Debates of 18 Feb 2015

PRAYERS 10:40 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 10:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, this morning, I find myself, for the first time, in the front seat for some good reason.
There is a massive demonstration ongoing in town -- [Interruptions] -- They heard me.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Have you monitored it to know whether it is “massive”? [Laughter.]
Mr Agyeman-Manu 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleagues are very much aware, especially Hon Richard Quashigah, who knows it is very “massive” and he has a way of describing it. He came to me and told me that a very gargantuan demonstration in -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Member for Keta?
Mr Richard M. Quashigah 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am surprised at what the Hon Colleague on the other side has said.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, do you have anything to say?
Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, they have the right to demonstrate, whether massive or otherwise.
My Hon Colleague has said that their Hon Members on the other side had no option than to go and join the Party.
Mr Speaker, the word “option” -- they have an option. They have a duty to perform in this House. They have chosen between their duty here and that of going to the streets to demonstrate. So, they have an option to be here or otherwise. In any case, the option they have chosen is that they are going to demonstrate as against the work they have been elected to come and do.
He is here anyway. So, without saying much, they are performing their civil rights; if we have to put it that way, it is their civil
rights. But their people who have sent them here are waiting for them to come and do their duty here. That is the option I thought they should have exercised. Nevertheless, that is their choice.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Members, yesterday I was in my office together with the Clerkto Parliament when the Hon Minority Leader, accompanied by the Hon Member for Kwadaso came to inform me that they would not be available in the House this morning because they would be joining a demonstration in town today.
It is important to place on record that the Hon Minority Leader has informed me that they would not be available this morning because they would be demonstrating.
Hon Members, that is for your information.

Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 17th February, 2015

Mr Speaker, where is the Hon Member for Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa?

Hon Members, I have admitted one Statement for today.

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

Mrs Georgina N. Aboah (NDC -- Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa) 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity given me to make a Statement on this year's International Childhood Cancer Day, which fell on 15th February, 2015.
Mr Speaker, childhood cancers refer to neoplastic disorders affecting children aged less than 15 years. In Ghana, this vulnerable age group constitutes approximately 40 per cent of the population.
Globally, about 250,000 childhood cancers are recorded annually. There are no comprehensive statistical data on the magnitude of the disease in Ghana. It is estimated that 1,000 children below 15 years are affected by cancer annually and their chances of survival are usually lower than 20 per cent. The disease is, therefore, emerging as an important cause of morbidity and mortality in this country.
As a woman and a mother, I am moved by what is facing these children who are affected by the dreadful cancer. When a child gets cancer, all his loved ones, particularly parents, the extended family and the community at large, suffer the consequences as they do not want to see their children suffer and die.
Mr Speaker, the good news is that, the disease can be cured if timely and vital treatment is accessible. However, a lot of people are not aware of the disease in this country and most people also attribute the causes of the disease to superstitious beliefs and customs. Besides, most parents and families in Ghana are not able to afford chemotherapy or pain relief drugs due to their expensive nature. There is no
Mrs Georgina N. Aboah (NDC -- Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa) 10:50 a.m.

national childhood cancer registry to assess the problem accurately.

There are inadequate health workers trained in paediatric cancer management. More so, there are also inadequate diagnostic services as there are a few cancer treatment centres. As a result, children with cancer are left undiagnosed. And those that are diagnosed are often in the terminal stages of the cancer, which becomes too late for curative treatment.

Mr Speaker, the above challenges require collaboration of all stakeholders, including Government, healthcare personnel, Ministry of Health, and non - governmental organisations (NGOs).

Mr Speaker, permit me to use this occasion to commend Dr Mitchell Memorial Foundation (RoMMeF), one of the NGOs which have contributed immensely in addressing some of the challenges of childhood cancer in Ghana.

This organisation, with the encourage- ment of the Select Committee on Health, has been able to create awareness about the disease, and translated the early warning signs of the disease into the six major Ghanaian languages which are Hausa, Dagbani, Ga, Ewe, Nzema and Akan.

The Foundation also sponsored the treatment of five childhood cancer patients at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in 2013 and 2014. Further, as the foundation's strategy of ensuring accessibility of health service delivery, it is currently spearheading the establishment of a paediatric oncology treatment centre in Cape Coast with drawings of the project as the Foundation's contribution towards the project.

Mr Speaker I would urge all NGOs to emulate the good works of Dr. Mitchell

Memorial Foundation. I also call for the amendment of the National Health Insurance Act to include childhood cancers on the NHIS list. This would bring relief to parents and families whose children are victims of the disease.

Mr Speaker, the Government should also create a national childhood cancer registry to track paediatric cancer. The registry would help researchers to be able to contact patients within weeks, enrol them in research studies, and follow up with them over time. Besides, scholarships may be given by the Government to paediatricians who are interested in the study of childhood cancers.

Currently, there are only two centres that deal with childhood cancer in the country. This certainly does not augur well for the fight against the disease. The Government should establish childhood cancer centres throughout the country to ensure easy accessibility of healthcare service to our dear children.

The Ministry, in collaboration with hospitals, should organise free screening on regular basis in the basic schools, and childhood immunisation centres among others. At these centres, they could create awareness among the children and their parents.

