Debates of 25 Jun 2014

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:20 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:20 a.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings. We have the Votes and Proceeding for Tuesday, 24th June, 2014.
  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 24th June, 2014.]
  • Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    Hon Members, we have one Official Report for correction. Official Report for Thursday, 19th June, 2014. Any corrections?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    Hon Members, we have a number of Questions. It is now Question time.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi 10:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we want to ask permission for the Hon Deputy Minister to answer the Questions on behalf of the Hon Minister who is unavoidably absent from the jurisdiction.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Deputy Minister?
    Hon Member for Hemang Lower Denkyira, the first Question is in your name -- Question number 94. Is he in the Chamber?
    An Hon Member 10:20 a.m.
    Absent.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    Absent.
    We move on to Question 95 in the name of Hon Yaw Owusu-Boateng, Asene/ Akroso/Manso Constituency.
    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 10:20 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF EDUCATION 10:20 a.m.

    Minister for Education) 10:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, Government bears 70 per cent of the Registration Fees of all BECE Candidates. The amount involved has increased from GH¢ 768,000.00 in the year 2000 to GH¢ 14,398,703 in 2014 due to significant increase in the number of registered BECE candidates resulting from the impact of other Social Intervention Programmes such as the Capitation Grant, School Uniforms and Exercise Books, School Feeding, et cetera.
    The Ministry/GES is currently drawing a programme to absorb 100 per cent of the BECE Registration Fees. The programme would be implemented as soon as funding is secured.
    It is expected that this arrangement would go a long way to lessen the burden on parents.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, what is the average percentage of increase in the numbers that take BECE; and can we plan for such an important cost or can the Ministry plan for such an important cost?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I need more clarification.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:20 a.m.
    What I am saying is that -- according to the Answer, there had been significant increases in the numbers that take the examination and the Minister is still planning to absorb it. Can the Minister tell us the average number of persons that take the BECE every year and what plans have been laid to make sure that this thing is absorbed?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, your Question is not very clear.
    In the Answer, it has been indicated that, there has been a continuous increase in the number of candidates participating year after year. I do not know whether you want him to give you details as to the increase per year or what is it?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:20 a.m.
    That is right. If you know the increase per year then you can always plan for it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, I believe you now understand the Question.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would need more time; and I would come back to give appropriate information to the House.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:30 a.m.
    If you look at Paragraph 2 of the Answer, it states that;
    “The Ministry/GES is currently drawing a programme to absorb all the 100% of the BECE Registration Fees. The programme would be implemented as soon as funding is secured.”
    My Question is that, currently, drawing a programme to absorb all the 100 per cent of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) Registration Fee implies that, it is not important to the Ministry or Ghana Education Service (GES). Within which time frame does the Minister think they would absorb the 100 per cent cost of this Examination; and where is he looking for the funds in the light that the economy is malfunctioning?
    First Deputy Speaker: Hon Member, your Question is all right, except that you have made some conclusion that the Ministry does not consider it serious. I do not think that should be part of your question. All you need to know is all you are asking for; as to that impression, it might be yours, it might not be everybody's impression. But I believe the question can now be answered by the Hon Deputy Minister. Or do you want him to go over it Hon Minister? Very well, Hon Member, please go over the Question.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:30 a.m.
    Within which time frame do you think you will absorb the 100 per cent cost and where are you going to look for the funds, since the economy is malfunctioning? -- [Interruption] -- That is not an assumption --
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Government places much importance on Education and you would agree with me that we spend about 30 per cent of our annual budget on Education. As and when the Committee, which has been put in place to look into the full absorption of the registration fees finishes its work, we will notify the general public.
    First Deputy Speaker: Yes Hon Member, your last follow up question.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:30 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, is the Minister aware that non- absorption of the BECE registration cost is a violation of the Constitution specifically, at article 38, clause 2, page 40 of the 1992 Constitution? What is he going to do to address this Constitutional violation?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, I think that the Answer he gave earlier takes care of this. That there is a Committee in place which is working on the possibility of absorbing the whole 100 per cent and as soon as everything is worked out, they would let us know.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:30 a.m.
    Yes, but with all due respect Mr Speaker, putting a Committee in place does not mean anything in my view, this is because the Constitution has already stated it but it has not been done, that is what I am worried about. -- [Murmuring]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, I think he has answered that Question. Any more questions? Yes, Hon Member.
    Dr (Nana) Stephen A. Arthur 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Answer from the Minister, Paragraph one, talking about the increase from 2000 to 2014 at GH¢ 768,000.00 to GH¢ 14,398,703, and this increase is due to significant increase in the number of registered BECE candidates.
    Mr Speaker, my question is, is that the only reason, has the fee increased, what was the registration fee in the year 2000 and what is the fee today in 2014?
    First Deputy Speaker: Yes, Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the fees has increased as at last year from GH¢ 35.00 to Gh¢50.00 per student and the number has increased as well as the fees tremendously from GH¢35.00 last year to Gh¢50,000 this year.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Do you mean Gh¢50.00 or Gh¢50,000?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:30 a.m.
    Gh¢50.00
    Dr (Nana) Arthur 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Question has not been answered please. The Answer that has been given; I am asking about the fee for the year 2000 and the year 2014. He is saying from last year and last year was not 2000 please.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, do you get his question? He is asking for the fees as at those periods.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would need notice to come back and give the Answer to him.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member.
    Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi 10:30 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in his response said that, his Ministry has adopted social intervention programmes which have resulted in a tremendous increase in the resources that go to capitation grants, school uniforms, exercise books and school feeding programmes.
    Can the Minister apprise us with information on how many months the school feeding programme is in arrears to caterers and how many months the capitation grant is in arrears to the various recipient schools?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, I believe this question will be properly addressed by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. They handle the School Feeding Programme if I am not mistaken.
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 10:30 a.m.
    What about the Capitation Grant?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Very well, I do not know who handles it. Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Capitation is in arrears for only one term and we are making strenuous efforts to pay.
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh 10:30 a.m.
    None

