Hon Members, Correctionof the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday,12th July, 2016. Page 1…30 Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin -- rose --
Yes, Hon MajorityLeader?
Mr Speaker, I am sorry totake you back. I just identified that on page 23 of theVotes and Proceedings, item number 53,clause 216, though what we have herewas the proposal from the Committee, thedecision was that it should be: “Principal Officer in this Actmeans…”. What is written here is not what wasdecided. There was a further amendmentto the proposal of the Committee whichsays:
We have the OfficialReport of Wednesday, 29th June, 2016, forcorrection. [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Wednesday, 29th June,2016.]
At the Commencement ofPublic Business -- Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, I propose thatwe start with Bills; Item numbered 9, whichis at page 5 of the Order Paper -- NationalDisaster Management Organisation Bill,2015.
Hon Majority Leader, wehave the Securities Industry Bill, 2015. Anumber of clauses have been deferred.Have they resolved the issues?
Mr Speaker, I do not haveany information whether they have beenresolved.
Very well. Hon Chairman of the FinanceCommittee, have you resolved the issuesrelating to the clauses that have beendeferred in terms of the Securities IndustryBill, 2015?
Mr Speaker, yes,we discussed them. We can start with theoutstanding clauses.
Mr Speaker, I wasjust going to plead with the Hon MajorityLeader that, item numbered 4 be laid. Iknow the Hon Chairman is here and it hasbeen ready for a while.
Hon Member for OldTafo, the Hon Majority Leader, who is incharge of Government Business, said thisis the Business they would want to --
Mr Speaker, I know, buthe was not aware of the Hon Chairman'spresence.
How do you know thathe was not aware?
He just turned roundafter he had made the request.
Mr Speaker, I turned roundbecause I wanted to ask him whether ithad been resolved without my knowledge.This is because if they had resolved thedifferences, at least, they would report tome that they have been resolved andthen I can rightly report to the House.
I was referring to adifferent issue -- item numbered 4. I wasnot referring to this one. The HonChairman was present, that is why --[Interruption.] -- I know.
Hon Majority Leader, dowe start with the item numbered 4, or theitem numbered 8?
Mr Speaker, I would wantus to start with item numbered 9 --National Disaster ManagementOrganisation Bill, 2015. I would want tocrosscheck on item numbered 8, on thediscussions and agreement. As for layingof Papers, it is very easy; we can do thatany time.
Very well. Hon Members, the National DisasterManagement Organisation Bill, 2015, atthe Consideration Stage. [Pause]
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, are we starting from clause 20?
Yes, we are starting fromclause 20.
Hon Members, I havebeen informed that the Question was putup to clause 19. Once there is noamendment on clause 20 to 24, it meansthat I would call those clauses and putthe Question on them. Mr William O. Boafo -- rose --
Hon Member, is youramendment in relation to clause 20? Clause 20 -- National DisasterManage-ment Committee;
Yes, Mr Speaker. It ison clause 20 (2) (m). It reads: “the Legal Officer of the Orga-nisation as the secretary.”
“The Legal Officer of theOrganisation shall not vote on amatter for decision at a meeting.” Mr Speaker, it is not clear whether thelegal officer is a member of the Board orjust a secretary to the Board. He has beenput down as one of those persons whocomprise the Board, but at the same time,under a subclause, he has been deprivedof voting at the meeting.
Yes, it is a drafting style.He is a member without a vote. I knowwhere you are coming from; that once heis a member, he should have a vote.Members of Parliament are members ofDistrict Assemblies, but they are memberswithout any vote. You can exercise all therights as a member, except the right tovote. That is what we have here. It is adrafting style. It says he is a member butwithout a vote. If you go to the Constitution and lookat the District Assemblies, Members ofParliament are members of the DistrictAssemblies, but they are memberswithout a vote. I know where you arecoming from; you have just put it therethat, “the legal officer shall be” -- Youshall have a separate clause for the legalofficer as the Secretary to the organisation,simpliciter, without making him a memberat all. Maybe, it can be the legal officer --so, they want him to be a member, but heshould be a member without a vote. Thatis what we have here. Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior?
Mr Speaker, yes,the position is very clear. Here, we areeven talking about the National DisasterManagement Committee, which is distinctfrom the Council. Mr Speaker, if you lookat the composition, it is largelyinstitutionaly based. So, you have theHon Minister for the Interior, theInspector-General of Police, the Chief ofDefence Staff and the Ministries. Then,we have a legal officer. The legal officer is not an institutionalrepresentative; he is somebody whom theorganisation would employ, so, he shouldnot have the right to vote.
Yes. So, Hon DeputyMinister for the Interior, the Hon Memberfor Akwapim North is saying that youshould not mention him at (m); just saythat he would act as secretary to theCommittee. He is not a member at all. Forthe reason that, if the representation is oninstitutional basis, then you do not puthim there. You just have to make him thesecretary to the committee. He is a legalofficer, so, he does not come based onthe argument that it is institutional.
Mr Speaker, I agree and sowe would propose an amendmentaccordingly --
Let me hear from the HonMember for Wa West and then I will callthe Hon Member for Akwapim North whoraised the issue.
Mr Speaker,if you look at subclause (3), it sort of makesit more -- I think it could just be, the legalofficer is a secretary to the committee.Thatis clear. But because of what they havedone in subclause (3), it now says that hecannot vote; and that solves the problem.
Yes, it solves a problembut the point is that, listening closely tothe Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior,if the intention of the proposers of the Billis to make membership of the committeeinstitutional, and the legal officer is notan institution, then, why do you put himthere? That is the next angle.Why do younot just put it that he would act assecretary to the committee?
Mr Speaker, no! This isbecause it is mentioned that he is the legalofficer of the organisation. So, right now,he also represents the organisation. If youlook at the way it is couched -- he isthe legal officer of the organisation.They could have said the director of theorganisation, or anybody from the organisation; but they specified that asthe legal officer of the organisation. In fact, he represents the organisation,unless this organisation is not defined.
Hon Members, I will putthe Question. Clauses 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 25 -- Functions of the RegionalDisaster Management Committee.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 25, paragraph (c), line 1,delete “any other functions incidental tothe functions of” and insert “otherfunctions relevant to”. Mr Speaker, I think that is straightforward and it is a far better language.
What is the differencebetween “incidental” and “relevant”within this context?
Mr Speaker, we believethat this rendition is for purposes ofclarity. It is clearer. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 25 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 26 and 27 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 28 -- Meetings of Regional andDistrict Disaster Management Committees.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 28, add the following newsublauses: “(1) A Regional Disaster Manage-ment Committee shall meetduring a disaster in the region oras and when it considersappropriate for the dispatch ofbusiness at a time and placedetermined by the chairperson. (2) A District Management Committeeshall meet during a disaster in thedistrict or as and when itconsiders appropriate for thedispatch of business at a timeand place determined by thechairperson. (3) A Regional Disaster Manage-ment Committee and a DistrictManagement Committee shalleach meet at least once in everythree months.” The rationale here is that, this renditionis to first provide that the committees areto meet and to specify the minimumnumber of meetings before stating that thecommittees shall regulate the procedurefor their meetings.
Is that the consensus ofthe Committee?
Yes, it is, Mr Speaker.[Pause.]
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto. Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu--rose --
Mr Speaker,as you know, I entered the Chamber nottoo long ago and tried to follow theproceedings. I inquired from the HonDeputy Minister where exactly we were. The first one, “A Regional DisasterManagement Committee shall meet duringa disaster…” -- What is “during adisaster”? When the events are unfolding,that is during the disaster. After the event,is it during the disaster? Like the calamitythat befell Accra. We are not saying thatthe meeting should be taking place whenthe events are unfolding. I do not thinkthat is the essence. I just looked at it.
I thought that the originalrendition in the Bill was better becausethe framers of the Bill wanted to make itflexible. That is why they regulate theirown procedure. Once their functions relate to disasterin the regions and districts, they thoughtthat, that is what they are supposed to doso it becomes more flexible.
Mr Speaker, we are notsubstituting that with the newsubclauses --
I am aware. The fact thatbeyond the clause there are no furtheradditions to clause 28 means that, theywant to leave it at that. Their functionsare spelt out and they know what they aresupposed to do.
Mr Speaker, the object ofthe inclusion of the new subclauses is togive the district and regional committeessome guidance. We do not want to leavethem on their own to determine when tomeet. So, we are stating that they should district management levels, they woulddecide those matters of quorum andothers. Once you start to give the details,then other issues automatically wouldhave to crop up in terms of quorum andothers. The earlier point he made was aboutwhat if there is an imminent disaster?What do you do? You have no provisionfor it. That is the second argument hemade. Do you get the two points? Thoseare the two points.
Mr Speaker, I should thinkthat the new subclause 1 deals withimminent disasters, to the extent that itgives the Committees --
As and when it considersit appropriate.
So, if the disaster isimminent and the -- [Pause]
Hon Members, I do notsee the problem there. There are twoways; it is either we go further or I deferthis matter, so that we can make progress,or if you want, we can take a decision.The other issue too is about the quorum.
Mr Speaker, in that case,we pray you to stand down that particularclause so that we would make provisionand come back to it later on.
Very well. Clause 28 is deferred accordingly. Dr Prempeh -- rose --
Clause 29. Mr Speaker, if we leave clause 28 theway it is, it might result in some sort ofconfusion. This is because we are talkingabout the regional levels where NADMO,by practice, has not been very effective,as it has been at the national level. That iswhy we thought that we should at leastgive them some guidance; to make themmore effective, so they know. That is thereason we have gone further to state thetime frame within which meetings oughtto be held, whether disasters occur or not,so that they can plan. Mr Speaker, currently, the District andRegional Disaster Management Com-mittees have not been effective because,to a large extent,we did not regulate themin terms of the holding of meetings. Wejust left it open; and in most districts, theyhave not taken it seriously.
I am surprised that youare the one leading this crusade on thefloor of the House. I expected theCommittee members to lead. This is a Billyou brought and I expected the Committeemembers to lead this crusade on the floorof the House, then you could give themsupport. But you are leading the crusade.
Mr Speaker, theamendments are in order and I think thatwas an omission. You must first have themeeting, and what I still see out of this isthe issue of quorum and how decisionsare arrived at. Of course, they said they wouldregulate that; but they must meet beforethey can talk about regulating the meeting.So, it is in order that they guide them onhow often they should meet and all that. The Committee has made a goodrecommendation but they are notdefending it. I do not know why.
Mr Speaker,I do not know what has been done inrespect of clause 23 which talks aboutmeetings of the National DisasterManagement Committee. It is like thereplication of the meetings of nationaldisaster management at the levels of theregions and districts. Yet we do not havethe full compliments of what obtains inclause 23. Beyond what they have stated here,there is the need to convene extraordinarymeetings of the committees when it isdeemed that some disaster may beimminent. It might not have occurred butit might be imminent. So, is there a needfor such? I think that is the sense in clause23 --
For now, let us look at --I get the point, but --
We must alsolook at the quorum, the quorate numberfor meetings and so on.
Did you get the point?
Yes, Mr Speaker, he saidwe did not make provision for quorum.
That is the second point.
Mr Speaker, as for the firstpoint, he --
The point I made earlier-- When you make it flexible, at the
Hon Member, are youmoving an amendment?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Theamendment is that, the words“imminence” and “prevalence” should bedeleted.
Hon Member, we are atthe Consideration Stage of the Bill. Whatis your amendment? If you do not havean amendment, I would move on.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 29, subclause (1), line 3,delete the words “imminence” or“prevalence”. The new rendition would be: “The President may declare a stateof emergency in accordance witharticle 31 of the Constitution wherethe National Disaster ManagementCommittee indicates a disaster to theCouncil”. Mr Speaker, this is because we cannotsay a disaster is imminent. It cannot be.
Hon Member, why areyou saying so? In this scientific age whenwe have data -- when something is goingto happen, can we not forewarn --
Mr Speaker, I said thatbecause you wanted me to sit down. the President of the imminence of a realdisaster, for him to declare the state ofemergency. I believe leaving it as it is now, it is nottoo clear. The word “indicate” is not astrong word in terms of that.
Hon Members, we are atthe Consideration Stage. So, if you areproposing an amendment move it, so thatI would capture it properly, and then I willcall on another Hon Member before I putthe Question.
Mr Speaker, theamendment I am proposing is that, weshould delete “indicate” and insert“notified”.
“The President may declare a stateof emergency in accordance witharticle 31 of the Constitution wherethe National Disaster managementCommittee notifies the imminence orprevalence of a disaster to theCouncil”. Mr Speaker, I really do not like thenoun form of the word “imminence”; itshould be “imminent” disaster.
Mr Speaker,I thought maybe, you would want tofollow the submission. This is becauseyou are applying your mind elsewhere,that is why I am not too sure whetherto —
I am listening to the HonMinority Leader. You have the floor.
Mr Speaker,I am not even too sure of the constructionin clause 29, subclause (1) — Hon Member, do you have anyamendment on clause 29? You have beenon your feet even before I called for clause29.
Mr Speaker, the reasonis that, the clause 28 you deferred isdifferent in my Bill. I asked if we have twoor three different Bills in the House. Iwould want to find out, because the clause28 I have in my Bill says; “Regional and District DisasterManagement Committees shallregulate the procedure for theirmeetings”. Obviously, that is not what we aretalking about.
Hon Member, that is whatwe all have.
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman used the word “imminence” andthat is in clause 29.
Hon Member forManhyia South, you are completely outof order. I was making reference to a point madeby the Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, I rise inrespect of clause 29.
Hon Member, please,when a clause is called and you have anamendment, you move the amendment.You do not make statements. [Laughter]
Mr Speaker, I would likethe Committee to advert their minds to theuse of the words “imminence” and We can say that an earth quake isimminent. The fact that an earth quakewould occur does not mean there wouldbe a disaster after that. It depends onwhere the earth quake occurs and thedistraction it gives. One can say a“hurricane” is imminent but a “disaster”is an incident that occurs after a hurricane. It is not every “hurricane” that wouldbring a disaster. So, they have tounderstand what they mean by the word“hurricane”. This natural phenomenonmay cause a disaster but it is notnecessarily so.