Mr Speaker, as individuals we can go faster but collectively, we can go farther in the battle against childhood cancer. Therefore, we need to collaborate with NGOs and other stakeholders to save our precious future leaders of the nation from dying. We can do this by ensuring that these little ones get easy access to health institutions by removing all financial and geographical barriers on their way.
Mr Joseph Y. Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 11 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make a few comments on this Statement that has been made by the Hon Member.
First of all, let me point the fact that almost every year Parliament discusses childhood cancers because every 15th February is International Childhood Cancer Day. Once we make these Statements, we create awareness about the need for us to have clear policies to deal with this issue. One of them, as the Statement recommends, is for us to see how to include in the benefit package of the National Health Insurance Scheme, the fact of treatment of childhood cancers. The reason is simple; it is very expensive and the parents alone cannot bear the cost of the treatment.
Again, early detection is important. If it is not detected early and the condition advances, chances are that it will be more difficult to treat. What should we do as Hon Members of Parliament? We should begin in our own various constituencies to discuss the issues, bring them forward and let people know about the need for childhood cancers to be treated early. As an Hon Member of Parliament, you can as well help to raise funds and you would see that raising the funds should not be given to only this Foundation that encourages us to make the Statement.
All of us can raise funds, including giving a little of Your money from the various funds that, we, as Hon Members of Parliament may have in their custody or with the District Assemblies.
Again, the need to have a cancer registry is important. Recently, the Ministry of Health launched the International Cancer Day and what came out of it was the fact that, now, we have a cancer policy which if further developed,
could even become law to guide all of us. They have identified the areas -- training of more oncologists, training of more health personnel related to cancer treatment, ensuring that there is a registry where you have all the information about cancer and yearly campaigns to create awareness -- This is because once again, it is not only childhood cancers that need to be detected and treated early.
All cancers have that problem. Indeed, this is very important for the childhood cancers. This is because if you look at the ages of those who are affected, they still have potential to be contributors to the development of our nation and that is why we must all rise to the occasion and ensure that every day, we will talk about it. When you are in your constituency, you should let people know because it is an important consideration that we must give to one aspect of our community, that is the child.
Indeed, when one looks at our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), one of them is how to reduce childhood cancers by three-quarters by the end of this year, the childhood sicknesses, death and all that.
So, what we would be contributing is also to achieve this objective. This is because, most of the time, the children are also affected and they add to the numbers. That is why I would urge all of you to support this Statement, and to further ask that this Statement, together with the recommendations, be sent to the the Ministry of Health for further action.
On this note, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Agotime-Ziope?
[BABA JAMAL AHMED]Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah (NDC -- Agotime-Ziope): Agotime-Ziope, Mr Speaker, otherwise, known as A to Z.
Thank you Mr Speaker. I also rise to associate myself with the Statement ably made by the Hon Colleague and I congratulate her for doing it on this special day on childhood cancers.
Mr Speaker, I have been a nurse for over 30 years and once a nurse, always a nurse. It is very heartbreaking to be in a ward, especially in the children's ward to see little children from one year old to teenagers who have to undergo very painful tests and treatments. As a mother -- and I am sure fathers also, when you see your child going through this kind of treatment, it is very heart-rending.
Mr Speaker, as has been mentioned by another Hon Colleague, it is very important to make sure we educate the populace, our constituents and all and sundry about bringing the children to the hospital to be diagnosed early. This is because, like all other forms of cancers, early diagnoses is very critical, so that when they would have to go for treatment, it may minimise what they would have to go through.
In the situations in our communities, when children have something that people are not familiar with, they tend to keep the child at home, until like all cancers, when it starts getting metastasis or spreading, then they would bring the child to the hospital for doctors to do some kind of magic to treat the child. So, it is very critical that we take the message to our constituencies, and educate our communities on early detection to help with the treatment for these children.
As mentioned, I would also urge that, since the treatment is very expensive, we would appeal that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) should consider giving this treatment free on the
NHIS list. Every now and then, one would see on television, or hear on the radio, parents coming round to appeal for support. It is very heart-rending as a woman, and for one who has about two or three children, to leave them at home in the care of other people to be with this child in the hospital, and appealing for support. Therefore, if the NHIA would consider that, it would be very good
I would like to commend the particular NGO which is championing the cause of these childhood cancers. As an Hon Member of the Health Committee, I know they have been here and discussed a lot of problems that they are facing. We are in support of their activities and their advocacy. I would commend them, and ask that we give them the much needed support.
On this note, Mr Speaker I would once again, commend the Hon Member who made the Statement. Let us look at it seriously because one of these children could become the leader of this country.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Last comment by the Hon Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
Baba Jamal Mohammed Ahmed (NDC -- Akwatia) (MP): Mr Speaker, I rise to add my voice and commend the maker of the Statement, for this important Statement which she has made.
Mr Speaker, children are gifts from God, and anything that affects them must be of interest to all of us. As a young parent, who is raising children, I am affected when I see our children go through serious cancers, that sometimes terminate their lives at a tender age. This is what has affected me, and I would want to commend the Hon Member for making this Statement.
My contribution is going to be short.
I would want to advise parents, especially those who are raising children, to make sure they observe their children as they go in and out from their homes. They go out and come back, but parents do not even observe the children for rashes and pains here and there. The child would be complaining and nobody cares. These are the little things that accumulate to become problems.
So, mine is a little piece of advice to all parents, Members of Parliament (MPs) and everybody, that once one has given birth to a child, one has a responsibility towards the child, to observe the child's daily activities of going out and coming in to the house. Whatever the child is doing, pay attention to the child's health. It is very important.
Mr Speaker, thank you once again, for giving me the opportunity.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Minister.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, would you want to contribute?
Very well. You would want your name to be placed on the record? That is good.
Mr KwaKu Agyeman-Manu (NPP -- Dormaa Central) 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement and would want to give support and commend the Hon Member who made the Statement.
Mr Speaker, there are very few important things that we may need to do in respect of childhood cancers. My Hon

Colleagues have mentioned almost all of them but awareness creation of the disease for early detection is very important. I do not know how --
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, you have to know the symptoms before you can create the awareness. What are the symptoms?
Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would not be able to give symptoms because I need to get some awareness on the disease myself and I do not want to go --
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Very well. That is the point.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, so creation of awareness is very necessary. Treatment is expensive as we are all aware. I do not know what could bring the cost of treatment down but we would then need to support children who may be infected with these diseases. It is quite embarrassing and appalling to see a child who is ill and parents cannot afford and the child sits there.
Mr Speaker, as Hon Members of Parliament, when we go round communities, we meet some of these situations sometimes and no matter how much we may have to do some of these things, it becomes very difficult for us to actually go and pick two or three of such cases in the constituency to handle alone.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to add to the fact that we need some policy guidelines. We need, as a Parliament, to advocate for childhood cancers to be included on the NHIS beneficiary list, such that the State or the contributions of all of us towards the National Health Insurance would be able to cater for some of these challenges that we have in our systems.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:10 a.m.

Mr Speaker, again, even if we put the disease on the NHIS beneficiary list, we would still be left with some part of the cost. We have just a few treatment centres in the country for childhood cancers. So people, farther away from these centres may have to relocate temporarily to be in hospitals and centres where they could treat these diseases.

Mr Speaker, support to parents in that respect sometimes can become another burden and that alone can take away a parent bringing a child to Kumasi or Accra for such a treatment. So, I also urge that we continue to advocate for support for such parents from the District Assemblies, such that Distr ict Chief Executives internally generated funds (IGFs), or in areas where the treatment centres are, just to make sure, that their children get treatment at the few treatment centres.

Mr Speaker, I would also advocate that Government would continue to create more of these centres farther away in other places such that almost all of us would be closer to centres that can treat these cancers. But that may be a long-term situation; that is why I am advocating for some support from the District Assemblies.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 11:10 a.m.
I would want to yield to my Hon Colleague, Hon David Assumeng.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member for Shai- Osudoku, you have the floor.
Make a brief comment. I will want to move on.
Mr David Tetteh Assumeng (NDC -- Shai-Osudoku) 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to thank the Hon Member who made this very important Statement.
Mr Speaker, the Statement has come at a time when we have children in the Public Gallery who have come to observe what we are doing. So I believe we need to take comments on board to make sure that all the recommendations and suggestions are taken.
Mr Speaker, the issue of involving the National Health Insurance Scheme to absorb the treatment of this disease is very important. I believe that even though there is a lot more burden on the Scheme, they would create an avenue for this disease to be added to the list. I believe it is very important.
Thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Thank you very much for your brevity.
Hon Members, we now move to the Commencement of Public Business.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yesterday, we worked on the Customs Bill and we want to go straight to it as captured in item 10 of page 3 of the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, we want to conclude the Consideration of the Customs Bill, 2014 today, so we move to item number 10 on the Order Paper.

STAGE 11:10 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, have you resolved the issues dealing with clause 151?
Mr James K. Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Where is the amendment?
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we have the amendment on page 3 of the Order Paper, then there is a further amendment, which I have here that I would be proposing.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Please, where is it? This is because what we have there says we should delete the subclause (2) of clause
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are deleting subclause (2) and substituting it with the one on the Order Paper, which I would make further amendment to. So if you would allow me, I would move it for you to see the picture.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Chairman, how come it is not on the Order Paper? The rules allow you though, to move an amendment without placing it on the Order Paper but how come that it is not there?
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we have it on page 3 of the Order Paper, only that I would further amend what we have on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
What is replacing the one that you are deleting?
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the clause 151(2), we are deleting the subclause (2) in the Bill and substituting it with the one on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Very well. I get the point you are making. But my point is that on the floor of the House yesterday, you made a very important point and your attention was drawn to the fact that your amendment did not capture what we intend to achieve by that amendment. Does what you have now addresses it?
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, not fully. That is why I want to further amend what we have on the Order Paper.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Chairman has not advertised what he further wants to amend, why would we not step down this particular clause and probably, take it later?
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member for Dormaa Central, yesterday, the argument was made that what he was trying to do was more of a transitional nature and that is why I started by getting a clarification, so that we get the House along before he moves whatever amendment he wants to move for the House to understand exactly what he wants to do.
The rules allow you to move an amendment even though it is not placed on the Order Paper.
Let us go, if we are able to follow him, we will proceed and if we have difficulties, we will advise ourselves.
Clause 151 --
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 151, subclause (2), delete and insert the following:
“Despite the repeal under subsection (1),
(a) the Regulations, bye-laws, notices, orders, rules, directions, appointments or any other act lawfully made or done under the repealed enactments and in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be considered to have been made or done under this Act and shall continue to have effect until reviewed, cancelled or terminated;
(b) the procedures of tax administration under the repealed enactment shall continue to apply until a tax administration law comes into force.”

