Debates of 14 October 2016

MR SPEAKER

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, Correctionof Votes and Proceedings and the OfficialReport. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Thursday, 13 thOctober, 2016.] [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Monday, 25th July,2016]. [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Tuesday, 26th July,2016]. [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Wednesday, 27th July,2016]. [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Thursday, 28th July,2016]. [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Friday, 29th July, 2016]. [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Monday, 1st August,2016]. [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Tuesday, 2nd August,2016].

Speaker
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi

Mr Speaker --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Are you presenting theBusiness Statement on behalf of theChairman of the Business Committee?

Speaker
Mr Agbesi

Mr Speaker, I am the Vice-Chairman of the Business Committee. Iwould want to seek your permission topresent the Business Statement on behalfof the Hon Majority Leader who is theChairman of the Business Committee.

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Member for OldTafo?

Speaker
Dr Anthony Akoto Osei

Mr Speaker,I would want to ask the Hon DeputyMajority Leader, whether the BusinessCommittee is considering having theCommittee of the Whole anytime soon. I notice there is nothing in the BusinessStatement, and so I would want to knowwhether that has been discussed at all. Ifit has not been discussed, is heanticipating that? The other day'sdiscussion gave me the impression thatvery soon the Business Committee wouldbe considering it. Since I did not see it, Iwould want to find out.

Speaker
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh

MrSpeaker, I am respectfully seeking yourdirection on the directive you gave on the15th day of July, as a result of the accidentthat occurred on the Volta Lake, whichoccasioned the perishing of twenty-onelives.You directed the Leadership of twoCommittees; the Land and Forestry, andthe Roads and Transport Committees'.That directive was given on the 15th ofJuly, 2016. It is barely three months now.It has been flouted. I am seeking yourdirectives on what should be done.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Any other comment onthe Business Statement?

Speaker
Mr Patrick Y. Boamah

Mr Speaker, Ihave been gleaning through the BusinessStatement and I thought we werescheduled to have a meeting with theChairperson of the Electoral Commissionsometime next week, to brief us on theirprogrammes and what they are going tobe doing between now and December. I do not know if I got it wrong. Maybe,the Deputy Majority Leader can clarifywhether the Chairperson would be comingto meet Hon Members of the House.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Is it on the BusinessStatement?

Speaker
Mr Boamah

Mr Speaker, I thought Isaw something like that.

Speaker
Mr Boamah

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Where?

Speaker
Mr Boamah

Mr Speaker, maybe, theHon Deputy Majority Leader --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

No, Hon Member forOkaikoi Central -- [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Boamah

Mr Speaker, I thought Isaw something like that but it is all right.Whether they have plans to schedule theChairperson or --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Are you raising a newissue or you saw something in theBusiness Statement? There are twoseparate things. I just want to get thatclarification from you.

Speaker
Mr Boamah

Mr Speaker, I would wantto find out from the Hon Deputy MajorityLeader whether they have plans in thecourse of this Meeting to invite theChairperson.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

So, do not link it to theBusiness Statement that has beenpresented.

Speaker
Mr Boamah

Very well, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Mr Agbesi

Mr Speaker, the issueraised by Dr Akoto Osei had not beenprogrammed by the Business Committee,but as he has raised it, we would take noteand put it before the Business Committeeso that it would be programmed when wemeet on Thursday. I think that is the onlyissue. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, concerning the ElectoralCommission, as I have said, it has not beenprogrammed but if it is a new request he ismaking, we would take it on board in ournext meeting.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member forNsawam-Adoagyiri, I would suggest thatyou give me a copy of the directive of15th July so that I can refresh my memory. Then I would know the necessary stepsthat we can take in that regard.

Speaker
Mr Annoh-Dompreh

Thank you MrSpeaker, I take a cue accordingly.

Speaker
Mr Agbesi

Mr Speaker, my attentionhas been drawn to the symposium, whichis to be held today. I am told that HonMembers did not follow what I read. Withyour permission, I could take it again. Hon Members are being asked to takepart in a symposium organised today at 1:30 p.m. at the Auditorium of Job 600Office Complex. This is to commemoratethe 10th Anniversary of the demise ofJustice D. F. Annan, the first Speaker ofthe First and Second Parliaments of theFourth Republic. This would be followedby a remembrance service to be held atthe forecourt of the State Housetomorrow, Saturday, 15th October, 2016 at9: 30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. Mr Speaker, we are entreating all HonMembers to take part in this programme. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

Mr Speaker, I wouldwant to remind the Hon Deputy MajorityLeader that the issues raised by Hon PapaOwusu-Ankomah and myself, relating toour constitutional obligation, I amwondering if the Business Committee hashad the chance to discuss it. If not, arethey thinking about looking at it verysoon?

