Debates of 20 Jun 2017

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 12:20 p.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 12:20 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, Correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 19th June, 2017.
Page 1…10
Mr Edward Kaale-ewola Dery -- rose
-- 12:20 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr E. K. Dery 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, page 8, number 38, I was present yesterday, and to confirm my presence, I recall that my good Friend, the Hon Majority Leader tried to draw you into the debate, but you were able to resist it. So, I was present in the House. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Your selective reference is rather unnecessary.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, quite apart from it being unnecessary, I heard aspects of what he said that something that I did was resisted by the Clerks-at-the-Table. I do not know what I did that was resisted, if he could explain further, because this is a House of records.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 14th June, 2017.]
  • Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Item numbered 3 on the Order Paper, Hon Majority Leader?
    If the Hon Minister is not here, shall we stand it down?
    The Hon Minister is conspicuously absent, so, we would proceed to Statements and see how the day goes.
    Hon Members, item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Statements.
    There is a Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Atwima- Nwabiagya South on basic educational structures.
    STATEMENTS 12:20 p.m.

    Mr Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere (NPP-- Atwima-Nwabiagya South) 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make this Statement.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to bring to the attention of this House to a yet unresolved phenomenon that has the propensity to cause national disaster. It has to do with the increasing dilapidated educational structures, especially that of basic schools in our country. This matter has not received the desired attention from past administrations and its increasing danger(s) is what has compelled me to raise it.
    Mr Speaker, this year alone, there has been series of structural collapses in many basic schools. On the 31st day of January at Breman Gyambra Methodist Primary School in the Odoben Brakwa District in the Central Region, the collapse of a school structure resulted in eight deaths.
    Similarly, at Nkurankuran in the Eastern Region, about five pupils also sustained various degrees of injuries due to the collapse of a school building.
    The good fortune for us, as a country that has prevented us from recording mass deaths from such incidents is that, many of such buildings crumble during the time when the pupils and students are not in school. That is, during close of the day's work or during holidays. For how long can we continue to count on luck?
    Mr Speaker, basic schools serve as the foundation for our education. The quality of basic schools is what propels students into future radiance. How can we produce another generation of astute academicians, renowned medical experts, revered lawyers and selfless leaders when the very foundation that is supposed to prepare and nurture them to climb the academic ladder are in ruins?
    It is sad to observe that many of our basic schools have become death traps for teachers and students, rather than the centre for knowledge acquisition that they should be.
    During a visit to Amadum Adankwame in my constituency, I was struck by what I saw.
    The basic school in this farming community, since its construction in 1933, had not seen any major renovation or repair works and its roof ripped off after a torrential rainfall on the 29th March, 2017.
    In spite of the danger that the facility poses to human life, children below the age of five do travel for almost three kilometres from nearby communities like Sawua and Wuramumu to access education in this dangerous facility.
    Mr Speaker, the situation at Nerebehi, also in my constituency, is not different. The level of dilapidation of the basic school block which was constructed in the 1950s, has reached a frightening degree. At Kontomire basic school, pupils in kindergarten and class four (4) have to use the bare floor as their tables and chairs because there are no furniture to be used by the school children.
    During a stopover at Amanchia Basic School, I noticed that the roof of the school had ripped off with the entire structure angled in such a manner as if it was beckoning the impact of any wind to yield to the force of nature.
    There are countless examples of school structures nationwide that are over seventy (70) years which have not received any proper renovation ever since their construction. There are communities that have schools that are in far worse conditions than what I have presented.
    The likes of Boinso Presbyterian Primary and Junior High School in Aowin in the Western Region, Takorase Primary in Denkyembour and Kpodzi EP Primary in Kpando and other parts of the Volta Region.
    In many parts of northern Ghana, Upper East and Upper West, the bad state of many school structures present a sorry picture to us, as cracks on walls become veritable danger to the pupils and teachers. Simply put, they are disaster waiting to struck.
    Mr Speaker, we are in the rainy season and I shudder to think what may happen if we do not attend to the collapsing walls and the rusty corrugated and badly
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member, for this Statement so ably made.
    Dr Augustine Tawiah (NDC -- Bia West) 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I associate myself with this important Statement related to basic education in our country, the issue of the physical infrastructure, which in some areas, is nothing to write home about.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, the Ministry of Education and its many agencies have done so well by trying to get our children from buildings that are not of the nature of what we call “schools”, either under a tree or in some other context. But increasingly, we have more children still in those situations as a result of massive population growth, and also the shift in our population to areas where it was not anticipated that children would need schools at that time.
    Mr Speaker, the Sustainable Develop- ment Goals (SDGs) pillar four, indicates that all nations should ensure inclusive and equitable quality education. When we look at that against what we see, we have some challenges that we would need to address.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, what is happening in Bia West, my constituency in the Western Region is that, we have a lot of rural to rural migration from different parts of Ghana, towards the cocoa farms. When they settle in the area, they initiate their own schools, so within a short time, a school is initiated, either as a private school or as a school started by a faith based organisation. The buildings that they erect to house these schools are just like chicken coops.
    Mr Speaker, it is not something sanctioned by the District Assembly, but they are in a hurry to give an opportunity to these children to get a school. So, what happens in the course of time is that, these buildings do not stand the test of time because they were not planned and built well. The numbers grow, and they are compelled to stay in these buildings.
    Mr Speaker, what has happened, as my fellow Hon Member indicated, is that, we have some dangerous buildings in some parts of the country, and it is unfortunate that when we talk about quality, we do not include these buildings. Evidently, the buildings are also critical. If we do not have a safe building, we may not have a good place to have the whole educational experience.
    Mr Speaker, as much as has been done by the nation, it is still a challenge, and I associate myself with the saying that we need a universal inspection of all the schools in this country. At a minimum, in each District Assembly, we have a works' engineer. So, if the District Director of Education is tasked with the works' engineer in each district, at a minimum, they should be able to see whether the building is safe for the children.
    Mr Speaker, also, Hon Members of the House and the District Assemblies should take quick action in terms of mobilising everybody to volunteer and ensure that new buildings are quickly built for these children, who are the future leaders of our country.
    Mr Speaker, a much bigger issue looms. A lot of our schools in this country are faith-based institutions. We have the Catholic Church, the Ahmadiyya and all the religious groups here. When we see
    the cathedrals and the mosques that are built next to the school, it is almost obscene to see such a nice building next to a school which is dilapidated.
    Mr Speaker, So, it may require some very concerted effort on the part of Government, but also on the part of faith- based organisations, so that they express their own collective effort to help the country by helping with these buildings.
    Otherwise, we may have some nice buildings next to the schools, but the schools could be a dangerous spot, and in fact, the children do not do so well, such that we wonder whether in future any of them could progress to become a pastor or a minister of any of these bodies or become middle income people who could even contribute to those faith-based organisations.
