MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
HonMembers, Correction of Votes andProceedings. Pages 1, 2, 3 … 20. Hon Members, this represents theVotes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 11thOctober, 2016 -- Mr Kwame G. Agbodza -- rose --
Mr Speaker, I was hereyesterday but I have been marked absent.
HonMember, on which page does your nameappear as absent?
Mr Speaker, I have beencaptured under absentees.
All right.I believe that the Table Office would takenote of that. Hon Members, in the absence of anyfurther corrections, the Votes andProceedings of Tuesday, 11th October, Hon Members, the Official Report isnot ready and no Statement has beenadmitted by the Rt Hon Speaker. At the commencement of publicbusiness -- Hon Majority Leader?
Thank you,Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, we have a number ofReports from the Public AccountsCommittee for presentation to the House.The Hon Chairman of the Committee ispresently not in the House, so with yourkind permission and the indulgence ofmy Hon Colleagues, if any Hon Memberof the Public Accounts Committee couldpresent these Reports, I believe it wouldbe alright. My Hon Daughter, Hon Adwoa Safo,is a member. She is my Hon Daughter --are you doubting it?
HonMembers, item numbered 4 (a) on the OrderPaper. Hon Adwoa Safo?
HonAdwoa Safo, thank you for standing infor the Hon Chairman of the Committee. Yes, Hon Majority Leader? Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu --rose --
Mr Speaker,what I wanted to know relates to theperiod that these Reports cover. This isbecause, usually, the Reports from thePublic Accounts Committee predicated onthe Auditor-Generals Report would covera span of time. But these ones; beginningfrom items numbered 4 (iv) to 4 (vii) donot state the period. That is what I am abit confused about.
Is thissomething that we could be advised uponby the acting Hon Chairman?
Mr Speaker,I guess subsequently, they could provideus with further and better particulars. Butwe would need to know the exact time.
HonAdwoa Safo, you heard what the HonMinority Leader said. Or your instructiondoes not include --
Mr Speaker, my instructiondoes not include that, but we sat publiclyand considered the 2012 and 2013Reports. If we look at the beginning; items4 (ii) and (iii) are in that sequence; it wouldbe the 2012 and 2013. However, I believethere was an error of omission of the year.So we would amend it accordingly.
HonMinority Leader, are you satisfied?
Mr Speaker,I am not entirely satisfied, but I guesssubsequently, they would provide us withfurther and better particulars. Butcertainly, the years should be --
The HonChairman has just walked in.
Hon Bagbin, should we invite the HonChairman to answer? Hon Chairman of the Public AccountsCommittee, are you being briefed? Thequestion is; the Reports of the PublicAccounts Committee and every auditingreport refer to a period. They do not referto what is being audited, they also referto the period. For example, if we look atitem 4 (iv), it reads: “Report of the PublicAccounts Committee on the PerformanceAudit Report of the Auditor-General onthe Extension of Electricity to 1,200Communities in Ghana.” It is over what period? That is thequestion that is been asked.
MrSpeaker, some of the reports as listed onthe Order Paper are performance auditreports. They do not relate to specificyears or periods. They relate to the issuesthat the Reports raised. For example,regarding the Report in item 4 (i), it is aReport on the utilisation of MiningDevelopment Fund by the Metropolitan,Municipal and District Assemblies(MMDAs). Therefore it spans acrosssome number of years. So they do notprovide a specific date for it.
If itspans, are you telling us that the Auditor-General could not indicate what period onwhich he did the Report? Anyway, Iwould leave it at that.
Mr Speaker, Ihave in my hand a copy of the Report thatI am supposed to lay. The title is“Utilisation of Mining Development Fundfor Metropolitan, Municipal and DistrictAssemblies.” That is how it was captured.If we go into the Report, it tells us theperiod which it covers.
That isthe point. Hon Chairman, you just walkedin, so let me give you a few minutes toread over. This is because, if it is aperformance audit, it is an audit that coversa particular period. Hon Members, led bythe arrowhead who is the Hon MinorityLeader says they need better and furtherparticulars on the face of the Order Paper,for example, a performance audit of miningcompanies over a period. I know it was not your fault. We havesaid that next time, we need that.
Mr Speaker, I takecognisance of your concerns, but that ishow the Auditor-General captures it. Thisis an original Report from the Auditor-General; “Performance Audit Report ofPhase One of the Land AdministrationProject (LAP-1)”. It has no date on it, but when we opento the early parts of the Report, it wouldtell us that the audit covers the projectcycle from the year 2003 to 2011.
HonMember, as Chairman of the PublicAccounts Committee, who has a lot ofpower and we see you on television, canyou not instruct the Auditor-General toput the dates on his Reports, so that wedo not have to open it before we see thedates? You can do that.
Mr Speaker, I amafraid I cannot easily do that. This is thestyle with which he reports, and thesetypes of reports are different from thespecific annual reports that come in to aidbooks; the district assemblies would havedates, the consolidated accounts wouldhave dates on them for specific periods.But when we talk about project cycles,they are about performance audit reports, definitely, he would not tie himself intospecific periods. He would allow it to flowthis way and explain which years it covers. It has been the style, and allperformance audit reports do not havedates. I can give you examples of a few ofthem, and I do not think he would changethem. There are some that he would putdates. This one for example has no date;“Performance Audit Report on theextension of electricity to 1,200communities in Ghana.” This is how it is titled without dates.But when we come to multiple donorReports, he gives dates. For example,“Budgetary Support Inflows 2010 to 2012. This is a specific period within whichcash was counted. But for these particularproject issues, he does not actually titlethem with dates. So, that has been hisstyle. Thank you.
Thankyou. Yes, Hon Majority Leader, item number?
Mr Speaker, if the Chairmanof the Public Accounts Committee isready, we could take some of his Motions;Motion numbered 6 on the Order Paper. Ishe ready? What about Motion numbered7 on the Order Paper? He has to tell uswhy he is not ready.
Mr Speaker, theReport has been ready for some time nowbut, the Hon Ranking Member is notavailable and we have not arranged forany other person to represent him to dothe presentation.
Mr Speaker, Ido not know whether I heard the HonChairman rightly. He said they have notmade any arrangement for anyone torepresent the Hon Ranking Member whenit comes to the debate, while he is not here.These are very important Reports, and Iknow that the Hon Chairman has said soon this Floor on countless occasions thatthere are outstanding matters that needto be debated. Mr Speaker, I would suggest that hemoves the Motion. I am sure any othermember of the Committee could Secondit, and we would debate it so that wewould get on with the Business. This isbecause, if we are not careful and we donot debate these things, they would haveto be submitted in the next Parliament.
I couldnot agree with him more.
Mr Speaker, sothe officious Hon Chairman should starthis Business. He is a television star.
HonChairman, I believe we would take it. Item numbered 6, Chairman of theCommittee.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move that this Honourable Houseadopts the Report of the Public AccountsCommittee on the Financial Audit Reportof the Auditor-General on the VerificationStudy of Multi-Donor Budgetary SupportInflows (2010 - 2012).
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Whenwas it distributed?
Mr Speaker, I donot remember, but before we rose. It wasalways on the Order Paper. I never gotspace in the Chamber to present it. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, if Imay go ahead.
