MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonMembers, Order! Order!! Hon Members, can we have someorder, please? Hon Members, I wish to direct that wedefer putting the Question for now anddeal with the issue with reference to theGETFund Formula at the Committee of theWhole. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, before that,we want to seek your leave to lay a Paperitemised on the Order Paper Addendum 2-- Papers for Presentation.
Which ofthe Order Papers are you referring to?
Order Paper Addendum 2.
HonMembers, we start with Order PaperAddendum 2 by the Hon Minister forFinance.
Mr Speaker, Order PaperAddendum 3, there is another Paper forpresentation. By the Minister for Finance -- Gas Sales Agreement between theGovernment of the Republic ofGhana and West Africa Gas Limited(BVI) for the delivery of 180,000MMBTU/d of gas at Tema for therunning of selected Thermal PowerPlants.
Mr Speaker, given thenature of the subject matter, may I suggestyou add the Committee on Mines andEnergy? Referred to the Joint Committee onFinance and Mines and Energy.
Mr Speaker, on today'sOrder Paper, page 4, item numbered 10,that is on the GETFund Report.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, thatnotwithstanding the provisions ofStanding Order 80 (1), which require thatno Motion shall be debated until at least,forty-eight hours have elapsed betweenthe date on which notice of the Motion isgiven and the date on which the Motionis moved, the Motion for the adoption ofthe proposed formula for the distributionof the Ghana Education Trust Fund(GETFund) for the year 2016 may bemoved today.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Mr Speaker, item numbered11. Proposed formula for thedistribution of GETFund, 2016
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, thatthis Honourable House adopts theproposed formula for the distribution ofthe Ghana Education Trust Fund(GETFund) for the year 2016. Introduction In accordance with the provisions ofsection 8 (2) of the Ghana Education TrustFund Act, 2000, (Act 581), the distributionformula for moneys expected to accrue tothe Ghana Education Trust Fund(GETFund) for the year 2016 was laid inParliament on Wednesday, 16th March,2016 and referred to the Committee of theWhole for consideration and report. Subsequently, the Committee met onThursday, 17th March, 2016 andconsidered the referral. The Committee expresses its apprecia-tion to the Hon Deputy Minister forEducation, Mr Alex Kyeremeh and theGETFund Administrator, Mr Sam Garba forproviding clarifications on the proposedformula. References The Committee, in preparing its Reportmade reference to the following docu-ments: i. The Ghana Education TrustFund Act, 2000 (Act 581) ii. The formula for the distributionof proceeds of the GETFund foryear 2014 iii. The formula for the distributionof proceeds of the GETFund foryear 2015 iv. The formula for the distributionof proceeds of the GETFund foryear 2016 v. The Standing Orders of theHouse.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to second the Motion. Question proposed. Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin--rose --
HonMember, what are you up for?
Mr Speaker, withthe greatest respect, I know that the HonMember who moved the Motion, the HonSecond Deputy Speaker is a man of ourrules. The Motion he moved -- and I seekyour guidance -- He moved the Motionon item numbered 10. He first sought yourleave to enable him proceed with theapplication he just made. Mr Speaker, in the said Motion,reference is made to Standing Order 80 (1)of the rules of this House. With thegreatest respect, my contention is that the said Motion, which was moved andsought to set aside Standing Order 80(1),needs a supporting provision in ourStanding Orders to make it competentbefore you. The Motion itself is verydefective and I so hold the view that itbeing defective, same cannot be properbefore you to be considered. This is because if we seek to set asideOrder 80 (1), then Mr Speaker is beinginvited to look at some other provision inour rules to be able to accept thatapplication. That has not been made.Therefore, merely saying that “notwith-standing Standing Order 80 (1)” is notenough. We might have to look at the waythe Motion has been put, once again.Merely saying that “notwithstandingStanding Order 80 (1)” --
HonMember, could you tell us what supportingprovision you are referring to?
Mr Speaker, myview is that --
Refer us tothe supporting provision. Hon Member,it is not a question of your view. Just makereference to the supporting provision youare talking about.
Mr Speaker, myview is that the Motion would be properlyplaced before you if, as it seeks to setaside Standing Order 80 (1), reference ismade to Standing Orders 1, 2 and 3 of ourrules, and specifically, for relevance,Standing Order 3. Mr Speaker, may I haveyour leave to read Standing Order 3?
No. -- [Laughter.]
Please, goahead and read it.
Mr Speaker,Standing Order 3 (1) provides, “Notwithstanding anything inthese Order, any order or part of anyorder may be suspended withoutnotice with the consent of Mr.Speaker and the majority ofMembers present.”
“Except otherwise provided in theseOrders or in the Constitution of theRepublic of Ghana, these Ordersshall not restrict the mode in whichParliament exercises and upholds itspowers, privileges and immunities.” Mr Speaker, when you go further toStanding Order 3 (2), “The Order or part of the orderproposed to be suspended and thereason for the proposed suspensionshall be distinctly stated.” Mr Speaker, there is no problem seekingto set aside Standing Order 80 (1); the ruleallows it per this provision. However, thereasons must be so stated and --
HonMember, but I believe that you cannot takeaway the powers of the person presiding,knowing very well that today is the lastday of the Meeting and there is someurgency about the matter. I think that I amcompetent enough to allow that to go.
Mr Speaker, we areentirely in your hands. I only sought todraw your attention and so, I have noproblem if you have so ruled.
