Debates of 10 Dec 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 11:30 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 11:30 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Members, Correc- tion of the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 9th December, 2014.
Page 1…3 --
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Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Yes?
Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, page 2, item number 112, the name there, “Dery, Kaale- Ewola Edward”, the “Edward” -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Which page?
Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Sorry, page 4.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
We are not yet on page 4.
Page 3, page 4 --
Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, item number 112, the “Kaale-Ewola”, the “e” there -- the “Ewola” is not standing on its own. I have mentioned it to the Table Office before. It is a hyphenated name.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Is it number 112?
Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Exactly so, Mr Speaker -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
What name is that?
Hon Members, let us have order.
What name is at item number 112 of page 4?
Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is still the same. I referred to page -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, take your time. We want to know the kind of correction that you are trying to effect. You said page 4, number 112. We have “Cobbina, Herod” there. What spelling is wrong? Is it the name of the constituency in italies or the name itself? So, what are you correcting?
Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Sorry, Mr Speaker. I took the wrong Votes and Proceedings. But it is the same in the current one. The name “Ewola” at the last -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Page 5…9
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Mr Boamah 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, may I take you back to page 8, item number 50?
The Hon Member for Atiwa East sought permission from your office and I have a copy of her leave of absence --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
How do you know that she sought permission from my office?
Mr Boamah 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was told and I have a copy of her leave of absence form. She is on a trip to Italy on an official visit and she has been marked absent.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Yes, Hon Patrick Boamah, who approved her leave of absence?
Mr Boamah 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, she has been marked absent. I know she sought permission from your office and I have a copy of her leave of absence --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Which I have signed?
Mr Boamah 11:30 a.m.
I have a copy -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Has it been signed by the Speaker?
Mr Boamah 11:30 a.m.
Oh, but -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I hope -- [Pause.]
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Page 9…11
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Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is page 7, item number 23. The last name “Ewola” is not a name on its own. It is joined as “Kaale- ewola”. I have reported it to the Table Office --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
But that is what we have there. It is a compound name and that is what we have there.
Hon Member, that is exactly what we have there. It is a compound name.
Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the “e” there should be a small “e”.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Yes. So, if you are correcting it, tell the House that you are changing the capital “E” to a small “e”.
Mr Dery 11:30 a.m.
Exactly so, Mr Speaker. That is how it is supposed to be spelt.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, but would the hyphen be there?
Mr Dery 11:40 a.m.
The hyphen is there, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Very well.
Page 11-- Yes?
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, sorry to drag you back to the issue raised by the Hon Member for Okaikoi Central.
Actually, I was the one who signed the leave of absence form. So, it should be in your office by this time.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Very well.
Mr Nitiwul 11:40 a.m.
You did not rule on it. But just escaped it. Maybe, the Table Office would not do the corrections. She asked for permission and it has been sent to your office.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Yes?
Alhaji Mohammad-Mubarak Muntaka 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe my Hon Colleague, the Deputy Minority Leader knows the rules. When one seeks permission, one has to wait for Mr Speaker to grant it before it can be entered. So, if it is still in your hand, you cannot insist that the Table Office should capture it. This is because the Deputy Minority Leader has forwarded it and Mr Speaker has not seen it. So, she has to be marked absent until the Hon Speaker approves it.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, we should not drag this issue on the floor of the House. The normal procedure is that, the Leave of Absence Form must come to my office a day before the Hon Member departs. If they do not do it that way and it comes rather late --
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.