Mr Speaker, Introduction The Financial Audit Report of theAuditor-General on the verification studyof Multi-Donor Budgetary SupportInflows (2010-2012), was presented toParliament on Wednesday, 12th November,2014. This was in accordance with article187 (2) and (5) of the 1992 Constitution ofthe Republic of Ghana. In fulfilment of Order 165 (2) of theStanding Orders of the Parliament ofGhana, the Report was referred to thePublic Accounts Committee forexamination and report. Procedure To consider the Report, the Committeemet with the Hon Minister for Food andAgriculture, the Hon Minister for Healthand the Hon Deputy Ministers forFinance; Gender, Children and SocialProtection; Water Resources, Works andHousing; Education; Local Government Officials of the underlisted Ministrieswere also present at the Committee'ssittings to assist in its deliberations: i. Ministry of Food andAgriculture; ii. Ministry of Health; iii. Ministry of Finance; iv. Ministry of Justice andAttorney-General's Department; v. Ministry of Gender, Children andSocial Protection; vi. Ministry of Water Resources,Works and Housing; vii.Ministry of Education; viii. Controller and AccountantGeneral's Department; ix. National Health InsuranceAuthority; and x. Office of the Head of CivilService. The witnesses who appeared beforethe Committee subscribed to the Oath ofa Witness and answered questionsrelating to the issues/queries raised bythe Auditor-General in his Report and onissues of general public interest. The Deputy Auditor-General, Mr YawAgyei Sifah, and a technical team from theAudit Service were also present at theCommittee's sittings to assist in itsdeliberations. Acknowledgement The Committee is grateful to allofficials who were present at theCommittee's sittings to assist in itsdeliberations. The Committee alsoexpresses its appreciation to the DeputyAuditor-General and his technical team fortheir immense assistance to the Committeeduring the examination of the Report. The Committee further extends itsappreciation to the German DevelopmentCooperation (GIZ) and the United StatesAgency for International Development(USAID), for supporting the activities ofthe Committee and the media forbroadcasting its proceedings. Reference documents The Committee made reference to thefollowing documents during itsdeliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of theRepublic of Ghana; ii. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana; iii. The Financial AdministrationAct, 2003 (Act 654); iv. The Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act584); v. The Financial AdministrationRegulations, 2004 (L.I. 1802). Purpose and scope of the audit The purpose of the audit was to assesshow efficiently Multi-Donor BudgetarySupport transfers conformed to theprocedures agreed upon in theMemorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Development Partners(DPs) and the Ministry of Finance, and toindicate to DPs how Multi-DonorBudgetary Support (MDBS) funds arespent. The audit reviewed all MDBS inflowsthat were received in the years 2010, 2011and 2012 respectively, and assessed thecontrols established by the Ministry ofFinance to ensure that inflows were: a. received by the Bank of Ghana; b. converted at the prevailingexchange rate; c. acknowledged with receipts; and d. accurately recorded and reportedupon by the Controller andAccountant-General in thePublic Accounts of Ghana. Observations and recommendations Acknowledgement of MDBS inflows Transfers made into the ConsolidatedFund through the Bank of Ghana (BoG)by DPs under the MDBS programme forthe three-year period from 2010 to 2012amounted to GH¢ 1,830,042,933.26. TheCommittee observed that during the periodunder review, 53.16 per cent of the totaltransfers made, totaling GH¢972,785,355.88,were not acknowledged by the Ministry ofFinance. According to the Auditor-General,failure by the Ministry of Finance toacknowledge MDBS inflows from variousDPs was contrary to the FrameworkMemorandum signed between theGovernment of Ghana and DPs andsection 28 of the Financial AdministrationRegulations, 2004, (L.I. 1802). Section 28of the Financial AdministrationRegulations, 2004, (L.I. 1802), requires the
Thankyou. Who would second the Motion? The Motion has been moved and theMembers of the Public AccountsCommittee are here.
HonMinority Leader, you wanted to saysomething?
Mr Speaker,I was just going to suggest that with theexplanation given by the Chairman andwhat we are hearing from other CommitteeMembers, we stand the debate down. The Motion has been moved butbecause of what some of them are sayingthat most Members do not have copies ofthe Report in order to speak to veryrelevant issues contained in it, maybe wecould stand it down and do it tomorrow.That is, if that finds favour with the Chair.
Wewould advise that the Clerks-at-the-Tablemake new copies available. I learnt theywere distributed before the Houseadjourned sine die. Hon Members, do nothave copies? So we would move bothMotions and defer the debate tilltomorrow.
Mr Speaker,I think the Motion is moved but notseconded.
He hasseconded it.
Mr Speaker,he did not.
Mr Speaker, I did.
Heseconded it under protest.
Mr Speaker,if he seconded without contributing, thatis admissible.
He saidhe was going to raise the issue that he didnot have a copy. Hon Member, did you second it?
Yes, Mr Speaker.After raising the initial comments, Iseconded the Motion.
TheMotion is duly read and seconded. Thedebate is deferred till tomorrow. I directthat the Clerks-at-the-Table make copiesavailable for Members to be debatedtomorrow. Majority Leader, should we do the nextMotion in the same way? It is of the samenature.
Mr Speaker, if theChairman is ready to do that, we couldthen defer the debate. I thought we shouldhave moved to the Children's(Amendment) Bill, 2016 but we could takethis one and move later on to theChildren's (Amendment) Bill. Adoption of report of publicaccounts committee on phase one of theland administration project
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move that this Honourable Houseadopts the Report of the Public AccountCommittee on the Performance AuditReport of the Auditor-General on Phaseone of the Land Administration Project(LAP-1) Introduction Mr Speaker, the Performance AuditReport of the Auditor-General on PhaseOne of the Land Administration Project (LAP-1) was laid in Parliament onWednesday, 20th November, 2013, infulfilment of article 187 (2) of the 1992Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Pursuant to Order 165(2) of theStanding Orders of the Parliament ofGhana, the Rt Hon Speaker referred theReport to the Public Accounts Committeefor consideration and report. Procedure To consider the Report, the Committeemet with representatives of the Ministryof Lands and Natural Resources and theunderlisted Departments and Agencies: i. Lands Commission; ii. Office of the Administrator ofStool Lands (OASL); and iii. Town and Country PlanningDepartment. Officials of the Judicial Service and theDepartment of Land Economy of theKwame Nkrumah University of Scienceand Technology (KNUST) were alsopresent at the Committee's Sittings toassist in its deliberations. The witnesses who appeared beforethe Committee subscribed to the Oath ofa Witness and answered questionsrelating to the issues raised by theAuditor-General in his Report. The Deputy Auditor-General, Mr YawAgyei Sifah, and a Technical Team fromthe Audit Service were also present at theCommittee's sittings to offer clarificationson the queries/issues raised in theAuditor-General's Report. Acknowledgement The Committee is grateful to allofficials who were present at theCommittee's Sitting to assist in itsdeliberations. The Committee is alsograteful to the Deputy Auditor-Generaland his technical team for their immenseassistance to the Committee throughoutits deliberations on the Report. The Committee further extends itsappreciation to the German InternationalCooperation (GIZ) and the United StatesAgency for International Development(USAID), for supporting the activities ofthe Committee and the media forbroadcasting the proceedings of theCommittee. Reference documents The Committee made reference to thefollowing documents during itsdeliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of theRepublic of Ghana. ii. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana. iii. The Financial AdministrationAct, 2003 (Act 654). iv. The Public Procurement Act,2003 (Act 663). v. The Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act584). Background Phase One of the Land AdministrationProject (LAP-1) was initiated by theMinistry of Lands and Natural Resourcesin the year 2003. It is part of a long-term(15 to 25 years) Land AdministrationReform Programme intended to implement
Whoseconds the Motion?
Mr Speaker, Irise to second the Motion.
TheMotion is moved and seconded. Thedebate is deferred till tomorrow. Hon Members, copies would bedistributed and the Chairman would alsocontribute tomorrow. Hon Chairman, you can contribute ifyou want. I just wanted to ask you a question.These felicitations at the beginning, arethey very important? For example,”Wethank this person', ‘we thank that person',and ‘this person was present' -- is it veryimportant in the Report?
Mr Speaker, Iwould say yes without any justification.
Mr Speaker, could we takeitem numbered 9 at page 4 of the OrderPaper?
Itemnumbered 9, Hon Minister for Gender,Children and Social Protection.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, with your kindpermission and the indulgence of my HonColleagues, if the Deputy Minister forGender, Children and Social Protection inthe person of Hon Dela Sowah could movethis for and on behalf of the Hon Ministerfor the Ministry.
Mr Speaker,the Hon Deputy Minister without thepermission of the House has alreadyindulged herself, and I do not intend tostop her.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
BILLS -- SECOND READING
HonDeputy Minister, I would like to ask theHon Majority Leader for advice. Hon Majority Leader, it seems to methat the memorandum to the Bill is what isbeing submitted to us. I was wonderingwhether we could use the format of askingthe Hansard department to capture thememorandum to the Bill as having beenread, because we are now on the thirdparagraph, and I see that it is exactly thesame, and it is quite long. It is a six page paper. We have not evenfinished the first page, so I do not knowyour position. All right, Hon Deputy Minister, pleasecontinue.
Thank you Mr Speaker. Iwould ask the Hansard Department tocapture --
No, youcontinue -- [Laughter.] Just paraphrase and continue,summarise and stop somewhere. It isgood for the record.
Mr Speaker, the primaryobjective of the Bill is to strengthen thelegislative framework for the protectionof the interest of children in need of careand protection as the Bill empowers theMinister to make Regulations on fostercare and adoption processes as well asthe agencies engaged in foster care andadoption. The passage of the Bill would ensurethe compliance of the Republic with theHague Convention as well as improve theprovisions of alternative care for children. Mr Speaker, I so move.
Thankyou very much, an excellent summary. Shehas reduced the six page paper into twosentences. It is very good, thank you.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to second the Motion, and in doingso I present the Committee's Report onbehalf of the Chairman of the Committee. Mr Speaker, I urge the HansardDepartment to capture the entire Reportas having been read while I dwell onthe --
No, wewould not allow you. Today is not the day.Once the Hansard has captured the wholeReport, the whole Report has beencaptured, thank you very much. The Hansard has captured it, then youwant to take something out of the Hansardagain and re-emphasise it? No, once yousay that sentence, you are out.