Mr Speaker, I think weshould pay tribute to our lost HonColleague and after that we can proceedto, maybe, the Closing Ceremony.
I cannothear you.
Mr Speaker, I said that weshould pay tribute to our lost HonColleague.
Very well. That is within your powers. Hon Members, we will take a tribute inrespect of our deceased Hon Colleague,Hon Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu.
Mr Speaker, today being the lastday of this Meeting and considering what happened to us, Leadership thought itnecessary that we pay tribute to thememory of our late Hon Colleague, MrJoseph Boakye Danquah Adu. Therefore,I am doing this for and on behalf of theHouse — [Pause.] Mr Speaker, I would want to pay thistribute in silence and I want my HonColleagues to cooperate with me.
13; I am quoting from TheKing James Version. Mr Speaker, with yourpermission it says — Mr Speaker, this is to a solemnoccasion and this is to an Hon Colleague;I expect Hon Members to, at least, showsome respect to the departed. It is noteverything we joke with.
“And I heard a voice from heavensaying unto me, Write, Blessed arethe dead who die in the Lord fromnow on: Yea, says the Spirit, thatthey may rest from their labours; andtheir works do follow them” (Rev.14:13, King James Version). Throughout the human race, it hasbeen the custom of every distinguishedinstitution to commemorate the renownedwhen they depart, thereby enshriningtheir memories in the hearts of succeedinggenerations and causing their heroicdeeds to be emulated by posterity. Tuesday, the 5th of February, 2016 willforever be recorded in the history of ourParliament and indeed, the nation Ghana,as one of the most painful moments wehave experienced as a country when wewoke up at dawn to be greeted with thenews of the gruesome murder of our dearColleague, Hon. Joseph Boakye DanquahAdu . The late Hon Member's associationwith the Parliament of Ghana dates backto 2005 when he entered Parliament as theMember for Akim Abuakwa NorthConstituency. Hon. Joseph BoakyeDanquah Adu missed out in the FifthParliament but returned in the SixthParliament as the sitting Member ofParliament for the Abuakwa NorthConstituency until his demise. Mr Speaker, in Parliament, he servedon a number of committees including,Committee on Trade, Industry andTourism, Public Accounts Committee,Business Committee and the SpecialBudget Committee. The late Hon Memberalso served as a Deputy Minister forTrade, Industry and Presidential Initiative. As a Chartered Accountant, J. B., ashe was affectionately called, availedParliament of his knowledge, skills andexpertise both in plenary and atcommittees in matters of finance, industry,trade and economic development. J. B. was a distinguished Statesmanwho was primarily concerned about nationbuilding. He would forever beremembered by Parliament and indeed, thegood people of Ghana as an agent ofchange and development, a purpose-driven industrialist, a model legislator, anhonest and friendly gentlemen, a selflesspolitician who sought to demystify politicsas a not “do-or-die affair”, a consensusbuilder, a patriot and true a Statesman. In contributing to debate on the AnnualBudget Estimates of the Ministry of Tradeand Industry, J. B. stated: “The observation has to do withthe made-in-Ghana or what I call thelocal content, which is missing inour policy and investment... If youtake our roads, the bitumen isimported; if you take our poultry,
the vaccines are imported. So Mr.Speaker, the “made in Ghana” is notjust words, we must get the policyand investment going.” J. B. held on to the conviction that thetime had come for specific policyintervention to propel the growth ofindustry and in this regard he, said: “Mr. Speaker, on sugar, as it isrightly put, Komenda has startedand we pray that there will be alegislative framework put in placeby our able Hon Minister through aSugar Act to help regulate andmotivate the industry of sugar, sothat more investment and investorswould develop the northern part ofthe country in terms of sugar estateand bring the requisite investmentin excess of two hundred milliondollars plus....” J. B. believed that appropriate policymeasures could create the necessaryenvironment for finance and funding ofeconomic and industrial developmentprojects through private initiatives andthus minimise over-dependence on theMinistry of Finance for funding of alldevelopment projects. He was of the viewthat such initiatives would also facilitateemployment generation and wealthcreation. J. B.'s unwavering commitment toprivate-sector led growth and develop-ment featured prominently in hiscontributions on matters bordering on theeconomy. Speaking to a Motion on theAnnual Budget Estimates of the Ministryof Fisheries and Aquaculture Develop-ment, J. B. had this to say: “Mr Speaker, if you read the Report,it talks about private sector involvement in fish feed productionand I would encourage theGovernment to encourage Ghanaianindustrialists to take up a lotinitiatives in this area, so that theycan produce fish feed and also in away, create jobs and employmentand acquire wealth. Most importantly, I realised that alot of the time, we talk of theGovernment in this ReportGovernment cannot do businessand actually, create the profitabilitythat would ensure sustainablegrowth for our teeming youth andcreation of employment. Govern-ment cannot actually create orcomplete a fish processing plant. In the 21st Century, they shouldfurther encourage the Ghanaianinvestor and the Ghanaian privatesector to be going into suchlucrative sectors and the Govern-ment should provide the enablingenvironment and the rightincentives, so that the Ghanaianindustrialist can actually help in thesupport of the growth of thissector.” He was a staunch advocate fortransformational change and saw this ascondition precedent to sustainablegrowth and development and therefore,called for consistent and sustained effortin this regard. Contributing to the debate on theGovernment's Financial Policy for the 2015Financial Year, J. B. remarked: “Mr Speaker, not long ago, I wasreading something from the HarvardBusiness Journal and it talked aboutreforms. This country and thisbudget need serious structuralreforms to boost investments,trading and growth, if we want toachieve this theme of “Transforma- tional Agenda: Securing the BrightMedium-Term Prospects of theEconomy” … However, I know wehave talked about the Export-Import(EXIM) Bank. It has been theconsequence of all the reforms thatwe needed with the ExportDevelopment and AgriculturalInvestment Fund (EDAIF) whichhas culminated in the formation ofthis Ghana EXIM Bank. But it couldbe the same ball game if the reformsthat we require do not take place.” J. B., as a legislator, exerted himself inlaw-making. His contribution during