But yesterday, at the close of the day, all the lLaves of Absence Forms that came to my office, I worked on all of them. But we will check and correct it accordingly.
Mr Nitiwul 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is right that the Hon Member brings to your attention that this is the situation. Nobody is saying that he has authority -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
In fact, that is why I did not rule on it and would want to check from the Clerks- at- the-Table.
Mr Nitiwul 11:40 a.m.
I did not sign it yesterday. I signed it a long time ago. I am sure you have done it.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Very well.
Page 12 … 17 --
Hon Member for Kwadaso?
Dr Owusu A. Akoto 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on page 17, number xxiv, there is “Mr Louisa Afia Serwaa”. I have never known Afia Serwaa to be a gentleman. It cannot be “Mr Louisa Afia Serwaa”.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Very well. You are right. Louisa cannot be a man.
Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, your Committee on Gender and Children sat yesterday with the Ministry to consider our annual estimates but it has not been captured.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Your secretariat has not forwarded it to the Clerks-at-the-Table. So, when they forward it, it would be captured.
Mrs Azumah-Mensah 11:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Page 18 … 23 -- [Pause.]
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 9th December, 2014 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, we now move to the correction of the Official Report of Friday, 28th November, 2014.
Any correction?
rose
Mr Chaie 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on page 1545 --
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Column?
Mr Chaie 11:40 a.m.
That is column 1545, the sentence is “Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, we are not looking at the Kasoa interchange” It should be “We are now looking at …” It should be “now” and not “not”. I would want it to be corrected.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Which paragraph?
Mr Chaie 11:40 a.m.
The 11th paragraph, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Is it in column 1545?
Mr Chaie 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is column 1546, in the fifth paragraph -- [Pause.]
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Very well.
Any other correction?
Hon Members, in the absence of any other correction, the Official Report of Friday, 28th November, 2014 is adopted as a true record of proceedings.
rose
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Yes?
Dr Prempeh 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am just bringing it to your notice that in considering of the annual estimates, the Hon Ministers are not here to help. I would want your direction on that. Yesterday, it happened.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Why are you jumping the gun?
Dr Prempeh 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not jumping the gun. It is because we are going to Public Business, which is specific and I am drawing your attention to this outstanding issue, so that you help your Ministers -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
When we get there, we would see.
Dr Prempeh 11:40 a.m.
And on the annual estimates of the Health Ministry, we have still not got them.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Member for Manhyia South --
At the Commencement of Public Business.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Chairman of the Committee as of now, unfortunately, is not here. He is chairing the same Committee considering another matter, but he should be here.
By our Standing Orders, a member of the Committee could lay a report on behalf of the Chairman. So, I would want to seek your permission, and crave the indulgence of my Colleagues to allow a member in the person of the Majority Chief Whip to lay the Paper on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Nitiwul 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, he did not state the Paper that he is laying, because, under item number 4, we have (a) up to (i).
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
It is item number 4 (a).
Mr Nitiwul 11:40 a.m.
Item number 4 (a)?
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Member --
Mr Nitiwul 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is contingent on the laying. This is because the moment it is laid, the issue he is raising becomes -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
No! No! We have the laying; we have the debate and we have the decision. For the laying, if the document is ready, let us have it laid. We cannot prevent the laying if the document is ready; the rules are clear. When it comes to the debate, Hon Members can say whatever they would want to say.
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Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Yes, are you objecting to the laying of the Paper?
Dr A. A. Osei 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I need your advice.
Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
No! Are you objecting to it? This is because as of now --
Dr A. A. Osei 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes, as a Ranking Member of the Committee, I have not even seen a draft of the Report. The Committee met yesterday; I left there about 6.00 o'clock in the evening. I have been here since morning because of the Report and no one has given me even a draft. This is not a proper procedure, no matter what the intentions are.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, let us find out whether the Report is ready.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Chief Whip is in touch with the Chairman of the Committee on the issue. The issue that the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee has raised is quite germane to the laying. If the Report is not ready then it cannot be laid. But I do not have his Chairman, neither do I have the Chairman of the Committee on Energy to confirm or deny it. So we would have to suspend the laying of the Report and move to another item. Until we get information from them, I cannot vouch for the Chairman.

If we can move item number 4 (i); that is the Report of the Special Budget Committee on the estimates of the Audit Service --
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Is it only the item (i)?
Mr Bagbin 11:50 a.m.
Item (i), Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Very well.
Is it all the items under (i)-- we have four items there?
Mr Bagbin 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes, all the items under (i) are ready and my Ranking Member is here.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, by the Chairman of the Special Budget Committee -- Item number 4 (I) (i).
PAPERS 11:50 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader, are we laying any other Paper?
Mr Bagbin 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Chairman of the Finance Committee has just intimated to me that the Report on item 4 (b) is what is ready.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, item number 4 (b) by the Chairman of the Finance Committee.
By the Chairman of the Committee
Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Budget Estimates of the National Development Planning Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, if we can now take item 11. While we await reports from the committees, we could take the Motion on the Establishment of the United Nations Ebola Response Emergency Hub in Ghana.
The Chairman of the Committee on Health, who is to move it, is he available.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Very well. Item number 11 on the Order, Paper.
Chairman of the Committee?
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
MOTIONS noon

