes. But you know --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Member, you know you are the Acting Majority Leader and you know that it is 1.48 p.m.? Three minutes to 2.00 o'clock, we have to extend Sitting and I know that when I extend Sitting, you would support me. So I would give you the fifteen minutes, twenty if you want and when it comes to extension, you will support me.
Alhaji Sorogho 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I will definitely support you so that we would be within the 2.00 p.m., I do not think it is necessary to extend it.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the makers of the Statements, they have come at the right time. I am also happy that as one of them said -- The level 100s-- They all tried as much as possible to make their maiden statements so that at least their constituents can -- [Interruption] -- I did not say everybody, I said as many as -- Why, are you one of them? And so I am very happy on that.
rose
Alhaji Sorogho 1:50 p.m.
I was sworn in for a four-year period. The duration would end on the 6th August, 2013 and until I am changed by the President and the Council is dissolved, I am still the Chairman of the Ghana National Fire Service Council -- [Interruption]
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Member, I think there was a point of order from the Hon Member for Suhum (Mr Opare-Ansah). Am I right?
Mr Opare-Ansah 1:50 p.m.
Exactly so, Mr Speaker, I thank you.
I would want to remind my Hon Colleague from Madina that as a Member for Madina, we are ready to hear him and to remind him that he has no locus in this Chamber as the Chairman of the Ghana National Fire Service Council. We would hear him as the Hon Member for Madina. So, he should restrict his comments on the matter as a Member for Madina.
Alhaji Sorogho 1:50 p.m.
Thank you very much. Being my constituent, I know he has been helping me. His house is right in the middle of my constituency and I will continue to protect him. So I thank him very much. It is a complementary work, just like I am also about to say --
Mr Speaker, the Ghana National Fire Service is not only there to prevent undesirable fires, manage them, but the rescue aspect has been completely lost. In all the Statements and the contributions that went on this morning, we have been talking about prevention but the rescue is also very important.
Mr Speaker, I would want to state that for almost fifteen years, until the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government took power under the late Prof. Mills and decided to take the biggest step, so that we can equip the Service, it had always been at the mercy of Ghanaians. When there was fire, we did not go there because we did not have the equipment. Today, I am happy that we are talking about going there and not getting there early and not about equipment.
rose
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Joe Appiah, do you have a point of order?
Mr J. J. Appiah 1:50 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from my Hon Member if the equipment are brand new or home second-hand, or they are old equipment? He should tell us.
Alhaji Sorogho 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my time is very limited and he is my Friend, I think he would do me a lot of good by just sitting and listening.
rose
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Opare-Ansah, Member of Parliament for Suhum.
Mr Opare-Ansah 1:50 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for reminding the Hon Member for Madina that I am actually the Member for Suhum, so I cannot be his constituent.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member could have responded to our Colleague's request for further and better particulars in a more decorous manner rather than telling him he has ears, he cannot hear, he has eyes, he cannot see -- [Interruption] - - That is what he said. This is because Mr Speaker, if a fire tender is parked in front of Parliament House, I do not know by what measure any one of us here, just looking at it would be able to tell whether it is new or it is very old and re-sprayed and refurbished; we cannot know.
Since he has just told us here that he is the Chairman of the Ghana National Fire Service Council, he stands in a better position to be able to tell us indeed, if those tenders were new or refurbished.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to disregard this because I have a lot of things that I would want to say. The tenders are all brand new. The American Ambassador was here, His Excellency the President was here and -- [Interruption] -- Well, you can go and check. I am telling you they are brand new and you have one, you lobbied me and I allocated one to you at Suhum. You thanked me and said “Hon Member, thank you for giving me a brand new fire tender --”
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member, with respect, the Hon Member for Suhum, resume your seat, please.
You know, Hon Member, there are things that we are not permitted to do -- “You have lobbied me” and all of that, it did not go personally to him and so, please -- I know that you have the capacity to stay on a straight and narrow path.
I have absolute confidence in your abilities and even as an functus officio member of the Ghana National Fire Service Council, your historical knowledge is immense and I am sure that you can be of great assistance to us.
Do not allow -- I know you are a man of a few words. Do not allow yourself to get too excited. But I would also want to remind you that I will constantly allow anybody who wants to take a point of order against you to do so.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Seriously speaking, yes, he is my very good Hon Friend, he has his house within my constituency and he is always trying to tell me -- Even though the Council has taken a decision and we realise that one
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
I had not finished, sorry.
