VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, we can clearly see that we do not need anyone to come and tell us that we need to take our place in the Chamber at the appropriate time and be seen to be serving our people. Thank you. Item numbered 2 -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. The Votes and Proceedings of Wed- nesday, 22nd March, 2017.
Item numbered 3 -- Questions -- The Question stands in the name of Hon Ras Mubarak, Member for Kumbungu. Hon Member?
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR
Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister aware that the medical bill of the victim has not been covered by the Police? Mr Speaker, I would also want to know what assurance he would give to this Honourable House that the medical bill and indeed, adequate compensation for the victim would be covered?
Mr Speaker, I would want to assure the Hon Member that, the case is still under investigation. But steps would be taken to ensure that the medical bills of the victim are covered. Mr Speaker, concerning other aspects of compensation, the outcome of the investigation would determine that. But
Mr Speaker, I would want to know if the Hon Minister would assure the House of reviews of the standard procedures used by the Police in respect of the use of live ammunition in riot control.
Mr Speaker, I would want to assure the Hon Member that it is part of the programme that, we would roll out to ensure that the Police are well trained in the handling of weaponry and in the way that they arrest and deal with mob action. Indeed, the incident that occurred in Kumasi which involved the students raised an issue that compelled -- the President came out to give directives to that extent. Yes, we are concerned. Mr Speaker, what is worrying is that, in this case, the warning shot did not hit the people within the mob that were to be arrested, but actually went a distance off. We are concerned and would make sure that the Police know how to handle these guns and that collateral damage and injuries would be minimised, if not eliminated.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister if the Regional Police Commander has made any arrest of the people who extorted moneys from the sand winners.
Mr Speaker, the investigation is ongoing and we have not got to that stage yet. Mr Speaker, because the District Assembly is involved, we would still try and get to the bottom of the matter. But those who extorted moneys would also be arrested and statements would be taken from them and where necessary, they would be prosecuted.
Mr Speaker, in paragraph one of the Hon Minister's Answer, he said that this incident was as a result of people who extorted money from drivers who were winning sand from a river bank. He also said the victim was hit as a result of a warning shot. I know that if one wants to fire a warning shot, it would be fired into the air and it is unlikely someone would be hurt the way he was hurt. I would want to know if the Hon Minister can assure the House that this investigation would tell us exactly whether the police officer, probably, did not use the fire arm appropriately.
Mr Speaker, yes, it is important that we find out how it actually happened. But as I said earlier, this unfortunate victim was a distance away. We are concerned and we would find out how it was fired -- whether it was fired in a manner it should have been fired in the circumstances. Mr Speaker, moving forward, we would need to have other ways to arrest and control crowd away from live bullets. All that is part of the plan. Mr Speaker, it is a matter of concern and we would need to deal with that.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know if the Hon Minister would give an indication when the investigations
currently underway would be concluded since it had been three months when the incident in question occurred. I believe it occurred in December, 2016, and we are now in March, 2017 and he had told the House that the investigations are underway. I would want to know the timeline as to its conclusion and when the Report would be issued.
Mr Speaker, I would want to assure the Hon Member that, I would insist that it is done as soon as possible. The Hon Member should also not forget that these last three months have been very active months requiring the attention of the Police; including the incident that occurred in Bimbilla in the same region and other institutions that the Police have to go round to secure. I would want to assure the Hon Member that, the Police themselves know that Parliament is interested in this matter, and I shall follow up to make sure that, that is done in a reasonable time.
Mr Speaker, of late, it is as if the Police have lost touch in terms of crowd control. I would want to ask the Hon Minister if he would assure the House that, he would give them maximum training on how to handle weapons in terms of crowd control.
Mr Speaker, yes, we intend to give them training and this House has a role to play. There is a budget that would come before this House and we hope that we would be able to get the support to train the Police. I would also appeal to various international institutions to help us in that direction. It is a tricky situation. Sometimes, one would go out and think that the Police is high handed, and at another time, when they would want to be soft, they would have problems like what happened in the University of Cape Coast (UCC). Mr Speaker, we are committed to doing the training.
The next Question which is starred, Question numbered 3 on the Order Paper, stands in the name of Hon Ras Mubarak, Member of Parliament for Kumbungu. Assault on ASP Nanka Bruce Q.3. Mr Ras Mubarak asked the Minister for the Interior whether he was aware that a police officer named ASP Nanka Bruce, was assaulted on the 9th of January, 2017, at the Flagstaff House, which incident was widely reported by the print and electronic Media including GTV. If so, what measures had been taken in that regard?
Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister tell the House, who gave authorisation for the two suspects to access the Flagstaff House? This is because it is a security zone, and nobody can just walk into the Flagstaff House.
Mr Speaker, I would not have personal knowledge. I believe that the Flagstaff House is a place that people have access, they go there, they are checked at the gate and they are allowed to enter. That is what I know; that is the experience that I have. But about how they entered and by whatever means they got in and what they did there, is a matter of concern. It is an act that should be investigated and punished. We believe that, when the warrant of arrest is effected, the law would take its course.
Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister give the necessary assurances that, security zones like the Flagstaff House would be accessed only by persons who are properly screened?
Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the Hon Member of Parliament that, I am more interested in the security of the Flagstaff House than his statement portrays. But it remains a challenge that we need to handle. Now, I know that there is reorga- nisation there. I am sure the Hon Member reads in the newspapers that people are trained and sent there. We are trying to make sure that we prevent criminal activities there. At the same time, we must also know, that it is the House that houses the President and Ghanaians are given access whenever necessary, subject to the due security procedures.
Any other Questions?
May I come to the Leaders later?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. In this era, we know that the number one Gentleman of the land, who should be protected most, resides at the Flagstaff House. Yet, we have a situation where somebody who cannot be apprehended at the moment, accessed the Flagstaff House and allegedly carried out an assault. What guarantee do we have that this cannot repeat itself, bearing in mind what happened at the British Parliament yesterday? What assurances can the Hon Minister give that our President is safe and this thing would not repeat itself?