thepassing of the Export Trade andAgriculture Development Fund Act,cannot go unnoticed. As usual, hecontended passionately for creditfacilities to be extended to the export trade,agriculture and agro-processing andindustry sectors, among others. His contributions informed, inparticular, sections 17 on credit facility,section 19 on eligibility for credit facilityaccount, section 20 on period of creditfacility and section 29 on imposition ofimport levy, among others. J. B. the legislator, paid attention todetail. During the Consideration Stage ofthe Ghana Civil Aviation Authority Bill,2015, J. B. drew attention to a key omissionin the Bill. He contended: “Mr Speaker, there is no provisionin the interpretation defining‘regulatory directive.' There isnothing in the Bill under theinterpretation column, whichdefines it. Mr Speaker, if it is aboutgiving the power to the Director-General to issue directives, I do notthink the House has a problem,especially for the emergencies of their safety concerns. But thedefinition as contained in theinterpretation clause, cannot beacceptable under the circumstances...” J. B. was an honest and a friendlygentleman, who related so well with all HonColleagues from both sides of the divideand staff of the Parliamentary Service. His usual perpetual smile andconciliatory demeanour was enough todispel traits of disaffection, which mayhave been nurtured against him bypersons he came into contact with, as itwas almost impossible for him to react inan untoward manner even in the face ofprovocation. Even in sharp disagreement,he would always carry his views acrossbut in a very civil manner. J. B. as selfless politician, lived anddemonstrated the beauty of democracyby supporting any cause, which in hisview, promoted the interest and dignityof humanity irrespective of whether hederived any gains therefrom. As apolitician and a businessman, he was seenas a person who always put the interestof society above his own. While sticking to his politicalphilosophy, indeed, one could hardlynotice any trait of political colouration inhis dealings with Colleagues from eitherside of the divide, an attribute whichenabled him endear himself to Colleagues.As a gentleman, J. B on the floor alwaysyielded to superior arguments. During moments of sharp disagree-ments on the floor, he always found ituseful in crossing to the opposing side tonegotiate, trade-off, and where possible,galvanise support on any matter he foundnecessary in the national interest. Thisconduct, he exhibited consistently duringdebates to the admiration of all. J. B. wouldsometimes better walk away to avoidconfrontation.
Thank youvery much. Can we hear from the Hon MinorityLeader? [Pause.] Very well. Hon Atta Akyea?
Mr Speaker, my shorteulogy is to the honour of Hon J. B.Danquah Adu, who at all material times,was the Hon Member of Parliament forAbuakwa North, but gruesomelymurdered in his dwelling house when theglobe had turned into a new day on thenight of February, 2016; it was a Tuesday. William Shakespeare, musing on thetransient nature of our earthly life statedin Macbeth, that --
“She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time forsuch a word. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, andtomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from dayto day To the last syllable of recorded time,And all our yesterdays have lightedfools The way to dusty death. Out,out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poorplayer That struts and frets his hour uponthe stage And then is heard no more: it is atale Told by an idiot, full of sound andfury, Signifying nothing.” Mr Speaker, I am of the humble viewthat at 51, your life is just beginning totick. This good friend of ours, so far as Iam concerned, died too soon and tooearly. Mr Speaker, death has robbed me ofmy political twin, because our recentconstitutional arrangement was verysimple, that there was a constituencycalled Akyem Abuakwa Central and weneeded to divide this constituency byhaving Akyem Abuakwa North and AkyemAbuakwa South. We share a common border. As a matterof fact, it is the heartbeat of the Membersof Parliament for Akyem Abuakwa. Mr Speaker, death has also robbed meof a friend and a brother. When he returnedto Parliament in January, 2013, being theblood relations of Dr J. B. Danquah, thenation's foremost independence fighter,we always conferred and reasonedthrough a befitting commemorativespeech to be delivered to the House onevery 4th of February, the fateful day Dr J.B. Danquah died at cell number 9,Nsawam Medium Security Prisons. His pulse and elegant delivery on 4th ofFebruary this year is captured in theOfficial Report. Mr Speaker, with yourkind permission, let me quote the light thathe shed on Dr Danquah's pioneering rolein the birth of Ghana's premier university,the University of Ghana. This is capturedat columns 362 and 363. He was quotingwhat he considered as one of the seriouscontributions of Dr J. B. Danquah to ournational life. This is how he stated it: “Another of his legacies is theUniversity of Ghana, Legon. In 1943,when the colonial governmentminority commission reportrecommending that one centraluniversity should be established inIbadan, Nigeria for the whole ofWest Africa, Dr Danquah was veryupset and made a very long speech inParliament, part of which stated --” And he was quoting Dr Danquah: ‘‘The Gold Coast is not Nigeria, andnever could be. Achimota is notYagba or Ibadan and never couldbe. Sir, for purely cultural reasons, Iconcede that the Gold Coast, aproud little country, with the goodreasons for being proud, will neverand never and shall never be proudof a university situated in Ibadanand not in Achimota, and for thisreason alone; this superlativecultural reason, I support theMotion for a committee to be setup, your Excellency, to lookcarefully into dispatch number 169and make recommendations to suitour Gold Coast tradition; ourAchimota tradition.” -- Hansard of July 24th, 1946. He got the support of his Colleaguesin the Legislative Assembly and acommittee was set up with Dr J. B.Danquah as a member. The committee's work paid off and onAugust 1, 1948, the Gold Coast's ownuniversity college was started, Legon,making J. B. a very happy man.” This is what our Hon Colleague statedon the 4th of February, 2016. Mr Speaker,this was perhaps, his last and major butsignificant contribution on the floor of theHouse. As my custom is, I always supportedhis Statement with some otherdimensions of Dr Danquah's death. We are yet to decode the tragedy ofhis death because the perplexing irony isthat, while he was paying a tribute of depthand substance to the late Dr J. B. Danquahon Thursday, Hon J. B. Danquah Adujoined him, Dr Danquah, at asamando, theland of the death on Tuesday.
