MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Members, yesterday, the 15th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Africa Region -- Speakers and Presiding Officers' Conference was opened in Accra under the theme, ‘Raising the Confidence of the Citizenry in the Legislature: The Role of the Speaker'. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Africa Region is an integral part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and it represents the Continent of Africa. The Parliament of Ghana is privileged to host the 15th Speakers and Presiding Officers' Conference, which is the first to be held in Ghana. Parliament of Ghana has hosted the main Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference on two occasions, that was, in 1999 and 2006. It has also hosted the first Society of Clerks-at- the-Table Conference in 2011. The theme of this Speakers' Conference, which is currently ongoing at the La Palm Beach Hotel is, “Raising the Confidence of the Citizenry in the Legislature: The Role of the Speaker”.
Hon Members, a better theme could not have been chosen for this Conference. The Conference is from 1st November to 6th November. I am sure you would join me to wish all the Speakers including the Host Speaker, our own Speaker, the Rt Hon Edward Doe Adjaho, the best in their deliberations. Thank you very much. Hon Minority Leader? Yes, Hon BaffourAwuah?
Thank you Mr Speaker. You gave the opportunity to the Hon Minority Leader but he has asked me to contribute to what you have just said, on his behalf. Mr Speaker, it is true the CPA Africa Region Speakers and Presiding Members' Conference is taking place here in Ghana and it was officially opened yesterday in the afternoon at La Palm Royal Beach. But Mr Speaker, Ghana had the opportunity of hosting the event when eventually, Cameroun, which was slated to host the programme declined the offer to host it. Ghana then came in to host the programme. Mr Speaker, as of yesterday, out of the eighteen countries that were expected to be there, fourteen of them had reported. We are still expecting some of them to report before the meeting comes to an end on Friday, 6th November, 2015. Yesterday's event was very colourful, well attended and was graced by the presence of His Excellency the President of the nation. But Mr Speaker, let me use this opportunity to say that the image of Ghana in most of these international organisations has been dwindling because we have not been sending permanent people to most of these organisations. Very often, we do change our membership of these international bodies and it is actually causing the nation a bit of harm because there is no consistency. There are people in most of these organisations that have been there for so many years and have grown in terms of experience and knowledge over a period of time. Unfortunately, since we do not have permanent membership to some of these organisations, Hon “A” goes today, the next time a different delegation is sent and there is no consistency in terms of knowledge build-up and what have you. I would want to use this opportunity to plead with the House and your good- self, Mr Speaker, such that, in nominating people to represent us in some of these organisations, we make them formal and then make it match with the period of the tenure of Parliament. So, that at least, if not for anything at all, we can have consistency for four years. Let me also remark that yesterday, CPA paid tribute to some Ghanaian legislators that have contributed to the make-up of CPA, Africa Region. It may interest you to know that Hon. Benjamin B. Kunbuor and Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and some few other names were mentioned. I would want to believe that Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu for instance, was mentioned because he has been very consistent on the CPA programme over a period of time. And Hon Benjamin Kunbuor too was mentioned because he was also specially commissioned to do some work for CPA, Africa Region. Mr Speaker, apart from that, let me also say that yesterday, it came to light that Nigeria would be hosting the next CPA, Africa Region's General Assembly Meeting in 2016. But then, there is -
Is it 2017 or 2016?
Mr Speaker, it is 2016. That of 2017 is not certain. The Speakers Conference is still open and I would like to believe that the person who officially made this known was perhaps, throwing an open invitation to any country, including Ghana to host the programme. Yes, we are hosting it and I have every right to believe that it would be very successful. But I also think that when you host such programmes, it puts the nation on an international limelight and besides that, it also brings money to the nation. This is because, most of these --
Hon Baffour Awuah, these were just a few remarks and you have turned it into a lecture.
Thank you Mr Speaker. Maybe, because I am a member of the Planning Committte, that is why --
I know you have so much information on the matter. Thank you.
Thank you Mr Speaker, for --
Hon Member, you can wind up. I will give you the opportunity to wind up.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.
I think that would be enough. One Hon Member from the Majority Side.
Hon Muntaka, would you yield for your Hon Colleague, or you -- I give you the opportunity to choose. Hon Muntaka, the available Leader of the majority side, just one.
Mr. Speaker, I was going to suggest that if it was possible to add another Hon Member from each side in addition to the Leadership. I thought that would be more useful. If you --
But the person must be brief.
Yes, Mr Speaker, very brief.
Mr Speaker, I was privileged to also be at the opening ceremony of this colourful Conference. Mr Speaker, in the course of the address made by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, he drew the attention of the CPA on the developmental challenges facing various constituencies and the role of the Hon Member for Parliament. Generally speaking, they think that in Africa, development of the various constituencies rests on Hon Members of Parliament. His Excellency used the example in Ghana where the paradigm was shifted into the hands of the District Assemblies and thought that the Assemblies must be up and doing, so that we could isolate Hon Members of Parliament in the development processes and allowed the Assemblies to deliver. His Execellency was so sad that, that had not worked. So, the blame is being put on Hon Members of Parliament even where a borehole is broken, where there is a feeder road issue -- all these are expected of Hon Members of Parliament to deliver. He felt strongly that the National Commission on Civic Education should be empowered to be able to educate Ghanaians on the proper functions and roles of the Hon Members of Parliament and also the roles of the Distr ict Assemblies. Mr Speaker, for those of us on this side who are now engaged in the primaries in our constituencies, you would see that there is so much burden on Hon Members of Parliament to deliver. The constituents think that from A-Z, is the responsibility of Hon Members of Parliament and His Excellency thought that, something must be done to change the perception constituents have about Hon Members of Parliament. The theme is “. . . changing the lives of the citizenry, the perception of the various Parliaments.” Mr Speaker, this is a very wonderful seminar and it was good to see a lot of dignitaries and Speakers who came in to make contributions. This morning, I was there for about 45 minutes and we were engaged in some very challenging discussions on the workings of Parlia- ments in Africa and the way forward. We must congratulate our Speaker for accepting to organise this Conference though it was very late in the day, but yet, well organised and very successful. We hope that the conclusions would bring good results to the Parliaments of the Africa Region.
Thank you. The Minority side is not --
Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues, since nobody on the other side is interested, can you kindly allow another person from our side before you come to the Leadership?
Hon Members, I was guided by Standing Order 70 (1). I made a statement on a matter of interest in the House. Truly speaking, nobody else should contribute. And so, I have curtailed all contributions. I am moving to Corrections of Votes and Proceedings.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 30th October, 2015.
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 30th October, 2015]
Mr Speaker, if I may ask, is it the Official Report that you are leading us through?
Yes. Wednesday's Official Report.
Yes, Mr Speaker, if we have to go page by page --
Should I do it column by column?
That would be very laborious.
Anybody who has any comment on any of the Official Reports may come in with his or her comments, otherwise, you can consider it done.
Allright. [No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 28 th October, 2015].
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 29th October, 2015].
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, 30th October, 2015].
Hon Members, before we go to Questions -- Mr Isaac Osei — rose --
Yes, Hon Isaac Osei?
Mr Speaker, I know that the Official Report of 27th October, 2015 is not before you but I have seen an error, which I think I should bring to your attention.
27th October, 2015?
But if it is not before me, then I cannot be of assistance.
Yes, but there is a matter which I believe is important and that I should just bring it to your attention. That has to do with column 22. In the manner of speaking, I did make a statement on that day and --
It is a manner of speaking and correct usage of the English Language. Mr Speaker, if you would permit me, I would just use a second to correct it.
It is not the time but the principle. If you look at the inside of the cover page, you would see that it is written there, that: “Correction of errors of substance may be made only on the floor of the House with the permission of the Speaker. However, correction of typographical or grammatical errors which Members suggest for the Bound Volumes which will be compiled …” So, if it is not of substance, then there are two things; first of all, it is not before us. Secondly, if it is not about substance, you still have the opportunity.
