Debates of 9 Dec 2014

PRAYERS 10:50 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 8th December, 2014.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise in respect of two Hon Members; the first is Hon Baffour Awuah, who is on official mission outside. I remember signing his own leave of absence form. Equally so for the Hon William Ofori Boafo.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Is it the Hon W. O. Boafo?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:50 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
I have transmitted the leave of absence form.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
I have worked on the leave of absence from the Hon W. O. Boafo. I know where the Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah is but I do not know whether he has filled the form.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, a form was filled by him, and I have transmitted it, but I do not know whether

it got to your Office. I have dispatched it, since last week.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Very well.

Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 8th December, 2014 as corrected be adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Hon Members, today is Anti- Corruption Day. I have therefore admitted one Statement to commemorate the occasion.

The Statement stands in the name of the Hon Member for Shai Osudoku.

Hon Member, you have the floor.
STATEMENTS 10:50 a.m.

Mr David Tetteh Assumeng (NDC -- Shai-Osudoku) 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make the above Statement.
Mr Speaker, the General Assembly of the Uni ted Nations designated 9th December every year as International Anti-Corruption Day.
Mr Speaker, this is to raise awareness of corruption and the role of the Convention in combating and preventing corruption. The Convention entered into force in December, 2005.
Mr Speaker, there is no single acceptable definition for the term “corruption” because what may seem as corruption in one society may not necessarily be perceived as such in another.
Mr Speaker, according to Carl Friendrich “corruption is a kind of behaviour which deviates from the norm”. It is also said to be the abuse of entrusted power for perceived gain, usually through bribery or kickbacks.
Mr Speaker, the Oxford English Dictionary defines corruption as “a pervasion of favour; the use or existence of corrupt practices especially in the State.” The most commonly used and popular definition is the one given by Leslie Palmier, which defines corruption as the use of public office for private advantage.
Mr Speaker, forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal activities such as drugs trafficking, money laundry and human trafficking.
Mr Speaker, political corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gains. The effect of corruption has many dimension related to political, economic, social and environment phenomenon that affect all countries.
Mr Speaker, corruption undermines democratic institutions, slow economic development and contributes to
governmental instability. Corruption also attacks the foundation of democratic institution by distorting electoral processes and preventing the rule of law.
Mr Speaker, corruption in developing countries continues to be one of the greatest factors of poverty although these countries are endowed with priced natural resources yet they continue to struggle and scramble for positions in the lower ranking of the United Nations Index on Corruption.
Mr Speaker, Ghana scored 48 points to place 61 out of 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The score and rank of Ghana show also that the country performed much better than several other African countries including South Africa, Senegal and Tunisia.
Mr Speaker, these, notwithstanding, Ghana scored blow 50 on the scale of 0- 100. Ghana has taken a number of steps to prevent corruption in public places of work. These include the setting up of anti- corruption agencies such as the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) among others.
Mr Speaker, a number of legislation in place are the Financial Administration Act, Internal Audit Agency Act and the Procurement Act (2004), all aimed at accountability, value for money, transparency and efficiency in the use of public resources.
Mr Speaker, fighting corruption must involve all in society as the law deters both the giver and the taker of bribes in our society.
The Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament must be empowered financially to carry out their mandates of unravelling corrupt practices in the Municipal, Metropolitan
Mr David Tetteh Assumeng (NDC -- Shai-Osudoku) 10:50 a.m.

and District Assemblies as well as Ministr ies and departments. The Attorney- General must also be empowered to prosecute culprits in this regard.

Mr Speaker, fighting corruption must be done on a non-political basis and I urge all including non governmental organisations, civil society organsations to join hands with government to make Ghana a society free of corruption.

Thank you.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul (NPP -- Bimbilla) 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am happy that the Hon Member for Shai-Osudoku has brought up this issue of corruption, particularly political and all forms of corruption, as a factor of undermining national development, security and the development of the Ghanaian.
Mr Speaker, to say that corruption is rife in Ghana, is an understatement; and to say that we have had the political will to tackle it head-on and uproot it, is also an understatement.
We have to ensure as a country, that cases and allegations of corruption from the audited accounts of the Auditor- General that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended for prosecution, should be done.
Unfortunately Mr Speaker, as has been highlighted by the Chief Justice earlier, she set up a court for financial crimes but not a single case has been sent there. For more than six months or a year, not a single
case has been sent there. Meanwhile, the PAC of Parliament has been working overtime and the cases do not go to court
-- 11 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, that is a very useful information. Where did you get it from? It is a very important one. Was it based on your own research work or you have a report? This is because, it is quite revealing.
Mr Nitiwul 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, she made a public statement. It was all over the newspapers. The Chief Justice made a public statement and various newspapers carried it all over the country; that is a fact. You can ask anybody; it is a fact.
Mr Speaker, I get very sad when I look at these documents 11 a.m.
The Ministerial Impartment Assessment and Review Commission on Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) and the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Colleague made a Statement, which he attributed to the Chief Justice. I thought when you intervened, he would give us details of it. Since it is a fact, and he said it was published all over the place, how do we know that it is a fact? He must be specific, so that we hold it against --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
No! He attributed it to the Lady Chief Justice.
Yes, Hon Nitiwul?
Mr Nitiwul 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, you asked me and I gave you the information. I did attribute it to the Lady Chief Justice. She said it about two or three weeks ago. It
was all over. It is not something that is hidden. I am sure you have that information; you are just being -- [Interruption.] --
Satisfy you?
Mr Speaker, when I look at the SADA -- this is the Parliamentary Report they gave us. I did not bring the audited account. I decided to leave that report.
When you look at the GYEEDA Report, Mr Speaker, you will bleed to death when you see the details. Companies are given money for some work, they will not do the work and nobody gets prosecuted. People are enjoying, I will not use the word “booty” or “loot”, booty and they are happy. What morals are we teaching our children?
Mr Speaker, we are talking about corruption under broad day light -- I will give you an example, today --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, you are entitled to express your view. You can mention allegations contained in the GYEEDA Report and all that. We are not discussing GYEEDA and SADA.
So, can you move away from it and go to another point? You have made the point there.
Mr Nitiwul 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I did not even look at that --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
So that it does not degenerate into a debate on GYEEDA and SADA, part of which is before the court.
Mr Nitiwul 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have not looked at the details. That was why I did not go there. Maybe, we will get an opportunity for me to go page by page and do that.
All I said was that, when I go through the Report, it bleeds my heart. I can make a copy available. This is the official report from Government.
Mr Speaker, I will also go back to the SADA issue. With GYEEDA -- yesterday and today, it is being captured in the Daily Graphic headline. The Deputy Attorney- General, Hon Dr Dominic A. Ayine, my name sake said that Government had so far recovered GH¢14.5 million from GYEEDA. So, they are doing well.
Mr Speaker, you give an individual company GH¢50million as a loan for four years, and you sign an agreement that from 2014, they are to repay the loan at every quarter, GH¢14.5 million. The people paid just one quarter and have refused to pay the rest and we are in December.
Mr Speaker, if you give me US$50 million, and I put it in treasury bills, I will make another US$50 million in four years.
Mr Speaker, we, as a country, must bite hard when it comes to corruption. If we do not do that but begin to pick on individuals, some of whom I see here for lesser crimes and take them to court, when the bigger ones are lined up --
Mr Speaker, would you want me to mention names? You are picking on smaller crimes. Prosecuting people for GH¢ 2.5 million and GH¢ 4 million, when people have spent GH¢200 million, GH¢120 million and GH¢ 50 million --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you know the rules with regard to Statements. They are not supposed to provoke debate. So, you will limit it to the facts and move on to the next point, and wind up.
Mr Nitiwul 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is why I like you. You said I should limit myself to the facts; they are facts.
One of the people being prosecuted for a lesser crime is sitting here, and he does not say anything. It is true; they are facts. None of what I have said are non- facts.
Mr Nitiwul 11 a.m.

Mr Speaker, I think that as a country --
Mr Pele Abuga 11 a.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member just said that some people who are being prosecuted for lesser crimes are sitting here.
I would want to tell the Hon Member that I am capable of defending myself. He should proceed on the Statement on corruption, and stop talking about Hon Members being prosecuted for lesser offences.
Mr Nitiwul 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I said people being prosecuted for lesser crimes. Somebody is up. I heard someone say that while people are fighting for you, you will not allow it.
Mr Speaker, I am very firm on what I say and I am standing on firm grounds that, if as a country, we fail to deal with the GYEEDA and SADA Reports very well, we have no business fighting corruption. This is because it is rotten to the core.
I hope that, Mr Speaker, this Statement will be a wake-up call for all of us in this House to take corruption issues serious.

