Debates of 12 Jul 2017

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 12:10 p.m.

ANNOUNCEMENTS 12:10 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, I am pleased to recognise in the House, Members of the African Tuberculosis (TB) Caucus who are in Ghana for the African TB Summit. This morning, as part of their programme, they are in the House to acquaint themselves with the workings of Parliament.
The delegation includes:
Hon Nacira Bourouis -- Algeria
Hon Abdelhadi Mohamed -- Algeria
Hon Pierre Nygayap -- Cameroon
Hon Abera Buno -- Ethiopia
Hon Kennedy Kachingwe -- Malawi
Hon Juliana Lunguzi -- Malawi
Hon Jennifer Van Den Heever -- Namibia
Hon David Emmanuel -- Nigeria
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 12:20 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.
The Votes and Proceedings dated Tuesday, 11th July, 2017.
Pages 1 … 10.
Mrs Cynthia Mamle. Morrison 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry, I tried to catch your eye. I was present but my name has not been captured as such on page 4. My name is Cynthia Morrison.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Page 11…19.
The Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 11th July, 2017 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 5th July, 2017.]
  • Mr Mohammed Abdul-Aziz 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker --
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, you will wait for a moment.
    Yes, the Hon Minister for Agriculture?
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I indicated yesterday, the Hon Minister for Agriculture is outside the jurisdiction. He has asked the Hon Deputy Minister at the Ministry to come and hold the fort for him and answer the Question on his behalf, and on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture.
    The Hon Dr Sagre Bambangi is also an Hon Member of Parliament. So, with your indulgence and that of the House, Mr Speaker, the Hon Member will stand in the stead of the Hon Minister to answer the Question.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, while I do not doubt the capabilities of our Hon Colleague from Walewale, this Question was not asked yesterday.
    Yesterday, we made the comments. It is unfortunate that Hon Ministers who are programmed to come before the House get to know the Business of this House the week before, because the Business Statement was read on Friday. Mr Speaker, they choose to prioritise other businesses rather than attending to the representa- tives of the people.
    Mr Speaker, we said this yesterday and we are reiterating it today. We are urging the Hon Majority Leader to get the Hon Ministers to come here themselves, and to attach more attention to this House rather than choosing to travel and do other things and rather send their Deputy Ministers to hold the fort for them in this House.
    When we make these comments, it seems we are saying their Hon Deputy Ministers are not capable; the Hon Deputy Ministers are. But the Hon Ministers are those who are supposed to appear before us to answer the Questions.
    Mr Speaker, he is our Hon Colleague and we do not doubt his capability. We would still want you to urge the Hon Majority Leader, who is in charge of
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I indicated yesterday that the Hon Minister had to travel outside the country to respond to some pressing needs of the Ministry, and indeed, that of the country.
    Mr Speaker, that arrangement had been done more than a month ago. As the Hon Minority Chief Whip just indicated, the Question got to the Hon Minister last week.
    Mr Speaker, when a Question gets to the Hon Minister, he has within three weeks to answer it. Given the importance the Hon Minister attaches to the Question asked, he wanted to be here personally to respond to it. Unfortunately, he had to travel.

    Mr Speaker, I do not want to litigate this matter with the Hon Minority Chief Whip -- [Interruption.] What he said is inaccurate.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Minority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Muntaka 12:20 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I did not want to provide other details, but now that the Hon Majority Leader is challenging me to do so, I will do it.
    Mr Speaker, this Question was programmed to be answered last Friday. The Hon Majority Leader should check the records of last week. The Question did not get to the Hon Minister last week.
    The Question was supposed to be answered on Friday and the Hon Minister asked permission according to our Hon Colleagues on the Majority side, that it should be moved to Tuesday, so that the Hon Minister would appear before the House to answer it himself. Yesterday, he was not here and today, he has sent his Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader cannot use the excuse that because the Hon Minister attaches importance to the Question, that is why he sent his Hon Deputy Minister. Why did he not send his Hon Deputy Minister on Friday? The Question was supposed to be answered on Friday.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Order! Hon Members, you cannot sit in your chairs and talk. [Laughter.]
    Alhaji Muntaka 12:20 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    We do not expect any other person to lead this crusade; not even the Hon
    Majority Leader. I do not expect the Hon Majority Leader to provide answers in defence.

    Mr Speaker, genuinely, I know there would be difficulties sometimes. But from the way the Hon Majority Leader spoke -- I wish to remind him to check the records of last week.

    The Question was supposed to be answered on Friday. The Hon Majority Leader's team said the Hon Minister wanted to do it himself, that was why it was shifted to this week and he is not here. We have every right to complain.

    Please, let sleeping dogs lie and allow the Hon Deputy Minister to do it. But the Hon Majority Leader should do well to ensure that his Hon Ministers are here to answer Questions themselves.

    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Ministers of State are not my Ministers. [Laughter.] They are Hon Ministers of the Republic and they should be so respected. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, I am listening to the Hon Minority Chief Whip -- [Interruption] -- I hear a chorus, Muntaka paa nie? To wit, is this Muntaka? [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, what the Hon Minority Chief Whip said does not in any way retract from what I said.
    I said the Question got to the Hon Minister last week -- [Interruption] -- Unless he has evidence to prove the contrary. What is the evidence?
    rose
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, unless the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is coming on a point of order, I have not exhausted what I want to say. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, so, I am suggesting to the Hon Minority Chief Whip that, for him to say that the Hon Minister chose to do other things, I thought that was an incorrect statement. That is what I sought to portray.
    Mr Speaker, he said he has elected to do other things other than come to the House.
    Mr Speaker, I am strongly suggesting to him that he has no basis to say what he said because this had been in the pipeline for more than one month.
    Mr Speaker, it is known to this House that beginning last Thursday evening, under the Presidency of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo — [Hear! Hear!]— The Cabinet, had a retreat
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.


    beginning Thursday evening and they closed on Sunday; the Hon Minister was there. In fact, he had to abandon us midstream and embark on that enterprise.

    So, I am not too sure that this should be a subject of litigation. If the House wants to indulge the Hon Deputy Minister to answer the Question, let the House say so.

    If on the other hand the Minority of the House would not want to listen to the Hon Deputy Minister, let them say so unequivocally and the Hon Deputy Minister would comply.

    Mr Speaker, if they want to come on a point of order, I would yield and have my bite thereafter.
    Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have been monitoring the strategy the Hon Majority Leader is using. Anytime he is speaking and an Hon Member stands on a point of order, he feels threatened — [Laughter] — Instead of allowing your goodself to call the Hon Member who is standing on a point of order to raise his point, because he feels threatened, he would leave whatever he is doing and attack the Member. I do not think that would augur well for the House.
    He is the Leader of the House, but that does not mean that when he is speaking nobody has the right to stand and speak.
    He should leave that strategy and let the business of the House flow. He should leave that to your goodself as the Speaker to decide who should be called to raise a point of order, he should not do that.
    Mr Speaker, the point we are raising from our side is that, we are not opposed to the Hon Deputy Minister answering the Questions. We are saying that he is capable and we would allow him to answer the Questions. But the trend in the House now is that Hon Ministers are not taking the Business of the House seriously.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know what kind of point of order this intervention is. He says I feel threatened if he comments on it. I do not feel threatened at all. I am capable and able.
    Mr Speaker, I believe we should be ending this. But if I refer to an Hon Colleague as a young man or a young Member of Parliament, does that constitute an attack on that person?
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, you would address me.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Standing Orders obliges us to refer to Hon Colleagues as, “the Hon Member for”, and then we name the constituency. We all do know that because —
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, I would like us not to transgress into that. This is because, under normal circum-
    stances, we would not want to address anyone as the young man.
    I would be glad if you would simply leave that area and go on.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, our Standing Orders provide that Members must be addressed as Hon Members and tag them with the constituencies they represent. How many of us know the constituencies that people represent in this House? [Interruptions.]
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we would want to be technical, what it means is that all of us are breaching the Standing Orders, to the extent that we are not referring to one another as Hon Member representing a particular constituency.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that we have been relaxing the rules in the House as far as that issue is concerned.
    Having said that, I believe the issue before the House that I pleaded is whether or not we indulge the Hon Deputy Minister to answer the Questions posed; both the Urgent Question and the subsequent Questions as well.
    Mr Speaker, I am done.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, you might --
    Hon (Dr) Akoto Osei?
    Dr Anthony A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader who is a very good Friend of mine got up and said Ministers of State are not here. It is either he is suffering from optical illusion — [Laughter.]

    Mr Speaker, he knows that we are very serious about our work. He was my Chairman and he knows I am very serious. So, he should not make blanket statements. We are here; and we are ready for him.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who is a good Friend is right, but he being a Minister on the floor, his relevance to the Business of the Question is not here. The one who is relevant is the one to answer the Question. That is my point.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the statement he made was “Ministers of State are not serious”. He did not say Minister “A”. He said “Ministers of State are not here”. He did not even talk about relevance.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs is here; the Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development is here and the Minister for Youth and Sports is here.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, if you spoke in the plural, please, withdraw.
    Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Members of Parliament who are Ministers; both substantive Ministers and Deputy Ministers, their number is over sixty-four (64). If you would want to find the percentage, it is less than ten per cent. So, the point I raised was --
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, I have listened -- [Interruptions.]
    Hon Members, Order!
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, I allowed debates but at this juncture, if you spoke in the plural regarding Ministers, please withdraw. If you spoke in the singular --
    Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have withdrawn the plural.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, you would not assist me. [Interruption.]
    Hon Member, you would do the honourable thing.
    Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw the plural form used to refer to all Hon Ministers. My emphasis is actually on the specific Hon Minister whose business we are to do in the House but who is not here.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much.

    Some Hon Members — rose --
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Member for Mion, you may ask your Question. [Pause.]
    All other Hon Members standing should please assume their seats.
    ORAL ANSWERS TO URGENT 12:40 p.m.

    QUESTION 12:40 p.m.

    MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE 12:40 p.m.