In that case, Mr Speaker, I would bring it to the attention of the Table Office because I do not think that in the English Language, we say “three scores and ten” and I did say “three score and ten”. They put an “s” there which is not correct. [Laughter.]
Hon Isaac Osei, that one would be corrected. Hon Members, before Question time, let me just make the point that when you look at Standing Order 53, Order of Business, I should admit the Statement after the Correction of Votes and Proceedings but I made the Statement before that. It was a mistake and I do not intend to repeat it. Hon Leader? [Interruption]. Standing Order 53 (1) (i) -- “Statements by Mr. Speaker and Ministers” is after the Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. I made it before -- you can make an announcement before it but you cannot make a Statement. Question time — Question number 465, standing in the name of Hon Member for Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro. Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF EMPLOYMENT AND
Mr Speaker, thank you. The Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills (1CCES) in the country, as we may be aware, are primarily community - based institutions and do not operate a unified nationwide fees regime charged across by the various Centres. Consequently, the policy has been that every Centre is permitted to fix their own fees for the purpose of running their respective Centres. These fees are determined by each Centre with the full involvement of the local Centre Boards. The membership of these Boards include the traditional and district authorities and parents. For instance, in an academic year, Abosamso in the Ashanti Region charges GH¢213.00; Gyedu in the Brong Ahafo Region charges GH¢570.00; Ada in the Greater Accra Region charges GH¢520.00; Lolobi in the Volta Region charges GH¢141.00 and GH¢1,380.00. Mr Speaker, permit me, with your indulgence, to present the summary of various categories of fees charged by the ICCES Centres, which generally include fees for hostel accommodation, internal and external examinations and school uniforms in some cases, across the country.
SPACE FOR SUMMARY OF
Mr Speaker, it is interesting to hear the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations talk about the need for employable skills in this country. Mr Speaker,we have been in this country when their Government voted millions of Ghana cedis to programmes ostensibly in this direction -- Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP), Youth Enterprises and Skills Development Programme (YESDEP). Mr Speaker, how is it that the Ministry responsible for employable skills cannot find money to improve these centres to allow Ghanaians gain employable skills but you find quasi institutions being given as much as GH¢84 million or GH¢100 million a year for YESDEP? So, how was YESDEP and LESDEP -- [Interruption.] Yes, there is YESDEP and LESDEP. How were they related to these ICCES? And if they were not, what steps is the Hon Minister putting in place to make sure that these are integrated in Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills (ICCES)?
Hon Prempeh, the acronyms -- Can you give us the names? You said YESDEP and LESDEP.
Mr Speaker, [Inter- ruption] -- they know. Mr Speaker, in their Government, there is a preponderous of acronyms that if I could say I knew, I would be deceiving myself. This is because he knows, if he says he does not know, why does he not know?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, the then New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government in the year 2006, recognising that the growing youth unemployment was a major national security crisis, instituted the Youth Employment Initiative, referred to as the National Youth Employment Programme, which later became Ghana Youth Employment Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) and later, other interventions aimed at ameliorating the growing youth unemployment, including LESDEP and YESDEP, which were all introduced.
Hon Membner,what is “YESDEP”? Youth what?
Youth Enterprise Development -- It was were a private sector initiative, which was executed with financing from Government by some private sector operatives to deliver youth unemployment. Mr Speaker, like I stated, far back in 2006, until only when Parliament passed the Youth Employment Act, Act 887 of 2015, there was no legal framework to guide the operations and activities of many of these interventions. Thanks to this august House, we now have a piece
SPACE FOR SUMMARY OF
Mr Speaker, since these Integrated Community Centres for employable skills are in the communities and are there any plans to make them have free admissions or free school fees systems?
Mr Speaker, since these institutions are not adequately funded from the Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills, it would be difficult to encourage them to be fee free. Mr Speaker, however, we recognise that as a country, we have major skills gap in terms of mismatch, particularly for and senior high schools and are not able to make it to higher educational institutions. We need to find placement for them in
Hon Annoh-Dompreh? One Question.
Mr Speaker, thank you for your kindness. Mr Speaker, from the Hon Minister's own Answers, clearly, there is no central body that is in charge of charging the fees -- but the Local Authority (LA) and the Board -- these LA's are in charge of charging the fees. Why has the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations kept faith with this situation even as unfortunate as it appears, even up to this time. This is because if you look at the latter part of his Answer, he regrets the situation where it is the LA and the Board that charge the fees. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, thank you. As I indicated, we are establishing a technical committee to review the determination of these fees and determine same. We recognise that there are discrepancies across the country on the basis that individuals, Boards and LA's, on the basis of their needs, make a determination of this. That is not an acceptable practice and it would be corrected.
Mr Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, looking through the Answer from the Hon Minister, Aboamso from the Ashanti Region charges GH¢213, Gyedu from the Brong Ahafo Region charges GH¢570, Ada in the Greater Accra
Mr Speaker, my under-standing is that Lolobi has a particular area of specialisation and that explains why their fees are higher. Thank you.
Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister, in his Answer, emphasised the importance of ICCES as a training institution to equip the youth with vocation. He however talks about the inadequacy of funding of these institutions and bemoans even the state of these institutions. Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the Hon Minister, what plans the Ministry has to equip and resource these institutions adequately, so that they could take their proper place in our educational system? Thank you.
Mr Speaker, as I stated early on, Government recognises a major challenge to the growing youth unemployment in the country, which is partly explained by many of our young people not having requisite employable skills. There is also evidence and some major recommendations by even donors, consultants and local experts in Ghana for us to deal with the skills mismatch by strengthening technical and vocational institutions. The difficulty with these technical and vocational institutions as he rightly stated, is inadequate financing and very troubling releases to the Centres by Government. Mr Speaker, as I explained under the Youth Employment Act, the major function of equipping young people with skills was catered for and it provided that the revenue and expenditure for each financial year are submitted to the Hon Minister for Finance and submitted to Parliament. Mr Speaker, I am happy to note that when Parliament considers the Youth Employment Agency budget, it would be my recommendation that GH¢10million be allocated annually to support vocational and technical education and for the NVTI to play its role. At least, that would be a good beginning to train carpenters, artisans, masons, fabricators and others. That would also help them play a role to ameliorate their employment situation and improve their livelihood generally.
Yes, Hon Member for Odotobri?
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from my Hon Colleague, how many of such training centres do we have as a nation?
Mr Speaker, in respect of the National Vocational Training Institute (N.V.T.I.), we have over 34 of them across the country. Their fundamental problem remains adequate funding and release of funds. [Interruption.]
Hon Minister, the question was about the number; if you would need time to find out.
Mr Speaker, we have 59 of such centres spread across the country, and I have here a summary of fees charged in all those institutions which were part of the Answer I gave.
Hon Member for Okaikwei South.
Mr Speaker, it is Okaikwei Central. Thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister whether the Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills are backed by any specific legislation.
Mr Speaker, not that I know.
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister to tell this House --
Hon Member, wait for me to recognise you. I have now recognised you. You should wait for me to recognise you.
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister to tell us what these fees are used for?
Hon Member, I did not hear you.
Mr Speaker, I recognise the discrepancies in the fees are just too wide, and I would want to know from the Hon Minister what the fees are used for.
Hon Minister, it is a fair question?
Mr Speaker, the fees generally include fees for hostel accommodation, internal and external examinations and school uniforms across the country.
Yes, the Hon Member at the back row?
Mr Speaker, following from the Answer given by the Hon Minister, that he does not know the law backing the existence of this centres, how are the centres funded and from which Ministry?
Mr Speaker, by law, the institution mandated and responsible for vocational and technical education is the N.V.T.I. which is an enterprise established by law. All others are institutions not established by legislation.
Hon (Prof.) Fobih?
Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the Hon Minister what the average staff ratio of the centres are?
