MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonMember, any follow up question?
Mr Speaker, may Ifind out from the Hon Deputy Ministerthe time lines for the completion of thesecontracts?
Mr Speaker, becausethese roads are very critical, we need toplace them under the cocoa roadsprogramme. Normally, such roads have alifespan of 18 months. Under the cocoaroads programme, they are to becommenced and completed strictlyaccording to the plan and programme. So,the commitment is that the other one is 22per cent and has commenced earnestly and they would be completed rightly onschedule. Thank you.
May I find out fromthe Deputy Minister if these contracts arepre-financed or as the custom of theMinistry is, the contractor shouldcomplete the job and then upon thecertificate being submitted, he would bepaid?
Mr Speaker, in linewith the contractual details of the cocoaroads programme, payments are madeupon submission of appropriatecertificates and it has always beencomplied with. Thank you.
HonMember, your last follow up question, ifany.
Mr Speaker, those arethe questions I have. Ms Prempeh -- rose --
The HonMember wants to ask a question and thatwould be the last follow-up question.
Mr Speaker,in the Deputy Minister's Answer to theQuestion, he said under the backgroundsection that the road in question -- “is a gravel road in fair to poorcondition.” Mr Speaker, he gives us the sameAnswer for Bomaa-Subon Pang andYamfo-Assen Roads. I would want to findout from the Deputy Minister what hemeans by the road is in “fair to poor
Mr Speaker, theseare classifications of the conditions ofroads in the various agencies. So, poor to fair condition roads indeed,require attention and that is why it is beingattended to. The roads would beconstructed and completed on schedule.The contractor is on site and 22 per centperformance is quite commendable. Hecommenced work on the 10th of March,2016 and the expectation is that the roadwould be completed on time and that wewould all be happy that we have got theroad done. Thank you.
HonMembers, we move to the next Questionwhich stands in the name of the HonMember for Ahafo Ano South West. Domiabra town roads(Construction) Q. 436. Mr Johnson Kwaku Adu askedthe Deputy Minister for Roads andHighways what plans the Ministry had toconstruct Domiabra Town Roads whichwere in deplorable conditions. Background
Mr Speaker,Domiabra town is one of the ruralcommunities located along the Wioso-Mpassaso feeder road in the Ahafo AnoSouth District of the Ashanti Region.
HonMember, any follow up?
Mr Speaker, in the DeputyMinister's Answer, he said: “DFR will liaise with the Assemblyto provide the technical backstopping to undertake theinventory of the roads”. Mr Speaker, may I know the exact periodor timeline set for the contractor tobegin?Thank you.
Mr Speaker, it is assoon as possible. It is important that, that road iscaptured under the Ghana scheme for theAgency. That is why we would want toassure that as soon as possible, it hasbeen captured and accordingly, actionwould be taken on the road. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, may I know fromthe Deputy Minister if the project canbegin immediately after the DFR hadcompleted its work or it has to be capturedfor some time to source for funding beforecommencement? Thank you.
Mr Speaker, as soonas the first stance is done, we would informthe Ministry or Agency for the appropriatecourse of action to be taken. So, firstthings first, ensure that it has been captured and that would determine thenext appropriate course of action. Thank you.
Yes, HonMember, your last follow up question, ifany.
Mr Speaker, I am done. Thank you.
HonMembers, the next Question stands in thename of the Hon Member for NkoranzaNorth. Construction of Busunya -Dromankese - Atebubu Road Q. 437. Maj. Derek Oduro (retd)asked the Deputy Minister for Roadsand Highways when the road fromBusunya-Dromankese-Atebubu wouldbe constructed. Background
Mr Speaker, theBusunya-Dromankese-Atebubu road is 85kilometres long and it is a section of theNkoranza (Asekye)-Busunya-Atebuburoad. It is a gravel road in fair condition andit is located in the Nkoranza North andAtebubu-Amantin Districts of the BrongAhafo Region. The section of the road from Nkoranza(Asekye) to Busunya (15 kilometres) hasbeen upgraded to bituminous surfacing.It was completed in March, 2016. Current programme The 85 kilometres gravel road sectionwhich is from Busunya to Atebubu isbeing maintained under the Ghana Highway Authority 2015-2016 Mainte-nance Programme. Future programme Detailed inventory and design to carryout upgrading of the 85 kilometres roadfrom Busunya-Atebubu is in progress andwill be completed by the end of 2016, afterwhich the procurement process willcommence to select a contractor toexecute the works.
Yes, HonMember, any follow up questions? Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, theDeputy Minister said that the Busunya-Dromankese-Atebubu road has beengravelled, in fair condition and that it isbeing maintained by the Ghana HighwayAuthority. Mr Speaker, I would want to find outfrom the Deputy Minister when thatsection of the road was gravelled and whatdoes he mean by the road being in faircondition, since the road is so deplorableand at times one would have to wait forsix hours when it rains before being ableto use the road?
Mr Speaker, as partof the general programme for the agencies,in this case the Ghana Highway Authority,such roads are placed under themaintenance programme and that is doneannually. Mr Speaker, that stretch which is fromNkoranza-Busunya-Atebubu is verycritical and that is why the 15 kilometresstretch has been bituminised. The nextaction would be on the 85 kilometres. Weare going through the process to get itproperly awarded and probablybituminised. We need to put it under the maintenance programme of the GhanaHighway Authority and that is what ishappening. Thank you. Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, theAsekye-Dromankese-Atebubu road wasgiven on contract and has been underconstruction since 2008. The contract wasterminated in 2009. Since that time, whenhas routine maintenance been conductedon the road?
Mr Speaker, for therecords available, this road, due to itscriticality and importance, has alwaysbeen prioritised and that is why themaintenance programme has alwayscaptured it. If there are any concerns regarding thisprogramme or maintenance on this road, Ithink we would need to confer with theagency involved and come backaccordingly. But my understanding isthat, on record, this road is a prioritisedone and would remain under themaintenance programme until such timethat the [Inaudible] and design has beenaccomplished and the road tackledaccordingly. Thank you.
Yes, yourlast follow up, if any. Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, the lastparagraph of the Hon Minister's Answerstates that 15 kilometres of a section ofthe road from Nkoranza (Asekye) toBusunya has been upgraded tobituminous surfacing. That was completedin March, 2016. Mr Speaker, I know for a fact that theroad is 14.5 kilometres but the contractortook it as 15 kilometres and he hascompleted and has been paid.
What is the Hon Minister's reactionto the fact that the road is only 14.5kilometres but the contractor has beenpaid for 15 kilometres?
My attention hasjust been drawn to this detail of 14.5kilometres. On record it is 15 kilometres.So, my reaction is that I would get back tothe agency and would want to come backto him regarding these specifics.