    Mr Speaker, I therefore, believe that some immediate action should be taken because this is at the doorstep of merely every district in our country.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member.
    Mr George N. K. Andah (NPP -- Awutu-Senya West) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Statement made by my Hon Colleague. Mr Speaker, indeed, the situation that our Hon Colleague brings to bare in the House is a serious one.
    With the rains that have set in, in my constituency, a number of these basic schools have had their roofs ripped off and the students are studying in very uncomfortable conditions.
    Alhaji Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo (NDC -- Wa Central) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Member who made the Statement has hit the nail exactly where it should be. The sorry picture he has painted and the lamentation is across board. You can find this kind of situation in most constituencies. Even though in the past, a lot of efforts have gone into making sure such schools are eliminated from our educational system, the challenge still remains.
    The problem is that, it appears we need to have a comprehensive policy of removing these kinds of classrooms and school blocks from our system. This is because, the definition of a “child” -- how he or she grows into becoming a useful adult stems from the pictures he sees about himself -- the classroom, the uniform he wears, the kind of food they eat, the parents they have, et cetera.
    All of them have a holistic application how he perceives himself and society. So, if there is a school block that is not
    properly fit to be one that is for studies, it becomes a problem.
    The learning situation requires that it is not just the school, but also the surroundings. Mr Speaker, because more and more of our economy is becoming knowledge-based, the system we are running is becoming very educative and requires understanding and clarity.
    That means that in all situations where a child is growing, he needs to be put in a picture where we know that one day, this child would see himself to be worthy of doing the kinds of things that we expect the child to grow up to do.
    So, I support the Hon Member who made the Statement and in this particular instance, I would want to call on the Hon Minister for Education who is here to pay particular attention to what we are saying
    -- 12:40 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Minister for Education, your Hon Colleague is drawing your attention to --
    Alhaji Pelpuo 12:40 p.m.
    In this particular instance, the very sorry picture the Hon Member has painted requires an immediate action. In fact, if he has decided to come to Parliament to make a Statement about it, it is because it is very serious.
    So, I would want to call on the Ministry of Education to do whatever they can to address this challenge because, he calls it a waiting disaster, and it should not happen before we start to lament and say all the things that we would say about a poor child who did not have enough care and was killed because a roof fell on him or her.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to call on the Hon Minister to take immediate action about it.
    Thank you so much.
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP -- Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Hon Member who made the Statement and also say that it is something that needs national attention.
    Mr Speaker, first of all, I totally agree that various constituencies have various stories to tell when it comes to the subject matter as presented by the Hon Member who made the Statement.
    It would not be out of place if we attempt to have an audit in terms of the situation we have at hand. Cursorily, we can all cite a number of school buildings and structures in our various consti- tuencies that are in that state, but we need proper data to be able to plan.
    I have every confidence in the current Hon Minister for Education. Mr Speaker, not to remind ourselves, but not too long ago, a pupil died as a result of a situation like that. The Hon Minister moved in, intervened appropriately and the situation was dealt with. We can go beyond that. That was just one out of a number of situations.
    I have heard the call to various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). That is important because we cannot reinvent the wheel. On many occasions, when these school buildings are put up, we have the engineers and the technocrats who go out there and inspect them. So, one can say that we are doing a good job.
    After all the good reports that are done, the issue of monitoring comes in their wake. But in our drive to put up new structures, we need to look at the existing ones, what is being done to protect them, what is being done to ensure that they do not get into a very bad state?
    Mr Speaker, I believe that if we dovetail our attentions properly, we may have to reduce the number of new structures that are being built and then probably save the nation some money and ensure that the existing ones are protected, while we even seek to build new structures.
    Mr Speaker, contractors would also have to be considered. What kind of structures are put out for our pupils to sit in and study? The kind of jobs done by our contractors have to be critically examined. For us to be able to move forward, we have to critically examine these contractors and what they do.
    The question of educational structures deficit cannot be gainsaid, but in our drive to build new structures to complement the numbers that we need, we need to look at the existing ones and ensure that they do not become death traps for our pupils.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful for your kindness.
    Mr Samuel Nartey George (NDC -- Ningo-Prampram) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Statement that has been made by the Hon Member is very telling and cuts across almost all constituencies and I wish to associate myself fully with it.
    M r S p e a k e r , o n 3 0
    th January, 2017, there was a rainstorm in Accra and it ripped off nine schools in my constituency. We are thankful to God that no child was hurt, but extensive damage was caused to the school buildings.
    It is my hope that going forward, the Ministry would continue to make efforts to improve the works that have been done by successive Governments to improve the quality of infrastructure that we have when we speak about basic education.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Minister for Health?
    Minister for Health (Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu) (MP) 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to contribute by saying one or two things about the infrastructure situation, and my Hon Colleague has picked one of them to talk about.
    Mr Speaker, as we go round several communities of our country, you would definitely see a lot more of these types of structures that our Hon Colleague has talked about. Both sides of the political divide have done so much by trying to see how best we can upgrade, maintain and put up facilities that would help teaching and learning for our own children, nephews and nieces in our communities.
    Mr Speaker, but it does not look like what we have done so far is enough, and I wonder how we contract and put up these facilities. I say so because normal homes that we call Atakpame dan in the villages were built with mud and water, without cement. But some of them have lasted up till today; fifty years, one hundred years, thereabouts.
    Meanwhile, the classrooms that we invest in to put up with concrete blocks and all technologies, consultants and supervisors on them do not last that long. As we talk about how we can resolve this particular issue that our Hon Colleague has brought up, we all should do some introspection on ourselves to see whether we are getting value for money for the projects that we are putting up for teaching and learning.
    I believe if we are able to put up classrooms and facilities that would last very long, we may be able to get to some stage where we would have cleared all deficits and their maintenance would become a little more efficient.
    Mr Speaker, I believe this should sound as advice to all of us, especially those of us who may be handling certain projects to see to it that we get very good value for money, so that we would have longer lasting classrooms to take us away from the type of challenges we are confronted with all the time.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    The last contribution from the Minority side of the House.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Derek Assifo Ohene Bekoe (NDC --Upper West Akim) 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the maker of the Statement for bringing this issue to the House at a time that it needs to be tackled.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Order!
    Mr Bekoe 12:50 p.m.
    The buildings that get collapsed, most often are these old buildings of about forty, fifty, sixty years old. They are in the rural communities, that is, the rural constituencies and districts, that we find most of these problems.
    Normally, we depend on the District Assemblies to get these structures rehabilitated when there is the need. But unfortunately, we all know the pattern of inflow of funds to the Assemblies and this makes them handicapped when the need arises.