Mr Speaker, I do not have those details.
Would you supply that in writing?
Mr Speaker, I should be able to do so.
Hon Minister, thank you very much. You are discharged. And that brings us to the end of Question time. Hon Members, before the Commence- ment of Public Business --
Hon Prempeh, do you have a matter you would want to raise?
Mr Speaker, I would want to draw your attention to an international conference that is forthcoming in Paris in the month of December on climate change, where fundamental decisions and treaties are going to be signed by member nations of the world. Mr Speaker, I would like to use your good Chair to invite the Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and I have had discussions with him, to brief the people's representatives --
What Order are you coming under?
At where -- Order?
Mr Speaker, Order 72.
Can you read it for our education?
Mr Speaker: “By the inidulgence of the House and leave of Mr. Speaker a Member may, at the time appointed for statements under Order 53 (Order of Business) explain a matter of personal nature or make a statement on a matter of urgent public importance . . .”
Mr Speaker, I would like you to invite the Hon Minister whom I have had a discussion with to brief the people's representatives on Ghana's position and Ghana's preparedness for the Conference on climate change.
Hon Minister, since you are here, do you have anything to say?
Mr Speaker, it is, indeed, true that world leaders would be meeting in Paris at the end of this month, through the early part of next month to consider and to come into some concrete agreement to prevent global warming exceeding 2 degrees. All countries have been working on commitments that they are supposed to make, which is referred to as the intended nationally determined contribution. That is the contribution that every country must make to prevent global warming; we are hoping that we can come into some agreement in Paris. Every sector in every country is definitely involved -- the private sector, the governing bodies, et cetera. So, I do agree with the Hon Member that it is essential to come to this House and make a presentation to the House in terms of the Ghana's preparedness towards the Conference in Paris. And so, we would come duly. We have been working with the appropriate committees and have come to some conclusions on Ghana's intended contribution. We would be coming to the House to make a presentation.
I believe that you would work with Leadership -- with the Business Committee to programme it, so that next week, you can come and brief the House. Thank you, Hon Prempeh. Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business -- Presentation of Papers by the Majority Leader and Leader of the House.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. We have some Papers to lay and with your indulgence and that of the House, I would like to do that on behalf of the Majority Leader.
Available Leader for the Minority?
Mr Speaker, I have no problem with that.
Item number 5 (b). By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee on Education on the Chartered Institute of Taxation Bill, 2014.
Should we go to item number 6?
Mr Speaker, we would go to item number 6. But Mr Speaker, I would want to crave your indulgence for the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, to do that on behalf of the Minister for Finance.
BILLS -- FIRST READING
Mr Speaker, we have the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, who is here to take item number 7.
Yes, item number 7?
BILLS -- THIRD READING
Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like us to take item number 14.
Hon Member, do you not want us to pass it? I said “duly read the Third time and passed” but you seem to.
I did not hear the words “and passed”.
So, is that what you want to hear?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
It is duly read the Third time and passed.
Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, we would take item number 14, which is the Immigration Service Bill, 2015.
Hon Members, the Immigration Service Bill, 2015 at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION
Chairman of the Committee, on clause 1, I see there is no advertised amendment. But do you think the rendition has improved in accordance to the established -- or should we leave it that way? No, “hereby”? It is alright.
Mr Speaker, as we rightly said, even though it is not advertised, the wording as it is in clause 1 is a bit strange, especially when compared to other enactments that we have made in this House. This is because, the spirit of every law is that, it derives its power from the Constitution. So, making mention of the fact that the Act is being established in accordance with article 190 of the Constitution, is more or less like repeating itself. So, Mr Speaker, if I had my own way, I would suggest that we amend the clause 1 to read that: “. . . there is established by this Act, the Immigration Service Act of …” So that we do not repeat the usage of the Constitution in clause 1.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, in my view, the rendition is correct. This is because if we look at article 190 of the Constitution, provision is made for the establishment of the Immigration Service and so, if this House is called upon to enact legislation, it must necessarily be in pursuance to that particular provision in the Constitution. And so it is very appropriate to reference the particular provision in the Constitution. Mr Speaker, additionally, the style of the draftsperson is appropriate and in line with modern styles in legislative drafting. The addition of the “hereby” is surplusage; it does not add to the meaning or detract from the meaning. And so, we believe that, the clause should remain the way it is.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the earlier suggestion made by our Hon Colleague opposite the aisle.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior?
Mr Speaker, the fact of the Immigration Service being part of the Public Service is provided for by the Constitution. So, my submission is that, if we proceed to stress on the belonging- ness of the Immigration Service to the Public Service in the Bill again, Mr Speaker, it does not service any useful purpose in that sense. This is because, that has already been provided for under the Constitution, which is the supreme law. So, this Bill is meant to afford us the opportunity to talk certain operational details that the Service will be engaged in and not necessarily repeat what the Constitution has already said.
Yes, Hon Muntaka?
Thank you Mr Speaker. Whereas what the Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior is saying is not wrong, but as a country and Parliament, we have adopted a style and a way of couching our legislation. Since those styles do not infringe or are not contrary to the Constitution, I do not see why he would want to change all of a sudden. So, when we take a Bill which has passed through this House, whereas this one will be talking about establishment of a Service, the other one will be making reference to a Constitution.
Hon Members, Order!
Mr Speaker, it is for consistency, that is why this attention is being drawn and the proposed amendment is being sought. If the Hon Deputy Minister says that this is a modern way of doing it, we would be grateful to him to cite an example. But we have so many examples even in this House currently that are contrary to what he is proposing. So, to enable us make progress -- This is because this is a Bill that he is championing; time is of great essence. I would plead with him that, for consistency, we choose to keep the style that we have adopted and have been running all these years. Since it is not contrary to the Constitution, he should
While I will go to clause 2 and hold on to clause 1, while we consider if we look, for example, at Act 460, which is the Parliamentary Service Act, it tells -- But it is not a good example, because the Parliamentary Service is established under article 124. While we go on, I would ask that the Clerks-at-the-Table should take either the Judicial Service, Ghana National Fire Service and Customs Service Excise and Prevention Acts and see the rendition and we will give that rendition to clause 1. Clause 2 -- Members of the Service
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2, Paragraph (a), line 1, after “Schedule”, delete the following: “. . . in the Service immediately before the commencement of this Act”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 3-- Object of the Service
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 3, paragraph (b), line 1, after “security”, delete the following: “. . . on matters pertaining to migration”
Yes, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would want the Chairman of the Committee to educate us on the rationale behind this amendment. Why we should delete “. . . on matters pertaining to migration”.
Mr Speaker, the clause (b): “. . . contribute to national security on matters pertaining to migration”. We are saying that the Service will contribute to national security anyway. So, it should not be specific to migration.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the clause as it is should not be amended. What is the purpose of the Ghana Immigration Service? The Ghana Police Service is also contributing to national security. The military are also contributing to national security. Indeed, it can even be said that, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is contributing to national security insofar as it relates to food security.
What about the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations?
The same. All these things have national security implications. However, the intention of this particular clause is to make it specific. When it comes to matters of migration, that is why it will contribute to national security. Migration is a national security matter -- a very serious national security matter. That is why some years ago, the former President John Agyekum Kufuor created the Border Patrol Unit of the Ghana Immigration Service. This was because it was then a matter of national security. Look at what is happening in Europe. So, it does not detract from its main aim or
Hon Haruna Iddrisu?