Yes, HonMembers, we move on to the nextQuestion which also stands in the nameof the Hon Member for Nkoranza North. Asekye-Kranka-Manso, Busunya-Bomini-Bonte, Fiema-Bonte roads(Construction) Q. 438. Maj. Derek Oduro (retd) askedthe Deputy Minister for Roads andHighways when the following roads wouldbe constructed: (i) Asekye-Kranka-Manso (ii) Busunya-Bomini-Bonte (iii) Fiema-Bonte
The Asekye-Kranka-Manso feeder road is 9.2 kilometres long.It is a gravel road located in the NkoranzaNorth District of the Brong Ahafo Region. Current programme: The road has been programmed forroutine maintenance as part of the 2016feeder roads maintenance programme.Evaluation of bids is in progress. Busunya-Bomini-Bonte Background The Busunya-Bomini-Bonte feederroad is 7.7 kilometres long. It is a gravelroad located in the Nkoranza NorthDistrict of the Brong Ahafo Region. Current programme: The road has been programmed forroutine maintenance as part of the 2016feeder roads maintenance programme.Evaluation of bids is in progress. Fiema-Bonte Background The Fiema-Bonte feeder road is 4.03kilometres long and it is located in theNkoranza North District of the Brong-Ahafo Region. Current programme The road has been programmed forRoutine maintenance as part of the 2016feeder roads maintenance programme.Evaluation of bids is in progress. Indeed, all the three roads have beenprioritised, and as we speak today,evaluation on each is in progress. Theexpectation is that the road would beplaced on the appropriate level to ensuremotorability. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, HonMember, do you have any follow upquestions? Maj. Oduro (retd): Yes, Mr Speaker. The Hon Deputy Minister alwaysmentions that the roads have beengravelled. Mr Speaker, there is not even asingle gravel on the road.
So, what isyour question? Maj. Oduro (retd): When were theygravelled?
Yes, HonDeputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, what Ihave said here is that, the roads have beenprogrammed under the feeder roadsmaintenance programme scheme and aswe speak, evaluation of bids is inprogress. Within the general framework of theprogramme, so many things happen: thegrading and where possible, culverts tobe sorted out and many things. But myconfidence and hope are that, becausebids are ongoing, we would have enoughtime -- The rains are coming and the roadswould be usable going forward.
Yes, HonMember, any further follow up? Maj. Oduro (retd): Yes, Mr Speaker. I would want to find out from the HonMinister the last time the roads sawroutine maintenance. I know periodicmaintenance is always done. When did these roads see routinemaintenance?
Mr Speaker, I maynot be specific in determining whenroutine or periodic and so on, but mycomfort is that they have beenprogrammed under the maintenanceprogramme by the agency. I would probably need to come back tohim regarding whether this programme isspecific to routine or periodic but the hopeis that, it has been prioritised and soon,the roads would be attended to. Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, sincethe road is almost impassable, whatimmediate steps would the Hon Ministertake to avoid the road being impassable?
Mr Speaker, becausethe road is critical and we would need toaddress it quickly, that is why bids areongoing and the expectation and hope arethat, quickly and sooner, the road wouldbe attended to, to alleviate the fears andall those challenges.
Very well. Hon Members, we now move on to thenext Question which again stands in thename of the same Hon Member forNkoranza North. Resumption of Work on the Tankor-Fiema - Boaben Road Q. 439. Maj. Derek Oduro (rtd) askedthe Deputy Minister for Roads andHighways when work would resume onthe Tankor-Fiema-Boabeng road.
Mr Speaker, TheTankor-Fiema/Boabeng feeder road is a 7.1kilometre long gravel road located in theNkoranza North District of the BrongAhafo Region. It is in fair to poorcondition. Current programme: The road would be upgraded toBitumen Surfacing as part of the 2016feeder roads periodic maintenanceprogramme. Evaluation of bids is inprogress. It is anticipated that workswould commence by the end of July, 2016.
Yes, HonMember, any follow up? Maj. Oduro (retd): Yes, Mr Speaker. In2008, this road was under construction bya contractor Mark Davis Company Limited. Mr Speaker, what caused thetermination of the contract in 2009?
Mr Speaker, whenworks are not being performed tospecification in the contract, certainly,appropriate action needs to be taken. If itrequires that it be terminated in line withthe contract, it would be done. Certainlyso, it is terminated because it has to bedone. That is why the process of re-awarding is in progress and work willcommence by the end of July, 2016. Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, it isabout eight years now since the contractwas terminated. Why has the re-awardingof this contract taken a very long time?
Mr Speaker, I maynot be in a position to go into the specificsregarding this, but it is important thataction is taken on it. My comfort is that, the roadconstruction would commence in earnest,in July, 2016. This would assuremotorability on our roads. Thank you. Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Minister is aware that the Fiema/Boabeng Monkey Sanctuary is a touristattraction centre in the district. The roadfrom Tankor to Fiema/Boabeng is sodeplorable that the total number of touristswho go there has reduced drastically. What immediate steps would the HonDeputy Minister take before re-awardingthis contract to boost confidence in thecentre and in tourists? This is to enablethe whole nation derive income fromthese tourists. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, theimportance of this road is that, it has atourists attraction. Therefore, theimmediate step we would take to givehope and confidence to the people is to Mr Speaker, it is also incumbent on theHon Member of Parliament to be assured,in order to also assure his people that thisroad is going to be attended to. Hencehope would then be given to the people. Thank you.
Thank youvery much. Hon Members, we would move on tothe next Question, which stands in thename of the Hon Member for Asutifi North. Kenyasi-Hwidiem Road(Tarring) Mr Joseph Benhazin Dahah asked theDeputy Minister for Roads and Highwayswhen the road from Kenyasi-Hwidiemwould be tarred.
Mr Speaker, Background The Kenyasi-Hwidiem road is an 8.5kilometre long gravel road in fair to poorcondition and it is located in the AsutifiNorth District of the Brong Ahafo Region. Current programme The road from Kenyasi-Hwidiem (8.5kilometre) has been awarded on contractfor bituminous surfacing. The contractincludes 5.3 kilometre Hwidiem town and3.0 kilometre Kenyasi town roads. Theproject would commence by the end ofJuly, 2016.
HonMember, do you have any follow upquestion?
Mr Speaker, the goodpeople of Asutifi North and I would begrateful if the road project is given oncontract by July 2016 as the Hon DeputyMinister said. Mr Speaker, but we would like to knowthe timeline on the completion of thisproject.
Mr Speaker, thecontract for the tarring of this road hasbeen terminated and re-awarded to a verycompetent contractor, Messrs Kofi JobCompany Limited, one of the renownedcontractors in Ghana and in the BrongAhafo Region to be specific. The confidence and hope we have isthat, the tarring of this road wouldcommence in earnest. Normally, it is 24months for the completion of such a criticalproject. Thank you.
HonMember, do you have any further follow-up questions?
Mr Speaker, I am alrightwith the answers given. Thank you.
Very well. Hon Members, we would move on tothe next Question, which stands in thename of the Hon Member for AtwimaNwabiagya South. Toase-Gyankobah, Afari-Akroferem, et cetera Roads(Bituminous surfacing) Q. 453. Mr Anthony Osei Boakyeasked the Deputy Minister for Roads andHighways when the following roads in theAtwima Nwabiagya District would begiven bituminous surface: (i) Toase - Gyankobah (ii) Afari - Akroferem (iii) Mim - Ntensere (iv) Nkakrom Junction - NkakomTownship. (i) Toase-Gyankobah Background
Mr Speaker, theToase-Gyankobah-Trabuom road is a 9kilometre long gravel road in fair to poorcondition and it is located in the AtwimaNwabiagya District of the Ashanti Region. Current programme The Toase-Gyankobah-Trabuom roadhas been awarded on contract to receivebituminous surfacing. The projectcommenced in November 2015 and it isscheduled for completion in May 2017.The works are in progress. (ii) Afari-Akroferem Background The Afari-Akroferem feeder road is 1.0kilometre long gravel road located in theAtwima Nwabiagya District of the AshantiRegion. It is in fair to poor condition.