Mr Speaker, so, the (a) and (b) would take care of the intention of the clause

Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Chairman, again, yesterday, the Hon Majority Leader made a point that the amendments should come under transitional provisions, but you are still keeping them under Repeal and Saving provisions.
Are we maintaining them at the Repeal and Savings provisions?
Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker because the clause 151 is a repeal --
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Very well. Give me a copy of your subclause (b). I do not have it. Give a copy to the acting Deputy Minority Leader. I need a copy myself.
Hon Member for Wa West? While we wait for the rendition --
Mr Chireh 11:20 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Actually, under that one is repeal and savings provisions, that is why it was proposed.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Very well. But it should be “despite the repeals.” It should not be “repeal”.
Mr Chireh 11:20 a.m.
Yes, but this won gbo acting Minority Leader will not allow me to speak. I do not know why? I do not know for how many hours that he is going to be Minority Leader. [Laughter.] This demonstration -- won gbo ken-ya -- what kind of thing is this? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would plead and crave your indulgence to rule my Hon Colleague from Wa West out of order. I do not know under which Order he is coming to make these comments and the language he is even using, is highly unparliamentary. I would wish that you request him to withdraw the comments he has made and put him right in his stead.
Mr Speaker, won gbo is not parliamentary. Mr Speaker, this Parliament allows English, and therefore, they should translate it into a language that is acceptable to the House.
Thank you.
Mr Chireh 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, he says won gbo is not parliamentary, and yet Members of Parliament have gone to join the demonstration, which is titled won gbo. How can he say it is not parliamentary? Then those people are acting unpar- liamentarily -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, let us make progress.
Mr Chairman, let us know exactly -- is there any particular section of the previous law that you would like to save here? This is because if you say that the procedures for tax administration -- certainty of the law is a hallmark of a good law.
If you say the procedures for tax administration under the repealed enactment, you know there are a number of enactments that we have repealed here. Are you referring to a particular chapter or enactment, so that we make it very clear for the avoidance of doubt? I would like that to inform the discussion before we put the Question, if we have to put it at all.
Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are actually referring to one particular enactment, that is the Provisional National Defence Council Law (PNDCL 330.)
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Is it a particular chapter of that PNDCL 330?
Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
Yes, that is the administrative procedures. The chapter that deals with the administrative procedures.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Are they spread across or they are in a particular piece of law? We are repealing a number of enactments here. We are repealing the first nine -- enactments under subsection (1).
So, the administrative procedures -- are they in all these nine enactments or they are only in the PNDCL 330?
Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is not all the nine enactments, but that of the subclause (a), PNDCL 330, that is, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Amendment) Act of 1993, PNDCL 330.
The administrative procedures under this enactment are being saved until the tax administration law comes into force.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
So can you not get a better rendition and make specific reference? It would be a better drafting, so that we know the administrative provisions in the chapter et cetera are existing until a new one is passed.
So, Hon Members, anybody reading the new law would go back and look at that particular provision or something to that effect. So, you are saving that particular part?
Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr : Mr Speaker, what you are suggesting would have been the ideal situation. But what they want to do is that, there are some procedures and processes
which were carried out under these laws that are being repealed. Some are orders, some are regulations, some are administrative --
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
That is the subclause (a) part.
Hon Member for Wa West, that is the subclause (a) part. There is no problem with the (a) part.
Yes, the amendment that he is moving, we have a subclause (a) part and we have the subclause (b) part. The subclause (a) part is what we have on the Order Paper. The subclause (b) part is not there, and that is why I asked him to give a copy to me and give a copy to the frontbench of the Minority. Then I will look at it, I will read it out, and then we will understand, because it is not on the Order Paper -- before I put the Question.
Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Chireh 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is why I am saying if you look at it, the subclause (a) is specific, but the other ones are just administrative procedures that they want to refer to. They occur in many of the laws and are currently being practised by the Customs Administration and also other tax administrations.
When we pass the new Acts, indeed, some of them would not even be pinched at all. It would continue like that. But the other thing is that, if the Commissioner- General or some other person had issued orders and it has become a practice within the system, those things are the ones this second subclause (b) is trying to save.
So, it would be difficult to locate them in any particular Act because they are not written in the Act.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
That is why, yesterday, the Hon Majority Leader made the point that we should draw a distinction between
Mr Chireh 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, what he suggested is fair. I am saying that, these procedures may be administrative procedures that were existing because of these laws. You also know that this House has the problem of passing laws and regulations are made ten years after. So, during that period, it is no longer just transitional. But for these provisions, it is always for the procedures to be saved. What is currently going on -- and it will take some time. In fact, they are not in conflict with the current law we are passing.
It is not something that would be illegal when they do it. They have adopted it and it has been part of the practice. But somebody can challenge it and say that he or she has been doing it under a particular Act, which has been repealed.
So the point is that, once we save this for them, for the practitioner, if someone is challenging them, they will go to the specific law and say, no, that was in the law and this is the meaning. But now,
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Chairman?
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to further amend the subsection (b) part of subclause (2) to bring in the particular enactment that we are saving the administrative procedures. So, the new rendition for the subsection (b) will read:
“The administrative procedures under the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (Amendment) Act, (1993), PNDCL 330 shall continue to apply until a tax administration law comes into force”.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Members, listening to the Hon Member for Wa West, I get the impression that the tax administration procedures are scattered, and then listening to the Chairman of the Committee, it is only located in PNDCL 330. So, you have said different things, and I do not know which is right.
What about a rendition like this?
“Despite the repeal under subsection (1) which covers --
So, under the repeal, it will affect the (a) and (b) and I beg to read again;
“Despite the repeal under subsection (1), all procedures dealing with tax administration shall continue until a new enactment dealing with tax administration procedures have come into force”.
Does that? --
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in that case, if there is any tax admin ist r at ion procedure --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
So, if there is anything which is not located in PNDCL 330, it will be covered.
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is alright.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Chireh 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that rendition covers what I said. If we accept what the Chairman said, then it means that we are restricting it to PNDCL 330. But if we do so and there are other tax procedures which are being done different from the ones repealed here - That was why I said that the way it has been captured now, it means anytime the practitioners are challenged, they can point at one particular repealed law under which they were doing this, and they will be covered.
But if we restrict it, they will say, “we said only PNDCL 330 was mentioned and therefore, that one came under another enactment”.
So, I think your rendition should be taken, and not that of the Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think your rendition will cure the challenges that we have. So, I believe we would use that one in place of the subsection (b) that the Chairman has been struggling with.
Thank you.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Clause 151 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman?
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to seek the leave of the House and your permission to take us back to clause 116 to do a little amendment there. We do not have it on the Order Paper, but it is necessary -- it is something we overlooked.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Has the Question been put on clause 116?
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Then you know the procedure. Have we taken the Long Title? Did we take it yesterday?
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
No, Mr Speaker. We did not take the Long Title.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Very well. [Pause.]
If you think that clause 116 is very important, then you know the stage once the Question has been put on it.
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is just a small amendment. If you would allow me, I will move it for you to look at the --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, you know the rule.
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, then let us take the Long Title.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, let us move to the Long Title.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Yes, I am moving to the Long Title.
Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.

Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Customs Bill, 2014.

Hon Deputy Majority Leader?