Chairman of the Committee (Mr Joseph Y. Chireh) noon
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Health on the establishment of the United Nations Ebola Response Emergency Hub in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, I present your Committee's Report and urge the House to read it carefully.
Introduction
Mr Speaker, following concerns expressed in the House on the outbreak of Ebola in neighbouring countries and the establishment of the United Nations (UN) Mission for Emergency Ebola Response Hub in Ghana, the Rt. Hon Speaker directed the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to brief the Committee on Health on the arrangements necessitating the establishment of the United Nations (UN) Mission for Emergency Ebola Response Hub in Ghana.
The Committee met with Hon Dr. Kweku Agyeman Mensah, Minister for Health, Hon Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the technical teams from the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
Object of the referral
Mr Speaker,the object of the referral was for the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to brief the Committee on Health, on the arrangements necessitating the esta- blishment of the United Nations (UN) Mission for Emergency Ebola Response Hub in Ghana.
Briefs on the establishment of the United Nations (UN) Mission for
Emergency Ebola Response Hub in Ghana
Ministry for Health
The Minister, in his presentation, gave a chronological background on Ebola, its development, causes and mode of transmission.
The Minister for Health, Hon Kweku Agyeman Mensah reiterated Ghana's preparedness towards ensuring that the Ebola virus does not occur in Ghana. He said, however, in the likelihood that it does; the Ministry was putting in place measures that would ensure that it would be quickly contained and curbed.
Hon Kweku Agyeman Mensah said the Ministry had taken delivery of 10,000 personal protective equipment and 300 non-contact thermometers at the cost of GH¢1.5 million. These items had been distributed to major ports of entry and hospitals. Construction and equipping of the Ebola treatment centre at the Tema General Hospital in the Greater Accra Region had been completed. Work on the other centres in Tamale and Kumasi were however ongoing and are to cater for the northern and middle belts respectively.
The Ministry of Health has also received financial, material and technical support from Ghana's donor partners, both local and international, to help combat the disease.
The Ministry was setting up an Incident Command Structure for the Ebola control. The Command would have an incident manager with staff working on full time basis. The Ministry had also received training from the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta for Emergency Preparedness and interacted with the Nigeria Ebola Team.
On the establishment of the Emergency Response Hub in Ghana, the Minister said Ghana has been the trail-blazer of Africa, and was the first African country to attain
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Joseph Y. Chireh) noon


The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration informed the Committee that preliminary objection on the treatment meted out to the Ghanaian student had been raised with the Czech Embassy.

The Committee urged the Ministry to send a strong protest on the inhumane treatment of the Ghanaian student.

Follow-up from previous Committee engagement with Ministry of Health

The Committee further enquired from the Ministry of Health the status of some recommendations that the Committee on Health made when the Committee met the Ministry in August on measures taken to deal with Ebola in the country.

The recommendations were that the: -

Ministry of Health should set out a one source information centre for Ebola at the Ministry within a week;

Ministry should establish one message on Ebola, possibly on a website for the public as quickly as possible preferable in a month;

Ministry should establish a strategic team to monitor the media. The team should include the Chairman of the Ghana Medical Association and Prof. Dodoo;

technical persons at the Ministry should be the unit to respond to questions and issues on Ebola and not the Public Relations of the Ministry; and

Ministry liaises with the tele- communications industry to procure a four digit toll free hot line for Ebola issues as soon as possible. The Ministry should also ensure that the hotlines were working at all times.

The technical team from the Ministry informed the Committee that the Ministry had started implementing the recom- mendations.

The Committee reiterated its recom- mendations and indicated to the Ministry that these recommendations were time- bound and therefore, should be im- plemented expeditiously.

Observations and recommendations

Establishment of the UNMEER Hub

After careful deliberations, the Committee observed that Ghana accepted for the establishment of the UNMEER Hub in the country because of our track record, on strong health systems and the benefits from the logistics it would provide to UNMEER. Ghana has always led and is a symbol that African countries look up to.

The Committee also observed that the fight against Ebola cannot be won with closed borders as some have suggested, rather the need for all to join in assisting each other, especially those suffering from the epidemic. The Committee agrees that Ghana is a trail-blazer in Africa and by hosting the Hub; the country has achieved another milestone.

Establishment of command centres and isolation centres

The Committee noted that as a result of the interaction with the Nigerian team, Ghana needs to establish incident command centres and Isolation centres to help isolate Ebola cases and deal effectively with it as swift as possible.

Taking cue from the effective handling of the Ebola cases in Senegal and Nigeria, the Committee recommends to the Ministry of Health to take a cue from the lessons and expeditiously set up quarantine centres across the country to ensure that when and wherever there is an outbreak, the Centre would be able to contain the Ebola.