    Minister for Agriculture) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the fall army worm (FAW) is the larval life stage of a fall army worm moth and it is a native of North and South America. It has been recently reported in several countries in Central, East, Southern and West Africa.
    The FAW is a pest that feeds on more than 80 plant species, including maize, rice, sorghum, cotton, millet, peanut, soybean, sugarcane and vegetable crops. It has a voracious appetite and can reproduce and spread quickly given a conducive atmosphere.
    In Ghana, the FAW was first reported on maize in the Yilo Krobo District of the Eastern Region in April, 2016. The main host is maize but it has been reported on cowpea, okra and sugarcane.
    Currently the fall army worm has spread to all the ten regions of Ghana and
    is estimated to be affecting 112,812 hectares of farmlands, with an estimated 14,430 hectares destroyed completely.
    Initial detection and reporting
    After the first outbreak in Ghana in April 2016, it was identified to be fall army worm at the Centre for Agriculture Biosciences International (CABI) diagnostic laboratory in the United Kingdom (UK) on 10th November, 2016. After the confirmation, it was reported to the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat in Rome on 3rd February, 2017.
    The Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), in collaboration with CABI and other stakeholders in April, 2017, developed an action plan for managing the pest.
    Remedial actions
    The Hon Minister secured Cabinet approval of an emergency release of a budget of GH¢15,857,280.00 for the following activities:
    a. Training of staff on early detection
    b. Collaboration and co-ordination
    c. Sensitisation and awareness creation
    d. Developing and printing factsheets (photo sheets and flyers on fall army worm (FAW)
    e. Surveillance at community and national levels
    f. Monitoring of control and management activities
    g. Procurement of strategic stock of insecticides
    h. Pheromone traps for surveillance in selected districts in Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions.
    Ministerial taskforce
    The Hon Minister inaugurated a 16- member Task Force on May 10, 2017, comprising experts from MoA and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Development Partners (DPs).
    These include; representatives from Women in Agriculture Directorate (WIAD), Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD), Directorate of Crop Services (DCS), Veterinary Service Directorate ( VSD), Directorate of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES), Project Coordination Unit ( PCU), Technical Advisor to the Minister, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Agricultural Research Institutes; Centre for Agriculture Biosciences International (CABI) and National Disaster Manage- ment Organisation (NADMO).
    Mr Speaker, four sub-committees were also formed, namely 12:40 p.m.
    i. Collaboration, Co-ordination and Contingency Planning
    ii. Sensitisation and Awareness Creation
    iii. Control Management and Research
    iv. Surveillance and early warning.
    Mr Abdul-Aziz 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister if the level of infestation recorded is enough to threaten national food security, at least, for next year?
    Thank you.
    Dr Bambangi 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, our estimation so far suggests that about 112,812 hectares have been affected but only about 14,430 hectares have been destroyed completely. When we do the calculations, it is about six per cent that has been completely destroyed. So, I do not see it threatening the overall national food security.
    Thank you.
    Mr Abdul-Aziz 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to further find out from the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture, what plans do they have to protect farmers and the parts of the country that are yet to start major planting, especially in the three northern regions and the mechanism to protect them ahead of the planting season.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Dr Bambangi 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have plans to combat the menace in the three northern regions as well. That is why we have been able to detect that it has spread to all these areas. We have the chemicals ready in all the regions.
    If there is any report of the menace on any farm and it is reported to the District Directorate of Agriculture, then it is attended to.
    I called the Talensi District Directorate of Agriculture and they told me it had affected two farms; and when they reported to the Ministry of Agriculture, we attended to it. So, Mr Speaker, I believe we are adequately prepared.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, you may ask your last question.
    Mr Abdul-Aziz 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for farmers who have had their farms ravaged by the FAW, does the Ministry have any plans in place to indemnify them of any losses that they may have incurred?
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, did you get the question?
    Hon Member, please, repeat the question.
    Mr Abdul-Aziz 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am trying to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister that, for farmers who have had their farms already ravaged by the FAW, do they have plans to compensate them for the losses that they have incurred already? I asked this because we need to be interested in the welfare of these farmers, too.
    Dr Bambangi 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I now get the question. The Hon Member is talking about plans to compensate farmers. [Interruption.] The season is still on and we are doing the assessment.
    As we speak now, in northern Ghana, some farmers planted just about a week or two ago and some are still planting. So, we are still doing the assessment and the Ministry is still consulting. At the right time, we would come out with our decision.
    I was on the field and I saw a few farms that were completely destroyed and I even attempted to make a rough estimate of the level of investment in a five-acre farm that I visited. It was nearly GH¢2000.00 but the Ministry has not yet come to a conclusion with regard to compensation.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    We have long eaten into the one hour and we have three Questions still pending. We either abandon some or we must be fast about it.
    So, two questions; Hon Member?
    Mr Eric Opoku 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to ask the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture a very simple but interesting question. This is because he indicated in his Answer that Cabinet approved an amount of GH¢15 million for the FAW challenge. This money was meant for training of staff, sensitisation, purchase of insecticides and other things.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, do you have those facts here? -- [Uproar!]
    Hon Members, order!
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, the question is not appropriate. The Hon Deputy Minister does not have to have those general detailed answers on hand.
    Hon Muntaka?
    Alhaji Muntaka 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the Hon Deputy Minister's Answer, he said two types of chemicals were procured -- one was in powdered form and the other was in liquid form. He did not tell us exactly what their names are and whether they were effective in the control of the FAW.
    Dr Bambangi 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, they were assorted chemicals. They were many and so I would not be able to give you the list now. But we can provide all these details to the House. [Interruption.]
    In fact, when we started, we had a few problems --
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, you would not speak to the Hon Deputy Minister when he is answering the question.
    Dr Bambangi 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we had a few problems somewhere but along the line, we were able to get it right and they have been effective now.
    So, I can assure you that we are controlling the menace.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, I did indicate that, we are moving on.
    The next Question stands in the name of Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa.
    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 1 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE 1 a.m.

    Minister for Agriculture) 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in line with Government's agenda to promote dairy farming with the objective of increasing milk intake to reduce protein deficiency among the people of Ghana, the Ministry of Agriculture sourced for funding from the Canadian Government through the Food and Agriculture Budgetary Support (FABS) in 2004 to construct six (6) milk processing facilities in cattle producing areas of the country.
    The dairy factory at Juapong in the Volta Region is one of these facilities.
    The primary objective of the processing facility was to mop up and purchase raw milk produced by cattle farmers for processing into other products for consumption. The facility was also to serve as a training center for women and youth in milk processing. It was also the plan of government to lease the facility to an investor to operate in the direction stated above.
    Unfortunately, the linkage with the private sector (cattle farmers) to use the facility was not successful. Therefore, the facility was never used and remained exposed to the vagaries of the weather and deteriorated over time.
    Current status
    In September 2016, the Ministry was approached by Messrs Simpaul Ltd., the producers of Happy Cow Cheese and other milk products for lease of the
    Juapong Milk Processing Facility. We therefore entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the company, giving them a five (5) year lease in the first instance to repair and use the facility.
    To this end we took steps to introduce them to the chiefs and elders of the community and the District Assembly that they are there at our bequest. Messrs Simpaul Ltd. has since commenced renovation works, which are very intensive. Most of the equipment installed originally are rusted and the roofs are leaking badly.
    The general area has become a habitation for reptiles and rodents. Messrs Simpaul Ltd. has promised to complete the renovation by the fourth quarter of the year and commence operations soon there after.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Ablakwa 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to ask a follow-up question on the lease. Could the Hon Minister please tell us when the lease commences and if it is possible, to see the Memorandum of Understanding? Is it possible to have a copy?
    Dr Bambangi 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not remember the exact date that the lease commences and also the details of the Memorandum of Understanding but we could provide those details to this House. [Interruption] --
    He asked to see the Memorandum of Understanding, but I did not come with it. With the lease, I would want to be sure about the date it commences because it
    could commence before or after the renovation works. So, I would want to be sure. That was why I said I have to get the details for him.
    Thank you.
    Mr Ablakwa 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the responses.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister raised a concern in the third paragraph of his Answer, that the reason this milk processing facility delayed in taking off was because of the lack of linkage with the private sector, which is the cattle farmers.
    I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister what steps have been taken now to address this identified challenge, so that we do not run into the same trouble again.
    Dr Bambangi 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the steps taken are provided in the last paragraph of my Answer. It is because of those steps that the Ministry has come across a private enterprise that is prepared to take up this facility. When they do, I am sure the linkage would be stronger.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Ablakwa 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have not been given the opportunity to see the nature of this Memorandum of Understanding that began, more or less, in September, 2016, which was before the previous Government left office.
    Could he tell us if some jobs are guaranteed for the youth in the Juapong enclave, or the private company in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement would employ workers? Is it a PPP arrangement where the private company uses its employees or is there the opportunity for job creation for the local folks or the youth in the Juapong enclave?
    Dr Bambangi 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, because it is a private enterprise, we would expect the entrepreneur to look out for the best. This is because we have learnt a lot from past experiences in this country.
    So, we would want to give the entrepreneur a freehand to operate within all the labour laws of this country, so that we could get the best out of this facility.
    I know the youth who deserve employment in this facility would definitely get it.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 1 a.m.
    We would move on to the Question starred 37 on page 2 of the Order Paper -- Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa.
    Revival of Prairie Volta Limited (North Tongu Constituency)
    Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa asked the Minister for Food and Agriculture what plans the Government had to revive the Prairie Volta Limited, also known as Aveyime Rice Factory, in the North Tongu Constituency.
    Deputy Minister for Agriculture (Dr Sagre Bambangi) (on behalf of the
    Minister for Agriculture) 1 a.m.
    Background
    Mr Speaker, the Government of Ghana signed a shareholder agreement with Prairie Texas Inc., a US corporation in April, 2008. Under the Agreement, the Government agreed to use all assets of the former Quality Grains Company Ltd. comprising a rice milling plant (with 60,000 metric tonnes capacity per annum), 1,286 Ha farm site, irrigation infrastructure and machinery (all located at Aveyime Battor and its environs) as its capital contribution
    to the project company called Prairie Volta Ltd., formed jointly with Prairie Texas Inc.
    The assets of the Government were valued at USD$8,216,756.00 of which one million US dollars worth was used to offset payment of Government of Ghana shares and the balance on loan to the company.
    Mr Speaker, in sum, the Government of Ghana and the Ghana Commercial Bank held 30 per cent each respectively, of the total shares whilst Prairie Texas Inc. held 40 per cent. In addition, Prairie Texas Inc. was also required to secure working capital of three million US dollars.
    Unfortunately, Prairie Texas Inc. failed to bring in the required working capital and operated on losses in 2011, 2013 and 2014 and only a marginal profit of GHS 62,002 in 2012. The company then had to shut down in 2015.
    Way forward
    Mr Speaker, having reviewed a KPMG independent report, which was commissioned by Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), MoA is seriously considering divesting its interest to a private commercial rice growing company which will invest external capital into the company in a Public-Private Partnership arrangement for the potentials of the company to be unleashed.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Ablakwa 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister if he is aware of a bailout to Prairie Volta Limited from the African Development Bank, which was extended by the former Government and what may have happened to that facility.
    Mr Speaker 1 a.m.
    Hon Minister, if you are not sure of the question, you are entitled to ask.
    Dr Bambangi 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought it was from the Agricultural Development Bank and not the African Development Bank. [Interruption] -- I need his guidance.
    Mr Speaker 1 a.m.
    Hon Members, you do not speak while sitting.
    Mr Ablakwa 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, apologies; I meant to say the Agricultural Develop- ment Bank.
    So, he is right. The bailout from the Agricultural Development Bank by the former Government. Does he know about the facility, and what has come out of it?
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful.
    Mr Speaker 1 a.m.
    Hon Members, so you see that if we would simply want to back the Hon Member on our side of the House when we do not even know what would happen, sometimes we can really be embarrassed.
    Hon Minister, you may now answer the question.
    Dr Bambangi 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are aware that there was a bailout and that is the more reason the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) had to commission the review by the KPMG to help determine the way forward so that these funds could be retrieved.
    Mr Ablakwa 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my second question is from the second paragraph --
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, you may ask the last question.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I take your guidance.
    Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer in the second paragraph which says that 1:10 p.m.
    “Unfortunately, Prairie Texas Inc., failed to bring in the required working capital …”
    I would want to find out what the decision of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is on the future marriage with this company -- Prairie Texas Incorporated.
    Then, the Hon Minister says that they are talking to a private commercial rice growing company. Are we able to know who this company is and the fate of the workers who have not been paid over the last four months?
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, such discussions, when they are at the embryo stage -- companies by way of best commercial practice, would not want to be mentioned in Parliament. So, this is premature.
    Any other questions?
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Two more questions from Hon Members. Hon Member, you may ask your question or you concede.
    I did say from the beginning that we would either truncate Question time - that is the Questions available or we would allow certain limited supplemenary questions.
    Hon Member, if you are inclined, you may ask your question.
    Dr Bambangi 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I cannot assure this House. This is because the “One District, One Factory” is also going to be private sector driven.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much. The last question. Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Avedzi 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister, if Government is considering divesting its interest to a private commercial rice growing company, how come that divestiture is considering a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement?
    Dr Bambangi 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we thought that because one of the shareholders is also a State enterprise, that is the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), there is still some public interest in it and the divestiture may not be whole. Even partial divestiture is still divestiture. That is my understanding of it.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minister, for attending to the House to answer our Questions. You are dis- charged.
    Hon Minister, you may go about your other duties. Thank you very much.
    Question starred 52 directed at the Hon Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs. Hon Minister, you may please take your relevant seat. The Question stands in the name of Hon Member for Builsa South. Hon Member, you may ask your Question.
    MINISTRY OF CHIEFTAINCY AND 1:10 p.m.

    RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS 1:10 p.m.

    Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs (Mr Kofi Dzamesi) 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the issue of the elevation of chiefs to the status of a paramount chief is a question of custom and tradition. It is the province and pleasure of a sitting paramount chief or overlord in customary terms to elevate a chief who holds allegiance to him to the status of a paramount chief or a divisional chief.
    Mr Speaker, neither the constitutional provisions on chieftaincy, specifically chapter twenty-two of the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution or the Chief- taincy Act, 2008 (Act 759) devolve power on a Minister responsible for Chieftaincy to elevate a chief of whatever status to that of a paramount chief.
    Indeed, the laws referred to herein preclude the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs from so conferring or elevating any chief.
    Mr Speaker, the categories of chiefs provided for in the Chieftaincy Act, (Act 759), section 58 are as follows:
    a) The Asantehene and paramount chiefs
    b) Divisional chiefs
    c) Sub-divisional chiefs
    d) Adikrofo, and
    e) Other chiefs recognised by the National House of Chiefs.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister is not in a position to know the customary practices in every traditional area or the customary practices and traditions that a sitting paramount chief or overlord should follow to elevate a chief.
    What is within the knowledge of the Ministry is that customary practices of the various traditional areas, paramount chiefs can only elevate sub-divisional chiefs who hold allegiance to their stools to the divisional status.
    The authority to elevate divisional chiefs to paramountcy status is vested in the overlords.
    Mr Speaker, if a chief below the status of a paramount chief believes he is deserving of the status of paramount chief, he is to conform to custom and tradition.
    It is an offence under the Chieftaincy Act, (Act 759), section 63(b) for a person who, being a chief assumes a position that the person is not entitled to by custom.
    Mr Speaker, we shall make the effort to enquire from the various traditional Councils the steps being taken by a
    paramount chief or an overlord to elevate any chief within their respective jurisdiction to the status of a paramount chief.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Minister. Yes, Hon Member?
    Dr Apaak 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to ask the Hon Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs if he is aware that the Builsa Traditioanl Council which is composed of all the chiefs of the Builsa traditional area has initiated the process towards the elevation of more chiefs in the traditional area to paramountcy status?
    Mr Dzamesi 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, some of the Traditional Councils have what is termed as ‘revolving presidents' and this is according to how they have arranged it. If it happens that one of them becomes a paramount chief in its entirety then a Traditional Council could be given to them.
    Mr Speaker, but as it is now, those chiefs form the Builsa Traditional Council as done by the National House of Chiefs.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, one question more.
    Dr Apaak 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, I know that the Builsa Traditional Council initiated this process last year and on that basis, I would want to ask the Hon Minister if he would take the needed steps to verify and give his support to the processes initiated by the Builsa Traditional Council, to elevate more chiefs in the traditional area to the status of paramountcies.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Minister, would you take steps to verify? That is the essence of the question.
    Hon Minister, the Hon Member is telling you something and so, would you take steps to verify?
    Mr Dzamesi 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that I made it clear that the Ministry does not elevate a chief to a paramountcy but that is the sole authority under the overlords. Mr Speaker, I made that very clear.
    Mr James Agalga 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to ask a follow up question. The Hon Minister in his response indicated that neither the Hon Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs nor the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs play a role when it comes to the elevation of chiefs to paramount status.
    Mr Speaker, my question is, is the Hon Minister aware that the Research Committee of the National House of Chiefs, which he has a supervisory role over plays a pivotal role in the elevation of chiefs?
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Is it pivotal or super- visory? Who do they supervise?
    Mr Agalga 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said that he has a supervisory role over the Research Committee of the National House of Chiefs, which plays a pivotal role when it comes to the elevation of chiefs to paramount status.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe that is a very good information that the Hon Minister may look into. Actually, it is not a question.

    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do you want to ask a question or you would yield to another Hon Member?
    Mr James K. Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have my own question --
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    If you have your own question, then concentrate on that. If you yield to him, then there would be no double bite at the cherry and this is something that I would want Hon Members and Hon Leaders to kindly appreciate.
    Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in his Answer says, and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Mr Speaker, we shall make the effort to enquire from the various Traditional Councils the steps being taken by a Paramount Chief or overlord to elevate any chief within their respective jurisdiction …”
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether it is his duty to know at any point in time the steps that have been taken by the overlords, or is he just taking it upon himself to make the effort to enquire from the various traditional councils what they are doing in the elevation of the chiefs to the paramountcy level? Is it a duty for him to do that or he is doing that on his own volition?
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Mr Dzamesi 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Question sought to know at what stage a chief is elevated to paramountcy. Mr Speaker, that is not what we are supposed to do at the Ministry. At any time, an overlord could elevate a chief to paramountcy and that is why I said that we could enquire whether those things are ongoing.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Question time.
    Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending upon the House and answering Questions. You are discharged.

    Hon Members, what is causing the commotion?

    We have two Statements relating to Ghana's first satellite adventure into the orbit and the Statements stand in the names of Hon Member for Tarkwa- Nsuaem as well as the Hon Member for Kumbungu.

    Hon Member for Tarkwa-Nsuaem, please you may make your Statement.
    STATEMENTS 1 a.m.

    Mr George M. Duker (NPP -- Tarkwa-Nsuaem) 1 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am exceedingly humbled and extremely grateful for the opportunity given me to make a Statement on the entry of Ghana's first space satellite into orbit; the significance and future prospects.
    Mr Speaker, I take the floor on a matter of personal and collective honour and on a particular delight concerning not only this august House, but the entire nation as well. This is no ordinary invention or breakthrough of regular unearthing by a group of individuals or an institution.
    Mr Speaker, the first space satellite was released and deployed into orbit at an altitude of 420 on Friday, July 7, 2017, at noon. Secondly, the space satellite has low and high resolution cameras on board
    capable of taking pictures of Ghana and providing data on happenings on Ghana's coastal areas and the environments to the outside world.
    I congratulate the All Nations Univer- sity College in Koforidua on reaching an unprecedented goal in Ghana, a goal that was achieved on the heels of global recess and demotivation.
    A goal that was accomplished and has surpassed in record breaking time at a stretch, when Africans in general are often ridiculed and our tertiary institutions are criticised within an ears reach. I am so proud of the All Nations University for setting their sights high and making every effort to prove to the world what Ghana is capable of.
    Mr Speaker, space satellites automa- tically have emotional impact on our day-to-day activities. They make life better by offering contemporary conve- niences through broadcast education. Space satellites are simply artificial objects put into orbit.
    As man-made objects put into the orbit, space satellites inform, educate and entertain the human race through television, in-flight phone communication on airplanes, navigations, instant credit card authorisation, weather forecast on a global scale and land monitoring, among others.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    The Hon First Deputy Speaker would take the Chair while we continue.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Duker 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are able to watch television in the comfort of our homes and offices as a result of space
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Members, there is another Statement on the launch of satellites into space by Hon Ras Mubarak. That has also been admitted by the Hon Speaker. So, we would listen to him and discuss the two Statements at the same time.
    Hon Ras Mubarak, you may read your Statement now.

    The launch of Ghana's first satellite into space
    Mr Ras Mubarak (NDC -- Kumbungu) 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just this past Friday, Ghana made history when a privately-owned university launched the country's first satellite into orbit. It took the tenacity and
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Members, there are two Statements, if anybody wants to comment.
    Hon Member for Nsawam Adoagyiri?
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP-- Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 1:40 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I would begin by thanking the two Hon Members for presenting very good Statements.
    Mr Speaker, I identify absolutely with the Hon Members in congratulating the All Nations University College for the novelty and the wonderful achievement. Ordinarily, one would have thought that in the context of the fact that Ghana is noted as an agrarian country, such advancement would have come from that area of life. However, we have ventured to be different and it is encouraging and needs to be supported.
    First of all, a certain lesson is learnt from the Statement. A certain “can do” spirit is evolving in our country and we all need to buy into that and believe in ourselves again. It was not ordinary that we became the first country in sub- Saharan Africa to have gained Indepen- dence; a most international feat across the sub-region.
    Ghana is always referenced as being the first country to take such bold steps. It is admirable and wonderful. So, with
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, wind up.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, if it is possible, may the Executive also consider the idea of giving an award to the students and the institution that saw the success of this scientific discovery.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for your kindness.
    Mr Samuel Nartey George (NDC -- Ningo-Prampram) 1:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the Hon Members who made the two Statements, and join Hon Members to congratulate the three students from the All Nations University College (ANUC) and their two colleagues who manned the ground station.
    Mr Speaker, space technology is something that as a nation, one can only choose not to be part of at one's own risk. The world is getting to a stage where the weather forecasts are all done on the back of adequate space and satellite technology.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the two Hon Members who made the Statement exhorted the virtues of this process. However, I would want to raise certain critical issues that as a House, we must begin to consider to augment the fantastic work that has been done by these university students from ANUC.
    Mr Speaker, yesterday on Citi FM, I listened to one of the gentlemen who was involved, from the beginning to the end, on the development of this Satellite, and I was a little worried by some of the revelations he made.
    Mr Speaker, he said that even after the successful launch of the satellite and the fact that they had received the first signal from the satellite, they were still unclear on the State agency that they must begin to collaborate with, such that the data that they would generate from this satellite can be of national use to us.
    Mr Speaker, they did not know whether they should speak to the Town and Country Planning, the Fisheries Commission or the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture. There is absolutely no clear cut policy direction on who they should talk to.
    Mr Speaker, this is understandable, because this is a new endeavour for us as a nation. As Parliament, we must be seen to be championing this policy direction and shaping who should be the primary agent of State, who would harness the critical information which would be developed or received from this satellite that has been launched.
    Mr Speaker, they are talking about launching a Ghana Sat2 already. Ghana Sat2 may be able to do more than Ghana Sat1 is able to do currently, which is just to focus on our maritime boundaries or coastal areas.
    Mr Speaker, coming from a constituency where fishing is a mainstay, I was excited about the fact that the Ghana Sat1is going to focus on the maritime boundaries of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, the Ghana Sat1 can help the Ghana Navy to fight the menace of light fishing and pair trawling, which are affecting the local Ghanaian fisherman.
    However, if the Ghana Sat1 one generates the requisite information and there is no central base for all of that information to be gathered and be put to good use, then where have we gone, or what have we achieved with the launch of the Satellite?
    Mr Speaker, I also believe that as a nation, we must also begin to focus more on the backbone infrastructure that we need to support such satellite launches.
    Mr Speaker, today, the base station is sited in Koforidua and not in Accra. It is not sited in Kumasi, Takoradi or Tamale, but it is sited in Koforidua, which is not one of the major cities that we would recall. However, Koforidua is able to communicate with this satellite 400 kilometres into orbit, simply because, today, we have high- speed internet available in Koforidua.
    Mr Speaker, we would need to ensure this as a nation, and even in all of our ten regional capitals and extend it to the 210 district capitals, such that we would have high speed 4G internet available there.
    Mr Speaker, one of the Hon Members who made the Statement, Hon Ras Mubarak, who is the Member of Parliament for Kumbungu is with me on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications.
    We just ended a meeting with a Telecom Company (TELCO). In fact, today marks the third meeting with a third TELCO in a space of one week and they are all complaining about fibre optic cuts.
    Mr Speaker, this is with respect to the fibre which drives the internet that we
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Deputy Minister for Communications (Mr George Nenyi Kojo Andah) (MP): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the two Hon Members who made the Statements for bringing this issue out.
    Mr Speaker, it is appropriate to congratulate the ANUC and also recognise the support that they received from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the best project and management team, in making sure that this feat happened.
    Mr Speaker, this is another proud Ghanaian moment and I believe we should all celebrate this moment. Indeed, it was quite exciting to hear His Excellency the President give a live message from Peduase, through satellite during the launch of this programme.
    Mr Speaker, the benefit of the Ghana Sat1 one as has been previously said, includes monitoring Ghana's coastline for mapping purposes and most importantly, building capacity in space science and technology.
    Mr Speaker, Ghana is obviously going to benefit from Sat1, and indeed, this is the time for us to put in more, in terms of research and development, so that we can advance such purposes.
    Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Ministry of Communications and on behalf of the Hon Minister, we would like to congratulate the three young Ghanaian engineers, Mr Benjamin Bonsu, Mr Ernest Martey and Mr Joseph Quansah, for all that they have done to put Ghana on the map again.
    Mr Speaker, while at it, I would just want to correct a slight misinformation on how nobody cares about the fibre cuts that are happening.
    Mr Speaker, my very good friend, Hon Sam George, is very much aware of the efforts that are being made to make sure that we have the most secure fibre network within the country, and indeed, it behoves us to respect the right of ways.
    It behoves us to know that when we cut the fibre or allow people to cut the fibre, there is no commercial value that they would get from the fibre that is being cut. It is not copper that they could go and re-sell into the market, but it causes serious disruptions and in this day of modern technology, there is a lot that could happen.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Hon Minister, I do not want to interrupt you, but the issue really appears to be with road construction, where the contactors probably do not respect the maps indicating where cables are. Do you have any means by which you can assist contractors to avoid interrupting with the cables?
    Mr Andah 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there are a number of reasons why fibre is cut. The lack of respect for the right of way is one reason, and indeed, if nobody cares, then there would not have been a right of way arrangement at all.
    Mr Speaker, I am very much aware that the Hon Minister has initiated dis- cussions with the Ministry of Roads and Highways, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and of course, with the TELCOS, to make sure that contractors respect the right of way approvals that are given.
    There are other reasons, but I would want to correct the wrong impression that nobody cares about the fibre cuts that are happening.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Terlabi?
    Mr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi (NDC -- Lower Manya Krobo) 2 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statements made by my two Hon Colleagues.
    Mr Speaker, while I congratulate the students and the associates who launched the satellite, I would want to remind all of us that, in this country, we are quick to celebrate results; we are quick to celebrate when a satellite is launched for the first time; we are quick to celebrate when a scientist comes out with a cure for cancer; we are quick to celebrate when vaccines and other things are discovered.
    Mr Speaker, but the problem is that, we always look at the end result, but we do not interrogate what went into the findings or the research and the development of these products that I have just spoken about.
    Mr Speaker, I am talking about investing in the basics which is science and technology. As a country, how much investment do we make into the study and teaching of science and technology in this country?
    Mr Speaker, we celebrate those students today but I believe that they were encouraged by some teachers. They were encouraged because they had the facilities in the university in which they
    Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah (NPP -- Suhum) 2:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me join Hon Colleagues in congratulating the Hon Members who made the two Statements and in so doing, use the opportunity to commend the students who led this effort as well as their partners who supported their efforts.
    Mr Speaker, it has taken Ghana some time to join the league of nations that are engaged in space activities. It is exciting to see that today, Ghana can boast of its own satellite.
    I recollect the days when Ghana even had just one satellite earth station. We all remember, when we drive from Accra to Kumasi, we see at Kuntunse, this massive 32-metre satellite earth station which remained for a long time the only communications and broadcasting gateway in and out of Ghana.
    Twenty years down the line, Ghana now has several television receive-only terminals, VSAT and we have just added onto that our own low orbiting satellite in space.
    Mr Speaker, the advantages of having such a technology in space and having control over it is immense and immea- surable because, the application of this technology is quite wide. The current one that has been launched is talked of as being utilised for the issue of monitoring our coastline and other things.
    Mr Speaker, a low orbiting satellite at 420 kilometres up there moves so fast around the world that, it takes just about hours for it to orbit the planet.
    That means if it starts from Accra, it would have the opportunity to pho- tograph Accra four times in a day and we can begin to appreciate it in terms of helping police investigations and fighting crimes -- what such a technology could do for the country is such that we can have still images of a particular premises in the morning, afternoon, evening and at night and compare these images to see what changed during the day to make some investigative deductions from it.
    So, quite apart from what this first satellite seeks to do, in my view what has happened is that, it has suddenly brought to the fore the capacity that we have as a people and what we could achieve if we put our minds to it.
    Mr Speaker, one important factor is that this particular achievement is not Government-led; it is private individuals and organisations who have achieved this feat.
    So, it once again tells the population that we need not sit back for anything that we need in our lives and to help the nation progress, we just look up to the central or local Government or people in political office. These individuals who led this effort hold no political office and they did not rely on any public funds to do so. They have managed in their own way to achieve this feat which has put Ghana on the international space map.
    Mr Speaker, what it does again is to alert us as policy makers or legislators to begin to think about how we can create the necessary framework that would support this emerging sector.
    What are the laws that are going to govern the activities of satellite earth stations which would work in tandem with the space station to produce the necessary effect? What are the laws that would regulate those who own space stations and reside in Ghana?
    Even some of our financial laws may have to change with this development. Mr Speaker, there is an interesting provision in the Internal Revenue Service legislation which seeks to charge a non-resident person who does business in Ghana.
    By extension, when companies which own space stations offer services to companies which own satellite earth stations they charge them withholding tax and it goes on to add to the cost of doing business for companies which buy satellite bandwidth from our space stations.