You are the Ranking Member and no one has been prosecuted. So, what sort of fight against corruption are we fighting as a country?
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Members, this is a commemorative Statement, and it should not be used to play any blame game.
Yes, Hon Members, I am very serious about it. The rules are very clear. You should not provoke debate. At times, facts can provoke debate. [Laughter.].
Mr Nitiwul 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I have stated the facts as they are.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility of all of us.
Alhaji Ibrahim D. Abubakari (NDC-- Salaga South) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement of Anti-Corruption Day, which falls today, Tuesday, 9th December,
Mr Speaker, the most important thing for us to know is --
“What are the possible causes of corruption in our nation, and what can we do to minimise if not to eliminate the issue of corruption in our country?”
Mr Speaker, the latest Afrobarometer Corruption Index which was released last week, if you read the report, you would realise that what it tends to tell us is that, almost everybody in Ghana is corrupt. In fact, almost all the institutions scored between 89 per cent up and 84 per cent. Even our Parliament was stated to score around 85 per cent in the latest Afrobarometer Corruption Index. The issue is, what are we doing, if we want to accept that report to minimise the issue of corruption?
Mr Speaker, corruption as we know, of late, is spoken of everywhere you go. As far as I am concerned, what allows corruption to go on most often is, one; bureaucracy in institutions; two, the frustration one goes through in trying to render services to the people also allows corruption to go on.
For example, if somebody goes to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to renew his roadworthy certificate, he has to queue for two hours.
The person may prefer to induce the officers there in order to get the service done for him. If we can reduce most of the bureaucracies in most of our institutions, that would help us to reduce corruption.
Other factors are our culture, the way we work towards those who are anti- corruption people. For example, if an auditor conducts his work and is able to name somebody who has embezzled funds, society, instead of trying to apprehend the person who has embezzled money rather reprimands the auditor for doing his work. Then the person who has blown the whistle in society is rather being apprehended, not rewarded. This aspect of our society, the culture, needs to be looked at.
Then when you look at our roles, let us take, for example, Parliament. We are supposed to have an oversight over the Executive. We are supposed to look at what the Executive is doing with our purse. Have we been able to conduct our roles properly? That is one question. Do we have enough resources to carry out our jobs as Parliament?
Apart from the Public Accounts Committee which sits in public hearing, is it not possible that any other committee, like the Committee on Local Government, Committee on Education, can also have one public hearing quarterly, to look at the projects under their jurisdiction, in other words, the Millennium Development Authority (MDA).
For example, if you take the Committee on Health, if it is able to hold one public hearing in a quarter to look at all the projects under health, that would also help to prevent corruption. We do not have to wait till post mortem, after auditors have carried the job then we come back here to look at our Public Accounts hearing.
What I am saying is that the various committees, Committee on Education , Committee on Health, et cetera, can also have quarterly reviews and then go back to sit at one public hearing throughout the whole year to look at all the various institutions under them. That would help reduce corruption. When we do this, we would look at the other sectors, like the Judiciary, the Executive and the rest. They also have important roles to play. In other words, the early discharge of justice by the Judiciary can also help us to reduce corruption.
What I am trying to say is that, Mr Speaker, we all have a collective role to play in this country. We all know that corruption exists, but what do we do, so that we can at least, try to minimise it if not eliminate it? That would improve public confidence.
At least, in the past, Ghanaians were more interested in human rights, which we talked about. But right now Ghanaians are more interested in accountability; which officers have been put there, have they been able to account to society? That is what we should be looking at.
With these few words, Mr Speaker, I think we can do well to bring corruption to its minimal level.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member for Subin, and then Hon Bandua.
Mr Isaac Osei (NPP--Subin) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to the Statement which was ably made by the Hon Member for Shai- Osudoku.
Mr Speaker, anti-corruption is what we all aim at. When we talk about anti- corruption, it is a recognition of the fact that, corruption actually exists in the
Mr Isaac Osei (NPP--Subin) 11:10 a.m.

society. I am not just talking about the petty corruption of the policeman in the street as he interacts and interfaces with drivers on the streets that we see everyday, and that in itself is bad enough.

But at the national level, what corruption does is that it leads to seepages in the revenue stream which should go to Government. So, it affects what goes into the development plan of our country, and that it is the most insidious aspect of the whole business of corruption. This is because the country cannot get what it really must get in terms of development if officials are engaged in these corrupt practices.

Mr Speaker, in the area of government procurement, all of us have seen that sole -sourcing rather than competitive tendering has become the order of the day. I believe that we are now in the process of looking at a new Procurement Bill, which I hope would be able to plug some of the loopholes.

Mr Speaker, the other point I would like to make is that, the Code of Conduct which Members of Parliament approved yesterday as well as the Public Officers Bill which we are looking at, both are attempts to bring public officers and Members of Parliament within due bounds of what is right. This is because all of us, though inherently good, may fall foul of good behaviour, these Codes of Conduct must bring us within the limits of proper behaviour. It should bring us to accept that the public interest is paramount in whatever we do, and if we all accept that public interest is paramount, then of course, all of us would be working towards the reduction of corruption.

Yesterday, we spoke about the Nolan Principles, and I referred to the fact that this was -- Perhaps, I did not say so, but

this happened in the 1990s when there was the famous “Cash-for-Questions” issue in the British Parliament. Everybody was talking that people were being paid to put Questions to Ministers in the United Kingdom, therefore, this was set up in 1994 by Prime Minister John Major. When Nolan passed on in the mid seventies, The Guardian wrote an obituary, and one sentence caught my attention, and read:

“Nolan as Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life was able to clean the Augean stables of corrupt practices.”

I believe that when they talked about Augean stables, they were making an allusion to Greek mythology and talking about Hercules using an engineering solution to wash down the stables of the King at that time. So, it was a stable cleansing activity.

So, the principles which we mentioned yesterday are principles which all of us should accept as part of the process of putting in place or codifying anti- corruption measures in the behaviour of various people here.

So, corruption naturally leads to a dislocation of the procurement process. It also leads to revenue leakages. Therefore, it affects the development process. It can also lead to social tensions as some people may become unduly rich through corrupt practices while others who suffer daily and keep within due bounds are not properly remunerated in that sense.

For international trade, we see every day that so many people at our borders are capturing illegal rents. Therefore, making cross-border international trade in West Africa difficult. So, I am very happy that my good Friend on the other side has come with this Statement on anti- corruption and I commend him for doing that.

Mr Speaker, finally, we all have to resolve not just Members of Parliament but also those of us who are in public service have to have a clear understanding, that we are in public service because we have been given public trust and that public trust is telling us that we have a bounden duty to respect our people in such a manner that we do not steal from them.
Mr Emmanuel K. Bandua (NDC -- Biakoye) 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement.
Indeed, corruption has a very serious negative impact on any society where it is rife. Crime becomes very prevalent in such a system because the institutions that are put in place to ensure that things are done rightly do not work because of the influence that it makes on them. So, they are weakened. You hear that things are happening somewhere, people are doing drugs, they are doing this and that because the system cannot check itself. But once things are put in place correctly, institutions would work effectively, then crime would go down or be eliminated.
In addition to this, in a situation where development is not properly balanced, the system breaks down. But once we do not have a development plan in place and once people are influenced to bring development anywhere because of the influence they depend on, then you know that things cannot be done rightly. Even appointments in such a system do not go well because people are influenced to make appointments and in such situations,
the right people are not put in the right places and there is chaos.
So, these are some of the effects that corruption could cause to the system where it is rife. Worst of all, the poor in society suffer because once you cannot pay your way through, you would not enjoy the services that are in the system.
Mr Speaker, because of this, I would try to entreat all of us as much as we could, to ensure that we do not corrupt others and others do not corrupt us, so that all of us as citizens, would benefit from the amenities that are in the system for all of us to enjoy.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, we have a lot on the Table today. So, the comments must be very brief.
I will take the Hon Member for Manhyia South and the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. Then after that, I will go to Leadership.
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for such a good Statement.
Mr Speaker, I believe as a country, we should all rally round solving this conundrum of corruption. It is one of the most abused words that I have ever found in my political career, such that even if you are walking as a politician, the term “politician” has been synonymous with corruption in this country.
Mr Speaker, when we mount our political platforms and we shout “corruption, corruption, corruption”, we do not seem to know other English word than “corruption.” We all would suffer from what the public thinks of us. But the word ‘corruption' has an interesting archaic meaning -- the process of decay -- and I think that is what the ordinary person is talking about when he says “corruption.”
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 11:20 a.m.

It is not true that when you talk about petty corruption, it does not register in the public's mind. The policeman collecting GH¢1 and GH¢2 even registers to the ordinary Ghanaian more than anything. The ordinary Ghanaian thinks of the politicians who are not able to correct that police malpractices as being corrupt, that is why we cannot correct that police malpractice. So, corruption is so pervasive that we ought to do something.

Mr Speaker, I would want to give two examples as a House. In the Hansard of Tuesday, 22nd December, 2011, this House approved a loan facility and the conclusion -- I would relate it to the corruption issue. The conclusion:

“The Committee therefore recommends to the House to approve the terms of Agreement in support of a Medium Term Loan Facility between Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited and Accra Compost Plant Ghana Limited for an amount of eighty million Ghana cedis (GH¢80, 000,000.00) to complete the construction of two compost plants...”

Mr Speaker, how many compost plants have been done? One; even the one that has been done was shut down for about six months when Accra was engulfed in filth. This is a loan facility this House approved and we cannot even as a House oversight what we have done, such that now, we have to declare a National Sanitation Day. If the compost plants were built and our rubbish was dump appropriately --The reason we are talking about corruption is that, if this House approves --
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, you know that we have the subject matter
committees that are supposed to oversight the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies and all those things? So, if you say that as a House, it sends a signal as if there is something pending before the House.
Dr Prempeh 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is not the House's fault. I was explaining that the ordinary person who is dying of cholera feels that this House is not being responsible by our activities. He is worried that we are corrupt. If we are not corrupt, why would we approve money for a project and not go and make sure that it is done?
Mr Speaker, if this House --
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Joseph Y. Chireh 11:20 a.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
I would advise my Hon Colleague not to cite specific examples as the Hon Deputy Minority Leader was doing and I cede to your advice.
This is a Statement to encourage all of us to see the way forward. But if the Member cites these examples, they give wrong impression again about what corruption is.
Our duty as a House, the various committees -- and he knows the procedures he could adopt for somebody to appear here and answer these questions. Not on the occasion that we are all looking for how we can -- And you see the brilliant presentation by my Hon Friend here about how we could all fight. Those specific examples are not the issue. If he thinks that something is wrong, he should let us take the action, not to come and incite the public against Parliament. That is why I am rising --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, I think that nobody prevented you as a Member of Parliament -- if you think that something is wrong. This is because we do not know all the facts. We may approve the loan, whether the money is actually paid or is totally released, it is not even known. We do not even know all the facts. So, please, take the advice.
I agree to the objection raised by the Hon Member for Wa West.
Dr Prempeh 11:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I whole heartedly accept the query raised by the Hon Member for Wa West.
In our dealings as --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Members, we should not hijack this Statement to raise issues which otherwise there are other tools available to a Member of Parliament or to this House as a House or to a committee of this House to raise and pursue. I do not think that that is the essence of the Statement that was made this morning.
Dr Prempeh 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would crave the indulgence of the House that stating a fact like you said might endanger debate; so we might not want to. But why would this House formulate huge laws to back and manage our resources, yet those laws are flouted. Those are issues that lend itself to corrupt practices. That is, if this House has passed the law to transfer a resource to National Health Insurance Fund and that resource, for one year, has not been transferred , such that people are dying, it is a corrupt practice.
Corruption does not mean taking money into one's pocket; it is a process of decay. If we have laws that are being flouted, for example, the Procurement Law, Criminal Libel Law, et cetera, laws are fashioned to ensure that society becomes
transparent and honest, if we pass a law to transfer resources to GETFund for schools and it does not get to them, we are being corrupt in our practice. That does not mean a personal responsibility for anybody, but we are not following the law.
Mr Speaker, for this reason, I am saying that as a House, we should vow that the laws that we have passed to protect the resources and make sure that Government does its work. If it is done, money for National Health Insurance Fund, GETFund and District Assemblies Common Fund should go. This is because those monies are meant for development in our regions, so that when the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Authority (GYEEDA) Bill gets to the floor of the House, we should ensure that GYEEDA is resourced --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, wind up.
Dr Prempeh 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in winding up, I would say that this House should support various anti-corruption practices to ensure that Ghana is governed better.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague to draw public's attention to the canker of corruption and the need for concerted efforts to fight corruption.
Mr Speaker, corruption knows no political party. The scale of it varies from country to country, from regime to regime. The World Bank Institute in a study in 2004 established that one trillion United States dollars was lost as bribe. It tells one the scale and magnitude of the problem as a global problem.
Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 11:30 a.m.