11. 40 a.m.
Mr Agbesi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, item number
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, we cannot take item number 7 now.
Mr Agbesi 11:30 a.m.
Very well.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
What about item 6?
Is the Chairman of the Committee available?
Mr George Kofi Arthur 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am here, but because of the issues raised from the other side, I had wanted us to --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Is it the same issue?
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:30 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
This is Annual Progress Report. The other one is the Poverty Reduction Strategy on the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development.
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:30 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
We have finished with the Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda (GSGDA), and we were on the Co- ordinated Programme. But they made some reference to the GSGDA. That is why I would wish --
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Are they not different Motions?
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:30 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker, they are different Motions.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Are the issues raised against Motion 5 the same?
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, they deal with figures.
There were some figures in the GSGDA, and we made a reference which is in the Co-ordinated Programme. So, we want to work on the two documents, and then we take it again.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
But the other one is from 2014 to 2020, but this one is from 2010 to
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:30 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
It is out of the Co-ordinated Programme that we came with the GSGDA.
The Co-ordinated Programme spans 2014 to 2020. But the GSGDA spans 2014 to 2017.
Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Very well.
If you think it should be deferred, then fine.
So, item number 6, accordingly deferred.
Yes, item number 8.
First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
11. 45 a. m. --
MOTIONS 11:30 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr Simon Edem Asimah) 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on environmental challenges in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would want to present your Committee's Report.
On the commemoration of World Environment Day in June 2013, the Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon Dr Bernice A. Heloo (Mrs), made a Statement on the floor of Parliament on the theme “Think, Eat, Save”. She drew attention of the House to the need to explore means of eradicating hunger and preserving the environment through sustainable environmental practices
The Statement also highlighted some activities that contribute to major environmental chal lenges. These activi t ies include i l legal mining operations, pollution of water bodies, indiscriminate dumping of refuse and the mode of waste management , environmental degradation (forest and soil degradat ion), use of harmful chemicals for fishing and the impact of climate change.
In view of the passion expressed by Hon Members and the in -depth concerns they ra ised in their contributions to the Statement made, Mr Speaker subsequently referred the concerns raised to the Select Committee on Environment, Science and Tech- nology for further enquiries and report to the House in accordance with Orders 156 and 185 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
Terms of Reference
The Committee observed that the contributions made by Hon Members on the floor of the House were so varied and broad. So, in order to effectively present an in-depth report to the House, the Committee narrowed down the scope
of enquiry to the activities of illegal mining operators (galamsey), waste management and climate change.
The Committee examined the causes of illegal mining, poor waste manage- ment and climate change.
Assessed the appropriateness of the existing institutions in dealing with the menace as well as the robustness of the current laws, policies and programmes for controlling the concerns in the country.
Assessed the technical and financial capacity as well as other constraints of the agencies responsible for regulating the various sectors.
Made recommendations to the House on the way forward within the context of its mandate, that is, lawmaking body, approval of public funds, representa- tional and oversight responsibilities.
The Committee adopted the under- listed methodology in the enquiry:
Organised a stakeholders meeting to solicit views from experts and professionals in the field to narrow down the scope of enquiry.
An overview of the legal framework in respect of illegal mining in Ghana.
A field visit to Amansie West and Dunkwa-on-Offin Distr icts to interact with the communities mostly affected by illegal mining activities and to also obtain first- hand knowledge on the issues under consideration.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Simon Edem Asimah) 11:30 a.m.

A field visit to Accra Metropolitan Area and Zoomlion waste treatment sites.


The Committee is grateful to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Minerals Commission, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation , the Metropol itan and Distr ict Ch ief Executives of Accra, Dunkwa-on-Offin and Amansie West as well as the chiefs and people of these communities, for the support and insightful inputs provided during the field visits. The Committee is also grateful to the management of Zoomlion Group of Companies.

Reference documents

The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during the enquiry:

The 1992 Constitution

Standing Orders of the House

Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703)

Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450)

Environmental Protection Act, 1994 (Act 490)

Water Resources Act, 1996 (Act,



Illegal mining

PDNC Law 218 was passed in 1989, to legalise the small scale mining

operations in the country. PDNC Law 218 and other related mining laws were later consolidated by the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). In spite of these laws, galamsey operations have been on the ascendancy in almost every part of the country.

Galamsey activities are not only restricted to the extraction of minerals but have a lso extended to stone quarrying, which takes place in some part of the country. Galamsey activities are now being operated in eight (8) out of the ten (10) regions of the country.

These operations are in the Eastern Region (mainly, Kibi, Oda, Nkawkaw and New Abirem), Central Region (mainly Ayanfuri and Dunkwa-on-Offin and Assin and Twifo Praso), Western Region (a lmost a l l the dist r icts, especially Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Prestea- Huni Valley, Wassa Amenfi and Bibiani), Ashanti Region (Obuasi, Amansie West District and Konongo), Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

Legal frameworks regulating mining in the country

Mining operations in Ghana are regulated by the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). The Act categorises mining as either small or large scale depending on the size and the legal framework within which the operation takes place. It recognises Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and Water Resources Com- mission as principal institutions for regulating the sub-sector.

Small- scale Mining concessions

Sections 82 to 99 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 generally specify the guidelines for smal l-scale min ing operations in the country. Under the Act,

only citizens of Ghana, who have attained the age of 18 and above and have obtained a licence from the Minerals Commission, quali fy to undertake small scale mining operations in the country. The maximum land area permissible for small-scale mining is 25 acres. The small-scale concession licence is usually valid for five years but could be renewed for another five years upon the expiration of the first term.

Large-scale Mining Concessions

The large-scale concession is usually more than 25 acres, either as a block (21 hectares) or blocks of mining concessions joined together. The following are the steps involved in acquiring a final licence in large scale concession usual ly refer red to as ‘Mining Lease.”

Reconnaissance licence

A Reconnaissance Licence confers on the holder the right to search for a specific mineral within the licensed area by geochemical and photo- geological surveys or other r emote sensing techn iques. Except as otherwise provided in the licence, Reconnaissance Licence does not permit dr ill ing, excavat ion or other sub-surface techniques. The licence is usually issued for a period of one year, which may be renewed by the Minister.

Prospecting Licence

A Prospecting Licence allows the holder the exclusive right to search for specific minerals by conduct ing geological , geophysical and geo- chemical investigations to determine the extent and economic value of any deposit within the licensed area.

Drilling, excavation or other sub- surface techniques are permitted under the prospecting license. The initial grant of the license is limited to three years and may be renewed up to a period not exceeding three years.

Mining Lease

The grant of a Mining Lease gives the holder the right to mine, win or extract specified minerals within the lease area. The lease may be granted to the holder of a prospecting licence or any person who establishes to the satisfaction of the Minister that a mineral to which the lease relates exists in commercial quantities within the proposed lease area and can be mined at a profit. The lease is issued for up to thirty years subject to renewal for a further thirty-year term.

Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act


The Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450) provides a legal framework for an inst itution for the r egulat ion , management and the utilisation of minerals in the country.

The Commission is pr incipal ly responsible for the following:

i. regulation and management of the utilisation of mineral resources and the co-ordination of the policies in relation to them;

ii. formulation of national policy for exploration and exploitation of mineral resources, with special reference to establish- ing national priorities having due regard to the national economy;

iii. advise the Minister on matters relating to Minerals;
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Simon Edem Asimah) 11:30 a.m.

iv. monitor the implementation of la id down pol icies of the Government on minerals and report on this to the Minister;

v. monitor the operations of the bodies or establishments with responsibility for minerals and report to the Minister; and

vi. secure a firm basis of compre- hensive data col lection on national mineral resources and the technologies of exploration and exploitation for national decision-making.