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the brilliant suggestion and comment of the Hon Papa Owusu- Ankomah and to add that, if I have your leave and indulgence, probably, after contributing, I would seek your leave to say “contribute and safeguard national security”. I would even strengthen it further, given the example he gave. Mr Speaker, today, Europe is in crisis because of immigration issues as to border control -- How many people can be absorbed into Germany, how many can be absorbed within the European Union (EU) border line? This is because it matters. Even on employability, when there are foreigners entering your country with better skills and experience, you may not be able to promote local participation and content in terms of your job and that will be an issue which can threaten national security. Mr Speaker, in this country, we have had overthrows of Governments and the perpetrators have entered from borders. We have illegal smuggling of goods which undermine and promotes evasion of taxation. It borders on security that people will continue to use our borders and hotspots. So, I think that the Hon Chairman should kindly reconsider his amendment and go with the suggestion of Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah. But in my opinion, if there is a way we can strengthen it further -- This is because the Ghana Immigration Service also has a duty to safeguard our national security interest at all times.
Hon Minister, you will have the last bite of the cherry, so listen to Hon Members' suggestions, then you can --
Mr Speaker, if the Ghana Immigration Service is to contribute to national security, they are safeguarding it as well. So,we should maintain the rendition as it is in the clause, without going by the amendment proposed by the Committee. I would plead with the Hon Chairman of the Committee to go by the rendition given and withdraw that amendment, so that we can make progress.
Mr Speaker, I would want to disagree with my senior Member. Mr Speaker, we are talking about the object of the Service. If we look at clause 3, it says the object of the Service is to
Mr Speaker, in a sense, my Hon Colleague may be right. But in a broader sense, I believe that he may be mistaken. Mr Speaker, we must read a Bill as a whole. I will just refer the House to Functions of the Service -- clause 4. (f) perform any other functions as may by law require. So, the example he has given will be covered. I said, “perform any other functions as may by law require”. It does not mean that, because of that, in times of need, they, cannot even man polling centres. No! What we have to ask ourselves is whether according to the laws of Ghana, personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service can man polling centres. If you are saying that, if we maintain this, it means they cannot do that, I disagree with you. You might as well delete the entire section which reads: ‘‘contribute to national security''.
Hon Members, I must confess, I am not part of this debate. I will put the Question. But I must confess that, the last contribution before the rebuttal or reply by Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, is the one which attracted me the most. But I will leave it to you. Especially when I read it, I totally agreed with Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah but when we were urged to read subclauses (a) and (b) together, my view started changing. But I will leave it to you -- the ball is in your court. I am just a referee. So, I will put the Question. Hon Deputy Minister, do you want to respond before I put the Question?
Mr Speaker, just briefly. The submissions of Hon Papa Owusu- Ankomah, in my view, will lead to some inconsistency and confusion. This is because Mr Speaker, if you look at clause 3 (b), it is general -- ‘‘contribute to national security.'' Then you come down to clause 4 (b) which also says “perform any other function as may by law require” -- Another general provision.
Clause 4 (f) or 4 (b)?
Clause 4 (f). So Mr Speaker, where you have the situation in the same Bill, we are talking about very specific matters and you limit yourself to matters pertaining to migration and then you come down to clause 4 and it says “perform any other functions as may by law require”, you have confusion there. So, for the sake of consistency, I believe that we should go with the submissions made by the Hon Member for Akatsi South.
The Hon Member for Akatsi South who replaced the Speaker.
That is so, Mr Speaker.
But there is no confusion. I do not see any confusion.
Absolutely, Mr Speaker, apart from the fact that there is
Hon Member, what is the difference between subclauses (a) and (b) as they stand? Subclause (a) says: ensure the effective administration and management of migration in the country.”
Mr Speaker, functions cannot be the same thing as object.
So, what is the difference between subclause (a) and (b) of clause 3? Is there a difference as they stand now?
Mr Speaker, subclauses (a) and (b) as in clause 3 or clause 4, because the Hon Deputy Minister --
Clause 3 (a) and (b).
Subclauses 3 (a) and (b) reads: (a) ensure the effective administration and management of migration in the country. That is their core mandate. The second is to give them a function relating to matters on national security. For instance, if the President wants advice on immigration issues -- 12. 30 p.m.
No! I am saying that, as it stands now -- Subclause (a) is administration and management. So, when you do the administration and management of migration issues, it does not involve matters involving national security. It is outside that. Let me put the Question. I am putting the Question on the amendment that was moved to delete “matters pertaining migration” because we have not reached the consensus on the friendly amendment. Question put and amendment negatived.
There was one loud “Aye” and one loud “Noe”. The loud “Noe” was counted than the loud “Aye”. [Pause.] Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 4 - Functions of the Service.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4, paragraph (a), line 2, after “borders”, delete “of the country”. This is because the word “borders” covers that. We are talking about the borders of Ghana. So, we do not need that. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4, add the following paragraph: “conduct searches in the performance of functions under this Act or any other enactment”. Mr Speaker, we want to add that sentence and it is going to come as ‘f', subclause (g).
Why do you need -- Hon Papa Owusu Ankomah?
Mr Speaker, the Chairman has been proposing amendments without indicating to us the reasoning behind them. If he could assist us, we could then come to an informed decision. Mr Speaker himself was even a bit taken aback. He was going to ask him, why we need to add this. So, probably, he should help the House.
Chairman of Committee?
Mr Speaker, we would want to be specific relating to body searches, which is a very specific role. And searches of objects that could be carried, as we said, when we have migrant situation, people carry illegal, contraband and human beings across borders. So, we would want to give it that specificity of purpose by putting it in as one of the ways of achieving our aims and objectives.
Hon Minister, I stand corrected. I thought that an Immigration Officer, in relation to immigration matters, had most of the powers of a police officer. For example, he can arrest, detain and so on, at borders across the world. An Immigration Officer can arrest; he can detain. So, should we not be having a clause of powers of an Immigration Officer, which will deal with this right to search and so on and so forth? Not the function of the Service, but the power of the officer. This is because I can see for example, that clause 30, power to use fire arms: ‘‘An officer may in the discharge of his duties under this Act or any other enactment, use fire arms''. So, you should have talked about powers of an Immigration Officer, which to my mind and to a large extent, that equates to the powers of a police officer. The power to arrest and to detain, perhaps, we should spend some more time, if we want to define such, so that there is clarity. When you look at the police officer for example, even the Legal Service Act, I believe on a legal officer, it gives all lawyers employed by the State above the rank of Assistant State Attorney, the power to arrest, and all the powers of a police officer. So, I -- where is it here? Yes?
Mr Speaker, we agree entirely and we would want to take a cue from what you have said. Mr Speaker, it is even the position that, as Immigration Officers, they have powers of the police in effecting arrest and by necessary implication, carrying out searches. So, we would humbly like to withdraw the proposed amendment and let it stay.
Perhaps, we have all just been assuming that they
Mr Speaker, precisely so. For instance, when we were dealing with the Customs Excise and Prevention Service Act, we had extensive sections relating to the powers of a customs officer relating to the performance of his functions and duties. That is what we ought to have here. And I agree with you Mr Speaker, because if you look at clause 32 -- indemnity for an act done in good faith in the execution or intended execution of his duties, he has immunity. If in the course of the performance of his functions, he has the powers of arrest, it must be stated in this. This is because there is no general legal provision given every officer of the National Security, the power to arrest. We are talking about the Ghana Immigration Service and the powers of personnel of the Service in the performance of their functions. So, I would request the Committee Chairman, together with the Hon Minister, to have a look at this particular section, so that we give extensive provisions on this matter.
Mr Speaker, I agree with Hon Papa Owusu Ankomah but it is important for me to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, under the Immigration Act, 2000, the powers of the Immigration Officer have also been spelt out very clearly. So, the power to arrest and to search, et cetera is contained in that particular legislation.
So, therefore, this amendment is superfluous.
Mr Speaker, it is super- fluous. With respect, Mr Speaker, I agree with you, that that particular proposed amendment ought not to have come under the functions. It should have come under the powers of the Immigration Officer but it --
Sorry to cut you short. But if you say that the Immigration Act itself contains extensive provision on all the powers of an immigration officer, then this does not need to be here at all. We should be clear what we are doing. In this situation, we are just creating the Service. We are looking at their Board meetings and functions of the Service -- we are not dealing with the Officer, works and service. All that has been dealt with in the Act. And so, even clause 30 -- the power to hold fire arms -- general provisions must go to the Act. And you restrict yourself in this one, like they do in all other Acts,it is just to create the Service as they created the Free Zone Board. It does not deal with the personnel, so to speak.