Introduction In accordance with article 103 of the1992 Constitution of Ghana, the HonMinister of Gender, Children and SocialProtection, Hon Nana Oye Lithur, on 11thJuly, 2016 laid before the House theChildren's (Amendment) Bill 2016.Pursuant to Standing Order 174, Mr.Speaker referred the Bill to the Committeeon Gender and Children for considerationand report. Consideration of the Bill The Committee on Gender andChildren as part of its mandate underarticle 106 (4) of the Constitution of Ghana,Standing Orders 125 and 175 published inthe media requests for written memorandaon the Bill. Subsequently, opportunitywas provided for those who presentedmemoranda to meet with the Committeefor deliberations on their proposals. The Committee further met for threedays with stakeholders and officials of theMinistry of Gender and Children toexamine the Bill in detail. Acknowledgement The Committee is grateful to thefollowing for their inputs and supportduring the deliberations on the Bill:
Mr Speaker,since you are purposed to abridge theprocess, I believe it would be imperativeon the Minister or the person standing infor the Minister, who in this case is theHon Deputy Minister, to now define forus in clear terms, the policy and principleunderpinning the amendment that he isproposing to this House so that we areable to follow. Also, the defects in the existing law, ifthey could capture this for us, so we areable to follow her.
Soshould I give the opportunity to the HonChairman or the Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, we realisedthat there was a need for the Bill to bepassed so that it provides a Fund toensure the availability of resources for theupkeep of children in foster care. The Department of Social Welfare lacksfunds to cater adequately for children inits care. Funds for investigations andfollow up on issues of adoption have notbeen adequate. It is therefore the expectation of theCommittee that the Fund set up in the Billwould make the adequate funds availableto ensure that the Department of SocialWelfare performs optimally. The Committee also noted withconcern that on the adoption of a child,the biological parents relinquish theirrights over the child --
HonMember for AblekumaWest, do you havea point of order?
On a pointof order. Mr Speaker, I believe that theHon Minority Leader's intervention wasfor the policy underpinning theamendment introduced by the Ministry,and for the specific problems with theexisting law which the Ministry intendsto amend and why. The Hon Deputy Minister is justreading the Committee's Report which isnot addressing the issue raised by theHon Minority Leader. I am sure that all of us are interested inknowing why the Ministry wants to
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Minister did exactly that when shemoved the Motion, by copiously referringto the Memorandum to the Bill, and thoseprinciples are clearly stated there.The HonMinority Leader just wanted emphasis, soshe had to resort to the Committee'sReport. The only error she made was to havetalked about the Committee, because shecould have mentioned them withoutreferring to the Committee.
HonMajority Leader, the Hon Minister agreeswith the Committee.
Mr Speaker, if she saysthey are as stated in the Committee'sReport, and she agrees that the error isthat -- but if she reports that theCommittee said this and that, then thatposes a problem, because she stated themwhen she moved the Motion, and thatshould be sufficient.
Thankyou very much, Hon Minister. I believe that the matter has beensufficiently addressed. I heardConventions, and foster care, and so Ipaid close attention, but it is in theMemorandum. Yes Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,the Hon Deputy Minister started relatingto the object of the Amendment Bill. Thatof course, relates to the policy, but before she could land, when she was just intothe third paragraph, you said -- and thereare six pages on the Memorandum, so yousuggested that she could summarise. Butthe summary was not sufficient to addressthe policy and principles, as well asidentify the defects in the existing law, andthe remedies proposed. That is what is supposed to beencapsulated in the Memorandum, and Ithought that could provide someelucidation to the House, that is why Isaid that I wish she could address thosematters, but I would not want to press itfurther because the path that she chosefor herself did not help the House. I guesswe could drop it, so that you could thenaddress this House to the Memorandumas captured in the Amendment Bill, andthat would be sufficient for us.
I have noproblem in admitting mistakes, and Ibelieve part of the problem was from me,when I asked her to abort what seemed tobe a repetition of the Memorandum.Maybe she was not going to repeat it, butwas just warming up. I do not know whether I can direct thatthe Hansard captures the Memorandum.Is it possible, or should we just leave it? Hon Minority Leader, what is yourview? Should we get the Memorandum tothe Bill as part of the Official Report?
Mr Speaker,that is possible, and of course also arisingout of the Interpretation Act, now theMemorandum ought to be consideredalongside the body of the Bill. So, if youcould make the directive, I believe it willbe appropriate.
HonMinister, you were about to say it when Istopped you. I believe that you wouldwant the Hansard to capture theMemorandum in its entirety.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
HonMinister, say it then, so that we --
Mr Speaker, I would likethe Hansard to capture the entireMemorandum. [Children's (Amendment) Bill, 2016attached.]
Mr Speaker, I thoughtthat once the Bill has been laid, it is thenpart of our official records.
Yes. Butwhen somebody in generations to comereads the Hansard, the Memorandum willnot be part of the Hansard. If we add theMemorandum to the Hansard, it will notspoil anything, so to speak.
Mr Speaker, I am allright with it, so this is going to be the newpractice, whereby when Bills are laid, theMemorandum will be captured in theHansard.
I do notknow, but I remember that --[Interruptions] — It is not my intentionto start a new practice. 56 days before theGeneral Elections. She would have readas much as she wanted but I stopped hermidway, and compelled her to summarise.I believe it is just fair, otherwise, she wouldhave said all of it. And having regard tothe question that the Hon Minority Leaderasked, I believe it is a special situation. Ihave not started a new practice please.
MrSpeaker, the issue as I understand it fromwhat Hon Dr A. A. Osei said is the factthat when the Bill was presented duringthe First Reading, it had encapsulated init, the Memorandum. What is required, per our StandingOrders, of the person who moves theMotion for the Second Reading, is for themto give some explanatory reasons, as perwhat the Hon Minority Leader raised --the principles underpinning it. It so happens that usually, theseprinciples are also contained in theMemorandum, and as you saw, the HonMinister attempted to read the entireMemorandum. So, we are not compelledto really ask her to have the entireMemorandum captured. This is becauseit was already captured, during thepresentation of the Bill.
I wasgoing to also say that you were the formerChief Whip. Am I correct? And also theformer Hon Deputy Minister forCommunications.
Mr Speaker, exactlyso.
Mr Speaker, you aremy friend. [Laughter.]
If we readStanding Order 127 (1), it says: “On a motion being made that aBill be now read a Second Time,a full debate shall arise on theprinciple of the Bill on the basisof the explanatory memorandumand the report from theCommittee.” So, there are two documents that weconsider before we start the debate. The explanatory Memorandum -- thatis the Memorandum to the Bill, and theReport of the Committee. We have adopted a practice where withregard to a Report, the person to presentthe Report gets up says that he praysthat the Hansard captures the Report ashaving been fully read. But sometimesthey may want to highlight a few things,depending on my mood, sometimes I allowthem and at other times, I do not allowthem. So, there is nothing wrong, if the HonMinister also gets up to say she relies onthe explanatory memorandum and wouldwant the Hansard to capture it. This isbecause Standing Order 127(1 ) refers tothe explanatory memorandum and thereport of the Committee. Therefore, if we are capturing theReport of the Committee, then there isnothing wrong with capturing thememorandum. I also concede that at theFirst Reading, there is no Report, but thememorandum has already become part ofour public document, but that is all right.This is the time to proceed withconsensus, and not the time for greatdebate.
Mr Speaker, on that note, I riseto support the Motion. I believe that a lot of issues have beenraised about having a clear cut policy forthe Department of Social Welfare and alsofor those who run the foster homes. There was a Report from the PublicAccounts Committee, on the sameDepartment of Social Welfare, where weeven have some of the children lost. I donot know whether those children havebeen found as we speak. Secondly, we also realised that theDepartment of Social Welfare did not haveany current policy for the running of thefoster homes. We also saw that all the foster homesthat were then running -- in fact, it was asample number of homes that they did butout of the lot, it was only one of them thathad its licence renewed. This means thatall of them were operating without properlicence. I raised the issue of the reason behindthe number of people trying to run thesefoster homes. All of them are concentratedin the cities. We have similar problems inthe hinterlands and the villages but itseems when you take those who areinterested, they were interested in Accra,Kumasi and then the urban area. Thereason is that a lot of them after runningfor a year or two convert the home intoeither a school, church or something else. Mr Speaker, I have not gone deep intothe Bill to see what is in but I would wishthat if there is anything, anybody whowishes to run such a home must firstdeclare his assets so that we would knowwhat he has before starting the home andwhat he has after dissolving it. Secondly, I know the Bill will addressthe issue of where the children go whenthe homes are dissolved. What I haveseen is that when the home is dissolved,sometimes we do not look at where thechildren who were in the homes go --whether they go back to their parents orto the streets. I know if I go deeper, I would seesomething like that addressing that issue,as well as the declaration of the assetsand the licencing. Anybody who wishesto come in would have a proper licencebefore he enters. With these few words, I support theMotion.