Mr Speaker, we need, as a country, to laud some of our own efforts in fighting corruption. That is why I said that corruption knows no political party, at least, to the credit of our Hon Friends opposite. They passed the Whistle Blower's Act, which was a very significant legislation in the fight against corruption. The problem is whether Ghanaians feel comfortable and are encouraged to blow the whistle, and to be rewarded accordingly in exposing the canker of corruption. That is why I can only commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, for bringing this matter to the fore.

Mr Speaker, this year, the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan, 2012 - 2021 was laid before this august House. It alerts some strategy but at least, some financial resources are required if we are to realise this, and we would adopt this as a national strategic plan to combat corruption, which was laid before this House --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
We have already adopted it.
Mr H. Iddrisu 11:30 a.m.
It has been adopted?
Mr Speaker, I am saying so because in the likely event that they form Government tomorrow, we have to work to commit to implement this strategic plans and the core objectives [Interruption] -- Likely or unlikely --
Mr Speaker, we also need to be guided and cautioned that largely, perception index are anecdotal survey perceptions of corruption. That has been the basis of the judgmental jargons of “corruption is prevalent in Ghana, it is very high in Ghana” That may be difficult to accurately measure. We should have said that. This is because in Ghana what we do is to either use perception index or just use surveys and conclude that Ghana is corrupt.
Mr Speaker, I would use one example. If for instance, there is a problem with pay- roll, to say Ghanaians without bank account and they are 42,000, if one uses that as headlines, somebody sitting somewhere would conclude that there is fraud associated with that particular activity, when in fact, it may be that people genuinely have not been captured in the payroll.
Mr Speaker, I am saying this to conclude my contribution on four suggestions. The media has a role to play as watchdogs, but they must report accurately. They must crosscheck their facts because they have contributed to the increased perception of the existence or non-existence of corruption.
Mr Speaker, this House has every reason to pride itself at least, with my little experience over a decade in this House; we have contributed to building strong institutions and legislations to fight corruption.
Mr Speaker and Mr President, you do not work with angels. Corruption is a human problem and so long as there are humans, it is facilitated by three factors; greed, -- [Interruption] -- My Speaker, I do not want to pay royalties for making some reference to something. I said it is a human problem, and I commend the Hon Member who made the statement.
Mr Speaker, I was touching on the role of the media. They have a role to expose it, and they should do so courageously. But they must crosscheck their facts because they contribute directly or indirectly to the formation of perceptions about it.
Mr Speaker, I was in this House -- the legislator's oversight responsibility in this Parliament is to help in fighting the menace and we exercised it. That is why we would continuously commend committees like the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Mr Speaker, in times past, some Governments would have investigated corruption and the report would be hidden forever. It would not be known to the Ghanaian public; it would not be known to the world. At least, many of the investigations that have been done, some at his request, and to quote one of them, there are prosecutions going on because the President swore an oath and his oath is to defend the Constitution and the laws of Ghana.

Mr Speaker, I said the National Anti- Corruption Action Plan was laid and approved by this House -- Public Officers' Liability Bill laid and approved by this House. These are all improving the ethics and standard architectures to combat corruption. What we need is to depoliticise it. As I said, it varies from regime to regime. We need to have a way to evaluate it properly. But in my opinion, we have made progress as a country in terms of setting up our institutions and getting policies in place.

Even in getting the exposure, what the PAC does, has given this House a lot of dignity and honour. What we need to do, which I agree, is the follow-up action on the recommendations of the PAC. I would add that the functionality of the financial tribunal as was envisaged and announced

by Her Ladyship the Chief Justice should be pursued rigorously.

Mr Speaker, we also need to make a distinction. In Ghana, there is petty corruption; there is political corruption, there is bureaucratic corruption and that is where I would wish that my Hon Colleague the Minority Leader was still here. He should stop begging the issue by describing some corruptions as minor. This is because we are accepting it as a common practice in Ghana, that it has become the lubricant that kills the wheels of administration running in Ghana. If one wants to get recruitment into the Ghana Police Service or into some State institutions, one would not walk on the strength of merit but walk on the strength of favoritism or nepotism.

Mr Speaker, my conception of corruption is the abuse of public structures and processes for private personal gain, and let us not look at it in terms of the quantum but the denial which the Hon Isaac Osei raised. The cost of corruption is the denial of that opportunity of a road. This is because that money diverted could have been used to construct a road, hospital; the money diverted into the private pocket could have been used to improve maternal healthcare. And I am saying that in Africa, it is estimated to cost over US$1 billion.

As I looked at the country's rating, as was ably presented by the Hon Member who made the Statement, my heart is warmed that at least, we are engaged in some effort in fighting corruption. We are no longer in those days where reports on corruption were shelved. People would be subjected and would be asked to account for it.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement. Let us engage
Mr H. Iddrisu 11:30 a.m.

in a concerted effort, bi-partisan effort, support legislation, support prosecution, and deal ruthlessly with persons who flout the laws of Ghana.

But Mr Speaker, once again, the Ghanaian media are too judgmental in their approach, not only on corruption -- [Interruption] -- What is your problem? They brought you out of power.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, do you want to make a statement or you want to contribute?
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP -- Suame) 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, just a few comments.
I also rise to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement on the occasion of the Commemoration of the World Anti-Corruption Day. The Colleague did well in drawing attention to the effects of corruption in the system. As the Colleagues who have spoken before me have indicated, the country has made some strides in trying to deal with the menace of corruption in the system.
Mr Speaker, it began by decriminalising the Criminal Libel Law, then we had the Internal Audit Law, the Financial Administration, the Public Procurement Act and then the Whistleblowers Law. As we speak today, we are waiting for the legislation of the Right to Information Law. But we need to go further. There are some of the laws which are very good laws that we have made but we are not implementing to the letter. For instance, the law relating to assets declaration.
Mr Speaker, I do recollect that when we came to dealing with this and people who had some amendments, proferred that we cannot be treating this subject matter with kids gloves, because human as we are, it is possible for certain public office holders to procure some assets and register them in the names of persons who are not office holders. For instance, spouses and children who may not be office holders. If we interrogate these matters down the lane, we would see this, we shall see some skeletons, and we shall see some ghosts.
So, why should people be afraid that if we would want to confront the matter relating to proper assets declaration, we should extend them to spouses and perhaps even the immediate nuclear family. We have instances where assets are procured and registered in the names of children who are below 18 years. Where do they get the monies from?
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, you know when the original Bill was introduced in this House, spouses and children were --
It was this House that removed it and I remember the argument at that time vividly was whether the spouses were public officers?
So, it has to do with the title of the Bill; Public Officers, Assets and Liability Declaration. We just have to -- I entirely agree with you.
If we really want to take it to the next level, it should be Assets Declaration; we should not limit it to public officers. Once there are assets, then it must include at least, the details of the immediate members of the officers.
So, the original Bill included spouses and children. I remember vividly the
“spouses” and I remember an Hon Member on the floor asked that, are spouses public officers? That was why it was seriously debated on the floor and they removed the “spouses” from the Bill.
I entirely agree with the Hon Minority Leader; we may have to look at it again and if need be, reinstate members of the immediate family into the law.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
I do not want to go down memory lane, but you will agree with me that many of the people who argued that we should make this distinction between public office holders and non-public officers holders were public office bearers at the time. Many of the people who made this strong advocacy were public office holders.
Mr Speaker, the short title of every Bill that we have crafted in this House, would usually refer to the main issue and would add this phrase “and related matters.” So they are connected to the immediate family and maybe, spouses and children are all connected to the office bearers. So, why would people say that let us decouple them? But that is another matter that I guess we could revisit.
Mr Speaker, I think the world in general is making some progress. This is because until recently, until the advent of Mr Wolfensohn, the World Bank for instance, did not have any space for corruption in the issuance of grants and aids to developing countries in particular. Today, it is part of their lexicon and perhaps, the world in general is making some progress in this.
In Ghana, we should begin to do serious introspection. We are talking about petty corruption, grand corruption and so on. My Colleague, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations is saying that we should not make the distinction but I think the distinction is already made by anti-corruption bodies; that we should make a distinction between petty corruption and grand corruption.
Mr Speaker, in Ghana, we should begin to do serious introspection to question our own governance structures and systems, whether it is promoting transparency and accountability. We used to have the Westminster system, bequeathed to this nation by the colonial administrators. Why did we move to the presidential system when a study by the World Bank is indicating to all of us that countries that practise the presidential systems, especially emerging economies, are more susceptible to corruption than those that practise Westminster system? Mr Speaker, why? Yet we find refuge there because people reap from where they have not sown, as simple as that.
Another matter that yields to corruption is the unstable and unpre- dictable economy that third world countries have to live with and because the system is not stable, it yields to greed and selfishness. If a person is made a Minister, Deputy Minister or a public office holder and he thinks that because tomorrow or the situation is not predictable, he cannot predict what will happen the week after, then today, he must make hay while the sun shines. That is the gospel truth, if we must admit it to ourselves.
Mr Speaker, the political system is also engendering political patronage; sup- porters must be appeased and everybody is gravitating towards that end, regardless of the political party that finds itself in administration.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.

We should also begin to concern ourselves with the relationship between bare face corruption and money laundering. It is a serious matter and how do we deal with it? Mr Speaker, you and I were at a forum outside this country when issues were raised regarding whether it would not be prudent for emerging economies to legislate Financial Intelligence Acts.

Mr Speaker, it is amazing. You are at the same level with some people; they find themselves in public office, and you know how people were lamenting and bemoaning their circumstances? The following day, they are put into public office and all of a sudden, Mr Speaker, they become “Father Christmases” of our era -- circumstances change overnight. Mr Speaker, within four years, people are able to build three to four-storeyed houses -- in four years. When we all know that their emoluments are not commensurate with their assets within four years.