Thank youvery much. Could we now hear from the HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the tributeabout the late Hon J. B. Danquah Adu, sowell made by the Hon Majority Leader, isso touching that I would not attempt toadd much to what he has said. Mr Speaker, suffice it to say that, thepersonality of the Hon Member is wellencapsulated in those words the HonMajority Leader presented to us, in thesixth paragraph of the last page of thetribute. Mr Speaker, I beg to quote: “He was a great but simple man. Heled a humble life and found joy inservice to humanity.” Indeed, the family and the people ofAkim Abuakwa North Constituency, hishometown, Tafo, the New Patriotic Party,Parliament as an institution and the nationas a whole, have lost a husband, father,nephew, uncle, true friend and gem of agentleman, a model parliamentarian, a true democrat and a patriot, a philanthropistand a Statesman. Mr Speaker, in these turbulent and darkdays of carnage, and unforetold andunforeseen bestiality, death no longerstrikes panic and fear. Yet, the suddentransition of the late Hon J. B. DanquahAdu robbed the very firmament of thiscountry and sent all of us helter-skelter. Mr Speaker, in the death of the HonMember, it dawned on all of us that nobodyis safe in Ghana any longer. Tragedy, perhaps, he was heralding,when he paid a glowing tribute to the lateDr J. B. Danquah that day, when thetribute was read by the Hon Atta Akyea.He followed to launch a book for the manin whom he was well pleased. He was allsmiles. He tried to have a chat witheveryone who was there that evening. Mr Speaker, I had an appointment withhim on the following Tuesday, only to bewoken up at dawn by a phone callannouncing his untimely demise. I couldnot believe those piercing words that cameto me around a quarter to five o'clock inthe morning that Tuesday. While I was struggling to establishcontact with others to establish theveracity in the message that had come tome, I had confirmation by 30 minutes afterthe first message had come to me. I wassordid hearted and could not believe thatthe man who advertised an eternal smilewas going to leave us. Mr Speaker, it is said that, in this world,the good ones do not last. The late Hon J.B. Danquah Adu did not last long enough.He was a good man. He affected so manylives and so many hearts. I do know thathis smile remains in the hearts of manypeople. The smile that was paradoxicallyturned into sorrow in the hearts of somany others. Mr Speaker, we can only say to thenuclear family and all the lives that hetouched that God Almighty shouldconsole all of us. We entreat the kindlylight of the Almighty God to lead us on,amidst the encircling gloom. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Thank youvery much. Hon Members, if I were to give everyHon Member the opportunity, we wouldlisten to tributes ad infinitum. On this note, I will like all of us to beupstanding to observe a minute's silencein his memory. [A minute of silence was observed.] Hon Members, may his soul and thesouls of all the faithfully departed rest inperfect peace. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
HonMinority Leader, you are reminded to goback to that issue in respect of which wedeferred the putting of the Question, butI will like to hear from you and possiblyfrom the Hon Majority Leader and then Icould give some direction.
Mr Speaker,I guess it relates to the deferred Questionon the value for money audit on VAMEDissue?
Mr Speaker,I thought that the outstanding issuerelated to the issue of VfM audit. I believein principle, we agreed that the facilitiesto be delivered by VAMED should besupported. What is really causing thedivision is the delay in the issuance ofthe VfM report, which one should precedewhat? Mr Speaker, some of us believe that ifthis report should be supported, it shouldbe conditional to the submission of theVfM audit and if the Hon Minister wouldundertake to assure us here, that if thereport from the Crown Agents CompanyLimited is to the effect that -- Of course,if it proves the price right, nobody wouldhave any issues. Mr Speaker, if it is negative, in otherwords, if it turns out that the contract sumis over bloated, the Hon Minister wouldundertake to assure us that, automatically,the price would be reviewed downwards.If that could be given to the House, Ibelieve that we could go along with it. Inprinciple, we believe that the people needit. Mr Speaker, I believe that is the onlyoutstanding issue, which caused adivision in the House and if we can havethe assurance, I believe, subject to thatrider, we could support it. Mr Speaker, but on the face of theReport submitted by the Committee, withrespect, it cannot be supported.