Mr Speaker, I share the concerns and apprehensions of the Hon Member of Parliament, especially in view of the fact that, he shows commitment to the security of the first Gentleman of the land. Mr Speaker, all I can say is that, it is an ongoing process. We need to train our people some more; we need to increase the security apparatus and also do so with the help of people who are appropriately trained. We will continue to do that. But the commitment is there to protect the President. Mr Speaker, just like what the Hon Member said about what happened at the British House of Commons, I am sure they had security there. We can only hope that we continue to improve the security. We also know that, security is a collective responsibility. I would ask all Ghanaians to help us protect the Flagstaff House.
Mr Speaker, as far as I know, this was an incident. I represent H. E. the President. We have not restrained or constrained any investigation. We would make sure that anybody who commits an offence is dealt with. We are not aware that anybody in authority did that -- And if anybody in authority did that, it is beyond the person's authority and should also be investigated. Mr Speaker, as far as I know, this is an incident which must be dealt with in its appropriate context as unacceptable.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I beg to ask the Hon Minister for the Interior a follow-up Question which is to do with an assurance that we may seek from him, that this incident did not have any endorsement from the State whatsoever, considering that a military officer on duty was detained after the incident for allegedly leaking the CCTV footage. His wife, one Abena was on Class FM on the 17th of February, 2017, and she said that her husband, the military officer who was on duty at the Flagstaff House, had to be detained beyond 72 hours without food and water. That gave a rather unfortunate semblance of some attempt to rather go after who was trying to blow the whistle; who was trying to reveal the unfortunate incident. Mr Speaker, to what extent is the Hon Minister aware of this attempt to victimise the military personnel who were on duty, who allegedly leaked the close-circuit television (CCTV) footage? And what assurance do we have that there was no endorsement by the State in this particular incident?
Mr Speaker, the Question that has been asked by the Hon Member is outside the Question that I have been asked to answer. It is not a subject matter to which my attention has been drawn. The Question is directly about what the matter is, as far as the investigation is concerned. Mr Speaker, I restrict myself to that. I am not aware of this. Mr Speaker, should the Hon Member want an Answer, he could appropriately ask the appropriate Questions and I would be glad to get information on that.
Mr Speaker, this is much related to this matter. I am not talking about a different case at all. It is the same assault case on ASP Nii Nanka Bruce on the 9th of January, 2017. It is the same matter and in it, the military personnel who were on duty were detained for allegedly leaking the CCTV footage. It is not a different case I am raising. So, can the Hon Minister for the Interior assure this House and the nation, that this was not endorsed in any way by the State, and that we would not see this recurring under the tenure of a respected constitutional lawyer, H.E President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo?
Hon Member, as much as you may be of the view that the Question is proximate enough, the Hon Minister does not see it that way. You are at liberty to bring a Question, specifically directed at the area you seek as soon as you can. Hon Members, any other Questions?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Hon Minister, from your investigations so far, would you see this incident as a personal action by an individual, and not something that is endorsed by the State?
You want the Hon Minister to venture further opinion on what has been answered?
Mr Speaker, yes, please.
Hon Minister, please, answer.
Mr Speaker, I have answered this Question.
Hon Minister, proceed to repeat your Answer for the Hon Member to be satisfied.
Mr Speaker, I want to emphasise that there is no official support of any wrongdoing, and I would not support such. As far as I am concerned, it is a matter that we are pursuing and we would do that to its logical conclusion.
Mr Speaker, in the Answer given by the Hon Minister, he gave the name to be “Mumuni Jabil”. Is it “Jalil” or “Jabil”? Mr Speaker, in accessing the Flagstaff House, it is not possible for anybody to access that place without the details of that person taken. What is “and one . . . Abu”. Mr Speaker, this is because the person accessing the Flagstaff House would have to go through some routine check. So, how could we just have only one name, “Abu”. We should be able to have the other name. Mr Speaker, if one wants to access Parliament, one would tell the receptionist the person he is visiting. So, it is not possible for us to say that, up till now, we are not able to track these two gentlemen, when those they claimed to have visited at the Flagstaff House are still there. Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Minister if the name is “Jalil” or “Jabil”, and why are we not able to get the other name of the “Abu”, and why it has taken us this long to be able to arrest the gentlemen?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Chief Whip has asked a Question in a submission and an address — Let me please make this clear. This incident, as the Question has stated, and the Answer has reiterated, took place on 9th January, 2017. I am not aware that as at 9th January, anybody wrote the names of people going into that place. I am not aware.
Mr Speaker, I have not said that there was no security on the 9th of January, 2017. The Hon Member asked of procedure, namely; writing names of people who got in and out. I am not aware that there was such a system. Mr Speaker, it is an ongoing investigation, and I do not want to prejudice any investigation to make statements that are definite and committal. I would be doing more than I should do as a Minister, answering Questions before this august House. It is a very important obligation that I must be within the limits. Mr Speaker, suffice it to say, that, the investigation is ongoing. We have made a publication to arrest — There is a court warrant for arrest, and it means that due process is rolling, and we should allow it to take its course.
Thank you very much. Any Question from Leadership on the Majority side?
Hon Minister for the Interior, thank you very much for attending upon the House and Answering Questions. Hon Members, item numbered 4 — Statements. Hon Members, we have a Statement which stands in the name of Hon Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, Member for Bolgatanga East, by way of a tribute to the late Hon Simon Abingya.