Mr Speaker, I believe myHon Colleague is talking -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, we have early warningsystems in disaster management. Forinstance, if there is a tidal wave or tsunami,one has to prepare one's self for a possibledisaster and that is the “imminence' or“prevalence”. So, what is he talkingabout?
Mr Speaker, if the HonChairman --
Hon Member, please, youdo not have the floor. Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Speaker, if his concernis about the word “imminence”, of course,there is a problem with it. But if he looksat the Constitution, which the Committeequoted, there are indications. So, if the President is notified -- Iwould have preferred the use of the word“notified” of a disaster or possibledisaster. That would be more appropriate.But if they use the word “indicates”, it isnot strong enough. They should notify
Mr Speaker,clause 29, subclause (1), provides and Ibeg to quote: “The President may declare a stateof emergency in accordance witharticle 31 of the Constitution wherethe National Disaster ManagementCommittee indicates the imminenceor prevalence of a disaster to theCouncil.”
“The President may, acting inaccordance with the advice of theCouncil of State, by Proclamationpublished in the Gazette, declarethat a state of emergency exists inGhana or in any part of Ghana forthe purposes of the provisions ofthis Constitution.”
“The President may declare a stateof emergency in accordance witharticle 31 of the Constitution wherethe National Disaster ManagementCommittee indicates the imminenceor prevalence of a disaster to theCouncil.” So, does it mean that where the Councilof State advises that the President shouldso declare, and does not come from theNational Disaster Management Com-mittee, the President cannot declare it? The President can declare on the adviceof the Council of State and it cannot besubject to maybe, the prompting of theNational Disaster Management Com-mittee. That is my worry. It becomes a bitcircuitous. The language of theConstitution is very clear.
Let us get the renditionright. Once they have mentioned article31, the conditions in there must besatisfied, and that necessarily involves theadvice of the Council of State.
Mr Speaker,agreed. Mr Speaker, should the Council of Stateor the President himself be prompted bythe National Disaster ManagementCommittee? If that is not the case, thenwe do not even need to say that it shouldbe at the instance or the prompting of theNational Disaster Management Com-mittee. That would turn to subvert article31.
This is a specific area —a group of people have the information,and they would provide the information,but the President, before declaring, mustact in accordance — They would notifythe President, but in declaring it, he mustsatisfy article 31 of the Constitution. Hecannot do otherwise. This is an area dealing with situationsof disaster, so they would inform thePresident but he cannot act withoutsatisfying the conditions of article 31 ofthe Constitution. I know you are asking whether thePresident, suo moto cannot seek theadvice of the Council of State on his owninitiative.
Mr Speaker,if we look at the construct of this provision,it says: “The President may declare a stateof emergency in accordance witharticle 31 of the Constitution wherethe National Disaster ManagementCommittee indicates the imminenceor prevalence of a disaster to theCouncil.” Mr Speaker, so, we are subjecting theconstitutional provision to the situationwhere the National Disaster ManagementCommittee would prompt — That shouldnot be.
I do not see the realproblem here. But let me hear from the HonMember for Yilo Krobo, then the HonMajority Chief Whip.
MrSpeaker, I believe the situation the clausetalks about has been provided for underarticle 31, subsection (9) and I beg toquote: It is my view that the use of the word,“imminence or prevalence” is appropriatein this clause.
Mr Speaker, I just want to draw theattention of the Hon Minority Leaderthat, usually, Presidents do not act invacuum. It is based on a situation. All thisBill seeks to do is that, now that we aresetting up a Disaster ManagementCommittee, when they give the Presidentthe signal that there is a likelihood ofsomething happening, the Presidentwould take the process as stipulated inarticle 31, to declare the state ofemergency. But it does not mean that this wouldbe the only condition under which a stateof emergency would be declared. Mr Speaker, I believe that, that is whythe reference to article 31 is made in theBill. So, it is not in isolation that, once theDisaster Management Committee tells thePresident, then he goes ahead to — It iswhen that advice is given, then it triggersthe process of using article 31, where theCouncil of State has to be informed of thereport from the National DisasterManagement Committee of the likelydisaster to happen, and hence thePresident would want their advicebecause he may want to declare a state ofemergency. But it does not also preclude that,when something is happening apart fromthis, the President cannot declare a stateof emergency. And I really do not see whythe Hon Minority Leader is —
Hon Members, oncearticle 31 has been mentioned in theclause, I am satisfied.This is because,whatever the President would have to doin declaring the state of emergency, mustsatisfy article 31, and once it has beencaptured that he should act in accordancewith article 31, I believe that we shouldnot be too much worried. He must act inaccordance with article 31.
There are two issues —Early on, you were not comfortable withthe word, “imminence”. But he is lookingat article 31 vis-à-vis clause 29, subclause(1).
Mr Speaker, my bone ofcontention was the fact that —
Can we take it one afterthe other? Let us deal with yours.
Mr Speaker, my problemwas that, the use of the word, “imminenceand prevalence” was wrong. Mr Speaker, the technical term to useis,”likelihood of a disaster”. This isbecause a disaster happens after an event.It is a likelihood of a disaster. All the earlywarning systems predict or try to forecasta natural phenomenon and that may notcause any —
Please, we are not at theSecond Reading. Please move youramendment.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 29,subclause (1), line 3, after the word, “the”,delete, “imminence or prevalence” andinsert “likelihood”.
Mr Speaker, I rise tooppose the proposed amendment ongrounds that, the use of the word“imminence” or “prevalence” istechnically more suitable language to usein this circumstance than the use of theword “likelihood”.
Hon Member, please,why are you objecting to the use of theword “likelihood”,
I have stated the groundsthat, the use of the word “imminence” or“prevalence” is more technically suitablefor our purposes than the word“likelihood” and I am now giving youreasons --
In this context, what isthe difference between “imminence” and“likelihood”? I would want somebody toaddress that.
Mr Speaker, “imminence”connotes a degree of certainty but“likelihood” is a possibility -- That is thebasic distinction. Mr Speaker, we are saying that in ascientific age where NADMO has acquiredthe capacity to detect, and they have earlywarning systems in place to detect theoccurrence of disasters, that degree ofcertainty, when they come out to warn,cannot be taken lightly. I am just about to give an exampleThese days, the Disaster ManagementCommittee, working in conjunction withother State agencies are able to determinewith certainty when earthquakes or earthtremors will occur. So, when they makethat determination, then it becomesimminent with scientific basis; it is not alikelihood. Mr Speaker, this terminology that weare dealing with is more appropriate and“likelihood” would defeat the purpose. Ifyou say “likelihood” then people can takelightly the warning signal, but if you usethe word “imminent”, you can actuallyadvise and proceed to enforce. President. Likelihoods are probabilitiesand all these forecasting beside earlywarning systems are in orders ofprobability, Mr Speaker. It just does notautomatically translate to a disaster andthat is what the Hon Deputy Minister hasto understand. Mr Speaker, if you remove the words“imminence” and “prevalence” and say‘the likelihood of a disaster', the earlywarning system he said -- Must say yes,an earthquake is imminent. Mr Speaker,the fact that an earthquake is iminent doesnot mean that if you are in Upper West, itwould affect you the same way or causehavoc in Upper West as it would cause inAccra. So, these are likelihoods we are talkingabout, and that is why the President hasthe power to determine any part of thecountry an emergency and not the wholecountry, or if he so decides. So, the wordshould be “likelihood” of a disaster. If anatural phenomenon is imminent, it isdifferent, but a disaster is likelihood.
Mr Speaker, in article 31(9) of the Constitution, it is “calculated orlikely” the word “calculated” was used tobolster the word “likely”. [Interruption]Otherwise, they would have just said‘likely'. But in terminology --
It is mutually exclusive;once they use all.
The terminology used is‘imminent disaster' -- That there is apossibility of a disaster, we use the word“imminent”. It is a far more preciseterminology than “likelihood.''” likelihoodjust connotes a generality in reality.
But the point being madeby the Hon Member for Manhyia South isthat, article 31 (9) of the Constitution usesthe word likely -- That is the point thathe is making under the section dealingwith Emergency Powers. For instance, if a storm is about tooccur, and would result in flooding, andyou ask people who may fall victim to theflood to move to higher grounds, if youuse the word “likely” they may have abasis to say that, they may not move tohigher grounds. But if you use the word“imminent” then you can proceed toenforce -- Mr Speaker, this Bill actually clothesNADMO with some enforcement powersand that is why we have to be careful withthe type of terminology we use.
Mr Speaker, I would wantto draw the attention of the DeputyMinister to the fact that, he is threadingon very dangerous grounds. Mr Speaker, he used an example of anearthquake -- Article 31 (9) (a) of theConstitution; it is clear that the intention: “is calculated or likely to deprive thecommunity of the essentials of lifeor”. Mr Speaker, the Deputy Ministershould understand that every predictivesystem in place is for a naturalphenomenon. The natural phenomenon,if it happens, does not automaticallytranslate to a disaster, but you advise thePresident that there is a naturalphenomenon that is likely to happen andit may cause a disaster, so the Presidentshould declare a state of emergency.Wedo not say a disaster is imminent. Mr Speaker, in Accra here, we have hadrains fall for a week and nothing happenedand we have had rains fall for two daysand a disaster happened. So, they aretotally different things, Mr Speaker. Thereis always a likelihood of a natural disasterhappening, and that is what we tell the
Mr Speaker, I am sayingthat I agree with the Deputy Minister that“imminence” is more appropriate andcertain. If you advise the President todeclare a state of emergency, the advicemust be certain for the President to takeaction and declare a state of emergency,rather than “likelihood” or “likely” andthat is why I am saying that, I agree withthe Deputy Minister, that it should becertain and for that matter, “imminence”is proper or better than “likelihood”.
Yes, Hon MinorityLeader?
Mr Speaker,article 31 (9) of the Constitution talks abouttwo totally different things. First of all, weare dealing with the declaration of a stateof emergency, occasioned by a naturaldisaster, or an action taken or isimmediately threatened to be taken by anyperson or body of persons. They are twodifferent matters. This is because if article 31 (9) (a) ismade to apply to natural disasters, thatwould be really incongruous, because anatural disaster may not be calculated todeprive a community of essentialsupplies. That would be by individuals ora body of persons who are threateningthis action, which may be calculated orlikely to deprive the community of theessential supplies. Mr Speaker, so, I believe that whetherit is “imminence” or “prevalence” or asthe Hon Member for Manhyia Southindicated that we should use “likelihood”,it is really a distinction without difference. Let me hear from the Hon Member forKomenda/Edinafo/Eguafo/Abrem.
MrSpeaker, I think I agree perfectly with whatthe Hon Member for Manhyia South said.The point that the Hon Deputy Ministermade, we can have all the modern scientificinstruments in the world. For instance, ona Richter scale, we could have aboutMagnitude 7.5 that earthquake -- but itcannot tell you the intensity of disaster. It can only tell you that, withmagnitude 7.5 on the Richter scale, mostlikely, this is how the disaster may be. So,they are two different things altogether.Mr Speaker, but the disaster comes afterthe phenomenon.
Well, let me be veryhonest with you that, I do not see thedifference with the use of ‘likelihood' and‘imminence' within the context of this Bill. Let me hear from the Deputy MajorityLeader and then the Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, clause 29 (1)of the Bill says: “The President may declare a stateof emergency ...” Mr Speaker, this means that thePresident is to be convinced to declare astate of emergency. If that is so, MrSpeaker, then what advice would thePresident take before declaring the stateof emergency? He must be convinced thathe is taking the right decision. I agree with the Deputy Minister --
Hon Member, we aretalking about whether the word
Hon Minority Leader, heused the word, “notifies”.
Mr Speaker,well, I am saying that “indication” is not astrong word. So, I would rather prefer,“Where the Committee establishes ordetermines the imminence or prevalenceof the disaster…”
Hon Minority Leader, Ithink that is a compromised one. I have seen the mood of both sides ofthe House. So, move your amendment andlet me put the Question.
Mr Speaker,in that second strand, I would not proffermy amendment. Mr Speaker, but I have a major one --
With that major one, Iseriously believe that once article 31 ofthe Constitution has been mentioned,there is no way the President wouldact --
Mr Speaker,let us canvas this one first and then,follow- up with that one.
Mr Speaker,I beg to move, clause 29 (1), line 3, delete“indicates” and insert “establishes”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Hon Minority Leader,now move to your --
Mr Speaker,in the Constitution, I said that article 31(1) provides that, and I beg to quote: “(1) The President may, acting inaccordance with the advice ofthe Council of State, by aProclamation published in theGazette, declare that a state ofemergency exists in Ghana or inany part of Ghana for thepurposes of the provisions ofthis Constitution.” Mr Speaker, what is captured here thengoes further to say that, this could be doneconsequent upon the establishment or theimminence or prevalence of a disaster bythe NADMO Committee. Mr Speaker, that is where my worry is.
Yes, I have seen thepoint. The solution to the problem, if theHouse would agree, is that, we changethe headnote limiting this clause inrelation to NADMO, so that it would be“Declaration of state of emergency inrelation to this Act”. So, if we limit it to this Act and the otherareas of declaration of state ofemergencies do not come in at all. So, theheadnote then may read “Declaration ofstate of emergency in relation to this Act”. Then the other areas where state ofemergencies are declared do not arise atall. Those possibilities that have beencanvassed on the floor of the Housewould not -- The Hon Chairman should move theamendment to the headnote, so that wecan make progress.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 29, headnote, after “emergency”,insert “in relation to this Act”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 29 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Clauses 30 to 33 --
Mr Speaker,we have just struggled over whether wewould let the construction, “imminence orprevalence” prevail in the Bill. Mr Speaker, now, when we go toclause 30, we are using a differentconstruction. I believe for the sake ofconsistency, we should try to --
Which particular clauseare you talking about?
Mr Speaker,clause 30, and with your permission, I begto quote: “Where a disaster occurs orthreatens to occur in a region…” Mr Speaker, we should be consistentin the language.
Hon Deputy Minister forthe Interior, what do you say? Do you gethis point?