HonMember, any follow up questions?
Mr Speaker, I would wantto ask the Hon Deputy Minister, what arethe indications that the roads would betackled, when we are almost into the thirdquarter of this year? This is in accordancewith the Answer or response from him.
Mr Speaker,indications are that, yes, works are inprogress, and the maintenance programmesscheduled for these roads would strictly becomplied with accordingly. Thank you.
HonMember, any further follow up?
Mr Speaker, there is oneroad which is very important to all of us,at least, most of us in those areas. Theroad is linked to Ntensere -- it is a link orbypass road from Atwima to Sunyaniroad, which helps to avoid the traffic jamat Abuakwa which is known to all of us. I would want to know whether the HonDeputy Minister would agree with me thatit is a very strategic road that should begiven a priority attention.
Yes, HonDeputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, prioritywould only be placed on such roads,especially, around this time when we areheading towards the rainy season. Though it is not part of the Question, yetthe road is closer or adjacent to the mainareas. So we would probably have todispatch the engineers to examine the roadand see how best we can bring thoseroads online. First Deputy Speaker: Yes, HonMember?
Mr Speaker, I am done,please.
Thank youvery much. Dr Owusu A. Akoto -- rose --
HonMember, these are constituency specificQuestions.
Mr Speaker, I know but forthe benefit of the House, I would want toadd to what the Hon Member ofParliament for Atwima Nwabiagya Southsaid about the importance of this roadlinking Afari to Ntensere. The point is that, Afari is where at themoment, the 500 bed Military Hospital isbeing constructed, and for the people ofBrong Ahafo to take full benefit of it, thisis a road that links the Bibiani WesternRegion road to the Brong Ahafo road. So,it is very important that --
So, what isyour question?
Mr Speaker, my questionis, what urgency is the Hon DeputyMinister putting on the construction ofthis road? I have been on this road once and ittook me more than one hour but it is avery short road, it is not even in faircondition, it is in a very poor condition.
Hon DeputyMinister, the question is, what urgencyare you attaching to this particular road,especially, in the light of the constructionof the 500 bed Military Hospital in thearea?
Mr Speaker, wealways prioritise such roads and theurgency is also accordingly examined.Therefore, I would as soon as possiblerequest that the leadership of theCommittee on Roads and Highways goto the place to examine the situation andbring some proposals that woulddetermine the urgency to be placed on theconstruction of this road. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I hope the HonChairman of the Committee on GovernmentAssurances is here.
HonMember, you cannot have more than onequestion. Once he has spoken before us,the Committee on Government Assuranceshas the mandate to follow up. Mr Alex K. Agyekum -- rose --
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in the Answers providedby the Hon Deputy Minister, one runningsentence is “evaluation is in progress,very soon; Mr Speaker, I would want toask that, just recently, we have had theUS$2 billion Ghana COCOBOD loanagreement and cocoa roads are linked tocarting of the cocoa produce to theharbour. I would want to find out from theHon Deputy Minister how phrases like“very soon”, “it is in the process ofbeing evaluated” and “because of therains”, these statements that he made;
Mr Speaker, cocoaroads are done in areas where we havecocoa, therefore, attention is placed wherewe grow cocoa to benefit from that. Thecocoa road programme has five phasesand so certainly, as many roads thatconnect the cocoa growing areas wouldbe attended to as possible. We would need to do evaluation toascertain the real situation on the ground,with all due respect, otherwise, haphazardsituations would happen. Mr Speaker, butthe evaluation should not be done in sucha manner that would make the processunending. So, all that I said about theevaluation, I was to introduce and bringprofessionalism into the whole process,such that roads constructed would be asperfect as possible. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I just heardthe Hon Deputy Minister say that cocoaroads are done in cocoa growing areas.
That is avery debatable issue. From the debate thatflowed when we were considering the COCOBOD syndicated loan, it looks likesome of the roads are found in certainurban areas. So, that statement you mademight not be wholly true.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Very well. Hon Members, this brings us to theend of Question time. Hon Deputy Minister, we would like tothank you very much for attending uponthe House to answer these Questions.You are discharged. Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, we can now take the Right toInformation Bill, 2013 -- item numbered14 on the Order Paper.
HonMembers, the Right to Information Bill,2013, at the Consideration Stage. Mr Awuah -- rose --
Yes, HonSecond Deputy Minority Whip?
Mr Speaker, I recall that ontwo occasions, you have stood down theconsideration of this particular Billbecause, none of the two Hon Ministersof the Attorney General and Ministry ofJustice were in the Houuse. Today, I have not seen any of them;neither the Hon Minister nor the HonDeputy Minister, so I do not knowwhether we could continue. This isbecause of your earlier ruling on thisparticular case which was that, if they arenot around, we could not proceed andtoday they are not around. So, I wouldjust want to know from you whether wemay have to step it down because theyare not here.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee but I rememberthat on the last adjourned date, we hadpersonnel from the drafting division of theAttorney General's Department to assistus. Are they here?
Mr Speaker, as wespeak, they are not yet in the House butthey are on the way coming. I contactedthem this morning and they said they wereon their way to this House. Mr Speaker,they were with us yesterday when we weredoing the winnowing.
Very well. Let us give it a start and see how itgoes, once you have assured us thatthey are on their way coming.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
HonChairman of the Committee, could yourefresh our memory?
Mr Speaker, today, wepropose to revisit the amendments thatwere flagged, so, if we may start fromclause 4.
Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, I beg to move, clause 4,paragraph (b), delete “the constitutionalinstrument or the statutory instrumentrequired under paragraph (c) of article 296of the Constitution” and insert thefollowing: “a legislative instrument” It will then read: “The Public Institution in con-sultation with the Attorney-Generalshall provide guidelines (b) for thepreparation and publication of alegislative instrument.” Mr Speaker, looking at it, we came tothe realisation that the LegislativeInstrument would be a guide to thepreparation of the manual which the publicinstitutions would provide and eachmanual would be related to the functionsand activities of a particular publicinstitution. Mr Speaker, but it is the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice whowould be responsible for bringing aLegislative Instrument before thisHonourable House. That was why we madethis proposition.
HonMembers, is there any comment?Otherwise, I would put the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, accordingly, the original clause4 (b) is deleted, and in its place we havethis. Clause 4 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 5 -- Information from the Officeof the President and of the Vice President.
Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, I beg to move, clause 5,subclause (2), delete This is because it may not benecessary.
HonChairman, I am concerned about your
Mr Speaker, otherprovisions which we would deal withsubsequently are taking care of subclause2.
Very well. Hon Members, I would therefore putthe Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, the nextamendment stands in the name of the HonHaruna Iddrisu but he is not here. Weconsidered the proposed amendment, andwe were of the view that, there is no needfor us to particularise information byintroducing the definite article “the”.Therefore, we are leaving it as“information”, generally. We are of theview that, his amendment must not beaccepted.