    At times, we have to depend on our Hon Members of Parliament to use their peanut common funds to rehabilitate these structures. But when they do not have the money, the problems become serious issues in the various districts, especially around this time, when most schools would get their roofs ripped off.
    Even in some schools, the moment the clouds start gathering, the teachers would have to end classes for the children to go home. This is because they cannot risk the lives of the children to stay in such structures.
    I would like to recommend to the Hon Minister for Education to look at these structures at this very time. We cannot do all of them; we know previous
    Governments have done a lot in trying to eliminate these ‘Schools under Trees' but there are still a lot of them to be tackled.
    What needs to be done as a contingency measure, now that we are getting into this period, is to make available some emergency funding to go and re-roof some of these schools when the need arises. As my Hon Colleague said, if a constituency can get about nine of its schools ripped off at a time and the Assembly would not have money to do them, then what would be the state of these children? Do we continue to have our children sent home because the rains are coming?
    Mr Speaker, this thing is going to happen, especially in this rainy season when most school buildings are likely to be ripped off, and children would be sent home.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Order!
    The background sound is a bit too much.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Bekoe 12:50 p.m.
    The education that they are entitled to in order to let them have the chance to study; it is their right.
    But so far, the problem that we face does not look like a problem that can be solved within a year. It is a massive problem in the district, and the most serious aspect is that Assemblies would not have money at the time that they are needed.
    The Hon Minister would have to look at some funding; an emergency fund, if that should stay in Accra or the regions
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Minister for Education?
    Minister for Education (Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh) (MP) 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry is well aware of the deplorable state of a number of our school buildings across the country.
    Mr Speaker, in the last Budget presented for 2017, it was stated that we have identified eight thousand, two hundred and sixty-eight (8,268) schools that need intervention in one way or the other urgently.
    Mr Speaker, Government is seeking funds to have a serious rehabilitation and renovation of these school structures. Mr Speaker, it is everywhere. Mr Speaker, unfortunately, my first assignment as the Hon Minister for Education was to attend to a collapsed school building in the Central Region.
    Very deplorable!
    Mr Speaker, it is also true that most of these deplorable buildings were not built by Government. They were built by philanthropists, faith-based organisations, and others and they were just donated to Government after operating in them for about a year or two. We have done a comprehensive review of all these structures and we need a massive injection of funds to be able to attempt this.
    Mr Speaker, we are just about coming out with a tender to rehabilitate the serious
    ones like what my Hon Colleague just said. There are about twenty of them and they are all over the country.
    Mr Speaker, it is a sitting time bomb that we have to address and advert our minds to. So, the Government, I know for a fact, is taking urgent steps to secure funding and it is going to cost us in the region of over US$200 million to be able to fix all these structures.
    It is a problem that I have acknow- ledged and I have spoken to our Hon Colleagues about how we can intervene in this specific circumstance.
    Mr Speaker, it is not only him, I have about eight Hon Members of Parliament who have come to my office on a very similar note and sometimes, it is heart- breaking when you cannot do anything immediately for them.
    So, when we passed the last GETFund Formula, what we did was to indicate and put in the Formula emergency projects. We want to attend to these frankly -- the emergency projects are what we can do immediately when something like that happens.
    The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) is also colla- borating with us and in some of the schools that have their roofs ripped off, NADMO has intervened by providing substances such as roofing sheets, and other things to help these schools come back to full use.
    Mr Speaker, if you remember, for the past few years, the Mayor of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) had a very good programme in the Jubilee schools. All over the country, schools are in really deplorable states and there is the need for us to look at them and address the issue holistically.
    Mr Speaker, I can only say that under my watch, we would seek and seriously look for funds to make sure that we can tackle most of these schools. We have started with the GETFund Formula that was just approved last week and we would start rehabilitating some of these structures as and when funds are made available.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 1 a.m.
    Hon former Mayor, you might want to make a comment before the Leaders sum up. I would come to Leadership in a moment.
    Hon former Mayor?
    Dr Alfred O. Vanderpuije (NDC -- Ablekuma South) 1 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute to the Statement on the floor.
    The state of our primary schools in this country, calls for leadership attention. I say this because when I became a Mayor in 2009, on my first visit to schools on ‘My First Day at School', I realised that schools that our children attended presently were the very last schools that were constructed for us when we entered middle school.
    Throughout Korle-Gonno, Mamprobi, Osu, Adabraka and the metropolis of Accra, the state of our school infra- structure is very bad. We need to recall also that at that time we had, coupled with the infrastructure problem, the shift system.
    The vast population increase in our urban sectors has also added to the problem. At the time we visited the classrooms, there were over 100 pupils
    sometimes in one classroom with one teacher. That was a bad situation.
    On my first visit, I wept and had to shy away from the cameras, come out and condition myself to go back to talk to the students. When it rained, teachers had to shift desks and books in the classrooms while educating our children.
    That was why on that fateful day, when I finished my visit to the schools, I run to the Castle to meet with the late former President, Prof. Mills. I told him that with the coming school year, we would not start school in Accra until we ended the shift system.
    Together, we committed to con- structing 400 infrastructure to end the shift system. We then started the projects the Hon Minister mentioned -- the Millennium City Schools.
    Mr Speaker, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) did not have the money but came up with good construction designs. The AMA went to the business community, committed to passing the Functional Organisational Assessment Tool (FOAT) Assessment for Local Government and dedicated all those funds to constructing the Millennium City Schools. At the time when I was leaving office, we had constructed 122 Millennium City Schools in Accra. [Hear! Hear!] There were not more than 40 students in a class.
    The report today shows that the pupils in those buildings are doing well academically. I believe that every child in this country deserves to attend school in a Millennium City School. A three-storey 18 classroom block with a science laboratory, computer laboratory and a library are deserving of our children.
    Mr James K. Avedzi (NDC -- Ketu North) 1 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement made by my Hon Colleague from the other side of the aisle. I do so because, the Hon Member called on Government to take the infrastructure at the basic level seriously. It is very important because it affects the lives, growth and development of our children. Our children are the future leaders and they would take over from where we would leave it.
    Mr Speaker, the Statement creates the impression that Governments over the years, had done nothing about the situation. Under the prevoius Govern- ments, especially the immediate past one, a lot of efforts were made to remove these “schools under trees”.
    If we go to the rural communities, in the past, even though we are not old, most of us attended school in structures that were built by the community and not by the Government. It is through communal labour that the communities built structures and they were the ones in which we attended school.
    However, in the recent past, most of these structures have become weak and for that matter, Government had to take over and reconstruct them.
    As we talk about taking care of these structures to ensure that we have good infrastructure for our children, let us not also forget the issue relating to provision of teachers who would then use those structures to teach our children.
    Government can provide the infra- structure as said by the Hon Minister for Education. He said Government is looking for funding of over US$200 million to take care of this challenge.
