Debates of 7 Nov 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:40 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:40 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Members, we also have the Official Report of Tuesday, 4th November, 2014 for correction.
Mr Fritz F. Baffour 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to make some corrections to my Statement.
Column 53, the first paragraph, the last words: “that created this friction”; it should be “that created this nation.” And then column 54, the first paragraph; “that our troops contributed to” not “that our troops contribution to”.
If these corrections could be made.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Very well.

Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Official Report of Tuesday, 4th November, 2014 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Chairman, Business Committee -- Hon Majority Leader?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE 10:40 a.m.

Majority Leader/Chairman of the Business Committee (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 6th November, 2014 and arranged Business of the House for the Second Week ending Friday, 14th November, 2014.
Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 56 (1), the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows:
Arrangement of Business
Question(s)
Mr Speaker, the Committee has programmed the following Ministers to respond to Questions asked of them during the week:
No. of Question(s) i. Minister for Food and Agriculture -- 2 ii. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice -- 1
iii. Minister for the Interior -- 2 iv. Minister for Local Government and Rural Development -- 2 v. Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection -- 1
vi. Minister for Transport -- 1 vii.Minister for Health -- 6 viii. Minister for Roads and Highways -- 6
Total number of Questions -- 21
Mr Speaker, in all, eight (8) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to twenty-one (21) Questions during the week. The Questions are of the following types:
i. Urgent -- 4
ii. Oral -- 17
Statements
Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70(2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Mr. Speaker may also admit Statements to be made in the House by Hon Members in accordance with Order 72.
Bills, Papers and Reports
Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House.
Motions and Resolutions
Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week.
Ministers to brief the House on Ebola
Mr Speaker, the Business Committee wishes to inform Hon Members that the Ministers for Health and Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration are expected to brief the House on measures being taken by Government to protect the citizenry against the Ebola pandemic. In due course, Hon Members would be informed on the date the Ministers would appear in the House.
Mr Speaker, there is an outstanding issue and that issue has to do with the brief by the Minister for Health and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on the state of the prepared- ness of our country to prevent the entry into the country of Ebola and also our readiness to confront and overcome it in case the unlikely event happens with it entering our country. So, I am discussing it with the various Ministers.
I have an indication from the Minister for Health, who is ready and prepared to be before the House next week Friday to brief Members. This is because of some commitments that he is doing for and on behalf of the State during the course of the week. I had to get him to agree to come on Friday but that is subject to the convenience of the House.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, - I am yet to agree with her whether this date is suitable or she would prefer a different time to come and brief the House. We expect a comprehensive brief and we expect some input from Members. This is because Hon Members would be given the opportunity to make comments and remarks.
Conclusion
Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160(2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House, the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week.

Urgent Questions --
Dr Sagre Bambangi (Walewale) 10:50 a.m.
To ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture when the distribution of subsidised fertilisers to farmers will commence in the ongoing cropping season (2014).
Questions --

*227. Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto (Kwadaso): To ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture what practical steps and policy measures the Ministry is taking to reduce the rising cost of import of basic food items like rice, tomatoes, cooking oil, poultry, meat, et cetera.

*201. Mr Frank Boakye Agyen (Effiduase/Asokore): To ask the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice whether there is any plan to upgrade the professional, academic and hierarchical status of the career magistrate.

*164. Mr Mustapha Ussif (Yagaba/ Kubori): To ask the Minister for the Interior when Mamprugu Moaduri District will be given a police station since there is no police station in the district.

*226. Mr Ameen Salifu (Wa East): To ask the Minister for the Interior when Funsi, the district capital, will be provided with a Fire Station.

Statements

Presentation of Papers --

(a) Treaty on the establishment of the Abidjan - Lagos corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of la Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Togo.

(b) Annual Report of the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission for the year 2010.

(c) Annual Report of the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission for the year 2011.

Presentation and First Reading of Bills--

(a) Ghana International Trade Commission Bill, 2014.

(b) Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill, 2014.

Consideration Stage of Bills --

Customs Bill, 2014 (Continuation of debate)

Plant Breeders Bill, 2013 (Continuation of debate)

Committee sittings.

Urgent Question --
Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh (Sunyani East) 10:50 a.m.
To ask the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development when the indebted- ness of the Ghana School Feeding Programme to caterers nationwide will be settled.
Questions --
*230. Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh (Sunyani East): To ask the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development the steps the Ministry is taking to ensure that the Centre for Urban Transportation is operational.
*166. Ms Elizabeth Agyeman (Oforikrom): To ask the Minister for Gender, Children
and Social Protection what measures the Ministry is putting in place to solve the problems of the numerous “Kayayei” in our markets and on the streets of Ghana.
*214. Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (Nsawam-Adoagyiri): To ask the Minister for Transport what plans the Ministry has put in place towards revamping the Accra - Nsawam Railway line.
Statements
Presentation of Papers --
(a) Report of the Auditor-General on the Statement of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payments of the Bank of Ghana for the half-year ended 31st December, 2013.
(b) Performance Audit Report of the Auditor General on the preparedness of Ghana National Fire Service to respond to fire emergencies.
(c) Performance Audit Report of the Auditor General on extension of electricity to 1,200 communities in Ghana.
(d) Financial Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the verification study of Multi- Donor Budgetary Support Inflows (2010 - 2012).
(e) Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the street lighting programme in five regional capitals in Ghana.
(f) Comprehensive Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the audit of Unified Petroleum Price Fund for the period 1st January, 2010 to 31 st December, 2012.
(g) Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana (Consolidated Fund) for the year ended 31 st December, 2013.
(h) Report of the Auditor-General on the management and utilisation of the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) and other statutory funds for the year ended 31st December, 2013.
Motions --
(a) Second Reading of Bills --
Intestate Succession Bill, 2013.
Conduct of Public Officers Bill,
2013.
(b) Adoption of the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament.
Consideration Stage of Bills --
Customs Bill, 2014 (Continuation of debate)
Plant Breeders Bill, 2013 (Continuation of debate)
Committee sittings.

Urgent Questions --
Mr Augustine Collins Ntim (Offinso North) 10:50 a.m.
To ask the Minister for Health how much of the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) has been released to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for the 2014 fiscal year and how much of it has gone into payment of claims to the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) and other health providers.
Questions --
*152. Mr Wahab Wumbei Suhuyini (Tolon): To ask the Minister for Health when the Tolon Health Centre will be upgraded to the status of a district hospital.
*180. Ms Freda Akosua Prempeh (Tano North): To ask the Minister for Health when Yamfo Health Centre will be upgraded to a polyclinic status.
*181. Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi (Tarkwa-Nsuaem): To ask the Minister for Health why the Ministry reverted to the use of the old hospital in Tarkwa which facility was supposed to be used for the training of midwives as directed by the same Ministry.
*216. Mr Augustine Collins Ntim (Offinso North): To ask the Minister for Health what measures have been put in place by the Ministry to ensure that report on the releases of the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) is submitted to Parliament in accordance with Act 852.
*217. Mr Augustine Collins Ntim (Offinso North): To ask the Minister for Health what measures have been put in place by the Ministry to ensure a timely payment of claims to health providers under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Statements --
Consideration Stage of Bills --
Customs Bill, 2014 (Continuation of debate)
Plant Breeders Bill, 2013 (Continua- tion of debate)
Committee sittings.