Mr Speaker, we actuallyconcluded debate and the Question wasabout to be put when Hon K. T. Hammonddrew our attention to the provision ofarticle 104 and that was what was beingconsidered. Mr Speaker, then at the end of the samepage, when the Committee wasrecommending -- With your permission,I beg to quote: “The Committee recommends thatthe Ministry must abide by therecommendations of the VFMassessment, if any. Further, anysavings made out of the VFMshould be applied to the project”. Mr Speaker, so, I believe that has beentaken care of in the Report. Again, in the summing up of the HonMinister, he again assured the House thathe will make copies of the VfM reportavailable. And so, I thought that he hadsufficiently responded to that request. The Hon Minister is still here and if hewants further assurances, I know he cangive them and then we could go on to putthe Question.
Thank youvery much. Hon Minister?
MrSpeaker, as has been indicated, the issueis the VfM audit. As I indicated to theCommittee, once the VFM audit has beenconducted, we will make it available, notjust to the Committee but to the House,so that the House is fully aware of it. Mr Speaker, going beyond that, wewould abide completely by theassessment of the VfM audit. So, that is the assurance I can give tothe House as the Hon Minister and all the points raised on this floor were actuallydeliberated at the Committee level and wegave those assurances and these are thesame assurances I am giving the Housetoday.
Mr Speaker,do I understand it to mean that, if it shouldmean reviewing the price downwards, itwould be done? Do I understand it to meanthat? It is for the avoidance of doubt.
Mr Speaker, I want to bevery clear about the contract in the VfMaudit. [Interruption.] Why? If the VfMaudit comes back and it says, for example,the cost of the building of these hospitalsis not €23,000,500 but €23,000,000., itmeans that, what happens to the €500,000that is left? Mr Speaker, historically, what hashappened is, we look to enhance what wealready have and apply the €500 whichwe have already contracted to the project.So, they expand the scope of thecontracts. It is not a case that if the VFMaudit comes back and it says €23,000,000,we write a new contract for €23,000,000. I just want that to be made clear and ifthat is the understanding that we are justgoing to expand the scope then, that iswhat I am assuring the House would bedone. We would expand the scope to meetthe VfM audit.
Thank youvery much, Hon Minister. I believe with this assurance, we wouldbe comfortable putting the Question, sothat we get the requisite response fromthe House. Hon Members -- yes, Hon MinorityLeader?
Mr Speaker,that is quite assuring. We have also seenthat after the VfM audit assessment has been presented, some organisations havethereafter subjected it to negotiations. Wedo not want to hear this.
Very well. Once the Hansard has captured it. Hon Members, I will now put theQuestion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, therewas a constitutional matter to beconsidered --
Thank youvery much, Hon Members. Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, whathappened to the constitutional matter?
Mr Speaker,I believe the Hon K. T. Hammond has anissue and I would want to believe that byyour putting the Question -- because heraised a constitutional matter of us nothaving enough numbers, Mr Speaker, youassured yourself that we had the requisitenumber. Otherwise, it would mean thatwhat we have done is illegitimate and thatis why I am raising that matter with you. So, Mr Speaker, if you could respondto it quickly, to clear the path and then wewould be very clear in our minds. This isbecause he has raised it, it is outstandingand it has not been addressed before theQuestion was put and that is why I amsaying that -- So that we would be veryclear in our mind.
Yes, HonMajority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we tried asmuch as possible to relax the rules of thisHouse and my Hon Colleague is awarethat some of these things that we aredoing, we are doing them for our commongood. If we strictly go according to ourrules, this is not how we conduct theBusiness of the House. But we haverelaxed it because we want to improve. Wedo not want to be setting precedents thatin future can cause a lot of harm to theBusiness of this House. Mr Speaker, I just would want to leaveit at that but truly, before the issue wasraised, this was not the number we had inthe House. I even wanted my HonColleague to have at least, that bit ofpatience to wait but he walked out. Thisis because Leadership is there -- Just likethe Hon Minority Leader has done. Hisintervention has allowed the issue to beraised again but he is gone and therebyalso reducing numbers. At the time he raised the issue, othersdecided to leave and they walked out, butmany have come in and I think we havethe numbers. I am saying, I do not wantus to set precedents that would keep thisHouse tilted in a way that would sabotagethe Business of the House. Please, the decision has been taken andif it is to be challenged, well, you wouldhave to go according to the rules. But Ido not advise that we go that hull.
Mr Speaker,I am wondering what path the HonMajority Leader is electing to thread. Aconstitutional matter had been raised andit was pending. In all fairness and in allsincerity, I agree that our numbers haveimproved. But because that matter had notbeen addressed, it would appear as if weoperated within the ambit of illegality. So, I said that the Speaker shouldadvert his mind to it, so that we clear thepath to know that what we have done, wehave not breached any law. I thought you understood it. I am notsaying that we should do a headcount orwhatever. You seem to think that, that iswhat I called for. I am not doing that. Allthat I said to Mr Speaker is that because itwas hanging, he should have pronouncedon it and then we deal with it. That is it. Iam not saying that we should do aheadcount. That is why I am surprised atwhat turn you would want to take. No! There was a constitutional matterhanging -- It has been raised and Ithought that the Clerks-at-the-Tablewould have advised the Speaker, so thatin putting the Question, the Speaker wouldhave adverted his mind to it. But even afterthe fact, if he had said that he was assuredthat we had the numbers and that is whyhe put the Question, then nothing. So,nothing untoward is being sought by that. Mr Speaker, I hope you appreciate thepoint that I have made.