Mr Speaker, it is with deep sorrow that I beg to pay tribute to a great son of Ghana, Upper East Region and Bolgatanga to be specific -- the late Simon Abingya, who served as the Member of Parliament for the then Bolgatanga Constituency from 1996 to 2000 on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Hon Abingya died on February 24, 2017 at the 37 Military Hospital after a protracted illness. Mr Speaker, Hon Abingya began his political career right from his days as a student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) where he was the secretary to the Student Representative Council (SRC). Upon completion of his studies at the KNUST, his political career took root when he stood for election as the Member of Parliament for the Bolgatanga Constituency in 1979 on the ticket of the Third Force Party. He lost the elections to the candidate of the then People's National Party (PNP). Mr Speaker, after his disappointing loss in the 1979 general elections, Hon Abingya sojourned briefly in Nigeria where he taught mathematics at the Sokoto Polytechnic, before returning to Ghana at the request of the Chairman of the PNDC to become the Deputy Regional Secretary for the Upper East Region and was later transferred to the Upper West Region in the same capacity. In 1992 when the PNDC gave up power and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won the general elections, he was appointed Deputy Minister for Mines and Energy, a position he held for two terms. He remained active with the NDC until he got ill shortly after going on a campaign with the late Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills. Mr Speaker, Hon Abingya would be remembered for his unwavering love and dedication to his family, his tremendous contribution to the social and economic development of the Bolgatanga Consti- tuency and his village of Kalbeo. Notable among his contributions are the construction of the BOST fuel depot in Bolgatanga, which he single-handedly initiated; the construction of a fuel supply line from Buipe to Bolgatanga and the massive connection of many villages in the Bolgatanga municipal area to the national electricity grid. Indeed, it is common to hear villagers talk of “Abingya bugum”, to wit, Abingya's electricity. Mr Speaker, as a politician, Hon Abingya was a man of integrity and a disciplinarian and a person who expressed his views even in the face of opposition. He was a forthright politician and in many ways exemplified the kind of politician we need in the 21st Century Ghana. He was a skilful organiser and is singlehandedly credited with the reorganisation of the NDC in the Bolgatanga Constituency that resulted in turning that constituency from being a stronghold of the PNC into its current state as a stronghold of the NDC. The late Hon Simon Abingya is survived by his wife, Vivian, and five children. He would be dearly missed and fondly remembered, especially by the NDC family.
Hon Chireh, you may contribute.
Mr Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I would want to also add my voice to the tribute of the late Hon Simon Abingya. Mr Speaker, the late Hon Simon Abingya was a very sincere and dedicated public servant. As already indicated, he served in the Upper West Region as the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Deputy Regional Secretary, and has left landmarks in terms of the contributions that he made there. The leadership qualities of the late Hon Simon Abingya were very early identified. He was one of the lucky young men then to have passed through some process of going to America on the American Field Unit Scholarship. He came back to Navrongo Secondary School (NAVASCO), and immediately was made the Assistant Senior Prefect. Again, this position he served very well.
Thank you, Hon Member. Mr I. Adongo — rose --
Mr Speaker, congratulations to the Hon Member who first made the Statement. I beg to associate with the Statement, and to indicate that the late Hon Simon Abingya happened to have left very big boots behind. Today, it takes Hon Dr Ayine and I, from the Bolgatanga Central and Bolgatanga East Constituencies to wear the very good big boots that Hon Simon Abingya used to wear as an Hon Member of Parliament. Mr Speaker, we do know that the late Hon Simon Abingya happened to be one of the few politicians who have played a critical role in extending electricity to various parts of the country under the Rural Electrification Project. It was a project that was very dear and passionate to his heart. It is unfortunate that after several years since Hon Simon Abingya left office, we still find constituencies and rural communities, particularly coming from his own paramountcy, that are still struggling to benefit from the very passion of Hon Abingya. Mr Speaker, I stand here today to say that as an Hon Member of Parliament for the constituency where Hon Simon Abingya fought so hard, it actually saddens my heart to realise that, there are even catchment areas within Simon Abingya's own village that do not have electricity. I do believe that the Government would continue the tremendous works that have been done by previous Governments to ensure that, rural electrification is extended to all of these areas. Mr Speaker, I also say that Hon Simon Abingya was a very strong unifier, and for those of us who were very young at the time when he was in his prime, we always saw him as a good example of leadership. Today, to be celebrating the hard work and the successes of Hon Abingya at this critical moment, it is important for us to appreciate the fact that as a role model, he has impacted the lives of youths who are today walking the very path that he laid for us. Mr Speaker, but it is also important that as we celebrate such an important personality, we spare some thoughts for his family and people very close to him that they would be able to find comfort and solace in the good Lord, and when we also leave office tomorrow, we hope that we would have done quite a lot to enhance the work that Hon Simon Abingya did. Mr Speaker, I do believe that, Hon Dominic Ayine, who is now holding one fort of Hon Samuel Abingya, and myself, would dedicate ourselves to the purpose for which he fought very hard, to enhance these communities. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Hon Minority Leader, if you could just wait -- Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity, and to thank the maker of the Statement, Hon Dr Ayine, for paying tribute and eulogising the Hon Simon Abingya who was an Hon Member of this House from 1997 to 2000. He was a member of the Appointments Committee, and also served the country as Hon Deputy Minister for Mines and Energy. Mr Speaker, in eulogising him, the Hon Simon Abingya was modest and humble as a person. As the nation mourns the athlete and the politician, I recall and in reference to the Hansard of 30th January, 1997, the Hon Abingya contributed to a debate on the Floor of Parliament, and this is what he had to say. I would just want to fondly remember him for those words.
Mr Speaker, this is what a constituent had to say about the Hon Simon Abingya, and with your permission, I quote: “Hon Member of Parliament, you helped us, your government helped us, now, I have a wife; I have a bicycle because you employed me.” He touched many lives as a respected Hon Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga, and inspired many young people to the rigorous politics in the Upper East Region and nationally at large. Mr Speaker, may I respectfully convey to the bereaved family our deepest sympathy and condolences. I pray that God would give them the fortitude to accept the loss; it is a national loss -- a loss to this House and a loss to our country. May the soul of the late Hon Simon Abingya rest in perfect peace. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I rise to also add my voice to the tribute to the late Hon Simon Abingya and our hearts pour out to the family. Indeed, Ghana has lost a great son; someone who has served his nation, who has been part of this august House before and who has served as a Hon Deputy Minister for Mines and Energy. He is no more here today with us humans. It is only fair and in the right direction that we celebrate great men who have contributed their quota to the development of our great nation. I believe that if we do so, we would instil in our children and the youth, the spirit of patriotism and the spirit of service to the nation. Many at times because of the hectic nature of public service, we do not allocate enough time for ourselves, especially on health issues. Mr Speaker, statistics have shown that the blood pressure of many Hon Members of Parliament are alright when they enter the House; but as they leave, their blood pressure shoots up. Inasmuch as we want to serve the people to the greatest of our ability, we should also make time to take care of our health, go for routine checks, exercise a lot and also be proud of ourselves. This is because, if we are not healthy, we cannot serve our nation the way we would want to.