Thank you, MrSpeaker, for the opportunity to alsocontribute to this Motion. Mr Speaker, when I read that theMinistry was amending the Children'sAct, I would have been happier if theMinistry came out with measures tominimise conditions that compelledparents to allow their children to beadopted into such homes. The reasonsare poverty and broken homes. I believe it would be better for theMinistry to rather equip parents to be well-resourced so that they can take very goodcare of their children. Mr Speaker, I hopeyou would bear with me that you and Iwill not take any of our children to a fosterhome. The reason is that we can take care ofthese children. Why can we not also givethe same opportunity to other parents?Go to the streets of Accra, Kumasi,Takoradi and Sunyani and see howchildren are by the roadside selling justto make ends meet to be able to feed
themselves and even sometimes theirparents. Mr Speaker, I would want to urge theMinistry to find ways and means toresource parents to be able to take verygood care of their children so that theywould not always take them to fosterhomes. Mr Speaker, I am happy to know thatthe Committee thought of monitoring ortaking proper records of parents whoadopt children. Most of the time we hearthat a child has been adopted but even totrace the root of the adoptive parentbecomes a problem. But this time around,the Committee has made it one of its roleto take proper records of the adoptiveparents. Also on the finances, I read in the Billthat there would be fundraising activitiesto mobilise internally generated funds torun some of the activities of the homes. Iwould plead with the Committee toproperly monitor all funds that wouldcome into the coffers so that the moneyswould be put into good use. With these few words, Mr Speaker, Isupport the motion for the adoption ofthe Committee's report.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to supportthe Motion as presented by the HonDeputy Minister. Foster care and also care for childrenwho are orphans is so important.However, we have realised that somepeople have misused the opportunity.Some children are found in very difficultsituations; some are virtually sold intoslavery. If you go to our fishing communities,you would see children as young as 4 years engaged in fishing. Some of thesechildren have been adopted or put infoster care. Mr Speaker, it is high time we putmeasures in place to trace these childrento know where they are because these arealso human beings and people who wouldgrow into leaders of our nation. I believethat this Bill is very appropriate and it hascome at the right time. Mr Speaker, I know that when this Billis passed into an Act, appropriate actionscan be taken to rescue children who are invery bad situations due to no fault oftheirs. I would want to add that even thoughpoverty is a cause of children beingabandoned and put into foster care, thereare some other causes. Some parents maynot want to see the child at all because ofsome psychological problems. Theproblems for this phenomenon are varied. However, putting legislation in placewould help to safeguard our futureleaders. I thank you for the opportunity andsuggest that the Motion be supported.
Mr Speaker, I believeany action which reduces theinstitutionalisation of our children shouldbe applauded because there are countlessstudies which show that putting ourchildren in homes of whatever kind is notin the best interest of the child. Theoverriding principle in our law when itcomes to the care of our children is thewelfare of the child. Currently, if we follow the AnasAremeyaw Anas' investigation of 2010 and 2015, the state of our children homesthemselves is really deplorable and thechildren there are very much at risk. I havenot seen anything here which wouldaddress that issue. What steps are being taken to ensurede-institutionalising the care of ourchildren? We remove them from thesechildren's homes. All that I see is that weare putting in place measures to make iteven more difficult for those who wouldwant to adopt or to foster children to doso. The Memorandum to the Bill talksabout removing the power to grantadoption orders from all courts and givingit only to the High Court so that weintroduce stricter guidelines for it. Ibelieve we ought to encourage moreadoptions and foster care in this countryinstead of restricting it. We need to make it possible for evenfamilies which do not have children toconsider an alternative to the expensivemedical processes to get their own childrenby considering adoption. We need toremove the stigma attached to adoption. We need to make it normal andcommonplace for people to considertaking in other children and bring themup as their own. While we improve thestructures and the legal processesgoverning the adoption of children, weshould not unduly make it more difficultfor couples to adopt. It is all well and good to look at inter-country adoptions but we need to focusmore on in-country adoptions and makeit possible for families to take it in andformalise it. In other jurisdictions, people are paidto foster children. In this country now, it becomes an economic burden to fosterchildren other than your own. I think weneed to move towards making it easier forpeople to adopt and foster childreninstead of making it more difficult and morestringent. I would like to know what exactly thestatistics are about inter-countryadoption. But I do not think they are thatmany in any event. And if there arefamilies which are capable of adoptingchildren here, we should focus more onplacing our children locally than thinkingabout how to take them out of the country. Out of State adoptions also could behuman trafficking in another guise and so,any measure to limit or control that, wouldbe something that, this House ought tosupport. But I would lend my support tothis Bill if at the end of working on thispiece of legislation, we make it much easierfor couples to adopt in-country, de-stigmatise adoption in this country, putin place not just the regulatory andlegislative but the functional mechanisms,which would encourage foster careincluding considering making otherpeople consider taking it up probably, asa vocation. In the United Kingdom (UK) and otherjurisdictions, people foster other childrenand are paid for that. We can evenconsider looking at tax incentives forthose who foster at-risk-children. But anymeasure which would encourageremoving our at-risk-children fromChildren's Homes and regulatedinstitutions, where they are kept andwhere the children are even preyed upon,would and should need and command therespect of this House. So, I support the Children's(Amendment) Bill and look forward to theprocesses towards making it come intofruition. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Thankyou. Hon Majority Leader, do you want tocontribute? I will call you last. One moreperson, is there anybody from -- I wantyou to do it last, if you do not mind.
Thank you Mr Speaker. Ihave always had a serious problem withelderly males and females; I hate to callthem men or women or even fathers andmothers. Mr Speaker, two people comingtogether to bring forth a child and then,they abandon that child and the childbecomes a problem for the State. I do not know much about this Bill,but I think that, if this Bill does notconsider such couples, who give birth tobabies and abandon them, if there are nopunitive measures in this Bill, I would wantto suggest that, we think about it seriouslyand do something about it. This is because this is not the first timethat I have seen a number of childrenwalking to people who are responsible andtelling them their problems. And when youask them, where their parents are, theywould tell you they have none. But in fact,if you go further and ask, the father or themother of such a child would besomewhere producing more children andthe society does not do anything aboutthem. I think that, if this Bill does not considerany punitive measures for such people,we should go back and do that. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Thankyou. Hon Member for Abuakwa North, thenthe Hon Majority Leader.
Thank you Mr Speakerfor the opportunity to contribute to thisMotion. Mr Speaker, this Bill is laudableand we hope that, we make more inputs tomake sure that, mothers especially, are wellresourced. For considering motherhood, it is verydifficult for a mother to say that, I have achild but I will not take care of the child.So, we should re-inforce the Bill toresource mothers in particular so that theygive birth to the children and take care ofthese children. And also, we expect that, we have theChild's Right Bill and re-inforce that, thosewho are involved in child trafficking arealso brought on board, and then thosewho are against the Child's Bill are alsobrought on board so that, collectively, weensure that, children are given the righthome to live in. After all, no child would want to be onthe street, or no one would want to bewhere he or she is not comfortable. Butwhen you make it such that, whatever thecircumstance, the child would wish that,somebody takes him or her away -- so,let us ensure that, the children or theparents of these children are resourcedvery well to take care of their children. For the adoption, it is all right forsomeone to be adopted. However, whenwe are not too sure who adopts who, thenwe all have a reason to say that, the childmay be adopted or he is being trafficked. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I stand to support the Motion and in doing so, just to add aword of clarification to the debate. Mr Speaker, as we all know, our lawson the children are based basically on the1992 Constitution, and the Children's Act.We have an Adoption Act, I think it is of1960, I do not see that captured in theReport. But Mr Speaker, since the passageof the Children's Act, 1998 (Act 560), therehave been a number of developments. And also, since the 1992 Constitution,we have had the Hague Convention andthere are new developments which are notcaptured under our laws. And so, thepurpose of the Children's (Amendment)Bill is to update the laws on childrenparticularly, focusing on areas of fostercare, adoption and the institutionalarrangements that could make the process quite transparent, equitable and quitefocussed on the welfare of the child. That is what this whole legislation isabout and as Hon Members have alreadyindicated, I think this is long overdue andI believe that, as soon as possible, thisHouse will go through it and make surethat, even the provisions of the AfricanCharter on the right and welfare of the childare incorporated into the currentlegislation. Mr Speaker, with this, I support theMotion.
Thankyou. Question put and the Motion agreedto. Children's (Amendment) Bill, 2016accordingly read a Second time.
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TheGhana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015 at theConsideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
We wereon clause 36 and it was deferred for theQuestion to be put.
Mr Speaker,yesterday, the Question was not put onclause 36 in view of the fact that we neededto do some work on clause 36(1). Afterdue consultation, we propose anamendment to clause 36(1). Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 36(1),delete “or AIDS”, wherever it appears inclause 36(1). The new rendition would read, “Aperson living with HIV, affected by HIV orhighly at risk of an HIV infection.” Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 36 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Clause37? There are no proposed amendments.
Mr Speaker, there is noproposed amendment but the winnowingrevealed that we should subject it to the order of the court. This is particularly withclause 37(b). Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 37(b),delete “authority” and insert “the orderof the court”. The new rendition would read, “(b) disclose the personal details ofa person to a third party withoutthe order of the court.”