Mr Speaker, he is talkingabout consistency, and I cannot but agreewith him that in drafting, one ought to beconsistent. Mr Speaker, earlier provisionsconsidered in clause 29 may notnecessarily connote the same meaning asis intended in clause 30. The rendition inclause 29 is completely different anddistinct. We are talking about a situation where-- [Interruptions] -- Yes, when disasteris imminent, we must take it as such. Mr Speaker, when it is also likely, thatis a different thing altogether. That is whyI had an objection to the proposedamendment by the Hon Member forManhyia South. Mr Speaker, here in clause 30, theintendment is clear, that when a disasteroccurs or threatens, this is an appropriateinstinct where we could use the word‘likely' as proposed by the Hon Memberfor Manhyia South. The scenario isentirely different from what is envisagedunder the clause 29. That is my respectfulsubmission.
Hon Members, the HonDeputy Minister has a point there. Webelaboured this point because of ourreference being drawn to article 31 as thecondition necessary for the declaration ofstate of emergency, and that was why ourattention was drawn to clause 31 (9). We want to make sure that we use theproper terminology which will beconsistent with the letter and spirit of theConstitution. But here, it does not relateto the declaration of emergency automa-tically. They only mentioned that there areemergency procedures that are applicablein the circumstances, if you look at clause30 (c). So, let us maintain the words here.We have not reached that level, thesituation we are anticipating is in clause31-- So, let me put the Question on it andwhen Hon Members feel strongly, thenwe take it at the Second ConsiderationStage so that we can make progress.
Mr Speaker,I believe we are talking about the samething in both clauses 29 and 30. Mr Speaker, we are talking about adisaster occurring as in clause 29 (1); “The President may declare wherethe Committee indicates theimminence or prevalence…”. Mr Speaker, if it is prevailing, it hasoccurred and then the imminence is thethreat of it and the strong possibility ofits occurring -- Mr Speaker, that is why I am saying --
It may not necessarilytrigger the declaration of a state ofemergency and that is why when you haveto declare a state of emergency, thestandard is higher than the kind ofsituation we are anticipating in clause 30.That one would lead to the declaration of a state of emergency which is clause 29,but clause 30 might not precipitate thedeclaration of a state of emergency, notnecessarily. They only said somethinghappening within the region, maybe, itmight just be a small localised area withinthe region.
Mr Speaker,but in both situations, the operative wordis “may” and not “shall”. In clause 29 itdoes not say that the President willinglymust declare a state of emergency. Itdepends on the weight of the evidence.And equally so for clause 30, it dependson the weight of the evidence. Mr Speaker, that is why theConstitution does not say that “subjectto the advice of the Council of State…”
That is why no referenceto article 31 has been mentioned here andno reference to the Council of State isnecessary here either. Even no mentionof the Council of State, they just said thatthey shall inform the NADMO. Based on the point he has made, I amteasing it out so that you can make yourpoint better.
Mr Speaker,I know in all these things, the Speaker triesto guide the House and not --
The rules allow me toguide. [Laughter.]
That is whyI am making that observation and in allthese things, you are seeking to guide theHouse and not engage in debate. Mr Speaker, we should be consistentin the --
I agree to the point ofconsistency. Hon Member, let me hear from you,then I will put the Question but that doesnot prevent us from coming to look at itcloser.
Mr Speaker, I just want torefer the House to clause 31 and itbuttresses the point you made. Clause 31specifically talks about the state ofemergency with respect to a region, sothe point is, clause 30 is not really talkingabout a state of emergency, as you put it. Mr Speaker, I just wanted to makereference to that provision to buttress thepoint.
Mr Speaker,clause 30 is the events that will precipitatethe declaration of a state of emergency ascaptured in clause 31. Mr Speaker, he is making the situationworse, and indeed, agreeing that thereshould be that consistency in clause 30.
Hon Members, I want toput the Question, but where we have todeclare the state of emergency, thestandard will be what is in clause 29.
Mr Speaker, before youput the Question, the framing of clause 30(a) is wrong. Mr Speaker, based on the foundationyou have laid, it is all based on clause 29,but if you come to clause 30 (a), it is sayingthat: “Where a disaster occurs orthreatens to occur in a region, theregional officer concerned shall (a) inform the National DisasterManagement Organisation…” Mr Speaker, if that is so, how then doesthe President declare the state ofemergency? This is because thefoundation --
Those are the initialsteps to be taken -- it is routineinformation that one will have to give tohis bosses in Accra, then that willprecipitate the coming in of the RegionalMinister and the Council, and if need be,before the President comes in. So, get thepoint right. It is the regional office, so it isa process -- Hon Members --
Mr Speaker, unless I amwrong, let us read clause 31 and it says;with your kind pemmission: “Where a state of emergency hasbeen declared by the President withrespect to a region, the RegionalMinister responsible shall, byexecutive instrument…” Mr Speaker, do Regional Ministersissue Executive Instruments? If they do,then I will sit down, but I think that if thePresident has declared a disaster in aregion he should issue the ExecutiveInstrument (E.I.) and not the RegionalMinister.
Yes, it is a constitutionalmatter. You are right. It cannot be theRegional Minister. Is that the impressionbeing created here? [Interruption.] Question put and amendments agreedto Clauses 29 and 30 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 31 --
Mr Speaker, I am worriedthat we are giving the Regional Ministerthe power to declare by the E.I thedirectives and so on. It should be the President. Regional Ministers areappointed to advise the President. Howcan a Regional Minister issue an E.I.?
To declare a state ofemergency under the Constitution? Thatis the point he is raising, Hon DeputyMinister.
No! Mr Speaker, what the clause says isthat, when the President declares a stateof emergency with respect to a region, theHon Regional Minister responsible forthat region shall issue an ExecutiveInstrument. So, the question is whetherthe Hon Regional Minister --
Why would the persondeclaring not issue an ExecutiveInstrument? It is a simple question I amasking you.
Mr Speaker, it is not out ofplace but --
No! I am asking you --is there any special reason that thePresident would declare a state ofemergency, and then another person issuean Executive Instrument? There must bea reason for it being here. So, I am onlyasking you to explain.
Mr Speaker, the reason isthat, the Hon Regional Minister is thepolitical head and representative of thePresident. He is responsible for the day-to-day administration of a region inrespect of and on behalf of the President.So, what the Hon Minister does --
Which one would befaster? The President declares in Accra
Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Speaker, let us deletethe words “executive instrument”. Hecould issue directives there. ExecutiveInstrument, as he is saying, -- in fact,how does one issue ExecutiveInstrument? Many of the regions do nothave Assembly Press to issue executiveinstruments. All they need to do is to issuedirectives to conform to the declarationof the emergency. So, we should deletethe “executive instrument” -- that is howI see it. This is because, the larger issue aboutwhether an Hon Minister could issueExecutive Instrument is contained in thelaw, just like this one. But this one is notappropriate; an Hon Regional Minister,after the declaration of the emergency,cannot issue Executive Instrument. Heshould just be on hand and direct.
First Deputy Speaker totake the Chair at this point. I would exhaust this clause before Ileave.
Mr Speaker, it becomeseven interesting when one goes to thedistricts -- why would you not let theDistrict Chief Executive issue ExecutiveInstrument in the district? Mr Speaker, as the Hon Member forWa West said, I believe that we shoulddelete the words “by executiveinstrument”. With your permmission Iquote: “…the Regional Minister respon-sible shall by executive instrumentissue directives or authorise
Please, no! This is thefirst point of call. So, they used the words“release available State resources in theregion.” So, that is the first point of call andthat does not mean that the nationaldisaster management organisation wouldnot come in. You are confronted with thesituation and the little resources that theyhave, they would have to start applying itbefore national enters. That is the pointbeing made here. It does not exclude theintervention of national or the Statecoming in at this point.
Mr Speaker, I do agreebut the international best practice is that,once the Prime Minister or President ofthe country declares a state of emergencyanywhere in that nation, he would by allmeans at the end of that declaration,authorise the use of available resourcesto contain or mitigate the situation. It goesin tandem. The President does not do thatin Accra and wait for the Regional Ministersomewhere --
But does that clauseprevent the President from doing it? It does not, and that is the way I amlooking at it -- something has happenedand you do not fold your hands; if youput the President there then the HonMinister could say that, then he is waitingfor the President. Could we not start applying theresources available in the region while the-- I do not believe that any Presidentwould say he or she is not going to do it.If he ignores to do it, that is at his ownperil. Hon Members, let me put the Questionon the amendment. Hon Members, the Question is that,lines 2 and 3 of clause 31, delete “byexecutive instrument”.
Mr Speaker, we are seekingto strengthen the NADMO and if wedelete the phrase “by executive instrument”,the effect would be that directives areissued following the declaration of a stateof emergency. Mr Speaker, but we arelooking at the enforcement of thedirectives -- an Executive Instrument is amatter of law and so the directives are notleft hanging -- [Interruption.] They have received some legal backingand authority when the ExecutiveInstrument is issued, as opposed to wherethe directives are issued and not backedby an executive instrument.
Mr Speaker,an information to the Hon DeputyMinister. Is he looking at a situation where weshall have two Executive Instrumentsissued? He is not looking at that? Thenhe should apply his mind to clause 29. Clause 29 provides that where a stateof emergency has been declared, thePresident may by Executive Instrumentmake Regulations.That is regardless ofwhether it is at the national, regional ordistrict level. It is for the President to issuethe Executive Instrument. So, if he is notlooking at the issuance of two ExecutiveInstruments in respect of just one matter,then what is he canvassing for?
In any case thedeclaration of state of emergency isaccompanied by the issue of ExecutiveInstrument. It is accompanied and so youwould be having two executiveinstruments.
Absolutely! Mr Speaker, would you plead with theHon Deputy Minister to restrain himself?
Look at clause 31 (d)which referred to clause 29 --
Mr Speaker, the consensusin the House is that, I should abandon myposition and so I shall concede in thecircumstances. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Hon Members, I wantyou to look at clause 31 (d) and clause 29(a) and (b). Hon Deputy Minister, look at 31 (d) andlook at 29 (a) and (b). This is because thosematters of release of resources would havebeen captured in the Executive Instrument.So, why do we even give anotherdirective? Why do we do those things again?Look at it. Do we still keep clause 31 (d)there? Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior?
Mr Speaker, I believe the(d) is superfluous. It is repetitive. Let usdelete it. The Hon Chairman proposed it,he should let us delete it.
Yes, Hon MinorityLeader?
Mr Speaker,it does not affect only clause 31 (d). Thisis because in clause 29, all that we aretalking about in clause 31 would havebeen captured in subclause (b) of clause29. So, the directives would apply to theimplementation of the matters containedin the instrument. In that case, since clause29 -- directives to be issued for thefollowing …” So, we would delete the words “shallby executive instrument”.
Hon Deputy Minister, areyou listening? He is moving anamendment and I would call you for yourreaction. He is saying that we shoulddelete “executive instrument”. In fact, thatis the proposal coming from the HonMember for Wa West.
Mr Speaker, I beg to movethat we should delete “by executiveinstrument”. So that it would now read: “Where a state of emergency hasbeen declared by the President withrespect to a region, the RegionalMinister shall issue directives orauthorise directives to be issued forthe following …”. So, that at that stage no ExecutiveInstrument comes in.
Mr Speaker, before that,the conditions they are listed are why theycannot do that. Mr Speaker, “(a) the release of available stateresources in the region for themanagement of the disaster.” Mr Speaker, let us take out “byexecutive instrument” and say “theRegional Minister may issue directives forthe following …” If the President hasdeclared emergency in Ashanti Region, hewould by that declaration release orauthorise the State agencies to --
With regard to clause 31,we could keep (a) and (b). We could keeppart of clause 31.
Mr Speaker,I am saying that -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker,I am saying the release of the Stateresource for the management of thedisaster as captured in clause 29 (4) (b), iswhat has been domesticated in clause 31; “(b) the release of available Stateresources in the region for themanagement of the disaster;” So, it tends to replicate whatever ishere. I thought we could have just oneomnibus construction that the directiveswould be in pursuant of what is containedin clause 29 (b), instead of going overand omitting some of them.
Could we keep clause 31(a) and (b)?
Mr Speaker,(a) and (b) are already captured in --
Yes, that is like the firstpoint of call in the region. I see clause 31(a) and (b) as the first point of call in theregion. While the national organisationmoves, the region cannot fold its handswaiting for the national organisation to -- So, for the (a) and (b), what I might callthe localised intervention is the regionalintervention at that point, while thenational intervention comes in. But the clause 31 (c) and the (d), it isbecause they limited them to the resourcesin the region; personnel in the region. Ifyou could keep (a) and (b), then we delete(c) and (d).
Mr Speaker,there are two issues involved. We couldhave a national disaster that might cutacross many regions and many districts.Then, the application of the directive, ascontained in the Executive Instrument,would be localised by the RegionalMinister or the District Chief Executive. But we could also have a declarationof state of emergency pertaining to aparticular district; just one district in thewhole country. So, it is just domesticatingthe directives as contained --
Yes, it appears to be, butwhat I am saying is that, we should alsonot allow the regional disaster committeeor whatever they are called to just be there.Those clauses are to let them to beproactive in doing something. We couldkeep clause 31 (a) and (b).
Mr Speaker,look at subclause (ii) of 29(4)(b): “(ii) the use of private resources;”
That is noteven captured here. That is why I amsaying that it would serve a better purposeif we just alluded to the implementation ofthe directive captured in the ExecutiveInstrument.
Once a state ofemergency is declared by the President,the overall implementation becomes anational affair, and we cannot leave it todirectives of the Regional Minister. Oncethe President declares a state ofemergency, the overall implementation isat the highest level, and we cannot leaveit to the Regional Minister. I see the (a) and (b) as the regionalinitiatives being taken at the regional level.
What Bill are you calling?
Mr Speaker, we arecalling for Land Use and Spatial PlanningBill, 2016, item 11.
Is it still at theConsideration Stage?
Yes, Mr Speaker. What we are left with are very few. So,we hope that if they are not controversial,we might finish within a very short periodof time.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Yes, HonMajority Chief Whip, which item on theOrder Paper did you refer to?
Mr Speaker, we arereferring to item numbered 11 on page 19;the Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill,2016.