Development of specific protocols

The Committee further noted the efforts being made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to conclude negotiations and establish protocols specifically for the management and control of Ebola disease.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
Mr O. B. Amoah noon
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, the first one is the fact that the Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior appears to be chewing or eating in Parliament. I have noticed it on the screen.
The second most important point is the fact that we do not seem to have copies of what the Hon Chairman is reading. I have asked a few of my Hon Colleagues and nobody appears to have a copy of what he is reading. I do not think we are able to follow what he is doing.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Chairman, before then--
Deputy Minister for the Interior?
Mr Agalga noon
Mr Speaker, I need to correct this impression that I am eating. I am not eating anything, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Let us leave it at that.
Mr Chireh noon
Mr Speaker, this Report was laid and distributed last two weeks and they have copies. They were
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Members, let us sort this one out. I will like to confer with the Table Office to find out what the status is.
Mr O. B. Amoah noon
Mr Speaker, the Motion is not even on the Order Paper. Mr Speaker, if he gave it out two weeks ago and it is not on the Order Paper, then should I expect that he would be reporting on the matter today? [Pause] -
Mr Chireh noon
Mr Speaker, should I continue? It is item number 11 of today's Order Paper.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Alright, Hon Chairman, please, proceed.
Mr Chireh noon
Brief by Minister for Health to the house
Mr Speaker, the Committee recom- mended that the Minister for Health should come to the House and further brief the House on the efforts that the Ministry of Health is doing to sensitize the public, prevent Ebola disease and other measures to tackle Ebola disease should it be recorded in the country.
Conclusion
From the foregoing and the assurances from Government on the steps taken to prevent and handle Ebola in the country, the Committee recommends to the House that the establishment of the hub is in the right direction and should be supported.
Respectfully submitted.
Mr William K. Sabi (NPP-- Dormaa East) noon
Mr Speaker, this was a good discussion that we had and as was reported to the Committee, one thing that we saw was that the Ministry indeed, was not fully prepared at the time of the discussion. But the Committee made some recommendations, and based on the discussions, I think if they are taken, at the end of the day, we should be prepared to battle Ebola if it should come into this country.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I beg to second the Motion.
Question proposed.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul (NPP-- Bimbilla) noon
Mr Speaker, Ebola is too important for us not to comment on. We first of all have to thank God that the panic that was created because of the Ebola issue has not hit Ghana.
Mr Speaker, your goodself and I have travelled to South Africa on Pan-African Parliament business and the reaction of even Hon Members of Parliament towards other Members of Parliament from those countries is a big problem in itself. People even do not want to greet them. They are Hon Members of Parliament, just because they come from the countries that have been infected by Ebola, people do not want to sit by them or even eat near them -- [Interruptions] -- They do not want
to have anything to do with them and even when you are conversing with them, because of the saliva that could get onto them, they shy away.
I can just imagine, Mr Speaker, the effect of the disease within the country. If those of us outside the zone have this phobia, what about those living within the country? How do they feel? I have watched television and I saw a lady struggling and I said: “Look, we shall survive”. I really wept and I thought, why it had to take an American to get infected before we could begin to know that there was a cure for that disease.
When this disease was discovered in the 1970s in Africa, we did not make preparations toward it and I believe we are still not making any serious preparations towards it. But as I said, Hallelujah at least, in Ghana, so far, the disease has not come and all tests conducted on people have proved negative. So, we thank God for it.
It took one person, Patrick Sawyer, to enter Nigeria and get them infected with the disease, and create serious problems and medical doctors, nurses and medical personnel as well as other human beings were dying. Just one person who was coming for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ordinary Meeting and had a problem at the airport. He fell sick, collapsed and was taken to the hospital and Ebola spread up in Nigeria. We just thank God that at least, our borders are now being secured to get that disease out of our country.
Mr Speaker, as we speak, the ECOWAS Ordinary Session is not being held in Nigeria because of Ebola. At least, I am happy that, Nigeria has managed to pass the incubation period of 25 days and today they can declare themselves Ebola free. We should take steps not to allow that to happen.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
But Hon Member, do you realise that some people have lost their jobs as a result? [Laughter.]
Mr Nitiwul 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker it is true, people may have lost their jobs. But for good reason, that at least, people are no more eating the bats, the monkeys, the grasscutters, the rabbits and the rats. At least, it has helped in the situation.
Mr Speaker, the Response Centres that were expected to be established, are they functioning or they are not? [Interruption.] Yes, we should be able to know. The enthusiasm with which Government officials were talking about this Ebola issue has all died down. Are we prepared for it in the unlikely event that something like this happens or we are not?

Mr Speaker, Members of Parliament were quarantined for four hours. I know a Liberian Senator who complained that she was quarantined at the Kotoka International Airport for a whole day and at the South African Airport for another whole day just because she comes from the county where Ebola has the highest prevalence rate -- Liberia. Senator Joyce and you know how her health is.

Mr Speaker, I just hope that as a country, we should prepare ourselves well and close our borders. Our borders are too porous. People move in and

leave; you do not even know whether we check people up and people just move in and do anything. The fishermen who ply the coast from Liberia -- I have gone to Liberia and have seen Ghanaian fishermen there. I have gone to Guinea and have seen Ghanaian fishermen there and they come home on daily basis through the sea.