Mr Speaker, I agree but in relation to the specific power of the Immigration Officer to bear fire arms, if you look at the memorandum to the Bill, it is actually one of the substantial issues the Bill seeks to address. In fact, in the Immigration Act 2000, there are no such provisions and that is why the Ghana Immigration Service, for all these years, has not been carrying fire arms.
Hon Deputy Minister, I am not disagreeing with you. It is just a question of placement and I am of the considered view. Once again, it is your Bill. But I am of the considered view, that if we have two laws, one that deals with the officers within the Service and one other deals with the establishment of the Service, then when you are talking about carrying of fire arms, it must go to the one that deals with the officers of the Service. Therefore, if that is your intention, perhaps, your intention is better expressed in the Immigration Act rather than this one. This is because, when you look at all the various Bills that set up various services, they limit themselves to things like; meetings of the Service, et cetera. The Parliamentary Service Act, has Membership, Functions of Service, the Board, the Composition, the Tenure of Office, Meetings of the Board, Clerk to Parliament, Expenses of the Service, you see that they are matters relating to the Service. If you create a Public Service, an institution and you deal with matters relating to that, you are creating it in pursuant to article 190. But at the same time, you have members of the Service who are governed by another Act. So, why do you not take the provisions relating to those members to that Act? Hon Muntaka, have you been listening?
Mr Speaker, I am listening to the argument and it is very interesting. But my worry is that, to assume that because it is in the Immigration Act, we do not need to mention some specific details here. It is my worry. This is because, in many of the Bills that have come to this House, there are a number of times that we say for emphasis, and for the avoidance of doubt, we try to add on, even though we know some of those provisions are in some other Acts. And so, I would be grateful if we could have a middle clause, not necessarily repeating the very details but some aspects need to also be here. We cannot just assume -- because they are in the Immigration Act, we should just assume that they are there and therefore, it would be taken care of. I think it is very important that, some of them that are very critical should also find expressions here.
The Hon Minister for Roads and Highways?
Mr Speaker, I would not have intervened, except that his last statement is dangerous. We pass laws in this House and we are presumed to be aware of the laws that we have passed. And so, when we do not repeat, it is because we know we have earlier passed such laws, that is why we do not repeat them. When we bring matters that touch and concern previous laws passed, we only do so either to amend them or to clarify them. But we do not necessarily repeat laws that we have passed because we are presumed to know that those laws exist.
Thank you. Yes, Hon Muntaka?
Mr Speaker, I had wanted to make a comment before Hon Papa Owusu Ankomah.This is because, he served as an Hon Minister there and I would want to believe that he may have a more in-depth knowledge about this. Mr Speaker, my understanding of the Immigration Act is that, it was dealing with the individual officers.
Now, we are talking about the Service. If we do not give the Service -- for example, if we take the “power to arrest” -- if we do not give the service the power to arrest, when that individual, who is a member of that Service makes an arrest, how do we juxtapose that with the Service?
Can the Service be given the power to arrest? The Service is intangible. It is members of the Service, the officers who are given the power to arrest. Is it the Ghana Police Service that has the power to arrest or it is police officers? Hon Atta Akyea, can the Ghana Police Service arrest you? Or has the Ghana Police Service arrested somebody? It is not possible. It is the officers within the Service that by virtue of them being officers, are given the power to arrest. So, you do not give the Service the power to arrest and because of that, the officers derive power -- Let us hear from the Hon --
Mr Speaker, first of all, let me say that, once we create a Service, we expect the Service to also have functions. And these functions, if we look at how they have been classified under clause 4, largely have to do with how to implement the Immigration Act. But it is not specifically stated because they mentioned in many places -- And even what we are considering now, if we look at the subclause(a) of this clause, it is saying that -- with your kind permission, I beg to quote: (a)”subject to existing laws, examine travel documents of persons entering or leaving the country through the borders of the country”. And so, you see --
And even subclause(b).
Yes and even subclause (b). And so, what is happening is that, obviously, once you create a Service, if you look at the Ghana Education Service, and then the Education Act, the Education Act specifies some of the things that should be done, but the Ghana Education Service is to implement that Act in relation to its activities. And so, if we look at the addition they are talking about, subclause (a) takes into consideration what they want to put there, on the searches in the performance of their duties. What we are doing in subclause (a), amounts to a search. And so, let us be clear that we want functions for the Service and it must be related to the Immigration Act itself. That is what is in the Immigration Act. If we are making any new provisions here, all we need to be sure of is that, it does not contradict what is already in the Act. But if it complements it, there should be no problem about providing for --
Hon Member, could I please, ask you a question?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
If there is a provision relating to the power to carry arms or to arrest, should it be in this Act, or in the Immigration Act?
Mr Speaker, it can -- first of all, you would say what is in the Act about powers to arrest? You give that power to officers of the Ghana Immigration Service.
In what Act?
Mr Speaker, it is in the Immigration Act. What I am saying is that, we are providing for the functions of the Service, and it is likely to enforce the provisions in the Act. Once we are not making this law side by side with the Act itself, what we need to do, is to define it in this provision -- if you look at it, we are not giving power to individual members of the Service; we are just saying the “Service” which means that by and large as a Service, they have to implement the Immigration Act. I am saying that, that is the reason clause 4 is mentioning existing laws in relation to this. Obviously, it is not only the Immigration Act that they would have to conform to, but we would also have other laws like the Labour Act, which also requires a role for the Ghana Immigration Service. So, basically, let us make sure that we provide for those powers here generally. But for that Service conduct, search is not only individual but for the Service itself.
Mr Speaker, I think that, if we repeat what is in the Immigration Service Bill, it would become superfluous. Superfluous, in the sense that, the Immigration Act of 2000 deals with immigration as a body and as an institution. We are now creating the Service, and it is the Service so created that would operationalise the Act. So, whatever is in the Act by interpretation and by extension, affects what would be done in the Service. That is why if you look at the object of the Service under the Bill in paragraph 3 (a), it reads, and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote; (a) “ensure the effective administration and management of migration in the country”. “. . . effective administration and management and you need members of the Service, the personnel and the officers to bring about that effective administration and management of the body called “Immigration”. So, if powers are given to the Ghana Immigration Service under the Act of 2000 by inference, it can apply to the officers under the Ghana Immigration Service. So, there is no need to repeat whatever is carried in the Act into the Service. We might only be implicating the issues so far as powers are concerned.
If I should agree with you, there is no need to repeat it but what if it is not there? That is the question. I think the only solution is for the Minister to assure us that it is not there, and I will take his word for it. The issue is that, should this amendment, dealing with officers, come in the Immigration Act or in the Immigration Service Bill that we are seeking to enact? That is all. If the Act has been dealt with -- You said that the Service is supposed to prevent the Act. Carrying of arms is a core function of the officers. It is a function that I do not know why it was not included. Maybe, at that time, the policy decision was that Immigration Officers should not carry arms -- no problem. But even, the power to arrest and detain, is that not in the Act?
Mr Speaker, the power to arrest by the Immigration Officers is contained in the Immigration Act, 2000; it is.
Also, do you not also think that the power to carry arms should also be there?
Mr Speaker, from the outset, we ought to have clothed the officers of the Ghana Immigration Service
with the power to carry fire arms in the first place, but that was not done. So, we think that this new Bill should cure that anomaly; it should.
But Hon Deputy Minister, I will make my last suggestion to you, then, I will leave it to you and put the Question. Would it be out of place if you change it, where it is supposed to be changed? In my view, add it to the “Education Act” and restrict this one to the Service; or it would mean some administrative work that you would not want to do?[Pause]. I like the smile on your face.