So what you said about lobbying, I think we would consider it espunged from the record. I think the Hansard would consider it expunged.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is exactly why I tried to explain but what I meant by “lobbying” -- I said that he stays in my constituency, he sees me day in and day out and says -- “Hon Sorogho, Council, remind Council” -- and we realised that the place was very important and so, Council had already taken a decision to allocate one. And when I say “lobbying”, it is not the type of lobbying that Mr Speaker, you may be thinking. But if you think that that is not necessary, let it be expunged from the Hansard for us to continue.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Sorogho.
Hon Sorogho, please, resume your seat.
Under Order 40 (3) which says that:
“Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of this Order Mr Speaker may having regard to the state of business of the House direct that Sittings be held outside the prescribed period.”
I will direct that Sitting be held outside the prescribed period just for the purposes of Hon Sorogho finishing with his statement and then the Speaker will exercise his discretion and adjourn the House.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much and I would want to assure you that I would be as brief as possible.
Mr Speaker, the Ghana National Fire Service is there to manage undesired fires and to also help in rescue operations. Governments upon governments have done their best, but I can put on record that Mr Speaker, for one reason or the other, under the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, a lot of fire equipment were procured for the Ghana National Fire Service --
Mr J. J. Appiah 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, Hon Sorogho used unparliamentary language. He said if I do not have eyes to see or ears
-- 2 p.m.

Mr J. J. Appiah 2 p.m.
Yes on a point of order.
He said I do not have eyes to see and ears to hear. So he should apologise to me and the whole House.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Sorry Hon Member, with respect, take your time. Under what Order are you coming? I believe --
Mr J. J. Appiah 2 p.m.
Order 91.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Which states --
Mr J. J. Appiah 2 p.m.
Any Hon Member of Parliament should not use unparliamentary language in this floor of the House. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to read Order 93 (2) --
“It shall be out of order to use offensive, abusive, insulting, blasphemous or unbecoming words or to impute improper motives to any other Member or to make personal allusions.”
That is to me. He has to apologise on the floor of this House. Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Joe Appiah, so we moved from Order 91, we landed at 93 (2)? I believe when he made that statement, I was looking at you and expecting you at that point to intervene but you did not. What I will say is that unless the Hon -- you know, as the Speaker I am not allowed to get involved in the debate and so, I saw it as a parable. But if it is not a parable, Hon Sorogho, what do you say to that?
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if he is in this Chamber here today, if the eyes were not seeing, he would have missed his road to Parliament and the entrance to the

Chamber. So, he understands exactly what I meant by that. “Parable” -- he understands. He is not somebody who came here yesterday. Mr Speaker, he needs to know better.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Sorogho, I know if Hon Joe Appiah, your very good Friend did not take this your suggestion in good faith, just let us take it out of the way in the manner that Members of Parliament take it out of the way and we continue. I know you will do that; very quickly.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think my point has been well made because Mr Speaker, the papers -- [Interruption] -- Unless of course, Hon Joe Appiah, my very good Friend is saying that he does not read, he never saw the tenders, he never listened to what the radio said and he never listened to the commentary that was made by his own Hon Colleague Members of Parliament when they were talking -- I am surprised --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Sorogho, I agree with you because I know you are surprised but -- [Interruption] -- I know you are surprised. But Hon Sorogho, as between Hon Colleagues and good Friends, just quickly do what is right and just say if he did not understand it in that parable manner, then perhaps, you may move on to another thing by taking that out of the way, so that we just continue. I know you can do it; I know you have the capacity to do it.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not have any problem. He saw them but he decided he did not see them. So, I am saying that if he was not aware, they were brand new ones. If he did not see them, I would want to tell him that they were brand new ones that came. So, if I am saying that his eyes were there but they did not
see, I did not mean that he did not see the items. If he did not know, I would want to tell him that they are brand new ones. And if he thinks that the “eyes cannot see”, I would want to take those words off -- His eyes are there, they can see and except that they cannot see good things.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Thank you.
Hon Sorogho, you made it so nice and at the last sentence, you know, as they say in law, you approbated and reprobated.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, he has not complained; he has not complained about what I said.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
You are absolutely correct; he has not complained and so, make progress.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
So Mr Speaker, I would want to say that a lot has been added -- [Interruption]
rose
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
You know, after 2 o'clock, my eyesight is bad and I cannot see Mr Joe Appiah. So Hon Member, continue, so that we bring the matter to an end.
Alhaji Sorogho 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, a lot has been done, Hon Members of Parliament have contributed, I do not want to go further but just to say that fighting fires is a shared responsibility. It was so sad hearing, I think Hon Titus- Glover saying that the fire tenders that were brought there, the hydraulic ladder could not be operated to the extent that they had to bring somebody from home to operate it. That cannot be true -- [Interruption]
rose
Alhaji Sorogho 2:10 p.m.