Very well. So, since he is not here to move hisamendment, we would go on to the nextone. Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I seek yourleave to go back to clause 5(1)(a), in orderfor it to be consistent with clause 6, wepropose that we introduce the word“prepared” after the word “is” inparagraph (a). Mr Speaker, I seek your oral leave tomake this amendment.
How wouldthe final rendition read?
The final rendition wouldread as follows; “Information is exempt fromdisclosure if it is prepared forsubmission or has been submittedto the office of the President or ofthe Vice-President.”
Very well.Leave is granted. I would put theQuestion. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I seek yourleave to withdraw the advertisedamendment. So, subclause (3), line 3, stands as itis in the Bill.
Very well,leave granted. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.] Clause 5 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee, clause 6? Clause 6 -- Information Relating toCabinet
Mr Speaker, clause 6,item (v) on the Order Paper stands in thename of the Hon Haruna Iddrisu. He isnot here.
HonMembers, do you agree with him?
No! We do not agreewith him.
If he is nothere, there is nothing we could do aboutit unless there is somebody who feelsstrongly about it. Yes, Hon Member for Wa West, andthen the Hon Deputy Majority Whip?
Mr Speaker, heis my friend. He wanted to consult me onthis but I told him the amendment was notnecessary. So, I would vouch that we goahead and ignore his amendment.
Yes, HonDeputy Majority Whip?
Mr Speaker, onthat day, he said I should move it on hisbehalf but I managed to convince him thatthe amendment was not necessary.
Very well.So, we would move forward.
On that authority,I do not know whether I could withdrawthe amendment.
Do notwithdraw, we would just move on. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, subclause (1), paragraph(a), line 2, after “consideration” insert “or”. So, Mr Speaker, clause 6, subclause (1)paragraph (a) would read: “Information is exempt fromdisclosure if it is prepared forsubmission to the cabinet orsubmitted to the Cabinet forconsideration or”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, subclause (1), paragraph(c), delete and insert the following: “(c) if it contains matters thedisclosure of which would revealinformation concerning opinion,advice, deliberation, recommen-dation, minutes or consultationsmade and is likely to (i) prejudice the effectiveformulation or developmentof government policy; (ii) frustrate the success of apolicy by prematuredisclosure of that policy; (iii) undermine the deliberativeprocess in Cabinet byinhibiting the free andfrank provision of adviceor exchange of views; or (iv) prejudice national security.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Yes, clause6 again, Hon Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, subclause (3), delete. Mr Speaker, this is consequential towhat we did earlier in subclause 5. Question put and amendment agreedto.
But HonChairman, I would like to find out, have we dealt with item number (vii) on page 6of the Order Paper, just for the avoidanceof doubt?
Mr Speaker, thank youfor drawing my attention. I think weskipped it. So, may I visit it now, withyour leave?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, subclause (1), paragraph(b), line 2, after “public” delete “or” andinsert “and”.
“Information is exempt fromdisclosure if it is an official informationfrom the Cabinet not published or releasedto the public and …” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, subclause (4), delete andinsert the following: “(4) Cabinet may publish or grantaccess to information that isotherwise exempt under thissection”. Mr Speaker, we think this new renditionmakes the clause clearer.
Yes, it lookslike this is more positive. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, subclause (5), line 1, delete“a reference to the” and in line 2, delete “areference to”.
“For the purposes of this section,Cabinet includes a committee orsub-committee of the Cabinet.” Mr Speaker, this also makes it clearer.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 6 as variously amended orderedto stand part of the Bill. Clause 16 -- Medical professionalprivilege
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 16, delete. Mr Speaker, the issue about clause 16and the reason it was deferred was thatHon Members were of the view that themedical profession and the legalprofession may not be mentioned herewithout mentioning other professionalbodies. Mr Speaker, we looked at the argumentsadvanced on the floor of the House andconsulted other models, especially theAU model of this Bill, which alsospecifically mentioned the legal and themedical professions exclusively. So, Mr Speaker, we propose that weretain that position and therefore, theCommittee further recommends thatclause 16 in the Bill be deleted becausewe have catered for it under clause 15.
Very well.Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Speaker, he said itshould be deleted because it has beencatered for where?
Mr Speaker, under clause15, we changed the headnote of clause 15to read: “Privileged Information” and weincluded the legal, the medical and theEvidence Act. [Pause.]
HonChairman of the Committee, so, you aredeleting clause 16?
That is so, Mr Speaker. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 16 accordingly deleted.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 17, subclause (2), paragraph(b), delete “marriage or” and insert“confidential”. Mr Speaker, after further debate, theCommittee at the winnowing stage, cameto the conclusion that employment historymay not necessarily be confidential. Thisis because if we are looking at theemployment history of a particular person,whether he has worked in a particularorganisation; what his salary was; and thereason or grounds of leaving theorganisation, these are all matters whichmay be assessed by the public. Therefore, Mr Speaker, we now seekyour leave to propose that paragraph (b)be deleted from the Bill. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 17, subclause (2), paragraph(d), before “professional” insert“confidential.
“Disclosure is unreasonable if itreveals or is likely to revealinformation about the individual'sconfidential, professional, commercialor financial affairs.”
“professional, commercial orfinancial affairs” may be too broad.Therefore, we want to limit it to onlyconfidential matters relating to theperson's profession, commercial orfinancial affairs. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 17, subclause (3), add thefollowing new paragraph: “(k) the disclosure is about thephysical or mental health or well-being of the individual who isunder the care of the applicantand who is (i) under the age of 18 years;or (ii) incapable of understandingthe nature of the requestand giving access wouldbe in the best interest ofthe individual.” Mr Speaker, this new paragraph wasnot catered for. I think there is the needfor us to bring in such a provision. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 17 as variously amendedordered to stand part of the Bill.
I rememberthat the debate went on and on, especiallywith regard to the portion which deals withit being in writing.
Mr Speaker, his advertisedamendment is to delete subclause 2. Now, he is adding subclause (3). I donot see why subclause 3 should be added.It should only be subclause 2, because insubclause (1), it is clear that an InformationOfficer or an officer designated, and wecannot just say this morning, this personis the person designated. It must be inwriting. If the Information Officer is there andis known by everybody, then the morningthat we want somebody to take over, wemust put it into writing, otherwise, howwould anyone -- We could go there andthey would say that this person has beendesignated. Is that what we want to do? So, I think that we should not combinethe deletion at all. It should just be the subclause (2), because the subclause (2)is already encapsulated in subclause (1).
Yes, as forsubclause (2) it has already been deletedat our previous sitting, so you arecomplaining about subclause (3). Now heis asking that subclause (3) also bedeleted, and you have a problem with thatone. Hon Chairman of the Committee, howdo you respond to that?
Mr Speaker, subclause(2) has been deleted. Subclause (2) makesprovision for the delegation of thefunction, and we have taken it out. Andsubclause (3) is saying the delegationmust be in writing. If there is no delegation,then the mode of the delegation must notbe in the Bill, except that the Hon Memberis proposing that we restore subclause (2),in which case the subclause (3) as heproposed now may stay.
Mr Speaker, what I wouldlike to know is, did we delete an officerdesignated in subclause (1).? If we havenot, that is why I am saying that there is apart of it that is an Information Officer oran officer designated, which I am readinghere, which means that in that case itshould not just be the decision bysomebody to say this person is the officerand point with their finger. It must be inwriting. In the absence of the InformationOfficer, that person would act as thedesignated officer to answer the question,and that is why I am saying that unlesswe deleted “a designated officer” insubclause (1), we still need subclause (3).