Environmental Protection Act, 1994 (Act 490)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established by Act 490, as the lead agency for environ- mental protection in Ghana. The Agency is mandated under the EPA Act 1994, (Act 490) to oversee, co-ordinate and regulate a l l issues r egarding the environment in Ghana. The Act prescribes a set of functions required to adequately protect and manage the environment in Ghana. These functions include:

i. To advise the Minister on the formulation of policies on the environment.

ii. To co-ordinate the activities of bodies concerned with aspects of the environment.

iii. To collaborate with national, and international agencies relevant for the environmental act.

iv. To issue environmental permits and notices.

v. To prescribe relevant standards and guidelines.

vi. To ensure compliance with EPA act and with environmental impact assessment procedures.

vii.To conduct investigations into environmental i ssues and advise the Minister.

viii. To promote relevant studies, research, surveys and analyses.

ix. To initiate and pursue education for public awareness on the environment.

x. To promote effective planning in management of the environment.

xi. To develop a comprehensive database on the environment.

xii. To conduct training programmes and publish information on the environment.

xiii. To impose and collect environ- mental protection levies.

Water Resources Commission Act, 1996 (Act 522)

The Water Resources Commission is mandated by law to regulate and manage the utilisation of water resources, and co-ordination of related policies. The Commission is also responsible for the following:

i. Initiation of comprehensive plans for the ut i li sa t ion , conservation, development and improvement of water resources.

ii. Monitor and evaluate pro- grammes for the operation and main tenance of water resources.

iii. Advise pollution control agen- cies in Ghana on mat ter s concerning the management

and control of pollution of water resources.

iv. Advise the Government on any matter likely to have an adverse effect on the water resources of Ghana.

Section 13 of the Act provides that a person shall not divert, dam, store, abstract or use water resources, or construct or maintain any works for the use of water resources unless for the purposes of using the water resources for fighting fires or domestic purposes.

Observations - Illegal Mining

The Commit tee observed that , galamsey activities are now being operated in about eight (8) out of the ten (10) regions of the country, and the increasing rate of this is alarming. The Commit tee fur ther observed that galamsey act ivi t ies are not on ly restricted to the extraction of minerals but have a lso extended to stone quarrying, which is mainly taking place in the eastern r egion and the mountainous areas in the country.

After a careful study of the existing laws and regulations, the Committee observed that some mining companies with either Reconnaissance or Prospecting Licences have leased part of their concessions to small scale companies or to illegal mining operators in contravention to the provisions in section (14) (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act, 703), which provides that:

“mineral right shall not in whole or in part be transferred, assigned, mortgaged or otherwise en - cumbered or dealt in, in a manner without the prior approval in writing of the Minister , which approval shal l not be un- reasonably withheld or given subject to unreasonable con- ditions”.

The Committee took note of the fact that under section 23 (2) of Act 703, land- owners are required to be paid annual

ground rent. This provision has not been properly adhered to, culminating in conflicts between chiefs, landowners and the mining companies, particularly the illegal mining operators.

The Committee also took note that where there have been an arrest and confiscation of equipment from illegal mining operators, the laws do not provide for what should be done to the ceased equipment. The law enforcement agencies eventually had to release the machinery back to the operators, especially foreigners, who then go back to the field to con t inue with the operation in other places or sell the machines to other companies.

The Committee observed that, the process of licence acquisition specified under sections 12 and 13 of Act 703 is 150 days. The Committee, however, gathered that more often than not, the process of acquiring a licence can travel up to a period of 2 years and even more. Applicants who are impatient usually become frust r a ted and en ter the concessions illegally.

The Committee noted that, section 15 (1) of the Water Resources Commission Act, 1996 (Act 522), provides that where it appears to the Commission that the use of water resources for a purpose at a place poses a serious threat to the environment or to public health, the Commission may serve on the user of the water resources, an enforcement notice requiring the user to take the necessary steps to prevent or stop the activities. It is an offence under section 15 (4) of the Act for a person to use water resources for anyth ing other than domestic use or firefighting.

Section 24 of the Act 522 also provides that,

“a person who, except in accor- dance with the provisions of this Act or with the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency

(a) interferes with or alters the flow of, or

(b) pollutes or fouls,

a water resource beyond the level that the Environmental Protection Agency may prescribe, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or to both the fine and the imprisonment”.

In view of the above, the Committee observed that Water Resource Commission has not been firm in its r esponsibi l i ty and has a l lowed individuals and companies to pollute and destroy water resources across the country with impunity.

Environmental and socio-economic implications of illegal mining in Ghana

Environmental impact

Surface and ground water pollution

The Committee observed during the field visits that almost all the rivers and streams in the mining communities have huge excavators packed by the river banks for exploring, prospecting or excavating the earth for gold. The Committee further observed that, in

those mining areas, every parcel of land or water body is a potential deposit for gold. Consequently, the continuous use of Sodium Cyanide and Mercury for gold processing and the discharge of the effluents into the river systems has completely destroyed the aquaticeco- systems and affected the supplementary protein needs of catchment communi- ties.

Destruction of river bodies and wetlands

The Committee noted that there has been a total destruction of river bodies in the mining communities as a result of dredging and a complete diversion of entire section of some river courses for gold. Wetlands, which form part of the river systems, are also being destroyed.

According to a study undertaken by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), if this situation is not addressed to salvage the water bodies, Ghana will experience water shortage in the next 25-30 years as almost all the wetlands in the country are drying up as a result of human activities.

Four major rivers in the country -- Pra, Offin, Ankobra and Birim are under serious threat of completely drying out if urgent interventions are not put in place.

Destruction of arable lands, food and cash crops farms

The use of heavy equipment by licensed and illegal mining operators (local and foreigners) has caused rapid destruction of large tracts of arable lands, food and cash crops, particularly export crops like cocoa, coffee and rubber.

Social impact

Threat to public safety
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Simon Edem Asimah) 11:30 a.m.

The Committee noted that almost all the illegal mining operators abandoned the used facilities after their operations which include pits filled with stagnant water, slime dams containing mud and water, trenches as well as ditches, disregarding the serious threats the damaged areas poses to people in the communities.

The Committee was informed that several school children and even the operators themselves have become victims to such activities in almost all the mining areas where galamsey is very rampant and this occurs mostly during the rainy season when the affected areas are flooded.


Loss of lives

The Committee observed that all the illegal mining operators conduct their operations without any reference to standard operating procedures. This has resulted in fatalities at various parts of country.

The following present few examples:

i. 1st March 2011, two (2) brothers perished a t Kibi , Eastern Region

ii. 5th July 2011, hundred (100) people died at Dunkwa-on- Offin, Central Region;

iii. 25th August 2011, two (2) people died at Four Bungalow near Prestea, Prestea-Huni-Valley District, Western Region;

iv. 10th September 2011, one (1) person died at Bosume-Fraho, Ashanti Region; and

v. 11th February 2012, five (5) people died at Impamprum near
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Simon Edem Asimah) 11:30 a.m.
Subr iso- Fan te, Ashan t i Region.

Available statistics from Ghana Chamber of Mines indicates that in 2011, three hundred (300) precious lives were lost through illegal mining operations.


Images of deaths resulting from galamsey operations

Disruption of social and cultural cohesion due to invasion of foreigners

The Committee took note of the fact that the foreign illegal miners not only flout the national laws with impunity but also disrespect the tr adi t ional authorities and cultural values of the communities within which they operate.

The Committee again observed that as a result of the influx of foreigners (from outside the community, both local and foreigners), marriages have broken down and moral decadence such as prost i tut ion , teenage pregnancy, disrespect among the youth, school dropouts and arm robbery among others, are on the ascendancy. This has resulted in brutalities and fatalities, as well as loss of human l ives in many communities.