Urgent Questions --
Mr Ken Ohene Agyapong (Assin Central) 10:50 a.m.
To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways what plans the Ministry has to rehabilitate the Assin Fosu - Twifo Praso road which has been rendered almost impassable to motorists due to heavy rains.
Questions --
*149. Mr George Kofi Arthur (Amenfi Central): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the following roads will be reshaped: (i) Ankwawso -Wratrem (ii) Wratrem -- Hemang (iii) Hemang -- Ohianhyeda/Awunakrom (iv) Juabo-Bongoro (v) Agona -- Gyedua Kesse (vi) Pensano -- Amuni.
*159. Mr Stephen M. E. K. Ackah (Suaman): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Dadieso to Juaboso road via Kwesikrom would be tarred to ease the movement of goods and services.
*160. Mr Stephen M. E. K. Ackah (Suaman): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when Dadieso town roads will be given bituminous surface.
*161. Mr Samuel Ato Amoah (Twifo Atti Morkwa): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Twifo Praso to Assin Fosu road will be constructed.
*162. Mr Wahab Wumbei Suhuyini (Tolon): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the road from Nyankpala junction to Adubilyili on the Tamale - Kumasi road will be given bituminous surface.
Statements
Motions --
Third Reading of Bills
Customs Bill, 2014
Consideration Stage of Bills --
Plant Breeders Bill, 2013 (Continuation of debate)
Intestate Succession Bill, 2013.
Conduct of Public Officers Bill, 2013.
Committee sittings--
Mr Speaker, this is the proposed Business Statement for adoption by Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, I beg to so present and expect Hon Members to unanimously adopt the Business Statement.
Thank you.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member for Kwadaso?
Dr Owusu A. Akoto 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful for admitting my Question, and Hon Bambangi's Urgent Question for Tuesday. Unfortunately, the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs would be in the Northern Region for the whole of the week. So, we shall not be available to ask those Questions and we suggest that these Questions are postponed until the following week, if possible -- [Pause.]
Thank you.
Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on Friday, 14th November, 2014, two Questions are of the same substance, the Urgent Question and the Oral Question. Depending on where one looks at it, an Hon Member asked the same Question starting from Twifo-Praso to Assin Fosu and the other asked the same Question as a normal Question starting from Assin Fosu to Twifo-Praso, substantially on the same road.
Mr Speaker, I need your guidance on it. If we do answer the Urgent Question, are we obliged to answer -- This is because the Answer will be substantially the same for both the Urgent and Oral Questions.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Minister, what you need to do is that, if you take the one that is more comprehensive, then when you come to the other one, you just make one sentence reference to it.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am respectfully seeking your kind guidance.
Dr Matthew O. Prempeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have three issues.
On Tuesday, the Order Paper displayed for Wednesday an Urgent Question for the Hon Minister for Finance to come and answer on the National Health Insurance Levy.

On Tuesday, the Order Paper displayed a Question for Wednesday by the Hon Member for Berekum. It was an Urgent Question calling on the Hon Minister for Finance to come and answer the Question on the releases of the National Health Insurance Levy that has not been arriving forthwith.

Mr Speaker, the second issue has to do with article 181(3) of our Constitution, that implores Government or government institutions which go and solicit loans to seek parliamentary approval.

I am asking the Business Committee to programme the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), which has gone outside the shores of this country, in an international business transaction -- This House has to support exploration

activities of the GNPC, but it has to support within the law and the Constitution.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, you have made your point.

Very well.
Mr Kwaku A. Kwarteng 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to support the point made by Hon Prempeh in respect of loans that the GNPC is known to have contracted. Mr Speaker, why his point is particularly important is that, if we begin to allow the contracting of loans by State institutions to happen without parliamentary approval, simply because -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, the point has been made. It is not a matter before the House. The Hon Member has raised the matter. It is not like the matter has come before the House and somebody is sitting on it. He has just raised it. Let us hear from the Hon Majority Leader and then you have other tools available as an Hon Member of Parliament to pursue the matter.
You know you do not use the backdoor to introduce business that is not before the House. If it is an urgent nature, you raise it and that Hon Member has already raised it. Whatever the Hon Majority Leader would say, other avenues are available to the Hon Member and other
Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, related to the call by Hon Dr Prempeh, is the issue of a function which Parliament is supposed to perform but has not been able to do so or has not been doing for certain reasons.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, have you brought that business and the Business Committee has not programmed it? You see, fundamentally -- So, the Hon Member for Manhyia South --
Dr Appiah-Kubi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, can you let me land? [Uproar.]
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, we are considering the Business Statement presented by the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee. The business that you are talking about is not before -- at least, I take part in the admission of some of these matters but nothing of that nature has come before me. That matter is not before the Business Committee for them to programme it. If you feel strongly about it, you can raise it and they will look at it and that is precisely what the Hon Member for Manhyia South has done.
If you are pursuing the matter as if it has come and somebody is sitting on it or the Business Committee is sitting on it and nobody wants to programme it -- He has raised the issue and that should be it.
Let us listen to the response of the Hon Majority Leader. If you are not
satisfied, you know what to do. But that business is not before the House. He has raised it on the floor of the House and let us listen to the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee first. If you want to bring the matter before the House through some other means, the rules of the House would allow you to do so.
Hon Dr Appiah-Kubi?
Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to raise this issue, so that the Business Committee can make it possible for the National Oil Company to bring its programme of activities before Parliament. It has never done that and I would want to raise that issue with the Business Committee to make it possible for that company to bring its programme of activities for our oversight. That is all.
Thank you.
Mr Justice J. Appiah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is in connection with the Members of Parliament's Offices. The year is getting to an end -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Is that part of the Business Committee?
Mr J. J. Appiah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I will -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
No, please.
Hon Member, you are out of order.
Hon Majority Leader, you may respond to the issues raised.
Mr Bagbin 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on the issue of the National Health Insurance Levy, the Committees on Health and Finance have been keeping an eye on it. The issue of
Dr Prempeh 11:10 a.m.
Sorry, Hon Majority Leader. This Question was also featured on Tuesday's Order Paper, not as an Urgent Question. Besides that, the Urgent Question that had been featured for Wednesday was a specific one. So, yes, there are two Questions of similar nature but they are different. It has not appeared. I understand if you say we should allow the Minister for Health, but they were different Questions; that is what I am saying.
Mr Bagbin 11:10 a.m.
Yes, we thought that if the Urgent Question is that comprehensive, where the Minister will come to give us information on all that, there was no need to bring the Minister for Finance. But if during the interchange, there is the need for us to bring in the Minister for Finance, the Business Committee will programme that for the House.
Mr Speaker, we only programme business that comes before the House. My attention was drawn by the Hon Member for Manhyia South to the issue of GNPC going out for loans without seeking parliamentary approval. As a son of mine, I noted it down seriously.
I thought that the Committee could take up this matter too and Hon Members have other instruments to do that.
Once the matter is not yet before the House, we cannot programme it. But the relevant Committee could bring in the GNPC to the Committee as part of their oversight responsibility -- or even the Committee on State Enterprises could also do same.
So, there are other instruments that we could use to get information. The individual Member of Parliament could also request that they appear to give some information. When that is done and there is the need for business to come to the House and it is brought, the Business Committee will now programme it for the whole House. So, these instruments are there to be used by Hon Members.
I have noted the concern raised by the Hon Member for Kwadaso and we will try to see how we can re-programme them appropriately for the Committee. Our attention was not drawn to the fact that you will not be available on that day.
Now, the issue of the security situation in Nkwanta South. A Statement is being presented to kick-start the issue. So, that Statement will be made by a Member of Parliament and we could take it from there. If there are some issues lingering and we need the Hon Minister to come and brief the House, why not? The Business Committee is at your disposal to programme that business for the Hon Minister to come and respond to our queries.
Mr Speaker, these are all the issues they have raised and appropriately, the Business Committee has noted them and we will see what we can do during the course of the week.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Dr Prempeh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader, as the Chairman of the Business Committee, has explained the other instruments available to pursue the mattter I so raised. The only caveat is that, our Standing Orders preclude matters not specifically referred by the Speaker to Committees from being brought into the plenary.
I totally agree that Questions can be asked or urgent things can be done, but this goes to the fundamental issue of the Constitution, article 181 (3). That is why I was urging your honourable self to direct the Business Committee to programme the GNPC or for that matter, the Minister for Energy and Petroleum to come and answer that Question.
Mr Speaker, it is not probably right for that to happen if it violates our Constitution.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, do you want to say something to what he has just said?
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, at the heart of the issue being raised by my Colleague, the Hon Member for Manhyia South, is the urgency of a matter of national importance, such as this suddenly arising and the Standing Orders provide that:
“A Question shall not be asked without notice unless it is of an urgent character relating either to a matter of public importance or the arrangement of business, and by prior leave of Mr Speaker.”
That is Standing Order 64 (1).
Now, what is meant by notice is defined in Standing Order 64 (2). So, the issue is the urgency of the matter. However, beyond all these things, the leave of Mr Speaker is required for a matter to be introduced into Parliament, that is into plenary. The issue then is, if a Question is filed without notice, that is, passing through the channels as defined by Standing Order 64 (2), we can have that urgency attached to the situation that is being related to.
We should be informed appropriately by this process, so that if anything of an urgent nature arises, we could find a way of dealing with it. This is because indeed, and in truth, the nation should be concerned about the resort to this borrowing by GNPC-- the one billion that they are trying to source.
Mr Speaker, my information is that, they are trying to do this with such a degree of alacrity, that before Parliament reconvened, they would have sorted these things out. I am not sure that we should allow them that luxury of space to do what they are doing. But I guess we can confront this matter perhaps, after this Sitting, using the usual communication to see how to bring them to immediately respond to this. Such a huge exposure to risk shall not be entertained.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, your concerns, I believe, are the concerns of all Hon Members here. But if you do not bring the business and yet you go and discuss those issues in the media, the period that they use in discussing that business in the media, they should have used it to discuss with the Business Committee which met yesterday.
But going to the Chairman, of course, you are the Ranking Member; so, they had sufficient time to bring this matter before the person who admits Questions, to draw the Leadership's attention to it. So, you are right, that yes, if it is of an urgent nature suddenly arising, then we can take it. We can look at the dangency of it and then take it. I totally agree with you.
It is just like the Nkwanta South issue which was raised by the Hon Member for Nsawam- Adoagyiri and responded to. But where the matter is in the know and it has been running round in the media for some time and nobody is bringing it, people are expressing their views and opinions, they should get to the proper authority in the House to have that matter brought before it if they feel they want to bring it before the House.
Yes, Hon Member for Wenchi, before my Second Deputy Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Let me hear the Second Deputy Speaker, then the Majority Leader.
Mr Joe Ghartey 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not going to focus on the substance of the matter that article 181 provides, but I am going to focus on some very interesting issues that have been raised this morning. The Question is very simple, that does the Business Committee have power suo moto to put matters on to the business for the week? And I was discussing this with the former Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, when you look at Order 160, that is the functions of the Business Committee, and if I may read Order 160 (2):
“It shall be the function of the Committee subject to Order 53 (Order of Business) to determine the business of each Sitting and the order in which it shall be taken;
provided that the powers of the Committee shall be without prejudice to the power of Mr Speaker to determine which matters may properly be introduced into the House.”
So, when it comes to Questions, the Committee must seek the prior permission of the Speaker. When it comes to Statements, the Committee must seek the prior permission of the Speaker. So, where there is a matter that an Hon Member wants to introduce to the House and the Hon Member is not introducing it by way of an Urgent Question or by way of a Statement or by way of a Motion or other processes by which a matter can be brought onto the floor, the question is that, can the Business Committee, suo moto, decide that this matter is of such an urgent nature that it is introducing it onto the floor by perhaps, to question the Hon Minister to come and address us?
For example, the matter of Ebola, did we have to wait for an Hon Member to raise it or the Business Committee should have or could have by its own ask the Hon Minister to come before Parliament and brief us?
Mr Speaker, I would say that it is rather gray and for what I see from the practice, it seems that the hand of the Business committee is rather tied. Perhaps, when we are amending the Standing Orders, we should consider whether we want to maintain our previous position or we want to have a situation where, for example, the Business Committee can spring a surprise on the Speaker.
The whole idea of the Speaker being informed and so on, is that no surprise is to be sprung on the Speaker. That is why even in matters of contempt and so on, you are supposed to inform the Speaker before you raise it.
Mr Speaker, this question of procedure is something we may consider as we are amending our Standing Orders. They are matters of urgency that perhaps, can fall within the premise and as it were, find its way onto the floor by the Business Committee itself bringing it on the floor.
If you decide to give the Business Committee that power, Mr Speaker, it must be restricted or it must be regulated very carefully. What is of urgent nature must be defined, because our Standing Orders use so many words without definition and sometimes it is better to err on the side of caution and pre-define some of these matters.
Mr Speaker, that is my --
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this issue of GNPC loan which has been raised on the floor -- the Hon Minority Leader is a member of the Business Committee. Now that the matter has been raised and the House has taken note, I believe at the next Business Committee meeting, the Minority Leader will bring it up for us to discuss.
But what I was going to say first, Mr Speaker, is that the issue has been raised and an invitation has been made to you to give a directive whereby the Hon Minister concerned can come before the House. The issue was raised and it was being debated. So, I was going to say that once the issue has been raised, the debate on it has not started.
My Colleagues on the other side started the debate before the matter fully came before the House. But once the Minority Leader is a member of the Business Committee and he is here, he is also concerned about that matter, at the next Business Committee meeting, this issue will surely come up for us to discuss.
Mr Speaker, that is my view on the matter.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the consideration of Business Statement.
Hon Members, a business to be programmed if it is a Motion as the Hon Second Deputy Speaker rightly pointed out, I must admit the Motion. When I admit it, it is referred to the Business Committee, then they decide when to programme it.
In terms of Statements, when I get the Statement, I look at it; if it satisfies the rules of the House, I admit it and inform the Leadership of the House.
On Questions, when I admit them, whether for normal processing or of an urgent nature, I admit them and they go to the Business Committee for them to programme them. That was why the Hon Member for Manhyia South raised the issue and I did make the point that the matter, to the best of my knowledge, is not before the House and the Hon Member for Manhyia South knows very well.
A number of his issues has been coming to me and some of them we resolve behind the scenes and some, he feels strongly that they must come to the floor. So, that is why I made the point that the matter is not before the House.
It must come to the Speaker. From the Speaker, it goes to the Business Committee. The Business Committee then programmes it and brings its programme to the floor of the House and the House decides that we are prepared to take it. If they do not want it, then they --
If it also comes during the Business Statement, they draw the House's attention to certain other issues and then through that process, the Business Committee takes note of it. Also through the processes, we see whether they are matters to be taken. They then have to go by the rules of the House and then they come to the floor of the House.