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 11 onthe Order Paper, Land Use and SpatialPlanning Bill, 2016 at the ConsiderationStage. Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill, 2016
Yes, is theHon Chairman of the Committeeavailable? Yes, Hon Minister? Hon deputy Minister, what is yourthinking on this matter? I would want toput the Question on clause 31 so that theFirst Deputy Speaker comes to take theChair. This is because I have signals thatthey would want to move on to anotherBill.
Mr Speaker, I believestrongly that subclauses (a), (b) and eventhe (c) are appropriate.
They are of a regionaldisaster management.
So, we could delete the (d)and retain the (a), (b) and (c).
Yes, I agree. Hon Members, who is moving theamendment for the deletion of (d)? Hon Chairman?
Mr Speaker, I beg to movethat we delete paragraph (d) of clause 31.
Hon Members, theQuestion is that paragraph (d) of clause31 be deleted from the Bill. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 31 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Hon Majority ChiefWhip?
Mr Speaker, we wouldbe grateful to end proceedings on this Billto enable us move on to the next Bill,which is item 11 on the Order Paper --Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill, 2016.
Mr Speaker, it isjust to draw the Hon Member's attentionto the fact that the Bill was initially laid inthis House on the 18th of December, 2015,and referred to the Committee. TheCommittee worked on it and based on therecommendations of the Committee,because it is a voluminous Bill, it waswithdrawn and the necessary amendmentseffected. It went back to the Attorney-General'sDepartment, then to the printing press. Itcame back and was laid again as amendedon the 6th of June, 2016. So, we are workingon the one that was laid on the 6th of June,2016. I am saying this because of ourexperience with an earlier Bill which wentthrough a similar trajectory, and when HonMembers were debating, they were usingthe earlier Bill, when we were debating amore recent one that was laid. So, I amjust drawing the attention of the House.
HonChairman of the Committee, I believe weare starting from scratch. Is that right?
Mr Speaker,you are right. And just to add a bit towhat the Hon Minister said. The date ofgazette notification was on 8th June, 2016.That is the document we are using. Clause 1 to 4 ordered to stand part ofthe Bill. Clause 5 -- Board of the Authority
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 5, subclause (1), paragraph (a), line4, after “service” insert “appointed by thePresident”. We are making this change as a resultof the fact that it falls in line with other appointments that are made by thePresident. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 5, subclause (1), paragraph (h),delete
What isyour reason?
If you look at it, it says“the head of the Local GovernmentService”. We already have on the Board“Local Government Ministry”, so at theCommittee level, it was agreed that sinceLocal Government Ministry is therealready, all issues pertaining to localgovernment could be discussed andbrought on board at the Board level. Thatis why Hon Members agreed that thatshould be deleted.
Mr Speaker, if that is theposition of the Committee then we haveas well the Ministry of Environment,Science and Technology, and we still havethe executive director of the EnvironmentalProtection Agency serving on the Boardof the Authority. Mr Speaker, if that is the position, itwould pose problems. I think there is areason, apart from the Ministry --because the Local Government Serviceruns the machinery, it would be proper tohave the head sitting there.
HonChairman of the Committee, how do yourespond to that?
Mr Speaker, this issuecame up, we debated it at length, and thisis the position of the Committee. But it isopen to further discussion. Whateveragreement we all come to --
So, do wedefer the Consideration of this particularissue for you to go back and look at it asa Committee?
Maybe we can step itdown, have a quick consultation with theCommittee Members and the HonMinister, and see what agreement we cometo.
Mr Speaker, as theygo to do this, I would like them to carefullylook at the definition of “the Chairperson”,whether they are not trying to put so manythings into one, virtually making itimpossible. This is because we have hada Bill like that, the College of Physiciansand Surgeons Bill, where we loaded in oneperson our expectations, and at the endof the day when the law was passed, itwas difficult to get such a person. They had to come back for us to makeit into “or”, because when you say “thegovernment authority is a Boardconsisting of a chairperson who is aperson knowledgeable in humansettlements, town planning and thebuilding environment”, it means youwould need all these things in one person.But if you were to say “or”, it would havemeant that the person either has this orthat. But when we put all that in oneperson, it becomes difficult. So, Mr Speaker, especially where theysay “or”, it should be related to spatialplanning. Mr Speaker, I have the privilegeof having done development policy andplanning, and I can tell that most of thethings they are talking about are one, sowhen we decide to break them and make itlook as if they must be expert in this andthat, we would be loading it. So, as they go to consider thatparticular issue, they should look at thepossibility of fine-tuning this particularexpectation in one chairperson, so that forthe whole of the clause 5, they shouldlook at it, since we are standing it downfor them to go and consider.
Very well. In that case, Hon Members, I wouldlike to defer the Consideration of the wholeof clause 5, so that the Committee canhave a second look at it and come back tous.
Mr Speaker, just to addthat we are talking about the same things.Human settlements, town planning andbuilding environment issues are the samediscipline generally. Maybe, it is just forelaboration that they are separated,otherwise, they belong to the samediscipline. So, strictly speaking, there is noproblem with this rendition, except maybethe fact that the person should alreadynot be in full time public service in anothercapacity, otherwise, it is the samefunction.
Very well. Clause 6 to 22 ordered to stand part ofthe Bill. Clause 23 -- Sources of money for theFund
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 23, paragraph (b), line 1, delete“may” and insert “shall”. We would want to make it a bitobligatory, that is why we want the “shall”to be inserted. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 23 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Clause 24 -- Management of the Fund.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 24, subclause (1), line 1, delete“Committee” and insert the following: “Management Committee appointedby the Minister for Environment,Science, Technology and Innovationin consultation with Minister forFinance”
Mr Speaker, I think weagreed the last time that these thingsshould be one under article 195 -- thepower of the President to appoint thesecommittees. So, with the last Bill we that did, theHouse made us change the rendition fromthe Hon Minister appointing, to “ the HonMinister to be appointed in accordancewith article 195 of the Constitution”.[Pause]
HonMember, have you read through article195? It indicates that, that particularresponsibility of the President can bedelegated.
Mr Speaker, I totallyagree. If we make reference, then thedelegation can happen; but if we state itspecifically, then I do not think it isallowed. So, we would have to say that theperson would be appointed under article195. If the President delegates it to theHon Minister, then so be it, but if we saythat the Hon Minister shall appoint thechairperson, then we have taken away thatpower from the President, and that is notdelegation in this law. So, I thought we would put it as: “thePresident shall appoint the chairpersonand the members of the Fund”. Of course,it is the Hon Minister who would send allthe names and the recommendations,according to the Act to the President.
Mr Speaker, I think it isthe delegation that we looked at, that waswhy we said it should be by the HonMinister. I think that he is right. It has beendebated at the Committee level, and wehave agreed that --
HonMember, I cannot hear you.
Mr Speaker, I said that wehave discussed it at the Committee level,and we have looked at the delegation offunctions from the President to the HonMinister. That is why we maintained theHon Minister.
In theConstitution, the delegation must be inwriting. Do you get it? So, if you render it the way it is here,then you might have a few problemscarrying it out. So, if you could find a wayof making reference to the constitutionalprovision -- Mr Ayariga-- rose --
Mr Speaker, I wonderwhether article 195 relates to the appointmentof chairpersons of committees. This isbecause we are talking about thechairperson of a committee. We haveformed a committee and we would have toappoint a chairperson of that committee. I am just adverting my mind to article195, which I understand to be referring tothe appointment of public officers, whichusually takes place through the publicservice. When we set up a committee made upof people who are already in public officeand we are appointing a chairperson tothe committee, do we have to go througharticle 195? This is just a matter of interestthat I am raising. This is because all themembers are people who are already inpublic service.
Mr Speaker, the problemwas that we said the chairperson of thecommittee shall be appointed by thePresident. This is a Fund that we are supposed tomanage, and all these appointments, eventhough they are already in public service,to constitute this Fund, they would haveto be sworn in by the President, or forthat matter, be delegated on behalf of thePresident by the Hon Minister. I am not saying that it should not bethe Hon Minister who should do it, but itis the rendition that we are putting there,that is the problem. All boards andcommittees, as far as I am aware, are doneon behalf of the President in this country. If we would have to change therendition such that it would be; the HonMinister for Environment, Science,Technology and Innovation on behalf ofthe President shall make appointment,then that is a better rendition. I have not seen anywhere in this House,where it is not the Hon Minister who doesit on behalf of the President. The HonMinister is an adviser to the President,and serves at the pleasure of the President. So, it is the President who shouldconstitute the committee, but thePresident can say that the Hon Ministershould do it on his behalf. If we put it in a law, we might get anerrant Minister, who would not even goand consult the President before he doesit, and it can create problems. So, all weshould say is that, the chairperson of thecommittee shall be appointed on behalfof the President by the Hon Minister. Wewould then know that it is the Presidentwho is doing it, but has delegated to theHon Minister.
Let us lookat the point raised by the Hon Minister,just so that we would not stretch article195 too far. Mr Boafo-- rose --
Yes, HonW. O. Boafo?
Mr Speaker, I think the HonMinister's reference to article 195 is inplace. This is because it deals with theappointment of public service employees. But article 70 deals with the governingboard for statutory bodies. That is wherethe President's authority can be evoked.So, I think that what they are proposing isthe right thing to be done under thecircumstances. Technical committees and othermanagement committees are not theconcerns of the President.
Yes, I thinkso. I think we would be stretching it toofar.
Mr Speaker, let us readarticle 70 of the Constitution. It says:
Mr Speaker, I did notcontradict him when I spoke, so, I do notknow why he got up and then robustly --
You agreedwith him, did you not? He agreed with thatpoint you made. Question put and amendment agreed.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 24, subclause (1), paragraph (a),delete and insert the following: “the chairperson of the committeeshall be appointed by the Ministerresponsible for the Authority”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 24, subclause (2), lines 1 and 2,delete “of Finance” insert “responsiblefor the Authority”.
What areyou trying to cure?
We looked at it and wefelt that --
You arechanging it from “the responsibility of theMinister for Finance to the Ministerresponsible for the Authority. I believe youhave given reasons already. So, that is thetrend you are trying to follow.
Yes. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 24, subclause (3), line 1, after“Minister”, insert “in consultation withthe Minister” for Environment, Scienceand Technology” and Innovation.
Give me thefinal rendition.
It will read, “in consultationwith the Minister for Environment, ScienceTechnology and Innovation” instead of“with the Minister”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 24 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 25 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 26 -- Membership of RegionalSpatial Planning Committee.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (1), paragraph (e),delete “in the region”. It is superfluous because if you readit, “the regional head of the LandsCommission in the region” --. We think“in the region” should be deleted. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (1), paragraph (i),line 2, delete “in the region”. The same applies as I said early on. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (1), paragraph (l),line 1, delete “a” and insert “the” and inline 2, delete “Industries”. This is because, the article “a” is notneeded over there. It should read:“regional head of the Water ResourcesCommission”. Then “industries” is notapplicable here so we delete it. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 26 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. “The President shall, acting inconsultation with the Council ofState, appoint: (a) The Commissioner for HumanRights and AdministrativeJustice and his Deputies; (b) The Auditor-General: (c) The District AssembliesCommon Fund Administrator; (d) The Chairmen and othermembers of -- (i)The Public Services Commis-sion; (ii) The Lands Commission; (iii) The governing bodies ofpublic corporations; (iv) A National Council for HigherEducation howsoever described;and (e) the holders of such otheroffices as may be prescribedby this Constitution or by anyother law not inconsistentwith this Constitution.” Mr Speaker, if we create a committee,and we say that another person canappoint the chairman of the committee, Ido not see how that is inconsistent withthis Constitution. Mr Speaker, remember that at the pointof the enactment of this Constitution,many of the laws, specifically establishinglet us say, the District AssembliesAdministrator's Common Fund, had notyet been enacted and it is the Constitutionthat said that there would be a law thatdeals with those ones -- The Human
HonMembers, there are no advertisedamendments to clause 27 to 89. Mr Boafo --rose--
Mr Speaker, I would wantto find out from the Hon Chairman of theCommittee why under clause 35 (2),paragraph (l), dealing with thecomposition of the District SpatialPlanning Committee, paragraph (l) allowsonly with persons who are elected intothe Assembly to nominate to theCommittee?
HonMembers, let me put across thissuggestion. Let me put the Question withregard to clauses 27 to 34 and then, afterthat, we come to clause 35 for you to raisethis issue and then we can move on. Clause 27 to 34 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
Yes, clause35? Hon Chairman, did you follow the pointhe made or you want him to go over it?
Mr Speaker, he can go overit.
Very well.Hon Boafo?
Mr Speaker, I was referringto clause 35 (2), paragraph (l). Mr Speaker,under clause 35 (2), we have thecomposition of the District SpatialPlanning Committee. When we come toparagraph (l), it is provided that: “…persons nominated by theelected Members of the DistrictAssembly from among their numberto represent them except….” I would want to find out from the HonChairman why he discriminated againstnon-elected Members.
HonMember, you want to find out from himwhy?
Mr Speaker, why hediscriminates against non-electedMembers.
Mr Speaker, if you seewhat is happening over there, it says: “not more than two personsnominated by the elected Membersof the District Assembly fromamong their number to representthem except that, in the nomination,preference shall be given to femaleelected members of the DistrictAssembly”. The elected members of the Assemblyrepresent the electoral area and it is morerepresentative, and they carry the viewsof those who have elected the person onto the Committee's work. That is why wesaid it that way, if I understand it verywell.
Mr Speaker, if you look atthe composition of the District Assem-blies or the Metropolitan Assemblies, youwould realise that, it is not only arearepresentation but interest representationis also evident. I do not know why he isstill insisting to discriminate against thosewho are representing interests like thechiefs, and the teachers and so forth.
Mr Speaker, just to drawyour attention. We are talking aboutclause 36 not clause 35. Earlier, I had drawnthe attention to the fact that, due toamendments that have been effected,there is a more recent copy. I think that isthe problem -- This is because if we lookat clause 35, it does not deal with -- So,we are dealing with the older version. So, the Hon Chairman should go toclause 36 so that Mr Speaker can put theQuestion on clause 35 of the new versionand we can then go and deal with clause36. Clause 35 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 36 -- District Spatial PlanningCommittee.