Mr Speaker, the truth of the matter is that there is a burning desire to arm the immigration officers because of the emergence of th reats l ike terrorism --
You and I are singing from the same page of the same hymn book. In fact, the desire in me is maybe, even greater than the desire in you. But the question is the location -- where we should locate our desire. Is it in the Immigration Service Bill or the Immigration Act? I will not push the point, I will leave it to you.
Mr Speaker was so much involved with these matters with the Hon Deputy Minister that he forgot about me. Thank you for recognising me. Mr Speaker, I hold in my hand the Immigration Act and the provision relating to arrest is not general, it is restrictive to the Director of Immigration. But of course, in the exercise of these functions, he may entrust those functions to immigration officers. So, I believe that including the power of arrest in this, it will still be in comfort with the Immigration Service Act because even the Immigration Act relates only to a person liable to deportation. The power to arrest by the Director is restrictive, only to where the person is going to be deported pursuant to an order of a court. It is not general; it is restrictive in that sense. If the Hon Minister in terms of policing has considered and deemed it fit to give officers the power to bear arms, then of course, they should also have the power to arrest generally under this Bill. Because it would not be in conflict with the Immigration Act of 2000.
Mr Speaker, the argument about the powers in the Immigration Act that has been created -- you are now creating a Service. So, once you create a Service, you must also let members of that Service know how to enforce those powers or carry out their duties. So, there is nothing different in that; if you tell somebody that he or she is an immigration officer, and that if he or she wants to arrest somebody or issue a visa and all that (-) these are rules already in this Act but this is how he or she should do it. So, once you are defining the way to carry it out, there should not be any conflict. This is because, as the Hon Member who last spoke rightly pointed out, if the thing is pursuant to a court order, and you want to exercise it as if you have the powers of your own -- that is why they are saying the existing law, which is about the Immigration Act, but you must tell the members of this Service how to carry out the powers that have been created in the Immigration Act. So, I believe that, if we look at what we are doing now, we are simply identifying how they should go about enforcing the Act and that in my view, does not conflict with the main Act itself.
Mr Speaker, I would want to address the question of arrest specifically, but I do not know whether it is necessary that we put it in this Bill. Mr Speaker, in our country, we even have citizen's arrest under the Constitution and if you look at the men and officers of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, as they patrol and as they keep close eye on our borders, even today, if anybody is seen to have committed an offence at any of the borders, an Immigration Officer can effect an arrest. Even without recourse to either the Act or the Bill under consideration -- So, in terms of arrest, I do not think that, it should necessarily be put in any law that an Immigration Officer can effect an arrest. Even under the Constitution, if --
Which article? [Interruption].
Mr Speaker, just give me time and I would come back to it.
Since you cannot refer us to the article, I will not accept that statement until you can -- Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, thank you. I was just seeking to understand exactly what we are doing here. This is because the two -- the Immigration Service Bill is a substantive principal Legislation and this one says, when passed, would be a principal Legislation. If we are seeking to define and direct or regulate how a power conferred on an officer in the Immigration Act ought to be carried out, that should not be in the Immigration Service Bill. This is because that one would also become a principal legislation. I think that, if the purpose for putting in the functions of an Immigration Officer and also defining or giving him the power to bear arms is derived from the principal legislation, then it ought to have been by Regulation and not captured in another principal legislation. Mr Speaker, but more precisely, what we are seeking to do, is to create an entity to regulate the performance of certain functions conferred on officers in the Immigration Service and therefore that function should be related to how the members of the Service are appointed, what functions they perform, how they keep their accounts, when they meet and so on. These are the things that we are trying to define in this Bill and not matters concerned with individuals working under the Ghana Immigration Service. My view is that, let us try to de-couple these things that ought to be in the Immigration Act from the Immigration Service Bill. This is because this Bill is establishing a Service simplicita and would define how the Service ought to operate. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, that is all I have been saying. When you look at the Parliamentary Service, the Legal Service, the Police Service, the Civil Service -- In establishing the institution, we have a certain template that we have used as a country. Otherwise, we would have had one Act that establishes the Service. And also deals with all the functions of the officers of the Service but we do not have that as a practice. We create a Service, then we have the major Legislation dealing with the matters that are under the administrative or management purview of that Service. That is the whole purpose of the Immigration Act and the Immigration Service Act. That is the difference. So, I would want to suggest to you that, it would be neater, if we constrained ourselves to this template that we have used. If you look at the Parliamentary Services Act, for example, and I want them to give us another Act under the Constitution. Article 190 of the Constitution establishes --you should give us the Police Service Act, so that we look at it and compare it with that of the Immigration. But when you look at the Parliamentary Service Act, it is very simple. It sets up the composition of the Board, meetings of the Board, expenses of the Service's accounts and audits. When you look at the Ghana National Fire Service Act, which is under your Ministry; it establishes the National Fire Service, the administration of the Service, regulations, financial and miscellaneous matters, that is, funds of the Service, et cetera. I will ask them to give them the Ghana --There is a certain template which does not include the powers,duties and responsibilities of the officers. That has been the template. If you want to change -- Of course, if you are changing the template, we cannot quarrel with you; we are always developing as a nation. I have nothing against all that you are bringing in -- the arrest, detention et cetera. I have received some friendly amendments here and I totally agree with them. The power to search, arrest and I recommend to you also the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) Act. Where we spent a lot of time on the power to arrest, detain in what circumstances, especially, in these our times where we are under a liberal democratic Constitution, where people can sue for unlawful arrest and so on, in the Constitution. That is why rather than what the Hon Member said “the right to arrest” in the Constitution, it is rather the citizen who is given the right to sue for unlawful arrest. That is why we put how we should arrest and so on in the law. So, I totally agree with you. In fact, I believe that you must even go into much more detail how to arrest and so on. If we can proceed to pass the Service Act without these amendments, and just restrict ourselves to what is normally in the Service as we were advised by the Minister for Roads and Highways (Hon Inusah Fuseini) -- If we could do that, I do not know. This is my last contribution and I will start putting the Question.
Mr Speaker --
Sorry. This is my last suggestion and I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker, we can consider the powers of the officers in relation to the Immigration Service Act, but I would crave the indulgence of the House to allow us to deviate a bit and preserve the provision in the Act, which deals with the power of the officers to bear fire arms for the simple reason that --
We have not got there.
We have not. Yes, but the --
Let me -- what is happening to this one? The amendment (IV), what is happening to it now?
We are proposing that we abandon it.
Thank you. So, the amendment --
Mr Speaker, even before we get to --
When we get there, we can look at it. Very well. The amendment advertised as, roman numeral (IV) is accordingly withdrawn. The Hon Chairman of the Committee has withdrawn it. Hon Chairman, are you withdrawing it?
Mr Speaker, he has not done that yet.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, it is advertised in your name. What should we do with it?
I am talking to the Hon Chairman, please. Hon Chairman,what should we do with it? [Pause].
Mr Speaker, I would like you to put the Question. We would not withdraw it.
All right. I will put the Question. I am putting the Question.
Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, I thought that the essence of what we are doing is to have very good laws and I would want to encourage this dialogue and debate. Mr Speaker, looking at some of the functions, to which we have not proposed any amendment, they relate to the Immigration Act, for example, visas. These are things that individual officers do. They would have to do it. If they are asked to patrol the borders, it is individual officers who would have to do it. So, if we say that because it is a Service, we should not talk about the power of arrest or the power for a search, we would restrict the Service.
But Hon Muntaka, that is what we are doing.
Mr Speaker --
Hon Muntaka, resume your seat. Do you know how much time we have spent on one clause? That is what we are doing. We have spent much time and more than twenty people have contributed on this clause. Do not suggest that we are not being diligent.