    If Government is able to provide the funding to put up this infrastructure, we should not also lose sight of the provision of teachers who would then use these structures to teach our children.
    Mr Speaker, if we build these structures and have only one teacher or no teacher in these structures, then our children's future would not be good. So, the issue, again, is about ensuring that more teachers are trained.
    Under the previous Administration, there was a policy of ensuring that more teachers were trained. The Hon Minister for Education should consider and assess that policy to see if something could be done about it. This is to ensure that the policy is sustained to train more teachers, so that they could also use the structures that we would provide for the schools.
    We should also think about teaching and learning materials. When we provide the structures and get the teachers, we should also provide teaching and learning materials, so that holistically, our children would have better education and become good citizens and assets who could lead the country in future.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Statement made by my Hon Colleague.
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can only lend my voice in support of the Statement made by the Hon Member for Atwima- Nwabiagya South.
    The emphasis of the Hon Member's Statement is on the proper maintenance of the school structures. Many of them, he informed us, were those built in the colonial days or the immediate period after independence.
    Mr Speaker, as the Hon Deputy Minority Leader indicated, many of such structures were built by communal effort and some were donated to communities by philanthropists.
    Very little supervision went into the construction of those structures and because people felt they could use them, nobody questioned the technology that was employed in the construction process.
    Mr Speaker, today, with population increase and the pressure on the facilities, a lot of degradation has gone on, especially given the fact that these schools are not maintained and serviced regularly. So, many of them have fallen apart and decay has set in. This has not helped in any manner by the emerging churches that populate and physically impact on these structures. So, today, we have leaking roofs, rusty roofs, walls that are cracking, lizards and sometimes, rats running through them.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that we have a policy on this. The environment, as we have been told, has a huge impact on the outcome from the pupils.
    Mr Speaker, what the Hon Member who made the Statement alluded to is not the only outcome but the physical threat -- the danger that it poses to the lives of the children. Fortunately as he said, many of the collapses that have been witnessed happened when schools had closed for the day or during long vacations when the pupils were not in the classrooms.
    We have avoided tragedy based purely on luck and the Hon Member asked how long we could go on in this enterprise.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Education has told us that they have identified thus far, about 8,000 of such structures; that is informative. But I believe that, as suggested by one of our Hon Colleagues from the other side of the aisle, we should employ the district education directors and the district engineers to work together to have a real census on the number of structures that suffer such degradation and which would require immediate attention.
    Mr Speaker, when a policy was carved for schools under trees -- we should not mix the two. The schools under trees are a different breed from these ones that are not counted as schools under trees, but the structures are dilapidated. We should make a distinction because, the two are not the same.
    Mr Speaker, I believe it is important for the Hon Minister for Education to engage the district education directors and the district engineers to produce a proper census for his outfit to really attack the phenomenon, which is not good for the development of education in the country.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader.
    Hon Members, we would move back to item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Questions.
    Hon Minister for Education, you may please take the chair.
    Question marked 13 which stands in the name of Hon Mahama Ayariga.
    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 1:10 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF EDUCATION 1:10 a.m.

    Minister for Education (Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh) (MP) 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009 (Act 793) mandates all Ministries, Departments and Agencies by law to obtain Parliamentary approval for all fees and charges before implemen- tation.
    The Ministry is committed to the provisions of this law and has notified all its Departments and Agencies that levy fees and charges to comply with the
    provision of the Act from this year onwards.
    The Ministry has received some of these proposed fees and charges. We would compile and submit them to the Ministry of Finance for onward transmission to Parliament for approval.
    Mr Ayariga 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, is it the case that if by next academic year, we do not have parliamentary approved fees for our public universities and for senior high schools which may take some forms of fees or other, that we can take action to restrain the universities from taking the money from students?
    Dr Prempeh 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my duty is to inform the secondary and tertiary institutions and all departments and agencies which are under my Ministry to comply with the law, and if they fail to do so, any individual in this country could take action against them.
    Mr Ayariga 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Education in his Answer indicated that he would compile and submit to the Ministry of Finance.
    I would want to know the assurance he would give that he would ensure that the Hon Minister for Finance would bring the proposed fees to this House, so that his job does not just end at the compilation and submission to the Hon Minister for Finance. We would want it in this House for approval.
    Dr Prempeh 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Minister for Finance is competent to do his job and I am sure he would oblige and submit it to this House.
    Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we know that there are fixed fees for all the senior high schools.
    I would want to know from the Hon Minister for Education whether they have considered a flat fee for all the tertiary and university institutions or it would be university specific.
    Dr Prempeh 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not understand my Hon Colleague's question -- if he could be clearer.
    Mr Nortsu-Kotoe 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, what I said was that, we know that in senior high schools, there are agreed fees that are paid. So, if one goes to Accra Academy or Achimota Senior High School, the fees are almost the same. I talked about the public universities where they are to submit their fees for approval.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know if the Ministry has considered a flat fee for all of them or the fees would be university specific.
    Dr Prempeh 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there are many more courses run by the different universities than the senior high schools, and the aim of bringing all the universities through the National Council for Tertiary Education, which is their mandated supervising agent, is to collaborate and coordinate, so that there would be a set of rationale behind charging university fees.
    Mr Speaker, I believe once they have all been compiled, that would not be the end of the work. The Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament sits with such committees or institutions and go through the rationale for any fee which is proposed -- and I said that if it differs, that would be the appropriate forum for the reconciliation to be done.
    Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know if the Hon Minister for Education could give us the
    specific timeline when the compilation would be completed and submitted to the Hon Minister for Finance.
    Dr Prempeh 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the timeline should have been last year when the academic year began.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to blame anybody. I am compiling them, and I promise that — I have got certain institutions whose fees are available. Once I finish, I would submit it to the Hon Minister for Finance. But I have indicated to the Agencies that if they do not do it, individuals would take action against them. I have indicated in my letter to them.
    Mr Speaker, we all know that Parliament is rising in the first week of August and I hope that by that time, we can submit it and it would be appropriate to the House. But that is the matter of the Ministry of Finance to bring and so, we would coordinate.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Parliament, in a few weeks, may go on recess and schools will reopen in August. I just want to find out from the Hon Minister how soon he is working to get the Ministry of Finance to bring the fees and charges for approval before the next academic year? Other than that, they would go ahead and charge the illegitimate fees.
    So, how soon does he intend to work out to make sure that this is completed before the next academic year?
    Dr Prempeh 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous) Act (2009) is not specific to the Ministry of Education. It is for all Public Institutions, and I believe the Ministry of Finance is collating and
    Mr James Klutse Avedzi 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister for Education to confirm to the House if the schools are now charging fees and charges which are not approved by this House under the Act.
    Dr Prempeh 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want a clarification. Does the Hon Member mean that secondary schools all the years, have been charging illegally?