Mr Speaker,I beg to reaffirm what the Hon Member forWa West has said. Inadvertently, we knowtoo well, we did indicate that it couldhappen that the Information Officer may not be at his desk all the time. The personcould be on leave, and if that happens,somebody necessarily would have to actin his stead. Even if we read clause 20(1),it says an application for access toinformation shall be dealt with by theInformation Officer of the agency or anofficer designated for that purpose. The intention therefore is that, thereis the tendency that the InformationOfficer would not be the person at all timesdealing with the issue, this is the reasonfor which that caveat was created. Thatthen necessitates the need for subclause(3) (a) to be maintained that it must be inwriting, so that in the absence of theInformation Officer, whoever takes over,it would not be done verbally. There must be some written documentwhich authorises him to act in that steadand in that position, such that if thingsgo haywire, he could be held liable andresponsible. I think that was the thinkingof the House during the last Sitting whenwe talked about this particular clause. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you verymuch, Mr Speaker. I have a little problem with thesuggestion given by the Hon Member forKeta, because I think the Hon Chairman'sposition is clear, that if the subclause (2)has been taken out, the subclause (3)which flows from subclause (2) shouldalso be taken out. Is he saying that weshould restore the subclause (2)andtherefore subclause (3) must also stay?
HonMember, if I get what they said, they saidthat, if you go to clause 20(1), we still have the delegation provision there, so,although subclause (2) has been deleted,they think that it is necessary to indicatethat the delegation should be in writing.
Mr Speaker, in that case, dowe restore subclause (2) which has beentaken out?
Notnecessarily. Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
What we are emphasisingis that subclause (2) was repeating whatis already in subclause (1), and it isredundancy, otherwise, we could leave itthere. It is just that we are making a lawwhich has so many subclauses whenthere is no need for them. Subclause (1)already encapsulates subclause (2). I do not see why we could not haveleft it, but once it has been deleted, westill need to delegate the right, becausewe cannot just get up one morning andsay that this person is the officer, wecannot do that. If anything happens and the persongoes on leave, as my Hon Colleague said,or for one reason cannot perform hisduties, then we would need to designatesomebody, and in designation, it cannotbe a long letter but it should be such thatif somebody comes, he will see it. So, westill have to have that delegation in writing.
HonChairman of the Committee, how do yourespond to this?
Mr Speaker, I believe wewant to consider the views coming fromthe floor, so, Mr Speaker may direct thedraftsperson to insert that clause to giveeffect to the fact that the appointment of
Very well. So, in effect, you are withdrawing yourproposed amendment to delete subclause(3).
That is so.
Very well.Leave therefore granted. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.]
So, I furtherdirect that the draftspersons should usethe appropriate terminology or languageto take care of the situation. Are we all right? Are they here now?Very well, but please, take note and drawtheir attention to it. Clause 20 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 21 -- Transfer of application.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 21, subclause (1), closingphrase after paragraph (b), line 1, after“officer” insert “or the designated officer”.
“Where a public --
Yes, whatis it?
Mr Speaker, subclause(1) of clause 21, with your permission, Ibeg to read: “Where a public institution...”instead of “agency”. Mr Speaker, I seek your leave to makethat correction.
Very well,leave granted.
“Where a public institution is unableto deal with an application becausethe information requested is in thecustody or control of the publicinstitution but it is more closelyrelated to the functions of anotherpublic institution.”
I see whereyour problem is coming from. You need toconsequentially amend those portionswhich use “agency”, so that it will beclean.
Mr Speaker, I would liketo take it again. Mr Speaker, I seek yourleave to amend clause 21(1) (a). Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 21,the word “agency” also to delete theword “agency” in line 2 of paragraph (a),and in their place insert “publicinstitution”.
“Where a public institution isunable to deal with an applicationbecause the information requestedis not in the custody or control ofthe public institution, but to theknowledge of the InformationOfficer … it is held by another publicinstitution, or…” Mr Speaker, may I repeat.
Yes, HonMember for Wa West?
Mr Speaker, we shouldlook at that whole clause again. This isbecause if we look at it, there is a mixtureof public institution. Of course, the HonChairman said the “agency” should bereplaced consequentially with “publicinstitution”, but the construction heretalks about that public institution nothaving control, or it is in the known thatthe information is more relevant toanother agency. It is not another public institution, so,we need to distinguish between the firstpublic institution which is the one thatthe information seeker has gone to, andthen the one which is likely to have theinformation. We need a proper redrafting. Again, the issue of “not having theinformation” and “having it.” If we lookat paragraphs (a) and (b), there areproblems with them. They need to berefined, so that we can take a decision onthem. I would suggest that we step it downand continue with the rest.
Very well. Hon Chairman, we do not need to rush.Let us take our time and clean it properly. This is because you could even use theexpression “…the said institution” and soon, so that it will be cleaner. Let us notrush. We could defer it, take a look at itand then come back.
Mr Speaker, thank youvery much for the direction. We will yieldto that.
Very well. Hon Members, we have furtheramendments to clause 21, can we deal withthose ones? At least, one more?
Mr Speaker, I believe wecould defer the entire clause 21, becausethe amendments may affect subsequentsubclauses.
Very well. The further consideration of clause 21is completely deferred, so that you wouldhave the opportunity to do somewinnowing with regard to that one. Having gone this far, Hon Chairman ofthe Committee, I am looking at the time,will it not be convenient to end theConsideration at this stage, so that we canlook at other issues before this House?
Mr Speaker, we areentirely in your hands.
HonMembers, this brings us to the end ofConsideration Stage of the Right toInformation Bill, 2013, for today. Hon Members, you may recall that justbefore the Rt Hon Speaker left the Chairfor me to take over, he gave the HonMember for Okaikoi Central theopportunity to put together a Statementin connection with last year's disaster. I have been shown a copy and I havegiven him the green light and therefore, ifhe is in the Chamber, he has the floor tomake the Statement.
Thank you very much,Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to makea Statement. Mr Speaker, it is already a year sinceGhana experienced its worst disaster inthe country's history. Tagged as the“June 3 twin disaster”, or the “BlackWednesday”, that day still brings painfulmemories to many Ghanaians, even thosewho did not lose their loved ones orproperties to the marauding floods, andthe raging inferno from the GOIL fillingstation that burnt people alive. June 3, 2015will forever remain indelible on the mindsof many, a blot on a city, a day of greatdepression to a nation. Mr Speaker, over 150 lives; children,women and men were snuffed out in themost horrifying circumstances when therain turned into a storm, the storm intofloods; the floods gave way to fire andthe fire left behind charred bodies, burntproperties in an unplanned city. Mr Speaker, in a poorly planned citywhere houses are sited anywhere andanyhow; with some reckless citizenry whodump their home made refuse into floodwaters, Accra became a sordid sight onthat night. Every single gutter in thecapital, small or big overflowed its banks. These gutters were tributaries to abigger Odaw drain and a wider Korle Lagoon, both of which were sited atKwame Nkrumah Circle, a busy businesscentre in Accra. Like the tributaries that fed them, thetwo drains were soon to be covered withthe sea of floods, which then found itsway into homes and offices close by. Thousands of residents were trappedin their own homes. Many others whofound the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to be amajor route to their homes were trappedtoo. At that point, the GOIL filling stationat the Kwame Nkrumah Circle appeared tobe the only ark of refuge, a higher groundin a lowered city overtaken by floods. MrSpeaker, there they stood, hundreds ofthem, waiting for the rains to subside andof course the floods to recede. It was around 10.00 p. m. June 3, 2015,that another disaster struck. The GOILfilling station, which held a strandedgroup of citizens was up in flames. Therewas fuel leakage from the tanks of thefilling station which mixed the floodwaters. There was naked fire from a litcigarette and there was a blast. The fillingstation which was a place of refuge forhundreds, became a place of torture, aplace of death, more deaths, andthousands of them. Mr Speaker, some recommendationsmade are yet to be implemented. As thenation marks this sad day, Mr Speaker, itis incumbent on the nation to improve itsdisaster management efforts and alsoresource entities tasked with thoseresponsibilities. May the souls of the perished rest inpeace. I thank you for the opportunity.