Hon W. O.Boafo, from the explanations that I gotfrom the Hon Chairman of the Committee,it looks like, because we have these twocategories of Assembly Members -- wehave the elected Assembly Members andwe have Government appointees. They are probably, interested in theelected Assemblymen because theyrepresent an electoral area so that theycan be answerable to their electoral area. Ido not know if you have --
Mr Speaker, if that is thepolicy, I do not have any locus tochallenge it.
HonMembers, I will then put the Question withregard to clause 36 to 89 being ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 36 to 89 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 90 -- Register of zoningschemes.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 90, add the following newsubclause: “(5) Each District Assembly shalllodge, with Parliament, a copy ofa zoning and re-zoning schemewhich affects a public space”. Mr Speaker, we are seeking tointroduce this amendment as a result ofthe kind of things that happen with regardto use of open spaces and areas that havebeen zoned for other activities, and peopleencroach on them. We want to tighten thegrip a bit so that Parliament would havecertain amount of control in the sense thatParliament represents the people. We actually debated it and linked itwith other clauses which will give morecontrol to the way re-zoning is done.
Mr Speaker, I can see inthis Chamber, the instigators of --
HonMember, I do not think that is anappropriate expression to use. Can youplease, withdraw?
Mr Speaker, I withdraw. Mr Speaker, if you recall, during theSecond Reading of this Bill, it wasindicated that Parliament should be givensome oversight responsibilities to preventthe unbridled change in the use of publicspaces, depriving children of playgroundsand community social gathering spaces,et cetera, which is a very laudableobjective. I believe that the whole idea ofestablishing the Land Use and SpatialPlanning Authority, and the structuresfrom the national to the regional and to
Mr Speaker, this amendmentis not good. If the intention of thosemaking the amendment, that is theChairman of the Committee, is for us to dosomething, then the District Assembliesalready have a procedure for making by-laws and they should pass a Resolutionfor rezoning and others. We should usethat method to check abuses. What weare saying here is that, they should justlodge them; no action is required byParliament. Is there any mechanism whereParliament would be told they have lodgedthis? And how are we going to knowwhether in Adaklu District or Wa WestDistrict, the rezoning there is right orwrong? It must be looked at, and theRegional Co-ordinating Councils shouldbe the ones who can tell. Then you musttell us what Parliament is to do with thedocuments that would be lodged here. Isit just for decoration?
Mr Speaker, in thismodern age of technology, this should notbe a problem. This issue should not bespatial. If my Hon seniour Colleague inParliament would look at clause 92, hewould see that there is a reason and it isconnected. If we are being asked toapprove, we have it to approve it. It isthere, so, he should keep his cool. We arecoming there.
Mr Speaker,seriously speaking, I do not understandthis new clause we are introducing. Weare talking about each District Assembly,lodging with Parliament a zoning and re-zoning scheme which affects public space.How are we going to use the little timethat we have to concentrate on legislation?Is Parliament now going to deal withDistrict Assemblies? Not even RegionalCo-ordinating Councils. District Chief Executives do not evenhave audience here. Issues of land guardsand others, and Members of Parliament(MPs) are now going to go into all thosethings? It is very serious. This amendmentshould not see the light of day and shouldbe withdrawn.
Mr Speaker, I am rathersurprised that the Hon Second DeputyMajority Whip seeks to introduceextraneous matter into such a civil debate. Mr Speaker, Parliament by this law, isasking that when the districts havefinished, they should lodge -- Parliamentby this amendment is not seeking tointerfere in the processes established, asthe Hon Member for Wa West said. Theysaid if you have finished everything thatyou are doing, lodge a copy. and designated in Asokore Mampong,.That is what it says. Send a copy toParliament. That was why I said that, if weread the next amendment, we wouldunderstand. When the Hon Majority Leadercomplained about how in Accra, all thepublic spaces have been taken over byhaphazard development, and it is thereason Accra is perpetually flooding, hewas seeking to say, that those places thathave been designated are a sink protectingAccra from flooding. Let nobody go and rezone it withoutletting all of us know. That is what thisclause is saying. It did not say that whenyou go and buy your land to do your ownthing, it should come to Parliament. Itnever said so.
Mr Speaker,the amendment is in the right direction. Itis the purview of the districts to do zoningfor land use. The only little problem withthis amendment has to do with thembringing it to Parliament. This is becausethey have no jurisdiction to come toParliament. They can only do that through aMinister. But then to wake up as a DCEand bring it to Parliament, who would theygive it to? Where would they lodge it andwhat would Parliament do with it? If you want all the districts to do that,then they should give it to the Ministerfor Local Government and RuralDevelopment and the Minister orwhichever Minister is dealing with it,would bring it to Parliament so that wecould keep it. Then in that case, I wouldunderstand because it is important. It isnot about private land, but about publicspaces. So, as for that, if we do not do it,we would not be happy in this country. It is in our interest that the districts dothis, otherwise, all the public spaces wouldbe sold and then tomorrow, we would not It is like saying that if you go and signany agreement, give Parliament a copy onbehalf of Ghana. There is nothing wrongwith that. So, if they are seeking to oppose it,like the Hon Minister who, even thoughhe was in the Committee and agreed onehundred per cent to this, is seeking tomake anti-sentiments, I can understandYes, you are.
HonMember, please, withdraw.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw. There is an abundance of evidence thatthis should not cause any problem in thisHouse. When we get to the nextamendment, we would see why thisamendment is very necessary.
Yes, ourattention has been drawn to that.
Mr Speaker, I want tocaution Hon Members that thisamendment is not talking about every landin Ghana. It is not even talking about allthe zoning plans. If Hon Members wouldadvert their minds, it says: “affects a publicspace”. So, when you have finishedzoning Asokore Mampong, and thedistrict has agreed --
Why not Manhyia?
This is becauseManhyia has already been zoned. AsokoreMampong is in the formation. Mr Speaker, if you finish zoningAsokore Mampong and the Districtaccepts it, notify Parliament on all thepublic spaces that they have demarcated
Mr Speaker, my HonColleague said something that I do notunderstand. When I talk about this, I wastalking about decentralisation and in theLocal Government Act now, the planningauthority is the District Assembly. Now, he wants Parliament to becomethe planning authority? What I said isthat, Parliament has so many duties that itcannot even fulfil. Does he want to addthis? No! Mr Speaker, the issue about this matteris, how much? Are they sending adelegation from the Lands and NaturalResources Department or the Ministry ofEnvironment, Science, Technology andInnovation to each district to find outwhether the re-zoning is accurate or not?That is ridiculous. We have to be loyaland sincere about decentralisation andpowers of relationship. The District Assemblies already makeby-laws and any re-zoning would be inthe form of a Resolution which is a by-law. The Act shows what should happenin the by-law. If they say it should be brought toParliament for us to consider[Interruption] -- He was referring toclause 92. In clause 92, there should stillbe a process but it should not be“Parliament”. Not at all. This is because ifthey think it should come by a LegislativeInstrument (L.I.), they should say so, sothat when it comes, they would look at it. The problem is that, they would wantto decentralise and they think I can sithere and know that in BunkpuruguYooyoo, the re-zoning is not good. The interest of Ghana is to strengthenenforcement.If they give power to the Hon know what to do. That is why today, wedo not have parks and walk spaces inAccra. We simply do not have any placewhere people can go and have leisure. Several Hon Members -- rose --
It isbecoming more and more interesting. HonMembers, I would give you theopportunity. So, the Hon Chairman wouldhave the last bite. Let us listen to the Hon Minister fromthe Office of the President, the HonMember for Wa West and then the HonMinister for Environment, Science,Technology and Innovation. Then wewould come to the Chairman of theCommittee.
MrSpeaker, there is some sense in asking thatin re-zoning and zoning of public spaces,Parliament has to be informed and to giveits consent. There is a very good reasonfor that. Of late, we have peopleencroaching on public spaces without theclout of the District Assemblies to stopit. Sometimes, the District Assemblies areculprits. If they re-zone with the approvalof Parliament, it would become verydifficult for anybody to encroach on theland and get malleable members of theAssembly to approve, to change the facesof our public spaces. I would want us to take note of twothings. Firstly, we are talking about publicspaces, spaces that belong to everybody.Secondly, we are talking about a situationwhere it would be difficult for people totamper with these spaces. So, it is in order,and I believe very strongly that theapproval of Parliament would notnecessarily result in defeat of the conceptof decentralisation. It is only going to make it more effectivein managing our public spaces,handlingand possessing them. Minister and District Assemblies, they canenforce these things. It is because webelieve they are acting, we think thatParliament would do it, or somebodywould override it. I believe it is a very dangerous thingand it should be rejected outright. Alhaji Muntaka -- rose --
HonMajority Chief Whip, I have set an order.I would call you to make yourcontribution. The Hon Minister for Environment,Science, Technology and Innovationwould have his turn, then Hon Amoatey,then the Hon Chairman and then you. Iwould want this to be exhaustivelydebated before we take a decision, oneway or the other.
Mr Speaker, I believe thefirst thing we need to do is to define witha certain level of clarity what we mean by“public space”. Mr Speaker, what is in the Bill is “publicplace”.
Mr Speaker, I amsurprised the sponsor of the Bill is givingus wrong information. This is veryserious. The sponsor of the Bill is tellingus that what we are talking about is not“public space”. Mr Speaker, then what are welegislating? Maybe, we should step theentire Bill down.
Mr Speaker, I would wantthe Hon Member to look at clause 99.
On a point of order. MrSpeaker, I would want the Hon Ministerfor Environment, Science, Technologyand Innovation to address his mind tothis. All that this amendment seeks to sayis that, when a District Assembly haszoned a place as a place for resourced land,urban utility, road, traffic, water, bufferzone or natural park, forest, urban park,recreational area, infrastructure right ofway, areas of cultural and historicalimportance, these are defined in the law,that is, the public space. It is only thoseones that one does not stay there. Whenthey want to re-zone it, they should letParliament know -- Mr Speaker, the reason I would like toput this on record is that, I went to theHouse of Commons recently and I askedthis particular question: They said in theUnited Kingdom (UK), likewise in theUnited States of America (USA), everyarea that has been designated a commonarea, public land and forest, not even aState or a Local Council in the UK, candevelop that area without the prior specificAct of Parliament. In USA, all the federal reserved zones,lands --
HonMember, you are taking advantage of thepoint of order to make fresh submissions.
Mr Speaker, indeed, Ibelieve the definition of “public space”,was not in the original Bill. But in thereviewed Bill, the definition of “publicspace” is provided for. When I was looking at the Bill, I didnot see “public space” I saw “publicplace”.
HonMember, he is only human. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, did he say thatall along he was using the old Bill? I amsurprised.
Mr Speaker, this Housewas earlier misled when we werediscussing the old Bill. I was the one whodrew attention that what we werediscussing was the old Bill.I wasdisorganised because I placed themwrongly. Mr Speaker, the argument of theCommittee is that, the public spaces havebecome endangered and the thinking isthat, it is often done with the activecomplicity of the agents that we aremaking responsible for dealing with theissue. The idea is to elevate the matter to thenational level, to place additionalobstacles in the way of people who wouldwant to abuse the system. It is oversightbut it is also an additional obstacle tothose who would want to abuse thesystem. It helps if we understand the word“obstacle” in the positive sense. Mr Speaker, my simple argument is that,we may end up having a lot of work in thisHouse, having to approve --
HonMinister, the approval would have to dowith rezoning. My private practice in the past hasthought me that, in certain situations, yougo to court, and you fight your case foryour client with registered documentsfrom Lands Commission. You get to courtand the other side would say there wasrezoning, -- and you do not even knowwhen it took place. As a result of the rezoning, “a” is askedto shift from where he or she is to the nextplot and so on and so forth. You would get to a point when somebody says he orshe would not shift and there areproblems. So, we need to regularise thatkind of situation.
Mr Speaker, on the earlierissue I raised, we have not dealt withclause 92. We are dealing with clause 91but we decided to argue in relation toclause 92. The first issue relates to justdepositing the documents. If depositingthe documents enables the Member ofParliament of the area concerned to takeaction to inform or influence thedecision,that is another matter.
HonMember, the details would be sorted out.Hon Majority Chief, Hon Amoatey, andthen the Hon Chairman.
Mr Speaker, whereasI agree in principle, due to the challengesthat we have with land management in ourcountry, I believe that the major thing thatneeds to be done, though soundscontroversial, is to really look at whetherwe think that lands in our country shouldcontinue to be managed by chiefs. It is a very important area because,even where they do it on behalf of thepeople, do they really account to thepeople? That is a very difficult area that Ibelieve we need to look at. Mr Speaker, but when it comes to thepublic areas that we are talking about, thecontroversies are just too many. My HonColleague from Old Tafo would testify tohow someone had to lose his life throughthe cemetery issue at Tafo. Mr Speaker, as we speak, my MunicipalChief Executive (MCE) is in court on aboutthree different issues; one is aboutpipelines. Someone went and they saidthey had done re-zoning. He asked whenthe re-zoning was done, and they saidthey did not know. Mr Speaker, with all these challenges,what I want all of us to be clear in ourminds is that — [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, what dowe really anticipate when we say, “withthe approval of Parliament”? Are we reallyanticipating the volumes? We are talkingabout 216 districts. Aside that, why arewe not saying any other thing than,through regulations, so that when thathappens, they would pile a number ofthem over a period and bring them throughregulations. But when we say, “with approval” —Mr Speaker, if we look at the programmesand activities of Parliament, it is so packedthat if we are not careful, it even becomesdifficult, the process of — [Interruption.] Dr Prempeh — On a point of order Mr Speaker, on what the Hon MajorityLeader said, the consultants to the Townand Country Planning and the LandsCommission who have been workingtogether with Hon Prof Kwamena Ahwoiet al, since 1998 in getting this Billconceded the fact that the system is soabused now. Mr Speaker, actually, the rendition thatthe Committee puts here was expresslywritten down by the consultants; that thisis the only way that we can protect publicspace. Mr Speaker, two weeks ago, theDirector-General of the NationalDevelopment Planning Committee (NDPC)was on the front page of the DailyGraphic saying that Achimota forest hasbeen taken over. And he said that it is truethat in the United Kingdom (UK) andUnited States (US), when a land isdesignated “public space”, then the onlyprotection for that is for Parliament —Because States are competing for theirinterests and districts too are — Theapproval process is just that the districtscome with reasons, a committee ofParliament looks at it and gives thepermission before they go through thenormal district thing. It is nothing difficult.It is to protect the land that Hon MahamaAyariga and I so deserved.
