Debates of 04 January 2017

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Chief Whip?

Speaker
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka

Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Majority Leader and Chairman of the Business Committee, I would want to crave your indulgence and that of the House to take the Business Statement for the Sixth Week. I am a member of that Committee.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Member?

Speaker
Dr Anthony A. Osei

Mr Speaker, I do not know where the Business Statement is. This is because some of us do not have copies. So, we are not able to follow the Business of the House. Maybe, the Leadership has, but we do not have.

Speaker
Alhaji Muntaka

Mr Speaker, I am surprised at my Hon Colleague. I do not know whether he has gone to his pigeon hole this morning. This is because it is in the pigeon hole. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Order! Order!

Speaker
Alhaji Muntaka

Mr Speaker, a number of my Hon Colleagues picked theirs from the pigeon holes. Maybe, he did not go there early but what we know is that, they were distributed into the pigeon holes. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, Hon Members who do not have, should raise their hands for them to be given copies. There are enough copies ready.

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

Mr Speaker, first, I noticed there is no information on the Business Statement for the exact modalities to the exit of some of our Hon Colleagues. I recall that last week, we received notices that Hon Members must move out of their offices by 6th of January and there was a discussion, whether in the process of exiting, their entitlements would be made to them. That has not been discussed here. So, I am asking the Business Committee, since they are asking Hon Members to exit by 6th January, how do they exit under such circumstances? This is because there is no information here. So, I would like to know. Second, Mr Speaker, I am a member of the Finance Committee and as far as I know, as a Ranking Member, no meeting has been held but the Papers are being presented here --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Meeting in connection with what?

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

The item numbered 1 on page 1 of the Business Statement.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, can we have some quiet? I can hardly hear him.

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

Mr Speaker, I just want to know how the Business Committee has programmed the presentation of a Report that as far as --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Chief Whip, can you respond to this?

Speaker
Alhaji Muntaka

Mr Speaker, let me start with the second one. I talked with the Chairman of the Finance Committee on phone who said that invitation was extended and he personally spoke to the Ranking Member. Whether he attended, I would not be able to tell but the Chairman of the Finance Committee said that, they just finished with the meeting. Hon Sorogho even whispered behind me that, as a member of the Committee, they were invited to the meeting and he was there. So, I do not know what Hon Akoto Osei is talking about that so far as he is concerned, no meeting was held. Mr Speaker, with regard to the first one, it is not a matter for the Business Committee but having the privilege of being in Leadership, the arrangement is that all of us, especially, our Hon Colleagues who unfortunately are exiting are supposed to hand over their offices latest by the close of 6th January. The simple reason is that, when they were moving in, together with officers in the House, they went through the inventory of the items that were in the offices.

Speaker
Alhaji Muntaka

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Order! Order!

Speaker
Alhaji Muntaka

Mr Speaker, it is just to ensure that Hon Members properly hand over their offices. Unfortunately, my Hon Colleague, Hon Akoto Osei has asked for the details here. That is why I am taking this opportunity to just give this information. But how they are exiting, he knows that Parliament gets automatically dissolved on the midnight of 6th January and that is it.

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

Mr Speaker, I was not asking for my Hon Colleague to give us details. What I was hoping for was that the Business Committee would have programmed a meeting of the Committee of the Whole to discuss those modalities. [Interruption.] But it was not programmed and that is why I asked. This is because there is no indication that there is a Committee meeting. I expected that that meeting would be programmed. There was no meeting on these matters, I tell you as a matter of fact.

Speaker
Alhaji Sorogho

Mr Speaker, these are part of Businesses that we should have done the last time which were brought forward. Mr Speaker, yes, the invitation was sent. I am a member of the Finance Committee. We have a normal way by which we reach Hon Members. So, I started reading on the platform that we were supposed to meet three days ago and that was how we met. The meeting was scheduled for 9.00 a.m. At exactly 9.00 00 a.m., we went for the meeting. Attendance was as many as eleven (11) Hon Members as at the time I went there, which meant that Hon Members from both Houses were --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

What is the quorum for that Committee?

Speaker
Alhaji Sorogho

Mr Speaker, the number is twenty-five (25) and the quorum is eight (8). But we had 11 Hon Members, which was more than the quorum. Mr Speaker, we just completed that meeting this morning. There were others that were being considered. But because of other Motions, as the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy, I had to rush down. Mr Speaker, I called that Chairman who informed me that they had finished with the meeting and that they were coming down. With the others, the first one that was done had been captured as item numbered 5 (i) on the Order Paper. Mr Speaker, this is not the first time we are doing this. I am surprised that the Hon Ranking Member -- I thought he would come for the meeting.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

Mr Speaker, this is a House of records. My Hon Colleague said that there were Hon Members from both sides of this House. Mr Speaker, on the Minority side, when we met last week, there was a firm decision -- [Interruption] -- He said both Houses. Which Houses is he talking about? Mr Speaker, it was clear that, on this side of the House, we did not partake in discussions on any loan agreement. So, can the Hon Member state for the records, which Hon Member on this side of the House. He said both Houses; I do not know the Houses he is talking about. This is because there is only one House. [Interruption] -- But he said ‘both Houses'. I would want to know which Hon Members on this side of the House showed up. I do not believe that is true.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, we could go on and on. I am interested in the quorum and the number of Hon Members present at that time.