    What we should remember is that, this satellite which has been put in space, does not only have the capacity to serve Ghana. This is because, it would have a footprint over a much broader area across the globe. And as it orbits the earth, it would also have the capacity to service other nations that are on the planet.

    So, in devising our laws, we should be sensitive to all these possibilities and not just assume that because this is a space station that was launched from Ghana, it only has the capacity to provide services to Ghana. So, if we have to legislate and create any framework, we should be guided by this.

    Mr Speaker, I have heard the attempt to link fibre cuts to the launch of this satellite and I must say that we should
    Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah (NPP -- Suhum) 2:10 a.m.


    rather recognise the capacity of the nation to own its own satellite, be it thirty- six thousand kilometres or in the low orbit optics of four hundred and twenty kilometres to be an alternative to the fibre that we have today.

    Mr Speaker, due to its inherent latency in communications at the thirty-six thousand kilometre orbit, communication entities decided to go by fibre optics. So, if today we see fibre cuts on our terrestrial fronts, even as our submarines have these issues, we should not run away from the safe haven that is provided by satellite.

    And that should encourage us to launch more satellites for the purposes of providing back up services to our current telecommunications infrastructure.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I associate myself with the two Statements and commend the Hon Members who made the Statements.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 a.m.
    Now, I think I would come to the Leadership.
    Mr James Klutse Avedzi (NDC -- Ketu North) 2:10 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I also associate myself with the two Statements and join my Hon Colleagues to congratulate the students of the All Nations University at Koforidua and their partners.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to join them in trying to see what kind of economic advantage that we can take from this story as a nation. It is true that the contribution that came on the floor indicated that this is a private investment done by private people without government's support and involvement.
    Mr Speaker, but I believe that government should take interest in this development. The agencies of Govern- ment which depend on the work of satellites, if we say that it is done by a private person and for that matter, government cannot involve itself, then it means that this private man would be discouraged if government agencies do not patronise the products.
    So, Government must take a keen interest in what happens after this development, how the agencies should partner or patronise the services of this new development.
    Mr Speaker, that also brings to the fore, the issue of what kind of belief we have as a nation, that this is something that was done here in Ghana. How do we know that the quality of this is something that can serve our purpose? How do we ensure that we patronise it?
    I ask that because, most of the time, we believe or we have more trust in the imported products than locally made products. So, if we have the notion that this is something that was developed here in Ghana, so, it would not be of quality, therefore, we cannot patronise it, this would not send us anywhere. If we want to say that we should depend on the imported products all the time, then we would definitely not move forward.
    So, I believe the effort should be made to encourage Ghanaians to patronise our locally produced goods. That also would be argued that if the quality of the locally made products are not good, should we enjoy it?
    Again, government must come in to support this private sector to ensure that goods that we produce here in Ghana are of quality. We support them in expanding
    their factories and industries to ensure that they come out with quality products that can match products that are produced elsewhere.
    So, Ghanaians would then have confidence in those products and for that matter, would not choose between local and imported products. Once we begin to do that we would shift from import-led country to self-reliance, local consum- ption and even to the extent of exporting what we produce here in Ghana.
    That should be the economic lesson that we should learn from this achievement by the students and the lecturers of the All Nations University in Koforidua Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, in fact, when I listened to the story on BBC, I was so happy that we have achieved this kind of feat in technology. But my issue is that we should take an economic advantage of that. So Government must also make an effort to see what kind of assistance could be given to this university to ensure that we benefit fully from this achievement.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 a.m.
    Hon Members, there is too much noise in the Chamber. Hon Dr Sam Kwadwo Nuamah, and Hon Kwame Agbodza, I can hear you from here.
    Does the Majority side want to contribute to this Statement?
    The Leadership?
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just a few remarks.
    Mr Speaker, I also rise to express my appreciation to the two Hon Members who have made the Statements in respect of the satellite launch by the All Nations University at Koforidua. Mr Speaker, I congratulate the students and their lecturers for the efforts that they have put into the research and the launch of the Satellite.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader got it right when he said that the perception out there is that, because it is coming from students and lecturers, especially from a private university, the quality may not be very high.
    Mr Speaker, but that is what was associated with the initial products from Japan. We in Ghana, when we first had the experience of Japanese products invading our markets as against the products from Europe and the Americas in the 1970s, the usual complaint was, this is a Japanese product, it cannot be good.
    Subsequently, they survived and when Korean products started arriving in Ghana, the focus then shifted onto their products. It is from Korea, it cannot be good. Today, we have all recognised the efficacy of Korean products.
    When we had products coming in from China, the initial reaction was that Chinese products cannot be good. Increasingly, we are growing to accept Chinese products.
    Mr Speaker, so, if it is from Ghana and people are suspicious about the quality, let us not be perturbed, but encourage the students and tutors of the All Nations University at Koforidua.
    My worry though is that, the investment required to have a second bite,
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, I think it is fair at this time, on behalf of Parliament, to congratulate the youngmen who were involved in the launch, their faculty and the university itself. [Interruption.]
    There is no evidence that the Member of Parliament (MP) was involved in any way. On behalf of the Parliament of Ghana, we congratulate all of them.
    There is a Statement by Hon Bedzrah to celebrate 25 years of the parliamentary career and 60th birthday celebration of the Hon Second Deputy Speaker and MP for Nadowli/Kaleo.
    Hon Bedzrah, you may read your Statement now.

    Launch of 25 years of parliamentary work and 60th birthday celebration

    in honour of Hon A.S. K. Bagbin
    Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (NDC — Ho West) 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me apologise for not being around yesterday.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, before I allow comments, I believe that in your conclusion, you mentioned some Hon Members who should be recognised. Even though you said the list is endless, I believe the list would be incomplete without the mention of Hon William Ofori Boafo, when it comes to legislation in this House. I would want to recognise him.
    Alhaji Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo (NDC — Wa Central) 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for this opportunity to contribute to this very unique Statement ably made by my good Friend, Hon Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah.
    Mr Speaker, history is unfolding before our very eyes. For the first time, we have a legislator in Ghana who has served for 25 continuous years in our democratic transition that we are experiencing now.
    Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to comment on the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague about our Leader who has served us all these years. Seven terms in Parliament cannot be underrated.
    Mr Speaker, let me take this opportunity to congratulate my Brother, Hon Bagbin on his achievement. Let me also thank the organisers of the
    programme towards celebrating his 60th birthday and not to underscore what he has achieved.
    Mr Speaker, it is very important that we note and also work with our people who have served the nation so tirelessly. Hon Bagbin is one of the people who I would say has served all round -- not on both sides of the aisle because even when there were independent Members of Parliament, he was either on the ruling side or on the opposition yet he put up his best. This is worth emulating.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Bagbin's patience and tolerance cannot be measured, and his knowledge of activities and parliamentary proceedings cannot be underestimated. We have all seen, understood and known that being a Member of Parliament, a first timer needs to sometimes, listen to those who have the experience and have been here either for the second or third time in order to gain the person's own seat.
    It is very important that we do not forget that institutional memory is not only about what has been documented, but even about people who were there to testify to the unfolding scenes of the institution.
    Mr Speaker, so, in the submission of the Hon Member who made the Statement, he said that we should get Members of Parliament who are still alive and have served this country, to at least, be around in more or less a second Chamber to be able to support us.
    Many a time, one would realise that there are even some questions or some issues that one needs to find out from someone who is more experienced. One would be drawing better from those who are experienced than even trying to research all by oneself. Sometimes, one
    might even research but not find a better way to present the findings.
    Mr Speaker, so the issue of institutional memory, the issue of keeping our people who are experienced and the issue of making sure that the attrition rate of Parliament is watched should be taken very seriously.
    Mr Speaker, I have listened carefully and I believe that we have women who have also left Parliament. In considering the issue of bringing our Members of Parliament together, both those who are still in Parliament and those who are out there and have that experience, our women should not be left out.
    We have always found it a very big problem to have women come out and agree to contest for political offices. That is simply because as role models, with time, they more or less fade out. One cannot find them and does not know where to get them and cannot find anything that one believes would help our institutions.
    So, if the issue of bringing past Members of Parliament together is made possible, I believe it would go a long way to help us in our parliamentary dispensa- tion.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Bagbin, we all know, has put up his best. We hope that all those who are here and have served three to four terms would also continue in that direction, and that they would emulate him and give off their best. That our constituents should also emulate what Hon Bagbin's constituency has done to support their Members of Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, I am making this Statement categorically because we have the issue of ‘he has gone twice and so, should go away'. We are not saying we we would want to continue as Members of
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development?
    Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (Hajia Alima Mahama) (MP) 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to add my voice to the Statement and to wish my senior but also Friend and Colleague a belated happy birthday. I am surprised he has not invited me for the celebrations.
    Mr Speaker, I met Hon Bagbin in the year 1977; we were mates for five years at the Faculty of Law and at Ghana School of Law . He was a young, assuming and quiet gentleman. So, when I later heard that he was a Member of Parliament, I asked, can this man perform? He was such a cool and calm gentleman.
    I met him in Parliament and he was a different ‘Bagbin'. I was surprised; I did
    not know what happened to him from university and between the day he was called to the Bar and when I met him in Parliament -- he was a different person.
    Mr Speaker, I commend him for his 25 years long-service in Parliament. This indicates leadership and confidence. Indeed, he exhibited leadership, confi- dence and respect in his constituency and that must be the reason his constituents kept retaining him over the years.
    Although I hope that in the next round, he would allow us to also take the Nadowli/ Kaleo seat. [Laughter.] And I am preparing a young lady for that seat -- he should allow us to take it.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Bagbin, I believe has shown respect even to his opponents on the other side. Celebrating 25 years in Parliament is a time that we also share in the honour that is being bestowed on him by his constituency and by his party. We commend him and we would continue to get that kind of guidance from him and his work.
    As he takes the seat as the Hon Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, we realised that he is always trying to encourage other people to participate. We believe that it is in the right direction to get the younger ones to feel confident to also join the debate in Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, today I would want to say congratulations to my Hon Colleague and friend. We wish him well and we wish him a brighter future in politics but at the highest level, we are going to contain it beyond and for the next 30 years.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Hon Member for Tamale North?
    Mr Suhuyini Alhassan Sayibu (NDC --Tamale North) 2:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement that has been made in celebration of the achievements that Hon Alban Sumana Bagbin has chalked.
    Mr Speaker, what Hon Alban Bagbin has is not offered; it is earned and that is why he deserves all the celebration in this world. Twenty-five years as a Member of Parliament especially in this part of our world is not easy.
    For those of us who are new entrants, we can already imagine the number of hurdles and problems that he has had to deal with in the 25 years of service as the Member of Parliament for the Nadowli/ Kaleo Constituency and he deserves to be commended.
    Mr Speaker, he is the only surviving Member of Parliament of the First Parliament of the Fourth Republic and that is no mean an achievement. Again, he is not just the only surviving Member of Parliament, but indeed, he is the only one who has consistently been re-elected by his people to come to this august House to represent them since we began the experiment of the Fourth Republic. That should tell all of us that he is doing something right in his constituency.
    So, for some of us, Hon Alban Bagbin is an embodiment of inspiration and patience. He is a mentor extraordinaire and somebody whose feat everyone who wants to dabble in the politics of Ghana should be humble enough to learn from.
    Mr Speaker, I had a rare encounter with him some time in 2002. That was my first encounter with him as a student leader when he was then the Minority Leader in this House. After the Sitting, I walked to his office when he had not seen me from anywhere before.
    But his reception continued to be my inspiration when I encounter new people anytime I go about my business.
    His reception was so warm. He did not disregard me on the basis of age. He did not believe I was too young to want to meet him. He did not believe that I was a bother. He gave me audience and at the end of our conversation, he gave me a number of books that have actually helped my political life.
    I still recall, A Litany of Broken Promises, one of those books that Hon Bagbin gave me those days. So, Mr Speaker, he has come a long way and that is the reason I would also want to agree with Hon Rashid Pelpuo, that perhaps, as a House, we must institute something in the celebration of this achievement that the Hon Member has chalked, so that it would inspire other Hon Members to look up to that.
    For example, if at 25 years, this House decides to institute an award scheme of a kind to Hon Bagbin and say that any Hon Member who in future is able to do 25, 50 or even he/she 100 years, if God permits in this House, will be awarded in this manner, I am sure it will inspire many other Members of Parliament to work assiduously, not only on the floor of this House, but also in their constituencies.
    This is because, at the end of the day, it is the constituents who determine whether one returns to this House or not and not just one's brilliance on the floor of the House, one's knowledge when it comes to law making or one's influence when it comes to the governance of this country.
    So, Mr Speaker, one thing is clear in the life of Hon Bagbin that he has been able to achieve the balance. He has successfully worked as a law maker in this House.
    Mr Suhuyini Alhassan Sayibu (NDC --Tamale North) 2:50 p.m.