    First Deputy Speaker: Yes, Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, quite recently and consistently, Government Officials have been using the phrase “as and when funds are available”. I wish to know from the Minister, what his outfit is doing to ensure that funds are released and not just the release but adequate and timeous release of funds to a sector as important as Basic Education. What is the Hon Deputy Minister actually doing?
    Thank you.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Minister for Finance would be the appropriate person to know about the finances of the Ministry of Education.
    First Deputy Speaker: Yes, Hon.
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, still on the issue of funding, the Hon Minister in his Answer said that they hope to achieve payment of the 100 per cent registration fee as soon as funds are secured.
    Firstly, I would want to know from him, where they are looking for those funds from, whether from the Central Government or from a donor source and whether they have also made any case for it in any of their Budget Statements to the Ministry of Finance?
    First Deputy Speaker: Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I indicated earlier, we have put a Committee in place and by the conclusion of the Committee, we would add it into our programme for the year, and if there are enough funds to cater for that programme, we would roll out that programme.
    First Deputy Speaker: Hon Members, this brings us to the end of that particular Question. The next Question Hon Members, is numbered 96, I believe it stands in the name of Hon Yaw Owusu- Boateng, Member of Parliament for Asene/Akroso/Manso .

    Educational Materials (Supply)

    Q.96. Mr. Yaw Owusu-Boateng asked the Minister for Education whether Basic Schools in the country have been supplied with the following for the 4th Quarter of 2013: (i) Teacher 's Notebooks, (ii) Cumulative Record Cards, (iii) Continuous Assessment Cards, (iv) Chalk, and (v) Capitation Grant?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, there was a peculiar situation last year which affected the procurement and distribution of the above items throughout the year. For instance, the Budget was prepared and submitted to Parliament very late (around March, 2013) instead of November which resulted in the late acquisition of Commencement Certificate from the Ministry of Finance.

    The late acquisition of this Commence- ment Certificate from the Ministry of Finance delayed the procurement process for Chalk, Teachers' Notebooks and Attendance Registers, hence the late deliveries. The items have, however, been supplied to the Basic Schools. The Ministry is taking steps to avoid future occurrence.