And we think we should not be questioning this, it should be considered as normal as usual? This is because somebody is waiting somewhere to also have the opportunity to also assume that office and amass wealth because the system is unstable, it is not predictable. Mr Speaker, what are we doing?

Mr Speaker, we have the United Nations (UN) Convention Against Corruption; we have the African Union (AU) Convention Against Corruption; both have been ratified by this House. But to what extent are we domesticating these Conventions and Protocols? To what extent are we domesticating them? It seems after the ratification, we go to sleep and nothing really concerns us. There is this UN Office on Drugs and Crimes and Mr Speaker, the Protocol relating to this

is also very interesting. What is Ghana's Parliament also doing?

Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Manhyia South raised issues about the business of Parliament, parliamentary committees being liberated to act proactively. The oversight responsibility of Parliament rests to a large measure on parliamentary committees and yet we do know that by our own rules, the rules that we have imposed upon ourselves. Committees cannot go out there to proactively deal with matters concerning their own sectors. Not until they are referred to them in plenary; that certainly cannot be the best.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, we have been very flexible in recent times. The Committee on Defence and Interior went to our border posts to see our preparedness to handle Ebola cases; we have also asked the Committee on Health to also meet the responsible Ministries so that they could brief them on our preparedness within the country. The Defence and Interior Committee brought a report and made a Statement on the floor of the House, which was discussed. They could even file a Motion based on that. So, we are becoming more responsive than that strict interpretation that has been put on it.
In any case, nothing prevents a Member who is convinced about a matter from raising it on the floor of the House, using any of the tools available to a Member of the House.
The Hon Member for Manhyia South has been very effective in doing that. I have handled a number of things with him, which we have dealt with and through his intervention, certain issues have been resolved.
Hon Minority Leader, you are privy to some of these.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I agree with you that there appears to be some relaxation in the rules. But I beg to suggest, Mr Speaker, that the issues you are relating to are concerned with the soft furnishing issues. Let us deal with the hard steely issues. That is what I am concerned about. And I think the bottom line would be to maybe, amending the rules.
Mr Speaker, everybody in this House, when it comes to real oversight, is talking about the Public Accounts Committee. Why is it that we are always pointing at the Public Accounts Committee and their performance? Mr Speaker, we do know that the reality is that we have agreed by our rules of procedure to allow that Committee to be headed by a member who comes from the party that does not control the Executive. That is one of the core reasons why the Public Accounts Committee is able to discharge its functions so effectively.
Mr Speaker, elsewhere in other Parliaments, committees are chaired, not by the ruling party Members but by the opposition party Members. Mr Speaker, usually, matters relating to foreign affairs and foreign policy are certainly in the hands of the ruling party. So, the Foreign Affairs Committee would certainly be chaired by the ruling party Members.
Equally so for defence matters because certainly, no Government would yield to that, and relevant information would not have to go out there into the public domain. So, that Committee would need to be chaired by a Member from the ruling party. With the others, we have no business concentrating the chairmanship and leadership in the hands of the ruling party Members.
In particular, given the situation that Mr Speaker, by the fusion that we are practising, the President is obligated under our Constitution to appoint a
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member for Subin?
Mr Isaac Osei 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Leader just said that the President is obliged to appoint a Majority of his Ministers from the ruling party. I think the constitutional provision is from Parliament and not from the ruling party.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to believe that my Colleague from Subin is not lobbying the President for any position -- [Interruption.]
Mr Isaac Osei 11:50 a.m.
On the contrary, I would not even dream of it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, it is usual. I agree with the constitutional provision, but as it is usual, he would appoint from his own party Members. Mr Speaker, when a lot -- I would not say the cream, but a lot of the high profile Hon Members of Parliament are made Ministers, and we have the situation where the middle levelers are made Chairmen of committees. The purpose of most of them there would be, one, to register strongly on the radar of the President to be noticed and to also be made Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and so, they contribute to emasculating the committees of Parliament.
Let us do serious introspection Mr Speaker, to bring up our own Parliament. This is because as you do know, it is one of the reasons our Parliament was marked down, that it was not very strong when it
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.

came to comparing it with, I think, 13 other Parliaments on the continent. We really need to do serious introspection to see how we could raise our performance. This is because our performance is certainly not the best, in spite of the fact that we are making some strides in certain areas.

Mr Speaker, finally, one needs to talk about a demonstrable, bold and decisive leadership. It should be demonstrable to lead the way. I never agreed with the methods of Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings in the 1980s. But he demonstrated leadership at the time and so, people who followed were afraid. [Interruption] -- including you, the Tribunal Chairman.

Mr Speaker, those of them who joined the trail from 1982 to 1986 and left for one reason or the other, today, they are all paupers. They did their best; perhaps their best was not good enough for the country.

But, Mr Speaker, we have had a dedicated core of people who sacrificed. Maybe, what they did was not the best for the country, but we could not fault at least, many or most of them for greed and selfishness.

Enter the era of the late 1980s when the signals appeared that we were going to return to constitutional administration, and then we had people joining the trail, the “Latter Day Saints” grabbing left, right and centre, including their feet; and that is why we are where we are. Let us demonstrate bold leadership and the people that we lead would follow. There cannot be any pretence about this.

Mr Speaker, I do not want to go on the line of citing examples as Colleagues have done. But we all know that we need a stronger and more decisive leadership to carry this country along.

Mr Speaker, let us all resolve to give ourselves a new beginning. The route that we are embarking on, is very slippery and it may lead us into serious disaster.

Mr Speaker, realising that the Hon Minister for Finance is nodding his head profusely, let me lower my guards and I thank you for the opportunity that you have granted me.

Thank you very much.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) noon
Mr Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the Statement and to commend the maker for bringing this matter to our attention.
Mr Speaker, the fact that this day has been set aside indicates that the issue of corruption exists and we need every- body's effort to eradicate it, if not totally, minimise its effect.
Mr Speaker, in this country, a lot of laws have been enacted and geared towards the elimination of corruption, but what we notice is that, most of the time, implementation of these laws become a problem and the issue of corruption persists in the system.
That notwithstanding Mr Speaker, we need the support of everybody, since corruption as have been said by Hon Colleagues, is not associated with one political party or anybody, any one tribe or social grouping, it cuts across all the social setups. In that wise, we need the collective effort of everybody to control corruption.
Mr Speaker, the concern from all of us is that, what do we do to bring this canker to a level which would lead us to realise the benefits of the resources that we have in our country? Mr Speaker, the maker of the Statement has said that the effects of corruption is that, the resources that must
go to all the people or all the segments of the society are being siphoned and used by a few of the populace.
Mr Speaker, it is said also that there are countries, particularly developing ones, which have a lot of resources and yet our people are not getting the benefit of what we produce or what the result of our efforts are?
Mr Speaker, corruption is endemic, it is a human issue and we need everybody's effort to control it. I would want to say that the Government be up and doing, be able to put structures and committees in place to control and investigate any issue of corruption that raises its ugly head.
Mr Speaker, recently, the Afroba- rometer Report Index indicted Parliament and for that matter, Members of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, my worry is that, this could be a good report, but why the whole institution of Parliament should be taken on board, that there is corruption in Parliament, is my issue. There may be instances which can justify the report, but how do you label a whole institution as corrupt without giving any evidence of the corruption effect?
Mr Speaker, it is my concern that if we need to eradicate this corruption, everybody, not only politicians, not only political parties and not only those institutions they see as having actions that lead to corruption, for instance, politicians, in all the issues are the first point of call, while in effect there are other segments of the populace which are also corrupt and yet they are not easily identified.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader has raised a matter about what we should
do about our Standing Orders and our Constitution, which would give a strong indication that we are up to eradicate corruption. I am happy that the Constitution Review Committee is working. The Standing Orders Review Committee is also in place. I hope very soon, what his concerns are, would come out for us to know that the Constitution and the Standing Orders have been reviewed, to take into consideration, the efforts that must be made to eradicate corruption.
Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the maker and to urge all of us to be part of the solution, because it has been said by one former Head of State that “corruption is as old as Adam” and in that wise, it must be all of us who must eradicate it. This is because as of today, what is existing is that, when people are entrusted with power and they are in a position to give service to the ordinary people, they demand satisfaction for themselves to the detriment of the people.
I would even say that we have gone a long way from our traditional system where people who rendered services to others would be there. A year or months after, those who received the services, would come and thank them, that they have done a good job. Today, what do we see? They demand in advance of performing the services.
The aseda system that we used to have, which is that, if you perform a service to someone, he would come to say, thank you very much. Nowadays, those things are not in the system. Rather, people demand, they take a percentage of what they are supposed to do for the people. Mr Speaker, it is a collective effort and if we do, we would be able to eradicate this canker of corruption.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker noon
Thank you very much.
That brings us to the end of Statements.
At the commencement of Public Business.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, which Papers are ready to be laid?
Mr Agbesi noon
Mr Speaker, item number 4 (b) and (c).
Mr Speaker noon
Very well.
Hon Members, Presentation of Papers
-- noon


Mr Speaker noon
By the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy [Interruption.]
Hon Member, you are a member of the Committee and you are from the Executive arm. By standard practice, we should get any other member from the Committee, either from the Majority or Minority side to have it laid.
Is there any member of the Committee here? [Interruption.] -- [Pause.]
Hon Members, I learnt they are discussing their Annual Budget Estimates. So, we defer it. This is because we have to find out whether the Report is ready. So, we move on.
What other item is ready to be laid?
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Item number 5; both (a) and (b).
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, item number 5 on the Order Paper-- Presentation and First Reading of Bills. Item 5 (a) Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, the Minister for Finance who is to present item number 5 (a) is not in the House. I will seek permission for the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations to lay it on his behalf.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well.

Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, the Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 duly presented and read for theFirst time.
Item 5 (b)?
Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014
An Act to amend the National Pensions Act 2008, Act 766 to reduce the age for the exemption for
the first tier scheme and to provide for related matters.
Presented by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (on behalf of the Minister for Finance).
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Sorry, Hon Members, I did not do the first referral.
The Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 referred to the Finance Committee for Consideration and report.
The National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 duly presented and read for the First time.

Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, item number 6 -- [Interruption]
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Please, I have not done the referral yet. It is talking about National Pensions and I would want to know which committee handled the substantive Bill when it was brought to this House.
Which committee handled the National Pensions Act when it was introduced in this House?
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Finance Committee-- [Interruption]
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member for Wa West, can you help us?
Mr Joseph Y. Chireh 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. I remember that it was the Ministry of Finance that was responsible for that. But it appears it was a joint referral. So, I believe
the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises is still in the crisis and the Finance Committee will be the most appropriate.
Referred to the joint Committee on Finance and Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises.
Hon Members, in terms of those two Bills, they should look at Standing Order 119, dealing with the urgency of the Bill.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Minister informs me that for some reasons, he wants the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 to be taken as a matter of urgency.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, I have asked them to look at Standing Order 119 to determine the urgency of it. I have already done that.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, which item are we taking; item number 6 or we are deferring it?
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
That is so. We want to take item number 6 because the Minister informed me -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Minister, why do we not defer item 6, so that we can take it tomorrow, to iron out some few areas.
My attention has been drawn to another document on the matter this morning by the Clerks-at-the-Table and I thought we should look at it before we can take this matter tomorrow.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am guided by that; we can defer it till tomorrow.
Thank you.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well.

Mr I. K. Asiamah — rose —
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
I saw you on your feet.
Mr I. K. Asiamah 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are a bit constrained because -- [Inter- ruption.] Yes, Mr Speaker, but this issue ended up at the Speaker's Office the other time and that by now, even the report as we speak, is not ready. Hon Members do not have access to the report -- [Interruption.]
No! Because tomorrow, for example -- then unless the report is ready for us to go through it. Tomorrow may not be possible because we do not even have the report. But there was an understanding that was reached the other time, that we would not want any other side to break that understanding. That is the point and that is why I even wanted to confer with the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations before the other --
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Colleague is the Ranking Member for one of the committees to which you referred this matter. I believe that he should be supporting the work of the Committee.
As we speak, the Committee is meeting. The last time we had a similar experience where with the Minority Leader and with him, we had a certain settlement of how to proceed on this Bill. He sought to pardon my word and refused what we had discussed collectively. So, Mr Speaker, we will -- I am speaking at a policy level.
There is a Government policy to get the National Youth Employment Bill passed because we need to assure our Ghanaian youth that there is a legal
framework guiding the employment of young people. I do not think it is fair that a committee or committees of Parliament or a member of that Committee will seek to engage in an effort to derail that process.
Mr I. K. Asiamah 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this is very unfair to me as the Ranking Member of the Committee.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, the use of the word “derail” [Interruption] -- Wait.
Hon Asiamah, take your seat.
I think the word “derail” is rather too strong.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw it.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, if there are any outstanding matters, let us try to resolve them, so that by tomorrow, the report may be ready and we can take this matter. This is because the Business Committee has programmed this last week for us to take the Second Reading today.
So, I will urge the joint Committee to work on it, so that tomorrow, we can take the Second Reading of this Bill. If there are any other issues, we can go --
Mr I. K. Asiamah 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there is a factual inaccuracy I would want to correct here.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
And he is the one in charge of the Bill. You see.
Mr I. K. Asiamah 12:20 p.m.
No! But we are talking about the Committee. He cannot speak on behalf of the Committee. For the Bill, fine, but for the Committee as he did indicate, that it is meeting, it is not true. I am the Ranking Member. So, he should give me that respect.
Mr Kwabena M. Akandoh 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee is supposed to be meeting at 12.00 o'clock and it is past 12.00 o'clock. So, most Hon Members are still waiting and the Ranking -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes. So, it is true. You are supposed to meet but you are not meeting? So, that clarifies the position.
Mr Akandoh 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members are still there in the waiting room as we speak now.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, you should meet, so that we can take the Second Reading tomorrow. We have to make progress.
Hon Members, you know that when the reports of the committees on the estimates start coming in, we will have a serious challenge on our hands in this House?
Hon Members, let us make progress.
Let us move to item number 7.
Minister for Local Government and Rural Development?
Where is the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development?— [Pause] —
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Minister is currently engaged with the President on an assignment and so, his deputy is
in the House to perform the duty on his behalf.
Mr Speaker, I would want to ask permission that the Deputy Minister takes the Motion on behalf of the Minister — [Pause] —
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, they have made an application for the Deputy Minister to move the Motion on behalf of the substantive Minister.
Mr Daniel Botwe 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is just that I did not get the reason very clear.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
The reason is that the Minister is on an assignment —
Mr Botwe 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is not very clear; he says the Minister is on an assignment with the President.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is the Minister out of the jurisdiction?
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Minister is within the jurisdiction but performing official duties — [Uproar.]
Mr Botwe 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there is no objection if the Minster, for some reason, is not available. But this business of trying to always colour it on behalf of the President, as if once your name is associated with the President, everybody should kowtow to that -- If for some reason, the Minister is not able to come, we have no objection to that.
I think that is how we should operate. But not as if he is at a meeting with the President or the President has sent him. Once he is a Minister, he is acting on behalf of the President at any time.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Your problem is the reasons that you are giving for the absence of the Minister in the Chamber. That is what is not clear.
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague has agreed that the Minister is not in the House and so, his deputy is here on his behalf.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development -- item number 7?
MOTIONS 12:25 p.m.


Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Yes, any seconder?
Question proposed.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Dominic Azimbe Azumah) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion and in doing so, present the Report of your Committee.
On Wednesday, 19th November, 2014 the Hon. Minister for Finance, Mr. Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh, in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 140 (1) and (2) of the Standing Orders of the House, laid before Parliament the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of the Government of Ghana for the 2015 fiscal year.
Mr Speaker, in accordance with Order 140 (4) of the Standing Orders referred, the draft annual estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development for consideration and report.
The Committee met on Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014 and considered the annual estimates of the sector Ministry in accordance with article 179 of the Constitution and Order 181 o f the Standing O r d er s of the H o u s e
During the deliberations on the Estimates, the Committee met with the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hon Julius Debrah, the Deputy Minister, Hon Emmanuel Agyekum, the Chief Director, heads of the various departments, agencies and projects of the Ministry. The Committee is grateful to these persons for their invaluable contributions.
In discussing the estimates, the Committee made reference to the following materials:
a. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
b. The Standing Orders of the House
c. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Govern- ment of Ghana for the 2015 financial year.
d. The 2015 Draft Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and
e. Report of the Committee on the 2014 Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Mission of the Ministry
The Ministry is mandated to ensure good governance and balanced development of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), through the formulation of policies on governance, decentralisation, rural development and environment and draws Guidelines on the acquisition and use of human resources by Assemblies.

The Ministry is further authorised to design and deliver systems that would set targets and monitor the performance of Local Assemblies. It also develops, monitor sector plans and provides management advisory services to the Assemblies.

Broad policy objectives

The following are the broad policy objectives of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development:

i. Ensure effective implementation of decentralisation policy and programmes.

ii. Ensure effective and efficient resource mobilization, internal revenue generation and resource management

iii. Integrate and institutionalise distr ict level planning and budgeting through participatory process at all levels

iv. Mainstream Local Economic Development (LED) for growth and local employment creation

v. Promote redistribution of urban population and spatially integrated hierarchy of urban settlements throughout the country

vi. Promote resilient urban infrastructure development, maintain and provide basic services

vii. Create an enabling environment to accelerate rural growth and development

viii.Facilitate the sustainable use and management of natural resources that support the development of rural communities and livelihoods

ix. Promote the construction, upgrading and maintenance of new integrated commercial/ residential housing communities

x. Establish an institutional frame- work for effective coordination of human settlements development

xi. Accelerate the provision of improved environmental sanita- tion facilities

xii. Ensure the development and implementation of health and hygiene education as a com- ponent of all water and sanita- tion programmes

xiii.Adopt a sector-wide approach to water and environmental sanita- tion delivery

xiv.Improve sector institutional capacity

xv. Foster and promote the culture of leisure and healthy lifestyle among Ghanaians

Performance review of 2014 Budget

In the year under review, Parliament approved an amount of two hundred and thirty-nine million, eight hundred and fifty-one thousand, one hundred and sixty Ghana cedis (GH¢239,851,160.00) from a combination of Government of Ghana (GoG) and donor sources for the operations of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as well as its Departments and Agencies.

This approved ceiling was later revised to two hundred and sixteen million, three hundred and sixty-three thousand, four hundred and fourteen Ghana cedis


Additionally, Parliament approved an amount of one hundred and ninety-nine million Ghana cedis (GH¢199,000,000.00) under the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) for the operations of the Ghana School Feeding Programme.

As at September 2014, the Ministry had expended one hundred and fifty-one million, six hundred and fifty-seven thousand, four hundred and thirty-one Ghana cedis and fifty-two pesewas

(GH¢151.657.431.52), representing 70.09 per cent of the total revised amount approved by Parliament.

The Ghana School Feeding programme as at September, 2014 had also expended seventy-seven million, two hundred and ninety thousand, two hundred and forty- one Ghana cedis and eighty-two pesewas (GH¢77,290,241.82), representing 38.84 per cent of the total amount approved by Parliament.

2014 Allocations as reviewed

The breakdown of the budgetary allocation and expenditure returns of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year 2014 as at September were as follows:

SPACE FOR TABLE B 12:25 p.m.

SPACE TO TABLE D 12:25 p.m.

DMTDP 12:25 p.m.

SPACE TABLE F 12:25 p.m.

SPACE TABLE G 12:25 p.m.

SPACE FOR TABLE H 12:25 p.m.