Mr Speaker, I am only urging you and hoping that you would allow us to be able to convince ourselves that we want to drop it. I wanted to draw your attention --
Hon Muntaka, if you want to contribute, I have no problem with that at all. You know I can sit here till 6 o'clock in the evening. However, for you to suggest that we are not being diligent, and that you want us to be diligent --
Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, if that impression was created, then I am very sorry. That is just --
I accept your apology.
Mr Speaker, that is not the intention. I cannot do that at all. All I want to do is to encourage you to allow one or two more comments before you decide on what you want to do. This is because I think that this amendment --
I will lend you the Ghana National Fire Service Act, for you to look at the functions, to support a bit of the argument you are making. Do you have it? It is Act 537. Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah?
Mr Speaker, you have raised very important issues. Normally, at the Consideration Stage, some of these weighty matters may not be adequately considered. Mr Speaker, I propose that if the Hon Minister and the Hon Chairman of the Committee would agree, we suspend consideration of the Bill, in the light of the matters you have raised, for the Committee to look at it again. Probably, the Committee and the Hon Minister may arrive at the conclusion, that indeed, amendments relating to the functions may be dropped. But he may also come to the conclusion, that though, generally, that is the way it is done -- in that particular case, those proposed amendments are the best. Therefore, when we resume consideration, we would enjoy the debate from a more informed position. That is what I would propose. Mr Speaker, I do not even see any representative from the Attorney- General's Office here. I see some people in some uniform sitting in the Public Gallery. I do not know --
They are from the Ghana Immigration Service.
Mr Speaker, they should be seated at the back there and advising the Hon Deputy Minister and the Hon Chairman whenever necessary. However, the way they are seated over there, in fact, if there is the need for consultations, it cannot be held. Mr Speaker, so, I proposed, if the House would agree that we suspend consideration of this matter, and then in the light of the points that you have raised, the Hon Deputy Minister and the Hon Chairman of the Committee would go and reconsider this amendment they have proposed.
Hon Chairman, in the light of what Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah has said , there are some clauses that belong to the “Old Testament”, if I may say so -- that belong to what is acceptable to all of us. For example, clause 5 is on Governing body of the Service; clause 6 is on Functions of the Council; clause 7 is on Tenure of office; clause 8 is on Meetings. Why do we not take those and suspend clause 4 and continue with clause 5? When we reach anywhere that we think it is generating too much debate, then we suspend it. Agreed?
Mr Speaker, I think it is perfect. We would just stand down clause 4 and continue.
So, consideration of clause 4 of the Bill stands suspended for further consultations. Clause 5 -- Governing body of the Service
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 5, subclause (1), before “The governing”, insert “(1)” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Clause 5 (iii), Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 5, subclause (1), paragraph (d), delete “the Chief Director”, and insert “one representative” and after “Interior”, insert “not below the rank of a Director”
So, how would the new rendition read?
Mr Speaker, the new rendition would read: “One representative of the Ministry of the Interior, not below the rank of a Director.”
Mr Chairman, why?
Mr Speaker, this is because there is too much pressure on the Chief Director. That is all.
I am sorry [Laughter.] In my previous incarnation, I was a Minister. The Chief Director is under so much pressure. When you say Chief Director, he may not even be able to attend the meetings. Yes, Hon Chairman, ix?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 5, subclause (1), paragraph (e), line 2, after “of” insert “a”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Yes, Hon Chairman, x?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 5 -- subclause (1), add the following new paragraphs: “(h) One representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration not below the rank of a Director; “(i) one serving Junior Officer” Mr Speaker, again, this is in relation to the Chief Director and the kind of representative he wants.
I think the way it is advertised, we get the essence of it, but “subclause (1), add the following new paragraphs (h) and (i),” I think they should have been two separate amendments. Hon Muntaka, is he right?
Mr Speaker, usually, these are left for the draftsperson to deal with. They can align them, depending on which one they think should come first. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Yes, Chairman of the Committee, xi?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 5, subclause (3), delete “The Council shall ensure the proper and effective performance of the functions of the Service”. We should delete it because it is superfluous.
Why are you deleting that, Hon Chairman?
Mr Speaker, it is superfluous, because there are other indications and with your permission, I beg to quote: “The member of the Council shall be appointed by the President in accordance with article 70 of the Constitution.” “The Council shall ensure the proper and effective performance of the functions of the Service.” We already have the functions of the Council in clause 6. Therefore, we have brought it down to paragraph (f) in clause 6 -- under functions. Question put and amendment agreed to.
I will put the Question on the whole of clause - Is there another clause?
Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, before you put the Question on the whole of clause 5, I have an amendment. Unfortunately, I could not get it advertised. Mr Speaker, I have a big concern with paragraph (h) as it stands. It talks about -- and Mr Speaker, I beg to quote: “…one representative of the Ghana Bar Association who is at least ten years standing at the Bar.” Mr Speaker, I rather thought the most appropriate thing should be “a private legal practitioner of ten years standing”.
I will ask the Hon Deputy Minister.
This is to avoid the use of “an association” because that may change; others may form other associations. However, when we say “a private legal practitioner or a legal practitioner”, that one is legal and can stand the test of time.
The Ghana Bar Association is recognised by the Constitution.
Mr Speaker, it is not an issue of it being recognised. If another group comes up --
Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, for the time being, I think in Ghana we have one functional association for lawyers, which is the Ghana Bar Association. I think that for now, the Hon Majority Chief Whip should allow us to proceed. When another group springs up and we are considering legislations of this type, we may give that a thought.
I will put the Question on the amendment.
You have made your point, so, you cannot make any new point. You said “private legal practitioner”; the lawyer said “Ghana Bar Association” -- [Laughter.] Hon Muntaka, the Hon Deputy Minister is a member and so, am I -- [Laughter.]I am not voting. You are laughing? If I were to vote, you know the way I would have done it. Yes, Hon Appiah-Kubi?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have a grave concern about the age. I do not see the essence of the age. I would recommend its deletion. Why do we need a representative of the Ghana Bar Association as a member of the governing body? If we need a legal advice, there is somebody from the Attorney-General's Department. Therefore, what is essence of somebody from the Ghana Bar Association on the governing board?
Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, it is for a good reason that a member of the governing body of the Service should be a representative of the Ghana Bar Association. The reason is simple. We are talking about the governing body. The Deputy Controller-Generals, one of whom is supposed to be a lawyer, has not got any locus on the governing body. So, when policy issues are being considered, we need somebody with a legal background to assist the body. That is why there is the inclusion of a member of the Ghana Bar Association notwithstanding the fact that the Service as a whole may have Deputy Controller- General, as a lawyer. But in any case, Mr Speaker, if we accept his logic, in all matters that State institutions or agencies require legal advice, we defer to the Attorney-General. However, in the wisdom of Parliament, we think that we should have a Deputy Controller-General who is a lawyer, so it does not make any difference.
Hon Minister for Roads and Highways?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Indeed, my Hon Colleague ought to understand that it is for good reason that lawyers are required to be part of councils or boards, especially boards that superintend institutions that might potentially affect the fundamental rights of citizens. As it is ordinarily said, “prevention is better than cure”.When a lawyer is on a board, he or she is able to advise in terms that would continue to protect and safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens. We are saying that in law, the parent Act, envisages certain functions. For example, the powers of arrest. If a lawyer is not on a council, the procedure might not be well defined in tandem -- [Interruption]--We are talking about meetings of the Council; we are not talking about where -- I believe that what the Council is trying to do basically is to be proactive. It is to get a lawyer of ten years standing to be a member of the Council, so that they can advise and join the Attorney-General, who is on the Council, to found the decisions of the Council on a solid ground. That is what we are trying to do.