    Mr Avedzi 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am limiting my question to the fees that the public universities (the tertiary institutions) are charging now. Can he confirm to the House that those fees have not been approved by this House?
    Dr Prempeh 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have in my hands, the Fees and Charges (Miscella- neous) Act (2009), and going through, I found only Wa Polytechnic. So, the tertiary institutions, similar to the secondary schools have been acting more in breach of the law than in following it. That is why my letter to them was very clear.
    And I am sure listening to some members of the Education Committee of Parliament, if they do not comply, they are willing and ready and they are standing by to draw them to Parliament to come and answer questions when called.
    Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister whether he is prepared to
    bring to book all heads of department who are violating the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous) Act (2009), because we are aware that some schools are over charging what we have in the fees and charges.
    Dr Prempeh 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I understood my Hon Colleague clearly, the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous) Act (2009) does not prescribe fees and charges. Parliament approves submitted fees and charges. So, I do not know that somebody is charging over what Parliament has approved. I would act appropriately if I get that evidence.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 a.m.
    Any question from the Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, no question.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 a.m.
    Hon Members — Ques- tion numbered 25.
    Funding from the United Kingdom's Department for International
    Development (DFID)
    Mr Philip Basoah asked the Hon Minister for Education whether funding from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) in support of the education sector has ceased or the sector still benefits from the funding.
    Dr Prempeh 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Education still benefits from funding from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID).
    Mr Basoah 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is very strange, in that, my check at the district and some adjourning districts reveals that for the past six years, the Government of Ghana (GoG) Funds which are termed as quarterly grants and the DFID had ceased coming. So, I do not know whether it is
    through his able leadership that he has made it possible now. This is because, for the past six years, the fund has not been coming.
    Dr Prempeh 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the DFID had been supporting the Government of Ghana with different programmes, projects and funding in different areas. So, if there is a specific programme or project that the Hon Member is well aware of that funding has ceased, he should make me aware.
    Mr Speaker, in my records, there are three programmes that are still being funded 1:20 a.m.
    the Transforming Teacher Education, Girls Participatory Approach and the Complimentary Basic Education. They are all being funded. So, I wonder what specific programme or project that has ceased for the past six years. I could get back to the House on that if I am informed.
    Mr Basoah 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my check from the District Assembly revealed that it was the fund which they were using in buying fuel and doing the maintenance of their vehicles, and also helping the circuit supervisors to undertake the monitoring exercise. According to them, because the funds had ceased coming, they do not get funds to undertake such activities. That is the cause of my worry and the purpose for asking that Question.
    Dr Prempeh 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am still hazy in my thought about what the Hon Member is alluding to? What projects were they saying that, part probably is being used for, so that we can all talk about it? If he informs me of that project or programme, I would be in better position to answer.
    Mr Basoah 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker —
    Mr Speaker 1:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, I thought you have exhausted your lots.
    Mr Basoah 1:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is left with one.
    Mr Edward Abambire Bawa 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we look at the DFID programme, one of their main objectives is to bridge the gap in terms of progress between the south and the poorer north. In doing that, one of the areas they looked at was prioritising education and that was why I believe the Hon Member asked that Question.
    My specific question to the Hon
    Minister is 1:30 p.m.
    in the three northern regions, does he know the number of districts that are currently benefiting from this DFID support?
    Dr Prempeh 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who just asked the question may have to come appropriately, so that I would give him an answer.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, you may make yourself clear.
    Mr Bawa 1:30 p.m.
    I thank you very much. My question was looking at one of the main objectives of DFID which is to support government in bridging the gap in terms of development between the north and the south. One of the areas they looked at was education. My question then is: how many districts do we have DFID supporting in education in the three northern regions?
    That is the question I just asked.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    That is a general and wide question --
    Dr Prempeh 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member would pose a specific Question to that, I would come with a specific Answer.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    The supplementary question was up to -- [inaudible.]
    Mr Avedzi 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister for Education if the three programmes being funded by DFID are done through budget support or direct support to the Ministry.
    Dr Prempeh 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, they are direct programmes that they are funding.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, you may continue.
    Mr Richard M. K. Quashigah 1:30 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister for Education when the Girls-Participatory Approaches for Student Success (G-PASS) programme under the DFID would end? [Interruption.] When will the G-PASS complementary basic education programme which is referred to as Education Quality Improvement Project (EQUIP) under the DFID in Ghana would end? I ask this because, I know that the DFID has committed £47 million to that programme. I would want to know when it would end and who the subsequent beneficiaries would be in 2018?
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, is that a supplementary for the main Question?
    Mr Quashigah 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is a question related to the DFID programme asked by Hon Basoah in relation to
    beneficiary communities as in support that we get from the DFID.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    I do not see the nexus but Hon Minister, you may continue.
    Dr Prempeh 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I may seek your protection here. The Hon Member for Kumawu never asked the question of beneficiary districts or anything like that. I do not know for a fact that DFID is supporting G-PASS with £47 million. It is wrong. It is never £47 million.
    Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member would come with a substantive Question, I would come and answer it.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Any question from Leadership? [Interruption.] If Leadership has no questions, that will bring us to the end of Question time.
    Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending upon the House and answering our questions.
    Hon Members, we would move on to Statements. I admitted a Statement on sickle cell standing in the name of the Hon Member for Kwabre East.
    Prevention and management of sickle cell in Ghana
    Ms Francisca Oteng Mensah (NPP-- Kwabre East) 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make a Statement on sickle cell disease in Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, on every 19th of June each year, the world observes world sickle cell day. I would like to suggest that we should not wait till 19th June every year before we create awareness and increase people's knowledge about the disease. We
    need all hands on deck as Ghanaians to fight the sickle cell disease.
    To this end, I call on the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, such as sickle cell anaemia foundation Ghana, to regularly visit schools, churches, mosques, workplaces, football clubs and other associations to create awareness and educate people about the disease.
    Mr Speaker, according to scientists, the red blood cells of affected persons become deformed and the abnormal haemoglobin is not able to function effectively. Normal red blood cells are donut-shaped and they easily move through the body's blood vessels, delivering oxygen to the organs.
    However, persons affected with sickle cell disorder have stiff red blood cells and sickle-shaped, hence the name sickle cell disease.
    Mr Speaker, the three most common forms of sickle cell diseases are haemoglobin SS or sickle cell anaemia, haemoglobin sickle cell disease and haemoglobin sickle beta thalassemia.
    Mr Speaker, according to the World Health Organisation's (WHO's) Report, five per cent of the world's population has sickle cell disease and thalassemia as well as 300,000 babies who are born annually have the disease and 80 per cent of all babies born with the sickle cell disease are from Africa.