Very well. Hon Member, conclude your submission.
Mr Speaker, I amsurprised. What kind of point of orderis this? My Hon Colleague debated theissue.
So, let uslisten to the Hon Chairman of theCommittee.
Mr Speaker, so, let usagree with that first -- [Interruption.]
HonMembers. Order! Order! Hon Members, let us please listen tothe Hon Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, the same thinghappened at the committee level just aswe are debating here. We identified thatthere are certain challenges in the system,and unless we take certain measures, wewould not be able to deal with thechallenges. Mr Speaker, let us consider the wayour public spaces are used and the on-going encroachments. Let us take theAchimota forest, we can see what ishappening there now. Mr Speaker, it is based on thesechallenges that we have come up with thisprinciple and also to make sure that if itcomes to a point, we need to have, as HonMembers said, a register of all such publicspaces. When we get it before one is re-zoned, then we would know how it shouldbe done through regulations, et cetera. Mr Speaker, so the principle is that,there is a problem in the system, but whatdo we do to solve it? Parliament whichrepresents all the people, must beinvolved. It must have some oversight.That is the principle.
Thank youvery much, Hon Chairman. I would want to direct that we deferfurther consideration of this particularclause to give the Committee the opportunity to take a second look at itand probably work out certain detailswhich would make it easier for us. This isbecause, it appears that Hon Members areconcerned about certain issues and wewould need to take a second look at them. So, I direct that we defer furtherconsideration of clause 90 of this Bill.
Mr Speaker, clause 90 isso important, and if we would follow yourdirection, I would want to suggest thatwe stop further consideration of the Billso that they would consider the clause90, which is so important before we comeback to it.
Very well. Hon Members, this brings us to theend of the Consideration Stage of the LandUse and Spatial Planning Bill, 2016 fortoday — [Pause] Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we wouldmove to the Order Paper Addendum totake the Consideration Stage of theSecurities Industry Bill.
Very well. Hon Members, Order Paper Addendum— At the Commencement of PublicBusiness — Securities Industry Bill, 2015— at the Consideration Stage; Clause 4
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Mr Speaker, we had abrief winnowing this morning to look atthose outstanding clauses. So, we are Mr Speaker, my view is that, yes, I agreethat the complexity and the abuse areenormous. But the mechanism of sayingthat Parliament should approve it is myworry. But if we say that it should comeby regulation, what it would mean is that,maybe, the Ministry of Local Governmentand Rural Development, or the Ministryin charge of this sector would put anumber of them together and then bringthem to Parliament by way of regulation. That looks a little decent. But we wouldbe recentralising the activities of the localgovernment by the way we want it andthat may be problematic. Mr Speaker, my worry is that, becauseof the nature of this clause, we couldkindly stand it down for furtherconsultation so that we would come backto the floor of the House; because it maycontinue as it is and we do not have thetime.
Mr Speaker, I am standingon a point of order. Mr Speaker, we are dealing with clause90 and would then move to clause 92, butwe have decided to combine both and weare debating both.
HonMember, we would come to that. That iswhy I am allowing debates to take place. Clause 4, subclause (1), paragraph (f),add the following new sub-paragraph: “(iv) a woman with relevantexperience.” Mr Speaker, leaving the portion thatrelates to the proposed “a woman withrelevant experience”, we should leave itopen for anybody at all who is a womanto qualify to be appointed as a member.
Very well. Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
Mr Speaker, part of theassignment that was given to us was todiscuss subclause (ii), but I see it is onthe Order Paper Addendum again. But todiscuss subclause (ii), we agreed with theLeader and abandoned the subclause (ii),so, it should only be (i). I now see (i) and(ii) on the Order Paper Addendum whichis what we went and discuss. [Inter-ruption.]
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee, your attentionis being drawn to the fact that you wereasked to deal with subclause (ii) and onewould have thought that, with thesubclause (i), everything would havebeen done. I agree that the proposers ofthe amendment in (ii) is not the Chairmanof the Committee. There are two other HonMembers of the House. Yes, Hon W. O. Boafo, we are lookingat subclause (i), but then there is asubclause (ii) which is a proposal fromyou and the Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, in our proposal,we said that: “a woman with relevantexperience”.
HonMembers, are you with us?
Mr Speaker, when wediscussed with the Majority Leader, hebrought to our attention that ‘impositionof a levy' is not the best and he suggested‘prescribed'. Unless of course, he haschanged his mind, but I have it in my notes,that it is better to say ‘to pay the levyprescribed towards' rather than“imposition”. His concern was with theword “imposition”.
Mr Speaker, because wesaid “the levy”, that levy definitely wouldbe prescribed by the Commission. So, theonly word that we would want to removeis the “impose”. That ‘the levy whichdefinitely is prescribed by theCommission, that a person who holds amarket operator's licence for a financialyear shall pay the levy towards' but it doesnot change anything if we add‘prescribe'. Then we remove the ‘the' andmake it “a levy”.
Yes. This is because hisconcern was not to use the word“imposition” and he advised ‘prescribe'so that we do not come back and --
Chairmanof the Committee, are you proposing theuse of “a” in place of “the”?
Mr Speaker, I am proposingthe use of ‘a' in place of “the” and then‘prescribe' in place of “impose”.
Yes, HonMember for Wa West, you have the floor.
Mr Speaker, I really donot see why you are removing the word“impose”. The “impose” is not anarbitrary thing; it is a legal thing that youwould have to impose levies through theproper procedure. Mr Speaker, but if you are looking atthe ordinary meaning of ‘impose', whichmeans you are forcing it down somebody,it is not so. Almost all the levies that youpay is by imposition. And it is the right ofthe assembly, or those people to imposethem. If you are now talking about law interms of committing an offence, then thatis it. But I really do not see the need forthis amendment. But since it reads thesame way, one would have to paysomething, whether it is imposed or not;it is a levy. How do you we get levies? Weimpose them. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, if you go backto clause 15 subclause (1), there is“impose by this Act a levy on the personissued with”. So, if you go to subclause(2), “impose” appearing there again is notnecessary, because the Act has alreadyimposed a levy on the person holdinglicense. That is the reason they mustremove “impose”.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto. Hon Members, I will put the Questionwith regard to -- Mr Avedzi — rose --
Do youhave any further amendments to clause15?
Mr Speaker, there is a furtheramendment that in subclause (3), wedelete the subclause (3) and replace withthe following: “A Commission may consultlicensees in calculating the levypayable under subsection (2).”
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 15 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 17 subclause (2), paragraph (a),delete. Mr Speaker, we would maintainparagraph (b), which definitely includesthe audited accounts of the Commission.So, we are deleting paragraph (a) and thenmaintaining (b). Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 17 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 26 -- Order by Magistrate tosearch premises.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, headnote, delete and insert“Searches”. Mr Speaker, this clause actually relatesto searching of premises and other issuesof entry into any premises or property.So, we are changing the headnote to read,“Searches”, and then the followingamendment would capture the intent ofthis particular clause. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (1), paragraph (e)delete “in the region” Mr Speaker, if you go to clause 4subclause (3), the President is enabledthere to consider certain qualities beforehe makes the appointment. I will suggestthat we drop our proposed amendment,the expression “with relevant experience”,so that it would be in line with that of theChairman and that would be in accordancewith conditions of the Bill.
Very well. So, I understand you to bewithdrawing that proposed amendment.
Mr Speaker, yes.
Leavegranted. So, Hon Chairman of the Committee,we have your amendment. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 4 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 17 --
Mr Speaker, before I moveclause 17, we would want to look at clause15 which is missing on the Order PaperAddendum. Mr Speaker, with clause 15, we areproposing an amendment to subclauses(2) and (3). So, I would take subclause (2)first.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 15, subclause (2), line (2), delete“impose”.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (2), delete. Mr Speaker, it is the same explanation. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, add the following new sub-clause: “(1) A person authorised by theCommission may (a) enter any premises or propertywhich the Commission hasreason to believe is occupied orused by a person in contraven-tion of this Act or anyRegulations made under thisAct; (b) search for a book, recordstatement, document or anyother item; (c) seize or make a copy of a book,record statement, document orany other item; (d) question a person, auditor,director, member or a partner of aperson conducting business onthe premises; (e) direct that the premises or anypart of it or anything on it besecured and left undisturbed foras long as necessary; and (f) close down the business as theCommission considers necessary. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1),the Commission may request theassistance of the Police for a specificassignment.” Mr Speaker, these capture the intent ofthe clause that the Commission may enterany premises or property, et cetera. Mr Speaker, then in so doing, theywould receive the assistance of the Policefor any specific assignment.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, clause 26 (1), paragraph (b),insert “,” after “record”. Mr Speaker, thenew rendition would read: “(b) search for a book, record,statement, document or anyother item;” Mr Speaker, it is consequential inparagraph (c) as well. Thank you. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 26 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 37 -- Power to require bankaccounts records.
Mr Speaker, before I movethe proposed amendment, I beg to move,clause 37, headnote, delete “require” andinsert “request”. Mr Speaker, so, it would read, “Power to request bank accountrecords”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 37, subclause (1), delete and insertthe following:
Mr Speaker, basically, thereis nothing to discuss there. This isbecause the amendment we proposed,which relates to subclause (3) (b) (ii) tochange “disciplining” to “discipline” wascarried. Also, in subclause (1), to change“may” to “shall” was also carried. Mr Speaker, so, it is only left for theQuestion to be put.
Very well. Clause 43 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Clause 122-- Again, Hon Chairman of theCommittee, can you refresh us? Did wedeal with the amendments?
Mr Speaker, the issue onclause 122 was that the headnote was,“Revocation or suspension of licences”.“Suspension” was not mentioned in themain body of the clause. Mr Speaker, but it is shown that whenwe read subclause (3), we would see thatin a case to which subsection (2) applies,the Commission may, instead of revokingthe licence, suspend the licence for aspecific period and may remove thesuspension. Mr Speaker, based on that, the issueraised has adequately been taken care of. So, you can put the Question on that.
HonRanking Member, it was you who raisedthe issue. Are you in agreement?
Mr Speaker, I did notraise the issue. It was the Hon Minority Leader. “The Commission may in writingrequest the Bank of Ghana toprovide banking records orinformation held by a bank orspecialised deposit-taking institutionon any transaction concerning aperson under investigation wherethe Commission is of the opinion thatthe bank or specialised deposit-taking institution is a proper personto assist with the investigation.” Mr Speaker, this is in line with whenseeking banking records, the bank shoulddo that through the Bank of Ghana whichprovides the banking record or anyinformation held by the bank orspecialised deposit-taking institution. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 37, add the following new sub-clause: “(2) Where the Bank of Ghanaprovides the records or informa-tion requested, the Commissionmay request an authorisedperson of the Bank or Institutionto provide an explanation on thecontents of the records orinformation, where necessary.” Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 37 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
We were toput the Question on clause 43. Hon Chairman, can you refresh ourmemories?
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 122 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Long Title ordered to stand part of theBill.
Mr Speaker, I want toseek your guidance so that, even thoughit is advertised, perhaps, you may relaxthe rules and have the Hon Minister orsomebody do the Third Reading.[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I withdraw my plea; theyare extenuating circumstances.
Mr Speaker, the HonRanking Member for the FinanceCommittee seeks the indulgence of theChair to become the Leader ofGovernment Business. He should just takehis time and in six months' time, he canbecome the Leader of GovernmentBusiness if he so desires, but he is nownot the Leader of Government Business.
HonMembers, once he has withdrawn it, I thinkthat should be it. Yes, Honourable -- butbefore then let us bring this to a close. Hon Members, this brings us to theend of the Consideration Stage for theSecurities Industry Bill, 2015, for today.
Mr Speaker, I hopemy Hon Colleague from Old Tafo would like to know that, there are drivers ofGovernment Business so he should notjump the gun the next time. Mr Speaker, I am happy that he haswithdrawn his request. We will be gratefulto take item numbered 10 on today's OrderPaper -- Ghana AIDS Commission Bill,2015.
Very well. Hon Members -- Hon Majority ChiefWhip, can you help me? On what page ofthe Order Paper is that found?
Mr Speaker, it is onpage 8.
Page 8? Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 10 onthe original Order Paper -- Ghana AIDSCommission Bill, 2015 at the ConsiderationStage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Mr Speaker, I agree withthe Hon Majority Chief Whip. This Billhas been standing for a long time and weshould do it, taking into cognisance thatthis is an orphan Bill, and there is no HonMinister here shepherding it. So, heshould exercise the mind of Parliamentwhen we get to the necessary provisions.
HonMembers, the Second Deputy Speaker isto take the Chair. In the meantime, can westart off with clause 1? Clause 1 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 2 -- Objects of the Commission
Mr Speaker, I begto move, clause 2, lines 2 and 3, delete“the fight against” and insert” responseto”. Mr Speaker, the rationale is that, weare advised that this is a new terminologythat is being used, that the world is notfighting against the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/Acquired ImmuneDeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) butinterventions are being taken in responseto…”
Mr Speaker, I want theHon Chairman to tell us the real reason. Ifthe reason I have heard from the HonChairman is that we have moved fromfighting this public health epidemic, wefight Ebola and Zika virus diseases butwe are now at the intervention stage --that is why we need this response, I totallyagree with him. Question put and amendment agreedto Clause 2 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 3 -- Functions of the Commission
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 3, paragraph (a), line 1,delete “comprehensive” and in line 2,delete “establish” and insert “determine”. Mr Speaker, the rationale is that,“comprehensive” places value on theclause and we do not seek to place thatvalue. Mr Speaker, we are saying that it is not“to establish” but “to determine'. So,clause 3, line 1, paragraph (a) will read: “formulate policies and strategieson HIV and AIDS and determineprogramme priorities;” Question put and amendment orderedto
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 3, paragraph (c), line 1,delete “effective” Mr Speaker, the rationale is that we donot intend to use that adjective inlegislation. So, it will read: “provide leadership in nationalplanning, supervision and supportof the HIV and AIDS programme;” Question put and amendment agreedto Clause 3 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 4 -- Governing Body of theCommission
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 4, subclause (1), paragraph (i),delete. Mr Speaker, we propose that we delete“the Hon Minister for Health.”