HonMembers, we have the numbers. I assureyou. At the time the Question was put, wehad the numbers.
Mr Speaker, yes,because I know the Clerk had told you.That is why he said we had the numbersthen. And so, there is no problem.
Very well. Order! Hon Majority Leader, I believe we aregoing to item numbered 6 on theAddendum Order Paper for theResolution?
Allright, Mr Speaker.
Yes, HonMinister for Health?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that WHEREAS by the provisions ofarticle 181(5) of the Constitutionthe terms and conditions of anyinternational business oreconomic transaction to whichthe Government of Ghana is aparty shall not come intooperation unless the said termsand conditions have been laidbefore Parliament and approvedby Parliament by a Resolutionsupported by the votes of amajority of all Members ofParliament; PURSUANT to the provisions ofthe said article 181(5) of theConstitution, and at the requestof the Government of Ghana,acting through the Ministerresponsible for Health, there hasbeen laid before Parliament theterms and conditions of aCommercial Agreement betweenthe Government of the Republicof Ghana and VAMED HealthProjects CZ s.r.o. of the CzechRepublic (VAMED Engineering)for the design, execution, andcompletion of works and theremedying of defects in respectof the construction and equipp-ing of 10 polyclinics in theCentral Region. THIS HONOURABLE HOUSEHEREBY RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS: IN ACCORDANCE with theprovisions of the said article181(5) of the Constitution thisHouse approves the CommercialAgreement between the Govern-ment of the Republic of Ghanaand VAMED Health Projects CZs.r.o. of the Czech Republic(VAMED Engineering) for thedesign, execution and completionof works and the remedying ofdefects in respect of theconstruction and equipping of10 polyclinics in the CentralRegion.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
HonMembers, I believe we now move to theClosing Ceremony. Hon Majority Leader, we are movingto the Closing Ceremony, could we hearfrom the two Leaders? Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the firstMeeting of the Fourth Session of the SixthParliament of the Fourth Republic endstoday. As the practice has been, we mustthank God for his mercies. Mr Speaker, Imust also appreciate the opportunity tomake these few remarks. Mr Speaker, we have debated, amendedand passed many Bills after thoroughconsiderations. In this Meeting, HonMembers have worked tirelessly anddiligently to ensure the effective executionof parliamentary business and metdeadlines, which have ensured thesmooth administration of Government.This has culminated in a very fruitfuldiscourse and productive session duringthese months of Meeting and everyonemust receive commendation for efforts putinto the Meeting. Mr Speaker, the signature issue for thisMeeting was the State of the NationAddress of the President of the Republic.Indeed, by the conventional standards ofmeasure, there are clear indications thatthe State is rubber-legged. There is,therefore, the need for all of us to admit tothe true state of affairs and bond togetherto find pragmatic measures to dealfrontally with the challenges facing thecountry. Mr Speaker, it is worth mentioning that,in this Meeting, our Parliament playedhost to a number of events and thisincluded a capacity building seminar forAfrican Parliamentarians on addressingChild, Early and Forced Marriage with thesupport of Parliamentarians for GlobalAction and at which we had a publiclecture by Dr Babatunde Osotimehin,Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary General of United NationsPopulation Fund (UNFPA), which had todo with critical and connected issues ofpopulation and development, in particular,as they affect people in the Global South,including, especially Ghana. Mr Speaker, it is my belief that, we takea cue from the conclusions andrecommendations that emerged for the advancement and development of our dearnation. Mr Speaker, also worth mentioning wasthe fact that the Majority Leader and I wereinvited to be part of the launching of theSustainable Development Goals in Ghana,in which H.E. John Dramani Mahama, whohas been appointed as a Co-Chair of thegroup of 16 eminent persons, who wouldassist in the campaign to achieve theSustainable Development Goals, gave akeynote address. Mr Speaker, in providing the necessaryoversight and accountability for theeffective implementation of SDGs,Parliament must continue its role increating awareness, ensuring thatgovernment policies and programmes areSDGs-compliant, and establishingappropriate linkages among thesepolicies, programmes, projects andbudgets. This is a clear way of achievingthe goals under SDG in record time. On the issue of security, Ghana, wemust admit, is no longer immune from terrorthreats as recent happenings in BurkinaFaso and la Cote d'Ivoire attest to it. It isthe reason inaugurating a police unit inthe precincts of Parliament today is agood thing worth commending. The policeexist to protect life and property and toensure peace and security. Ghanaians are generally speaking,peace-loving and that partly explains whyfor a long time, Ghana has remained anoasis of peace in a region that has hadmore than its fair share of conflict andinsecurity. The world has since September 11,2001 changed significantly and that is whyit is imperative that Ghana begins to takecommensurate, proactive steps. Theinauguration of a police unit and facilitywithin Parliament today is intended toprovide security to Mr Speaker, the thirdrecognisable person in the country, Hon Members, the staff, guests to the Houseand property on the precincts ofParliament. Mr Speaker, as I said this morning,Parliament cannot serve as a thoroughfareto other destinations. Yet Ghana'sParliament is a thoroughfare for as longas the precincts of Parliament remain ashared facility between Parliament and theExecutive. Mr Speaker, the time has come forLeadership of Parliament to take the matterof the Executive ceding the part ofparliamentary precincts that the arms ofthe Executive now occupy, to thelegislative arm with H.E. President JohnDramani Mahama, who himself is a formerMember of the Fourth RepublicanParliament. The low point of this Meeting was thebrutal murder of our Colleague the Hon. J.B. Danquah, in whose memory a befittingtribute has just been made by the HonAtta