    Mr Speaker, the World Health Organi- sation has indicated that in Ghana, 18,000 babies are born each year with the sickle cell disease. It is sad to say that almost 50 per cent of these babies die before they reach the age of 5.
    Mr Speaker, there are problems associated with the disease and these may include damage to the lungs, heart,
    kidneys, liver and eyes, stroke, leg ulcers, lack of oxygen and other forms of infections.
    Mr Speaker, most children with sickle cell disorders often struggle in school. It is, therefore, imperative for teachers to be aware of these symptoms and tailor their teaching accordingly.
    Mr Speaker, despite the dangerous effects of the sickle cell disease, there is no known cure for it. However, the disease could be prevented and managed through penicillin to fight infections in children, blood transfusions and a drug called hydroxyurea. Besides, one has to do more exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables, lead a stress-free life. These measures could improve the survival of those affected with the disease.
    Mr Speaker, data is crucial in managing sickle cell anaemia. Consequently, there should be an up-to-date national data registry on all affected persons. This would empower medical practitioners with information to develop a plan of action to manage and track the disease.
    Mr Speaker, I appeal to government to provide more funds to enhance research and development in the Ghanaian context in this area of concern.
    Research will help health personnel to tackle sickle cell disease head-on for a better treatment and cure. Research will also inform policy direction and information dissemination to Ghanaians to fight the disease.
    Mr Speaker, there should be a national programme on screening of all new babies. Studies indicate that early diagnosis of sickle cell anaemia would not only identify affected babies but improve survival.
    MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Ms Joycelyn Tetteh (NDC -- North Dayi) 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I would want to associate
    myself with the Statement made by Hon Francisca Oteng Mensah.
    Mr Speaker, sickle cell is a major problem in our society. Some of the problems identified by the Hon Member who made the Statement are firstly, the support for parents. Some of these parents in our various communities find it very difficult in terms of finance when their children fall sick.
    Secondly, time spent out of school is another problem faced by these children. It would be very honourable on our side if policies could be made by the Government to support these children, especially when we talk about the time spent out of school.
    If these policies could be made so that they could go back to school and spend the same time that has been spent outside school hours for them to catch up with what their colleagues have already studied.
    Finally, I would also talk about the social support. I think that criticisms and other problems that they normally face -- Other problems that they face are social problems. If all of us could understand that sickle cell is not an illness such as malaria that people experience.
    The children acquire these problems as a result of hereditary disorder. So, attacks from friends, fellow pupils and even parents are a major problem.
    Mr Speaker, I would finally say that if this support is made, these problems faced by these children would no longer be a serious one but we would all come together to support them to come out of it.
    Dr Bernard Okoe Boye (NPP -- Ledzokuku) 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am very grateful to you.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement made by my Hon Colleague.
    June 19th is a day set aside as World Sickle Cell Day and there is a good reason for setting the day aside to do some advocacy on this particular condition.
    Mr Speaker, sickle cell disease is a blood disorder issue and it is not contracted through one's own actions nor behaviour, but it is inherited from parents -- a genetic disorder.
    The problem is with the red blood cells; sickle cell patients have a red blood cell which is abnormal. The normal person has their red blood cells living for about four months, that is, 120 days but those with sickle cell last for just about a month or two.
    Mr Speaker, as a result of the abnormal nature of their red blood cells, there is a problem with oxygen and most of the time they have issues with weight gain and they also experience a lot of fatigue.
    They also experience problems with clotting. The abnormal cells instead of flowing smoothly through the blood vessels normally clot or form plates and these lead to a lot of complications.
    If one is in Africa or is an African, one is at risk. Eight per cent of all sickle cell cases are found in Africa. In Ghana, two per cent of all our life births are sickle cell babies and that amounts to about 15,000 babies a year.
    Mr Speaker, what is even more worrying is that in community medicine, we have what we call the “tip of the iceberg” phenomenon. When we report 15,000 it is just a “tip of the iceberg.” What it means is that hundreds of thousands of babies might have this particular problem.
    Sickle cell patients have a lot of challenges. When one has problems with
    blood flow in one's kidneys, they could end up with kidney failure. When one has problems with blood flow in their liver, they could end up with liver failure.
    In fact, it is only sickle cell patients who can experience a stroke at a tender age of nine or 10 years. This is because blood can also clot in the brain.
    Mr Speaker, as a result of all these problems which sickle cell patients face, it is very important to create awareness about the condition and to find ways of supporting them.
    Sickle cell is not a fault of the patient but it was inherited and we as a society must find ways of helping patients to live long.
    Various studies have shown a clear correlation between social standing or economic strength and then survival. Most people who have a good job and come from well-resourced families are able to live longer while sickle cell patients from homes that are not financially strong, usually die early.
    So, there is a clear correlation and this is enough information to encourage or motivate us as a country and as a House that makes laws to find ways of making sure that sickle cell patients do not pay fully for the cost of their healthcare and that there is some support mechanism to make sure that they live long.
    Mr Speaker, one of the most interesting recommendations by a lot of practitioners is that of the rebate system, where if one is a sickle cell patient, the cost incurred in a year for taking care of oneself, some of the amount of money is paid back to them. Either a 50 per cent or some percentage, there should be a rebate. This is because sickle cell patients visit the hospital more than the average or normal person.
    Mr Emmanuel A-K. Buah (NDC -- Ellembelle) 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you and let me also thank Hon Francisca Oteng- Mensah for a very important Statement.
    I believe the Statement actually describes the causes of the sickle cell disease and this is one Statement that I would speak from a personal experience because I have a child who is a sickle cell patient. Mr Speaker, I believe that I speak for so many families who have gone through these crises with a child with sickle cell -- it makes you a better human being.
    Mr Speaker, more than that and often, the children with sickle cell are amazingly smart -- they are the children that you wanted except that you would realise that they are constantly facing these crises and you would have to spend man hours with them at the hospital. Mr Speaker, the causes as have been described are unimaginable, but I believe that it is very important that we look at the steps that are being taken in Ghana.
    As it was rightly discussed, early screening of our babies leads to early diagnosis and if we are able to do that, then, immediately after birth the child could be put on penicillin and if that happens the child would never be in crisis. This has been tested around the world and it works very well.
    Mr Speaker, more than that I believe that a concerted effort must be made on sickle cell research for this country. If we look at the numbers that we are being told --50,000 a year -- Mr Speaker, quite frankly I believe that it is more than that; its impact on families and our national economy cannot be imagined.
    So, as we talk about this disease and its impact, I would call on us to put more focus on research to find out a long lasting solution to this very debilitating disease that has really caused so much pain to families.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
    Dr Patrick Boakye-Yiadom (NPP -- Obuasi East) 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, the Hon Member for Kwabre East Constituency, on such an important occasion of Sickle Cell Awareness Day.