Thank you very much. Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements. At the Commencement of Public Business -- item numbered 5 on the Order Paper. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what do we have ready?
Mr Speaker, we have a number of Papers that would be laid this morning, and we would begin with item numbered 5 (m) on the Order Paper, which is the Report of the Joint Committee --
Hon Member, in other words, none of the items listed under item 5 (a) is ready yet.
Mr Speaker, item numbered 5 (m) --
I am asking whether none of items 5 (a) (i), (ii) and (iii) is still ready and if so, do you know why? We just want to know.
Mr Speaker, very well. Items numbered 5 (a) (i), (ii) and (iii) are not ready, and per your leave, I would ask that we vary the order of Business per Standing Order --
I would be grateful if the reminder to the appropriate quarters would continue for very good reasons as you said yesterday.
Mr Speaker, very well.
Please, go on with what is ready.
Mr Speaker, we have communicated to the Office of the President, so, we would make sure that it comes in. On that note, I believe that leave has been granted to vary the order of business for the day and take item numbered 5 (m).
Mr Speaker, we would now take item numbered 5 (f)b on the Order Paper. By the Chairman of the Committee -- (i) Report of the Committee on Finance on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Office of the Head of Civil Service for the year ending 31st December, 2017. (ii) Report of the Committee on Finance on the Annual Budget Estimates of the National Development Planning Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2017. (iii) Report of the Committee on Finance on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Finance for the year ending 31st December, 2017. (iv) Report of the Committee on Finance on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Government Machinery for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Mr Speaker, we would move to item numbered 5(h). By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Energy for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, item numbered 5(j) on page 3. That would be taken by Hon Moses Anim, who is a member of the Committee, instead of the Hon Chairman.
Very well. Hon Member, you may do so. By Mr Moses Anim (on behalf of) the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee on Education on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Education for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Please, the next item?
Mr Speaker, we could take item numbered 5(p) (ii) on page 5 on the Order Paper. By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee on Communications on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Information for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Mr Speaker, we would take item numbered 5(o) (i), (ii) and (iii) on page 5. By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Defence for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the Annual Budget Estimates of the National Security for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of the Interior for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Mr Speaker, respectfully, we would take item numbered 5(n) (i) on page 5. By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, that would be all for today for Papers to be presented to the House; except that the House has been supplied with an Addendum to the Order Paper. Respectfully, there would be a Paper to be laid on the Earmarked Fund Capping and Realignment Bill, 2017. That would be done by Hon (Dr) Akoto Osei who is a member of the Finance Committee. By Dr Anthony A. Osei (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) -- Report of the Finance Committee on the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Bill, 2017.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, we could be guided to take the Motion numbered as item 12 on the Order Paper, which is a Motion to be moved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Hon Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs is here to present the Report.
Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs, you may move the Motion numbered as item 12.00 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, and in doing so, present the Committee's Report. Introduction The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2017 Financial Year was presented to the House on Thursday 2nd March, 2017, by the Minister for Finance Mr Ken Offori Atta.The Estimates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs for consideration and report in accordance with article 103 (3) of the Constitution and Order 140(4) of the Standing Orders of the House. Pursuant to the referral, the Committee met and discussed the Estimates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and Officials from the Ministry of Finance and hereby presents this Report. Reference documents In considering the Estimates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Committee referred to the following: 1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; 2. Standing Orders of Parliament; 3. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2017 Financial Year; and 4. The 2017 Estimates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Acknowledgement The Committee wishes to acknowledge the Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey for providing able leadership to the Ministry in the course of the deliberations of the Committee. The Committee further wishes to thank the Acting Chief Director, Mr Edwin N. Adjei and Officials of the Ministry for assisting the Committee to carry out its mandate. Background In line with the GSGDAI policy objectives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs exists to collaborate with relevant MDAs to diversify and increase exports, accelerate economic and social integration with other regional and Sub- Regional States and promote rules- based and equitable international trading system. Furthermore, it is to promote international peace and sustainable development, as well as leverage economic and technological opportunities for sustainable development and optimise the potential impact of migration for Ghana's development. In pursuance of this mandate, the Ministry has set for itself, a protected goal to improve Ghana's Foreign Interest that is competitive globally and effectively accelerate economic integration with other regional and sub regional States to place Ghana on a path of sustained accelerated growth and poverty reduction. The primary functions of the Ministry include: To initiate, formulate, coordinate and implement Ghana's Foreign policy objectives Advance Ghana's Economic interest by working with other MDAs for the promotion of “made in Ghana” brand and expansion of trade, tourism and inward investment Coordinate Ghana's contribution to regional integration for the promotion and protection of the national interest Develop and coordinate Ghana's position at multilateral fora to ensure that, the outcomes serve Ghana's interest to the greatest extent possible; Develop and maintain cordial bilateral relations with friendly countries in all fields of endeavors; Develop institutional frameworks, including joint commissions for corporation and bilateral consul- tations mechanisms for the conduct of productive and mutually beneficial relations; Collaborate closely with the Attorney-General's Office for the establishment of an integrated legal service within the Ministry and maximise Ghana's representation and participation in international legal fora and related bodie The Mission and Vision The Ministry is the principal organ of State responsible for advising government on the formulation of the nation's foreign policy, and implementing