That cannot be true. Mr Speaker, I am saying that because that very hydraulic tender was the machine that was --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Titus-Glover --
Mr Titus-Glover 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, senior please, take your seat.
Mr Speaker, my senior, even though he is the Board Chairman currently of the Ghana National Fire Service, he does not know --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Titus- Glover, I am not too sure about that; he has not said that.
MrTitus-Glover 2:10 p.m.
He is saying that I said the machines could not be operated -- The hydraulics. [Interruption.] Yes, and that was true. I was there; I was sitting right on top of the ladder. He was not there. He is the Board Chairman of the Ghana National Fire Service, but he did not know that only a few fire fighers, Mr Speaker, only a few fire fighters are taught how to operate the machine. I was there -- [Interruption.]
I was right in the heart of the inferno for forty (40) minutes. Somebody was called from home to come and operate the machine. And my worry, Mr Speaker, is that more of these fire fighters need to be taught how to operate the equipment, so that in the absence of one or two of them, they would be able to handle the machine. So, he cannot say it is not true. It is a fact; it is a statement of fact of what I said.
Alhaji Sorogho 2:10 p.m.
If the Hon Member had allowed me to land, it would not have necessitated what he is saying.
Mr Speaker, the very machine that he is talking about was the machine that was used at the industrial fires. If you could remember, industrial area, the machine was the one that we had to extend to the heart of the fire to be able to bring the fire under control.
Mr Robert Nachinab Doameng Mosore 2:10 p.m.
Point of order!
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Members, with respect, I think the Hon Member could not catch my eye, so he took this step. But please, next time, if you just go up and down ,you would catch my eye.
Mr Mosore 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought that would catch your eye faster. My point of order is on the last Hon Member 's contribution on the turntable ladder. Perhaps, he did not get my Hon Colleague, Mr Titus-Glover's contribution on the --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
You mean point of information?
Mr Mosore 2:10 p.m.
Point of information, yes. He said that --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
I think the acting Minority Leader, and he is a fourth termer and he is my classmate; third term or fourth term? We would listen to your point.
Mr Mosore 2:10 p.m.
He did not say that the turntable could not be operated. He said that they had to call an operator from home. There are two different things. For some of us who have this experience in fire fighting and fire prevention, I know that not all the fire fighters who can operate these things. There are special men who are taught to operate them because they have a number of complications.
So, I am very sure, possibly, somebody was there and could not operate it and that is why he is saying that, it could not be operated. Perhaps, the gentleman who took the tender there was not competent enough to operate it and that is no out of way; it is possible.
Alhaji Sorogho 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank him. But even though I did not solicit for the information you granted him as a new comer, I am all right. But I would want to say that it did not help. No fireman - There is a Commander where the turntables are; nobody can just move a turntable to a place when there is nobody to go and operate it.
-- 2:10 p.m.

Mr Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Okyere Darko- Mensah, Member of Parliament for Takoradi, do you have a point of order?
Mr Okyere Darko-Mensah 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I come under Order 91 (2). We are serious here, so if he says “let us be serious here”, I do not know who is not serious in this House. Order 91 (b) -- matter of privilege arising. Debate may be interrupted by a matter of privilege
suddenly arising, and he is saying that we are not serious. I feel that he has to withdraw it. We are serious in this House; he knows we are serious. So, he should withdraw that statement.
Alhaji Sorogho 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am surprised. Did I say we are not serious? I said we must be serious.
Mr Darko-Mensah 2:10 p.m.
It means that we are not serious.
Alhaji Sorogho 2:10 p.m.
I said we must be serious in this House; that is what I said. If you want to interpret it to mean that we are not serious, then you can go ahead.
Mr Speaker, I think when Hon Members were contributing, I decided to keep quiet; there were so many things that were said, but you asked me -- And so, all that I would want to say is that, Mr Speaker, from about 5,000 fire personnel, just within the four years that the NDC came onto the scene, we have already added 2,000 personnel and we are adding another thousand as I speak to you now.
The advertisement is there and people are going round -- This is because the personnel, if you think about 25 million around and you have only 5,000 fire fighters, Mr Speaker, with only 34 serviceable tenders, how do you work?
This Government has raised it, as I speak to you now, to 227; the personnel, we are now hitting 8,000. Apart from that, 55 pickups -- Mr Speaker, the most important way to fight fire is to prevent, and we think that safety is very important. fifty-five pickups have been procured by this Government for the safety department -- recovery vans, water tankers.
The tenders would not only go, supported by water tankers -- 4,000 gallon capacity and that is the reason -- Mr Speaker, even though these fire outbreaks are left and right, the Service is able to deal with them.