A Chinese galamsey operator caught in the act during the Committee's visit

Economic Impact

Under utilisation of viable sites:

The Committee observed that, illegal miners, in a haste to mine and process ore, resort to inappropriate equipment and technologies. Their unconventional approaches end up making the area unattractive to prospective investors who could potentially mine the area on a larger scale to provide more employment and income to the country.

Loss of economic gains due to destruction of cash crops

The Committee noted that in a bid to get “quick money”, some farmers have sold their cocoa and oil palm plantations and other cash crop farms to illegal mining operators. This has resulted in the huge reduction of such crops for export.

Threat to food security due to destruction of farms and arable lands

The Committee further noted that farms and arable lands are being destroyed due to the excessive use of dangerous chemicals for mining. The repercussions are that the lands have not only become less fertile for food production, but the quality of farm produce especially vegetables and fruits cannot be guaranteed, this has a lot of implications on the acceptability of some of the peoples preference for imported food items and loss of foreign exchange to the country.

Another major implication is the loss of employment as farming becomes unattractive to the majority of people in

the agricultural areas due to the lack of market for the farm produce and also, the urgency of the energetic youth to engage in galamsey operations.

The Committee observed that there is lack of proper monitor ing and supervision by state agencies in charge of the mining sector.

For instance, the Committee was informed that there are only two officers from Minerals Commission who are in charge of monitoring and supervision in the Ashanti and Western Regions.

This, coupled with lack of logistics seriously undermine the efforts of these officers to monitor these heavily armed illegal mining operators in the mining communities.

There is a lso the lack of wel l- equipped security personnel as well as connivance of some security personnel, chiefs and individual community members to protect the community from galamsey operators.

Background -- Waste Management

Waste management has become a very critical development challenge in the country in recent years, as huge sums of monies which could have been channelled into productive sectors of the economy have to be used to manage waste. The situation is becoming more alarming as a r esul t of r apid urbanisation and lifestyle changes.

Legal Framework for Waste Manage- ment

The Committee noted that there were several enactments which regulate waste management and sanitation related issues in the country. These include:

i. The 1992 Constitution -- clause 41 (k) which provides that, “It

shall be the duty of every citizen to protect and safeguard the environment”.

ii. Criminal Code 1960 Act 29 Chapter 8 (Public Nuisance)-- which criminalises throwing of rubbish in the street.

iii. The EPA Act 490 which mandates EPA to issue environmental permits to control hazardous or potentially dangerous waste; co- ordinate the act ivi t ies of organisations controlling the generation, treatment, storage, transportation and disposal of industrial waste, et cetera.

iv. Environmental Policy of Ghana (Revised 2012).

v. The Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462).

vi. MMDAs bylaws.

The Commit tee observed that though, there are enough statutory provisions for ensuring effective and efficient provision of environmental sanita tion services, most of these strategies adopted are “fire fighting”, curative and “end-of-pipe” approaches instead of being an ticipatory and preventive in approach.

Observations --- Waste Management

Economic Impact

The Committee observed that more than 22 human diseases are traceable to improper waste management. Wastes also have a greater potential to pollute the air and water. For instance, tailings from mining operations often spill hazardous chemicals like Cyanide into the water supply systems. Rubbish dumped into rivers also pollute the water bodies making it dangerous for humans and aquatic survival.

According to a Report released by the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) of April, 2012, Ghana's economy lost GH¢420 million each year (US$290 million, 1.6 percent of GDP) due to poor sanitation.

Sanitation health-related costs also account for nearly 19 per cent of the total health costs, while access, time and productivity losses accounted for about 7 per cent.

The desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa observed that the majority (74 per cent) of these costs come from the annual premature death of 19,000 Ghanaians from diarrheal related disease, including 5,100 children under the age of 5, nearly 90 per cent of which is directly attributable to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.


Mr George K. Arthur (NDC -- Amenfi Central) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion on the floor of the House.
Mr Speaker, when we talk about the issue of small scale mining affecting the environment, I think it is the rural Members of Parliament (MPs) who are affected the most. We are affected the most because besides being a threat to our stewardship, it also poses a threat to

the people we serve. Mr Speaker, almost every stream in our communities are either diverted or lost. The Hon Chairman was only talking about rivers; you can see that they are there. But when you go to the streams, they are completely dried up, muddy and diverted.

So,as he said, instead of the stream going to join the rivers and the rivers going to join, maybe, the lake or whatever, Mr Speaker, it is no more like that. Last week, when we discussed issues about the level of the Volta Lake going down, these are some of the factors. This is because the very streams and rivers that have to join the lake are being diverted. So, the volume of water that we need even to power the Akosombo Dam is not even got. That is the situation on the ground now.

Mr Speaker, most of the ramseyer sites are no more in existence because the small scale miners prefer the swampy areas, where, when they dig little, they meet the gravels and meet the gold. Not only that, they use school children. Most of these pupils in the schools have to vacate their schools and go to these sites to work for the galamsey operators as either water boys or crackers. Most of the teachers have complained several times.

There are communities in my constituency where they have dug the land to the community itself. So, the issue of drowning is rampant; every day you would see people drowning and we do not have to blame anybody; not the Government, the chiefs, police, military or the family members. There was an

occasion where a policeman reported to me that some policemen had trespassed to their area to do operations and they are trespassing on their territory. When he complained, they told him that, that was their “world bank”. They used to be there before he came, so they would not allow him alone to work there. Why do they say that if it is not about what they get from it?

Just recently, those who watched a programme called GTV Govern, Anas Aremeyaw Anas conducted a search on these small scale miners. He dressed like a chief who is looking for a land to buy and the chiefs were the ones selling the land to these foreigners; the people themselves are the ones selling the lands to these small scale miners.

Just recently, the operation that the Hon Chairman mentioned, where the National Security, together with the Military had to arrest excavators, the Chinese and the rest, those people who lost their machines to the Distr ict Assemblies, go and see, they have the machines again on site and they are doing worst things than what they used to do.

Mr Speaker, Dunkwa is my father's place and the Hon Chairman was talking about 100 people losing their lives. The number was more than 100 people, except that they only calculated the number based on the owners of the blocks they had. So, if 10 people went there, they will calculate, that one block took eight people; so eight times ten, gave them the number.

Mr Speaker, it was more than 100. There was a big pond that was left uncovered and there was a new pond they were working in. So, as the excavator worked, unfortunately, they opened up the first pond and because the place was muddy, the people who were in the pit could not

run as they could have if they were on a dry land. So, the water had to cover all of them. They could not even swim in the mud, so, all of them perished.

They made the effort to bring some out but after 40 people or so, the rest of them could not come out. We had to bury all of them in the pit. Unfortunately, my brother was one of them -- [Interruption.] Yes, in Dunkwa. That is what is happening there.

Mr Speaker, besides that, take farmers selling their cocoa farms to these small scale miners. Take rubber farmers selling their rubber farms to these small scale miners because of the amount of money they get instantly. They do not consider what the future could give them. They look at the amount of money -- GH¢60,000 coming to a farmer who can only see GH¢10,000 in a whole year and then sell whole cocoa farms to these miners.

These miners will destroy the farms and turn the whole land and it can not even be cultivated again.

Mr Speaker, I would be very happy if they can include in the recommendations, the chiefs and the security men who have been the factors for encouraging the people, so that they are also dealt with.

I know a community where a chief puts his stool there in the morning and every small scale miner who passes by has to pay a toll before he can get to the pit. So, if we do not take it up from there, Mr Speaker, we will fight and fight and these recommendations will never get anywhere. I will end here.