It is also a way of the Hon Member being a politician and hiding behind the Business Statement and then raise issues on the floor of the House. It was a smart one that the Member for Manhyia South was trying to do some few minutes ago.

Hon Minister for Defence?
Dr Benjamin B. Kunbour 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was a bit hesitant in making a comment. This is because I wanted to wait for your ruling on this matter but now that it has been adopted and we are sharing ideas on how to enrich our procedure, it is about time, in my view, to make a Statement on it.
Mr Speaker, we have had a large number of businesses that are outside the ordinary, that have found their way to the floor; it is just between the Leadership of both sides and Mr Speaker.
For instance, when you are going for a seminar, it does not come by way of a Motion but it finds its way into the Business Statement and then you communicate to Hon Members the order in which that type of activity can be taken. So, no matter which gap exists in the Standing Orders, let us make sure that the Leadership's communication and normal channels of communication can fill that gap.
The second point is that Mr Speaker, when you hear in the media a matter that is eventually going to come to the floor and some conclusions are already drawn, which indicates that either the Minority or Majority are hesitant in bringing the matter to the floor, the Minority will do so. It is not a good parliamentary practice and the Leadership should stop it, except that you do not want the matter to come to the floor.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the consideration of the Business Statement for the Second Week ending Friday, 14th November, 2014.
The Business Statement is accordingly adopted.
Hon Members, we now move to Questions.
Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
Hon Members, we have the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways in the House to respond to Questions from Hon Members.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Hon Members, it is Question time.
We have the first Question which is an Urgent one in the name of Hon Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi, Member for Atwima Kwanwoma.
URGENT QUESTIONS 11:33 a.m.

MINISTRY OF ROADS AND 11:33 a.m.

HIGHWAYS 11:33 a.m.

Minister for Roads and Highways (Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini) (MP) 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Ampabame and Aboabokesse are two important communities along the Ahodwo -Trede feeder road. The road is engineered and has a poor surface condition. It is an alternative route to Kumasi from Atwima Trede on the Anhwiankwanta-Kumasi highway.
Current programme
A detailed survey and design have been carried out on the 425m stretch where the collapsed culvert is located for implementation as a matter of emergency.
Future programme
The estimates for the remaining works on the road, including drainage provision, raising of sections and resealing have been completed.
The works will be awarded on contract when funds are available.
Indeed, the work is being considered under a variation order to the Nkwabrem Junction-Aframo junction road which is 5.5 kilometre to 13.2 kilometres undertaken by M/S Knato Complex Limited.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Yes Hon Member, do you have a follow-up question?
Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:33 a.m.
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
The Minister, in his response, said the road had been given to one contractor, M/S Knato Complex Limited, as a variation order.
My contact with this company suggests that the contractor himself does not have the requisite funds to undertake that project since the Ministry itself does not have that money.
What is the Ministry doing, given the importance of this road, as a very crucial by-pass for traffic and transport from the Western and Central Regions?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the contractor has not told us that he has no money to start the project. Normally, when a contract of that nature is given as a variation order to a contractor, it is given upon the understanding that the contractor has capacity to begin work and can raise certificates, so that we pay.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my checks with this company and the Ministry of Roads and Highways indicate that this contract was given to the company over a year ago. Why has it not been done if the contractor were not to be facing these problems that we are discussing today?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not aware that the contract was given over a year ago. What I am aware of is that, the contract is being considered under a variation order and the contractor must have capacity to undertake some level of work before he can raise certificates and be paid.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, your last follow-up question.
Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, may I request the Minister to get in touch with the contractor to let us get information when he can move to site.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Clearly, this is not a question. You are only suggesting to the Minister that he takes --
Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, when specifically is the contractor moving to site?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister? Would that be in the purview of the Minister, if I may ask?
Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe so, since the contract was given to this contractor as a variation order, they should have an indication when the contract will begin and be completed.
Alhaji Fuseini 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I take this question to mean that the contractor is not on site and work is not going on. So, it is an invitation to the Minister for Roads and Highways to invite the contractor and find out from him why he is not on site. We will take that invitation and advise.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Hon Members, we should realise that this is a constituency specific Question. So, as much as possible, I do not want us to digress and at the same time, I do not want to shut the door to Hon Members.
Yes, Hon Member?