    The contents of Cumulative Record Cards, Continuous Assessment Cards and Pupils' Report Cards are still under review, as results were not procured in 2013.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Member, any follow up questions?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:40 a.m.
    Yes. This is an admission that these things were not done on time. What, in your own estimation -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Member, it is the Question that is important.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:40 a.m.
    I am coming on to the Question please. So I am just building on the comments that I made, with all due respect.
    What in your own estimation as a Minister, are the effects on quality education in this country when you have not supplied these materials on time?
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Mojority Leader.
    Mr Agbesi 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that Question is seeking the opinion of the Minister and I think that it is not appropriate under the rules to ask of the personal opinion of a Minister. So that Question should be --
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:40 a.m.
    What are the effects of non- supply of these materials?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    We roled out mitigative measures last year -- [Interruption] -- I will come to that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, please address the Chair.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have some schools which are under a Donor- funding programme and we asked them to use part of their funding to procure some of these items. As a matter of fact, we are all concerned, that is why I indicated that, we are trying to put up a system, whereby just after election, where we know budget would be submitted to this House very late, we would do the purchases prior to the elections, so that we try to avoid such a situation in the future.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    The Question has to do more with the effects on the programme for the schools.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we admit that it has tremendous effect on quality education -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, if you do not have the floor please do not interject.
    Yes Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, We admit that it has a tremendous effect on quality education and for that matter, we are putting systems in place to forestall that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Member do you have any follow up question?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:40 a.m.
    Sure. Although I am not satisfied with the Answer, I will still ask another question.
    Can the Minister promise us that they have actually paid capitation grant for one academic year, and that chalk and other things that I am asking of have actually been supplied? Has adequate supply been made?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Yes Hon Minister.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have already indicated that.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:40 a.m.
    I think these things are not adequately supplied because, I made my check country wide and it has not been done.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Member, you know the rules. It is questions that you have to ask. I believe you have exhausted your supplementary questions?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:40 a.m.
    I have three, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Your last question.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 10:40 a.m.
    So, what level of review has gone on as far as continuous assessment cards, pupils' records cards and cumulative records cards have been done?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have used the continuous assessment and the continuous review cards for quite a long time since the inception of school reforms; and for that matter, we have asked the Ghana Education Service to review the process and they are in the process of doing that to come out with new forms which would be distributed to schools.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Hon Deputy Minister, can you tell the entire House what Peculiar situation caused the delay in the purchase of a basic teaching material such as chalk? Can you tell this entire House?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Member, I think he has given the reason. The reason is embodied in the Answer.
    Yes, Hon Member.
    Mr Simon Osei-Mensah 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you very much Mr Speaker, I wish to find out from the Deputy Minister the discrepancies or problems that they identified as associated with the content of the cumulative records cards, continuous assessment cards and pupils' report cards that culminated in the need for the review.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, some of these have a lot of information on it and some schools do not even use it at all. Some schools do not use it.
    Mr Osei-Mensah 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just give me a supplementary question.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. We are told in the last paragraph of the Answer to Question 96 that, because of these problems the procurement could not be carried out.
    Mr Speaker, while they did not do the procurement, how were these activities carried out by the various schools?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, procure- ments are done at the Ministry of Education for that matter, the Ghana Education Service. It is not done in the various schools. It is done and distributed to various schools across the country.
    Mr Osei-Mensah 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think he never got my question. What I mean here is that, cumulative record cards have a purpose and it is meant for specific activity. If you take a continuous assessment card it also has a purpose and meant for a particular activity. Now that they did not procure them, how were these records gathered? That is what I would want to know.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    I believe you understand the question, Hon Deputy Minister? These items are for specific purposes. So for the period that they were not available because of delay
    in procurement process, how did the Ministry fill in the lacuna?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have already indicated that we are taking a second look at that and for that matter, we do not want to buy all these supplies and we will not use them. We will wait -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    No, Hon Minister, he is talking about what happened to the system when these things were not available at the time. What steps did you take, for example to save the situation?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:40 a.m.
    It is a template and teachers across the country can use note books to gather information. When we finally take steps to buy them we can transpose them into the cumulative records cards and continuous assessment cards.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Minister.
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister, in the last paragraph of this Answer says that, the cumulative records were not procured in 2013 and that, they were under review. I would want to know from him, we are in June and June is about ending; next week, we would enter July 2014.
    When are they going to finish the review and when is procurement going to start? This is because we lost it for the whole of 2013 and we are about losing it for the whole of 2014. So, when specifically are they going to do the procurement and as you asked, in its place, what is being done to make sure that the children are properly assessed? This is because the assessment is also used as an input for their grading; so what is being done in place of that?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry would ask the Committee and for that matter, the GES who are looking at the cumulative record cards and continuous assessment, the Ministry would ask them to hasten to submit their findings and we would take the necessary steps. While we wait, as I have already indicated, it is a template and various schools are making do with what they have. Continuous assessment and cumulative cards are supplied to schools and some still have copies of these cards to use until we finally take a decision.
    rose
    Dr (Nana) Ato Arthur 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Question 96(v) among others talks about Capitation Grant but if you refer to the Answer, there is nothing about it; so silent on that. What is the state of the Capitation Grant with regard to the Question?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was trying to recount the number of social intervention programmes which we have, which includes the Capitation Grant; that is why Capitation Grant was mentioned in my Answer.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Awuah 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it looks as if my good Friend, the Hon Deputy Minister, did not get the Question very well. In the main body of the Question, the questioner wanted to know the status of the implementation of the Capitation Grant.
    Unfortunately, in the Answer, no mention was made of it, so he wanted to know why it was left out and if the Hon Minister could tell us the status as of now.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have already indicated that we have only last term arrears to pay.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    We would move on the next Question but I am reliably informed that, the Hon Member who filed Question number 94 is now in the Chamber so we would go back to Question number 94 and continue with the rest.
    Hon Member for Hemang Lower Denkyira, Hon Joseph Foster Andoh?
    Non-Payment of Salaries for Fourteen (14) Untrained Teachers
    (Twifo Hemang Denkyira District)
    Q. 94. Mr Joseph Foster Andoh (Hemang/ Lower Denkyira) asked the Minister for Education whether she is aware that fourteen (14) untrained teachers in the Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira District had not been paid since 2009 when they were recruited and if so, what immediate steps the Ministry is taking to ensure that the salaries are paid.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry is aware that these fourteen (14) untrained teachers in the Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira District have not yet been paid. The payment of the salaries of these teachers has delayed mainly due to controversies over their recruitment between the former District Director of Education who started the process of their recruitment and the new District Director of Education who took over from the old one.
    However, the Input Forms for these teachers were finally processed in April 2014 by the GES and Staff Identification Numbers have been generated for 12 out of the 14 who have been confirmed to be at post.
    As part of the requirements specified in the 2014 Budget Guidelines, Financial Clearance is currently being sought from the Ministry of Finance to enable Controller and Accountant General's Department to complete validation process and commence payment of their salaries.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, any follow up question?
    Mr Andoh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Deputy Minister whether they are going to pay the teachers all the accrued salary arrears.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Member?
    Mr Andoh 10:50 a.m.
    I thank the Hon Deputy Minister for assuring us that all the salaries are going to be paid but I would want to find out when.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it has moved from the GES to the Ministry of Finance and the Controller and Accountant General and I cannot answer for them now.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Baffour Awuah?
    Mr Awuah 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Deputy Minister for Education that, is he aware that the Minister for Finance came here and said that all payments relating to arrears, especially, for the teaching profession would not be more than three months payment yet these persons were recruited in 2009. So, counting, it means that, the outstanding salaries is for over a period of five years, so how -- and he says that he is going to pay; so I would want him to reconcile the statement of the Minister for Finance and what he is saying now. How much of the arrears is going to be paid?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is exception to that rule. If we are able to prove with documents that you were employed long before the law, you would go through a process before the necessary forms and you would be paid.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, we move on to the next Question which stands in the name of Hon Hennric David Yeboah, Afigya-Sekyere East.
    GETFund-Funded School Buildings of Kona Methodist and Wiamoase Saviour
    Primary Schools (Completion)
    Q. 97. Mr Hennric David Yeboah(Afigya- Sekyere East) asked the Minister for Education when would the GETFund- funded school buildings at Kona Methodist Primary School and Wiamoasi Saviour Primary School be completed.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the projects at Kona Methodist Primary and Wiamoase Saviour Primary School are expected to be completed by the end of the year. The project at Wiamoase was awarded on contract in 2008 at a Contract Sum of GH¢ 118,848.91 to be completed in 2009. The percentage of work done is estimated at 43 per cent.
    The project at Kona Methodist Primary School was also awarded on contract in 2007 at a contract sum of GH¢ 79,998.42 to be completed in 2008. The percentage of work done is estimated at 34 per cent.
    Both projects have witnessed delays. The Ministry is compiling a list of all such projects and a task force has been put together to help the Ministry rationalise and complete many of these projects with the available resources. It is clear from the report of the task force that, these delays are caused by the following;
    Slow progress of work of the contractors
    Unprofessional conduct of some of the supervising consultants
    Untimely release of funds
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, any follow up question?
    11. 00 a.m.
    Mr Yeboah 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Minister, Kona Methodist school is about seven years now, when you calculate from 2007 till now. Wiamoasi is about six years now. When the New Democratic Congress (NDC) came into power, they said that they were going to continue any unfinished project, done by the NPP, but six to seven years now, these projects are left unattended to --[Interruptions.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    I thought that the Answer had been provided.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have already indicated that in construction, we have three actors. At times it is the fault of the contractors, the consultants and at times the late release of funds. That is why the Ministry's task force is going round to come out with how to finish all these projects before we start new ones.
    If you look at the GETFund formula for this year, a sizable amount of money was put into it, to complete all these projects. That is why I have indicated that we would do our best to complete these projects.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Yeboah 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he said that the Wiamoase one is about 43%, and the Kona is 34%. The buildings are all at the same level, they need plastering, ceiling, windows, and then screeding to finish.
    So, what does he mean by 43% and
    34% ?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is why I informed the House that we have sent a technical team who have eyes to come out with estimates. That is the information they brought to the Ministry, and I cannot explain because I am not a technical person.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, your last follow-up question.
    Mr Yeboah 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Deputy Minister said that both schools were expected to be completed by the end of the year. Meaning that in six months' time, both schools would be completed.
    I would want you to assure us that by six months' time, both schools would be completed for Afigya-Sekyere constituency.
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have already indicated that, barring unforeseen circumstances are expected. We have enough amount of money set aside, as indicated earlier to complete not only Kona and Wiamoase but some other projects across the country.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Members, we move on to the next Question.
    The next Question stands in the name of the Hon Boniface Gambila Adagbila of Nabdam.

