Relevance of the Non-Aligned Movement
The nominee in his response to the relevance of the NAM, informed the Committee that the Movement was founded in 1961 (largely by Yugoslavia's President, Josip Broz Tito; Indonesia's first President, Sukarno; Egypt's second President, Gamal Abdel Nasser; Ghana's first President, Kwame Nkrumah; and India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru) at the height of the Cold War between the Capitalist West and Communist East led by the United States of America and the USSR respectively.
He indicated that this period was characterised by uncontrolled acquisition of nuclear arms by the then two super powers of the world which served as a threat to world peace and security. He recounted that in the wake of this nuclear arms race, the founding fathers of NAM garnered support from developing countries not to align themselves with either of the two blocs but rather channel their energies into fighting poverty and underdevelopment, apartheid in South Africa and the Palestinian struggle in the Middle East.
The nominee debunked the notion which suggests that the NAM outlived its relevance in world politics after the collapse of the then Soviet Union. He opined that the pertinent issues which influenced the founding fathers of NAM to form the organisation are still relevant as issues of poverty, underdevelopment and the Palestinian struggle still persist.
Common visa regime among West African countries
On the issue of having a common visa regime among West African countries as
pertained in some countries within the Euro Zone, the nominee indicated that it is a distant possibility as the issuance of visas by countries in the world is a function of their sovereignty. According to the nominee, most countries within the sub-region would therefore, not want to cede their sovereignty in this enterprise of visa issuance, but was quick to add that the visa regime is worthy of pursuit in the future by countries within the sub- region to enjoy the benefits therein.
The Committee recommends that the House approves by consensus, the nomination of Ambassador Thomas Kwesi Quartey as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
Hon Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum -- Deputy Minister-deignate for Local Government and Rural Development
Hon Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum was born on the 3rd of December, 1973 at Breman, Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region. He had his basic and middle school education at the SDA Primary and Roman Catholic Middle School respectively from 1980 to 1990 in Nkoranza. He proceeded to the Kumasi Technical Institute from 1990 to 1994 for the City and Guilds Certificate.
The nominee pursued a Diploma in Computing at Southgate College, UK and Access to Higher Education at Reading College, United Kingdom from 1999 to 2001 and 2000 to 2003 respectively.
Hon Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum worked as an Assistant Manager for TABCON, a construction firm between 1994 and 1998. From June 2009 to January, 2013, he served as District/Municipal
Chief Executive of the Nkoranza South Municipal Assembly. He is currently the Member of Parliament for the Nkoranza South Constituency.
Achievements as a District/Municipal Chief Executive (DCE/MCE)
Touching on his achievements as DCE/ MCE for Nkoranza South, Hon Agyekum stated that in his quest to help realise the local economic development concept in the municipality, he mobilised a private sector investor to process jute in the municipality. According to him, the project would significantly increase service activities and also reduce post-harvest losses of maize production. He added that maize production which is a major economic activity in the Municipality, provides employment for a greater percentage of the population.
The nominee further stated that the construction of a poultry feed processing plant which would provide an advanced method of poultry feed in the municipality has also commenced. These projects, he indicated, would give an opportunity to the populace to work together to improve upon the economic base of the community and further contribute towards the achievement of the local economic development concept.
Hon Agyekum assured the Committee that he will bring his rich experience as a former DCE/MCE to bear on his newly assigned role to assist the Minister to ensure that government policies and programmes at the district level are achieved when his nomination is approved by the House.
Election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives
Commenting on the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, the nominee stated that the proposal by the Constitution Review
Commission to allow the President to nominate a minimum of five persons who would be vetted by the Public Services Commission (PSC) and the subsequent public election of the three shortlisted candidates would improve local governance in the country.
He indicated that this situation would create a platform for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to be accountable and responsible to the local community. The nominee, however, disagreed with the perception that election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives is a failure of the political party system in the country.
Non-involvement of Regional Co- ordinating Councils (RCCs) in the assessment of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs)
Responding to a question whether the non-involvement of RCCs in the assessment of the performance of MMDAs was problematic, the nominee considered the current arrangement which excludes the RCCs in the assessment of the performance of MMDAs as a contributory factor to the non- performance of some of the Assemblies.
He, therefore, promised to work with the Minister to ensure that the Standing Orders of the Assemblies are amended to empower the RCCs to effectively monitor activities of the Assemblies.
Motivation of Assembly Members
Commenting on the need to motivate Assembly members, the nominee attested to the fact that the work of Assembly members is crucial in the development of the local government system. Thus, it would be appropriate if Assembly members are motivated.
Hon. Agyekum promised to work with the substantive Minister to put measures in place to ensure that some incentives are provided to Assembly members as a form of motivation to enable them perform effectively.
The Committee recommends that the House approves by consensus, the nomination of Hon Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum as Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development.
Hon (Dr) Bernice Adiku Heloo -- Deputy Minister-designate for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation
Hon (Dr) Bernice Adiku Heloo was born on 24th September, 1954. She attended E. P. Primary School, Ahamansu, Taviepe from 1958 to 1964 and proceeded to the Ho Kpodzi E.P. Middle School from 1965 to 1967. She attended Mawuli Secondary School from 1968 to1973 where she obtained her G.C.E. Ordinary Level Certificate and went on to OLA Secondary School from 1973 to 1975 for her G.C.E. Advanced Level Certificate.
In 1978, Hon (Dr) Bernice Heloo was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Degree in History/Study of Religions from the University of Ghana, Legon. She was subsequently awarded a post-graduate Diploma in Adult Education from the same university in 1987. Hon Heloo obtained an M.Phil. in Adult Education from the University of Ghana in 1992 and an M.Ed in Literacy for Rural Development from the University of Manchester in 1993. She was awarded a PhD in Sociology from the European-American University, Dominican
Republic in 2010. She also enrolled at the SMC University, Switzerland in 2007 and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Political Economy.
From 1981 to 1985, the nominee worked as a Senior Auditor at the Audit Service in Accra. She was a tutor at the Teshie Presbyterian Secondary School in 1986 and from 1990 to 1993, she was a Senior Programme Officer of the Non-Formal Education Division (NFED), Ministry of Education. Hon (Dr) Bernice Heloo was a Project Manageress at CARE International from 1996 to1999.
In the year 2000, she founded Pro-Link Organisation (a rural development NGO) and has been the Executive Director to date. From June, 2009 to date, she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD). She has been a member of the Board of the National Lands Commission and Chairperson of the Board of the Volta Regional Lands Commission from June, 2009 to date.
Hon (Dr) Bernice Heloo is currently the Member of Parliament for Hohoe Constituency.
Female education in science and technology
Hon (Dr) Bernice Heloo agreed with the assertion that the participation of females in the study of science is not encouraging. She stated that science clinics have been introduced to attract and motivate young females in this area of study. She added that public awareness could be created to sensitise parents and teachers to help them identify talents in young females and encourage them to pursue science to the highest level.
Intervention of the “Better Ghana Agenda” at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation
The nominee informed the Committee that through the “Better Ghana ICT Project”, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation procured and distributed laptops to students, teachers and educational institutions nationwide to enhance teaching and learning. She stressed the need for appropriate monitoring of the laptops to ensure that the laptops are utilised for their intended purpose.
The nominee further informed the Committee that the Government had initiated an annual scholarship scheme to provide scholarships to students who pursue science and its related courses. She added that the scholarship scheme would continue to disburse funds to beneficiaries to augment and maintain the interest of needy but brilliant students in the science and technology field of study.
Stigmatisation of persons living with HIV/