its objectives in the most efficient and cost effective manner. Its vision is to build a well-resourced Ministry, capable of establishing, developing and sustaining international goodwill, solidarity, and attracting support from development partners for national development. Agencies under the Ministry In order to achieve its goals and objectives, the Ministry relies on the following Agencies in the pursuit of its mandate: The Headquarters: Fifty-seven (57) Ghana Diplomatic Missions and Consular Posts abroad and three subvented organisations as follows: National African Peer Review Mechanism-Governing Council (NAPRM-GC) Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) All Africa Students' Union (AASU). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs relies on the above mentioned Agencies for the supervision of specific operational functions including: formulating and executing Ghana's foreign policy in order to achieve the objectives therein organising intensive monitoring of activities Undertaking sensitisation and dissemination exercises on the African Peer Review Mechanism; training Foreign Service Officers and other public servants in international affairs and diplomacy; and fostering co-operation among African students and educational institutions. Performance in 2016 In pursuit of its mandate, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the year under review, achieved the following, among others: International Cooperation Programme To consolidate gains made in strengthening relations with Ghana's neighbors, the Ministry facilitated Ghana's participation in the 49th Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Senegal, the visit of the Liberian President to Ghana, and the participation of Ghana's delegation in the investiture of the President of Benin. Ghana also coordinated the efforts at promoting the African Agenda and collaborated with sister African States to promote peace, stability and economic development on the continent. Furthermore, the Ministry facilitated Ghana's assessment by the Inter- governmental Action Group against Money laundering in West Africa in September 2016. Through this exercise, Ghana became the first member of ECOWAS to be assessed under the mechanism. Welfare of Ghanaians In furtherance to the fulfilment of its mandate to protect our nationals, Ghana's missions facilitated the repatriation of over 148 Ghanaians with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia repatriating 82 and 43 Ghanaians respectively. Again, to save the dignity of our departed compatriot and the honour of Ghana, Ghanaian communities were assisted in various forms including funds to bury 31 deceased nationals in accordance with our traditional cultural and religious beliefs. During the year under review, 22 Ghanaians were brought home under supervised deportations whilst our mission in Washington made an official complaint against an unannounced deportation to Ghana of some nationals which was carried out without the mission's involvement against accepted protocols. Passports administration in Ghana During the year under review, the passport office faced mechanical challenges including the breakdown of its industrial printers in the course of its operation in the first quarter of the year under review. It was however, able to surmount it and produced two hundred and sixty-two (262) diplomatic, two hundred and sixty-one thousand, seven hundred and ninety-two (261,792) ordinary passports and 149 service passports during the period under review. The Ministry intends to add four passport application centres in the country namely, Eastern, Western , Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana. Printing of Biometric Passports at Ghana's Missions Abroad The Passports Office has since June 2016 been receiving biometric passport applications for approval and subsequent printing at the six missions abroad (Pretoria, Washington DC, New York, Abuja, London and Berlin) approved at passports processing centres. This is in fulfilment of the Ministry's function of improving the quality of consular services provided by the Ministry and its diplomatic missions and consular posts as well as maintaining close contact with Ghanaian communities around the world, including immigrant groups abroad. Establishment of a Consulate in Istanbul During the year under review, the Ministry successfully opened a consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to further enhance the provision of consular services to Ghanaians and non- Ghanaians alike in that region of Turkey. It is hoped that the establishment would lead to increased interaction between our compatriots and other nations. This would lead to increased foreign direct investment to Ghana and bilateral trade and economic relations between Ghana and Turkey. Proposed Online Passport Application Project in Ghana and Ghana Missions abroad To facilitate the establishment of the online application process in Ghana to enhance passport service delivery, the former Hon Minister set up a committee to engage prospective banks on specific terms to enable the Ministry settle on two or three banks that would be deployed on an online biometric passport processing platform. The Banks that have been engaged on this are GCB, Zenith Bank and Ecobank on a pilot basis to implement online passport processing in Accra. The upgrade of 2D Barcode biometric passport to chip-embedded biometric Passport project. The Ministry has embarked on a project to upgrade the current Biometric Passport to meet international standards. therefore it has decided to move from 2D Bar Code to chip-embedded travel documents. 2016 Budget Allocation and Expenditure Returns The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration was allocated an
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to support the Motion which has been ably moved by the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and seconded by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr Speaker, the Committee met and considered the Estimates for the Foreign Ministry in the range of GH¢398 million. We noticed that, the allocation that has been made to the Ministry is quite inadequate when it comes to the retention of Internally Generated Funds (IGF) for the Ministry. The Hon Chairman of the Committee has stated that, the IGF for the Foreign Ministry is a very critical one, because various commitments have been made by the Foreign Ministry. Firstly the retention of IGF allows the Foreign Ministry to populate their holding accounts so that, distressed missions can be supported. The Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs told the Committee that, the arrangement has been very beneficial to Missions that are very busy, like the Geneva Mission, which is very active and incurs a lot of cost but does not generate its own revenue. The retention of IGF allows for the endowed missions to support such missions. Unfortunately, this year we see a cut in the IGF allocation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This would also impact negatively on a loan agreement that this House has approved, the US$ 50 million facility as has been well articulated by the Chairman of the Committee. Mr Speaker, the Committee strongly recommends that, the Hon Minister for Finance should please take a second look at this decision, because this across the board onslaught on IGF would negatively impact on the work of the Foreign Ministry. Mr Speaker, the Committee also took note of the outlook for 2017 and were very satisfied with the priority areas of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in setting out to guarantee the welfare of Ghanaians abroad, especially in this time of uncertainty and anti-immigration sentiments that foreign nationals of African descent are coming under. The Minister for Foreign Affairs assured the Committee that in this fiscal year, particular attention would be paid to this issue. Mr Speaker, we were also impressed with the Hon Minister, indicating that they would prioritise economic diplomacy and would support His Excellency the President's agenda to generate a lot of trading arrangements, so that this country moves beyond aid and handouts to a more economically dignifying path that would be beneficial to the economic fortunes of this country. Mr Speaker, we are also impressed with the projection to open new Missions. We currently have 57 Missions. The Ministry indicated that, it is likely that they would move this number to 60 by the end of this year. So, Mr Speaker, it promises to be a very busy year for the Ministry. They would also consider moving from the current two-day bar code biometric passport, which we use, to a chip embedded biometric passport which the Foreign Minister indicated that, they would work on in consonance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards in terms of best practice for this chip embedded biometric passports. So, the Committee is all right so far with the programme for the year, and we are in support of the commitments that have been made by the Foreign Ministry, except to say that the cut in IGF for the Ministry would seriously have to be looked at. Mr Speaker, the Committee took a very serious view of this matter, especially as the Hon Finance Minister had assured us that, the Foreign Ministry would be given a special dispensation. Mr Speaker, we pray that, the Finance Ministry would take a second look at that, otherwise before long, we would hear that our missions abroad are in a distress state, and are not able to run and serve our country very well as they ought to do.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Is there no contribution from my right hand side of the House?