    Construction of Classroom blocks/ Domitories for the Kongo SHS

    ( Resumption of project, completion and its handover for use)

    Q. 98 Mr James Cecil Yanwube (on behalf of Mr Boniface Gambila Adagbila) asked the Minister for Education if the Ministry is aware that work on the construction of classroom blocks and dormitories for the Kongo Senior High School has ceased and if so, when work will resume and the project be completed and handed over for use.

    Deputy Minister for Education (Mr Alex Kyeremeh)(on behalf of the Minister for Education (Prof. Naana Jane Opoku- Agyemang): Mr. Speaker, Kongo Senior High School has a number of ongoing projects being funded with GETFund Resources. These are shown below;

    An 18-unit classroom block which was awarded in July, 2011 and expected to be completed by July, 2012 at a contract sum of GH¢ 900,000.00. Work done so far on the project is 25 per cent and the contractor has also been paid an amount of GH¢ 130,810.73 for work done.

    Kitchen/dining hall awarded in July 2011 at a contract sum of GH¢ 709,686.28 and expected to be completed by July, 2012. An amount of GH¢ 350,169.63 has been paid to the contractor for work done. The percentage of work done is estimated at 40 per cent.

    Dormitory block awarded in November, 2012 at a contract sum of GH¢ 937,083.52 to be completed in December, 2013. Work done on the project so far is estimated at 40 per cent and the contractor has been paid an amount of GH¢ 580,112.08 for work done.