Akyea, the Member for the otherAbuakwa Constituency. We will urge thepolice to work assiduously to let us knowthe truth in this beastly event. Thus far,the absence of relevant information is nothelping matters. Paradoxically, the security agencies inthe immediate aftermath of that heinouscrime, hurried to Parliament for timeousbriefings, for which we commended them.Information has since then dried up. Canthe relevant agencies respond to ourinquiries? Their silence is not helpingmatters. In the meantime, may I wish the partiesparticipating in the by-elections a verycivil and mature electioneeringcampaigns. May the best candidate win. Mr Speaker, presidential and generalelections are scheduled to be held onNovember 7 this year. If that is so, thenwe have less than 8 months and yet thenation does not know when the electionswill hold. Elections, if they are to be freeand fair, must be transparent andpredictable. The parties must know well before duetime what events will occur at whichperiods. It is most unfortunate and indeed,unacceptable that the relevant Bill has notcome to Parliament yet. I want to believethat nobody wants to stampede thepolitical parties and indeed, the entirecountry. We need tranquility in ourelections. Parliament has an oversight responsibilitypursuant to good democratic governance.One traditional tool of exercising theoversight function is Question and Motions.It is unfortunate that many Questions andMotions that are filed to exact responses fromthe Executive, some IGIs and quasi-governmental institutions remain unres-ponded to. Parliament is disabled by that,especially when the Members who file theQuestions and the leadership of theCaucuses that they come from, are not toldanything. We should not emasculate Parliamentby the resort to the trend of not allowingMembers to engage the Ministers. Itdisables Parliament. Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunityto express my felicitations to you and yourdeputies for the manner in which theaffairs of this Meeting have been steered.It is my sincerest hope that God will grantyou wisdom and grace to be as just andimpartial as possible to guide the Housein the discharge of our duties. Mr Speaker, I also express myappreciation to the Clerk and his staff forworking assiduously to enhance theBusiness of the House.
Thank youvery much. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the First Meetingof the Fourth Session of the SixthParliament officially ends today, Friday,18th March, 2016. The House held thirty-three (33)Sittings in eight (8) weeks during the period. We give thanks to Almighty Godfor bringing us that far. Mr Speaker, as enjoined by theConstitution, the President attended uponthe House on Thursday, 25th February,2016 and delivered a Message on the stateof the nation in accordance with article 67of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, the House debated theMessage on the State of the Nation formore than a week and I am aware that youhave already conveyed to H.E. thePresident, the thanks of this House forthe Message. I hope H.E. the President will study theviews expressed by Members and takeappropriate action on them. Mr Speaker, the House was alsoprivileged to host the President of Turkey,H.E. RecepTayyip Erdogan and the PrimeMinister of Italy, Hon Matteo Renzi. Thetwo leaders addressed the House andraised a number of issues that engagedthe attention of the House, such asterrorism, culture, unemployment,migration, peacekeeping operations, tradeand investment. Mr Speaker, the presence of the visitingPresident and Prime Minister in theHouse, give ample testimony to the highrespect and honour that Parliament anddemocracy in Ghana have earned globally. Mr Speaker, I take this opportunity tothank all those who have contributed tothis achievement. It is important I singleout the Presidents of the Fourth Republicfor their leadership and divine guidance,the Speakers for their maturity and vision,the Members of Parliament for theirendurance, tolerance, courage andindomitable spirit to serve the people. Much praise, however, goes to Ghanaiansfor the mandate to be here in Parliament as Members of Parliament and their toleranceof our iniquities. We are grateful. Mr Speaker, one issue that engaged theattention of the House within thisMeeting is the activities of some savingsand loans companies and microfinanceInstitutions in some regions of thecountry. A number of innocent depositorsfell prey to their non-compliance toprudent regulatory and supervisoryrequirements. As representatives of the people andadvocates of the interest of ourconstituents, the House summoned theMinister for Finance and the Governor ofthe Bank of Ghana to brief Members onthe operations of these savings and loanscompanies and microfinance institutions,particularly DKM Diamond MicrofinanceLtd, Little Drops Financial Services Ltd;God is Love Fun Club Jasper Motors andInvestment Company Ltd and Care forHumanity Fun Club. Measures to ensure that thecompanies refund the deposits to theirclients are still being discussed. Mr Speaker, it is important to commendyou for acting a number of times asPresident of the Republic in accordancewith article 60 (11) of the Constitution.During the Meeting, you again took andsubscribed to the oath of office and oathof allegiance administered by HerLordship the Chief Justice before theHouse to perform the functions of thePresident. Mr Speaker, during the Meeting, theHouse Committee under your leadership,proposed measures to improve the safetyand security of Members, staff andvisitors to the precincts of Parliament. Iam happy that Members and staff arecomplying with the directives and abidingby the measures put in place. I wish tocommend both Members and staff for theirco-operation in the implementation ofthese new measures. This notwithstanding, Mr Speaker,developments in our neighbouringcountries give cause for concern. We areall aware of the terrorist attacks in Mali,Burkina Faso and lately, la Cote d'Ivoire.As the old adage goes “if your neighboursbeard is on fire, then it is a call on you tokeep some water by your side in case thefire gets to you”. These developments are a call on us toinstitute additional measures to ensurethe safety and security of the precincts ofParliament. Self-security is best security. Mr Speaker, we have to ensure that allpersons and vehicles entering theprecincts are screened at the mainentrance. The Leadership and the HouseCommittee, with advice from the securityagencies, will discuss the security optionsand inform Members accordingly. These measures will no doubtinconvenience Members but I am certainthat Members will be able and willing tosuffer the inconvenience for purposes ofensuring safety and security of lives andproperty within the precincts ofParliament. Mr Speaker, a total of seventeen (17)Bills were laid before the House andreferred to the respective committees forconsideration and report, whereas a totalof eight (8) Bills were passed. The Billspassed are as follows: i. Immigration Service Bill, 2015 ii. Income Tax (Amendment) Bill,2016 iii. Mineral Development Fund Bill,2014 iv. Ghana Export-Import Bill, 2015 v. Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2016 vi. National Petroleum Authority(Amendment) Bill, 2015