    He has also contributed his bit to the governance of this country and again, all these years he has managed the everyday challenges that many Members of Parliament fail to do, and as a result lose their seats.

    We must commend him and hope that many other people will learn his ways so that we can build upon the development of this institution of Parliament.

    We need long serving people so that the institutional memory will continue to guide the evolution of our laws in this country.

    With these few words, Mr Speaker, I would want to congratulate Hon Alban Bagbin and pray and hope that he would not just leave us in this House so soon. I hope he still has the energy to serve as an MP, and to serve this country in the capacities that he chooses to and in whatever ways that he does it, I pray that he would continue to work to strengthen this institution of government.

    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, I will allow one more from each side and then, I will come to Leadership.
    Hon Okoe Boye?
    Dr Bernard Okoe Boye (NPP-- Ledzokuku) 2:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, I would also like to join the Hon Member who made the Statement in congratulating Hon Alban Bagbin for serving 25 years and counting in Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, having been in this Parliament for a few months, I actually wonder sometimes how one is able to do seven terms and counting in Ghana's Parliament.
    I see the role of the Member of Parliament as a very complex job. In fact, I see a Member of Parliament as one of the most complex managers one can ever come across. Dealing with domestic and international official duties and all sorts of demands, I believe strongly that to do 25 years is worth commending.
    Mr Speaker, I have also had the opportunity to experience Hon Alban Bagbin. He was very kind and generous to my good self and, in fact, that made me understand why he is usually referred to as, “the father of the House”.
    Mr Speaker, I particularly followed him when he was the Minority Leader in Parliament and I must say that he was one of the leaders who was very critical and yet civil on a lot of issues. Sometimes, he comes across as being very hard on the Government in power but at the same time very reasonable.
    Mr Speaker, there is one very important issue I would want to raise. When I entered this House, the first place I went to was the Library. From there, I went to the Mails Room. I was looking for a book that would teach me how to do, at least, two terms in Ghana's Parliament. Unfortunately for me, I found, How to be an MP written by a British. In fact, I was not impressed at all.
    I would like to beg Hon Alban Bagbin to write a book for some of us. Doing 25 years is very great but the greater job is to teach us how to do 25 years also. Mr Speaker, I wish that the forword of that book would be written by the Hon Majority Leader, who also has tremendous experience in this particular Parliament.
    I see a lot of things in Hon Alban Bagbin. He is not only a “father of the House”. He has held so many positions. I believe there are only a few ones left -- like Ambassador-at-Large and possibly, a presidential candidate.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to urge him to write a book for us and also pray that God gives him strength, so that whatever he desires to pursue in the future, he would succeed as he has succeeded in this Parliament.
    With these few words, I am grateful for the opportunity, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, were you guided by the Holy Spirit when you predicted the presidential candidacy? [Laughter.]
    Hon Ahmed will be the last one. Then I will come to the Leadership.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC-- Banda) 3 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to make a few comments on the Statement that was ably and timely presented to this House by the Hon MP for Ho West.
    Mr Speaker, 25 years in Ghana's Parliament, I believe, everybody here would agree with me that it is a great achievement. Looking through 275 Members of Parliament, there is only one without a classmate -- the lone ranger.
    Mr Speaker, since 1993, he is the only surviving Hon Member of Parliamehnt in the Fourth Republican dispensation. Mr Speaker, it is not a mere achievement.
    This reminds me of the Parliament of 1993, which was the First Parliament of the Fourth Republic. We were told that there were only two former Members of Parliament in that Parliament. Therefore, to put the institution of Parliament together and fall on the institutional memory of previous Parliaments, there were only two Hon Members of Parliamemt.
    Mr Speaker, this reminds me of the high rate of attrition, and the way we tag our outstanding Hon Members of Parliament as old. We say some people have been in this House for about 20 years and they must, therefore, go for others to come.
    Mr Speaker, we would agree that this is not how it is done in matured democracies. I would reinstate the above five points my Hon Brother enumerated in making sure that the new or young ones that come must feed on the institutional memory of our Hon Seniors who have been here for a long time.
    I suggest that as a nation, if we say we are practising a hybrid system -- we have taken an aspect of the presidential system of Government, which are the systems of the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA), and we must take the positive aspects of their parliamentary democracies.
    Mr Speaker, we would agree that when we go to the UK system, the Rt Hon Speakers and some of the Leaders in their Parliament are not allowed to go into competitive elections. It is the same in the USA system. Therefore, if Ghana is taking aspects of the UK and USA systems, we must take their positive aspects.
    Mr Speaker, to reaffirm that, I agree and suggest that, and I know you would agree with me, the Hon First and Second Deputy Speakers of this House should be given some special protection. It should not be
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
    Hon Member, kindly take me out of the debate, please.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 3 p.m.
    Hon Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, Hon Haruna Iddrisu and Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, the sole surviving Hon Member of the 1993 Parliament, are household names. Wherever people see Hon Alban Bagbin and Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, they symbolise Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, but are these things known in the constituencies? They raise a serious question.
    I was part of the delegation that went to the Upper West Region. We proceeded to Wechiaw. It would interest us to know, and it was very sad that a student stood before us and asked us, that we said this man was a very good Hon Member of Parliament; we should tell him who a good Hon Member of Parliament is.
    Mr Speaker, when we allow people not to appreciate experience, institutional memory and the effort others put in place to make sure that the whole nation benefits, this Parliament would have done a great disservice to itself.
    Mr Speaker, at a point, we were asked that we said this man is a very good Hon MP; why is it that they do not have certain things? Parties must put structures in place to make sure that when the Hon Majority Leader is always in his office and represents Ghana both within and outside the country, we develop their constituencies in such a way that they would have ample time to concentrate on the work of Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, as an Hon Majority Leader, Hon Minority Leader and Hon First and Second Deputy Speakers, we can imagine the kind of administrative work done, aside that of an Hon Member of Parliament and that of the constituency. Mr Speaker, they do three in one. If they are allowed to go into competitive elections like all of us who only do the work of a Hon Member of Parliament, we can imagine the difficulties that await them.
    Mr Speaker, besides that, a Parlia- mentary Training Institute (PTI) has been established. When we always bring academia to train Hon Members of Parliament on parliamentary work we would agree that some of them do not even appreciate parliamentary democracy and the work of an Hon Member of Parliament.
    Therefore, when we allow academia to train Hon Members of Parliament, it is like allowing an English language tutor to mark a chemistry paper; he would not appreciate anything. All he understands is the English language. Therefore, he would not appreciate the chemistry itself. That is why people sometimes talk anyhow to Hon Members of Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, I know Hon Alban Bagbin has gone through a lot. I would just give a last testimony about him and resume my seat. We went to the Regional National Democratic Congress (NDC) Chairman of the Upper West Region in Wa.
    We went to give testimonies about Hon Alban Bagbin, so that the regional executives in the constituency would allow him to come to the House again.
    The Regional NDC Chairman said that Hon Bagbin was a different creature -- Hon Bagbin was with him the day before, and the Chairman insulted Hon Bagbin, and wanted Hon Bagbin to fight him, so that the Chairman would have the opportunity to do other things.
    At 4.00 a.m. on the day in question, Hon Bagbin was the first person to knock on his door. When the Chairman opened his door, Hon Bagbin thanked him for his correction the day before. It was because of that the Chairman said he would support him.
    Mr Speaker, we, the young Hon MPs, must take a cue from that. When somebody tries to insult, fight or pick a bone with us, we should not fight them. We should take a cue from the strategy of Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, and make peace with them.
    By so doing, we would end up with a win. This is how Hon Bagbin has been able to make it for seven good terms. I believe that if he is 60 years now and he has spent 25 five years in Parliament, it means that he entered here at that age of
    35.
    Mr Speaker, I strongly believe in the suggestion that we should create a space for them, so that they would work at the PTI -- they should design some curriculum on how Hon Members of Parliament should be trained, assessed and the code of ethics. I believe Hon Bagbin played a pivotal role in drafting the Code of Ethics for Hon Members of Parliamenmt.
    It should not end there. There is now the opportunity for him to serve Ghana. He is just 60 years; he still has about 12
    more years. I appeal to the people of Nadowli/Kaleo to appreciate Hon Bagbin just as they do and make sure we would still have him in the next Parliament.
    Some were not able to even make four, eight or twelve years. Some people say -- I do not even know how to put it, but he has made it for 25 years and would go on to make it to 28 years. I believe he would make it to 32 years, just like Hon Jeremy Corbyn, who made it for 32 years in the UK and he is now the leader of the Labour Party.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC-- Asawase) 3:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy to contribute to this able Statement made by our Hon Colleague, Hon Emmanuel K. Bedzrah which eulogises the Hon Second Deputy Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy about the Statement in the sense that since I came to this House, I have never heard Parliament make time to speak well of one of us, unless the person died.
    Mr Speaker, we are good at doing it when we are dead and gone and I stand corrected. This is the first time I am seeing this happening and let us commend Mr Speaker for allowing space for this to be done.
    Mr Speaker, let me say that there are two gentlemen in the Chamber today, whom I hold in very high esteem. My coming to and continued stay in this House really hinges on their advice.
    The first one, is Hon Alban Bagbin. If I would take you through memory lane, that in the year 2005, the late Dr Gibril Adamu Mohammed was sworn-in in this Chamber
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC-- Asawase) 3:10 p.m.
    to represent the people of Asawase. After 39 days, he died and then we needed to replace him. Based on the Islamic tradition, he had to be buried the same day he died and right at the funeral grounds, Hon Alban Bagbin said he wanted to talk to me.
    Mr Speaker, innocently, at the funeral grounds, I went closer to him and he told me that they have been told that I am capable of replacing the gentleman and I was shocked. This is because, yes, I was very interested in politics at the university level; and I was very active but I had truly not planned of coming to Parliament that soon.
    So, I told him that sincerely, this was not something that I had wanted to do and I would be more than happy to support whoever the party chose to represent it in that by-election just as I had done for the late Dr Gibril Adamu Mohammed.