Hon Members, there are two of you-- Let me give the opportunity to Hon Amoako- Attah and then the Hon Member for Akatsi South.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think ‘‘a representative of the Ghana Bar Association'' is put there for a very good reason. Mr Speaker, if we talk about a governing body or council, it is charged with the policy direction of the Service. It takes all the major decisions that will dictate the way the Service should be run. Therefore, it has a key responsibility. Mr Speaker, even though a represen- tative of the Attorney-General is on the Council, all those who are lawyers -- I am not surprised that non lawyers do not appreciate that -- All those who are lawyers will appreciate the fact that, if a legal opinion is expressed, it is always better to have a second opinion to confirm whatever is decided on. Immigration issues generally border on law. Therefore, if there is a second Council member, who is a lawyer, to complement the work of the lawyer from the Attorney- General's Department, it strengthens the Council and it is all the better for the Service. It should be maintained.
Hon Members, article 201 of the Constitution talks about the Police Council and article 201 (d) says: “… the Attorney-General or his representative; Then article 201 (e) says: “… a lawyer nominated by the Ghana Bar Assocaition.” The first question whether the Attorney-General will not by itself satisfy
If you want a representation of the people, then we should put a Member of Parliament there. If that is the implication, that they are there, so that they will be the representative of the people, then it should be an elected representative of the people, not --
Chosen by whom? Mr Speaker?
Mr Speaker, I agree to some extent that we need to have a number of legal brains in there, so that in shaping the policy, they will have clearly on their minds, issues that will not infringe on the rights of the individual citizen. My only concern was GBA.
Hon Muntaka, you are proposing that, it should just be a legal practitioner?
Yes. Because the reason --
I will put the Question. Question put and amendment nega- tived
Over- whelmingly, Noe. This is a very powerful Noe. Hon Muntaka, do you want a review?
Mr Speaker, you were clearly contributing?
I did not contribute. I will put the Question on clause 5. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 5 as amendment ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 6 -- Functions of the Council
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6 -- paragraph (b), line 3, delete “and”. The reason is, it is superfluous, because it goes straight to another function.
I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreed to
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 6 -- paragraph (d), line 1, delete “draw up” and insert “consider and approve” and in line 3, after “Service”, insert “in line with the Government policy”. In the Bill, it says, “to draw up a Scheme”. I believe “consider and approve” is more appropriate and it has more finesse.
I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6, the following new paragraph: “(f) to ensure the proper and effective performance of the functions of the Service.” This was taken from subclause 3 of clause 5. It reads: “The Council shall ensure the proper and effective performance of the functions of the Service”. We have put it under “functions” instead of the “Governing Body of the Service”.
Mr Speaker, the proposed amendment seeks to imply that after “Service”, we should insert “in line with the government policy”. If you read the full rendition, if you leave out the “officers”, then “conditions of service” applies to whom? I believe that the proposed amendment should come after the officers. If you like, it should be”the employees in line with the Government policy”. Conditions of service refers to category of people. So, if we do not bring “the officers”, then we could leave the “condition of service” hanging without any specific reference.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, what is your pleasure?
This actually is to ensure that we are not at odds with policy, especially if it is the Single Spine Salary Scheme. When we discussed it, we realised that the government policy actually prevails at this time. Therefore, it is government policy, not just in conditions of service. If it is against the government policy, like the Single Spine Salary Scheme situation that we have had,we would want to make sure that it is in line with that.
Your amendment is not powerful. Hon Amoako-Attah, let us take it in our stride. Question put and amendment agreed to.
I will put the Question on clause 6 as variously amended. Clause 6 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Amoako-Attah, just to ask, are you a member of the Committee on Defence and the Interior?
No, Mr Speaker.
You can be a friend to the Committee. I am sure they will be happy to have you.
He is also my friend.
He is also a personal friend of the Chairman. The Chairman, through me, is extending an invitation to you to join their Committee because you seem to be quite interested in their Bills.
Mr Speaker, maybe, he is equally representing Hon W. O. Boafo. He comes from the same region -- [Laughter.] Clause 7 -- Tenure of office of members of the Council.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 7, subclause (1), line 2, after “shall” insert “not” and further delete “another term only” and insert “more than two terms”.
Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I did not express any interest to draw your attention.
I thought you wanted to --
Mr Speaker, you want to greet me. I will accept that. Thank you.
Hon Member for Dormaa Central, good afternoon. How are you doing?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, I am doing so well.
That is contemptuous of Parliament, to be expecting personal greetings from the Speaker -- [Laughter.] Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Speaker, I do not know why they are making this amendment to subclause 1. And I beg to quote. It reads: “A member of the Council shall hold office for four years and is eligible for re-appointment but a member shall be appointed for another term only”. Once we use this, we have specified that it is only two terms the person will serve. I do not know why they are adding “shall not be appointed …”
I support you.
From their new rendition, if I understand it, it is 12 years. The original rendition says that: “A member of the Council shall hold office for four years and is eligible for re-appointment but a member shall be appointed for another term only”. Four years plus four years is eight years. The new rendition says that “shall not …” The first rendition is alright. Hon Chairman of the Committee, you should withdraw it.
Mr Speaker, we withdraw this amendment.
Chairman of the Committee, I accept your withdrawal. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 7, subclause (6), line 1, delete “for a sufficient reason”: “Where a member of the Council is, for sufficient reason, unable to act as a member, the Minister shall determine whether the inability would result in the declaration of a vacancy.” That is the new rendition.
Why are you deleting “for a sufficient reason”?
Mr Speaker, the problem we had with the phrase “for a sufficient reason” is the difficulty to define what ‘‘a sufficient reason'' will mean within that context. Who determines that sufficient reason?
“The man in the trotro to Nima”, do you know the text? It is an objective text in law. What would the ordinary person determine as sufficient? This is because what you are saying also, you are giving the Minister the parts of the whole Chancellor of the Exchequer when we said that equity is as long as the Chancellor's foot. The Minister shall determine; so, if the Minister does not like me, he would determine. However, for sufficient reason, it is a check on the Minister. So, the Minister must be objective in his determination.
Mr Speaker, we take a cue. The Hon Chairman has agreed to accordingly withdraw it.
Hon Chairman, they say we should hear from the horse's own mouth even though you are not a horse.
Mr Speaker, we take a cue and we withdraw it.
The amendment is accordingly withdrawn. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House.
Both amendments have been withdrawn. So, we take clause 7. Clause 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Hon Majority Chief Whip, can we go to, at least, clause 11? This is because it is non controversial.
Mr Speaker, with the greatest of respect, we have not made any provision for lunch and we --
It is 1.41 p.m. All right.
We have to close at 2.00 o'clock p.m. And aside, what you asked us to stand down, there is the need to hold further discussions on it, so that tomorrow, we would be able to carry on with clause 4. At this juncture, I would want to crave your indulgence and that of the House and beg to move that, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow. But Mr Speaker, the Mace is still tilted.
No! We have to take the clauses. I asked that question because I noticed that in this House, when you adjourn till tomorrow, the work will still be waiting for you. Sometimes, it is better to do as much as you can the day before. However, your submission that you have not catered for extended Sitting finds much favour with me. So, I will end the Consideration Stage on the Immigration Service Bill, 2015. This brings us to the end of Consideration Stage of the Immigration Service Bill, 2015. Thank you very much, Hon Members. Hon Alhaji Muntaka, any indication from you?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, having done so much and having had some outstanding issues discussed. I would want to beg, that this House should stand adjourned until tomorrow 10. 00 o'clock in the forenoon.
As Acting Minority Leader of the House, I beg to second the Motion. Thank you.
Hon Appiah-Kubi, there was no formal communication to the Speaker. You are the Acting Minority Leader, do you want it to be on record? to support the employment of young people.
Well, it is just that I am not part of the Minority. I am sitting in the Chair. So, I will not comment on that.
All right. I will put the Question, having heard from the Hon Majority Chief Whip and the Acting Minority Leader. Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.45 p.m. till Wednesday, 4th November, 2015 at 10.00 a.m.