Speaker
Mr Agbesi

Mr Speaker, this mattercame to the attention of the BusinessCommittee and my Hon Colleague raisedit on the Floor. The Chairman of theCommittee has assured us that he hastaken the matter up with the Executive armof Government and so in due course, wewould get a response to the request.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Any other comment? Yes, the last comment, Hon Member?

Speaker
Mr Boniface G. Adagbila

Mr Speaker,my concern has to do with yesterday'sissue of --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Is it the BusinessStatement?

Speaker
Mr Adagbila

Yes, Mr Speaker. I amtrying to find out, with your indulgence,whether the Business Committee wouldfactor the concern of attendance into thebusiness of the period. This is becausewhen it comes to election year, sure --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

How would they factorit?

Speaker
Mr Adagbila

Mr Speaker, to factor inthe sense that, with the past experience,we have “Mugabes” here who can factorfrom the Fourth Republic what creativeapproach we would use, so that come nextParliament, we would not face thatproblem in an election year. I thought youshould consider that.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Well, I do not know, butlet me hear from the Hon Deputy MajorityLeader.

Speaker
Mr Agbesi

Mr Speaker, I believe thiscould appropriately be done by the nextParliament.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

But for the two weeksleft before we go for the election, whatsteps are you putting in place to ensurethat attendance is good within the periodwe would transact business? That is thepoint the Hon Member is raising.

Speaker
Mr Agbesi

Mr Speaker, we havereferred to this matter and you put theissue before the two Leaders. I said earlierthat we have to take steps to appeal toHon Members to apportion their timebetween Parliament and theirconstituencies. As we know, Hon Members areseriously working and it is their wish tocome back to the House. So, theirattention must be in Parliament and at thesame time, in their constituencies. Wecannot go beyond that, apart from tellingthem that there is the need to do ourconstitutional duties and at the same time,their duties in their constituencies. So, we only have to appeal to ourMembers that we have a duty here.Theyare also trying to come back to the House.I believe sincerely that we need to be hereto do everything. Particularly, those of uswho are not coming back, it is our duty tomake sure that we end the yearsuccessfully. So we are appealing to them. To my Hon Colleagues who are notgoing to come back, let us come and dothe work. That is the issue. So, Mr Speaker, we are appealing toHon Members, including my HonColleague, Papa Owusu-Ankomah.

Speaker
Papa Owusu-Ankomah

Mr Speaker,the Deputy Majority Leader is speakingon behalf of Government. He should lookbehind him. If he cannot get his troops, he shouldnot expect anybody to come and doGovernment business. It is the duty of aresponsible opposition to campaign to getrid of a Government that it considersincompetent and that is what we aredoing. If he cannot get his troops, he shouldnot make this loose appeal. If hedemonstrates serious Governmentbusiness, it would be reciprocated by us.But if he says I, who is in opposition,because I am not running again, I cancome and do the business, then he shouldrethink his position.

Speaker
Papa Owusu-Ankomah

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member for Sekondi,why are you bringing Government intothis matter? We are talking about Membersof Parliament attending upon the House.

Speaker
Papa Owusu-Ankomah

Mr Speaker, ifyou look at the Order Paper, almosteverything there is Government business,and Government Members of Parliamentare not interested in coming to Parliament.They are more interested in retaining theirseats. That is what they are doing, so heshould tell his people to leave theconstituencies and come and doGovernment business, allot their time andprioritise it for Government business, andwe would know that we are serious.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Let us hear from the HonMember for Wa West, before I call the HonDeputy Majority Leader.