You areprobably referring to the wrong provision.This is because subclause (1), paragraph(i), deals with representatives fromParliament.
Mr Speaker, for a funnyreason, not established on any principleor foundation, the Committee proposedto take Hon Members out. I asked theCommittee to justify why the two HonMembers of Parliament -- And it isbecause I wanted to speak, that is why Iattached my name.
Yes, HonMember for Wa West and then Hon GiftyKusi.
Mr Speaker, we co-chaireda committee's sitting and presented itsReport. They were very good reasons butjust because of one individual who gotup and threatened everybody -- Therationale behind this is that, Parliamenthas oversight responsibility over them --[Interruption.] Which Committee ofParliament? First of all, who set up the Ghana AIDSCommission? It was the previous NewPatriotic Party (NPP) regime that set upthe Ghana AIDS Commission in its fullblown -- It was a PresidentialCommission. Therefore, it was under theOffice of the President. And because ofthat, in our arrangement, any activityundertaken by the Executive, particularlyin the Presidency, then Parliament -- thatis why we have the Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs. It was on the basis of that, that the Billwas originally referred to the Committeeon Constitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs. It is not orphaned; no! It isbecause the two Hon Members ofParliament are not going to be responsiblefor the oversight function. Parliament asa group -- In fact, the embarrassingsituation sometimes is that, if you aregoing to be part of what is going on in theGhana AIDS Commission, you wouldspend money, do things; and you are partof their Committees. But then if an adverse report appearsin the annual report, what is that HonMember of Parliament going to say?[Interruption.]They do not want me toexplain. It is a conflict of interest situationand there are people who have argued that Hon Members of Parliament shouldnot serve on boards of corporations. Of course, a lot of people would say,why not? It is because, unless werelinquish our right to supervise -- Ifyou are now chastising the Hon ChiefWhip because he is on the Ghana AIDSCommission, and something happensthere -- [Interruption.] -- No! I am justgiving a hypothetical -- Hon Napoleonor Hon Dr Prempeh, if he -- Dr Prempeh -- rose --
But yourname has not been mentioned. Are youNapoleon?
So, I want the conflict ofinterest situation to prevail upon thisHouse, not to allow the two Hon Membersto be on the Commission.We can gofurther to say that wherever it is requiredthat a body should present annual reportfor our scrutiny, we should not have HonMembers serving on those boards. Alhaji Muntaka -- rose --
Mr Speaker, I wouldwant to urge the Hon Chairman of theCommittee to abandon this amendment. Ithas no basis. This issue of conflict ofinterest that they are talking about isneither here nor there. Mr Speaker, Bank of Ghana issupervised by the Ministry of Finance;the Hon Minister is on their Board. GhanaCOCOBOD is supervised by the Ministryof Finance and the Hon Minister forFinance is on their Board. The National Health Insurance Authority is supervisedby the Ministry of Health and the HonMinister for Health is on their Board.[Interruption] -- It is the Hon Ministeror his Deputy and so, it is the same thing. Mr Speaker, if you look at thecomposition we have here, the Ministryof Health plays one of the greatest rolesin the supervision of the activities of theGhana AIDS Commission, under theGlobal Fund and so on, yet they areincluded. They represent our people --show me any entity in this country wherethere is no Hon Member of Parliament onit. Mr Speaker, but it does not take awaythe oversight responsibility of the House.It is important that we have Hon Membersof Parliament on --
Very well. Hon Members, while we are at it, theSecond Deputy Speaker would take theChair.
Mr Speaker, I would goalong with my Hon Colleague, that judgingfrom the hostile mood of the House, weshould abandon the amendment.
Has heabandoned it? Well, then the Second Deputy Speakerwould take care of it. [Pause.]
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon W.O. Boafo?
Mr Speaker, it is verynecessary that Hon Members ofParliament should be made members of theCommission because it would be in our Mr Speaker, this clause should beabandoned in totality. I put my name downand I proposed that we delete thatsubclause, but I would like to abandon itand also withdraw my name from it. HonMembers of Parliament should be on theCommission. Mr Speaker, I asked a question; whereis the Hon Minister shepherding this Bill?Mr Speaker, there is no Hon Minister. It isan orphaned Commission. Dr Akoto Osei,Hon Member of Parliament for Old Tafo,in previous discussions when the Bill wastabled, alerted the House to the fact thatthey come to the Finance Committeeduring the Budget preparation time, butnobody exercises and oversightsresponsibility over them -- no Committeeof this House. I thank God that we have a former HonMinister for Health here and we have theHon Majority Chief Whip, who has beenon the Committee on Health for 16 years --[Laughter]-- or for 10 years, at least. Who has oversight responsibility overthis Committee? When the Bill goesthrough, it is only Hon Members ofParliament -- So, I believe that we shouldabandon the idea of taking Hon Membersof Parliament out and go on.
HonChairman of the Committee, how do yourespond to that?
Mr Speaker, during itsdeliberations, the Committee consideredthat the annual report should be placedbefore Parliament. Mr Speaker, sensing themood of the House -- [Interruption.] Mr Chireh-- rose --
Keep itas what?
Mr Speaker, keep itas “ Muslim group” just as we have donewith the “Christian group” --[Interruption.] -- I sought permissionand he granted me the opportunity. Iinformed Mr Speaker that it was not anadvertised amendment and Mr Speakerpermitted me. So, when I finish, we couldcarry on with other amendments.
All right.But let us finish with the “Parliament”issue first. What has been abandoned is“two representatives.” It also affects thenext one; does it not?
Mr Speaker, once theyhave abandoned it, there is no questionagain. So, it remains like that. We shouldjust go to (j). When we look at (j), it says,delete. If it is defeated, the Hon Chief Whipcould then make his amendment.
HonMembers, item numbered v, delete (j). So,what is happening? Hon Dr Prempeh?
Mr Speaker, the firstclause that was amended today talkedabout changing “the fight against HIV”to “response to HIV”. Mr Speaker, it is very instrumental inthis amendment that I seek to move.Currently, we have moved from the fightagainst HIV to its response. We are in thetreatment and intervention stage. TheGhana AIDS Commission is in thebusiness of treatment, so, we do not needall those representations. interest when we are debating anythingconcerning the Commission. They wouldbe in the position to help us and lead usin our discussions and conclusions. Very well.
So,should I put the Question on (iv)? It has been abandoned; is it not goingto be deleted? All right. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, sensing themood and the persuasive submissions ofmy Hon Colleagues, I seek yourindulgence to abandon the amendmentproposed in clause 4, subclause (1),paragraph (i), as advertised on the OrderPaper.
So, nowthere would be two representatives ofParliament?
Yes, Mr Speaker, ascontained in the Bill originally presentedto Parliament.
Mr Speaker, I havean amendment that has not beenadvertised. This is because I have seenthat there are other amendments but thatone is just below the (i). If you wouldpermit me to move it, even though it is notadvertised. Mr Speaker, we do not have anythingcalled “Federation of Muslim”. So, tomake it neater and safer, I beg to proposethat we delete “the Federation of Muslimsand Ahmadiyya Mission” and keep it as a“Muslim group” just as we have done withthe Christian group. When the Bill was first passed with allthose representations, it was because wewere whipping up public support for HIV,since it was a new phenomenon andnobody knew anything about it. Mr Speaker, now, we are at theintervention stage, where we needspecialist's knowledge. I agree with thechiefs, the labour unions and the faith-based organisations; they should createa platform where they could meet once ayear and discuss the treatment. But fortheir relevance on the Commission, as wespeak now, I have not been convinced thatthey even need to be there. I believe that not only are the Christiangroups and Muslim groups and theNational House of Chiefs and the GhanaEmployers Association not bringing anytechnical expertise, and for that matter,specialist knowledge, but we should keepthe Board small and efficient to carry outthe response to HIV, so that the countrycould move forward.
Mr Speaker, Idisagree with my Hon Colleague'sargument. It is true the incidence of AIDShas gone down. We are grateful for all theefforts by every group, but this is whereit is even important for the message andeducation to continue. This is because it has been shown inso many parts of the country where theincidence --
Is it in somany parts of the world or in the country?
Mr Speaker, sorry, inso many parts of the world, where theincidence has gone down, they go to sleep only for them to wake up andexperience another crisis. This is because,for example, the faith groups provideemotional support to people living withAIDS, and they try to factor that in theirvarious activities. Mr Speaker, when it comes to theemployers, it is very important. This isbecause, there are a number oforganisations, once they identifysomeone to have AIDS, they would notwant that person to have employmentwithin their setup. So, we cannot claimthat, because now we have been able tosucceed in trying to get the threshold verylow, these are no longer important.Currently, we have incidence rate at anaverage of about 1.5 per cent, but it doesnot mean we no longer have people livingwith HIV and for that matter AIDS. There are still people who live with thedisease. They need to be comfortedthrough their faith, they need to be ableto get employment; and the chiefs needto be able to play a role. I would want to plead with my HonColleague that now that we arepromulgating this law, I believe this is thetime that we need to recognise the rolethey played during the crisis period andto keep them in, to continue to give thesupport they have been giving. So, Iwould want to plead with him to withdrawhis amendment and allow these groups tocontinue to stay. I agree that very largegroups would be unworthy, but he wouldagree that, even with what we have, a lotof trimming has been done even thoughthe number is still large. I believe these groups are importantand should be kept in Bill.
Mr Speaker, based uponhis plea, we could agree. It is noteverything we should belabour on.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 4, subclause 1 (j) (ii), delete“the Federation of Muslims andAhmadiyya Mission” and insert “aMuslim group” to be consistent with whatwe did with paragraph (i), which was “aChristian group”.
When wesay of “a Muslim group” or “a Christiangroup”, we are referring to a specific one.When we say “the Christian group,” it ismore in reference of all Christians. So, Iwould --
Yes, Mr Speaker, withwhat you are saying, I would want tofurther move the amendment to both (i)and (ii) for it to read “the Christian groupand the Muslim group”.
Mr Speaker, though Iagree with his amendment, thephraseology says one representativeeach nominated by -- It should be“Christian groups and Muslim groups”.We should remove “a”.
It is not“a”. It is “the Christian group or Muslimgroup”. Those in favour of the proposedamendment; that is the amendment onclause 4 (1) (j) (i) and (ii) to read -- Yes, let me state the proposedamendment, then if you disagree with it -- All right, the proposed amendment isthat clause 4 (1) (j) i and (i) should read: “The Christian group and theMuslim group”.
Mr Speaker, I do notbelieve that was the original import. Eventhough I might like it that way, I do notbelieve that was the original import of theBill. This is because the Bill has itsgoverning Council of a 17- member group.If we interpret it the way it has beeninterpreted; a representative each of theChristian groups, we have about four orfive Christian groups. [Interruption.] No, that is not the interpretation.[Interruption.] Listen. If we say a representative each of theChristian groups, it means that if there aresix Christian groups, we are going to bringone from each, but it looks as if what theyare looking for is one person from theChristian groups -- [Interruptions] --That is what you said? One representativeeach from the Christian groups. If we leave it at that, when they areinterpreting the Bill, it would mean, if thereare 10 Christian groups, the ChristianCouncil would bring one, CatholicsSecretariat would bring one, PentecostalChurch would bring one. So, we have tocouch it well, otherwise, we would createproblems for ourselves, and then theAhmadiyya Mission would bring one, theTijaniya would bring one, Sunni wouldbring one. That is the meaning. I beg to consequently withdraw all myamendments to subclause (4) so that wecould make progress.
Havingregard to the state of business in theHouse, I direct that the House Sits outsidethe prescribed period. Yes, Hon Member for Obuasi East? HonEnnin, I was wondering, knowing that weare considering the Ghana AIDSCommission Bill, whether faith-basedorganisations and churches and so onshould be part of the governing Board ofthe Ghana AIDS Commission.
Mr Speaker, I donot have a copy of what you arediscussing and so, I would not want tosay anything. I would get a copy, read itand tell you my view.
HonEnnin, within 30 minutes, I would get backto you. Hon Member for Tarkwa-Nsuaem?
Mr Speaker, I havean amendment to item numbered vi. It ison paragraph (j). Since Hon Prempeh hasabandoned his amendment to delete thatand we have all agreed that we need thosepeople on board to continue the workthey are doing at this stage, I am goingto talk about my amendment. Mr Speaker, in the first Law --
First ofall, before we get to yours, let me say thatthe amendment advertised as itemnumbered v is hereby withdrawn.
Mr Speaker, it is notonly item numbered v, but all myamendments advertised under clause 4, Ihave withdrawn them.
Mr Speaker, I amcompletely opposed to this matter,because if we begin to introduce religiousgroups, we cannot leave out the Tigaripeople, the Buddhists, and all the othergroups. First of all, they have a role to play,which they have been playing very well.They do not need to be on the Council. Infact, it is the effectiveness of the Councilwe were looking at, so, if we introducegroups, the definition is going to put usinto more trouble. As he rightly said, if we say somebodyrepresenting the Christians, andsomebody representing Muslims, whatabout the Buddhists, the Hindi, and therest of them? So, while we know of the role -- Infact, the activity that the Hon MajorityChief Whip mentioned, is not right,because their activities are local andreflective of what they do in theircommunities. It is not their decision at thecouncil level.
Mr Speaker, I amconvinced by what he said. Instead ofremoving all the others, we should leavethem because they are organised groups,as compared to the Christians and theMuslims.This is because we would needto, in fairness, create space for otherbelievers. For the fact that majority of Ghanaiansare Christians and Muslims, we cannot saythat there are no other believers apart fromthese two faiths. Mr Speaker, in order to create a levelplaying field, let us take away the religiousgroups, but keep the others, and as HonPrempeh tried to propose, we remove theNational House of Chiefs and theemployers, since within those ones wecan find all these groups. So, we couldkeep those ones and take the religiousrepresentatives out.