    2-Storey dormitory block which was initially a 6-unit classroom block and was converted to a 2-storey dormitory block at a revised contract sum of GH¢ 1,131,770.09. Awarded in 2010, the project was expected to be completed in 2011. The percentage of work done so far is 80 per cent. and an amount of GH¢ 907,912.02 has been paid for work done to the contractor.

    The Ministry is aware that work on three (3) out of the mentioned projects has temporary ceased and this is due to the reasons as stipulated above. However, provisions have now been made available and the contractors are expected to resume work by July, 2014 and complete by early 2015.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, any follow up question?
    Mr Yanwube 10:50 a.m.
    Yes please. I would want to know from the Minister, that what stopped the work abruptly in 2012? What were the reasons that caused the contract work to be stopped abruptly?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we would have to investigate why the work stopped. This is because I have already indicated that it may be the fault of the contractor, the consultant, or as a result of fund flow. --[Interruption.]
    Mr Yanwube 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he is using “maybe”, what is the meaning of “maybe”?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Kyeremeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not sure, that is why I am trying to come out with those-- because we have identified the three actors as their sources of delay in project management. So, we need to make sure, whether the fault was from the contractor , inactive consultants, or funds flow.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Any more follow up questions?
    Mr Yanwube 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the issue is this: if the Deputy Minister does not know the Answer, he better tell us, because we would want him to tell us whether it is this or that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon Member, you would have to ask a question. He has indicated that these are the possible causes. So if you want him to answer specifically, then you would need to give him notice. He would come with the real cause of the delay.
    Otherwise, if you have any further Questions, please you ask them.
    Mr Yanwube 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, there is one further question I would like him to answer.
    He said money had been made available for the completion of the work; may I know when the money was made available.
    Mr Kyeremeh 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is captured in this year's GETFund formula; an amount is set aside for completion of ongoing projects, so he could make himself available and I would give him a copy of the GETFund formula and he would look through it. He would realise that there is a fund set aside in this year's GETFund formula for the completion of all the ongoing projects.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Baffour Awuah.
    Mr Awuah 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister gave specific detail of four different projects, and I would want to go through an observation I have made in all four cases.
    In the case of the first project, which is an 18-unit classroom block, he said that work done was about 25 per cent, contract sum is GH¢900,000.00, amount paid so far
    is GH¢130, 810. 73, which works to 14 per cent of the contract sum. It means that they have been paid 14 per cent of the contract sum for a work of 25 per cent done.
    If you come to the kitchen/dining hall, the contract sum is GH¢709,686.28 and the amount paid is GH¢350,169.63. Work done is 40 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, in the case of the dormitory block, contract sum is GH¢937,083.52, work done is 40 per cent, and amount paid is GH¢508,112.08.
    In the case of the last one, contract sum is GH¢1,131,770.09 , amount paid is GH¢907,912.02, and work done is 80 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, if you look through the work done and the payments made, you would see that in the case of some of the projects, they had been paid over and above the work done; in the case of some others, they are paid far below the work done.
    What yardstick do they use in effecting payments for works done?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Kyeremeh 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this has just come to my attention, and would need time to calculate for myself, to be able to get back to him in due course.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    All right, Hon Members, I think this brings us to the end to Question time.
    Hon Deputy Minister, thank you for attending upon this House; you are discharged.
    Hon Members, at the commencement of Public Business: presentation of Papers.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can take item number 5.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Item number 5, Hon Members?
    Chairman of the Committee, joint Committee of Finance and Roads and Transports?
    Mr James K. Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Paper is not ready.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Very well. Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can go to
    item number 8.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Very well,

    Yes, Hon Member of the Committee? Hon Member Order! Order!, let us have

    some Order in the House.
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 11:10 a.m.

    STAGE 11:10 a.m.

    Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move,
    new clause, add the following new clause:
    “Review of decision
    (1) An applicant dissatisfied with a decision of the Commissioner- General under section 14(4) may file an application with the Commissioner-General for a review of the decision.
    (2) The application shall state the grounds for the review of the decision of the Commissioner- General.
    (3) The application for the review shall be filed within thirty days from the date of receipt of the decision of the Commissioner- General.
    (4) Despite subsection (3), an applicant may by written application, request for extension of time to file the application for review of the decision.
    (5) An application made under subsection (4) shall specify the grounds for the request.
    (6) The Commissioner-General may, where satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the extension of time, grant an application made under subsection (5) and serve notice of the decision on the applicant within thirty days from the date of receipt of the application.
    (7) An applicant dissatisfied with the decision of the Commissioner- General on the review under subsection (1) may apply to the Minister within thirty days from the date of receipt of the decision.”
    Mr Speaker, the new clause becomes necessary because of the clause 14 subsection(4), where the Commissioner- General refuses to register an applicant, and where he gives --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon Members let us have some Order. The Chairman of the Committee has the floor, let us listen to him.
    Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
    Where he gives reason for the refusal, the new clause gives the opportunity for the applicant to ask for a review of the decision and if still he is not satisfied with the review, he can go further to apply to the Minister for the review of the decision of the Commissioner-General.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Ms Sarah A. Safo 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I humbly want to propose a further amendment to subsection 5, where it reads;
    “An application made under subsection (4) shall specify the grounds for the request”
    I am proposing that it should be “the grounds for application” and not “the grounds for a request”, because the request is made by way of an application.
    Mr Speaker, you know in private practice, the usual terminology is “an application or ground for an application or grounds for an appeal” it is not “grounds for a request” but the request rather is made in the form of an application.
    At the beginning of the section, it mentions “application”. So if we are talking about grounds, then it should be related to the application and not the request.
    Thank you
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman?
    Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is well noted, I think we should change it to “application”
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Very well. Hon Members -- Yes?
    Mr Simon Osei-Mensah 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out the difference between the grounds of application as stated in subclauses (2) and (5). This is because in subclause (2), Mr Speaker, we have “The application shall state the grounds for the review” and when you come to the subclause (5) again, we have “ An application made under subsection (4) shall specify the grounds for the request”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the difference is that, subsection (5) is referring to the grounds of the application for the extension of the time and the subsection (2) is referring to the grounds for the review of the decision.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, are you satisfied with the explanation?
    Mr Osei-Mensah 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Very well.
    Mr William O. Boafo 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Chairman whether he has departed from his consistency to ensure that in administrative matters, he does not use the word “grant” but “approve”? Since this is an administrative level, would he change from “approval” to “grant” -- “approval of an application” to “grant of an application”?
    We raised this issue and he said for consistency purposes, he would like the expression “approve” to be used, which has been used throughout the Bill.
    I would want to find out from him why there is the need for it to be changed from “approve” to “grant'?
    Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, for the purpose of consistency, we changed the “grant” to “approve”. So, the new rendition for subsection (6) will read:
    Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.


    “The Commissioner-General may, where satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the extension of time, approve an application made under subsection

    (5)…”

    Mr Speaker, I so move.
    Mr Boafo 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the last time that this new clause was being considered, we drew the Hon Chairman's attention to the fact that he had given the right to apply for further review to the Minister, but he has not limited the period within which the Minister is to take the decision. The right of the Minister to decide on the matter is unending and it could be used to frustrate an applicant.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Chairman of the Committee, I hope you get the point that the Hon Member is making, that there should be some time line.
    Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I got the point. That is the last appeal process that the applicant shall utilise. If there is an offer for him to go beyond the Minister, then a time limit is important, so that after that time limit, he can go further beyond the Minister. That is the last point but it would not change anything if we give the Minister a time within which he can respond to the application.
    It is also all right that we limit that to the same thirty days that we are giving to the Commissioner-General. So, we would draft a new rendition and then look at it before we take the vote.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Very well. I think it is in order, otherwise it would be ad infinitum and there would be no telling the kind of abuse that could emanate therefrom.
    Hon Chairman, do I understand you to be saying that we defer the consideration of this particular new clause, go ahead with it and then you would take care of the time line with regard to the period within which the Minister should respond? Do I get you to be saying that we should go ahead with this new clause?
    Very well.
    Hon Members, then I will put the Question --
    Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would want to come out with a new subclause (8) that will read as follows:
    “The Minister shall make a determination under subsection (7) within thirty days and communicate same to the application”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Which one comes first? He or she makes a determination within thirty days, and how soon thereafter should it be communicated to the applicant? We need to be very clear on those issues.
    Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, should I take it again?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes. Kindly take it again.
    Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that add this new subclause:
    “(8) The Minister shall make a determination of the request made under subsection (7) within thirty days and communicate same to the applicant”.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if it pleases the Chairman, the determination should be made within thirty days but the
    communication should be within two weeks; separates the two. To ‘determine' and ‘communicate' -- so I think if I can further amend it to read:
    “…determine within thirty days and communicate same within fourteen days”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Very well. Are we ad idem?
    Ms Safo 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that we should be specific on the form the communication should take, that it? shall be in writing within fourteen days so that telephone or any other communication would not be acceptable.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Very well. Hon Chairman, are we all right with it. Are we not with this further amendment?
    Yes.
    Question put and Amendment agreed to.
    New clause as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Ms Safo 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is on a point of information to the Hon Chairman of the Committee. In an earlier submission that he made, he said that this process ends with the Minister. But Mr Speaker, that is not rightly so, because administratively it ends with the Minister, but there is a right to seek redress in a competent court of jurisdiction. It is only by convention that we do not repeat such avenues in our Bills, but it is still an open avenue to whoever the applicant is. So it does not end with the Minister.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Well, I think that is what we all understand the situation to be. With the administrative process, that is it, but your right to go to the court is not shut if the need arises.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, I direct that the draftspersons take care of this new clause and clean it up for us.
    Question put and agreed to.
    The Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    This brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I guess it is about time we considered the visit of the Rt Hon Speaker from Benin. So, we can reconstitute the House into a Committee of the Whole as advertised.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Dr Akoto Osei?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, it looks like there is a two way communication between the Speaker and the Majority Leader. He got up to speak but we did not hear what he said. So we are sitting and do not know what is going on.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    I am sorry, Hon Dr Akoto Osei, when you were given the floor, I was receiving advice from the Clerk.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my point was that, you called the Majority Leader and he spoke, but none of us heard what he said so we are a bit confused as to what is going on.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, I believe that because quite a number of us were talking, we did not hear him. But I would ask him to go over what he said, that notwithstanding.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to draw Hon Member's attention to item 10 on page 17 of the Order Paper. Today is Wednesday, 18 th of June and we are expecting the House to be addressed by the Rt Hon Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Benin.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Member.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number -- [Interruption.]
    Dr Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
    I see what you mean.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    Wednesday, 18th June,
    2014.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
    There is a typographical error.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    So it was last week? [Laughter.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, I think it is a typographical error and I direct that the necessary correction be effected accordingly.