Are we checking all these things or we are not? Mr Speaker, I believe we should prepare ourselves and use this Motion to ensure that we come to a firm decision, some resolution that should be sent to Government from Parliament, that we want the Government to do A, B, C, D. I have already suggested one, that we should immediately set the ISD vans to be doing weekly announcements. Every Friday, they should go round announcing what people should do and not do and give flyers to people. At least, Members of Parliament can get these flyers and share them around and paste them in their constituencies as posters.

So, this Motion should end with some Resolutions for us to send to Government on this Ebola Response thing. It would help us.

Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Vice Chairman of the Committee is anxious to make a contribution.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well.
Let us give him the opportunity.
Mr Wisdom Gidisu (NDC -- Krachi East) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker. I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion
on the floor and also want to thank you for the referral of such an important issue to the Committee for discussion.
Mr Speaker, our discussion with the Ministry showed clearly that the Ministry is putting in lots of measures, pragmatic ones of course, to take care of the Ebola issues. Mr Speaker, we are also ensuring that the Ebola virus does not enter the country.
Mr Speaker, as we speak now, about ten thousand personal protective equipment have been distributed to the various health centres in the country. Also, about three hundred non-contact thermometers have also been distributed to the various parts of the country and the Ebola Treatment Centre has also been well equipped at the Tema General Hospital. The construction has also been completed and the facility is well equipped to take care of and to respond to any Ebola issue or to also curb and contain whatever would come out from this Ebola issue.
Mr Speaker, the Kumasi and Tamale Centres projects are also ongoing. So, measures are being put in place to ensure that even when it enters the country, it would be curbed. An establishment of the Emergency Ebola Response Hub -- the Ministry gave a number of reasons Ghana was chosen, including the countries with relatively strong health system to take care of whatever emergency that may occur in the country.
Mr Speaker, the good news is that the nation has also reached some agreement with the Mission to ensure that the virus does not get into the country. The Mission has also agreed to conform to Ghana's Ebola standards. More importantly, the Mission would not treat any patient in the country.
Mr Wisdom Gidisu (NDC -- Krachi East) 12:10 p.m.


Mr Speaker, all these measures are being put in place to ensure that Ghana is safe. I would want to say that with these few discussions that we had, Ghana is safe and there would not be any issue of Ebola in the country.

With these few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr Richard W. Anane (NPP -- Nhyiaeso) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to also associate myself with the Motion and to call on the House to take on the Report and make the requisite recommendations to Government.
Mr Speaker, as have been put across by Hon Members, we did meet the Minister for Health and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the officials from the Ministries and we were given a whole lot of reasons Ghana should be positioned the way it is.
Mr Speaker, it is also a commendable gesture on the part of Ghana, based on the features of Ghana which was one of the reasons Ghana was chosen. Ghana was chosen because, as was put across, especially by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ghana is seen from its governance status as one of the leading governance systems in the West African sub-region.
Ghana is also seen as a very stable and peaceful country and, yes, there was some little commendation also on our health
infrastructure. But the main thing was about the peaceful nature and our governance infrastructure which was what recommended Ghana to be used for the United Nations Missions for Ebola Emergency Response Hub (UNMEER) Centre.
Mr Speaker, be that as it may, we in Ghana must also ask ourselves whether being touted as it is, whether we really have done enough to counter Ebola if it does happen in the country.
Mr Speaker, yes, I have taken it upon myself and at our airport, I intentionally went through the normal entry point to find out and I could see that some great preparations have been made. One could even be captured without contact on a television screen to be seen whether you have Ebola. I did intentionally go there and I even have pictures of them at least, to prove to the Committee that yes, there was some preparedness. But that is only at the Kotoka International Airport, it is not at other airports and it is also not at our borders.
Mr Speaker, I do say this because just a few days back, about a week or so ago, I was not in the country and I had a very urgent email from my family. What was it? My son who is a medical doctor at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Hospital was said to have come into contact with a supposed case of Ebola.
It has been shown not to be so but Mr Speaker, that told me that whether we thought Ebola is far away or not, it is within our reach. Why? Here was a case of a man who happened to be a Sierra Leonean and had travelled into the country as far back as the 20 th of November. He had been in Accra for some time, had gone to Kumasi for a funeral and then was caught with the high fever illness.
The patient was sent to the University Hospital and in the examination, when he was asked to even pass urine, the urine was found to be bloody and that was the first episode and that was what even created some panic among the staff. At the end of the day, yes, it was found not to be so. But how come we can have this thing happening around us? Assuming it were, it would have been a very bad case for all of us. This is because the man had been in the country for some time, had gone for a funeral. Definitely, he had been shaking hands with people and eventually was caught with that fever that landed him in the hospital.
So, Mr Speaker, yes, while we are being commended and while we are giving the necessary support to our sub-region, which is part of the South-South co- operation. Indeed, I did attend a high level consulting meeting on South-South Co-operation and I think it was a very good example and it was one of the examples I cited.
Mr Speaker, while we are doing that, we must prepare ourselves. Hon Members have come up to tell us that when we were briefed by the Ministry of Health, we found out that the Ministry was not prepared for the middle sector and for the northern sector. As of now, the Kumasi Centre has still not been put up; as of now, the Tamale Centre has not been put up. So in case we have any such problems, we are going to have problems. We do not have to sit down until there is a catastrophe before we decide to take note and decide to take actions, which should be what should counter the kind of things that we want.
So, Mr Speaker, while associating myself with the Report, while com- mending the Ministry for that action taken
and while calling on the House to adopt the Report, Mr Speaker, I would still want us to call on the Ministry and the requisite agencies to take the requisite actions to ensure that at the end of the day, we are prepared not just as a centre for the UNMEER activities but also to cater for ourselves when we are confronted with a case of Ebola.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to associate myself with the Report.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, the last contribution.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to support the action taken so far by the Ministry in the establishment of the Ebola Response Emergency Hub in Ghana. Mr Speaker, initially, when Ebola broke out, a lot of people were concerned. People did not know what actually was to be done to be safe.
Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President collaborated and took steps to have this Centre established in Ghana, and I commend him in that sense. We need to be further educated and informed of what we should be doing in the unlikely event that this disease should find itself in our country.
Mr Speaker, traditionally, we are expected to be our brother's keeper and so, our neighbour's keeper and it is even biblical. So, when this disease found itself in our neighbouring countries, our President being a good father agreed that this Centre should be in Ghana. That should not be the end; we expect that as citizens, we should be protected; we should be guided by what to do in case such a disease finds itself on our territory.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 12:20 p.m.