Speaker
Mr Chireh

Mr Speaker, the retiringMember of Parliament is makingstatements that are not correct, becausesome of us are here, but he is sayinggenerally that Government Members ofParliament. That is not fair. He should limithis statements to specific issues, notgeneralise it to everybody, as if all of usare absent and he alone is sitting here.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, on a moreserious note, this applies to both sides ofthe House. We are Members of Parliament.first and foremost. As Members ofParliament, we are supposed to come andtransact business, from both sides of theHouse. If a Government Minister has businessto transact on the Floor and he is not here,it is another matter, but Hon Membershave to attend upon the House. If we look at the Chamber, it applies toboth sides of the House, and both sidesof the House are guilty. If you look at theattendance, it is unfortunate. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what doyou have to say?

Speaker
Mr Agbesi

Mr Speaker, like you said,both sides of the House are guilty,particularly the Minority side. My peopleare here. Look behind me, we are here, andwe are prepared to work. So I am appealing to the Minority tocome to the House, because it is their dutyas well as our duty. There is no blamehere or there. They are guilty, we are alsoguilty. But from now, we are saying thatlet everybody who has a duty in thisHouse come to the House and do it. It is not a matter of Government. It isyou and I. We have been voted for tocome to this House and work. So heshould leave Government out, come asindividual Members of Parliament and doyour work. So Mr Speaker, we will come, and Ientreat them to also come.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker,the sword that you are wielding today isdouble-edged. It is not all swords that aredouble-edged. Mr Speaker, I am saying so because Iconfess that, indeed, from that elevatedstatus, the transformation that people aretouting has affected you, otherwise MrSpeaker, if I should go to your earlier life,and I would not want to go to your earlierlife --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Quote it from theHansard.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Should Iquote you from the Hansard?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, I agree that I havetwo lives, one on the Floor and one here,so when I am here the rules are different.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

I agreeentirely, that the rules are different, that iswhy I am saying that the sword that youare wielding is double-edged, otherwiseif I should go into your earlier life and whatyou used to say from this position --[Interruption]

Speaker
An Hon Member

It is history.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Somebody issaying that it is history, but occasionallywe have to revisit history in order forhistory to guide us. Mr Speaker, those days --[Interruption]

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, [Inaudible.]

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Could youtalk to the microphone and stop talkingacross the aisle? -- [Laughter] -- Talkto the microphone, and I would respondto it.

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, as we addressyou, you are Mr Speaker. So when MrSpeaker is speaking, he speaks as MrSpeaker. When he talks about those days, hemay be referring to a person who wouldbe in the same position; an Hon Memberwho is a legislator and who may beholding another position as a Whip or aDeputy Majority Leader. That is different. As Mr Speaker sits, he is not a Memberof Parliament. He is Mr Speaker, and he isperforming his role as a Speaker. That isall. In fact, I did not want to see any evil,hear any evil or speak any evil, but nowhe has compelled me to speak. But it isnot evil.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker,what I know is that, in other jurisdictions,in articulating on any issue, the role orthe statement of a presiding member inthose jurisdictions, normally the speakersare still Members of Parliament, theybecome constant reference points in orderto guide the House. So this is not evil. It rather should bevery illuminating to this House,illuminating everybody in this Houseincluding you, what utterances Speakersmade in their earlier lives as Members ofParliament. That should provide usefulguidance to all of us. So I was just saying that in life beforelife, the issue had been that, the burden ismore on the ruling party and had comefrom the mouth of Hon, not Rt. Hon - HonEdward K. D. Adjaho. That is the point Iwanted to make. That is an earlier life; it islife before life. I would not want to pursuethe matter, but it should provide usefulguidance for all of us. I am happy the Hon Speaker says to usthat from this point, the place where hesits to preside, things are different. And Iagree with him that things are different.Indeed, things must be different, but factsare facts.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, before Icall the Hon Majority Leader, the pointbeing raised is what do we do? We are leftwith barely eight days ordinarily, that iswhen we decide not to sit on Mondays.We are left with about eight days to go onrecess for the elections, so within the eightdays let us see what we can do withinthat period.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, I believe thereality is that, this period is always achallenging period for the House. Anytimewe are getting close to elections, it isalways extremely difficult to getattendance in any appreciable numbers.We are facing the same challenge, and Iagree that the responsibility is more onthose of us who are in Government, but atthe same time, since it is a parliamentaryduty, it is not -- Since it is the duty of all Hon Membersof Parliament to transact parliamentarybusiness, which includes business at theconstituency, it is usually very difficultnow to balance the equation. You wouldrecall that when we are a bit distant fromelections, the focus is always onparliamentary business, but when we arecloser to elections, then the focus shiftsto the constituency business. Thatexplains what we see here. All the same, once we have decided tocome, Mr Speaker summoned all of us, itis our duty to be here for just these fewdays, then move unto the constituency. Iwould want to propose that we hold a jointcaucus meeting, then issue a statementto Hon Members. I believe that wouldhelp. I also acknowledge the fact that todayis Friday, and usually, Fridays are not verygood Sitting days for Hon Membersbecause of other compelling reasons.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker,just like the Hon Majority Leader has said,what we have always done in theseperiods is to have structured arrange-ments, where some Hon Members wouldbe allowed to be in their constituenciesfor a period, and some would be in theHouse for about a week, then the positionis changed. That is what we have alwaysdone. It appears that it has not been rigidlyfollowed this time around. That is why theHon Member for Sekondi said that this isabout the worst that he has seen in hislife in Parliament. We would need toimprove. For us in opposition, in the period ofthe anchor leg, we should rather intensifyour activities to unseat this administration,and we intend to do that because webelieve that Ghanaians certainly cannotafford to live under such a system again. Mr Speaker, having said that, I think itis imperative that we do a betterstructuring of the attendance. Before theHon Majority Leader came in, the pointwas made that we should have a jointcaucus meeting, and the Hon DeputyMajority Leader indicated that we couldhold it on Thursday. I propose that weperhaps bring it forward, to aboutTuesday, just to improve on -- Certainly--