    Mr Speaker, I say that I hold my being here to Allah who created me and to Hon Bagbin. This is because had it not been for his perseverance, there was no way I would have been in this House because I thought I was not ready to be in Parliament then.

    In the year 2007, we travelled to Geneva with the current Hon Majority Leader, then the Hon Majority Chief Whip and Hon Bagbin was the Hon Minority Leader. In our conversation, I confided in the Hon Majority Leader that what they were doing

    with this small salary with all this confusion, I was going to bow out.

    Then Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told me that I was one gentleman he had noticed with a lot of potential, so, I should please not step out. Little did I know that our conversation was extended to my Leader and I was summoned.

    Hon Bagbin said that he deliberately watched me and gave me a lot of assignments, so that, I could be interested in staying in the House. So, I should please stop thinking that I would not come back to the House again. That is why I said I hold these two gentlemen in high esteem to my continual stay in this House because they encouraged me.

    Mr Speaker, today, we are eulogising the Hon Bagbin as the first Hon Member of Parliament who has been in the House for 25 years. Let us admit that there were a lot of things that they were doing which today, most of our Hon Colleagues who come to this House do not understand.

    They were identifying whether regardless of one's political side -- because I have been told more than 10 times by the Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- even though, we did not belong to the same political party, that the way I am working very hard, I would one day be a good Hon Member of Parliament irrespective of party affiliation.

    Today, almost every one who comes to this House -- and I am happy, hoping that the Hon Majority Chief Whip would agree with me -- that even before the swearing-in ceremony, Hon Members were running to the Leaders to ask which committees were juicy and which they would want to serve on.

    Mr Speaker, when we came, our Leaders were able to identify those with huge potentials and gave them opportunities in the form of assignments to build them up. Today, many of us who come to this House are looking for the opportunity either to make money, to travel or do other things.

    Mr Speaker, when we are talking about high attrition rate, let us be honest with each other by looking at ourselves too. This Chamber is supposed to contain 275 of us, let us also observe how many of us do stay in this Chamber constantly to work and to help the development of Parliament. Many of us just come, sit down for about 30 minutes to one hour and then step out.

    Some of us were trained by Hon Bagbin, that when we enter this Chamber, unless there is a very good reason to step out, we do not step out. We stay because this is the biggest university you could find in the world. Parliament is the biggest university; because everything from archaeology to zoology of the country passes through Parliament and therefore, just sitting down and listening is more than enough for one to learn.

    Mr Speaker, he also taught us that when someone makes a statement, they make reference to the Standing Orders. So, we should make sure that at all times, we have our Standing Orders and Constitutions by us.

    As we sit in this Chamber, when one goes round, how many of us have our Standing Orders and Constitution with us? He told us that if something is quoted 10 times, we should open them and look at the quotations 10 times. This is because it is the only way it would stick in our memories.

    The Hon Bagbin taught us that if people were debating on the floor and a Senior Hon Colleague said something that we did not understand, when the House adjourns, we should walk to that person and try to understand the basis of that person's argument. There was deliberate grooming in this House.

    Today, people come to the House and they think that they are even wiser than their Leaders. Simply because, with the greatest of respect, maybe, they are older, or they were classmates and they were better than you, or even in the political parties, they are much older in politics before you became an Hon Member of Parliament.

    So, we are beginning to behave in a disorganised manner and all we do is to accuse each other and do things that do not augur well.

    I say this because we need to find a way of making Parliament grow and it is very worrying that after every election, we have almost 50 per cent of new Hon Members in the House. There is no way we can maintain a Parliament when after every election, 50 per cent of the House is made up of new Hon Members. The attrition rate is very high and I can speak for the Minority side.

    Mr Speaker, today, the only person that we have serving a seventh term is Hon Bagbin and we have Hon Collins Dauda, who is serving his sixth term. On our side, we do not have anybody serving the fifth term; and the fourth term Hon Members are about 11, the third term are about 18 and the second term are 48 and then we have the first term Members of Parliament being about 40.

    It clearly shows that the attrition rate is so high. Let me now turn my attention to the cause of attrition rate outside.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC-- Asawase) 3:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, having stayed in this House for over a decade, if we do not do away with two things, by my observation, we would continue to have the challenges that we have regardless of what we do.
    In my view, as painful as it may be, all of us have been involved in it and I mean, as the Hon Majority Leader would say, someone was a champion of one thing or the other. The excessive partisanship in Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, if we, as a Parliament do not wake up and rise above excessive partisanship in this House, there is no way we would make the mark to get us to stay in this Chamber for long.
    This is because, almost everything that the Hon Members of the Majority side of the House are doing is to protect their own and the Hon Members of the Minority side are doing everything to drag the Hon Members of the Majority down. That is what we seem to be doing in this House. With the greatest of respect --
    When one is on the Majority side, it is as if when they were there, they were protecting their own interest and how would one now want to expose them and a lot of pressure goes to the Hon Majority Leader and his team on the front bench. So, at a point, they also lose guard and it is about they protecting their own interest.
    No matter what the Majority side does, the Minority side would say that if they should acknowledge the Majority side, they would never come to power. So, no matter what it is, they would insist and push them down.
    Mr Speaker, if we do not do away with this attitude, there is no way this House would grow.

    Mr Speaker, secondly and very importantly is the politics of patronage and this is one of the main banes of our challenges as Hon Members of Parliament. Mr Speaker, a person gets elected and everybody in the constituency thinks that the person should be the Father Christmas and provide for food, health, bills and support people to get jobs and buy other things.

    Mr Speaker, even when other people are getting married, they think that because they have voted for you and they were members of your executive, so, you have to support them.

    Mr Speaker, if we do not find a way of legislating and criminalising the excessive patronage in our politics in Ghana, then there is no way that the politics in this country would develop. This is because it would all be about elections; one goes for the election, when it is done then the person would come back, and beginning 8th January the person would start working towards elections.

    We would never do anything out of conscience -- just because it has to be done, we would all do things, so that we would win the next elections. Mr Speaker, if we do this, then there is no way that we would be able to develop this House. It is sad.

    Mr Speaker, last time, when Hon Bagbin was the Hon Majority Leader with Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu as the then Hon Minority Leader, they had to struggle through their primaries. Not the election itself but the climax towards the contests -- the insults and name calling. One would wonder whether it is worth it -- having developed their constituencies, themselves and this House to that level -- must they be treated to that level of humiliation?

    Mr Speaker, people called them names and said all manner of things about them. There was a person who said in Twi that “Na aden, ono nko ara na owo nyansa?” to wit “Is he the only wise man in this constituency?” He has done enough and so he should go.

    I was on the radio and asked him whether he wanted to remove somebody who is an Hon Leader in the House and then when he gets here, he would come and start from behind? Mr Speaker, then he said that when he comes, he would come and sit on his chair.

    Mr Speaker, that was what he thought -- that when he comes here he would come and sit on the Hon Majority Leader's chair and continue from where he left. This is so sad.

    Mr Speaker, as individuals and Hon Members of Parliament, we must do the best that we could to get our constituents to understand that our focus is law making. Yes, we could support as much as possible but it should not be as though all we have to do is to constantly do almost everything for a constituent. Mr Speaker, when we do that we would never be able to meet their expectations and definitely every four years, a chunk would drop along the way.

    Mr Speaker, the late Rt Hon Speaker, Hon Peter Ala Adjetey, did something which I believe we should bring back. My Hon Leaders are here to correct me. Close to the end of the tenure, certificates were presented to every Hon Member of Parliament.

    There was usually a dinner and a certificate was presented to the Hon Member that he was in this House over a

    certain period. Mr Speaker, I believe that the last time was with the late Hon Peter Ala Adjetey but when Hon Sekyi-Hughes was the Rt Hon Speaker, it did not happen and so on till today.

    Mr Speaker, we do not want to recognise ourselves, yet we would want outsiders to recognise us. I believe that the Rt Hon Speaker should give it a thought because, through that we popularise those who are doing very well among us and give Hon Members certificates of having been here over the period.

    Mr Speaker, because I know that the Hon Majority Leader or someone from the Majority side would also speak, let me end by saying that this is a very useful thing that we are doing for ourselves -- to identify people who have contributed heavily and recognise them while they are alive and are still Hon Members of Parliament.

    Mr Speaker, let me say without any fear of contradiction that if there is one other person that we would need to find the opportunity to really acknowledge the immense contribution to this House then, obviously, it is the Hon Majority Leader.

    This is because everyone and those of us who have been in this Chamber over a decade would admit that he may have his shortfalls and weaknesses, but when it comes to law making, I doubt that if we are going to count the first five Members of Parliament in this Chamber, he would be one.

    Mr Speaker, and for him to do this over 20 years, then we would need to definitely find time to also acknowledge his effort just as we are doing today for our senior Hon Colleague, Hon Alban Bagbin.

    We do not have to wait until they are dead before we would come and say all the nice things about them when they
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    This time I am calling you and not the others.
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP -- Suame) 3:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to show appreciation to the effort of Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin -- A.S.K. Bagbin.
    Mr Speaker, often times when we have run into turbulence, we turn to A.S.K. Bagbin -- On this occasion, we are celebrating Hon A.S.K. Bagbin at 60 years. Mr Speaker, I chalked 60 years in February this year but the man had been pretending all this while that he is older than me. [Laughter]. Mr Speaker, today the cat is out of the bag.
    Sometimes, he tells me that when he went to class one he was nine years old and so, he is older than me. At least, his official age is known and he may have a different chronological age or a different biological age but we do not want to interrogate that.
    Today, we are celebrating Hon Bagbin at 60 years and a quarter century in
    Parliament. That is a monumental achievement given the turbulence in Ghana's politics.
    Mr Speaker, I believe it is worthy that as a House we would find space to acknowledge and celebrate our own. In the lead up to the primaries of the NDC, a programme that had been on the drawing board for a while and which we had not been able to execute was kicked into action and we found ourselves in the Upper West Region.
    Mr Speaker, let me explain that, that programme had been on the board for a very long time and we had not found enough space to execute it and when we found space to do that, we went to the Upper West Region. We went into the space and the backyard of Hon Yieleh Chireh, Hon Bagbin as well as one other constituency. Mr Speaker, when we went there, I had the occasion to speak eloquently about the achievement of Hon Bagbin.
    Mr Speaker, my own party was contesting him but I said to them that it should not just be that we would want to conquer this mountain. It should be that, yes, this is a person with a monumental experience and competence and so, if we would want to replace him from my own party then let us have a person who is more capable in order to replace him.
    Mr Speaker, I appealed to his own party that whereas they are saying that he had stayed for too long, if they want to replace him then these are the credentials of the man. So, they should bring a person who would be able to rise taller than the achievements that the man had chalked, then we would make a lot of sense.
    But we should not just say that he had stayed for too long and so let him bow out and then we would replace a tertiary
    student with a primary one student. Mr Speaker, that would certainly not make sense. One person then asked that we are talking about experience and so, if we had all gone there, we would have got experience as I was speaking about.

    Mr Speaker, I told him if a group of people enter class one at the same time, one person would be made the class prefect, and when they get to the final class, they might have one senior prefect among the lot. So, all fingers are not the same. We must recognise that.

    Mr Speaker, the Hon Bagbin has risen through the ranks. He entered Parliament as a backbencher and became a Chairman of a Committee; then rose to become the Hon Minority Leader; subsequently, the Hon Majority Leader; a Minister of State in more than one Ministry and today, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker.

    Mr Speaker, we must recognise competence and ability. He has risen through the ranks. He did not enter Parliament by anybody's patronage. He pulled himself up by his own bootstraps. In Parliament, he has discharged and indeed acquitted himself creditably before all of us.

    He fulfils his representational role effectively and efficiently. When it comes to legislation, he is one to be noticed and in exercising his oversight functions, again, he punches the raider.

    Mr Speaker, because his own contributions are well informed, in the informational responsibility of an Hon Member, he performs with excellence. Parliament is charged with the responsibility of holding the purse. As the

    purse holder of the country, when it comes to the scrutiny of the Budget, he applies eagle's eyes.

    Parliament ratifies agreements, treaties and conventions and the Hon Bagbin is one person to be noticed and to be flowering the discourse in the House with his own experience.