HonMembers, I will allow two contributionsfrom either side of the political divide. Some Hon Members-- rose -- Mr First Deputy Speaker -- Wouldyou want to start, Hon Alhaji Muntaka?
Mr Speaker, I wantto get a clarifrication, whether Leadershipis inclusive or just the two from either sideof the political divide.
IfLeadership would want to contribute, thenit would be outside of the two that we areallowing.
All right, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, thank you forgiving me the opportunity to contributeto the Statement ably made by the HonMember for Okaikoi Central, Mr PatrickBoamah. Mr Speaker, today, as we mark -- Papa Owusu-Ankomah-- rose --
HonMember, are you on a point of order?
Yes, MrSpeaker. I heard the Hon Member say that hewould want to contribute. This is not adebate. He has to comment. When hecontributes, then he would be provokinga debate. He has to make a few comments.
Very well,thank you very much. [Laughter.]
I am grateful, senior. Mr Speaker, in commenting on theStatement made by the Hon PatrickBoamah, I recall that it was the day whenAccra virtually came to a halt in the night,because no traffic moved anywhere. Therewas flood everywhere and I believe thatsome Hon Members of this Houseexperienced the hazard of the flood thatnight, because we remained in the trafficuntil about 2.00 a.m. before some HonMembers got home. Mr Speaker, today, as the wholenation marks the first anniversary of thattragic occurrence, there is the need for usto find out the lessons that we have learntas a nation from that incident. Is it anoccurrence that just came and passed, oras a people, we have learnt a lesson fromit? Mr Speaker, every Ghanaian has alesson to learn from that incident. Publicinstitutions have their lessons to learn,and I believe that a lot of interventionswere announced to be put in place to avertfurther flooding in Accra. I hope, and Ionly hope that we have implemented someof those remedial measures, and happilythis year, we can see that a lot of theflood drains have been cleared ofgarbage. There is one thing more, which Ibelieve we ought to do as a people. How do we change our sense ofthinking? Mr Speaker, there is always thementality that Government must come anddo everything -- Government must cometo clear the choked gutters and keep thecities clean. There is the need for uscitizens also to know that we have to beara part of that challenge to keep our citiesclean, to keep our gutters clean and toclean our environment. Mr Speaker, today, as we mark thattragic incident, I think that we must allreflect on this critical issue of personalhygiene -- keeping our environmentclean. Having said that, I think there is alsothe need for the city authorities to wakeup and enforce the bylaws of the city toensure that they deal with sanitaryconditions in the city. If we all play ourparts well, we would be able to avert thetragic issues of 3rd June, 2015. Mr speaker, on that note, I thank youfor the opportunity.
Thank youvery much. Hon Members, I would like to call onHon Freda Prempeh because,. I aminformed that on that day, she got caughtup in the crisis. We should let her havethe floor.
Thank you, Mr Speaker,for giving me this opportunity to commenton the Statement ably made by my HonColleague; Hon Patrick Boamah. Mr Speaker, indeed, a year ago, I wasat the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Iexperienced exactly what went on. But thequestion that we all have to ask ourselvesis, what have we done as a nation, oneyear on, to ensure that this disaster doesnot occur again. Mr Speaker, I personally went toKwame Nkrumah Circle yesterday, to findout for myself, if we have been able todo something. Mr Speaker, the guttersare still choked. We are not desilting ourdrains. [Interruptions] -- It is very true.You should go there --
Order!Order! Hon Member, speak to the Chair.
Mr Speaker, the guttersare still not being desilted. What lessonshave we learnt from this disaster? We arenot distilling our gutters, we are notconstructing primary drains, we are notconstructing secondary drains, and we arenot constructing storm drains. Evenperipheral drains, we have not done them.So, what is the guarantee that this thingis not going to happen again? Mr Speaker, if the rains should set inagain and rain as it did last year, I am afraidthat we would go through the sameprocess as we did last year. Mr Speaker, as a ‘Cocoa ase' Memberof Parliament, on the 3rd of June 2015, Iwas at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, going tosend some things to my constituency. Igot there around 5.00 p. m. and as we weredriving through to the VIP bus terminal, itwas sort of drizzling. When we parked, Irealised that the rains had started, and itwas raining heavily. So, I asked my driverto wait for a while. We waited until about6.00 p.m. and it did not get any better, so,I insisted -- and I thank God that He savedmy life that day. I insisted that we parked at the fillingstation which got burnt, but my driver foronce said no, we should park at the VIPbus terminal. I said it a couple of times buthe insisted that we park at the VIP busterminal. Mr Speaker, we parked there till about7.00 p.m. and I realised that the rains didnot get any better, so, I insisted that weshould move. When I pushed him to move the car, Irealised that God sent some angels topush the VIP drivers -- they had parkedabout four big buse beside the wall, but Idid not know what happened to them, and they had all moved the four buses suchthat they blocked my car, so, we couldnot move. If we had moved, we would havegone straight to park at the filling station. It rained heavily, and within 10 to 15minutes, my car had been soaked up tothe window level, so, we could not movenor do anything, but my driver gatheredcourage and broke his side of the mirror,jumped into the water, struggled andcalled for help for me. So, some of thedrivers managed to break my door throughthe window, pulled me out, and I had toswim in the water -- [Laughter] -- Yes!-- [Uproar.] So, we had to find -- [Interruptions.]
HonMember, have you gone for any swimminglessons before?
Mr Speaker, what I amsaying is the fact that though they helpedme to climb up to the third floor, the rainswere so heavy that people sat on the topof the VIP buses -- very huge buses. We have not learnt any lessons. Thatis the point I am trying to make. This isbecause if what we are being told, thatabout 30 per cent of the work have beendone, and we have not even done 50 percent of it; drilling, desilting our gutters,dredging and making sure that this thingdoes not occur again -- those thingshave not been done. Mr Speaker, I had the opportunity toserve as an Assembly woman in Accra andhad the opportunity to be the first womanto serve as the Chairperson for theDevelopment Planning Sub-committee ofthe Accra Metropolitan Assembly. Itwould interest you to know that ten yearsdown the line, buildings that were earmarked for demolition because theywere sitting on waterways, are still there. So, what have we learnt? And whathave we done these ten years? I was anAssembly woman in 2006, and we are in2016, and all those buildings are stillsitting on those waterways. So, whathave we done? Mr Speaker, it would also interest youto know that we see inscriptions on wallsand kiosks, which say: “remove now”,produce permit,” but what are the cityplanners doing? Are they going round to ensure thatthose buildings and kiosks are removed?Do they do any due diligence before theygive permits to people to put houses onthose waterways? Mr Speaker, the President set up acommittee to investigate this issue andsome names were mentioned -- one MrOfosu. What has come out of therecommendations?