I want tohear the view of the Hon Majority Leader.These are very interesting amendments.Hon W. O. Boafo, we are also relying onyour interventions.
Mr Speaker, myview is that it is not practicable. For everycase, where an official opts to disclosethe personal details and in this particularcase, to go to the courts, it is notpracticable. It would open the gates of thecourts to be flooded.
The firstquestion is, should anybody be entitledto a person's personal details? This isbecause the heading indicates quite well,“Disclosure of confidential information”.Should anybody be entitled to yourpersonal records under any circumstance? At first they said you could notdisclose it without authority, withoutshowing what authority they werereferring to. Whether it is the traditionalGhanaian, orders from above -- Clause 37 says: “An authorised officer whoreceives information in theperformance of functions underthe Act shall not (b) disclose the personal detailsof a person to a third partywithout authority.” What they are suggesting is that theyare defining that authority to mean court.What do you think?
Mr Speaker, I am tryingto follow you and them. Why would thecourt want to disclose the personal detailsof a person to a third party? It isconfidential information, so, why wouldthe court want to do that? If you couldeducate me? What interest does the courthave to compel this officer to do what youwant them to do? Is the person a criminal?
Mr Speaker, we deferredclause 30 and it talks about a situationwhere a healthcare operator could as aresult of a privileged relationship betweenhim and the person with HIV, would haveto give the information to a spouse orprospective spouse. You have theprivileged information and can onlydivulge that particular privilegedinformation to somebody by the order ofthe courts. The person must satisfy the courts,that they need that particular privilegedinformation of their prospective spousebefore the information can be given. This would be in a situation where theperson has refused to give consent forthe information to be disclosed.
Thequestion he asked is, in the view of yourCommittee and the proposers of theamendment, under what circumstance cana person go to court and ask for theinformation on another person's HIVstatus? That is the question he is asking?
Mr Speaker, the law talksabout the spouse or prospective spouse.
Mr Speaker, yesterday,he did not define “prospective spouse”.What would compel anyone to go to courtfor that information? One chose to marrythe person so what does the court haveto do with it? Is that a condition formarriage and which law says one mustdisclose that? They are creating a newright that is very dangerous. The person voluntarily decides tomarry somebody but then they are goingto court to compel the court for the personto disclose their HIV status. It does notmake sense.
Marriageis a contract.
It is a privatearrangement but you want the court toassist you. Why? I do not get it.
Mr Speaker, the problemwe have is that the health status ofindividuals, particularly those who havethe HIV infection -- the development ofHIV into AIDS -- The non-disclosure ofthat information to the general public withthe consequent challenges of infectionsis what this Bill is trying to cure. By virtueof your official position, you have someknowledge of somebody's status. Couldyou disclose that information to anunsuspecting person who is trying topartner the HIV/AIDS patient? Now, the law is trying to grant theopportunity for that to be done, butlegally. That is why they said that, forexample, if a nurse has an information thatMs or Mr “A” or “B”, has that ailment,whether the nurse can disclose to a prospective suitor the status of theperson; just to keep the suitor on notice. They are trying to put this provisionthat, one can only do that by a court order.Which means that the official would haveto go to court and that is where thepracticality is problematic.
Is it theofficial that goes to court, or the personthat wants the information?
Mr Speaker, the person isnot even aware that the suitor is in thisposition but there is an official dealingwith that person who is aware. Now, will that official take the pain togo to court to get an order beforedisclosing to the suitor the position ofthe person he or she intends to marry orthe one he or she has married? I doubt it.The practical implementation of thatwould be very difficult. Nobody would bespending money just to go to court to tellanother person that, the person he or shewants to marry has HIV or AIDS. That isthe problem. Mr Speaker, my challenge is that, I havenot gone through the Evidence Actrecently to be sure of the legal positionon this confidential information.
HonMembers, let us defer it so that we gothrough the Act and convince ourselves.
Mr Speaker, I agree withyou. If we defer it, then we can go throughthe Act to assure ourselves that we areon a firmer ground.
Mr Speaker, I believe that thisparticular one flows from clause 30.
Hon Member, but wehave deffered clause 30.
Yes, Mr Speaker, that is whywe would have to hold on. This is becauseclause 30 says that, and I beg to quote; “upon an order of a court, wherethe information contained in themedical file of that person isdirectly relevant to theproceedings before the court.”.
Forexample, some countries have chargedpeople with criminal offences who haveknowingly given other people HIV. Forexample, if someone has raped somebodyand the person is being tried and theprosecutor wants to find out whether theperson has HIV, the prosecutor can call amedical officer who did the test to comeand testify. This is because it is directlyrelevant to the issue. But the question here is, it is aprospective spouse. So somebody wantsto marry someone and there is anotherpublic official running to court to say ifthe prospective spouse knows what he orshe knows, the prospective spouse wouldnot marry. That is what this clause issaying. Or is it the prospective spousewho can go to court and say his or herprospective husband or wife shoulddisclose all his or her medical records as ifit is declaration of assets In some churches, families andorganisations, before one marries, one isasked to do an AIDS test. This is becausemarriage is a contract between twoindividuals of full capacity. One cannotmarry a minor. So, if one is going to marry,it is a case of “let the buyer beware”. Onehas to have one's eye widely open. If one'seye is not widely open and goes to marrysomebody with AIDS, it is up to theperson.
Mr Speaker, I do notbelieve it is sufficient to say that it shouldbe with the authority of the court withoutgiving any guidelines to the court as tohow it should handle it. The circumstances under which thecourt should be prevailed upon to grantthat permission should be taken care of inthe law or in the subsidiary legislation ifthey want more elaborate circumstances.If it is for protection of the person's healthor any other thing -- because it cannotjust be left like that. How would the courtoperate to allow the disclosure?
HonMembers,the last contribution evenconvinces me all the more that we shoulddefer it. But we should defer it and alsobear in mind clause 30 -- that we woulddeal with this clause and that of clause 30that we have deferred simultaneously. Thisis because they both deal withconfidentiality -- but the circumstancesunder which the confidentiality can, as itwere, be set aside or the information begiven despite well-known principles ofconfidentiality that must exist between amedical officer and his or her patient. We should not pass a law that wouldlet people go underground. This isbecause they might use quack medicalofficers.One of the first things about adoctor is that one can tell the doctoreverything and the doctor would not sayit on radio the next day or tell somebody. Hon Bagbin, in this Bill, there are allthese “rights” that have been statedagain; constitutional right, the right tovote, the right to this and that, politicalright, freedom of movement. I do not knowof any law that existed in Ghana thatrestricted the freedom of movement of thepeople with it. We are seeking to amend the GhanaAIDS Commission Bill. When one looksat the Constitution, it says that when one wants amend an act one has to state anddo a number of things. It is in article 106(2) 9(a) of the 1992 constitution, and itsays; (2) “No bill, other than such a bill!as is referred to in paragraph (a)of article 108 of this Constitution,shall be introduced in Parliamentunless -- (a) it is accompanied by anexplanatory memorandumsetting out in detail the policyand principles of the bill, thedefects of the existing law, theremedies proposed to dealwith those defects and thenecessity for its intro-duction; . . .” I have looked at the Memorandum tothe Bill and it did not say that people withAIDS have been denied the right to vote,the right to freedom of movement and allthese rights that we are now enshrining -the constitutional rights that exist withoutdiscrimination to everybody. Even withthe right to vote, the Supreme Court hassaid that prisoners have the right to vote. So, if we put in our Ghana AIDSCommission Bill the right to vote, forpeople with AIDS, are we not rathercreating the impression that there wassome defect before this Bill? Maybepeople were not given the right to vote?Why do we have all these rights in theBill? I do not understand. There is no reference to anything inthe Memorandum that people with AIDShave been denied certain rights. Theyhave flouted with impunity, article 106 2(a) — no reference was made to that. Infact, when we look at the Memorandum, it
Mr Speaker, I agree withyou. I thought that even clause 28 wasgeneral enough to cover the rest. This isbecause, clause 28 (1) says, and I beg toquote: “A person living with or affectedby HIV or AIDS and a personhighly at risk of HIV infectionshall enjoy the fundamentalhuman rights and freedomsenshrined in the Constitution.” Mr Speaker, that is sufficient to coverall the other areas that are being detailedout. So I totally agree that we do not needto talk about the right to health, the rightto work, et cetera again. They are all partof the fundamental human rights. Mr Speaker, I did request to see theDirector-General, whether there is anyexceptional reason why we should detailthem out. This is because I do not thinkthat there is the need to detail them out. People say that we should makelegislation as easier, simpler and morecopious than we have been doing, so that anybody reading any legislation couldgrasp the general law around that area.But that is going to give us a very oneroustask of repetition in almost all the lawsthat we are passing — we have to beputting all these there, and I do not thinkthat it is necessary. Mr Speaker, I would go by the adviceyou have given, that some of theprovisions on the right to education,political right, freedom of movement, rightto work, and right to health — these arethings we do not need to repeat. This isbecause they are already captured in thegeneral omnibus law about human rights. Mr Speaker, I agree that in theMemorandum, if that is an issue, at least,we should have had some basis laid in it,why there was the need to repeat them indetail; that I do not also see in theMemorandum. Unless the Attorney-General and theMinister for Justice insists, and is able toconvince us, I do not think that there isthe need for us to repeat and reproducewhat we already have in the Constitution.