    Mr Speaker, sickle cell disease is a serious inherited blood condition that causes serious affliction to its victims. The sight of a sickle cell patient in pain is very disheartening -- there could be a patient with pains all over the body, complications such as severe anaemia, sickle cell sequestration and stroke, as my Hon Friend said early on, could all happen to a sickle cell patient.
    The disease burden of sickle cell is so much and I believe that we need to do something about its prevention rather than allowing it to happen and to also escalate further the rising cost of healthcare in the country.
    Mr Speaker, yes, early detection is good, prompt and adequate treatment of sickle cell patients are good but I would like us to focus our attention and advocacy to the prevention of the sickle cell. Mr Speaker, I would commend the leadership of the religious groups that are now advocating for would-be couples to go for the blood tests; sickle cell screening, before they are allowed to bless their marriages in the churches.
    In fact, it is one of the areas that I always commend the religious leaders and also discourage those who add other tests which I believe are not relevant such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Pneumonia and Hepatitis before a would- be couple are engaged in marriage. Mr Speaker, but sickle cell screening is one of the areas that I would always recommend and I believe that if we have something to do about the condition then we should rather turn our attention towards the advocacy for the prevention of the condition.
    Mr Speaker, as my Hon Colleague said, we should increase and intensify the advocacy at the various areas, including markets, churches, the various parliaments and everywhere. I would also wish to inform the House that my constituency is organising a Sickle Cell Awareness pregramm to coincide with the International Day to create more awareness towards the advocacy for its prevention.
    Dr Sebastian N. Sandaare (NDC -- Daffiama/Issa/Bussie) 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity. I rise to support the Hon Member who made the Statement on sickle cell disease.
    Dr Sebastian N. Sandaare (NDC -- Daffiama/Issa/Bussie) 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member has done very well because 19th June, every year marks the World Day for Sickle Cell. Therefore, as Hon Members of this House, we join the world and the society of those suffering from sickle cell disease, and say that we share in their concerns and the problems that they go through.
    Mr Speaker, the World Day for Sickle Cell was established by the United Nations General Assembly at its 63rd
    Session and the Day was to create public awareness about sickle cell disease, so that we could minimise or remove the myths and stigma on those with sickle cell disease. Mr Speaker, the World Health Organisation has recognised sickle cell disease as a disease of public health importance. In Africa and in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Uganda, we would have about 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the population carrying the sickle cell trait.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would just explain the difference between those who have sickle cell disease and those who have the sickle cell trait. Mr Speaker, those who have the trait genetically are carrying part of the genes -- the normal person has what is called AA but if a person is a carrier or has the trait then they have AC or AS and those who have the disease are those who have SS or SC.
    Mr Speaker, it is important for Ghanaians to know this because, normally, we call everybody including those who have the disease or the traits as sickle cell patients.
    Mr Speaker, in Ghana, while the trait is prevalent in about 20 per cent of the population, two per cent of Ghanaians have the sickle cell disease and two per
    cent of the Ghanaian population means that we have quite a great number of people in our society suffering from this disease and that affects their potential or ability to be productive and to contribute to the development of this nation.

    Mr Speaker, because it is important for this country, the Ministry of Health, as part of its agenda to control non- communicable diseases, has a programme called the National Sickle Cell Disease Control Programme. I would want to take the opportunity to call on Hon Members of this House, the Media, all development partners and indeed the general public to support and help to strengthen this programme by the Ministry of Health to help control sickle cell disease in Ghana.

    Mr Speaker, as Hon Members, we could contribute to ensuring that this pro- gramme works, in our various consti- tuencies. We could advocate for early counselling and screening so that those who are identified as carriers would be given the necessary counselling to prevent them from giving birth to children with sickle cell and other conditions. That is what we could do as Hon Members to help reduce the burden of this disease.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to add that, as part of public education, it is important that those who have the trait or who are carriers make the right choice when it comes to choosing their partners. There is a difficulty between choosing love and deciding to settle with a partner without the trait. Normally, we say love is strong, but in choosing our love partners, we have to know that there could be consequences to ill choice.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that we all get enlightened about this disease 2 p.m.
    it is also important that we contribute to ensure
    that people with sickle cell disease are given the necessary care in society. What they need is tender loving care. And I would appeal to the health professionals, and in fact, the health systems to take these clients as special clients and ensure that our health system responds adequately to the needs of sickle cell patients.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on sickle cell disease.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
    Hon Members, we have another Statement but I do know not the pleasure of the House. Do we take more contributors to the one on the floor now?
    Yes, the last person, Hon Odoom, I see you insist that you be heard.
    Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom (NPP -- Twifo Atti Morkwa) 2 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement ably made by the Hon Member of Parliament for Kwabre East Constituency. I would go beyond the call for awareness and add that this drive must include or encompass what we call the National Health Research Work (NHRW).
    That is a project being done by a young man on a platform, which to my mind, if we are able to give him the necessary encouragement, would help the nation not only to reduce the burden of diseases and avoid high bills in our health services but also improve the health of Ghanaians and increase our productivity.
    I am talking about a national health researcher called Oheneba who is always heard on Oman FM. He talks about using fruits, as it has been captured hear, to heal the body.
    Mr Speaker, we all know from the great book, the Bible that God gave us healing seeds to heal our bodies. I wish to draw our attention to that. As we talk about awareness creation, maybe, going back to the divine and natural health healing, I believe that we could have the blue print from Oheneba who is available here in Ghana and has been receiving a lot of international awards.
    Mr Speaker, I make this contribution on an advice -- Note that I have read about how Chinese herbal medicine became very popular in the world, and currently, in Ghana. It started with a researcher always drawing the attention of the people to what natural medicine could do to the body, and the nation took interest in that research work and now we all know how Chinese natural and herbal medicine has gained popularity in that country and all over the world.
    Mr Speaker, with this short admonition, I thank you for the opportunity to make a contribution to the Statement on the floor of the House.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Member. We now move to the last Statement of the day, which stands in the name of the Hon Member for the Bole Bamboi Constituency, the Hon Yusif Sulemana.
    Well, the Hon Member is not present, so, we move to the next item.
    I would want guidance from Leadership whether the House would proceed to the next item or they would move for us to vary the order of Business.
    PAPERS 2 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
    Item numbered 6 on the Order Paper, Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the referral was to the Committee no Defence and the Interior. The Hon Chairman is supposed to lead this. My information is that the Report is not yet ready.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
    What about item number 7 on the Order Paper? Is the Report ready?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me explain that even though it was laid, many Hon Members are complaining that they do not have the document. When I say that it is not ready, I am not referring to readiness for laying, but that we should have sufficient copies for us to be able debate the issues ensuing from the Report.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Is it the same for the item numbered 7?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is so.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Is Leadership interested in moving the item numbered 8 on the Order Paper?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Committees that are formed in this House should as much as possible be reflective of the cross-sectional representation that we have in the House.