HonMember, I do not want us to go into thearena of debate. The Hon Member whomade the Statement included a portion likethat, and I advised him to delete it and hegraciously agreed because I was scepticalthat, that could generate into a debate.
Mr Speaker, my point is,at least, the committee came up with somerecommendations. What has come out ofthem? If Zoomlion tells us that they havedone about 30 per cent of the work, I amsaying that, that is not enough. If they are not being given resourcesto execute the work that has been givento them, then Government should ensure
HonMember, begin to wind up.
Mr Speaker, in windingup, I would want to draw attention to thefact that we need to put in place a well-coordinated disaster prevention. We alsohave to put in place together amanagement process such that whensome of these things occur, we would beable to manage the disaster. The Ghana Armed Forces and theGhana National Fire Service did their best.They were not even getting access to thefire scene. Getting access to the placewas difficult. I got one line through butthe response was “Madam, we cannot get to whereyou are because of the floods”. So, how are we managing disaster? IfI am trapped in water or fire and they tellme they cannot get access to where I am,then of course, we would have to do more. Mr Speaker, in winding up, I wouldwant to re-emphasise that we need toensure that institutions like NADMO --If they are not resourced well, then theyshould be resourced. But if they are, thenthey should put the resources to gooduse. They should be trained and retrained.They should be up and doing. They should ensure that when someof these things happen, they would beable to take people out of such situations.This is because the situation was scaryand I do not think that anybody, familymember or friend would want to gothrough such an ordeal again. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
-- rose --
I wouldcome to you but I would have to look atthe right hand side and I am a bitconfused.
Mr Speaker, I commend theHon Member who made the Statement,because it also draws the House'sattention to this tragic event of last year. Again, I would want to first of all alsocommend our media. Almost all the mediahouses have special editions to mark thisceremony. That is to remind all of us aboutthis tragic event. Some are saying whetherwe have forgotten too soon? No! The factthat it is being highlighted and theshortage in terms of implementation ofsome of the things that wererecommended, the reminder of whathappened last year and what is likely tohappen again -- This has been broughthome to us by these media houses. Some are graphic. Sometimes, you donot even want to view what is ontelevision because they are depressing.Let us keep it up as a country and alwaysremind ourselves of things that happenedwhich are not good and which call for usto do something better. The issue about what we can do toavoid similar disasters from occurring --Today, this is not the solution point. Wecan only remind ourselves, but I urge thevarious committees, particularly theCommittee on Local Government andRural Development, to work closely withthe Ministry and the MMDAs to see howwe can resolve those problems that we allknow. We can enumerate them here. How dowe go about this systematically to reducethe danger of having risks again? If we do so as a House, if we give ourselves theresponsibility to see -- one year haspassed, next year, what should we betalking about? I believe that, that wouldhelp all of us. On occasions like that, you do not talktoo much because we can only consolethe families. We express our condolencesand pray that they would have the heartto take in what has happened to them. On this occasion, all those who havelost dear ones, those who are still nursingwounds arising out of this -- Indeed, ifwhat I heard on radio the other day wastrue, there are some bodies that have notyet been claimed. All efforts should bemade to find resting places for thesepeople. As a nation, it is good to rememberboth good and bad. On this occasion, weshould remember those unfortunatepeople who became victims of theenvironment that we, collectively as apeople, failed to keep clean.
HonMembers, you are asking me to be gendersensitive, so, if I ask another lady tomake a contribution, would the men notvisit their wrath on me? Very well, Hon Member for Dome/Kwabenya, you have the floor.
Mr Speaker, I believe that youcalled me because I am a Member ofParliament in the Greater Accra Regionand it happened in the Greater AccraRegion. Mr Speaker, I would want to commenton the Statement made by the HonMember for Okaikoi Central.
Mr Speaker, I believe that 3rd June, 2015,is a day that many of us were in sorrow. Itwas a day that many of us weredisheartened. It was a day many of uswould never forget in our lives and on aday like this, as we remember whathappened, we should remember the goodand the bad, and the way forward, when itcomes to disaster management. Mr Speaker, many Hon Members havespoken about how to manage. What arewe doing as a country in the managementof risk and disaster? I would want to shiftthe goalpost a bit. I would want to focuson the authorities in charge of givinglicences for the establishment of fillingstations. Go round the country and you wouldrealise that many filling stations arespringing up in residential areas, and thequestion you ask yourself is: what are theauthorities doing? You see a filling stationsandwiched between two residentialhomes. In the event of a spill, Mr Speaker,only God knows what would happen. Mr Speaker, the rules and regulationsand the laws are so clear on themeasurement of the metres that a fillingstation should be away from a residentialpost. But today, we do not seem to beseeing it. And the question I am askingtoday is, is the National PetroleumAuthority (NPA) and the EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA) workingadequately to ensure that we do not getourselves into the situation we got in onJune 3? Mr Speaker, the EPA is supposed toinspect and know all the environmentalissues that need to be established, andtake a decision whether to give licencesto people to establish filling stations. Mr Speaker, we cannot let money beahead of us without thinking about the lives of our people. It looks like peopleare thinking more of their money than thesafety and the lives of people. So, for them, once they establish thefilling stations and they are makingmoney, they do not care whether it is in aresidential area. Some are even close tohospitals. I speak on authority from myown constituency. And I have raised thisissue several times. They are close to ahospital, close to a lorry station and ifanything should happen, these are placesthat we could bet our last pennies on, thatthere would be a crowd there in the eventthat something happens. Yet, nobody istalking about it. Mr Speaker, I believe that the EPAshould sit up, the NPA should sit up, andwe should not look at giving licences topeople just because we know them, or justbecause we favour them in one way orthe other. But the safety and well-beingof our people should be prime. Mr Speaker, we were here in thiscountry, and we commend the Presidentfor initiating such an initiative, when wehad a lot of our markets burning up. Wehad some American experts in disastermanagement or risk management comeinto this country to do a properinvestigation on the causes. I believe that, this should be publicinformation so that everybody would beaware and educated on, when it comes tofires. But we do not know where thisreport is; whether it is with the Ministryof the Interior or whether it is publicinformation where we can all access andeducate our constituents on, is onequestion that baffles all of us. Mr Speaker, if a country cannot bluffitself in saying that we can live withoutfire, we can live without floods, we canlive without natural disaster, then some of these relevant information can be keptin our archives. But this is something thatis periodical, this is something which isseasonal. In every rainy season, we havea disaster, so, it should be somethingthat all the relevant authorities shouldknow about and be properly educatedon as well as the citizenry, so that we canall move forward and know the directionthat we are taking as a country when itcomes to risk or disaster management. Mr Speaker, in winding up, I have hearda lot of media reportage and complaintsby victims of this incident. We arewitnesses to the fact that if theseindividuals should even come togetherand institute a class action against theState, the damages we are supposed topay to these people would beoverwhelming. But nothing like that had happenedand they are still waiting on the ‘Lord',which the Government of Ghana said thatsomething would be given to them ascompensation. Mr Speaker, the GOIL filling stationthat got exploded and all that, they caninstitute an action against GOIL. And MrSpeaker, being a learned senior and a veryrespected legal luminary --
Please, donot drag me into this -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, being a legalluminary, I know that you share in thisargument. So, Mr Speaker, if they are notdoing that, we should not take their rights,for granted. They need to be compensatedadequately and the families of thedeceased should be compensated, if notfully, partially. This is because Ghanaians are not too demanding of huge amounts,but just the courtesy, just a token to showhow we share in their grief. It is somethingthat they would be very content with. Mr Speaker, I believe that, as a country,moving forward, we should strengthenour institutions, as President Obama said,by making sure that when it comes todisaster management or risk management,it is not about me, it is not about theinstitution, it is about all of us andcollectively. We need to fight and move forward inthe right direction to ensure that we donot lose these precious lives whichwould have contributed a lot to thedevelopment of this country. Mr Speaker, I thank you for theopportunity.