ALHAJI FUSEINI]11.40 a.m.
Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Minister, from the last Answer he had given, is he saying that to the best of his knowledge, the contractor should have been on site?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, what I have said is that, this particular work, that is the repair of the broken down culvert is being considered as a variation order to an existing work that is going on at the Nkwabrem junction to Aframo junction -- This means that the contractor is on site on that portion of the road but has been given additional work to do to fix the culverts.
I understand the Hon Member 's Question to mean that the contractor, even though he is on site on another road, he is not fixing the culverts. So, it is an invitation from me to call the contractor and ask him why he is not fixing the culverts.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Hon Members, the second Question stands in the name of Hon Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus- Glover, Member of Parliament for Tema East.
Construction of by-pass from Slaughter house to Tema Manhean
Q *144. Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus- Glover asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Ministry would construct the by-pass from the old Slaughter house through the VALCO employees' former bush canteen into Tema Manhean to ease the traffic congestion into Tema Manhean.
Alhaji Fuseini 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as explained in our previous Answer to Parliamentary Question No. 133 submitted on 27th June, 2014, traffic congestion has been a major bottleneck in the Manhean
area of Tema. In order to solve this problem, in 2013 the Department of Urban Roads, (DUR) in consultation with the Municipal Assembly identified three alternative routes for consideration.
Current programme
The best option out of the three, is to construct a road through VALCO to Tema New Town.
The issue with this route is that a section passes through the premises of VALCO. Considering the strategic importance of VALCO, it was suggested that the Municipal Assembly contact the Management of VALCO to work out how best to tailor in the proposed road to the premises of VALCO without compromising its security.
Discussions with VALCO have indicated that the road will have to be constructed adjacent to their wall. This will increase the road length by 800m, besides impacting on other property and utility.
Future programme
The Assembly will have to obtain the right of way and contact the property owners and utility agencies after which Urban Roads Department will conduct feasibility studies for the proposed road.
Mr Titus-Glover 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister did respond to the discussions with VALCO and has indicated that the road network would be extended to about 800 metres.
May I humbly ask the Hon Minister when exactly this discussion was held. This is because as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, I have no clue at all. So, when was this discussion held with VALCO?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, consequent upon the Answer given to Parliament on the day referred to, we directed the Municipal Assembly, since the road would be within their jurisdictional area to engage with VALCO and arrive at a consensus where the road must pass. Indeed, it is not the Ministry of Roads and Highways that engaged with
VALCO.
It is the Tema Municipal Assembly that did so and if they failed to invite the Hon Member, then they should be the persons to ask.
Mr Titus-Glover 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as an ex-officio Member of the Assembly, this has never come to my attention. So, I wonder where this response is coming from. But from what the Hon Minister has said, I will still go back and have word with the Municipal Chief Executive Officer to see what we can do.
On the other leg, Mr Speaker, may I respectfully recommend to the Hon Minister the possibility of a site visit involving his Ministry, myself, the Assembly, the traditional rulers and VALCO itself. This is because we know the bureaucracy with which these Assemblies operate, so that we can have a time line --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Hon Member, can you put it in a question form?
Mr Titus-Glover 11:33 a.m.
I am laying the foundation.
Mr Speaker, may I know when the Hon Member can facilitate a joint site visit between his good office, myself, the traditional rulers, the Assembly and VALCO to really roll-out the future programme for the road construction.
Thank you.
Alhaji Fuseini 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we would welcome any site visit to the area to access the road which we are considering, to see the possible design that can be done to the road. We would invite the Hon Member to attend upon us at the office so that we agree on the date suitable to both parties to be able to undertake that visit.
Mr Titus-Glover 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister to give the august House an assurance, a definitive date that all parties can go to his office, so that we can really roll-out this programme. This is because when we leave it open, I can tell him we are not going to get anywhere. So, please, with all due respect, can the Hon Minister give us a definitive date that all parties can sit with him to roll-out this programme?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the challenge is that people have prior engagements. I know the date I would be free, but I do not know the dates which the Hon Member would be free or when the traditional rulers would be free. I would be too presumptuous to know that the date I would set would be free for all parties. That is why I am asking that we meet and agree, so that this date would be open for all of us to enable us undertake that visit.
Mr Titus-Glover 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Minister is being envasive. He should just give us a month, two weeks --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Hon Member, you have exceeded your number of follow-up questions. The Hon Minister has made it very clear. What you need to do is probably see him in his office and sort these things out. I am sure it can be done.
Mr Titus-Glover 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want it to be captured in the Hansard. He is my good Friend and I know.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, go to his office and sort it out. Maybe, on the floor of the House, you can have an appointment. You go there and he will get in touch with the other stakeholders and that can be sorted out.
Mr Titus-Glover 11:50 a.m.
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, we move on to the next Question which stands in the name of Hon Kwame Asafu-Adjei, Member of Parliament for Nsuta-Kwamang Beposo.
Construction of Beposo-Wioso Road
Q 145. Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei asked the Minister for Roads and Highways what plans the Ministry had to commence the construction of the Beposo-Wioso road.
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Beposo -Wioso road is 6.0 kilometres long and it is engineered. It is located in the Nsuta Kwamang District of the Ashanti Region. The road was awarded for bituminous surfacing in 2007. However, the contract had to be terminated in 2011 due to non-performance on the part of the contractor. At the time of termination, 80 per cent of works had been completed involving 6.0 kilometres of primer seal and 3.0 kilometres of final seal.
Current Programme
The Department of Feeder Roads (DFR) is re-packaging the outstanding works for re-award in 2015.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, do you have a follow-up?
Mr Asafu-Adjei 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
I would like to know from the Hon Minister the original contract sum given to this non-performing contractor. Does he have residual money to continue with the work?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the original contractor was Asabea Engineering Works Limited. The contract was awarded with a sum of GH¢1,048,631.87. Work was to commence on 1st November, 2007 and completed on 31st October, 2008. So far, an amount -- up to the time the contract was terminated -- GH¢975,344.71 was paid to the contractor.
Clearly, we have the difference; the sum of money that was awarded. But due to fluctuation in prices, we would have to top it up to enable him complete the remaining works.
Thank you.
Mr Asafu-Adjei 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the Minister what the guarantee is for the incoming contractor that he would do better than the original contractor when the contract is awarded?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the guarantee is learning from our previous pit-falls; correcting what we did wrong in the first instance in awarding the contract in 2007, and ensuring that there are enough safety nets to be able to compel the contractor to do the work and to complete it on schedule.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Very well.
Yes, do you have another follow-up?
Mr Asafu-Adjei 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Is it a question of victimising the previous contractor?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, I cannot hear you.
Mr Asafu-Adjei 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I said, is it a question of victimisation or non- performance?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Very well.
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it was never victimisation. I said, the facts that I have here indicate that the contract was awarded on the 26th July, 2007 to commence work on 1st November, 2007. It was for a one year duration, that is to complete the work on 31st October, 2008. The contract was terminated on 3rd July, 2011.
The contractor had been given enough opportunity to complete the work.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, we will move on to the next Question which again stands in the name of Hon Kwame Asafu-Adjei, Nsuta- Kwamang Beposo.
Construction of Kyiease-Birem Road
Q.146. Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei asked the Minister for Roads and Highways what plans the Ministry had to commence the construction of the Kyiease - Birem road.
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Kyiease - Birem feeder road forms part of the Aframso Kyiease-Birem feeder road, which is 22.0 kilometres long. It is located in the Nsuta Kwamang District of the Ashanti Region.
Current programme
The first 14.1kilometres from Aframso to Kyease was awarded for rehabilitation in 2011. The project was completed in 2013. The work executed included construction of 9 culverts and gravelling of 14.1kilometres.
Future programme
Engineering studies from Kyease to Birem, which is 8.0 kilometres will be carried out this year and when funds are available, the necessary intervention will be carried out.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, any follow-up?
Mr Asafu-Adjei 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the Hon Minister why his Ministry failed to continue with the work from Kyease to Birem, which is on the same stretch of road?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we have not stopped the work. We are continuing. But we are doing the work in stages based on the moneys that are approved for us by this Parliament. We can only do work with what has been approved.
Yes, it is a continuation. When funds are available to continue with the next instalment of work, we will do so.
Mr Asafu-Adjei 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the Hon Minister, whether there are funds available. Does he have a budget for the road?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are considering this road in the subsequent budget -- [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, your last follow-up question.
Mr Asafu-Adjei 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister telling this House that this road is not a priority in their budget?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the road is a priority. Indeed, because of this, we have done the first phase of 14.1 kilometres, we are left with 8 kilometres.
In the next budget, we will consider the 8 kilometres and see whether we can bring it to finality.
Mr Asafu-Adjei 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, is that an assurance?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, you are out of order.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Dominic B. A Nitiwul 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Minister whether the remaining 8 kilometres will be captured in the 2015 budget. When I take the budget and look at it, will I see it?
Alhaji Fuseini 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, what I said was that the road is under consideration in the budget of 2015.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Nitiwul 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I just asked him a very simple question. I did not ask whether he was considering the budget. I asked him whether the remaining 8.5kilometres find expression in the 2015 budget that will be laid in this House in November. Is it yes or no?
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Minister?
Alhaji Fuseini noon
In fact, the road is being considered to find expression in the coming budget.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Annoh-Dompreh noon
Mr Speaker, thank you for the kind opportunity.
We have heard this expression over and over again, “when funds are available”. I would respectfully like to know from the Minister what practical steps his outfit is undertaking to ensure that beyond mere budgetary provisions, his Ministry is able to secure funding for this very important road.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Your question is not very clear. I thought he had given the assurance that steps were being taken to include it in the upcoming budget. So, I do not understand.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh noon
Mr Speaker, if you would kindly allow me. On many occasions, budgetary provisions have been made for various projects and they remain in the budget. Sometimes in real terms, they are not delivered. So, my question is, what is the Ministry actually doing to ensure that beyond the mere budgetary provisions, in real terms, this funding is made available for the construction of this road?
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, I believe this falls more within the ambit of the Ministry of Finance. But all the same, I will allow him to answer it.
Alhaji Fuseini noon
Mr Speaker, the question is a very important one, which would require a lot of time to explain. This particular road project falls under the category of projects that we call “social projects”. It is not a candidate for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme, where you can toll the road and collect tolls to amortise the investment in the road. You would have to rely entirely on the budgetary provision to the Ministry of Roads and Highways to construct the road.
In other areas where roads are prime candidates for PPP arrangements, we are considering putting in that regime to ensure that those roads can be done and moneys amortised through the collection of tolls. This road does not fall within that category.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose
-- noon

Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, the Minister's answer appears not only tortuous and circuitous, he is only prevaricating.
He says to us that the Ministry is considering that the road will find expression in the budget of the Ministry. What does it mean? The question is, is it going to be in the budget of his Ministry? Yes or no? And he is saying that he is considering that it would find expression - - What kind of tortuous and circuitous answer is this? Prevaricating a simple question that has been posed to him. Where is it going to be? Is it going to be in the budget for 2015? Yes or no?
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Very well.
Hon Minister?
Alhaji Fuseini noon
Mr Speaker, I have to prevaricate. This is because I appreciate the limitations of my power. I do not have the power, and I do not pretend to have it, to determine what goes into the budget. I
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Very well.
Hon Members, we will move on to the next Question, which stands in the name of Hon George Kofi Arthur, Amenfi Central.
Construction of Manso Amenfi- Adidaase/Antwi, et cetera roads
Q.147. Mr George Kofi Arthur asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the following roads would be constructed: (i) Manso Amenfi - Adidaase/Antwi Adjei Nkwanta (ii) Nkakaa - Gyeboase (iii) Manso Amenfi - Manhyia (iv) Manso Amefi - Subriho/ Gyaekontoabuo (v) Manso Amenfi - Sunkwa Simpa.
Alhaji Fuseini noon
Mr Speaker,
(i) Manso Amanfi-Adidaase/Antwi Adjei Nkwanta (6.0km)
(iii) Manso Amenfi-Manhyia (5.20 km)
Background
The Manso Amenfi-Adidaase/Antwi Adjei Nkwanta and Manso Amenfi - Manhyia (5.20km) are located in the Wassa Amenfi Central District of the Western Region. The roads are un- engineered and in a poor state.
Future programme.
Engineering studies will be conducted on the roads and subject to availability of funds, the appropriate intervention will be carried out.
(ii) Nkakaa-Daboase (8.50km) Background
Nkakaa-Gyeboase road is 8.5kilometres long and it is located in the Wassa Amenfi Central District of the Western Region. It is classified as un-engineered, and motorable only in the dry seasons. The road was recently re-shaped by the District Assembly.
Future programme
Engineering studies will be carried out on the road in 2015. Depending on the outcome of the studies and availability of funds, the appropriate intervention will be carried out on the road.
(iii) Manso Amenfi-Subriho-Gyaekon- toabuo (4.50km)
Background
MansoAmenfi-Subriho-Gyaekontoabuo road is about 10.50 kilometres long and it is located in the Wassa Amenfi District of the Western Region. The section between Manso Amenfi and Subriho is 4.50 kilometres and engineered. The remaining section from Subriho to Gyaekontoabuo is un-engineered.
Future programme
Engineering studies will be carried out on the Subriho-Gyaekontoabuo road. Depending on the outcome of the studies and availability of funds, the appropriate intervention will be carried out on the road. Meanwhile, DFR will carry out routine maintenance on the Manso Amenfi- Subriho section which is engineered by the end of December, 2014.
(v) Manso Amenfi-Sunkwa Simpa road
Background
This road is un-engineered and has a length of 8.0 kilometres. It is located in the Wassa Amenfi Central District of the Western Region.
Current programme
The District Assembly under its 2014 programme re-shaped the road.
Future programme
Engineering studies have been completed on the road and captured under the 2014 COCOBOD Programme.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes Hon Member?
Mr George K. Arthur 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with the Subriho/Gyaekontoabuo road, the Minister said by the end of 2014, the engineering and routine maintenance works would also go on. But we have some few months to the end of the year - - [Interruption.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, can we have some order?
Yes continue.
Mr G.K.Arthur 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have some few months to the end of the year and I am doubting when the Ministry would be able to go there. All the same, I will see the Minister and then we would discuss it. But I would like to know when the engineering studies would be conducted on the Manso Amenfi/Antwi Adjei Nkwanta roads, and that of Gyaekotoabuo road. This is because he said they have not engineered it at all. If he can just tell me that. As for the rest, I will see him.
Alhaji Fuseini 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I could not get his question very clear. Which road is he referring to?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, can you clarify?
Alhaji Fuseini 12:10 p.m.
I have said that engineering studies would be conducted on the roads. So, does the Hon Member want to know when the engineering studies would be done?
Mr G. K. Arthur 12:10 p.m.
Yes, I would want to know when it would be done.
Alhaji Fuseini 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, engineering studies would be done by the Technical Department of the Department of Feeder Roads. If the Hon Member wants to know when they would go on to the field, then he could contact the Ministry of Roads and Highways, so that we can inform him of when they would start the engineering.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well. You are satisfied with it, right?
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes?
Construction of River Fule - Fuleso
Q148. Mr George Kofi Arthur asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when a bridge would be constructed over River Fule in Fuleso (Amenfi Central District) to enable easy crossing during heavy rains and flooding.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Alhaji Fuseini 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Fule River runs across the Fuleso Community,
Alhaji Fuseini 12:10 p.m.


separating it from the other parts of the district where the capital is located. The alternative route to the community is through Prestea. The river crossing is bridged with a logs, which are in a poor condition.

Current programme

The river crossing has been program- med under the Ghana Acrow Bridges Project (Phase 2), that is, 2014-2015.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member, any follow-up question?
Mr G. K. Arthur 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I started asking questions on this river in 2007 and the log which the children use to cross the river has already taken one child and two farmers away.
I am pleading with the Hon Minister, that this becomes the last assurance for this Question if the Ministry would do that favour for me.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Alhaji Fuseini 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the plea is heard and even before now, this particular bridge has been programmed under a bridge programme, which is being run by the Ministry of Roads and Highways.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister, for attending upon this House.
You are discharged.
Hon Members, we move on to item number 6 on the Order Paper.
Two Statements have been admitted on the same subject matter. So, we go about it this way: Both Statements would be presented and then we will take contributions from Hon Members.
The first Statement would be made by the Hon Member for Biakoye and Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Hon Emmanuel Kwasi Bandua.
STATEMENTS 12:10 p.m.

Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bandua (NDC - - Biakoye) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make this Statement in connection with the current political crisis in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Mr Speaker, Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. It is about 274,000 square kilometres in size.
With your indulgence, Mr Speaker, I beg to give a brief political history of Burkina Faso since the assumption of power by the former President, Blaise Compoare.
The former President came into the lime-light in 1987 after the mysterious killing of his predecessor, Captain Thomas Sankara, by a group of soldiers.
He took power from then, disarmed the local militia and had a firm grip on the presidency.
In 1991, former President Compoare won his first election, which election was boycotted by the Opposition.
Thereafter, he was re-elected three times in disputed elections.
For 27 long years, President Compoare ruled Burkina Faso and during this period, he won four disputed elections, the last one being in November 2010.
The protests that culminated in the resignation of President Compaore were triggered by his plan to amend the Constitution, so that he could run again in elections next year.
During the protests, demonstrators stormed Parliament, setting fire to their building, ostensibly to prevent the country's Members of Parliament from changing the Constitution to allow President Compoare to run for another term.
To calm the volatile situation and bring down tension, President Compoare dissolved the Government and replaced it with a transitional one in an attempt to bring on board Opposition voices. But to be expected, the move backfired.
It was reported that the move rather stirred up more protests and pushed more protesters onto the streets of Ouagadougou and other cities.
In his desperation, President Compoare made his next move by declaring a state of emergency.
According to reports, this did not sit well with the Burkina Faso Opposition Leader Zephirin Diabre, who rejected the state of emergency and insisted that the President's resignation was the only solution to the crisis in the country.
Following the preceding events, the President had no choice than to resign from office.
In between the confusion, the Army Chief, General Honore Traore stepped in to fill the vacuum.
According to reports, opinions are, however, divided over whether the Army should be in-charge.
It is important to note that Traore was appointed Chief of Staff in 2011 during the reign of Compaore, following a revolt within the Army over delayed pay and allowances.
I am of the opinion that it is this relationship of Traore with the former Government that resulted in the initial confusion in the camp of the military, who should be the interim leader.
The confusion, however, abated when the Army Chiefs issued a statement backing Lt Col Zida, the second in command of the presidential guard as an interim leader of Burkina Faso.
Mr Speaker, may I acknowledge and commend ECOWAS in general and the Chairman of ECOWAS in particular, in the person of his Excellency John Dramani Mahama, for the key role played so far towards the resolution of the crisis in Burkina Faso.
Following a meeting with an ECOWAS high level team headed by its Chairman, President John Dramani Mahama, the President of Nigeria, Mr Goodluck Jonathan and the President of Senegal, Mr Macky Sall, the military in Burkina Faso have agreed to relinquish power which they have held for a week now.
The meeting also discussed with the military leaders and key groups how to restore normalcy to the country.
Under Burkina Faso Constitution, the President of the Senate is mandated to assume the administration of the country when the President resigns, while elections shall take place between 60 and 90 days later.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, the second Statement stands in the name of the Hon Isaac Osei, Member of Parliament (MP) for Subin and Ranking Member for the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Recent developments in Burkina Faso
Mr Isaac Osei (NPP - Subin) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the year 2015 is a critically important year for the West African sub- region. This is because it is a year which could see the deepening of democratic governance in six countries, using the platform of competitive elections. It is also a year with significant socio-political risks usually associated with peaks of the electoral cycle in Africa.
The management of both the process and the event on D-Day will determine whether there is a positive or negative outcome.
Mr Speaker, where there is a positive outcome, the people will share the dividends of democracy in a stable political environment. A negative outcome will be the result of a flawed electoral process and election. The instability which may result could lead to the capturing of the democratic dividend by a President, his family, friends and a few other people.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, we will take three contributions from either side of the House.
May I ask the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to make the first contribution?
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (Ms Hannah Serwaah Tetteh) (MP) 12:30 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. May I thank both Hon Members of Parliament (MPs), the Hon Chairman and the Hon Ranking Member, for the important Statements that they have made on the situation in Burkina Faso.
Mr Speaker, I would also like to put on record our appreciation to the United Nation's (UN) special representative for West Africa, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, to the African Union (AU) special envoy to Burkina Faso, Mr Edem Kodjo and to the President of the ECOWAS Com- mission, Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, who have spent a considerable amount of time in Burkina Faso over the last week dialoguing with the various groups in order to help to create a consensus towards the transitional arrangements that hopefully would be finalised shortly to put in place an effective administration to oversee the process of returning Burkina Faso to democratic governance and representatives who have been properly elected into office by the people.
Mr Speaker, when His Excellency President Mahama led a delegation of two other colleague Heads of State to Burkina Faso, it was instructive that in discussing with the various stakeholder groups, namely, the leaders of the political opposition, the leaders of Civil Society Organisations, the representatives of the military, representatives of the religious and traditional rulers, the President of the
Constitutional Court and representatives of the former Majority in Parliament, all parties expressed their determination to work towards a consensus in establishing transitional arrangements that would make sure that they return to a government that was truly a representative of the people of Burkina Faso.
It is my hope that this House will continue to encourage them in that process of constructive engagements. This is because the process of working out a transition would indeed, take some time and some concessions on all sides.
Mr Speaker, it is instructive that the African Union Peace and Security Council, in a statement issued on 3rd November, indicated that they would wish to see a return to a civilian rule within two weeks of issuing that statement, recognising the fact that the change in Government was not the result of a coup d'état but as a result of popular uprising. Therefore, time would need to be taken in order to establish a transitional framework.
Mr Speaker, this process is made a bit more difficult because apparently, according to the Constitution of Burkina Faso, in the event of the resignation of a President, it is the Speaker who ought to be sworn in as the interim President.
The Speaker and his two deputies, however, left the country with President Compoare. So, that is not an option.
Mr Speaker, in the light of the present circumstances, that is the reason I emphasised that there would need to be consultation and some amount of creativity exercised to establish a transitional framework, that at least , is in line with the spirit, if not the letter of the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, it is also the case, unfortunately, that the former Parliament of Burkina Faso has lost credibility with the people of Burkina Faso hence the burning of the building in which Parliament sat. It appears that any arrangement that would involve the re- establishment of that Parliament would indeed, be a recipe for further chaos and some amount of civil disobedience. Therefore, my caution is that, it is important to be creative and follow the spirit, if not the letter of the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, it is heartening to note that all the various groups that have previously been named have indicated their willingness and commitment to work towards having in place a civilian-led transitional government within the period stipulated by the African Union.

Indeed, the Africa Union Special Representative for Burkina Faso, Mr Edem Kodjo and President Ouedraogo are returning to Burkina Faso to help to facilitate the discussion that hopefully will result in such an arrangement.

Mr Speaker, the lessons we all have to learn are that, the processes of governance, especially the processes of Parliament, must at all times be exercised in such a way that they reflect the political views across the country and effort is made to establish consensus.

Indeed, if the Parliament of Burkina Faso had been more receptive to their constituents, perhaps, it will not have come to this.

Having said that, however, one would wish that all the parties involved in the current process of establishing a transitional consensus in Burkina Faso would recognise that it is important to respect the human rights of all its citizens including members of the previous government.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Member for Wenchi?
Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour (NPP -- Wenchi) 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity and let me congratulate the two Hon Members on both sides for this Statement.
Mr Speaker, Burkina Faso is not different from Ghana; we are about the same group of people just divided by maybe, an imaginary line and artificial boundary. What happened there can easily happen here in Ghana. I will start focusing on us -- Parliament.
Mr Speaker, it is staring at our face as a Parliament, but if it should happen here, it will be by our own actions as Members of Parliament. Mr Speaker, as Hon Members of Parliament, in an attempt to bolster our powers or image individually or collectively, we arrogate to ourselves powers that do not belong to us. We do not make policies; governments and the Executives do.
Our role is purely a legislative one; we make laws but even in that process, we do not initiate the laws; it is initiated by the Executive.
Some of us go on radio and the television and when there is a policy failure, our own Members say Parliament has failed. Mr Speaker, because of our own admission, which is indeed, a fallacy, we are being portrayed in the eyes of the public as the villain when it comes to policy failure. Let Hon Members not arrogate to ourselves the powers of the Executive because if we do not take care, the public would transfer their anger to us instead of the policy makers.
Our oversight role is also being misconstrued by our Members to mean that we are policy makers. Clearly, we are not policy makers; our oversight is not in
real time; we only oversee what has been done and we make the policy maker accountable. If we do not take care and we continue to give impression that we are policy makers,one day, the people would walk on us as they have done in Burkina Faso.
Mr Speaker, finally, as Parliament, we have to be very careful about the laws that we pass and not to be too partisan to accept anything that comes from the Executive because we belong to that party. When the people come, there will not be any distinction between National Democratic Congress (NDC) or New Patriotic Party (NPP). So, to my Hon Colleagues in power, I would urge us not to try to bulldoze our way through all the time with Bills, especially with loans that do not have bipartisan support and are not in the total national interest.
Anything that tends to divide us in this room can have a very negative effect on us and our Government.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -Asawase) 12:40 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by both the Hon Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Hon Ranking Member.
To add that, it is another sad event in Africa once again. It is so sad that sometimes one feels ashamed as a politician within the African Continent, when we look at some of the developments that are happening.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -Asawase) 12:40 p.m.