    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip.
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you very much. I just wanted to draw your attention so that you tell the Media to stay. Even though it is a Committee of the Whole, we are not clearing the gallery because the Speaker is to Address this House. We wanted him to Address us in an appropriate manner and that is why we
    are moving into the Committee of the Whole but not to clear the gallery. So those in the gallery can stay. The cameras can stay; the Media would have the opportunity to cover the speech of the Speaker of the Republic of Benin.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Dr Akoto Osei?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, under normal circumstances, the Majority Chief Whip should be making a request to you.
    You said those in the gallery may stay.
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:30 a.m.
    Sorry, Mr Speaker, I thought when I started, I said I was drawing your attention and pleading that you allow them to stay. If the understanding was not clear, I am sorry. I was only seeking the Speaker's guidance to that.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the request of the Majority Chief Whip is really unnecessary. Unless the Speaker otherwise orders, proceedings of this House, either in plenary or Committee of the Whole, is open. Committee of the Whole does not necessarily mean that it should not be open. So, I believe that your request may not be all that necessary.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I observed that the Press was packing out, because usually when we announce a
    Committee of the Whole, they pack out. That was why I sort to draw your attention to draw their attention that they could stay. That was why I was doing that.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Very well, point well taken. Ex abundante cautela. They should remain. [Pause.]
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought it was conventional that when any other language except English is spoken, it is translated so that those of us who do not understand it would understand what is going on.
    I read Latin in school but I think --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Very well, “out of the abundance of caution”, that is what it means. [Pause.]
    Hon Majority Leader, while we are at it, I see advertised in the Order Paper: The Plant Breeders Bill, 2013 -- At the Consideration Stage. Where do we stand as far as that is concerned?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we keep moving forward and backwards on it: so we have referred all the documents in relation to the petitions on the Bill to the Committee, and they are to come out with a first preliminary report which would indicate how we proceed. This is because we keep receiving all sorts of media publications which seem to be sending us back even over matters that had been resolved by the Committee.
    So we are entreating the Committee. We have had a discussion with the Chairman to clear all those pending petitions once and for all and advise the House, and we would proceed.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    While we wait for the Speaker to come in, yesterday, a referral was made to the Finance Committee on a Loan Application. I think it may be prudent to revisit that and refer it to a joint Committee so that we deliberate properly. I think it was Local Government or Works and Housing, I am not sure. But I thought it would be prudent to do that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Well, I do not think I was in the Chamber at the time. I was at the Committee meeting so I would need to be apprised -- [Pause.]
    MR SPEAKER
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, the House now Sits in a Committee of the Whole.

    Hon Members, it is my singular honour to introduce to you our distinguished visitor, His Excellency, Prof. Mathurin Coffi Nago, President of the National Assembly of Benin and current Chairman of the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments of West African States.

    His Excellency, Prof. Mathurin Coffi Nago, is accompanied by a-ten (10) Member delegation from the National Assembly of Benin. They are:

    Madame Amoudatou AHLONSOU -- Member of Parliament

    Monsieur Emile TOSSOU -- Member of Parliament

    Monsieur Evariste SINKPOTA -- Member of Parliament

    Monsieur Julien HOUNKPE -- Legislative Advisor

    Monsieur Kouassi GUIDI -- Head of Protocol

    Madame Florine NAGO -- Asst. to Head of Protocol

    Monsieur Antonin Grégoire DOSSA -- Head of Security

    Monsieur Henri ZINWOTA -- Chef Service Communication

    Monsieur Firmin GBEKAN -- Attaché de Presse

    Monsieur Pascal ZOHOUN -- Cadreur.

    On behalf of this august House and indeed, on my own behalf, I extend to them the warmest welcome of the people of Ghana who are ably represented by the Hon Members of Parliament assembled in this Chamber.

    It is important to acknowledge this visionary leadership and foresight of the late Mr Justice Daniel Francis Annan, Speaker of the First and Second Parliaments of the Fourth Republic of Ghana and his colleague Speakers of West Africa at the time, who laid the foundation for and established this Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments of West African States.

    Those of you Hon Members who have survived several election cycles would recall that the Inaugural Meeting of the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments of West African States was held in Accra in our Parliament, specifically in the Speakers Conference Room in the year 1999. Subsequent meetings of the Conference were held in

    Ouagadougou in the year 2000 and in Abuja in the year 2001.

    These initiatives, which aimed at building legislative harmony in pursuit of the wellbeing of the citizens of the Community, were extremely significant as they preceded the establishment of the ECOWAS Parliament.