Mr Speaker, the issue had been stated that if it happens and you are near an infected person, what should you do? Should you say because the person standing or sitting by you is infected, so, you should leave the environment or abandon the person?

Mr Speaker, just last Saturday, I was at the graduation ceremony of a university. Normally, at such graduation ceremonies, the conferring authorities shake hands with the graduands and congratulate them. But on this occasion, it was announced that because of Ebola, the graduands will not shake hands with the Vice Chancellor and that, they will only bow to the Vice Chancellor and their degrees will be conferred on them.

This shows the seriousness of the disease in the system and we as citizens must also be serious and take such steps that in case we are confronted with a situation like this, we should know what to do.

The establishment of the Centre as I said should not be the end. The Ministry has a responsibility to make sure that the Centres are functioning and the necessary logistics are provided, so that the citizens can feel free and safe in circumstances like that.

Mr Speaker, again, I congratulate the President and I congratulate Ghanaians so far on what we have been doing since the outbreak of this disease.

Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, if we can take item number 5; the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014
-- 12:20 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Item 5, by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am ready to move the Motion for the Second Reading but will indulge you -- I have just requested that the Chairman is indisposed and the Vice Chairman has just walked in; so, if you will permit us just five to ten minutes break. Our Colleagues opposite will need some copies of the Report. We can do that within the next five minutes and then I could move the Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
So, are you asking us to defer it — is that the request?
Hon Minister, I am not too clear. Are you asking us to step it down or to defer it?
Mr H. Iddrisu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, rightly so, for thirty minutes, for the Committee to finalise and distribute the copies finally.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well. In that case —
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in the circumstances, we would suggest that we suspend Sitting for an hour.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Nitiwul 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, Sitting is hereby suspended for an hour. The time is 12.31 p.m. and so, I expect that we would be back at 1.31 p.m.
12.31p.m.— Sitting suspended.
1.55 p.m.— Sitting resumed.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, where do we stand?
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we were on item number 5; the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014 when we had to suspend Sitting. We are now ready to move on that item.
With your indulgence, if we can take item number 5, the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014—the Second Reading.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, item number 5 on the Order Paper; by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
BILLS — SECOND READING
Youth Employment Agency Bill,
2014
Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014 be now read a Second time.
Mr Speaker, the object of the Bill is to establish the Youth Employment Agency to develop, co-ordinate, supervise and facilitate the creation of jobs for young people.
Mr Speaker, the world is facing a worsening youth employment crisis and Ghana is no exception. Many of our graduates, either from the universities, the polytechnics or senior high schools are without jobs and are yearning for some employment opportunities of a sort, and are also calling for some building of their capacity through training and skills development in order that they could make a meaningful and significant contribution to the development of our country.
Mr Speaker, I must recognise that the National Youth Employment Programme started somewhere in 2005 and was eventually launched in 2006 to facilitate job creation and placement of young people in various economic ventures throughout the distr icts of Ghana. However, since its operation in the year 2005, there has not been a legal regime of a governance structure to facilitate the co- ordination of youth employment.
This Bill is seeking to remedy that particular defect and to create some legal entity which would have a functioning governing board. It would have decentralised structures at both the regional and district levels to co-ordinate the activities of youth employment across the country.
Mr Speaker, I must say that throughout the implementation of the Youth Employment Programme, it was not without problems that necessitated President Mahama ordering a probe and investigations into the activities of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entre- preneurial Agency (GYEEDA), after which some recommendations were made following the White Paper which was eventually issued by Government. Some definite actions including prosecutions are ongoing and some of the service providers have been asked to make some refunds to the state, arising out of the report of the Commission which investigated the matter.
Mr Speaker, I am calling on Hon Members who believe in the potential of young people and in the capacity of young people to make meaningful contribution, to support the establishment of the Youth Employment Agency. This is because we need to support the youth to identify and create jobs that are economically viable for them. We need, through this intervention, to check the
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Minister, please, hold your breath.
Having regard to the Business of the day with regard to time, I direct that we Sit beyond the stipulated time period.
Hon Minister, please, continue.
Mr H. Iddrisu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that about 73 million young people in developing countries are without jobs, and that young people were three times likely to be without jobs as compared to other adults. We do have youth in our country categorised into two -- young people in the formal sector and young people in the informal sector.
The National Youth Employment Programme is not a discriminatory one, it is one which would create opportunities for youth in agriculture. There were models such as, Youth in ICT, the Eco Brigade, Aquaculture, Grasscutter Rearing, Youth in Road Maintenance, Youth in Security, Youth in Mobile Phones and ICT. All these were done including Youth in Driving and Youth in Mining.