Mr Speaker, many things have been said about Burkina Faso or the Upper Volta as the name used to be. Mr Speaker, a lot of good things have happened over the period, but equally, a lot of nasty things have happened.

Mr Speaker, it is wrong for anyone, whether in Africa or anywhere, to assume that the wisdom to rule could only be found in him or her. I believe that the saying that what goes round comes round most often happens. If you look at how people enter -- The channel they use in entering into leadership, if you are not careful, they mostly exit through the same. If you look at the circumstances that brought Mr Blaise Compoare into power and how he has exited, it is very worrying.

Mr Speaker, I thought when these things are happening elsewhere, people would pick the lessons. If you look at what happened in North Africa, from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya, I thought that would have been the last time we would see any African leader try to amend his or her Constitution.

Mr Speaker, the sad thing about all what is happening is that, everybody keeps saying that it is the leaders. We have forgotten that the followers contribute to it too. This is because people who are usually around the leaders do not tell them the truth. They do not really get them the right information.

This is because we could get a leader that has always been deceived by the National Security briefing or by the information that he is given by his peer or colleagues that are supposed to help him to govern. Therefore, he or she would be assuming that everything is alright.

Mr Speaker, as part of the lessons that we are learning in Africa, one of the things that we need to begin to confront in Africa, especially at the African Union (AU) level,

is the issue of general restrictions. What do I mean by general restrictions? In Africa, we as Africans would set a time limit for everybody, that a country must choose within this period. For example, to say that the presidential term could be not less than four years and not less than seven years and not more than two terms.

Mr Speaker, all African leaders who are part of the AU must subscribe. One could choose, like in Ghana, we have two-four year terms or in the case of la Cote d'Ivoire, two-five year terms or in some others, where it is two-seven year terms. But they could not have more than this. So, in that way, your country would just choose which one you have, so that any attempt for any other person to do any other thing would be resisted by the whole of Africa.

Mr Speaker, sometimes, there is this claim of sovereignty. It is in their internal matters. I could be rest assured that if West African leaders had not intervened by going to Burkina Faso early enough, there could have been more chaos. There could have been refugees, and when they are trooping, they may be going to Mali, Ghana, la Cote d'Ivoire and what have you.

Mr Speaker, here, we have the former President of Burkina Faso who has taken refuge in la Cote d'Ivoire. It means that whatever is happening in one African country, can indirectly or directly affect any other African country. That is why we must all be concerned with the kind of system that every one of us has. This is because if we are not concerned about what happens in our neighbour's country and there is trouble, it would indirectly affect us.

Lastly, Mr Speaker, it is very instruc- tive for those of us who are Members of Parliament. It is just as a piece of advice for those in the Majority as it is for those in the Minority. This is because when there are issues and we all know there are best ways to deal with them but we decide to politicise them, whether in the Majority or Minority, we send the wrong signal and information to the people whom we are representing. And anytime that happens, it keeps breeding tension within the country. We must all take a very great lesson, especially those of us in the Majority.

Mr Speaker, this is because with some of the things that are happening all over and with what we are hearing in Burkina Faso, like the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has indicated-- people losing both their homes in the capital city and their hometowns -- That is very serious for a Member of Parliament to go through.

But I believe that we need to be more careful and circumspect the way we carry ourselves and the things that we do in the House, whether in support or opposition of Government.

Mr Speaker, we wish Burkina Faso well and pray that even as they serve this time frame of one year to move into a legitimate government to run their country, we would continue to pray with them and pay attention to the details of what is happening in their country, so that come next year, we may have a different and a better situation to talk about.

I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Thank you very much.
We will want to be gender sensitive.
Hon Adwoa Safo?
Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo (NPP-- Dome/ Kwabenya) 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Ranking Member and Hon Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the situation in Burkina Faso.
Mr Speaker, what is currently happening in Burkina Faso is a real endorsement of the popular adage which goes like:
“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Mr Speaker, it is a clear indication of situations where people have been constitutionally elected into office, not for a year or two but have stayed in power and tasted power for 27 years, and still would want to stay in power illegitimately. That is an indication of how many, when put in power, usually abuse power and when the ordinary people feel they are fed up with it, then they take the law into their own hands.
Mr Speaker, what happened in Burkina Faso could equally happen in Ghana. For the international community that we have now, what happens in Burkina Faso has a direct effect on what happens in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, on this note, I would want to encourage the people of Burkina Faso to be calm about the situation and to engage all the necessary authorities--The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations (UN) and all other international organisations to ensure that we have peace and stability in Burkina Faso.
Mr Speaker, I would want to take it from an angle of the rippling effect of armed conflict on countries that happen to be our neighbours. Mr Speaker, time and again, Ghana's foreign policy has been echoed by our President, that Ghana's foreign policy is about good neigh- bourliness. For that matter, what happens in Burkina Faso is dear to us as Ghanaians, and we should take steps to ensure that things are regularised in Burkina Faso.
Mr Speaker, in this situation, I very much sympathise or agree with the President in the kind of dilemma that he might find himself. In this case, he is the President of Ghana --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, can you just exercise some patience for me? Hold your breath --
Ms Safo 12:50 p.m.
Very well --
ANNOUNCEMENTS 12:50 p.m.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE 12:50 p.m.

PRESIDENT 12:50 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
I have received communication from the Office of the President.
“7th Novermber, 2014
THE RT. HON. SPEAKER
OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT 12:50 p.m.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE 12:50 p.m.

ABSENCE FROM GHANA 12:50 p.m.

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC 12:50 p.m.

OF GHANA 12:50 p.m.

Ms Safo 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I left off at the point where I was establishing a situation where our President would have to strike a balance between his responsibility as the President of Ghana and his responsibility as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, are you on a point of order?
Mr Avedzi 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, just for a clarification because I could see the name appearing on my screen as Obeng --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
I cannot hear you. Can you raise your voice a bit?
Mr Avedzi 12:50 p.m.
I am saying that the name appearing on the screen is Obeng but the Hon Member speaking is not Obeng --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Very well.
Go ahead -
Ms Safo 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as I was saying, in situations of armed conflict where institutions and systems completely break down, people run for their lives. The lives of children and women would be at stake and Ghana has consistently maintained the record and an international image of being a peaceful country.
So anybody in Burkina Faso who has fear for his life and wants the safest place to lay his or her head, would head directly towards Ghana. For that matter, I would urge the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, that we have to look at these situations in the midst of this epidemic called Ebola, where people would have to be subjected to health screening before they are allowed into our country.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minister, are you up on a point of order?
Ms Tetteh 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
The Hon Member is misinforming the House. Our borders with Burkina Faso are not closed and have never been closed since the events of the 30th of October.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Very well. Thank you for the correction.
Yes --
Ms Safo 12:50 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I thank the Hon Minister for the further and better particulars that she has offered this House. [Interruption.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Nitiwul 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Member may have to clarify the real situation because on the flip side, she was saying something else. She mentioned something that the borders were closed but the Hon Minister says the borders were not closed.
Maybe, she has to clarify [Inter- ruption] -- No! She really has to clarify because the borders are two and she has to clarify the real situation that happened.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Ms Tetteh 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I heard the Hon Member, Ms Safo saying that she had been reliably informed that our borders had been closed and I am saying that our borders were never closed. [Uproar!] However, as the incidents were unfolding in Burkina Faso, on their side of the border, they closed it but we did not close ours -- [Interruption.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Order! Order!
Yes, Hon Member, continue with your submission.
Hon Member begin to wind up.
Ms Safo 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I very much take a cue from my learned senior.
It goes to say that at some point, some borders were closed.
Moving on, I believe as Members of Parliament, as leaders in our various constituencies and as representatives of the people, we ought to take into account what has happened in Burkina Faso and measure our steps carefully in carrying out our duties and again, for the Chairman of ECOWAS and the President of Ghana to be able to balance his responsibilities towards Ghanaians who elected him, and also to the sub-regional group ECOWAS who also expect a lot from him as the Chairman.
Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC-- Wa West) 1 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the permission to contribute to the Statements that were made by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
First of all, the events in Burkina Faso are not too pleasant to recount but they are also a positive dimension to it, that this time, it is not a conspiratorial coup d'etat that was made but the people resisting further attempt by a person to continue to be in office.
I have heard some Hon Members say that what happened in Burkina Faso can happen in Ghana. That is not correct. We have traversed that a long time ago. We have come to a point where nobody would insist on remaining in an office when the term has ended.
We had revolutions in the 1970s and early 1980s but we have long past that. It is our own talk, and I have heard a few of us caution the language that we use on the radios and other media platforms.
They talk as if there is something happening in Ghana, which is obviously wrong and people should -- We have to watch our mouths. If we do not and we invite misguided elements in society, and there are always many of them in society to be saying the circumstances are rife for such a thing, we are the ones who would regret it.
We should all help the political forces in Burkina Faso to come to a definitive position of ensuring that the transition is smooth. Next year by this time, we should be talking about a democratic Burkina Faso.