    It appears that, we may have to do some engineering on the list that we have in order to achieve the representation that we desire. For instance, we observed that, the nine-member committee has only one woman and that is not good enough.
    Secondly, we must create the platform to also have some other recognised bodies in the House represented. We have our brothers and sisters who are Muslims but it does not appear that there is any Muslim on this committee. I do not know of any known traditionalist, unless the Hon Avedzi is -- He is pointing his finger at himself that he is a recognised traditionalist.
    So, Mr Speaker, we have to do some engineering on the Committee, for which reason I would plead that we stand it down for further consultation among ourselves.
    Mr Avedzi 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader has made a point that there is a need to relook at the nine-member committee. I agree with him that we stand it down and follow his suggestion and come back tomorrow, probably.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, it is important that in the formation of Committees, the spirit and letter of Order 154 be always considered.
    So, the Hon Majority Leader is right in saying that this Committee does not reflect all the shades of opinion in the House. Leadership is advised to relook at it and recompose the Committee.
    This is a very important Committee, a Committee being set up to manage parliamentary friendship associations. We have a lot of them in this House which is run by strong individual leaders: the Leadership is right in trying to have some hold to rationalise the activities of Committees usually for the consideration of the Rt Hon Speaker.
    We would stand it down and the appropriate work would be done.
    So, the Motions numbered as 8 and 9 on the Order Paper are accordingly stood down.
    Leadership, what is the direction now?
    Mr Matthew Nyindam 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are in your hands. There is no Business for us to transact.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    It is 12 minutes after 2 o'clock. You are actually not entirely in my hands now.
    I see the Hon Member for Bole Bamboi. You missed your slot. I would now have to bend over to recognise you, but at least, you need the indulgence of your Hon Colleagues in the House.
    Leadership, could we give him the opportunity?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we could do it tomorrow. I was under the impression that the funeral was tomorrow. I am told that he has not even been interred, so we could as well take it tomorrow.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Hon Member for Bole/Bamboi, you may now make your Statement -- [Interruption]-- Is it tomorrow? It has been approved for today.
    If we have to change the date, that would also call for approval, so I would have to get back to the Rt Hon Speaker to determine whether he would accommodate it.
    Tribute to the late Bolewura-Awuladese Pontonprong II
    Mr Yusif Sulemana (NDC--Bole/ Bamboi) 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am on my feet with a heavy heart to pay tribute to a great son of this land, the overlord of the Bole Traditional Area, Bolewura Awuladese Pontonprong II, Former Member of Parliament for the then West Gonja Constituency. The Bolewura died on Tuesday, 30th May, 2017, at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
    Mr Speaker, in Quran Chapter 21 v. 35, Allah says 2:10 p.m.
    “Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good, and to Us you will be returned.”
    Mr Speaker, the late Bolewura, known in private life as James Adama Mahama, was bom in 1929 to the Jagape Royal Gate of the Bole traditional area. He attended the Local Authority Primary School at Kpembe and proceeded to the Government Senior Secondary School, Tamale. He also attended Tamale Teacher Training College and taught from 1950 to
    1957.
    Mr Speaker, in 1957 he was seconded to the Information Services Department as a District Information Officer.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Hon Member for Wa West?
    Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to also express my sincere condolences to the family of the late chief.
    Mr Speaker, as indicated, he is a man of many parts, including the fact that he has served in Parliament before. I believe that the late Bolewura, while he was the Paramount Chief of the traditional area, saw to a lot of developments in the area. He was the one who helped to promote development in the area.
    Mr Speaker, during his reign also, the area enjoyed relative peace; peace in the sense that there were no open conflicts as it used to be the case.
    Mr Speaker, he was a man who understood the traditions of his people. On this occasion, when we have lost him and he has left his family, we can only ask them to bear the loss with fortitude.
    Mr Speaker, again, the Hon Member who made the Statement appealed to the traditional area to handle the succession to the stool peacefully. That appeal could not have come at a better time, because there are already indications of conflicting claims.
    Mr Speaker, we would appeal to the traditional authorities to make sure that this succession does not bring any conflict in the otherwise peaceful traditional area. We would appeal to the overlord of the Gonja Traditional Area to make sure that this transition is done in honour of the man who believed in peace.
    On an occasion like this, we can only say that he has served his nation, and so, we should all remember him in our prayers.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, I believe it is proper that we hold a minute's silence in memory of the overlord of the Bole Traditional Area, Bolewura Awuladese Pontonprong II.

    May his soul and the souls of all departed rest in perfect peace. Amen!

    [Pause.] --
    ANNOUNCEMENTS -- 2:10 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, I am sure that you saw me having some consultations with the Clerk to Parliament. You could see that we have the presence of a large delegation of members from the International Democratic Union (IDU).
    Hon Members, I am informed that they have an executive committee meeting in Ghana and they have just decided to pay the Parliament of Ghana a visit. Therefore, the Rt Hon Speaker, together with Leadership, deem it appropriate to inform you.
    I would not be able to tell you about all those who are present, but at least, I would mention for the records, the leadership of the delegation.
    Hon Members of the delegation may kindly pardon me, while I struggle to mention their names.
    Hon Members, we have at the Public Gallery a large number of them, but the executives are at the Visitors' Gallery, and I would mention their names now:
    Hon Members, we have the following executive members of the IDU with us:
    Lord Ashcroft, who is the treasurer
    Hon Tony Clement, MP, Conaon, Deputy Chairman (IDU)
    Eva Gustausson, Political Auditor
    David McAllister, Vice Chairman and a member of the European Parliament, Germany
    Christian Kuttner, Secretary General
    (IDU)
    Carlos Berrizbeitia, Deputy (Venezuela)
    Peter McManu, Vice Chairman (Ghana); and
    John Boadu, (Ag.) General Secretary
    (NPP).
    I am sure they definitely led the delegation here and it is proper that we acknowledge their presence. On behalf of
    the House and all the Hon Members of Parliament, we warmly welcome you to Ghana and to the Parliament of Ghana.
    You are welcome.
    Hon Members, we have come to the end of Business for today, but maybe, Leadership may have something up their sleeves. So, I would want to hear from them.
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is nothing really. As you observed, we have exhausted the items on the Order Paper for the day. There are just a couple of Committees that are programmed to sit.
    In the event, I would want to move that the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 12.00 noon.
    Before then, Mr Speaker, as you observed, I would want to wish the participants in the IDU Conference success in their meetings that they would hold.
    Mr James Klutse Avedzi 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion for the House to adjourn till 12.00 noon tomorrow.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 2:30 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 2.33 p.m. till Wednesday, 21st June, 2017 at 12.00 noon.