Mr Speaker, the Minority Leader is apt with his submission on the policy issue, but it does introduce what I may describe as a personal quagmire, whether this House, Parliament, has the power working through its committee, to review a policy decision captured in a Bill.
Mr Speaker, indeed, the Bill, as was approved by Cabinet and subsequently submitted to Parliament, and accordingly referred to your Committee, has all the fine details of policy, which is seeking as I read in the Long Title, to establish a youth employment agency.
Mr Speaker, the Youth Employment Agency is contemplated to be funded with dedicated funding sources. That is why when the Majority Chief Whip rose, he gave an indication that, probably, we can indulge the Chairman to step down clauses 21 and 22, and probably, after we have dealt with clauses 23 and 24, we would appreciate the argument of the Hon Minority Leader and convince the Chairman, that the establishment of the Fund is still necessary.
Mr Speaker, in coming with this Bill, I have learnt from many experiences, including that of the late Hon Baah- Wiredu, who was then Minister for Finance and piloted this initiative, to deal with youth crisis as an emergency.
Mr Speaker, at the time, if you would recall — I would probably urge the Hon Chairman of the Committee to stand down for a moment. We shall move to clause 23, and come back. But I do agree — I can change my mind to agree with the Hon Minority Leader. That is the essence of the debate, that policy wise, he is apt, but also must note, that the Long Title —
Mr Speaker, you are a brilliant lawyer; a guide to interpretation, we always say that you look at the Long Title to get the object of the Bill, which the Hon Member must learn. But I have no problem accepting that the committee of Parliament can or cannot change a policy decision. It is a matter that all of us can take — I am asking, is Parliament clothed with authority to do that? I am minded to support what I submitted and which
Cabinet approved, which provided for that.
I would indulge the Hon Chairman to, for a moment, abandon clauses 21 and 22. When we lead the debate on clause 23, we will appreciate whether we need the Fund.
Mr Speaker, at winnowing — if the Minority Leader would appreciate — he presided over it. That was when there was an argument that we should dedicate 2.5 per cent to VAT, which would have made it sit in tandem with the argument of the Chairman. If we have a dedicated funding source, we could call it the “Youth Employment Fund”, but knowing that there is some apprehension by the Hon Minister for Finance regarding earmarking, we were guided that clause 23 could comprehensively deal with it. But I would still urge my Chairman to abandon it for a while, while we make progress.