Speaker
Mr Speaker

People must be here toattend the joint caucus.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker,if the signal is sent today, then maybe on Tuesday, we can do that. Otherwise, if itshould go to Thursday, then it wouldcontinue because half the duration wouldhave expired. This is because lookingaround, I do not see more than 40 of us inthe Chamber, which means that theordinary quorate number is not present,and technically, it would be even difficultto continue Business. But I guess wewould live with it for the time being andresolve to improve attendance.

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, certainly, theword opposition is rearing its head. MyHon Colleagues are not in the opposition,but rather in the Minority. The system weare running does not encourageopposition. They are in the Minority andwe have been working together. It is anall-inclusive system and we have beenworking together. I can see the urge to come to power,but unfortunately, they are not ready yet.I hope that they would put their house inorder to convince Ghanaians that they areready, but not now. So, we would be herein January together and we would stillwork. Mr Speaker, we would really send theword. Usually, when you call for a jointcaucus meeting, there are other mattersto be discussed, and that is what attractsother Hon Members to attend the jointcaucus meeting. We would definitely briefHon Members on other issues, apart fromthe issues of attendance to the House.So, I think that on Tuesday, we shouldmeet to look at this matter seriously.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

While you were away,they raised the issue of discharging theirconstitutional mandate under article 71 (2)of the Constitution, and your Hon Deputyresponded that you are taking the matterup with the Presidency. So, when you callthe joint caucus, as you have indicated,matters which are equally important tothem should be put on the agenda.

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, that is why Ireferred to other matters. I have beenfollowing up on it, and will disclose thedetails at the joint caucus meeting. Mr Speaker, we have also decided tolook realistically at the Business of theHouse.There are a few of the Governmentministries and agencies that are poised toget through the businesses that theyhave before us. So, we would focusattention on that, and some days, we mayappeal to Hon Members to let us doextended Sitting with all the necessarysupporting resources to complete thoseparticular businesses. The others where interest is not beingshown cannot be the fault of Parliament,when the sector Minister is not availableto lead in the deliberation of a matter beforethe House. So, I would pass the word alsoto the Executive to ensure that we haveour brothers here to lead us in some ofthe issues, particularly in moving Motionson Bills and financial provisions. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister forFinance is much focused when it comesto his business. He is not here, and oneof his deputies is also not in. So, we haveonly one Hon deputy available, who istrying to share the limited time at hisdisposal. He was here the period that wehad some business for him to transact. So, next week is the only week reallyleft for us to finish the Business. We havetwo weeks, but in terms of real focus, it isnext week. I hope that the Media will assistus to propagate the gospel, and send astrong word for our Hon Colleagues to atleast leave their constituencies and come. If for all these years they have notprepared their constituents to vote forthem, then these desperate last days mightnot be that -- [Interruptions] --

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, thatbrings us to the end of consideration ofthe Business Statement for the SecondWeek. So, Business Statement for theSecond Week ending Friday 21st October,2016, accordingly adopted. At the Commencement of PublicBusiness. Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, if we could take itemnumbered 5 on the Order Paper --Presentation of Papers.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, Presentationof Papers -- item numbered 5, by theChairman of the Committee.