Thank youvery much. I now come to the Leadership. I wouldtake one each from the Leadership. Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
Mr Speaker, my HonColleague from Bantama was personallyaffected on that day and I would want tocede my opportunity to him to --
Thank you, Mr Speaker, forthe opportunity to comment on my HonColleague's Statement. Indeed, today is a day to remember buton a very sad note. Mr Speaker, soulsare wailing. We had in our hands as anation, charred bodies, destroyedproperties valued in millions simplybecause something had gone wrong.
Mr Speaker, we have been caught bythe impact of climate change and are fullyaware that perennially, during the dryseasons, we have a cute, hot droughtperiods where we experience fireoutbreaks, including bushfires. Then inthe rainy seasons, we have this floodingon our hands. So, as a nation, we askourselves, ‘when are we free at all'? Eitherway, we are in trouble. Mr Speaker, what happened a year agocould have been possibly avoided ifinstitutions had done their jobs properly.One would have expected that, somebodywould have been held responsible for this.The city authorities are there; they knewof this. Years back, we saw former PresidentJerry John Rawlings' Governmentconstruct major drainage systems here inthis country and in this city. And underformer President J. A. Kufuor's Govern-ment, we saw what happened at Odawnaand Alajo. We all know. They haverelieved us of that perenniel flooding. We were promised by the Presidentand a ceremony was performed for theconstruction of a major drainage; US$600million of CONTI Project. Where is it now?
HonMember, please, veer off. I do not wantthis to degenerate into debate.
Mr Speaker, well noted.But my point is that, we need to do whatneeds to be done. Just about three daysago, NADMO has come out to complainthat, they are unable to, as it were, handleany of such disasters. They are notprepared as of now. NADMO said so. Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)has come out to assure all of us that Accrais safer than whatever. But is that thecase? Just about last week, we experienceda rainfall and Accra was almost floodedagain. Mr Speaker, it would be of goodinterest if we can, as it were, accept thefact that this flooding situation has to dowith sanitation and sewage managementin this country. Our MMDAs aresupposed to work with private entities inwaste collection, disposal andmanagement in this country. We are also aware that, thesecompanies are owed huge sums of moneyand that is undermining their capacity toperform to admiration. Mr Speaker, it isvery important that we get things to workin this country to enable us avoid suchcalamities. In winding up, I respectfully craveyour indulgence that you ask this Houseto observe a minute's silence --[Interruptions.] Yes, I am craving his indulgence, I amappealing to him and I have the right toappeal to Mr Speaker.
HonMember, just address the Chair.
So, thank you very muchMr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Very well. From the Majority side.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, forgiving me the opportunity to make briefcomments on the Statement ably made bymy good Friend, the Hon Member forOkaikoi Central. Mr Speaker, looking at the shortnessof time within which the Statement wasdelivered, the Hon Member seriouslyneeds to be commended. Most atimes,we talk about political will. I believe that what happened a year ago, the politicalwill must come from both sides -- theinstitutions including Parliament must alldo their work. My Hon Friend on the other side alsomade mention of NADMO. As I speak,the NADMO Bill is here. We need to passit now to equip NADMO to do the workthat they are mandated to do. Besides that,on that fateful day, I believe that the GhanaMeteorological Services Department wasalso criticised for not giving accurateinformation about the rain. They also havetheir challenges, and as I speak, they stilluse the traditional method of bringingtheir forecast from certain areas. I believethe Ghana Meteorological Bill must alsobe passed. Mr Speaker, we see dredging going onin Accra just because the June 3 disasterhappened in Accra. It is not Accra alone;we need to take holistic view of whathappened on that day and why ithappened. I have an uncle in Kumasi whohas his house close to a river. Two weeksago, he was in the house when somebodycame and dug in the river. When theperson was confronted, the person saidthe river had been sold to him by the chief.So, we need to have a serious look at landacquisition and land ownership in Ghana. I may have ownership of a land, but Imay not be an expert in the demarcationand allocation of lands for building.Theremust be proper Planning, and the Townand Country Planning Department mustbe up and doing. When this incidenthappened on June 3, we saw the Ministerfor Environment, Science, Technologyand Innovation going round visiting fuelstations. Some people were crying andsome were making calls. What has comeout of that? If we allow the institutions to do theirwork -- If your filling station is not properly sited, when the Hon Minister forEnvironment, Science, Technology andInnovation visits and earmarks it,technically, the filling station must not besited there, you need not call anybodyfor assistance. If all of us allowedtechnocrats to do their work, some ofthose things would be things of the past. Mr Speaker, Sunyani is one of theproperly planned cities in Ghana. Go tothe peripherals today and see, apart fromthe areas that fall under the jurisdiction ofthe Lands Commission, people arebuilding in the other areas anyhow. Theseare areas that we need to take a properlook at. Just cross the border to IvoryCoast, it could rain for one week and therewould be no flooding. How better are they than us? What isit that Ivory Coast has been able to dothat we cannot do in Ghana? What kindof engineers do they have, that we do nothave here?
Mr Speaker,leadership of Ghana did not start in 2009and my good Friend, Hon Isaac K.Asiamah did not become a Member ofParliament in 2009. He has been a leaderin this country from time immemorial. We need to come together. Just now,an Hon Member said that housesearmarked for demolition are still there. Ifthe ruling Government would do what ithas to do and the Opposition would alsodo what they have to do -- When a Government goes to demolish,the Opposition side would also go. Theywould say the programme should have ahuman face. When should it have a humanface and when should it not? If both sideswould come together and allow thetechnocrats to technically do their workeffectively, this problem would be a thingof the past.
HonMembers, could we observe a minute'ssilence for those who lost their lives onthat day. [A minute's silence was observed.]
HonMembers, may the souls of thosefaithfully departed rest in peace and risein glory. Amen.
HonMembers, this brings us to the end ofStatements. Yes, Hon Second Deputy MajorityWhip?
Mr Speaker,today is Friday and some committees havebeen scheduled to meet. On that note, I beg to move that theHouse adjourns until Tuesday at 10.00‘o' clock in the forenoon.
Mr Speaker,I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.