SUMMARY OF PARLIAMENTARYBUSINESS OF THE FIRST MEETING
Thank youvery much. Hon Members, I will proceed to deliverthe Closing Remarks by the Rt HonSpeaker of the Parliament of the Republicof Ghana. First Deputy Speaker (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) (on behalf of the Rt Hon Speaker):Hon Members, we have come to the endof the First Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Sixth Parliament of the FourthRepublic. We must express our gratitudeto the Almighty God for the strength andgood health he graciously granted us,which enabled us accomplish ourassignments satisfactorily for this FirstMeeting. On the outset, I wish to add my voiceto the Leadership of the House and indeed,that of Hon Members of Parliament toonce again, express my sadness over thepassing on of the late Hon J. B. Danquah-Adu, whose sudden death, many of usare yet to come to terms with. We rememberhis priceless contribution in ensuring thatthis Parliament fulfills its constitutionalfunction. We have missed him and wewould miss him. On behalf of the House, I want tosincerely express the appreciation of thisHouse to the security agencies for theirresponse so far in apprehending a keysuspect and also the general public fortheir solidarity. We extend our condolenceand prayers of support to the family andconstituents. We wish them comfort inthese sad times. It is also my prayer thatthe unity of Ghanaians that transcendsall interests and affiliations witnessed inthe wake of his tragic death would revisitus in our national discourse. His body will be laid in State at the ForeCourt of Parliament House on the 15thApril, 2016. Even though the House willbe on recess, I urge all of you to be inattendance to pay our last respect to ourfallen Colleague. This Meeting will hold historical valuebecause of the visits by the Italian PrimeMinister and His Excellency the Presidentof Turkey, who addressed this augustHouse on issues of common concern. Iwas very pleased that procedurally andin terms of protocol, this House receivedthem appropriately. During the recess, His Excellency MrYu Zhengsheng, the Chairman of theNational Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)will also visit Ghana as Rt Hon Speaker'sguest. Their presence is a demonstrationof the faith world leaders have in theParliament of Ghana. I am very grateful for the immensesupport I received from my two deputiesin steering affairs of the House, includingthe brief period of absence during which Ihave been privileged to act as thePresident of the Republic of Ghana. I doalso acknowledge the significant supportand guidance received from theLeadership, which was essential inholding this House together and inresolving several issues as usual. Hon Members, let me commend youfor the commitment, tenacity andendurance you displayed in the dischargeof your work in the House. I thank youparticularly for your understanding andco-operation in resolving matters duringthe few tense moments, which ensured°that the transaction of business in theHouse proceeded smoothly. I extend my gratitude to Hon Ministerswho responded promptly to ourinvitations to answer ParliamentaryQuestions and carry through Governmentbusiness in the House relating to theirrespective Ministries, Departments andAgencies. At this juncture, Hon Members, it isnecessary that I make brief statement tothis august House on matters relating tothe “Interception of Postal Packets andTelecommunications Messages Bill, 2015”which is currently before this House forour consideration and approval orotherwise. In response to the usual publicationsplaced by Parliament in the media invitingmemoranda from the public on the Bill, myOffice received several contributions onvarious aspects of the Bill. This is notunexpected, given the heightened publicinterest regarding some provisions of theBill. Hon Members, I must intimate thatprior to the introduction of the Bill in theHouse, I took precautionary steps to safe-guard the interest of this House byarranging and holding a meeting betweenLeadership of both sides of the House,and the officials of the National Securityestablishment. That meeting afforded your Leadersand myself the opportunity of seekingclarification on matters beyond whatcould be gleaned immediately from theobjects of the Bill. As a further precautionary measure, weadvised them to arrange and hold ameeting with the Select Committee onDefence and Interior in order to explain tothem the intent of the Bill as well as anyother relevant matters. Subsequently, Ireceived feedback that this advice wasadhered to and the said pre-legislativemeeting was successfully held. Hon Members, as you well know, weare constrained by the provisions ofarticle 106 clause (3) of the 1992Constitution and Standing Orders 125 and126 to necessarily refer all Bills introducedin the House to the relevant committeeswhich shall, after due consideration,submit their reports to the House fordeliberation and approval or otherwise. It is my conviction that this Houseought to give the Select Committee onDefence and Interior adequate space,opportunity and support to enable itdischarge its constitutional mandate ofexamining the “Interception of PostalPackets and TelecommunicationsMessages Bill, 2015” in detail and makingall such enquiries in relation to it as theCommittee considers expedient ornecessary. Indeed, the Chairman of the Committeehas been in discussion with me on theintention of the Committee to do athorough job in considering the Bill.