PAPERS

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, if Imay help you, is it possible to take theGhana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015 today?I was informed that yesterday they wereto do some winnowing to enable them takethat Bill today.

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, we have beenmaking efforts to get the sponsoringCommissions, Director-General of theGhana AIDS Commission to be with usbut to no avail. The acting Chairman isnot yet in.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Who is the Hon Chairmanof the Committee?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

The Hon Chairman of theCommittee is Mr Amoatey, who is also ourrepresentative at the joint parliamentaryassembly of the African, Caribbean andPacific States/European Union (ACP-EU).He is away but the acting Chairman --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Is it possible to get amember of the Committee to move theseamendments on behalf of the Committee?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker,while we struggle through this, I wish tostate that the Hon Deputy Majority Leaderis the leader of our delegation to EconomicCommunity of West African State(ECOWAS) Parliament. Mr Speaker, this Report has beenoutstanding for over three months. It hasbeen listed but he has not been given theopportunity to move the Motion. This isa very innocuous Motion; I do not seewhy he cannot do it now.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

I agree but apart from theleader of the delegation, where are theother members of the ECOWASdelegation from Ghana? Apart from theleader of the delegation that I can see, Icannot see the rest. It is important to havethem here, so that they can also contributeto the debate. Hon Majority Leader, are we taking theGhana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, because theHon Chairman is not available --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Can we get any memberof the Committee, either from Majority orMinority side of the House to move theMotion? I ask this because the Committee,filed the Motion and came with theirReport. Once we get a member to move theMotion and explain the rationale behindthe amendments, we would be in a positionto agree or disagree with them and putthe Question? If we have a Member of the Constitutional,Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee --If we do not have a member of theConstitutional, Legal and Parliamentary AffairsCommittee, then we may have to take anotheritem. Do we have any member of theConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs Committee here?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, I lookedaround --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, areyou no more a member of the Committee?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Yes, as the Majority Leader,I am no more a member of that Committee.I left there long ago. I thought that Hon Yieleh Chireh wouldhave been available but he also justmoved out. I can see his books.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

While we look for an HonMember of the Constitutional, Legal andParliamentary Affairs Committee, may wetake the advice of the Hon MinorityLeader?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, I wanted usto take item numbered 7 on the order paperwhere I would seek your kind permissionfor the Hon Minister for Defence to lay -He is to move a Motion.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

It is a Motion; it is notPresentation of Papers.

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

He cannot move theMotion. That is on the Petroleum HoldingFund for the year 2013.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Item numbered (7) on theOrder Paper is for the Finance Committee.

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

The Hon Chairman of theCommittee is not here.

Speaker
Papa Owusu-Ankomah

Mr Speaker,the Hon Minister for Defence is a memberof the Finance Committee.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, canwe get an Hon Member of the Committeeto move the Motion for the Ghana AIDSCommission Bill, 2015?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, we are at theConsideration Stage. As of now, we donot have any member of the Committee tomove the amendments for theConsideration Stage -- continuation ofthe business on the Ghana AIDSCommission Bill, 2015 -- [Interruption]No, it is for the Finance Committee.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, Ineed your guidance. You are in charge ofGovernment Business.

Speaker
Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin

My guidance,Mr Speaker, is, after consultation, weshould take a bow because we are alsopreparing for the 10 th anniversarycelebration of the demise of our illustriousformer Speaker. In fact, that caught myattention earlier this morning and thatexplains why I came in late. We are caughtby the attendance. Mr Speaker, with your kind permission,I beg to move that this House do adjourntill Tuesday, 18th October, 2016 at 10 a.m.to continue with the Business of theHouse.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker,I beg to second the Motion.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, theMotion has been moved and secondedfor the adjournment of the House. Question put and Motion agreed to.

ADJOURNMENT