    Mr Speaker, he is a man of considerable experience and a great degree of institutional memory. He has learnt the rules of the House; the rules of Procedure, as a Minority Leader, as a Majority Leader and as a Member of this House. The man has informed the debates and indeed enriched the debates and discourse of this House in his own way.

    Mr Speaker, in all this, the Hon A. S. K. Bagbin is a man that you would notice as a man who moderates his language and I would recommend his attitude to Hon Members of Parliament, especially the new ones among us. People would want to be recognised and in their haste to be recognised, they employ very acidic language as if that would give them recognition.

    I would appeal to them to learn from the Hon A. S. K. Bagbin. One does not need to be insulting to be recognised within and without; that is inside and outside the House.

    Mr Speaker, sometimes, some language might be hard, but they might not be insulting. They might be on point; that might be acceptable, like the use of “optical illusion” and others which certain people wanted to challenge.

    Mr Speaker, however, I believe we must recognise quality material when we see one. Let us also say that the experience of the Hon A. S. K. Bagbin did not happen by accident. He has stayed in the House
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    I think Ghana's Parliament is the only Parliament that interprets the Constitution to limit its own powers. I have not seen that anywhere. Everywhere else, they interpret the Constitution to expand their own powers, except the courts check them.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much, because come to think of it, that constitutional provision relates to matters that are financial. The
    chapter on finances, it relates to that alone, and that is why it is good if we explore the possibility of going round it.
    As I said, unfortunately, our Speakers have not given that interpretation to it, except Hon Peter Ala Adjetey who made the attempt.
    Mr Speaker, all established Parliaments allow for matters that are before the courts to be commented on in the House. Our Speakers sit in the Chair and forbid us. I do not know where this is coming from.
    The provision provides that if in the opinion of the person presiding, the contribution an Hon Member is making would not prejudice the matter before the court, it should be allowed, but for us, ab initio, we cannot raise it because it is before the court. I cannot understand.
    We are inflicting a mortal wound on Parliament and we are forbidding Parliament from performing its functions.
    Mr Speaker, on the occasion of celebrating one of our own, who is the only person to have crossed that rubicon of attaining 25 years, a quarter of a century in the House, we should use that occasion to do serious introspection about how we are contributing to grow our Parliament or imperiling the growth of Parliament by our own omissions and commissions.
    The Hon Minority Chief Whip alluded to what the Hon Peter Ala Adjetey wanted to institutionalise, that is, recognising the competences of various Hon Members in the House and rewarding them. I believe the time has come for us to commend same to the current Speaker for us to revive that.
    At least, that provides some motivation to Hon Members in the House, and by our review exercise that we want to conduct, we want to even create some
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:40 p.m.


    space to Committee Chairpersons, recognising their own efforts as we move along, because it is a herculean assignment, in order to motivate them to work to grow our Parliament.

    The axiom is that a Parliament is as strong as its committees make it. If we do not make our committees strong, our Parliaments remain very weak.

    So, Mr Speaker, this weekend, we would like to conclude the work on the review exercise and I hope when we come to approving the new Standing Orders, Hon Members would acclaim the efforts of the previous Leaders and what work they have done. Let us approve of it to help grow our Parliament.

    Mr Speaker, not to dilute what the Statement stands for, let me conclude that I am happy for Hon Bagbin, for the 25 years he has chalked, that he should let us know his true date of birth. He says it is 60 years, but in other areas, it is more than 60 years -- [Laughter] -- I am not the father, I am not the mother, but this is just an aside.

    I believe we should celebrate the man. He is worthy of celebration. He invited me to the programme. Unfortunately, I lost my aunt, so I could not attend, but I sent word to him that I was with him in spirit.

    So, Mr Speaker, I was not too comfortable when other contributors were making their own Statements and the man was wide eyed looking at them, as if he was beckoning them to say something good about him.

    He is not here, and I think we can speak well of him that he has discharged his functions and responsibilities as a Member of Parliament dutifully and

    faithfully, and the nation at large should recognise him.

    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity -- and respectfully, let me say to my Hon Colleagues, that when a Colleague makes a good presentation, the reception should be --[Hear! Hear!] -- and not -- [Yeah! Yeah!] [Laughter.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, it is appropriate that I add my own contribution.
    I had the opportunity to work with Hon Bagbin when he was Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. We worked on three Bills, but on two, we had serious disagree- ments on the provisions, nevertheless, we worked so harmoniously and cordially.
    Indeed, my interpretation and views on the property rights of spouses and his were at variance. On many occasions, I garnered more support for my side against his. However, whenever the position was against him, he understood that the majority of us preferred that provision and that enabled us to work closely together until he was brought back as a Leader of the House.
    I also wish to put on record that our work on the Right to Information Bill was one of the tedious works. Indeed, if you look at our Report, we practically re-wrote the Right to Information Bill.
    It was totally different from what came from the Executive, but it was through the leadership of Hon Bagbin that we were able to achieve such, and we brought a Report that proposed a 50-page amendment. That was how tedious the work was.
    This is a man who deserves to be celebrated. If you have survived seven primaries, seven General Elections, not counting the financial, emotional and social cost and the real pain we cause our families -- our wives and children who bear the real brunt of the public service we provide --
    I think it is time to honour Hon Bagbin, and appropriately, it is time to bring him in to take the Seat as I vacate the Seat now, and I recommend that we rise to acknowledge the Hon Member as he comes in to take the Seat.
    rose MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, I cannot resist the urge in me to thank all of you for the kind words and the glowing tribute that you have paid to me while I am alive. I am most grateful and I pray that my record would be the minimum and that a lot more of you would soar above what I have achieved.
    Hon Members, the strength of Parliament lies in experience and as you stated, led by the Hon Majority Leader, the Parliament of Ghana is the weakest arm of Government. Parliament is a technical institution, it is a different school, and one needs time and space to learn.
    Hon Members, it is only when Parliament is strong that our democracy can click. So, most of the weaknesses of the democratic parties in this country are as a result of the weakness of this Parliament.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Again, I thank all of you for the kind words.
    I know this would go down in the history of Ghana, inspire more people and encourage Ghanaians to, at least, give Hon Members more time to mature and serve them well.
    Hon Members, thank you very much for the opportunity.

    Hon Members, we have one other Statement, but because of time, I have been advised to go straight to the pending Report. So, the Statement would be taken tomorrow.

    Hon Majority Leader, you could therefore advise the House on what we should do next.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is a pending Motion, which is Motion numbered 6 and then Motion numbered 7 on today's Order Paper, which I guess we could take. So, if you may, we could take Motion numbered as item 6 on the Order Paper, page 3.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, Motion numbered 6 on page 3 of the Order Paper.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?

    Thank you, Hon Majority Leader, for the reminder.
    MOTIONS 3:50 a.m.

    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (on behalf of the Chairman of theCommittee) 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee of Selection on the re-composition of Committees of the House may be moved today.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 3:50 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, item numbered 7 on the Order Paper.
    Re-composition of Committees of the House
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee of Selection on the re- composition of Committees of the House.
    Mr Speaker, let me at the outset also make it clear that this exercise that we are embarking on is to carry us to the end of this Meeting.
    Mr Speaker, the review of the Standing Orders is going to lead to a re- composition of the Committees -- a wholesale re-composition of the Committees. So, whoever is put on any Committee now is just for the three-week period that is ahead of us.
    Mr Speaker, I know that a few people have some misgivings, but they should bear with us that it is not deliberate not to listen to where they would want to go. They should, therefore, please bear with the Committee of Selection.
    Mr Speaker, they should also remember that this Committee is the Rt Hon Speaker's Committee, chaired by him. So, any attempt to kick against the recommendations of the Committee is a rebellion against the Rt Hon Speaker. [Laughter]— That is on the lighter side.
    Mr Speaker, in so doing, I would like to present your Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    In line with Standing Orders 151 and 152, the Committee of Selection met and recomposed the Standing and Select Committees of the House.
    In furtherance of this, the composition of the Committees of the House was based on the ratio of 169:106 representing the numerical strength of the two caucuses in the House and as approved by the House.
    The re-composition became necessary due, among other considerations, to the fact that some Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of committees have been
    appointed Ministers and Deputy Ministers to various Ministries and this affects the oversight responsibilities of such members on the various committees that oversee the various Ministries.
    The situation where sector Ministers superintend their oversight committees of the House is at variance with best practice and indeed, the conventions of the House. There was thus the need to undertake the exercise that has been done.
    The Committee after due considera- tion, submits to the House the full list of the recomposed Standing and Select Committees as follows:
    List of Committees
    The list of the Standing Committees and all the Select Committees of the House are as follows:
    Standing Committee
    (1) Standing Orders Committee
    (2) Subsidiary Legislation Committee
    (3) Special Budget Committee
    (4) Public Accounts Committee
    (5) Privileges Committee
    (6) Committee on Judiciary
    (7) House Committee
    (8) Committee on Government As- surance
    (9) Committee on Gender and Children
    (10) Finance Committee
    (11) Appointments Committee
    (12) Business Committee
    (13) Committee on Members Holding Office of Profit
    (14) Committee of Selection.
    Special or Ad-Hoc Committee
    Committee on Poverty Reduc- tion Strategy.
    Select Committees
    1. Lands and Forestry
    2. Food, Agriculture, and Cocoa Affairs
    3. Local Government and Rural Development
    4. Works and Housing
    5. Constitutional, Legal and Parlia- mentary Affairs
    6. Health
    7. Communications
    8. Roads and Transport
    9. Defence and Interior
    10. Foreign Affairs
    11. Youth, Sports and Culture
    12. Education
    13. Mines and Energy
    14. Environment, Science and Technology
    15. Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 3:50 a.m.


    16. Trade, Industry and Tourism

    Attachment: Please, find attached lists of the various Committees and their re- composed membership (Appendix 1 for Standing Committees and Appendix 2 for Select Committees).

    Conclusion

    The Committee respectfully recommends to the House to adopt this Report and approve the attached lists of the membership of the various Committees (both Standing and Select) as recomposed.

    Respectfully submitted.

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    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 3:50 a.m.


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    SPACE FOR SELECTION 3:50 a.m.

    SPACE FOR BUSINESS 3:50 a.m.

    SPACE FOR APPOINTMENTS 3:50 a.m.

    SPACE FOR ROADS AND 3:50 a.m.

    SPACE FOR EDUCATION 3:50 a.m.

    SPACE FOR EMPLOYMENT 3:50 a.m.

    SPACE FOR 3:50 a.m.

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    COMMUNICATIONS 3:50 p.m.