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

If they had a quorum on their side, that is fair. But for him to say that on both sides or both Houses - -[Interruption.]

Speaker
Alhaji Sorogho

Mr Speaker, fortunately, this is a House of records. I cannot forge my Senior Colleague's signature. There is an attendance sheet which Hon Members signed. It is only fair that the attendance sheet for that particular meeting is produced. This is because, my Hon Colleague was there, we had two-thirds this morning at 9.00 o'clock -- He should go to the platform, he was not there and it is not the first time that he had not attended a meeting. All of us at one time or the other may not be able to attend. Mr Speaker, the most important thing is the quorum. Aside the quorum, the two sides were represented and it is not a big deal. So, that is it.

Speaker
Papa Owusu-Ankomah

Mr Speaker, I am surprised. I called the Clerk-at-the- Table at 10.30 a.m. and I was told that the Hon Chairman had just entered. There were not enough Hon Members but the Ministers were present. I told the Clerk- at-the-Table that, presumably, the meeting would not come on. This is because we had indicated that, we were not going to participate in the approval of loans and so forth in Committee, but I wanted an assurance. As the Hon Deputy Majority Chief Whip who is also a member of the Committee -- But if they say that there were Hon Members present and they signed, I do not have a problem with it, except that it would be scrutinised very well.

Speaker
Papa Owusu-Ankomah

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, I would bring a close to this line of debate. Hon Members, the Business Statement for the 6th Week ending Thursday, 6th January, 2017 is hereby adopted as the Statement that will guide our proceedings for that week.

Speaker
Mr Kobina T. Hammond

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I am afraid I may have to take the House back to the Votes and Proceedings. Mr Speaker, I glanced through it and realised that, on page ten (10), Motion numbered 7, I am listed as supporting that Motion that was moved for the adoption of the Committee Report --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, we have gone past that.

Speaker
Mr Hammond

Mr Speaker, it is so critical. I am afraid, I was not here; I just realised it.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

I am afraid you are out of order. We have gone past that. If there is anything, discuss it with the Table Office and let us see how we can move forward, otherwise, we have gone through that process. It is over and done with.

Speaker
Mr Hammond

Mr Speaker, it is an error by the House and he cannot correct it? This is because I did not do that. I got up to challenge the Report and said that, we could not pass it. I have read that I supported it and that I said it should pass.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, unfortunately, we have gone past that stage.

Speaker
Mr Hammond

So, what is the way forward? It has to be rectified.

Speaker
Alhaji Muntaka

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Businesses that we have are on finance. The Chairman of the Finance Committee is not here. The Right to Information Bill for whatever reason is not on the Order Paper. We are trying to get the Clerk-at-the- Table to bring the amendment on the Bill. Mr Speaker, the Chairman of the Finance Committee is here -- [Interruption] -- He just told me that the reports are being printed, so, we have to suspend Sitting for about an hour and then come back.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Hon Members, in the circumstances, I direct that Sitting be suspended for one hour. 12.38 p.m. -- Sitting suspended. 6.20 p.m -- Sitting resumed.

Speaker
Majority Leader/Leader of the House (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin)

Mr Speaker, I am sorry it has taken me sometime before speaking. This is because I was not here in the morning and I had to be briefed on where we stopped before the suspension of Sitting. I am told that they only presented the Business Report for this week. So, I propose that we lay the Papers on item numbered 5. I have been told that a few Papers are ready under item numbered 5 of today's Order Paper.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business -- item numbered 5.

PAPERS

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, item numbered (iii). (iii)Report of the Finance Committee on the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Messrs Atlantis Global Enterprises FZCO Company Incorporated under the laws of the United Arab Emirates for a sum up to eighty- three million, nine hundred and eighty-five thousand, five hundred and twenty-three United States dollars (US$83,985,523.00) to pre-finance the project design, site engineering, fabrication, construction and building of fifty (50) Farm Service Centres (FSCs), Allied Support Projects and Programmes on Turnkey Basis in the First Phase of the Go- vernment's Agricultural -Strategy.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Bagbin

Mr Speaker, we could now re-constitute the House into a Committee of the Whole to consider the items on the Order Paper Addendum.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Hon Members, this House accordingly moves into a Closed Sitting. 6.55 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, can we have some order please? Hon Members, having regard to the time, I direct that we adjourn Sitting till tomorrow at 9.00 o'clock so that we can deal with this matter before the State of the Nation Address by which time the Report would have been made ready.

ADJOURNMENT

The House was adjourned at 6.56 p.m. till Thursday, 5th January, 2017 at 9.00 a.m.