Thank you very much.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, I asked somebody to second the Motion and you got up. So, I thought you were seconding the Motion before we subject it to debate.
Mr Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery (NDC - - Lambussie-Karni) noon
Mr Speaker, I would want to point to one item the Committee mentioned. I would want to crave the indulgence of the Committee to take a very serious look at the events that are going on around the Bui Dam.
Mr Speaker, I just returned home recently and what I observed -- Tte long term effect -- I do not know how we can measure it. Galamsey is going on in all the streams along the Bui Dam. If you talk to an eyewitness around that area, you will know that, in future, the Bui Dam would be affected.
Today, some of our Colleagues are demonstrating because of dumsu, dumsu. I can tell you we are treading on a very dangerous ground with the Bui Dam and it can easily be silted.

Baba Jamal M. Ahmed -- rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
Baba Jamal mohammed Mohammed Ahmed: Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague mentioned a word; I do not understand. He said “dumsu, dumsu.”. I would want to know the meaning of “dumsu dumsu”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Which word was that?
Baba Jamal M. Ahmed: “Dumsu, dumsu. He said some people are demonstrating because of “dumsu dumsu”. I would want to understand what “dumsu dumsu” is.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Dery noon
Mr Speaker, I guess my Hon Colleague will understand that I am not a very good Akan speaking person. If I mentioned “dumsu, dumsu”, I am referring to the on and off light situation that some of our Colleagues -- So the dumsu of course is what they are -- [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, you are free to proceed.
Mr Dery noon
So apart from the exact pronunciation that he expected from me, in actual sense, I am talking about the off and on of the lights.
Mr Speaker, we are looking at a situation, that if we do not take time, the long- term effect will be that, the Bui Dam will be silted. Let us take a critical look at the mining that is going on around there.
The other thing I am looking at is that, is there any way we can regulate this if it is possible? If it is not possible, why is the security, the law enforcement agencies not doing the latter?
Mr Speaker, last week, I was with a Colleague and he told me that, even the Chinese that we deported, he could count 90 per cent of them are still back to the country and they are still operating. How did they come back and who are those behind?
We have so much respect for our chiefs and we know they should, at least, live but that is something that is going to cost the whole nation. If that should be the
only livelihood for our chiefs -- illegal mining and illegal felling of trees cannot support their cause.
Mr Speaker, I am from a community that, apart from farming, if you look at 50 per cent of our people - charcoal burning, if you talk of Sissala -- is what we live on. But we have restricted a lot of Sissala people or the community that I come from, from felling trees to burn charcoal. Why can they not put the same enforcement to be able to regulate illegal mining and to save the streams particularly the Bui Dam?
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Member, you have the floor.
Dr Alfred Sugri Tia (NDC -- Nalerigu/Gambaga) noon
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to support the Motion.
Mr Speaker, the challenges that we face as a people concerning the environment are as a result of man-made and global challenges that we are not able to deal with easily. The issues of climate change are something that we as a people cannot easily deal with alone, but we have to make an effort.
Rainfall patterns have changed and that is exactly what is affecting our ability to have enough energy from hydro. The changes in rainfall patterns are equally going to affect food security. We need to research into early maturing varieties otherwise, our farmers will continue to be confused. They sow seeds and within a short time, heavy rains come and stop and harvest becomes very poor. These are
serious challenges that confront us and it is all as a result of the way we handle issues of the environment.
Those we can control include support for some of the agencies that have been set up to help us manage the environment. The Town and Country Planning Department, for example, is supposed to move ahead of communities and demarcate where roads, farming activities and industrial activities should take place.
These days, people move ahead of this Department. By the time the Town and Country Planning Department gets to a place, they would have built houses anyhow and they would have to demolish people's houses to create roads. They would have gone to industrial areas and then when industries come in, they would have to be moved.
The Town and Country Planning Department needs our support, so that special planning countrywide will be done well. Every district and community must have special plans, such that there would be an industrial area, farming area or an area for certain activities. If it is mineral activities, we should zone out certain areas for that.
Otherwise, we would have a situation where every area will be used for whatever we want and in the end, we cannot control the effects on the environment.
Mr Speaker, the Lands Commission was set up to manage government lands and to decide where buildings should be and where other activities should take place. They zoned green belts in most of the commercial towns and big residential areas.
Sometimes, these green belts -- There are good reasons for setting them up but of late, we realise that green belts that were set-up for all these good purposes are encroached by people and they go in there and cut down trees and start buildings.

Therefore, it looks like the Lands Commission keeps changing the very purpose for which some of the lands were acquired without reference to the fact that, there is need for some of these places they had created in the beginning.

Unless the Lands Commission sits up and makes sure that for all the communities, those areas that are zoned for green belts are kept as such, so that the environment can be protected, those trees that they are cutting down to put up houses, would come back to haunt us in a way. And we have to look at this.

The District Assemblies should all have places for the Town and Country Planning Department officers because they equally need to plan. Otherwise, they will not be able to handle issues of the environment within the districts.

Mr Speaker, when I mentioned the issue of climate change, the Meteorolo- gical Services Department -- we heard that their equipment are such that they are not able to predict, precisely, rainfall patterns or anticipated rainfall patterns and therefore, it had some effect on our people or farmers.

Therefore, we need to support some of these agencies to be able to predict carefully, so that food security would be achieved, issues of indiscriminate citing of buildings would be taken care of and we would be able to move forward as a people, making use of the natural resources God has given us.

The issue of “galamsey” has always been with us but it is because of economic challenges and some other issues that have caught our attention so much now and we just hope that all the Assemblies would be up and doing to make sure that these things are reduced.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye?
Mr Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye (NDC -- Odododiodioo) 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this very important recommendation made by the Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology.
Mr Speaker, environmental manage- ment and ecological sustainability are a very important issues for discussion. This is because Ghana, as an agrarian economy, depends solely on the environment and the soil. Our foliage and fauna provide for us our sustenance and as such, anything that goes to affect and erode the possible returns on these, is a threat to our very sustainability.
Environmental degradation is assuming an alarming proportion in this country. Mr Speaker, you travel across the northern part of the Central Region, the Western Region and today, even in the Northern Region, where already, we have a problem with green belt and the devastation being caused, the mutilation of the environment due to illegal mining operations is a threat to humanity.
Mr Speaker, if you have the opportunity of travelling along the road to Takoradi and you get to the Beposo bridge and you look at the filth of activities of such people on the River Pra, you will cry. The beautiful River Pra has become almost like a chocolate drink. It is a serious threat. Communities that live across the river belt are suffering from the effects of such pollution on our rivers.
Mr Speaker, if you go to the Ashanti Region, it is the same -- everywhere. I believe, as a country, it is getting to a point where all of us, we must take this serious. Mr Speaker, ordinary environ- mental pollution has led to the stage where Ghana, as a country, was rated among the last ten in environmental management. This was what drove the President to instruct us to move on with the National Sanitation Day.
Mr Speaker, it is achieving its impact and it behoves all of us as a nation to take it as only an awakening, a conscious redirecting of our psyche, behaviour, attitudes and character towards environmental management and hygiene. Mr Speaker, the way and manner people wantonly throw things round, is depressing. And I am happy the presenter of the Report, the Chairman of the Committee is from the Volta Region.
This is to inform him that the next National Sanitation Day, even though it is going to go around the whole country, the focus would be on the Volta Region and I hope to see him in his constituency aggressively taking part in the National Sanitation Day.
Mr Speaker, it is incumbent upon us as Members of Parliament to collaborate effectively with the District Assemblies to make sure -- This is because some of these activities are as a result of political patronage. This is because the people who engage in these activities think that they can hide under the shelter and in the bosom of politicians to go ahead. But the threat thereof is for all of us.
I have seen places in the Ashanti Region where a political figure head is championing the activities of such illegal miners, wantonly dissipating the environment round Bosomtwe and going
to Atwima-Mponua. This is a serious threat to our country and I think it is time we Members of Parliament collaborated with the Assemblies to make sure we stem the activities of environmental degradation. I see those people as the saboteurs of our economy.
Mr Speaker, I will also suggest that we look at possibly making environmental science studies as a compulsory subject even at the primary school level, so that every child, from that level -- class one, would begin to appreciate what environmental management and sus- tainability are, so that they would grow with them. As we say, “teach your child the way it should go and when it grows, it would not depart from it”.
With these few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the discussion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Woyome and after that, Hon Yieleh Chireh.
Mr Kobena Mensah Woyome (NDC -- South Tongu) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, listening to the Hon Member who moved the Motion and subsequent contributors, we would appreciate that our chiefs need to be well informed on this by way of helping to build their capacity. But what we have heard so far -- the destruction of the environment and then water resources all over, cut across the entire nation.
We believe strongly that there is need to involve the chiefs and the various congregation of chiefs in the various Houses of Chiefs through regional level to the national level to appreciate the need for them to support the process in maintaining our environment. Else, we lose it. Throughout the next generation, we might not be able to continue or survive as a people in this country.
Mr Kobena Mensah Woyome (NDC -- South Tongu) 12:20 p.m.
Currently, before my Committee, there is the call on us to legislate and to give this chiefs some powers to be able to summon people who are involved in such activities within their areas of jurisdiction to appear before them and also try to probably mitigate some of these negative practices.
I would want to urge that in addition to the various agencies that are supposed to be helping in educating and ensuring that the laws are enforced and people who are found culpable in such negative practices, are brought to book.
These chiefs need to be educated, given all the resources that are required and also help in the process. And those who are involved should also be given some kind of admonishment by their own, maybe, the various regional houses of chiefs, through the kind of education that they would be receiving, not to be part of such activities because at the end of the day, it is all of us and of course, their own subjects who suffer.
When one of the contributors indicated that some of them had to even sit and collect tolls to have access to some of these lands and then continue to mine, destroying cocoa farms, water bodies, et cetera.
I do not know whether those chiefs appreciate what they are doing to their own people and also what they are doing to themselves. So, there is the need to also begin looking at that area while the various institutions that are mandated by law to also ensure that the laws are enforced as well as appreciate the need for them to probably have, to a certain degree, some control over the economic activities that are taking place in their areas of jurisdiction.
When we bring all these together, we should be able to bring this to some kind