I am happy that Hon Members are mentioning helicopters. Where are the resources? I hope that when it comes to this House that Hon Members should agree for more money to be given to the Service to buy the helicopters, we would do that.
Mr Speaker, all the Members of Parliament who contributed, the various constituencies, by the end of May, Mr Speaker, I can assure you that with the delivery of the 75 tenders and the 20 that are coming from Austria, every Ministry, Department or Agency (MDA) will have a minimum of 1 fire fighter under the “Better Ghana Agenda.”
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Member, should we take this as an assurance from a Minister --
Alhaji Sorogho 2:10 p.m.
Yes, I am saying that by the end of May, 75 tenders and five water tankers would have arrived from India to add up to --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Member, I believe that -- Can you sit down please.
I believe that this assurance you are giving, I do not know -- You are saying that by the end of -- This is an assurance and I am asking you that in what capacity are you making that assurance?
Alhaji Sorogho 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not the Interior Minister. I am saying that as the head of a Council, that has taken a decision -- [Interruption.] I will continue to disregard you; I think I will expel you from my constituency.
Mr Speaker, --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
I think that in conclusion.
Alhaji Sorogho 2:20 p.m.
In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I would want to say that fighting fires is a shared responsibility. The first should come from the owner of the property.
Mr Speaker, I would want you to ask all of us here -- my Hon Brother brought it up -- let us go down there to the car s that Hon Members of Parliament including your goodself and check and see whether we have fire extinguishers -- GH¢50,000 cars,
GH¢80,000 --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I would want to remind you of Order 100. Sit down please, and if I may read. I will not read: read it. If you are making your submissions and you start pointing at me and threatening me, that they should go to my car and so on, I can ask you to be withdrawn from the House. [Laughter.]
Keep your submissions on the floor; you are, threatening the Speaker -- Order 100 -- The Speaker may order a Member to be with draw immediately from the House. I do not want to do that; the threats are too much; keep your submissions on the floor.
Alhaji Sorogho 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I love you and I like you so much that I would want to protect you. -- [Uproar] -- I would want to protect you. Nobody is saying that there should be fire anywhere.
you are being handled by somebody, anything can happen. You can be very good; somebody can be careless. So, let us protect
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
What is the nature of this love? I hope it is not -- [Laughter] --
Hon Member, conclude.
Alhaji Sorogho 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to conclude by saying that the Ghana Standards Authority has been able to designate only three entry points by which cables can come from outside as a
way of checking inferior cables. That is, the Tema Harbour, Aflao and the Kotoka International Airport. Takoradi is not even part. These are all ways -- This is because at those entry points, there are machines that can check the quality of cables. Fortunately, we have very good cable producers here; Reroy, Cable Metal, Tropical -- owned by Ghanaians. And I think that we should all, together, help the Ghana National Fire Service and the Government to succeed.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Thank you, very much, Hon Members for all these very important contributions on fire.
Hon Member for Bantama (Mr. Henry K. Kokofu) said the GNPS stands accused. I think that is what we have done. I do not know whether we have found it guilty - - The accusation is still out there.
Hon Apare-Ansah believes that in some Parliaments, the practice is that Hon Members as well as the Speaker, can recognise people who are at the Public Gallery. Is that correct, Hon Opare- Ansah?
Mr Opare-Ansah 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe the interpretation of our Orders lies in your bosom. As we know, Parliaments are also guided by practices from the past and from other jurisdictions. Indeed, if there are guests of Mr Speaker to the Parliament, we would normally see them sitting in those chairs back there.
But sometimes, we are also aware that the size of delegations require that they sit in the Public Gallery. And I have been in this Chamber and seen former Presidents sitting in the Public Gallery and being recognised by the Chair. So, I do not see anything wrong with that.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
I thought you were going to do it for me, so that I cannot be accused of anything?
Mr Opare-Ansah 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not know -- I have seen at least, Mrs Ghartey of Ghartey & Ghartey in the Public Gallery today. So, if I turn right, I see a Ghartey, if I turn left, I see another Ghartey -- [Laughter.] Now, it looks like Parliament has been totally sandwiched by the Gharteys.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Hon Member for Suhum did not recognise his other lawyers.
Mr Opare-Ansah 2:20 p.m.
Indeed, I was tempted to recognise my own lawyer, Eva Okyere.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Thank you. Hon Member for Suhum is reluctant to do what I expected him to do.
I think that since it is past two o'clock, I have the discretion to adjourn the House.
The House is adjourned till tomorrow at ten o'clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter we shall Sit.
Thank you, very much.
ADJOURNMENT 2:20 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 2.24 p.m. till Thursday, 31st January, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.