Andeven not reproduce it in full but in parts.So does that mean that the other rightsthat we did not add are not important topeople living with HIV? Let me recognise the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice who isestablished under article 88 of theConstitution. Attorney-General and Minister forJustice (Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong): Mr Speaker, I agree with yourcomments, however, some of theprovisions have more than just the rightscontained in the Constitution.
“A person living with HIV orAIDS shall give consent to amedical treatment or a medicalresearch to be carried out on thatperson before the medicaltreatment or the medical researchis carried out except where thatperson living with HIV or AIDSis unable to give consent.” Mr Speaker, even though I agree withthe general comments, we need to examineeach of the subclauses very carefully sothat we do not remove some of these.
So sincethe Attorney-General and Minister forJustice is here and agrees that perhapswe should have more scrutiny to ensure— even the heading — if we take awayclause 29 (1), which deals with just theright to health, which says: “A person living with HIV orAIDS has the right to areasonable standard of healthwhich includes access to healthservices.” We say that is covered by theConstitution, and we take that out, theheading may change from “Right tohealth” to something else. It could changeto “consent” or “medical research”. Wehave passed some of these already — wehave already passed clauses 29 et cetera— and now we are all agreeing that weshould have a second look at even theplaces that we have already passed. And if we do not have a holisticsecond look, we may end up with adisjointed Bill. I do not know whether youwant us to put a hold here, give it sometwo days, the Attorney-General andMinister for Justice is here, we have arepresentative from the Ghana AIDSCommission, the Hon Majority Leaderhimself and other Hon Members who areinterested and we would give it expresstreatment so that by next week Mondayor Tuesday — what is left is not much.We can spend a day to finish.
Mr Speaker, I totallyagree with you. This is why I wassignalling yesterday that, in my view, thereis a lot of work that needs to be done, andit would be in our interest if we appoint asmall committee for them to sit back. Mr Speaker, this is because my HonColleague, Hon Yieleh Chireh was here,and he was trying to convince us as towhy they are reproducing what is in theConstitution. Having heard even theAttorney-General and Minister forJustice, not all should be taken out. Mr Speaker, but I think that some workneeds to be done, and the sponsors couldnot convince us. It would be in ourinterest, as a House, if we recoil, have asmall group to go back and revisit someof these clauses before we go ahead,otherwise I think we would be spendingtime on the issue about the circumstance,for example, which is not clear —something is lacking, that the Committeeneeds to recoil. I plead that we go in that direction sothat we do not keep long. I think it wouldbe in the benefit of the House that we dothat.
Mr Speaker, I agreeentirely with him. We tried to resolve someof the issues this morning with some ofthe members who raised the matter. But
we wanted a representative of the GhanaAIDS Commission to be here. This isbecause, at the level of the committee, theyimpressed upon us that this is a kind oftemplate for those who have passed theLaws on HIV and stigmatization et cetera. Mr Speaker, they convinced us thatthese provisions are being considered atspecial group, and the stigma andeverything that is connected. So, if weconsider them as just citizens of Ghanaand they are also entitled —[Interruption] No. Mr Speaker, some of them are sufferingdiscrimination, which are practicalproblems, and that is why they wanted usto provide these rights to them. Mr Speaker, in fact, in the case of theInsurance and the rest of the things thatwe did, we even had to call thestakeholders, that is, the Insurance groupand the Ghana AIDS Commission. Thepoint is that, if it is possible, those whohave real concerns we meet with theGhana AIDS Commission — they arepromoting the Bill. Mr Speaker, if we also care to know, itis the Presidency that is driving this Billand not the Ministry of Health and that iswhy my Hon Colleague, Dr MatthewOpoku Prempeh, is proposing someamendment at the end. This is becausethe Attorney-General and the Minister forJustice may help us but at the same time,that group discussions, and winnowingof these Bills are always important so thatwe can then discuss the legalities of allthat outside the House. Mr Speaker, one point that I want tomake is that when we refer to Constitutionand subject something to it, it means thateverything within that should conform towhat the Constitution says. But there are also things that are not expresslyforbidden by the Constitution. If the Constitution says that no otherperson can do this, it is a different matter.But where the Constitution says that I amentitled to do this, it does not exclude anyother person from also exercising thisright. So the way we turn ourselves intothe Supreme Court here, limiting ourpowers is my worry. Otherwise, we mustalways look at the practicality of anythingthat we are doing. At the level of theCommittee, they convinced us that therewas a problem about discrimination andwe wanted to provide these things in thelaw. If the acting Chairman for theCommittee agrees to the suggestion weshould be able to look at it.
HonYieleh Chireh, even though this is beingproposed or sponsored from thepresidency, we all know that defacto - infact, it is not because of this presidency. As far as this is concerned, everypresidency works through the GhanaAIDS Commission because that is thetechnical body. They came to theCommittee to convince you but they didnot put it in the Memorandum. The reason why you have aMemorandum is because you canconvince everybody here and not just theCommittee. So at the Second reading whenthey are debating the principles, all thesematters would arise because it is in theMemorandum. When you look at the Memorandum,there are two issues; one is to do withreduction of the size of the Board and thesecond is to do with the funding. When it comes to reduction in the size of the Board,nobody argued in detail. People werearguing about numbers, whether weshould make it five or six people, buteverybody agreed to the principle. These rights that you are saying areso important -- we are not disagreeingwith you -- but the Members have nothad the opportunity of hearing the GhanaAIDS Commission. So those who areraising concerns now are raising genuineconcerns because the Ghana AIDSCommission did not insist that it comesinto the Memorandum. As Hon Bagbin said, if we felt sostrongly about it, it should have foundexpression in the Memorandum -- theMemorandum is silent on it. Then youcome and spring a surprise on HonMembers by bringing in all these detailedclauses. In fact, the right provisions nowhave taken over the Bill -- that is theconcern. So, what we are saying is that, let ushold our horses so that everybody cancome along. We tried it yesterday and onevery step of the way we foundroadblocks. The person who wasmasterminding or in charge of blockingthe road was Hon Prempeh, and I say itwithout apology -- not that he was doinga bad thing. He is not here today and I mustconfess that when I saw he was not here,I thanked my God that we would makeprogress. Without him, the roadblocks arestill there, it means that he is not the oneresponsible for the problems. People haveproblems with the Bill. He just came in and if we do not takecare we would have to do extended Sittingif we do not agree. So let us form a smallgroup -- Hon Yieleh Chireh and Hon DrPrempeh have combined to create anotherroadblock. [Laughter.] Mr Chireh — rose --
Mr Speaker, in fact, he wasamong the small group that met thismorning and he removed some of theroadblocks at that meeting. So that is thereason he was absent and did not worry,but now that he has come -- Mr Speaker, but I still agree with theprinciple that in this House majority ofthe people must be convinced aboutsomething before it can be passed. So, Ido not have any problem about a groupmeeting and resolving the issues. It is justthat they said the whole idea of this Bill isthat they looked at best practiceselsewhere and these were in there. Well, ifthe best practices are in conflict with oursituation, we cannot just say that becausethey are best practices elsewhere weshould also do same. But the roadblockeragreed to remove some of the roadblocksthis morning because they were technicalones.
Mr Speaker,the roadblocker agreed to remove most ofthe blocks because I wanted us to makeheadway. Mr Speaker, the fundamental reasonwhy all this is happening, and he mustbear me out is that, there were threeMinisters for Health -- the Hon Ministerfor Defence has just left. [Interruption.]The Hon Majority Leader has been aMinister for Health; Hon Yieleh Chireh has
If it is at the presidency,there is always a Minister of State and sowe should ask.
Considering all theMinisters of State under the presidency,none of them has been given this Bill toshepherd and there is a practicalproblem --
HonMember, you are now arguing youramendment.
Mr Speaker, I will not gothere. Mr Speaker, the basic right for a patientwith HIV is access to treatment and rightto treatment. That is why HIV has movedto become a chronic disease and they arenot even guaranteeing the right, I said thatyesterday.
Let meask you a question, Hon Prempeh. Do Ghanaians have the right totreatment of every ailment?
So, if Ihave malaria for example, do I not havethe right to treatment?
You have access tohealth --
But thatis different from right to treatment.
But youare saying that because of the nature ofHIV, that it can spread to other peopleamong others, the State treats the peopleas of right?
Yes, and for free.
And thatis not a constitutional right because underthe Constitution, right to health does notmean a right to treatment; it means a rightto access health. So that is the right thatperhaps, you say must be put here.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
And thatis why we would form a small Committee. Thank you.