Mr Speaker, I would advise the Hon Chairman to make a slight amendment on page 9 of the Report. I have just pointed it out to him, but it would be proper if he makes it himself.
Mr Speaker, on page 9, I would make this slight amendment that, the allocation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recorded an increase of -- it is supposed to be 0.13 per cent, not the entire allocation that was allocated to the Ministry. So, Mr Speaker, it is supposed to read, as follows “the allocation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recorded an increase of 0.13 per cent which represents 0.735 per cent of the total national Budget”.
Are there any contributions from leadership? Minority Leadership?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I rise to say some few words on the Report. The Foreign Affairs Ministry is the Ministry that represents Ghana's image abroad, and therefore the Ministry needs to be well resourced so that, it can perform this function well. Mr Speaker, in the last Parliament, the same Committee approved through Mr Speaker's intervention, 100 per cent IGF retention for the Ministry, but unfortunately, this 100 per cent IGF has been cut by 25 per cent, which the Committee sees as very unfortunate. Mr Speaker, as those Hon Members who earlier contributed said, we would appeal to the Hon Minister for Finance to as a matter of fact, increase the Internally Generated Fund (IGF), so that the Ministry could perform their functions very well. Mr Speaker, the Ministry also does a lot of things including the intention to create additional missions abroad. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to undertake this, then the resources given to them must be adequate so that it could carry out this function. Mr Speaker, I would therefore support the Motion that this House approves the sum for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget. Mr Speaker, thank you very much. 11. 40 a. m.
Mr Speaker, at this point, the Hon Minister would want to round it up.
We would come to the Hon Minister if there is nothing else.
Mr Speaker, I would yield to the Hon Gyato.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I believe that the Committee listened to the Hon Minister and it looks as though the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the eye of the country, and for that matter they need more resources than they are given. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister actually expressed the need to rehabilitate some of our missions abroad and for that matter, she needed more resources to be able to do that. When we asked about the compensation to the employees of the Ministry, she said that, they currently use national service personnel. Mr Speaker, I believe that, the Ministry is so delicate, especially, the passport section, where they have to employ national service personnel to be able to do that activity. This year, looking at the Hon Minister 's budget for the compensation of employees, she said that she is unable to recruit more personnel to do the work. Mr Speaker, we believe that the Minister for Finance should have a look at that, so that at least, we recruit people and be sure that, they are employees of the Ministry, for us to be able to know their activities and monitor what comes out of it. Mr Speaker, this is because, the issuance of passport and other relevant document in the Ministry is the eye of the State, and we would need to look at it carefully. Foreigners come to Ghana and they go with our passport because we do not have permanent staff there. So, we plead with the Hon Minister for Finance to have a look again at the budget allocation for the compensation for employees. Mr Speaker, we would also need to look at the dollarisation of the currency. This is because, the Ministry uses a lot of foreign currency to be able to pursue its agenda. Most of the things they do are ad hoc. For instance, if it happens that there is some reparation of Ghanaians abroad to come into the country, because it is something that comes once in a blue moon, immediately they would have to bring the people back to Ghana and it costs so much to the State. Mr Speaker, it is therefore our view that the Hon Minister for Finance should have a look at the budget allocation for the Ministry, so that, they could upgrade the image of Ghana to the outside world. Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
Thank you very much. Hon Minister, you may please sum up.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved: That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢398,676,632 for the services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, we would be guided to take item numbered 10 on the Order Paper -- the Annual Estimates for the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation for the year ending 31 st December, 2017.
Item numbered 10 -- Motion; Hon Minister. ANNUAL ESTIMATES, 2017 Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng): Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House approves the sum of GH¢349,152,142 for the services of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion and in doing so, present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and Standing Order 138 delivered the Budget Statement and Financial Policy for the year ending 2017, to Parliament on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017. Mr Speaker, pursuant to article 103 (3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and Standing Orders' 140 (4) and 185, referred the Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to the Committee on Environment Science and Technology for consideration and report. Acknowledgement The Committee is grateful to the following persons, who in diverse ways assisted the Committee during the deliberation of the budget estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation: 1. The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation -- Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng 2. The Chief Director, Madam Salimata Abdul-Salam 3. Directors and officials of the following departments and agencies: a. Ministry Headquarters b. Ghana Atomic Energy Commission c. Environmental Protection Agency d. National Council for Scientific and Industrial Research e. Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority f. National Biosafety Authority g. Nuclear Regulatory Authority and i. Ministry of Finance. Reference documents The following documents were referred to by the Committee during deliberations on the Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations: 1. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana 2. The Standing Orders of Parliament of Ghana 3. The 2016 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Govern- ment of Ghana 4. The 2016 Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation 5. The 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana 6. The 2017 Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Minister, continue.