of minimum or probably, eradicate it totally, so that we can protect the environment for all of us.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member for Wa West and then I will put the Question.
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, when I took the Report of this Committee, I was impressed by the kind of work they had done. I did not even go to the observation side because I have seen r iver bodies disappearing. I have seen water bodies getting lost completely. You would go to the mining areas where galamsey is being practised and it is a devastation. I went to Amansie West only last year and you would weep for this country.
What I was interested in were their recommendations and I have a few things to say about them. Recommendation (iii) under Illegal Mining, the Committee recommended that and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:
“The Report of the Presidential Task Force should be presented to Parliament to enable the House assist in the recommendations of the report.”
I think that it is important that as Members of Parliament, we should be given copies of this Report because that task force did a lot of work and made a lot of recommendations. If it is given to the House and we debate it, we would be further creating the awareness that is necessary for issues of climate change, illegal mining and waste management. If you go to recommendation (vi) under illegal mining, they say that:
“Pursuant to sections 15 and 24 of the Water Resources Commission Act, 1996 (Act 522), the Committee recommends that the Water
Resource Commission should as a matter of urgency, cause the immediate prosecution of indivi- duals or companies polluting the water bodies.”
Now, this would call for us to look at that provision. Are they sanctions and who would take the action? These days, if you say that the police has seen something being done and you expect them to arrest the person, they would say they need a member of the community to come and make the report to them and they would ask that person to make a statement.
But that portion of the law must be strictly enforced by us because the pollution of water bodies is a terrible situation, not only for the consumption of animals but even some human beings who drink from these places.
So, if companies that need people to patronise whatever they are doing, want to kill the same people by using pollutants in the water bodies, then they need to be certainly dealt with.
Mr Speaker, the other recommendation they made, which is under Climate Change, starting with (iii) states and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“The Committee again recommends that effort at integrating climate change into national development plans should not be rhetoric but must be given serious attention.”
Now, we have the Millennium Development Goals which ended this year. So, we are all now talking about another set of goals -- Sustainable Development Goals. You cannot do sustainable development if you do not take into account the climate change issues. That is why this recommendation
from the Committee has to be properly understood and appropriate directives given to the National Development Planning Commission, which should incorporate this in all the planning processes from district to national levels.
Mr Speaker, the issues that this Committee identified and have shown with pictures are clear. We need to do something now and it is no longer good to just say that the galamsey people are destroying the environment, water bodies are being polluted. It is for us, if we want to save the next generation, to initiate actions, look at the existing laws with the changes.
I think that some of the recommen- dations that they are making require us to also begin looking at new laws to deal with the situation. Where it is possible for companies to reclaim the lands that have been destroyed, that would be done.
I did not see any of the recommendations that have been made but if we even look at road construction and the other things that we do, we would see livelihood of peasant farmers taken away because huge chunks of stone and sand have been winned from there.
I think that these are things that we should all look at now. This is an important Report and I recommend that all the things that they have said, Mr Speaker should direct our various agencies as recommended to initiate action and report to us in a year's time. A year may be too long but this is what I recommend.
Thank you very much for the opportunity, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy SpeakeYes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Report is very interesting for us as Ghanaians.
Three things have been recommended under Waste Management and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“The Committee recommends that as a matter of priority and urgency, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly should adapt alternative ways of disposing human excreta and stop discharging them directly into the sea.”
This is a matter which most Ghanaians think should be done as a matter of urgency. If you drive along that side of the city, you cannot just imagine and Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) continues to do that when various institutions, including the courts have given directives that they should stop. This is a very serious recommendation and the Ministry should take it on board.
Mr Speaker, the second recommenda- tion relates to the attitudes and habits some Ghanaians have adopted by the indiscriminate disposal of waste. Now, if we do not help ourselves, how can the authorities help us?
We dispose waste indiscriminately, creating environmental hazards and this is one of the recommendations I take very serious. I think we, as Ghanaians, need to take them serious and the authorities should also make the environment easier for us to dispose of our waste.
Thirdly, it is a directive to the city engineer to consider the issue of open drain, which gives free access to people to dump the waste. I would believe this is not only to city engineers but to even the district engineers. You go to a district capital and the drains that are constructed are open and people are tempted to dump things into them and we should be
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Members, I wish to direct that this Report, together with contributions from Hon Members be made available to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, specifically those areas that have been mentioned --
The Assemblies and I know that we are referring to the local government but specifically, those areas or those Assemblies mentioned, should be made to have copies, including the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and all the Metropolitan Assemblies.
I so direct.
Hon Members --
Yes, Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
Mr H. Iddrisu 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, just to indulge you if you could further extend your directive, that it is not just sufficient submitting the Report to them but they should appraise you and this House of progress of action taken on the recommendations.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Thank you very much.
I believe that if they should give this House a report within six months, it should be reasonable enough.
I so direct.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the House do adjourn to tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Members, it has been moved and seconded, that this House stands adjourned to 10.00 o'clock --
Mr H. Iddrisu -- On a point of order
-- 12:30 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Are you on a point of order?
Mr H. Iddrisu 12:30 p.m.
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
The haste in which my Hon Colleague moved to second the Motion only gives me the impression that he wants to partake
Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think I would request that you rule my Hon Colleague out of order. How did he measure my appetite -- my smartness to second the Motion?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, he is out of order.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded and this House stands adjourned till tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:30 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.35 p.m. till Thursday, 19th February, 2015 at 10.00 a.m.