And that is why I waswondering, in pursuit of right in the Bill, Iam agreeing -- We have omitted the most essentialright and we are going round other rights.And I suggested we could refer to theConstitution -- all the rights in theConstitution.
It is therein clause 28 (1). The Attorney-General and Minister forJustice has made a point that when welook at the other provisions, there are other things there that are not necessarily partof the general rights that are guaranteed. Let us bring the Consideration of theGhana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015, to anend at this stage. I would make a consequential order thatthe rules be relaxed and that theCommittee which would be chaired byLeadership -- Leadership, can you chair theCommittee? It is just a small winnowingCommittee due to time factor.
Mr Speaker, I would haveloved to do it but there would be no space.
All right. Who is the Chairman of the Committeeon Health? [Interruption.] Hon Yieleh Chireh is the Chairman ofthe Health Committee and so he wouldco-chair with the chairman of theConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs committee. So the leadership of thetwo Committees, as well as the Memberswho have concerns, must look at it andthey must take the liberty to look at thewhole Bill and even the clauses that wehave already passed. We would relax therules and look at it again.
Mr Speaker, with your kindpermission and the indulgence of my HonColleagues, could we take the Papers onthe Order Paper Addendum? Yesterday,they were on the Order Paper but the HonAttorney-General and Minister for Justicewas very much engaged and so she could
Mr Speaker, maybehe can clarify further because from what Ihave just been told, I do not quitecomprehend the point that he is making. My understanding is that, the urgencyof this is predicated on the fact that theywould be needed for the purpose of theelections. So why is he saying that wewould have to go for the elections and comethereafter for the maturity of theseConstitutional Instruments? [Interruption.] That is my understanding. If I am wrongthen, that is fine but then, it has somethingto do with the elections.
No, it is-- [Interruption] -- All right, let him sayit himself.
Mr Speaker, clearly, theyare District Court (Amendment) Rules,2016; Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules,2016; Supreme Court (Amendment) (No.2)Rules, 2016; Court of Appeal (Amendment)Rules, 2016; High Court Civil Procedure(Amendment) Rules, 2016; and High CourtCivil Procedure (Amendment) (No. 2)Rules 2016. They are not for the purpose of theelections. [Interruption] Exactly, that ispetitions. When he says it is for thepurpose of the elections, it is like if theydo not come into force, we cannot holdthe elections. No! We can hold theelections without them coming into force. But Mr Speaker, in case there arepetitions arising out of those elections,then these are the Rules that would beapplicable and not that they are for thepurpose of the elections.
Mr Speaker, in thatcase, why do we not programme to meeton Mondays? [Interruption] Then, thereis a difficulty. This is because if there is apetition, they cannot do anything till afterwe have come back and we would not knowwhen we would come back. Those petitions would be held inabeyance. [Interruption.] No, I am sayingafter the elections on the 7th of December,2016. If I would want to make petition onthe 8th of December, 2016, it would not bepossible. That is the problem because wewould not have Sat for 21 days.
Mr Speaker, the HonMajority Leader has raised a concern formy Hon Colleagues due to the issue thathe raised. The point is that, these areamendments to the existing rules. Thismeans that it is an improvement theywould want to make and not necessarilyabout the election. But because they are rules of Court, itwould help during petitions. But theexisting ones would guide them if thereare any conflicts until this takes effect.[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, what the Hon MajorityLeader said is that, they are so importantand indeed, time is always of essence. Ifwe start them today, we are likely tocomplete them if there is a recall to finishup Business. But it would not impede anyprocesses of election petitions.Expedition is what we are talking about.So, the time limit is the point. So, there isno issue at all.
Mr Speaker, I believethe issue here is that, the Hon MajorityLeader wants the thing to be more regular.That is why he is trying to push theseSubsidiary Legislations through. But weall agree that, if there is any lacuna, theChief Justice is entitled to issue practicedirectives. So, we can allow it.
I intendto allow it though. I cannot see how onecan object to the laying of SubsidiaryLegislations. If he lays it and it does notmature, it does not mature; if it matures, itmatures. When the life of this Parliament expires,all the Bills that are before us would expirewith it. It is the same as these subsidiaryLegislations. So, I do not see -- And asHon W. O. Boafo said, the Chief Justicecan give practice directives but all thesame -- Yes?
Mr Speaker, thatis precisely the point we were making.Nobody is making the point that, theyshould not be laid. That is not theargument at all.
No, HonMembers, when he says, “poor Minister”,he is not talking about financial poverty.You must understand what he is saying.
Mr Speaker, we alwayshave problem of grammar with the peopleon the other side of the aisle. They do notunderstand me when I am talking and theyshould learn to do that. It is not fair.[Uproar.] Mr Speaker, back to the point --
But HonMember, the Hon Minister has notcomplained.
Mr Speaker, she hasnot complained but they are doing thaton her behalf.
Hon K.T. Hammond, the Hon Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice does not have tosit in his or her office every day. I would want to assure you that theHon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is a very happy person. She hasthoroughly enjoyed herself today. She hasgiven us advice on the Ghana AIDSCommission Bill, 2015; she has beenfollowing proceedings and has beenadvising Hon George Loh. Let us proceed. In fact, they wouldwant her to come more often. I have heardother Hon Members say that she shouldcontest a seat. I think we have filed alreadyand so, maybe, next four years.[Laughter.] They want her to become avoting Member of Parliament. So, Hon Members, we would take itemnumbered (1) on the Order PaperAddendum -- By the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
HonMembers, Standing Order 53 deals withthe order of Business.
It says in order 53 (1) that, part of theorder of Business is the presentation ofPapers. I suspect we come under that. Hon Members, but when we look atarticle 11 (7) of the Constitution, it saysthat: “(7) Any Order, Rule or Regulationmade by a person or authorityunder a power conferred by thisConstitution or any other lawshall: (a) be laid before Parliament” So, what happened just now was thatthese proposed subsidiary legislationswere laid, but then in our Rules, we say,“Presentation of Papers”. I do not know whether we would wantto change it when we come to -- When a Paper has been presented,what has happened is that we have laidSubsidiary Legislation; but we have statedin our Order Paper, “Presentation ofPapers” in conformity with our StandingOrders. I do not know whether we must ratheradd, “Laying of Subsidiary Legislations”. So, I said “duly laid” for some and forothers, “Paper duly presented”. That waswhy I did not say the same thing. This isbecause it is at variance with theConstitution. It is not a serious matter, it does notrender it unconstitutional, but I was justwondering.
Mr Speaker, the processis that, the Papers are presented at theTable Office and then they are laid by theprocess of bowing. So, the presentationis dealing with the Table Office. That is why when sometimes HonMembers ask for copies, we say that, it iswhen they are laid that copies are madeavailable to Hon Members. Mr Speaker, but by the time they hadbeen presented to the Table Office, whichhas a Unit on the floor of the House, theyshould carry them. Most at times, theyhave copies with them. It is laid by the authority so designatedby the Standing Orders to do so.
HonBagbin, but if that is the case, it says onthe Order Paper Addendum, “Thefollowing Papers to be presented”. Itmeans that it has been presented already.It has not been laid, but it has beenpresented.
Mr Speaker, exactly. This is because the Table Office hascopies, which are presented.
But it hasnot been laid.
Mr Speaker, sometimes theHon Minister can come here without acopy.
I agreewith you. So, I am saying that when the HonMinister bows, it is then laid. So, should the Rt Hon Speaker say it isduly laid or duly presented?
Mr Speaker, duly laid.
So, itmeans that once it appears on the Order
Mr Speaker, when itappears on the Order Paper, it is a noticethat these documents to be laid are readywith us; the Table Office.
Readywith us means that it has been presentedto us.
Mr Speaker, yes; when itis laid, it has been presented to us. Mr Speaker, no, the process oflaying --
I agreewith you. Hon Majority Leader, but from whatyou said, there are two stages. The firstone is that, an Hon Minister wants to bringa Legislative Instrument (L.I.) and presentsit to the Table Office. So, it means that ithas been presented to the Table Office,and it is then put on the Order Paper. Thenthe Hon Minister responsible will thenbow when it is announced. That is the process of laying. After that,the Rt Hon Speaker will announce that ithas been duly laid and referred to acommittee. So, it means that once it is on the OrderPaper, it has been presented to the Housethrough the Table Office.
Mr Speaker, it has beenpresented to the Table Office.
I agree.Hon Member, but not to the House.
Not to the House yet.
So, “Thefollowing Papers to be presented” -- Is itcorrect? Or do we say the following Papershave been presented? Should we say that,“The following Papers to be laid”? This isnot a serious matter. Hon O. B. Amoah, you are writing abook on these matters. [Laughter.] It isnot anything serious -- Do you want tosay something?
Mr Speaker, the onlything I have found is that, we have overeight Bills laid by the Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice, which we havenot been able to work on.
What areyou coming under?
When she is coming, sheshould make herself available for a lot ofthe work she has here. All of the Bills arenot touched.