Mr Speaker, under Goods and Services, out of the allocated amount of GH¢1,347,892.00 only GH¢413,776.40 was released. It was explained that, allocation under Employee Compensation rose due to increase in salaries and the transfer of staff from other Ministries to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. The Committee again realised that, the Ministry relies mostly on Development Partner funds and receives very little from GoG. The Committee recommends a reduc- tion in the use of Development Partner funds and an increase in GoG funds to the Ministry to ensure that outputs of the Ministry benefit Ghana. Issues regarding Employee Compen- sation should also be properly managed to prevent pay roll fraud. Environmental E-Waste Project Mr Speaker, the Committee noted that, the Ministry undertook feasibility studies and made appraisals regarding an e-waste project. The €20m project is expected to be collaboration between Ghana and Germany. The project would be executed in two phases. The project would involve the purchase of e-waste and sale of same to processors. This will prevent the burning of e-waste and the pollution of the environment and complement the work of the e-waste processing plant to be established under the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917). The Committee lauded the Ministry for the initiative and urged the Ministry to ensure an early take off of the project to save the environment from pollution and prevent those engaged in the burning of e-waste from contracting preventable illnesses. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Mr Speaker, if science is expected to be a composite part of the development of Ghana, then, there is the need to support scientific research, especially when the world is dependent on science for development. The Committee realised that CSIR is under resourced and depends mostly on donor support. Most of their laboratory and other equipment are very old, obsolete and need urgent replacement. CSIR research finding also benefit foreign countries instead of Ghana because, they are funded by the Development partners for their research work. The Committee advocates support for scientific research and urges the Ministry of Finance to ensure that adequate funds are allocated to CSIR to enable them replace their laboratory equipment and improve scientific research. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mr Speaker, the Committee was informed that, EPA was weaned off budgetary allocation in May 2016 and all GoG allocations to the Agency were withdrawn. EPA is expected to generate funds to pay for all its activities. The IGF of the EPA has however been capped at 66 per cent. EPA however realised only 75 per cent of its budgetary allocated for 2016 because, its fertilizer control and regulation function has been moved to the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Mr Speaker, the Ghana Maritime Authority has also taken over the collection of fees and levies for the pollution (ballast water) caused by the activities of individuals and companies that operate along the coastal boundary of Ghana, thereby denying EPA of the revenue stream. The Committee is of the opinion that hiving off licensing to other organisations would greatly affect revenue generation of EPA, especially, when it has been weaned off government subvention. Indeed the Committee noted with concern that weaning off of a regulatory body like EPA would create a situation where revenue generation would supersede regulatory activities and could be dangerous to public health and safety. The Committee recommends that, hiving off licensing to other public sector institutions should be given a second look and at least Employee Compensation should be paid by government to EPA. The Committee also urges the EPA and Ghana Maritime Authority deliberate and enter into a cost sharing agreement to ensure that all parties benefit from the revenue generated from collection of the fees and levies. Secondly, Mr Speaker, EPA has opened new regional and area offices that lack the requisite number of technical and administrative officers. The Committee recommends that, EPA should be granted permission to recruit technical and administrative staff to man its regional and district offices to make its operations more effective and efficient. Nuclear Regulatory Authority Mr Speaker, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority was established in the year 2015 when the Nuclear Regulatory Act, 2015 (Act 895) was promulgated. The Authority is to ensure that, nuclear energy and radiation are only used by persons registered to do so and ensure that, the environment is protected against the harmful effects of radiation. In the year 2016, 56 staff of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission were transferred to the Authority to serve as the core staff. To make the operations of the Authority effective and efficient it currently requires 70 more staff. Donors have promised to train these staff in the 2017 fiscal year. If permission is not granted for the recruitment of these staff, the Authority may not be in a position to take advantage of this training arrangement, and the operations of the Authority would be affected. To ensure that the core staffs are properly trained to handle nuclear energy, the Committee recommends that, the Ministry of Finance should grant permission for the recruitment of the 70 staff required for regulatory and administrative purposes in the 2017 fiscal year. National Biosafety Authority Mr Speaker, One of the core duties of the Authority is to ensure food security through the use of biological processes to improve the quality of food and feed for enhanced quality of life. It has currently drafted guidelines on the general releases of GMOs into the environment, and to strengthen the regulatory system by ensuring that, only approved GMOs enter the system. To perform these important duties effectively there is the need to engage qualified staff, establish a laboratory and monitor the environment. The Authority does not however have staff to carry out all these activities. It does not also have a vehicle to aid in its general functions. The Committee considers the situation unacceptable, and recommends that, necessary actions are taken by the current head of Authority to ensure that, all necessary measures are taken to ensure that, staffs are recruited. The Ministry of Finance is also urged to grant approval for the recruitment of staff and purchase of vehicle to support the activities of the Authority. Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority Mr Speaker, the Authority was established by the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925) to replace the former Town and Country Department of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The Authority is yet to be fully constituted. It has no governing board, no Chief Executive Officer, scheme of service and related administrative structures. The various spatial planning committees are yet to be established.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion ably moved by the Hon Minister and seconded by Hon Agyarko, Hon Chairman of the Committee. Mr Speaker, our interactions with the Ministry and its agencies were very interesting and I believe that, that has been the style in the past years. I would not go into figures; but Mr Speaker, the problem that I see in the Ministry and its agencies is that, as the Ministry that is supposed to make policies, that is supposed to come out with regulatory policies, and laws, the Ministry of Finance seems not to really recognise the difference between regulatory, research and ordinary commercial services that are provided by other institutions. Therefore, they lump these institutions together with others. For instance, Mr Speaker, we all agree that, development in the world now hinges on science and technology and research. Mr Speaker, there is no way that we can compare, let us say, the Customs with the EPA that is supposed to regulate. We cannot compare any of these revenue generating departments with let us say, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Especially so because, the incubation period when it comes to research, takes a very long time. Sometimes, you may not even get the result in your lifetime but the research must go on. If we begin to put them in the same bracket, for instance, the Ministry with all its agencies have been affected by CAP 25. That is why the little Internally Generated Funds (IGF) that they generate should not even be part of their capital expenditure. It is capped and reduced to 66 per cent. What they are getting is not enough, yet, we want to reduce it further. What are we saying? We pay the Research Officers huge salaries, yet, they do not have what it takes to do their work. Mr Speaker, I remember my personal experience; sometimes, as a research scientist, one gram of a chemical can delay your work for the rest of your life. Sometimes, I am tempted to advise the Hon Minister that, we do not have to put figures to the Budget that we present to the Ministry of Finance. Let us give them the items. If it is formalin, just write formalin, so that they would go and look for the prices. This is because sometimes --
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
On a point of order. Thank you Mr Speaker. My dear Friend and Hon Colleague is fully aware that the Budget is not a personal document of the Hon Minister for Finance. If he is going to attribute blame, he should go to the right place, the President of the Republic. The Budget is read on his behalf. So, he should not give the impression that, he goes to the Ministry of Finance -- do not complain to the Hon Minister for Finance. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Holy Book says that, if one wants to go to the Father, one has to pass through Jesus Christ. So, I am going through the Hon Minister for Finance to the President. Mr Speaker, as I said, I am tempted sometimes to tell the Ministry that, in preparation of their budget, let us put the items, not the cost. This is because, sometimes, those who handle the figures get scared. If you ask a scientist to prepare a budget and give you values or figures attached to it, and then you look at the scope of work, you may be tempted to say that, whatever money is going to that person is too high. Ordinarily, if you go to the market to look at the cost of the items, you would be surprised, and that is the reason for a dichotomy. We must sit down and really ask ourselves, if we are interested. If indeed, we want to do research, let us do research and look for the money for research. Mr Speaker, another issue that came up was the weaning of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from Government's Budget. Mr Speaker, EPA is a regulatory institution, they are not commercial. What we are doing now is like asking the Motor, Traffic and Transport Directorate (MTTD) of the Police to generate their own income and pay their people. What is going to happen is that, because of survival, their regulatory activities are going to be compromised. This is because, they would look for money to pay themselves because, no soldier marches on an empty stomach.