SPACE FOR TABLE I 12:25 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, very much.
Hon Members, I would like to draw the Committee's attention to a little problem. If you look at the Order Paper, the figure quoted there is GH¢290,983,971, but in the conclusion of the Committee's Report, it is GH¢290,983,972. There is a difference of GH¢1. We need to know the way forward.
Mr D. A. Azumah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there are some pesewas after the one which was converted to a whole figure of two. From the budget itself, it is two. So, we would correct the Order Paper to read two, so that we can amend that to read
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Dr Prempeh 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that roundup cannot be corrected just from the Order Paper because we would find from next week in the Appropriations Bill the figure one and not two, and that could be a problem. So, they should state the one point something pesewas. We know that they have rounded it to two cedis. They should state it, so that it does not conflict, after this approval, with the Appropria- tions Bill.
Mr D. A. Azumah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in that wise, we would maintain the one which is in our Report, because we need to get the budget estimates and know exactly the small numbers that are following the figures.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
In that case, you will amend what is in the Report?
Mr D. A. Azumah 12:30 p.m.
That is right.
Mr Kwasi Amoako Attah (NPP -- Atiwa West) 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on the 2015 Annual Budget Estimates for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, ably moved by the Hon Minister and which is before us. And in doing so, I have a few comments to make.
Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that the role of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is so key in the socioeconomic development of this nation, due principally to its decentralised nature and character.
Mr Speaker, this is a Ministry which is mandated to ensure a balanced development of all the Metropolitan, Municipal and Distr ict Assemblies throughout the country, the success of which undoubtedly, would ensure the sustainable and equitable economic growth of the country simultaneously, and by so doing, there is no doubt that poverty would be reduced to the barest minimum.
This can only be achieved if all approved budgetary allocations to the Ministry itself and its associated agencies and departments are released timeously.
Mr Speaker, the Committee's Report as presented by the Chairman has scheduled a number of successes achieved by the Ministry in the year 2014, which is under review.
But the fact remains that the Ministry, together with all its departments, have been operating and continue to operate under very difficult circumstances. The donor dependency syndrome of the
Ministry as captured in the Report of the Committee on page 19, paragraph 10.1.6, is extremely worrying. On that page, we are told that for the year under review, almost 65 per cent of the Ministry's budgetary allocation is donor dependent while the 2015 forecast even raises it to 85 per cent.
Mr Speaker, it is very worrying in the sense that in such a situation, should anything happen and the foreign or donor counterpart fails to come, it means that the budgetary allocation and for that matter, the operations and the performance of the whole Ministry and its agencies and departments would be thrown out of gear.
This is a key Ministry, as I have already said, that ensures balanced development across the nation at any particular time throughout the year. It is therefore, important that this aspect is watched critically to ensure that future budgets are reduced significantly to enable us to depend more on the Government of Ghana portion of the budget.
If we turn to page 7 of the Report, under Table D, the situation is very clear, and in our Report, it is stated on page 18, that for the year under review, we have had 81 per cent of budgetary releases. But Mr Speaker, the expenditure table found on page 7, Table D shows that the donor release of GH¢126,794,656.38 for the year alone forms almost 81 per cent of the monies being released and expended by the Ministry, with the exception of compensation which comes in the form of salaries and wages and has a budgetary overrun of almost three per cent.
It is very sad to observe that, under Goods and Services, out of the approved budget of GH¢28,158,677.40, only a little of over four million has been released, representing 14.49 per cent. Under Assets of the GH¢11,002,353.60 allocated to the Ministry, not a pesewa has been released in 2014 and for that matter, nothing has
been expended. But if you look at Table B on page 6, the 2014 budgetary allocations to the various cost centres and look at the column on Assets, Sanitation alone should have attracted a little over in 2014. The Births and Deaths Registry should have attracted GH¢400,000.00 under Assets and the same applies to the Department of Parks and Gardens and other core centres, but not even a cedi was released up to date.
Mr Speaker, it is therefore, not surprising that without these releases to enable these core centres to acquire the necessary equipment needed for their performance and operations, cholera took over our cities and hundreds of our citizens died because they lived in filth; what should have gone into sanitation and waste management did not happen.
Both Tables C and E also show a very sorry state of the Ministry. Various sectors therefore, suffered and continue to suffer and we are only hoping that releases would be on target at least, for this last quarter because the figures here cover between January and September.
This is because of this erratic releases of funds, all the sectors are suffering; School Feeding, Births and Deaths Department and the Department of Parks and Gardens. Available statistics show that even school enrolment under school feeding has increased up to 1.7 million children in 2014, covering 4,881 schools. We know the importance of school feeding, which apart from reducing poverty, has health implications on our children.
Even our farmers benefit if this programme is well-sustained. It is therefore, a worrying situation that all these important sectors are suffering.
Mr Speaker, if we go to page 13 of your Committee's Report, the last paragraph - 7.5.5, under Births and Deaths Department, it is interesting to observe that, that Department managed to get the statistics of births and deaths in the country and the statistics show that 372,590 out of 628,751 births were registered, representing only 59.2 per cent.
The Department managed to know the number of births in the country but they registered a little over half because they did not have the resources to do their work. And even if you look at death, the situation is more worrying; the Department has the mechanism to know that 39,194 out of the 204,140 deaths were registered, representing only 19.1 per cent.
But Mr Speaker, we know the importance of births and deaths even in the development of our nation, and if we should starve such an important Department of resources, then where are we heading towards as a nation?
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would want to draw the Government's attention to its commitment of counterpart funding if we want to see equitable development in our nation and if we want to continue to solicit and receive the donor support from the international community.
Mr Speaker, pages 24 and 25 of the Committee's Report bring this situation out clearly. Mr Speaker, under Ghana Social Opportunities Project, this country and the Ministry should have made use of a whooping sum of US$5,000,000 under its Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme.
This could not materialise for two main reasons; one of the reasons was that, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection could not do an assessment of a target household figure of GH¢80,000 and more importantly, the Government
Mr Kwasi Amoako Attah (NPP -- Atiwa West) 12:40 p.m.

could not provide its counterpart funding and the Committee's Report shows that we risk even losing this money, and US$5,000,000 introduced into the budget could have done a lot of things for the Ministry and for that matter, this nation.

On page 25, under paragraph 10.7.2, Mr Speaker, it is again recorded that the District Development Facility, the DDF as it stands now, is at risk and we know the importance of the DDF and the significant contributions that it has been making towards the developmental efforts of all the poor District Assemblies, particularly, the newly created ones, and that the Government's counterpart funding around GH¢60,000,000 is still not paid. This represents about 31per cent of the DDF.

Mr Speaker, all these put together, shows that we are not attaching the required importance to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Develop- ment, by so doing, starving development at the district level and for that matter, doing a great disservice to our people in the hinterlands and deepening poverty.

We hope that this would be taken on board and the Ministry of Finance would, in the year 2015, make frantic efforts to release all funds, not only to the Ministry but to all its associated agencies and departments to ensure that the mandated vision and the mandated objective of the Ministry, of ensuring a balanced and equitable distribution of resources and development across the nation, would be achieved.

Mr Speaker, with these comments, I would want to call on the entire House to support the Motion and to approve the figures for the year 2015.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 12:50 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate to approve the estimates for the Ministry. You know that I was a Minister there, so, I have passion for some of the topics, and one of them is the School Feeding Programme.
It is very crucial and I think that the Ministry, together with the whole Government, must put in the proper structures, particularly legislating or having a legislative framework that enables Government to vote money regularly from the Consolidated Fund to support that Programme.
The usefulness is in no doubt that, it helps raise the enrolment in the country; it helps again to deal with the crucial issue of education as a r ight. But more importantly, it helps the young children to be healthy and they can better learn. It is something that many countries invest in and for us, as a country, we should try to do so.
Mr Speaker, the other one has to do with -- Before we even send the children to school, we need to know their ages but the Birth and Deaths Registry is poorly resourced. It is in a dilapidated accommodation; they have no computers. If you see their typewriters -- [Laughter] -- You cannot believe it.
No country worth her salt would allow data collection, which begins from birth to suffer as we have done over the years. Government has to do something about it. To tell you, I was looking for funding from Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and they were willing to support this. I would urge the Minister now to look for sources of funding to re-equip the Births and Deaths Registry. This is because without it, we would not know how many people we have, and we cannot even budget for how many schools more we should build.
In many countries, it is a condition for even admission and yet, in many places, it is voluntary. We are encouraging people, who have outgrown their ages to reduce their ages when they want a document. I am begging the Ministry and the Government to do something about it. My Hon Friend has already complained. So, I do not want to talk about it.
But Government has to make sure that we utilise money that has been committed to us; if US$5,000,000 has been committed and we need to take money to get money, we should do that. Despite the difficulties the Government may be facing, this is the money that will help, particularly those who are socially disadvantaged and need support.
With Local Government Service -- recruitment for the Service -- This is a general problem that we should all look at.
We have created new districts and we want people to service them. We have unemployment problems; young gra- duates, qualified budget officers, qualified administrators, qualified financial people, who should be there to lift this whole structure called “Decentralisation” -- and that is why between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, they should resolve how to get the financial clearance to recruit the qualified personnel and the young professionals who have been trained by our various higher institutions, to these places.
If they go there, they will help lift the living standards of the people; the planning will be more effective and budget administration and development would be faster.
Finally, Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has to bring this Bill, which consolidates all the laws related to decentralisation. It is important because in that Bill, we would be able to get the Ministries of Health and Education to properly decentralise and not the present situation in which they have by function, decentralised but by responsibility, they still report to the authorities in Accra.
They must be brought under the different District Assemblies and the control properly exercised. It will eliminate all these complaints we are having about absentee teachers and contact time would be better. That is why I urge that they should fast track that Bill for us to iron out the nitty-gritty in terms of the contradictions that are sometimes within the different laws. There are about five of them; but more importantly, the Ministry needs to speed up on all these.
Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Dr Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to start my submission from where the Hon Member for Wa West ended. There is an important point about decentralisation that is not going well in this country. I was hoping that the Committee would find space in its Report to have talked about the haphazard decentralisation we are exhibiting.
To decentralise without health and education, is not decentralisation. There are two key institutions that should be decentralised fully for us to start getting some of the gains of the investment we have been putting into the country all these years.
Dr Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 1 p.m.

Mr Speaker, a school in Kumasi and one in Wa might have totally different priorities on how to deliver quality education. When they are administered from Accra, I do not know how it is going to be done. That is why teachers can go on leave for years and months and they can still be on the payroll. Some can go on retirement and still be on the payroll for a long time.

How can it happen if that school is under the authority of the Distr ict Assembly? It should not and would not happen becuase the Chief Executive and the District Administrators would make sure that that teacher who is absent would not be paid and that doctor who is not present in the district would not be paid. Mr Speaker, I hope that the Committee would take note.

Mr Speaker, I do not find the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development around. Talking about the budget for the whole year is properly -- [Interruption.] I know that the Deputy Minister is here, that is why I said the Minister -- And talking about the budget for the whole year, is such an important thing that the Hon Minister should be present, so that he knows how the House feels about his budget and knows the recommendation he has to take.

Mr Speaker, it takes me to the next thing. This House has given this Ministry a lot of resources to do a lot of things. One of them that I am passionate about is sanitation. That was why I wanted the Hon Minister to be here. This House has gone to lengths to approve loans for this Ministry. We have not been told or the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development has not told this House that monies appropriated, loans guaranteed, loans appropriated by this

House to help the sanitation issue in this country have not been disbursed, Mr Speaker.