HonPrempeh, that is a very strange --
I was emphasising thelateness of these Instruments.
HonMembers, this procedure is unknown. Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Speaker, I was justdiscussing the issue with the HonMajority Leader. I said that the way the Business of thisHouse has been arranged and carried out,when it is a Bill, it is presented. Therefore,you would say it is presented and read
the First time and referred to theCommittee. Where it is a Paper, which is a Reportof a Committee or any such Instrument,that is when you say it is laid and referred,or laid and it is for distribution. Mr Speaker, but for Bills, theconvention has been that, it has beenpresented and read the First time andreferred to a Committee.
HonMembers, there is a difference betweenReports and Subsidiary Legislations. Thisis because Subsidiary Legislations do notcome with any Report. They used to,which was before the famous SupremeCourt decision that said that we couldnot -- Hon O. B. Amoah, what was thatSupreme Court decision which said thatwe could not amend an L.I.?
Mr Speaker, there area lot of these cases.
Can youmention one, please?
Mr Speaker, the caseof Nii Opremreh vrs the ElectoralCommission and the Attorney-General.
Previously, what we used to do was thatwe treated these Instruments like anyother Bill. So, it would go to the SubsidiaryLegislation Committee and then it willcome with the Report. So, the presentationof the Paper was like any other CommitteeReport, where we amend and justify same. The Supreme Court says we cannot dothat. Now, we are simply laying theInstrument; the Order, Rule or Regulation.That is what we are doing. The only thing we can do is that wecan vote against it.
Mr Speaker, it is theStanding Orders. This is because whenwe look at Standing Order 53, it talks aboutthe Presentation of Papers and thePresentation of public Bills. Mr Speaker, now, when we go toStanding Order 75, it talks about the modeof Presentation of Papers. That is where itsays: “(1) As soon as sufficient copies ofa Paper for distribution toMembers have been received inthe Office of the Clerk, notice ofthe presentation of that Papermay be placed on the OrderPaper and as soon as MrSpeaker announces “Papers forPresentation” the Paper shall bedeemed to have been laid on theTable”.
This is evenmore serious. This is because from whatyou have read, it means that the bowingis not necessary.
Mr Speaker, it is necessary;when we go through Erskine May andother write-ups, it is there. What is theprocess of laying? Then we have to layby bowing.
As we aretalking about this, will our Standing Orderscome before we rise?
Mr Speaker, we are puttingpressure on the Table Office to give us.This is because we actually want to workon the Standing Orders. This is becauseit will be neater to complete the work sothat the next Parliament can stand on anew ground. So, we are still waiting on the almightyDjietror. There is pressure of work on thembut these are very critical and urgentthings that we must do before we rise.
Youappreciate that this discussion is notany --
Mr Speaker, it isinteresting that we are discussing this. Iam sure the Hon Attorney-General andMinister for Justice should be interestedin this. There are two major things when itcomes to Subsidiary Legislation that Iwish we could even mention. I am awarethat the Hon Attorney-General andMinister for Justice proposedconstitutional amendment on how we laySubsidiary Legislations -- theInstruments in general. Mr Speaker, unfortunately, it has notbeen brought here because of the courtissue et cetera. Then the major issue isthat, going forward, we should address,is a whole Act. There should be an Act onInstruments. [Interruption]
He saysthat there should be an Act that deals withthe process of Instruments. Even thoughthe Constitution sets out some procedure,it should be further expanded into an Act.
He is a senior lawyerand sometimes, he assumes that the lawshe was using are still in place. If we are talking about the 1959 Act, it was repealedby the Interpretation Act of 2009. So, thereis no Act on Instruments. That is a criticalthing, otherwise, we --
Mr Speaker, what the HonChairman for the Subsidiary LegislationCommittee said, why was it repealed inthe Interpretation Act? There was a conflict about if one hasan Instrument and there is a fine in themain Act, they should exceed orotherwise. So, there was an earlieramendment and I do not know which onehe is saying has been repealed, but if itwas repealed, it means the provision inthe Interpretation Act takes care of theAct.
Mr Speaker, themajor issue is the fact that, with thecoming into force of the 1992 Constitution,a lot of the provisions in the Act havebecome obsolete and unconstitutional.So, there was no need maintaining thatAct. The Interpretation Act just looked atall those ones which were not necessaryand repealed the whole thing. Mr Speaker, going forward, one, weneed to amend our Standing Orders tocapture some of these things and two, ifwe look at the Commonwealth jurisdiction,all the major ones have Acts onInstruments -- The LegislativeInstrument Act of Australia, Canada, evenin Africa; Kenya, South Africa and so on.But in Ghana, that vacuum is really notgood for us and it impedes this wholething. Maybe, we forgot and we should haveput it in our manifesto so that when wecome, our first act will be to pass an Act --[Laughter.]
On thatnote, I will bring this discussion to an end.
Mr Speaker, you haveclosed the discussion on Instrument butI think that --
You canalways say something if you want to.
Mr Speaker, we have theStatutory Instrument Act even thoughrepealed, some provisions were capturedin the Interpretation Act. So, when yougo through the Interpretation Act, you willsee that some of the provisions of theStatutory Instrument Act that wererepealed have been captured. Also, we have ConstitutionalInstruments so, this one was dealing withonly Statutory Instruments and then wehave the Constitutional Instruments. Thatis the area that we still have to look atseriously. We have the ExecutiveInstruments, they do not come here butlooking at our practices, there are somethat we definitely look at. So, I think theproposed amendment will be welcome ifwe can look at them together. Mr Speaker, we are left with itemnumbered 1 (b) and with your kindpermission and the indulgence of my HonColleagues, the Hon Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice could do so forand on behalf of the Hon Minister forEnvironment, Science and Technologyand Innovation. He has been with us thewhole day and I think he just stepped out.
We saw him.Item numbered 1(b)?
Mr Speaker, I want to askthe Hon Attorney-General and Ministerfor Justice if that is right title for that --
Mr Speaker, this isbecause it is the Legislative Instrumentcoming out of the Hazardous andElectronic Waste Bill because there areother waste Bills. So, we would have tolook at it.
What hasbeen laid, is waste --
Mr Speaker, I said it is aLegislation arising out of --
No. I amnot disagreeing with you but once it hasbeen laid by the Hon Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice, anybody tochange it, it has to be withdrawn and re-laid. It can be withdrawn and re-laid justnow. If the Act says -- What does theAct say? Let us look for the Act because we canwithdraw and lay it just now. The HonAttorney-General and Minister for Justiceis here and if she thinks that she wantsto --
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister responsible for this is not here.
It doesnot matter.
Mr Speaker, yes, I knowbut we should not just say the HonAttorney-General and Minister for Justicecan just withdraw. This is because theHon Minister brought this and if there isa mistake, he should tell us. The HonAttorney-General and Minister for Justicemay not know.
It is theHon Attorney-General and Minister forJustice who gave the title under the theHon Attorney-General and Minister forJustice, may I remind you, is the ChiefLegal advisor to Government and theadvice she gives includes giving the titleto Subsidiary Legislation.
Mr Speaker, so youmean, the mistake is coming from the HonAttorney-General and Minister forJustice? [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I drewattention to the fact that the parent Actwas Hazardous and Electronic Waste Billand I am asking if we are maintaining thisor he will want to change the title of the --We have the time. That is all I said.[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, it is a generalterm to cover all the other waste;electronic, hazardous and so on; that iswhy they put “Classification Control andManagement”. So, it is the right title andthere is no problem.
HonMajority Leader, we have checked the title. It is Hazardous and Electronic WasteAct and if you do not mind, I can relax therules, unless you think it does not matter.She will withdraw and re-lay it asElectronic and Hazardous Waste or weshould just make it “waste”.
Mr Speaker, as we speak,the Ministry of Health is also doinganother one on medical waste and thatone will also have Legislation. We cannotcall it waste --
This isbecause the different laws define thenature of the waste.
Mr Speaker,without the Hon Minister's presence Iwould be reluctant to withdraw it now, butmaybe tomorrow. So, we should keep itthere.
Al right.No problem. The Attorney-General andMinister for Justice has spoken -- Yes, Hon Majority Leader, the Paperhas been duly laid and referred -- Hon Akoto Osei, you have to bemagnanimous in victory. Your positionhas been justified.
Mr Speaker, I would justwant to be sure of my records --
Thatshows that you are not showingmagnanimity.
Mr Speaker, there is novictory here. `189 Papers 12 October, 2016 190
There isvictory. You have been justified. This isbecause the Attorney-General andMinister for Justice says that she isreluctant to change it when the HonMinister is not here. That is what makesyou happy and that is why you wanted tostate it for the records. Hon Akoto Osei,be magnanimous in your victory. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, that this House adjourns tilltomorrow.
Whoseconds the Motion?
Mr Speaker, I begto second the Motion.
You seemvery happy, Hon Akoto Osei.
I have a senior man hereand so I needed to ask his permission onwhich of us should do it. Question put and Motion agreed to.