    Unfortunately, the Conference entered a dormant state after the exit of its pioneers. It is therefore, heartwarming, that through the efforts of His Excellency, Prof. Mathurin Coffi Nago and His Excellency Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, who jointly hosted us to an excellent and rewarding Meeting in Abuja in September, 2013, the Conference is being re-activated and consolidated through practical preparatory steps including the commencement of the process of drafting a Charter.

    We have indeed, taken the opportunity of His Excellency's visit to deliberate on ways of further deepening the already strong and mutually beneficial bilateral relations existing between our two countries and in particular, our two Parliaments. Indeed, last year, I did honour an invitation extended to me by His Excellency the President of the National Assembly to address the Opening Session of the National Assembly of Benin.

    Hon Members, those of you who have been in this House for more than a decade would recall that in the year 2004, I was a Member of the Ghana Parliamentary Delegation which honoured a similar invitation to the Opening Session of the National Assembly of Benin and thereafter engaged in sports diplomacy. Those were exciting historic moments when Ghana's

    Parliamentary Football Team fielded stars such as the current Minority Leader in a football match with their Beninois counterparts.

    I would end my introductory remarks by re-iterating our sincere welcome to our distinguished visitors to Ghana and to our historic Chamber. May I take this opportunity to say some few words about the Speaker of the Benin Parliament.

    Prior to becoming the Speaker, he was the Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Professional Studies in 2006.

    Prof. Coffi Nago is a celebrated scholar in Africa and he had a number of counterparts in our respective universities here. He is a founding member of the National Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in Benin.

    From 1988 to 2000, he was the Vice President of the African Council of Food and Nutrition.

    He served as a Member of the Steering Committee of the International Nutrition Planners Forum from 1991 to 1995 and since 1980, he has been a Member of the Association for the Advancement of Agricultural Sciences in Africa.

    He has been a Member of the International Union of Nutrition Sciences since 1985.

    Prof. Coffi Nago holds a Doctorate Degree with specialization in Industrial Food Biochemistry from the University of Paris, Ensia and a Doctorate in the Sciences from the University of Paris, Denis Diderot.
    ADDRESS 11:50 a.m.

    Mr Speaker noon
    Hon Members, in line with the practice of this House, I would invite the Leaders from both sides to make brief remarks.
    We would start from the Minority side.
    Mr Speaker noon


    Deputy Minority Whip (Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah): Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Hon Minority Leader, I would want to thank His Excellency the President of the General Assembly of the Republic of Benin, first for his visit to Ghana and secondly, for addressing this august House.

    We thank him for all that he said and I do recall one particular point that he made, that he wants to see an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as ECOWAS of people but not ECOWAS of nations.

    My understanding is that, he wants to see more integration among the people of ECOWAS and for me, he could not have said it any better than the way he did. We are so grateful to him.

    I looked at his programme in Ghana and I realized that he had time to be with the Beninois community in Ghana which shows that there is a considerable number of his nationals in Ghana, so as perhaps we may have a similar situation in Benin; having Ghanaians over there. So, the ECOWAS of “people” has already begun and I would want to believe that as Legislators, we would do our best to give real meaning to this call that he made.

    We are so grateful and we want to believe that the objective of establishing a common Conference for Speakers of West African States would come to fruition and we, on our part, will give him all our support to make sure that this is done.

    We also want to believe that this would create a very nice platform for our two Parliaments to integrate, not just to play football but to add other programmes which would bring benefits to our people.

    On this note, I would want to say that we thank him for addressing us.
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    The Majority side.
    Majority Leader (Mr Benjamin Bewa- Nyog Kunbuor) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to join my Colleague, the Deputy Minority Whip to thank the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Benin.
    I have had the benefit of meeting him in a number of international fora, and I have had the benefit of sitting in, in the preliminary technical discussions that took place, and I have no doubt that the President of the Benin National Assembly has a very strong passion for sub-regional integration and the integration beyond State institutions to the people of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region.
    Definitely, historically and traditionally, the Republic of Benin and the Republic of Ghana have many things in common. Whether we call it the Empire of Dahomey, present day Ghana was emerged in it. Almost the whole of Ghana was also part of the Benin Empire. Whether you call it Dahomey or Benin, that cultural relationship between Ghana and the people of Benin is a very strong one.
    I definitely share all the concerns that have been raised but I guess as the President himself has observed, that we must move beyond the rhetoric of integration and begin to put in place the mechanisms that make sub-regional and regional integration meaningful. This has started in earnest but more with the Executive arm of Government and Administrative bodies.
    The biggest tool for regional integration has always been harmoni- sation and we seem to be harmonising in
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, once again, on your behalf, I would want to join the Leaders in thanking the President of the National Assembly of Benin for his Address. I believe that it will go a very long way in deepening the already cordial relationship between the two countries and the two Parliaments.
    Mr Speaker, we are most grateful.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Committee of the Whole.
    Hon Majority Leader.
    Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor 12:10 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, in the light of the number of Committee meetings and the ceremonial nature of today's activities, I beg to move, that the House be adjourned to tomorrow, Thursday in the forenoon.
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, Motion moved and seconded.
    I want the Leadership to join me in the Speaker's Lobby.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:10 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.15 p.m. till Thursday, 26th June 2014 at 10.00 a.m.