There are people already calling for reconciliation in Burkina Faso but that is premature. This is because if you open up a Commission of Inquiry for recon- ciliation, you are likely to have antagonism growing up. What we need to do is to support all the political forces and the civil forces to have a transitional government that can be seen to be objective and can lead to an election that would produce the best results for Burkina Faso.

Now, a few days ago, some people were criticising both the African Union (AU) and the ECOWAS for what they said they were going to do. That is, if the military remained in power, they were going to be ostracised like they have been doing. But that is due to the constitutive Charters of these organisations. They say we do not want any military coup d'état or unconstitutional change of government.

It is about time now we refined that portion of the Charters that is talking about where there is a genuine move by the people to change a system, that should be recognised and some accommodation be made for transitional arrangements.

But if outrightly, the Burkina Faso situation, we know -- The masses went in and they declared that until the man resigned, they were not going home and the man resigned.

If the military did not take over at that point, can you imagine what would have happened? So, when they took over, they should be assisted to transit again and that is the transitional responsibility of the military. In fact, in some countries, like Egypt and Turkey, and for a long time, Algeria, when there is a problem, it is the military that says we are the Constitution, we come in and restore order and hand over to the civilian population.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Thank you very much.
The last contribution.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul (NPP - Bimbilla) 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the makers of these very important Statements, the Chairman and then the Ranking Member and all those who have contributed.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul (NPP - Bimbilla) 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe as a Parliament, we would sympathise with the people of Burkina Faso and Africa in general. I did not dream that the events that are unfolding in Burkina Faso would ever unfold, particularly after the experiences of the gentleman who was the President at that time.
What he has gone through, what he is supposed to have contributed to the country for twenty-seven (27) years and at least, had one more year, that would have been twenty-eight (28) years. I am very fair in my mind that after ten (10) years of contributing to your country as a President, if you believe that you are still the only person to still contribute, it may be very unfortunate.
It is a lesson to all of us as politicians, particularly the elected politicians, whether you are an MP or a President, that we cannot for a second take the citizens or the electorate for granted.
Mr Speaker, the background infor- mation would help us; this is an individual who usually wins over 70 per cent in any election in Burkina Faso. In fact 80, 85 and sometimes even 90 per cent in every election that he has stood for. That is how popular the party was. Even when the AU and ECOWAS, and the world representatives went there to monitor the elections, he won over 80 per cent.
He took the Opposition for granted even when the whole thing started. He took the citizens for granted. Today, look at the events that are unfolding in Burkina Faso, it just took a second for something like this to happen in Burkina Faso.
It is a lesson that, one, if you have a Constitution which is a living document, respect it. If you do not respect it, the citizens whom you think should respect it, would not respect it; that is the first lesson.
The second lesson, which is good for even those of us in Parliament here, is that, as MPs, we should be very careful it
does not matter the Government, what every Government brings to us, it is the interest of the people we should be serving [Hear! Hear!] . It is very important. If the MPs in Burkina Faso had listened to their people on the ground and not just tried to satisfy the President, what has happened would not have happened.

Mr Speaker, I believe that whatever confusion that erupted, is not the first time it has happened in a democratic State. How did other countries handle it? Why is it that when there is confusion in Africa, somehow and somewhat, the military will always take over?

In Italy, they change their Government almost every three months -- at least, for the past ten (10) years, maybe, it has stabilised a bit. How come the military in the Italian system have decided to stay in the barracks, calm the situation and not take over and say that they can do the job better?

I do not believe in people who say that because there is confusion, the military must take over. It is their job to calm the situation down and let the Constitution work. I believe that is how it should be. The military should have helped the Speaker of Parliament to take over and calm the situation down. But --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Do not forget the Speaker of Parliament was part of the entourage of the President that exited the country.
Mr Nitiwul 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is why as a country, we have to design the system in such a way that we should exempt the Speakership from partisan politics. Mr Speaker, it is a lesson to the Chair as well. That when you occupy the Chair, you become a national symbol; you are not seen as leaning to the left or right, so that tomorrow, you will not become part of the problem, you can only be part of the solution.
This is because if that Speaker had decided to behave like a national symbol, he would have been able to solve the problem; he would not have abdicated the role that he was supposed to have rightfully occupied. When our opponent's beard is burning, you have to get water and put it by your side. Our neighbours next door say that: “The memory of the dead is a warning to the living.” When you see people dying, you should begin to ask yourself questions.
Burkina Faso was as peaceful as Ghana; it just took the actions of some of the Executives, backed by the MPs in government, to cause the mayhem that we have today.
Mr Speaker, I pray that in Ghana, we let wisdom and the will of the people rule us. We do not have a good impression in Ghana as Hon Members of Parliament sitting here. It does not matter whether it is the Majority or Minority. We do not, and it is a fact. When you go out there and listen to what people say about Hon Members of Parliament, they think we only care about ourselves—That is what people think—when it is about ourselves, yes.
We have to change that perception. If we do not change that perception, whether it is through the Public Relations Department (PR), or us, through our behaviour, nobody would support us when the times like this come.

Mr Speaker, what is happening there— If we want to strengthen our democracy and let it stay, then we have to do things differently. Mr Speaker, we should not accept the Executive to do anything that would send a signal to the electorate, that we are a rubberstamp Parliament.

Mr Speaker, from today, we must make sure whichever Government that is in office, Parliament behaves in a way that the people do not believe that we are a rubberstamp Parliament. We must stand our ground and let the people know that we are doing the right thing for them — [Hear! Hear!] Otherwise, Mr Speaker, we would be part of the problem.

They are burning MPs' houses in Burkina Faso. They are looking, when they see this is your vehicle, they go and burn it. When they see this is your house, they go and burn it. Mr Speaker, I do not want my house to be burnt, I do not want my vehicle to be burnt. So, I would do the right thing, and I believe all of us would do the right thing.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, this brings us to the end of the Statements.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I believe we have to look at the next item on the Order Paper. I believe item 7 (a) should not be there, from what Mr Speaker said yesterday concerning this very matter.
Mr Agbesi 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is the impression I also had yesterday, but it has come — I believe it is here because if the report is laid, it would be sent to the Speaker but subject to your direction and my Hon Colleagues. If it is true, then it should not be laid.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the appropriate procedure -- because this is meant to be a piece of advice to the Speaker, who is the head of this arm of Government, you do not tender your advice in public to the Speaker. So, it should be given to the Speaker behind the curtain, and the Speaker, if he receives the advice and he is convinced and persuaded by that advice, would come and make the announcement on the floor of the House.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
So, we will move on to item 7 (b).
Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Agbesi 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the item 7 (b) —it is the Majority Leader who is to lay that Paper.
Mr Speaker, I would want to lay the Paper on behalf of the Majority Leader with your permission.
PAPERS 1:10 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Deputy Majority Leader, are we in the position to carry on with the Customs Bill, 2014?
Mr Agbesi 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Minister is here, and the Chairman informed me that item 8 is ready to be taken.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
If we are going to continue with that one, then I would direct that the Hon Second Deputy Speaker takes over the Chair.
Mr I. K. Asiamah —rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
Mr I. K. Asiamah 1:10 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker, it is a matter of quorum. We cannot seriously do any business considering the numbers here. I would suggest that this House do adjourn till tomorrow, because of quorum. Standing Order 48 should be applied here.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was really not getting up to make any intervention. I was just indicating to them that there is an urgent matter, for which reason, the Speaker is calling me out -- and the Majority Leader as well. I was just signalling to them that the proper thing I guess we do, would be to bring proceedings to a halt and begin on Monday, and we continue the winnowing after the event.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we are in your hands.
Mr Agbesi 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we can defer it to Tuesday — Item 8 can be taken on Tuesday.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
I cannot hear you. Item number what?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the House do adjourn to Tuesday, 11th November, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 1:10 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.16 p.m. till Tuesday, 11th November, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.