So, I find it a huge worry that this House would appropriate GH¢80 million to build two sanitations depots, compost plants as evidenced, Mr Speaker, in the Hansard of 20th December, 2011, column 4354 and Mr Speaker, I beg to quote:

“The Committee therefore, recommends to the House to approve the terms of the Agreement in support of a Medium Term Loan Facility between Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited and Accra Compost Plant Ghana Limited for an amount of eighty million Ghana cedis (GH¢80,000,000.00) to complete the construction of two compost plants in Accra . . .”

Yes, there is a composite plan in Accra, that was --

Mr Speaker, if the money was not enough, this House should know. If the money had not been disbursed, we would have to know whose irresponsibility has led to this. This is because, Mr Speaker, it is tied directly to the cholera outbreak that is worse in Accra to the sanitation --

Mr Speaker, the worst of it all is that, during this year, the one plant that has been inaugurated was closed down for over six months for lack of payment. The Committee should tell this House who is to pay who. Government gets a loan to construct an Accra Compost Plant; it is shut down because they are not paying. Meanwhile, the guarantee is by the Government of Ghana, not an individual.

Mr Chairman, there are contradictions in this governance structure that some of us do not understand. Are we going or coming? This Committee, in this Report,

tells us about cholera. Mr Speaker, I wonder what they want to do about cholera when we pass loans and they cannot make sure that the projects are completed. This problem is not from Central Government funding.

Mr Speaker, it is a worry when you hear that for our beloved project of School Feeding Programme, even monies that have been appropriated by this House for this Programme -- As one British Prime Minister said, that the best thing is to put milk in a baby's mouth. School feeding is essential to our educational standards and quality of education in this country.

It is said that the School Feeding Programme was redesigned, re-engineered to suit the vulnerable in society. That is what we were told in this House by the Ministry. So, they are taking the programme to where it is needed most-- to the poor and vulnerable children and places in this country.

If you are taking the School Feeding Programme to where they are poor, you know that they are poor and that is why you have taken it from a city centre to an urban and rural area and you still do not fund it. What are you doing? You are consigning those vulnerable in the society to poverty, disease and squalor.

Mr Speaker, it is something I just do not understand and there is no Ministry of Finance representative here. These problems are not seriously the working of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. They are the working of the Ministry of Finance. I do not see a Local Government Minister who would be given money and not disburse. So, where is the Hon Minister for Finance?

Mr Speaker, there is a problem in this country. This whole year, everywhere you turn -- You just heard them --About 80 per cent of their money has not been appropriated. Mr Speaker, do we go or come? Are we going to have the routine every year of coming to approve budgets just for approval sake and there is no accountability?

Mr Speaker, we just passed the Code of Conduct, to be truthful, honest, open, transparent and accountable as MPs. We cannot even insist on accountability from the Ministry of Finance, to tell us why for God's sake -- What have Ghanaians done that the Ministry of Finance, for one year, would not disburse School Feeding Programme and Local Government and Rural Development money?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader, are you up on a point of order?
Dr Prempeh 1 p.m.
I wanted to wind up -- [Interruption.]
Mr Bagbin 1 p.m.
That is so, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, my very good Friend and Colleague MP is misleading the public.
What he is doing now is insisting on accountability. So, how can you say that Parliament cannot insist on -- [Interruption.]That is the import of his statement. He has to move away from that.
There is a whole procedure on insisting on accountability. He can say it on the floor. We can request that the authority should submit a report on the loan that we approved. From that, then we take off. He can call for it; nobody is preventing him from doing that. He should please,

move away from partisanship. Imme- diately you start about “This Government, are we going or coming?” [Interruption.] He used that phrase -- [Laughter] and we reply -- then you say it is equalisation. We are doing partisanship. Let us look at the issues and debate them and stop that kind of language.
Dr Prempeh 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I intentionally chose only this year because -- [Interruption.]
Mr Daniel Botwe 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I can get where the Hon Majority Leader is coming from. But when the Hon Member on his feet talks about Government, it is not partisanship, especially in the Chamber here. When he talks about Government, it does not mean that we should also respond. Who are the “we”? -- [Interruption.] Yes, but when he talks about Government, it does not necessarily follow that somebody sitting here should respond on behalf of Government and it is not necessarily partisanship. It is not and that is the spirit that we work with in the Chamber here.
As Legislators, if something is going on and an Hon Member talks about Government, it does not mean that somebody else should respond. No! We should also be able to agree, that yes, what is going on is wrong and it does not necessarily take him out of order but what he said should be taken in the right spirit. When he says Government is doing something, which Government should not do, we should agree. It is not necessarily partisanship; he did not mention a party's name.
It should be possible for us to agree that, yes, it is important that Government
Dr Prempeh 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank my Hon Minority Whip --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Please, hold your breath and let us hear the Majority Leader.
Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this business we are debating was presented by Government. The Government that is governing us today, presented what we are debating. So, when he says “Government”, Government is present in the House to defend itself. It is now the Minority side of the House referring to Government and Government has the responsibility to respond. If they had not been in Government before, some of us would not have any problem.
If the Convention People's Party (CPP) is talking like that, I would not have a problem. They were there themselves and they saw the challenges. If a similar Government is facing the same challenges, they should be sympathetic and try to -- [Interruption.] Please, please, listen. I was -- They can mention so many times. I, personally, as Minority Leader had to discuss things with the Government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) many, many times -- [Interruption.] When you say
-- 1:10 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, please, address the Chair.
Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is one of the challenges we have to work on. The heckling has moved beyond the parliamentary heckling that we know and that is why sometimes Hon Members are compelled to respond to the heckling because that is not how heckling is done.
Mr Speaker, I have no problem with the Hon Member calling on Government to come and account or report to this House how the money was utilised. But I listened keenly to him because when he is on the floor, he makes sense. So, I listen to him when he is contributing - [Interruption.] It is not everybody but when he is not on the floor, it is something else -- [Laughter.] So, I listened to him keenly and his language was not that of an objective analyst -- [Interruption.]
Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
Why? I should use your standard? [Laughter.] You are the Counsel to former President Jerry John Rawlings and you know I cannot use your standard. I have to use my standard.
Mr Speaker, so, he is on a good point and he has every right as a Member of Parliament to call on authorities to come and account on the utilisation of that US$80 million but at least, he should not generalise it in a partisan manner.
Dr Prempeh 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Majority Leader for his comments.
He came in late. I distinguished between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. I am not being partisan; I even talked about the non release by the Ministry of Finance to contribute to it -- I am not trying to be partisan. This is a Committee's Report by the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development and I am asking that --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Member, you promised to wind up.
Dr Prempeh 1:10 p.m.
Yes, I wanted to sort this small bit out.
I said that they should come to the House and tell us what has happened to those funds. So, it is the accountability we are talking about. We are all trying to be accountable.
Mr Speaker, I would like to wind up by saying that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development particularly, is at the fulcrum of good governance in this country. Good governance rests on the pillar of development; and development is done through the District Assemblies and so, any support that we give to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development directly enhances develop- ment issues in this country and sustains good governance and democracy.
I hope we can all support the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development to oversight the Ministry to do a proper job.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Thank you, Hon Member.
Yes, Hon Member?
Alhaji Ibrahim D. Abubakari (NDC -- Salaga South) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion and in so doing, I would want to make an observation. A lot has already been said.
Mr Speaker, in your Committee's Report, the most important thing I observed was that, much of the funding of the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry is from the donor partners -- in fact, 80 per cent. If you look at the budget for 2014, apart from item one, salaries and wages, which has been released, only 40 per cent of the Goods and Services has been released -- and 80 per cent of the donor funding.
Mr Speaker, assuming the donors decide to withdraw, what would happen? It means the Ministry would not be able to work and it is worrying. We need to look at it. The 80 per cent of all the money released is from donor funding. Apart from that, for Assets, nothing has been released to the Ministry; for Goods and
Alhaji Ibrahim D. Abubakari (NDC -- Salaga South) 1:10 p.m.

Services, 40 per cent was released to the Ministry. Assuming the donors decide not to release their funding, it means the Ministry would not have worked in the year 2014 and it is a bad situation, that the Ministry of Finance should have a look at very well. These have already been over-emphasised.

The next thing I would want to talk about is Department of Parks and Gardens and Births and Deaths Registry. A lot has been said about them. Mr Speaker, these are two departments, and in fact, if well restructured, they can stand on their own. In fact, during the Committee meeting, we realised that for Department of Parks and Gardens, in the year 2013, they were able to generate GH¢4 million -- in just one year as internally generated funds (IGFs).

Which means, if the Department of Parks and Gardens is properly res- tructured, they can generate more than GH¢4million and they can stand on their own and that can take some burden from the Central Government. So, at least, the money that the Central Government would have to give to them could be given to, for example, the School Feeding Programme and so on. The same goes to the Births and Deaths Registry.

Mr Speaker, if a citizen wants a certificate, like a birth certificate for a passport, they would have to go through the intermediary. I can tell you that sometime, they pay as much as GH¢200 through an intermediary to get a birth certificate to go for a passport. If the Births and Deaths Registry is restructured, these frustrations can be taken away, and one can pay GH¢50 at the Registry and that can generate more revenue than paying the GH¢200 to middlemen.

Therefore, the Ministry has a responsibility to look at these two departments that can generate enough funding for themselves and take away some burden from the Central Government.

I am therefore, urging that if the Ministry fails, the House should recommend to ensure this restructuring.

We talked of this last two years during the 2013 and 2014 Budgets and now, we are repeating it in the 2015 Budget. It is high time we made sure the Hon Minister did his job properly to ensure that these two departments, the Department of Parks and Gardens and Births and Deaths Registry are able to stand on their feet.

If they could become Authority, it would be better than being a Department, one of the agencies of the Ministry to generate enough revenue.