Mr Boniface G. Adagbila — rose —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
Mr Adagbila 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, yes. I am on Standing Order 48 relating to quorum.
Looking at the importance —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, can you speak a bit louder? I cannot hear you.
Mr Adagbila 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, on Standing Order 48. Looking at the importance of this Bill, we need to carefully look at the issue of quorum, so that we have a maximum number of people to participate in this Bill — [Interruption]— And so, I would indulge you to re-suspend this discussion, so that when we have a full quorum, then we can continue with this Bill, because it is so important for the country.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, I direct that the bell be rung in accordance with the rules.
Hon Member, have you taken count yourself? Very well — the bell would be rung and then we would look at the numbers.
Hon Minister, please, proceed.
Mr H. Iddrisu 2:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, like I indicated, since its inception in 2005, it has been improved upon. It had the name National Youth Employment Programme, and subsequently, it was branded the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency, otherwise, referred to as GYEEDA, which was investigated by Government, to which some remedial and corrective actions are being taken on matters relating to its implementation over the years.
Mr Speaker, one of the major issues of concern which the Bill seeks to address, which Hon Members have raised issues with is the source of funding for youth employment. Over the years, and through this august House, funding for youth employment has largely come from the Communications Service Tax, which has proved to be very reliable, budgetary allocations as approved by the Ministry of Finance and Parliament, some funding from the GETFund and funding from the District Assemblies Common Fund.
In particular, the waste and sanitation model was largely funded from the District Assemblies Common Fund and sometimes, with intervention from the National Insurance Fund and Road Fund.
Mr Speaker, whiles I agree that we need to have a dedicated funding source to support youth employment — Indeed, we believe in it because we need to assure young people of an improvement in their livelihood, of some decent employment and income generating opportunities. It is to that, that the Government has decided to restructure GYEEDA, rebrand it and migrate it now into the Civil Service and get it as a well-functioning structure which would co-ordinate the activities of young people's employment in our country.
Mr Speaker, there would be, as a normal Board, a Chief Executive and others.
But Mr Speaker, research has shown that the District Assemblies Common Fund, National Health Insurance Scheme, have all made contributions in the past through their formula to the funding of youth employment. We have young people working as health assistants, young people in education who supported teaching but they earned a certain minimal amount.
Mr Speaker, let me assure this House that under this Government's watch, no young person working under the youth employment would earn less than the minimum wage -- As a new practice, we would seek to improve whatever allowances they are taking and it should be an added on into the dedicated legal minimum wage which will be declared by Government. This is because there is no gain that we have put somebody in employment and the person earns below the minimum wage. But Mr Speaker, many of the young people are appreciative of it.
I should note, Mr Speaker, that this system was abused, no doubt about it. There were young people who were undeserving. There were those who also doubled in terms of having more than one
Mr H. Iddrisu 2:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I know that Hon Members of Parliament are deeply concerned because it is at our doors and windows they knock in search of employment. And hardly any Hon Member of Parliament or any Hon Minister of State or any Government functionary in our constituencies are without these youth who are saying: “support us to have decent jobs”.
Mr Speaker, our attitude, as Government to this will be a cross- sectorial approach -- a well-targeted and co-ordinated intervention to assure young people of jobs. I do concede that national youth employment will not be the panacea to the unemployment in the country. But Mr Speaker, I dare say that growing unemployment is a national crisis and we need to confront it head-on.
It is with this contribution that, Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014 be now read a Second time. And I urge Hon Members to support this important intervention that would assure and provide young people an opportunity to decent work and some decent income, and for them to make meaningful contribution to improving the quality of lives of themselves and making a contribution to national development.