    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC-- Asawase) 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, these changes are long overdue because most of our Hon Colleagues became Hon Ministers in the last Meeting. Admittedly, because of the sheer number of Hon Members who have moved from Parliament to become Hon Ministers or Deputies, we obviously needed to give the Majority side of the House ample time to effect all the necessary changes.
    As per our Standing Orders, Hon Members who become Hon Ministers cannot serve on some Committees because some of them were -- For example, the Hon Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee became an Hon Deputy Minister for the same sector. Obviously, there is no way he could continue to be there.
    Some of them were Hon Vice Chairpersons and Hon Chairpersons, and it obviously became difficult that they could no longer do so, based on our own Standing Orders.
    Mr Speaker, I admit that the changes that have been made are not without challenges. This is because a lot of Hon Members may have some concerns, but like the Hon Majority Leader rightly said, the intent was that this would not last beyond this Meeting.
    Next Meeting, God willing, a more robust one would be done with the hope that we are done with the amendment of the Standing Orders to take care of the new composition.
    So, we hope that those who are not too happy would bear with the Leadership. I hope that in our subsequent restructuring, most of the concerns and displeasure of some Hon Members would be taken into consideration.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity.
    Question proposed.
    Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi (NPP -- Atwima Kwanwoma) 4 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the Motion as advertised on page 3 of the Order Paper as item 7.
    In commenting on the Motion, I would like to emphasise that I am in my third term as an Hon Member of this House and for that matter, a senior Member of this House. Since I joined this House, I have creditably served on two Committees -- the Poverty Reduction Committee and the Select Committee on Health.
    For that matter, I can be considered as a Senior Member of this House. Right from the beginning, I expressed my desire to continue to serve on the Select Committee on Health and as the Hon Chairman of this Committee. This is because I have acquired sufficient experience and expertise which I believe I could bring to bear on the fortunes of this Committee.
    It should also be put on record that as operates in other jurisdictions, seniority counts very much as well as competence and expertise when it comes to considering leadership positions in Parliament.
    I have, therefore, read with dismay how unfair I have been treated in the placement by the re-composition of the Committees. Indeed, I have been treated unfairly and I am not happy at all about this treatment.
    Mr Benjamin Komla Kpodo (NDC -- Ho Central) 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee of Selection.
    In his preamble, the mover of the Motion depended on Standing Orders 151 and 152. Mr Speaker, he also added that whatever is before the House would last up to the end of this Meeting and that changes would be made as a result of the amendments to the Standing Orders, which are underway.
    Mr Speaker, I am not a member of the Committee doing the amendment and I cannot tell what provisions or what proposals are before the Committee on which they are deliberating. But I know that these Standing Orders, which we operate now, were adopted in November,
    2000.
    Since 2000, the size of the Parliament of Ghana has increased. We have had 230, and currently, we are 275, but the numbers on the various Committees remain the same since the adoption of the Standing Orders. I believe that creates a problem for the Committee of Selection in even fixing Hon Members on the various Committees.
    So, I just want to draw the attention of the Committee of Selection to advert their minds to appropriate increases in the numbers on the various Committees based on the fact that the size of the House has increased over the years since these numbers were fixed.
    I thank you for the attention, Mr Speaker.
    4. 10. p. m.
    Mr Francis Kingsley A. Codjoe (NPP -- Ekumfi) 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Motion, but I also note the preamble set by the Leader of the House that this is the Committee of Mr Speaker, and I do not want to be seen as challenging Mr Speaker's authority.
    I am a member of the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy. We just returned from Koforidua and we had a very good time there. [Interruption.] Good time in terms of presentation. We had a very good interaction there under the able leadership of our Hon Chairman of the Committee, Dr Appiah-Kubi.
    I believe he has also asked the Ministries that came to us to come back in two weeks' time. What I feel is that he has had a positive impact on the Committee. So, going forward, in what he had started, he needs to finish in two weeks. So, I lend my voice to him to see if there is any way the change — he has currently been removed from the chairmanship position of the Committee.
    I believe his chairmanship is good for Mr Speaker's Committee. Mr Speaker, for the Committee for Poverty Reduction Strategy to work effectively, it must deliver on the mandate it has been given.
    So, my appeal is that the issue should be considered because, from his comment, it appears as if he is not too happy with the change.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    Hon Member for Wa West?
    Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion. I support the Motion because it is long overdue. The work of Parliament, as you would notice, is not going as fast as it should be.
    Now, it is here, and the assurances we get from the Leadership of the House is that this is even a temporary arrangement and therefore, if there are any concerns— I do not like the idea of people expressing concerns about particular Committees that they do not want to be on.
    If you do not want to be on those Committees, who should be there? The Committees were created for the effective running of this House. What you do on the Committee is more important.
    And many of us who entered Parliament a few years back, if we mention the Committees we were put on, you would run away -- [Interruption] -- You would run away from the House --[Laughter]- - But when you go, you are in Parliament. As was already indicated by the Hon Members who spoke when we were paying tributes to Mr Second Deputy Speaker, we are here to learn.
    There is no Committee that you would not learn anything from. In fact, the Committee of Selection, which does these things, if you go there, you would see the regional balance arguments, the gender balance arguments and so many things that would draw your attention to the difficult job that Leadership has in composing these Committees.
    There is no way you would compose Committees of Parliament and everybody would be jumping and laughing. Why
    should that be the case? We have to concern ourselves with the mandate of the Committees and also know that we are there as a result of a temporary arrange- ment.
    Indeed, if we look at some people, they could be on all the Committees because they have working experience, they have professional qualification and they have all that it takes for them to be on those Committees.
    Fortunately for us, if you think you are interested in a Committee's work and you have the time, you could go and make a contribution. Indeed, many of us learnt in Parliament through that. This is because if there is a Committee and you do not know how it functions and what it discusses, it is for you as a Member of Parliament to familiarise yourself with their workings.
    And in any case, this idea of some Committees not being good also depends on the leadership of those Committees. This is because there were some Committees that nobody wanted to belong to when I entered Parliament. But with the dynamism and commitment of the leadership that took over those Committees, they became very ‘lucrative'.
    If you do not want to belong to a Committee because it is not meeting frequently, it is not actively pursuing things, it is for you on that Committee to suggest ideas. We have many things to do that we are not doing. So, when people talk about ‘I do not want to be on this Committee', it is not a good thing at all.
    When the Committee of Selection is composing the Committees, as I indicated, they would have to look at the Hon Members' background. If all the Hon Members come from the Ashanti Region as NPP members, how is it possible for all of them to be on the Finance Committee? So, all these have to be considered.
    If we see that they have composed Committees and there are few women in Parliament, we would make sure we balance all these.

    If an Hon Member comes, there is no way he or she can belong to a committee. And that is the effectiveness. This is because some people are on Committees which have the highest number of Members to be thirty-one.

    There are others that have twenty-five, others have twenty and every time we should look at the Votes and Proceedings, we would see the number of people who attend -- [Interruption] -- No, I mean the green paper. [Laughter.] How many people attend?

    For all you know — you would always see a twenty member Committee and only five were present. What kind of life is this? So, we need to be careful about this, we need also to be considerate and always know that, if — I am told that in Heaven there are places which are more comfor- table than other places -- [Laughter]-- and in hell, some places are hotter than other places.

    So, when you are in a Committee, pray that you can do the best you can to make that Committee very effective.

    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Dr Nana Ayew Afriye (NPP--Effi- duase/Asokore) 4:20 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute.
    Mr Speaker, I rise taking note of the provisions of Standing Orders 153 and 154. Mr Speaker, Standing Order 153 says;
    “Every Member shall be appointed to at least one of the Standing Committees established under Order
    151 (2).”
    Mr Speaker, Standing Order 154 says;
    “The composition of the Committees shall as much as possible reflect the different shades of opinion in Parliament.”
    Mr Speaker, I commend the Committee of Selection for a good job done.
    You are serving over 200 Members of Parliament and under no circumstance could you take into consideration the expectations of each Member.
    Just as my Hon Friend said early on, Hon Appiah-Kubi was the Chairman of the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy and for that matter, he expected him to be the Chairman. In this regard, my Hon Friend cannot be the Chairman of that Committee and at the same time be the Chairman of the Committee on Health.
    It is difficult to contain the expectations of each one of us here. It would be difficult to stop the members of this Committee who have done this honourable job for about two or three months since the Meeting began.
    It would be important for all of us to be considerate and understand the position of the Hon Majority Leader who said that it would go as long as four weeks.
    The argument that seniors would have to be in a position to chair is a view that some other person could contend. To vary this to the Executive, it means a new Member of Parliament cannot be a member of the Executive.
    If one is appointed as a Deputy Minister or Minister, another argument could be made one day, asking how long one has served. I do not believe we would have to go in this direction. We are growing the institution of Parliament, as we have said the whole day.
    Regardless of when one becomes a Member of Parliament, inasmuch as one is committed, competent and has satisfied the provisions of Standing Orders 153 and 154 -- It is important this day for us to acknowledge as Members of Parliament that not every one of us could have his expectation met. It is very difficult.
    In this regard, I would like to commend the Committee for a good job done. We are waiting for what the new Standing Orders would bring.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Daniel O. Aboagye (NPP -- Bantama) 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the debate on the floor and commend Leadership for a good job done.
    In so doing, I would like to say that experience matters as much as all the other factors considered in the composition of the Committees. The best example I could give is myself. I am a Chartered Accountant who has worked for over 20 years and my last position was in the United States of America (USA) where I worked as a Financial Controller for over 10 years.
    I came to Parliament and was put in the Judicial Committee when I started. At that point in time, I was not looking at being put on the Finance Committee or Public Accounts Committee because of the fact that we were many.
    I was actually looking for ways I could use my experience to improve the Judiciary Committee. I believe the task they have accomplished, as much as we know it is temporal, it is quite tedious. For that reason, I would want to commend them and encourage the whole House to support what they have done, especially, since it is temporal.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    The Hon Member who just spoke, are you Hon Robert Kwasi Amoah, MP for Achiase?
    Mr D. O. Aboagye 4:20 p.m.
    No, Mr Speaker. My name is Hon Daniel Okyem Aboagye, Member of Parliament for Bantama Constituency.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, that is why it is difficult for me to mention your constituencies. This is because you are not on your seats and with the system we have here, when you stand on your feet after being recognised by the Speaker, your name pops up.
    When you rose on your feet, what popped up was Hon Robert Amoah and since I was not sure he was the one, I decided to crosscheck from him. So, kindly help the Speaker by assuming your rightful seat.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me thank Hon Members for the various contribu- tions they have made.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, how could you see him complain to me?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I saw him gravitate to where you were.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    How could you tell?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 4:20 p.m.
    He had his own Standing Orders and he came to show it to you.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    How could you tell that he came to make a complaint to me on this matter? You are in an area of conjecture.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 4:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know you are Catholic, I know what I am talking about. [Laughter.]
    I had told him that we would factor his concerns in the next time we would reengineer the Committees. I was really worried to hear him say on the floor that nothing would happen.
    It is unfortunate because he does not even know what is contained in the new Standing Orders that we are crafting, yet he insisted that nothing would happen in it. I recognise that he is a Senior Member of the House and certainly, when we deal with the new Standing Orders, we would factor in his concerns.
    Two Hon Members have said to us -- It was Dr Ayew Afriye who said that we should compare ourselves to the Executive because new Members of Parliament could be made Ministers and Deputy Ministers as against old or continuing Members of Parliament.
    I am surprised that he did not liken what he said to the Judiciary, but limited himself only to the Executive. In the Judiciary, would one anticipate that a person who just came out of Law School would be put in the Supreme Court? He decided conveniently to limit himself to the Executive. That is just in a lighter vein.
    In Parliament, experience matters. Just as we were talking about the achievements of Hon A. S. K. Bagbin -- We would certainly factor the concerns of Hon Appiah-Kubi in the next time we deal with it.
    An Hon Colleague of ours said that he is the current Chairman of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee and the
    least he expected was that he should remain there. What the Hon Colleague did not know was the discussion that had gone on between Dr Appiah-Kubi and the Whips about his retention on that Committee.
    He opted out and said that he did not want to continue as Chairman, so, they thought they would place him elsewhere.

    Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, it is just for a short while — just three to four weeks. We would come back to deal with it. Let me reassure him that we would take his concerns on board.

    Mr Speaker, Hon Benjamin Kpodo raised issues about increasing the size of the committees. On the other hand, we are rather going to downsize the committees in order to put each person in one committee or provide sufficient incentives and motivations to the various committees so people would not complain that this is a “Siberia committee” and would not want to serve on that committee.

    Mr Speaker, Committees could be energised depending on the leadership of those committees; and I always cite the Committee on Government Assurances, when Hon Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah was put on that Committee, he was complaining. He came to me and I said to him that it could be one of the strongest committees in the House, if he applied himself to it.

    So, for about one week, we went through what needed to be done to really make that committee active — over a period of eight years, I should say, the Committee on Government Assurances emerged as one of the better structured committees in the House.

    Mr Speaker, so, we would do what is right to all men and women in the House. And let me repeat that this is just a transitional arrangement into the next Meeting, which is going to be the budget Meeting.

    The committees are going to be reengineered holistically, and we are not just going to tinker with the committees. We are going to re-compose all the committees, given the fact that the discussion now is to have a situation where no committee would have more than 13 members.

    That is the direction that we would want to go. And so, each one would be on one Select Committee and would make the committees much more attractive.

    Mr Speaker, when we come to the consideration of the scrutiny of budgets, we have members moving from one committee to the other. It does not befit the Parliament of Ghana. Let us apply ourselves to the committees that we have been put.

    As I said early on, those of them that are not considered to be — I am using the words of Hon Yieleh Chireh, “juicy committees” — We would find a way to provide sufficient incentives and motivation so that those committees would also come up strongly to match the other committees.

    Mr Speaker, let me plead with Hon Colleagues to give approval to the Report of the Committee and let us see what happens between now and the period we adjourn sine die.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, before I put the Question, it is important for me to share experience with you. The work of leadership in this direction is not easy at all. I have been on
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, kindly take the places that have been allocated to you and let us proceed together.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 4:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the indication I have from the Committee on Defence and Interior who are in charge of the two subsequent Motions is that, they are not yet through with those reports
    — that is the report on the Fulani herdsmen menace in the country and the use of live ammunition by the Police in the Dalun Community to control irate youth in 2016, during which a citizen was hit in the leg by a stray bullet.
    I am told they are not ready with those reports. So, we would accordingly stand those Motions down.
    ADJOURNMENT 4:30 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 4.42 p.m. till Thursday, 13th July, 2017, at 12.00 noon.