With these few words, I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Thank you, Hon Member.
Mr Samuel A. Akyea (NPP -- Abuakwa South) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would just add a few words to the Motion of the approval for the budget of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

Mr Speaker, should I continue?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member, please, go ahead.
Mr Akyea 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is becoming increasingly clear that we are here to approve whatever is brought before us by the Committee. I regret to say that that arrangement in which this House would approve whatever is brought here, does not help us much. For the simple reason that if today, the facts are clear that even some releases have not been applied to very fundamental projects and needs.
Why should we continue approving? I thought that the Committee would seriously do a performance audit. What did they do with the last allocation? Who is responsible for the non release of monies, which accounts for the nonperformance?
I am hearing that even monies allocated to the School Feeding Programme have not been utilised. Who is responsible for this irresponsible arrangement? If we are unable to sanction those who are responsible for this state of affairs, then I am afraid that this House is being reduced to a conveyor belt, where we just listen to what the Committee would put together, and there is no, excuse me to say, people being singled out for sanctioning. This is because at the previous budget, they did not perform their roles properly, and nevertheless, we do the same thing
I do not see how we would be helping in the governing system, if Parliament would not rise up, and the Committee would not vet what happened in the past and do a proper post-mortem before we approve of what is pressing.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, are you up on a point of order?
Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to draw the attention of my Hon Colleague to article 179 (2) (b) of the 1992 Constitution. At the stage of the debate of a budget, and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote.
“The estimates of the expenditure of all public offices and public corporations, other than those set up as commercial ventures --
(b) shall, in respect of payments charged on the Consolidated Fund, be laid before Parliament for the information of Members of Parliament.”
That is where we have the problem. The problem is from the Constitution; that is made for our information; but there are other instruments that we can use to do what he is talking about when we are performing our oversight role. But during the budget approval process, we are bonded by these Constitutional provisions. So, note them in our contributions.
Then after, we use the Committee's - It is not I saying it but the Constitution. So, we use the committees to investigate. But it is not during the process of the budget of approval, because at that time, it is just for our information. That is the problem we have with this construction in the Constitution; and that is why even sometimes we want to change the allocations or the amounts. But because of these provisions, we cannot do that.
We can only reduce, but we cannot increase. That is the difficulty, and that is why we should pay serious attention to the constitutional review process that is going on, for us to put what we have in our minds -- what we know is good parliamentary practice. Then we get that captured in the Constitution, and we can follow what my good Friend is saying. This is because we all want to debate, question them before approval or disapproval -- not that we must always approve.
Mr Akyea 1:20 p.m.
Well, Mr Speaker, that confirms, with respect to what I was trying to submit, that “it is as if we are a conveyor belt”. The Hon Majority Leader is confirming that it is for information
Mr Akyea 1:20 p.m.

purposes only. But I am saying that we can critique what is brought before this House, if it is so significant. If not, then we are the rubber-stamp of a committee's report. I am saying that the Committee should go back, and do a post-mortem of what happened in 2014.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Chireh 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
This point of Order is to the extent that the Hon Member should be looking at the report. They have complained, and we are all reading it. They have raised issues, which all of us here, one time or the other, have raised about the lack of releases.
We have critiqued that. That is why when you look at almost all the committee reports, we are calling for more money, and early release. So, for him to say that Parliament is not doing what it should do, he is misleading the House. He should refer to the Report of the Committee; the Committee has been very harsh on the Ministry of Finance. So, he should read it well.
Thank you very much.
Mr Akyea 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee has not singled out - For instance, the Ministry of Finance should be reprimanded because we are saying, with respect, that if there are serious matters of national concern and we do not have good explanation of why the monies were not applied, then we are doing this nation
a great disservice. Therefore, whoever is responsible for the releases, should be reprimanded; if not, then what are we doing?
This is a circus that every year, we just come here and the estimates are laid, and then we debate them and we approve them. This merry-go-round must seize. If there is anybody who is supposed to release monies and does not release them, this House has the power to get the person reprimanded, and the person should be fingered and shamed. That is because Mr Speaker, I do not understand --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
But Hon Member, you know there is a procedure, and that is why the Hon Majority Leader said that it is possible for the necessary process to be put in place for the Hon Minister to come and answer Questions relating to these issues. In the meantime, if you look at the Report-- For example, if you look at page 19, item number 10.15, the Committee has strongly recommended the Ministry of Finance to do certain things.
It is in there, and it is not as if the Committee has not critically examined the Budget Statement with regard to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. So, probably, we need to look at some of these things. For example, the donor funding which is lying down there and so forth, has been raised. So, is it not possible for this House to call the Minister to come and tell us why this is happening? Do you get me? That is part of our oversight responsibility.
Mr Akyea 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this House will call the Hon Minister and even I am a bit saddened that the Hon Minister who is supposed to be in this House because serious matters are being raised, is not here.
But Mr Speaker, I wish to just add one fact, and I would rest my case.
Mr Speaker, when it comes to matters of national concern, like issues of how children are fed, and anybody is giving it a shabby treatment, it is a matter of great concern. When it comes to these matters, it is no longer the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or the New Patriotic Party
It is the future of this country which is at stake, because insofar as what we are doing whether is here or there, has the effect of sort of reducing the development of the children who are helpless and in the deprived areas. I am afraid, it is the future of this country which is being undervalued and cheapened. I would always pray that when it comes to some of these issues, it would be no loner NDC or NPP.
We do not know whether the next Speaker would come from where the pupils do not even have one meal to eat when they go to school. We do not know who is even coming to improve upon this economy, better than all of us put together.
So, anytime that we do not look at what really matters, the future of this country, via the children -- It is a matter of concern, and I crave the indulgence of everybody, not to think that anybody is doing politics with this matter. But those who are supposed to make sure that the right things are done, are properly approached and whipped into line.
I am grateful for this small opportunity that you have given me.
Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Appiagyei?
Ms Patricia Appiagyei (NPP -- Asokwa) 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to add my
voice to recommend for the approval of the sum GH¢290,983,971.00 for the services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
However, Mr Speaker, I have a few concerns which I would want to raise. One is with reference to page 9, paragraph 7.2.6; it is indicated here that:
“ Also designs and drawings of the office complex for the 46 newly created District Assemblies (DAs) have been completed. 41 of them have been awarded.”
It is also mentioned that:
“A total of GH¢719,804.89 has been paid as mobilisation.”
Mr Speaker, I would like to make reference to when the Hon Member for Yagaba/Kubori in the Mamprugu Maduri District -- asked the Hon Minister to answer Questions on how much had been allocated to that particular district.
I remember the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development mentioned a figure of GH¢1.4 million as the minimum cost for the construction of each of these Assembly blocks.
Mr Speaker, that money has already been set aside. I have also noted in the estimates for the cost centres, that no allocation was made for the continuation of the construction of these blocks. And counting by the number of administrative blocks that are to be constructed, if we know that about 46 have been given advance money for the construction of these blocks, we would realise that the money that has been set aside already will not be adequate to complete these new structures.
Ms Patricia Appiagyei (NPP -- Asokwa) 1:30 p.m.

Mr Speaker, I am concerned about the continuity of this project. This is because we have set up these new districts and we need to ensure that we will finish with the structures where they will be operating from.

In August, 2014, your Committee went round to visit most of these districts. It is very pathetic how some of them reside. Their structures are nothing to write home about. So, I am concerned about the non availability of any resourses for the continuation of this project.

Mr Speaker, I am also concerned about -- If you look at the Budget Statement, and with your permission, I will read from paragraph 312.

“…In line with the directive, various equipment were provided to all Assemblies to speed up work on the street naming exercise and as such most principal streets in our cities and towns are properly named and signage properly erected.”

I have an indication that it will continue. But Mr Speaker, you know that currently, because of the erratic release of funds for the District Assemblies, what happens is that if they have big challenges so far as financial needs are concerned. I know that it will not come from the main budget. I would recommend that we have a cost centre for the street naming exercise to ensure continuity of such projects.

This is because it is very critical for security and other developmental roles, that we are able to complete our street naming exercises in a timeous way.

With these few words, Mr Speaker, I add my voice for this amount to be approved.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, we will take one last contribution. I have taken two in a row from the Minority side. We will take one from the side of the Majority and then I will put the Question.
Yes, Hon Gbediame?
Mr Gershon Gbediame (NDC -- Nkwanta South) 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I also beg to add my voice to the Motion that the said amount must be approved for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. In doing so, I would like to make a few comments.
The first one is on page 14 of the Report, item ii and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“The Ministry also intends to resolve district boundary disputes in 2015.”
Mr Speaker, creation of new District Assemblies is in no doubt a very laudable programme, which brings local governance to the local communities.
But one thing that happens in the creation of a new district is that, normally, in these exercises, there are issues of boundaries. My district, which used to be Nkwanta for instance, was divided into Nkwanta North and South in 2007.
As I speak, there is still a boundary dispute between the North and South, where certain communities do not agree to be in the South because they think they are supposed to be in the North, to the extent that, for the past t hree terms, they have refused to vote.
Whenever the ballot boxes are sent there, they refuse and sack the Electoral Officers, which is not very pleasant. I have raised this issue on several occasions to the extent that, when we met the Chairman of the Electoral Commission some time ago, I mentioned this to him.
Mr Speaker, as the Ministry has said, I think that their outlook for 2015, where they intend to resolve these boundary disputes, I would want to urge them to do so. And also appeal to the communities that are affected to let reason prevail.
The most important thing is development. It does not matter whether one is in the South or the North.
Mr Speaker, strangely, because these communities have not agreed to be in the allocated districts, they have suffered from lack of development. This is because the district where they belong, does not welcome them, and where they want to be long -- because legally, they do not belong there, they cannot also spend money in that district. I do not think it is a very good move for them.
Therefore, I would say that, this is a very laudable programme. We would urge them to carry it to the letter.
For lack of time, I would also want to talk of the street naming exercise that was mentioned. It is also one of the very good initiatives that the Ministry has taken.
When we travel to many places -- for example, Lagos as big as it is, when you board a taxi and give the address to the driver, he will drive you straight to your location. But come to Accra, and this is not happening.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded. I am talking about item number 7 on the Order Paper.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢290,983,971 for the services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
Alhaji Muntaka 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we would be grateful if we could come back to item 4. We just have item 4 (c) to be presented by a member of the Committee on Mines and Energy.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Item 4, which one specifically are you talking about?
Alhaji Muntaka 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, item 4 (c).
Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Very well.
PAPERS 1:40 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is now a few minutes to 2.00 o'clock. We still have a number of committee meetings. I just left to consult the Hon Ranking Member on our Committee meeting just after adjournment.
So, I beg to move, with your kind permission, that we do adjourn till tomorrow when we can continue with the rest of the Business.
Mr Daniel Botwe 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.45 p.m. till Wednesday, 10th December, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.