Question proposed.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Kobena M. Woyome) 2:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion, and in doing so, I submit your Committee's Report.
Introduction
In accordance with article 103 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Minister

for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon Haruna Iddrisu on Tuesday, 11th November, 2014 laid before the House, the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014. Pursuant to article 106 of the Constitution and Standing Orders 125, 184 and 187, Mr Speaker referred the Bill to the joint Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises and Youth, Sports and Culture for consideration and report to the House.

Consideration of the Bill

The joint Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises and Youth, Sports and Culture as mandated under article 106 (4) of the Constitution of Ghana and Standing Orders 184 and 187 held several meetings with stakeholders to examine the Bill in detail.

The Committee is grateful to the following for their inputs and support during the deliberations:

1. Hon Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.

2. Hon Mohammed Baba Jamal Ahmed, Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.

3. Mr Kobby Acheampong, Acting Executive Director, Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency.

4. Mr Kojo Fynn, Administrator, District Assemblies, Common Fund.

5. Mr Sam Garbah, Administrator, GETFund.

6. Mr George Blankson, Commis- sioner-General, Ghana Revenue Authority.

7. Dr Joseph Agyepong, Chief Executive, Zoom Lion Group of

Companies and representative of Service Providers to GYEEDA.

8. Official from the National Health Insurance Scheme.

9. Officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

10. Officials of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency.

Reference Documents

The Committee made reference to the following documents during deliberations of the Bill:

1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

2. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.

3. The Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014.

4. Ministerial Impact Assessment and Review Committee Report on the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA Report).

5. Government Action Paper on the Ministerial Impact Assessment and Review Committee Report on the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency.

Object of the Bill

The object of the Bill is to establish the Youth Employment Agency to develop, coordinate, supervise and facilitate the creation of jobs for the youth. The Agency will also co-ordinate all youth employment and entrepreneurial pro- grammes and respond to the employment needs of the youth.

Content of the Bill

The Bill is made up of 32 clauses and is divided into the following parts:

Part One -- Establishment of the Agency (Clauses 1 - 3)

Part Two -- Governance of the Agency (Clauses 4-11)

Part Three -- Administrative Provisions (Clauses 12-15)

Part Four -- Programmes for Youth Development (Clauses 16-17)

Part Five -- Financial Provisions (Clauses 18 - 20)

Part Six -- Youth Employment Fund (Clauses 21-26)

Part Seven -- Regional Committees and District Committees (Clauses 27 - 30)

Part Eight -- Miscellaneous provisions (Clauses 31 and 32).
Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, I was just telling him that it looks like the quorum matter that has been raised may catch us up in the middle of his presentation. So, I was advising him that he should second the Motion tomorrow as the first item, because in the next two minutes, the quorum matter would come. We are about 50. I have been
Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.


counting the number of people that have come now and they are less than 10. So, he should second the Motion tomorrow, then it would help us. Otherwise --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
Hon Member, we need to get specific figures before we can come to the understanding that you have reached.
Mr Woyome 2:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee again took into consideration the recommendations in the Ministerial Impact Assessment and Review Committee Report on the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) and the Government Action Paper on the Report. It further noted the efforts being made by various government institutions to effect the recommendations in the White Paper.
Recommendations
The Committee recommends that the Agency when established should operate within the legal framework of its establishment and statutory requirements. This, it is believed would help eliminate the mistakes of the past and restore confidence in the Agency.
The Committee again recommends that the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations should ensure that the Agency strictly conform to the Public Pro- curement Act, the Labour Act, and administrative instruments in the management of its funds to ensure effective, efficient and accountable use of these funds.
The Committee while lauding the integration of the Agency into the Civil Service recommends that there should be streamlining of staff into their appropriate staff levels to make the programme
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
Thank you, very much.
Mr Agbesi 2:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, at this stage, we can take one contribution from each side. [Uproar.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
Hon Members, I am inclined to propose that we adjourn debate to tomorrow, so that we would have the requisite numbers in the House.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, do we have any other materials we can deal with?
Mr Agbesi 2:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we can continue the debate tomorrow.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
Hon Members, on that note, I direct that the House be adjourned till tomorrow at ten o'clock in the forenoon.
ADJOURNMENT 2:05 p.m.