Mr Speaker, I stronglyoppose the notion that we should takeout the Christian and then the Muslimgroups. I strongly oppose that notion. If we even look at the demographics ofGhana, it is very clear that these twogroups form close to 98 per cent of ourpopulation. If we look at the object of theBill, it is very clear. Stigmatisation is one of the mostimportant things they want to reduce.They are the people who do most of thework in their churches and in theirmosques. Are we saying that we shouldput Members of Parliament there andrather take them out? Please, I do not thinkit is wise; I do not think so. We should rather frame it in a way thatit would make meaning, but to take themout completely, no. Not at all.
HonMembers, if I recollect, one of the reasonsthis Bill took such a long time was that,there was a certain discomfort with havinga very large Board. In practice, the effectof having a large Board is unwieldy --some people never came and so forth. That was the thinking. Now, we havetried to reduce it. The question I ask is,have we cut off our noses to spite ourfaces? Have we made it so small, sounwieldy that now we are taking out theessential components? I hear some people advising that yes,we could have a slim and lean Board, butwe could create another body, some formof stakeholder consultation or publicinterest committee in the nature of --which therefore could then accommodatemuch more people. The truth of the matter is that, if wesay one representative of the Muslimgroup, are we going to take an Ahmadi orwe are going to take an orthodox Muslim?And if we say one member of the Christiangroup, are we going to take a member of theChristian Council, Charismatic, Pentecostal,or are they going to rotate? These are thematters that should agitate our minds.
Mr Speaker, I maylook very inconsistent this afternoon. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member forTarkwa/Nsuaem convinced me about nottaking them out completely, because theywere part of this from the beginning. Iagree. But who comes first, Mr Speaker,you would recall that we have done anumber of Bills here, where we say “arepresentative from the publicuniversities.” What I know is that, they rotate. Whenthis group serves for a period, the nextgroup serves for the next period, in thatorder. They keep track of that. That is nota problem. When we say a Christian group,one church or one group could say thatthey would do it in such a way that theywould present a representative this time.Next time, another would represent. Theycan rotate. The same is with the Muslims, Ibelieve. They would come together andin that case -- Because they have a forumwhere they meet -- they would chooseone, and the next time, they would chooseanother. That would not be difficult to do.
Butwould it not be better for both majorstrands of Islam, so, to speak, or themajor strands of the Christian groups forall to be represented? For example,geographically, you and I know thatAhmadiyya Muslims can be found incertain geographic locations.
Mr Speaker, fortunatelyfor us as a country, I am yet to be shownany part of this country or any village wherewe would say that, for this village, onlythis group exists. No matter the place, theway our country is, we are mixed. Wewould always have mixed Christians. Mr Speaker, if we are not careful andwe want to go into the details of trying toidentify all the major ones, we may end uphaving say, 10 very strong Muslimgroups, depending on what you aresaying. This is because in the Upper WestRegion or Wa in particular, I could tell youthat we have a very strong presence ofAhmadis, the Sunni and then theorthodox. Mr Speaker, with the Christians, youmay have the Catholics being very strong-- And you may have Presbyterians -- If we are not careful, we would strugglewith it, but one fortunate thing is that, allof them have their heads. These headscan come together, and it would be easierfor them to rotate as they have done in somany other -- I would want to agree that we shouldnot drop them completely, but it isimportant that we are watchful of thenumber, if we really want it to be effective,so that they rotate among themselves. Ibelieve that they are capable of identifyingand rotating among themselves, insteadof using the unworthiness issue to removethem completely.
Whatwas the original number?
Mr Speaker, I thinkthe original number was about six, and thetotal number, was about 47. [Inter-ruption.]
Mr Speaker, I appreciatewhat my Hon Colleague has said, but healso talked a while ago, that those groupsthat we have used to bring the diseasedown, we now want to take them away. The Christian groups were made up offour groups; the Catholic Secretariat, theChristian Council, the Ghana Pentecostaland Charismatic Council, and the NationalAssociation of Charismatic ChristianChurches Group. They were four on thisBoard, and then the Ahmadiyya was there,and the Muslims too. So, there were six religious groups. MrSpeaker, if we are now taking away thosewho helped to bring the incidence of thedisease down, it would not be fair. Weshould maintain all the six because it isgoing to bring a lot of problems inselecting from the Christian group. I knowthat in the Muslim groups too, they wouldalso -- [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, we cannot throw themaway now, so, if it was 47, we couldreduce it to 23 or perhaps 21, so that everyother person -- Otherwise, there is goingto be trouble, because we used them toreduce the incidence of AIDS. We know that with the disease, theyneed to give emotional support, and whoare the people who are there to give thisemotional support? It is the religiousgroups. So, Mr Speaker, we cannotabandon them now. Let us make it 21 or 23. They havementioned 17; it is a suggestion. This isour Bill. If we remove them, then the 17would be 15 now. It would not be 17, itwould be 15. Which groups are coming on board?We are going to bring problems. If we sayChristian groups, which are the groups?Mr Speaker, it is a problem.
HonMembers, the question I asked was howbig was the entire Board?Were they 47?
Mr Speaker, hitherto, theentire Board was 47.
How bigis it as at now?
Mr Speaker, we areattempting to reduce it to about 17.
Mr Speaker, if I were totake Hon Kusi's concerns on board, thenthey would be 24 by my counting,beginning with the President of theRepublic as the Chairperson, and addingthe six people at paragraph (J). If we count,they would be 24.
Whichis about half the size of the number in theprevious Bill.
It is half the size of theoriginal one. Suppose we do not make anychanges from the Bill that has beenbrought, we should remember that, the Billthat has been brought was signed by theAttorney-General and Minister forJustice. In their view, they felt that this numberwas all right. In Parliament, we are tryingto look at it, make it tidier, and give it abetter rendition by reducing the numbers.If it is creating problems for us, then whyshould we do it? This is because, if it was 47, then wemanaged to reduce it close to about 23 or24. I do not think -- it is 17 because weassume that paragraph (j) consists of onlytwo people. I do not know whether youget me. We are counting 17 because, webelieve that (j) is two. But if paragraph (j)is not two, and we add extra four, as theHon Kusi has espoused, then when weadd four to 17, it would give us 21. Mr Speaker, I do not believe it is a verylarge number. Even if we were to take herconcerns and say that we have four fromthe Christian group, two from the Muslimgroup, it would still be 21 members. We should allow the principle ofmaking them stay, but we should couch itin such a way that it does not bringconfusion, because the object of the Billis very clear.
Mr Speaker, wewould be careful to stand this down forfurther consultation, and to be able to dealwith it. I would therefore want to encouragemy Hon Colleagues to attend and arguetheir points when we call for winnowing,so that we would make progress.Otherwise, we may spend all the time onthis clause.
Mr Speaker, I do not thinkthe choice of representatives by thesegroups would pose any problems. This isbecause we have a committee ofcooperation among these religiousgroups. I once served on one of theseCommittees, representing the ChristianCouncil, and it comprised both theChristian and Muslim groups. I quite remember that the late MaulviDr Abdul Wahab Adam was a member ofthe committee of cooperation. He wasfrom the Ahmadiyya Mission. So, I do notthink that would pose any problems. They would understand the mechanism andthey can select somebody to representthem at the meeting of the committee ofcooperation.
TheClerk-at-the-Table is engaging me in someconversation. He is advising me --[Interruption.] According to Hon O. B. Amoah, I amnot supposed to say it, so, I would notsay it. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I just wantto draw your attention to the issue of theChristian groups. The Bill gave an interpretation of whatconstituted the Christian groups in clause41. The Christian group means theNational Catholic Secretariat, the ChristianCouncil of Ghana, and the GhanaPentecostal Council. Maybe, from what the Hon Gifty Kusisaid, it is the independent churches that-- [Interruption.]
HonMembers, let us stand clause 4 down.
Very well, Mr Speaker. So, we stand clause 4 down.
I believethat there are so many views on clause 4,that even when we put the Question, wewould wonder what Question we areputting. This is because each of the HonMembers who spoke expressed a slightlydifferent view. I think we should stand it down fortoday and give all of us an opportunity tothink through it a little and come back to ittomorrow. Hon Members, so, we stand downfurther consideration of clause 4, morespecifically, from clause 4 (a) (1), (j) -- Allright, let us stand down the whole of clause4, come back tomorrow and reconsider thewhole of clause 4. Clause 5 -- Tenure of office ofmembers.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 5, subclause (1), deleteand insert the following: “(1) A member of the Board shall holdoffice for a term of not more thanfour years and is eligible for re-appointment for another termonly. (2) Subsection (1) does not apply tothe Director-General of theCommission or any other personwho is a member of the Board byvirtue of office.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 5, subclause (3), line 1, after“Board”, insert the following: “other than a person who is amember of the Board by virtue ofoffice”.
“A member of the Board other thana person who is a member of theBoard by virtue of office who isabsent from three consecutivemeetings of the Board withoutsufficient cause ceases to be amember of the Board.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, subclause (9), line 1, delete“Subject to this section”.
“The Board may determine theprocedure for its meetings.”
Why areyou deleting that?
Mr Speaker, it is becausewe do not need to subject it to the sameclause once they all appear there. Theclause talks about meetings of the Board,so, all that we need to say is that, oncethey all come under the same headnote,we should just say that “the Board maydetermine the procedure for its meetings”rather than “subject to this section” --
But thatis not right. You have stated clause 6 (1)to (8) which sets out procedure. The Boardcannot do other than that procedure. TheBoard is bound by clause 6 (1) to (8). For example, the quorum for the Boardmay be nine members. The chairman shallpreside. All these are procedures atmeetings which are determined bystatutes. That is why subclause (9) statesthat matters that are not stated above shallbe determined by the Board. That should be the rendition, becauseif you just say that “the Board maydetermine”, it may not determine in respectof who presides, for example. So, thereshould be a rendition. I understand thepoint that Hon Yieleh Chireh is making, that for example, the rendition that“matters not provided for above may bedetermined by the Board”.
Mr Speaker, if we go intothe Interpretation Act, Boards determinetheir procedure, especially, if it is notwritten. Once we have written subclause(1) to (8), we do not actually needsubclause (9) in the sense. We can deletesubclause (9) without causing anyproblem. Subclause (1) to (8) talks about thecomposition -- the chairman, the quorum,but when they go after formalising themeeting, they determine the procedureespecially, if it is not in conflict with whatis written. I believe that we can deleteclause 6 (9), without any problem. If wedo that, we would proceed and go further.
Mr Speaker, I propose thatwe delete subclause (9) entirely.
Becareful about this entire deletion becauseyou would want to give the Board somestatutory basis for determining procedurewhich has not been set out here.Somebody would bring Gordon Rules.They can even start arguing about theprocedures that should be used or whohas the authority to determine thatprocedure. In my view, it does not spoil anythingif you state that, apart from the proceduresset out above, the Board shall determinethe procedure for its meetings.
Mr Speaker, I see thewisdom in your suggestion, and I mayrather go by the suggestion to abandonthe proposed amendment so thatsubclause (9) stands as it is, to make roomfor any grounds that may arise in the futurefor the Board to determine its ownprocedure. If we would want to say so, then whatwe ought to do is to say that “Subject tothis section, the Board may adopt anothermethod”. Which other method? Is it thequorum they would vary? How are wegoing to do that? That is why I think weshould just delete it, but subjecting it toitself, and not indicating which possibleissue will arise that would require to bedone.
HonYieleh Chireh, we do not have to envisagethe issue before we make the provision.For example, when you look at ourStanding Order (6), it reads: “In all cases not provided for inthese Orders, Mr Speaker shall makeprovisions as he deems fit.” I am not saying that the Chairman ofthe Board should make provision as hedeems fit. I am saying that, the StandingOrders which is much more extensive thanwhat they have put there, anticipates thepossibility of a situation arising, wherethe Standing Orders do not provide for. I believe that is what you anticipatedin subclause (9). In subclause (9), youanticipate that something may arise thatyou may not find here. As it were, thereare much more detailed rules of meetings.If you look at our Standing Orders, andeven the Companies Act -- things canarise. So, even the Interpretation Act hasprovisions. I am not taking part in the debate, so,Hon Chairman of the Committee, let megive it to you.
Mr Speaker, I beg towithdraw the advertised amendment forsubclause (9).
Theamendment is accordingly withdrawn.
Mr Speaker, since he iswithdrawing the amendment, I do not havemuch, but it is because of the earlierargument that we made. What you suggested should be, oncewe have determined the procedurealready, if we subject it to the procedure,then there must be some addition to showthat any other matter, but which othermatter it is, is already indicated in theprocedure. That was why I advocated that wedelete it because, at any time, if a mattercomes up for discussion, they are guidedby the same procedure from subclause (1)to (8). As far as your first argument isconcerned, there is no other way you candecide on a matter except to follow whathas been put in subclause (1) to (8).
HonYieleh Chireh, it is always useful to havean omnibus clause. Look at our StandingOrders. We have talked about so manythings, but we have that omnibus clausethat says that, where the Standing Ordersare silent, the procedure shall bedetermined -- Hon Yieleh Chireh, when the StandingOrders are silent, how is the proceduredetermined?
I am following yourargument. First of all, where the issue --In fact, if a matter comes before this Board,the Board can only follow the proceduresfrom subclause (1) to (8). That argument you put is correct.Where you do not elaborately put out theprocedures to be adopted, that is wherethe Board itself can, by their ownarrangement, set rules for their procedure.I cannot imagine what it is that when it isbefore this Board, they would now haveto look for a different procedure, otherthan what is written there.
HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I havebeen informed by the Hon Chairman ofCommittee that, the Constitutional, Legaland Parliamentary Affairs Committee ismeeting the Electoral Commission thisafternoon. The visitors are in there so, theywould want us to bring --
HonMembers, this brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage of the Ghana AIDSCommission Bill, 2015 for today. I believe that, that is also an indicationthat we should bring our proceedings toa close.
Rightly so, MrSpeaker. It is already past 2.00 o'clock,so, the House is in your hands.