Mr Speaker, that is also dangerous. This is because, in your quest to look for money, you might end up doing all manner of things to get money, and that is what is happening. Mr Speaker, for instance, the certification of agro-chemicals has been taken away from the EPA and I am sure the consideration is money. This is because, the Ministry of Agriculture believes they can make some money from that, but that is wrong. It is not. Mr Speaker, I want to appeal to your goodself that, the issue about weaning the EPA should be looked at and if possible, reversed because it is not going to help in their activities. Mr Speaker, and the issue about licensing of chemicals, of which agro- chemicals are also included, must be reverted to the EPA. Otherwise, the Ministry of Agriculture would act as a referee and a player at the same time and that would not be good for us. Mr Speaker, with these, I support the Motion that, the amount of money -- as a scientist, I am not interested in the figure, I am interested in results. I am interested in seeing the EPA functioning properly, I want to see CSIR come out to do more research that would affect the economy and that would affect the lives of the good people of this country. Mr Speaker, the monetary conside- ration is the Ministry of Finance but my only plea is with that the Hon Minister for Finance must re-look at the catego- risation. If the EPA is supposed to go into regulation, let them do that and if CSIR is doing research, let them do research. We have others that are commercially inclined, let them bring the money so that we put it into research, and come out with more findings that would enable us do more in those areas. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity.
Hon Member for Oforikrom?
Mr Speaker, I stand to speak in favour of the Motion and to support the request by the Ministry for the indicated allocation of money stipulated in their Report. In doing so, I would like to first of all commend the Ministry for the good work that they were able to do in the year 2016. Mr Speaker, if you look at the 2017 proposals that the Ministry submitted to the Committee, they outlined a number of activities that to a large extent, sit very well with the constitutional imperative of article 36 (9). Mr Speaker, if you look at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it asks for funds to increase its regulation. This is an important aspect of the activities that they have outlined because, recently, we have all been reading about the extent of water pollution as a result of galamsey and other illegal activities that negatively affect the environment. Therefore, I believe that asking for resources to increase their activities to regulate these illegal activities, is in the right direction. Mr Speaker, another interesting point is that, this budget allocation seeks to address one of the challenges in the science and technology sector and that is the gap between science and policy and the lack of linkages between science and technology. A number of researches have been conducted and a number of technologies have been developed within the CSIR and within our universities. Sadly, most of these technologies have not been taken up, piloted, upscaled and applied, to actually give effect to the very reasons they were developed. They do not affect the everyday lives of the Ghanaian people because, we fail to take up these technologies and apply them. Mr Speaker, therefore, proposing to improve their linkage with the policy actors in 2017 is commendable. This is especially when one views it in the context of Government's programme to promote One District, One Factory within the context of the industrialisation drive that the Government seeks to achieve. In commending them, I would like to also urge the CSIR to focus their research activities on areas that are of priority to the country and areas that would directly link food security to climate change et cetera. Mr Speaker, the last point that I would like to make in support of the Motion is the observation that, the increment of the budgetary allocation to research and development (R and D), relative to the total revenue, comparing 2016 to 2017 is commendable. Mr Speaker, I believe it is in line with Government's goal of attempting to allocate between one per cent and two per cent of revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That is also in line with the Lagos plan of action and indeed the decisions that have been taken by the Africa Union (AU) to commit more resources to the development of science and technology. It gives a positive signal to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, which also has it as one of its focuses to promote science and technology development within the subregion. Mr Speaker, I am very happy that, the Ministry has outlined very useful activities for 2017 for which they ask for the indicated budget, and I stand to speak in favour of it. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for permitting me to comment on the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation's budget allocation for the year 2017. First and foremost, I would want to thank the Hon Minister and his staff for doing a very good presentation during the Committee meeting. Indeed, they exuded a lot of confidence and I believe that, given the appropriate resources, they should be able to deliver. Mr Speaker, during the Committee's meeting, it came to light that, most of the scientists across board, that is from across all the agencies, were aging and there was the need to recruit new staff. They indeed pleaded with Parliament that, we should assist them to get the Ministry of Finance to approve their desire to recruit new staff. If we take the Biosafety Regulatory Authority, it was a one-man Agency. The director said he is the only paid employee of that Agency. So, there is the urgent need to assist him to recruit critical staff.
Yes, Hon Kennedy Nyarko Osei?
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion that, this honourable House approves the sum of GH¢349,152,142.00 for the services of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Mr Speaker, I would want to draw the attention of the House to the importance of science and technology. Science and technology is the backbone of every country. A country cannot be developed if it does not take science and technology seriously. Mr Speaker, if we look at the past and the contribution of science and technology to the overall development of the GDP of this country, it is something which needs not be talked about. The contribution of science and technology to our GDP is less than one per cent. Any serious country that would want to break boundaries and develop to go higher -- if we look at the other developed countries -- we cannot get to that stage if we do not take science and technology seriously. I was amazed to see the amount of money that previous administrations allocated continuously to the Ministry. If we looked at the amounts, it indicated to us that, we as a country, are not serious in terms of promoting science and technology. Mr Speaker, I am happy that, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration led by His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has pledged to ensure that, science and technology would be promoted and would become key in our nation's development. Mr Speaker, if we look at “Research and Development Programme” in paragraph 6.0 on page 7 of the Committee's Report, the CSIR has about 13 Agencies under it, and because of inadequate budget allocation, most of the work they do is sponsored by foreign organisations who bring their moneys to sponsor research works and take them away. We spend a lot of money on our scientists, pay them -- a lot of money goes to the “compensation”. We pay them but they are not given enough resources to do the necessary researches that would help this nation. Foreign countries bring money to these institutions to do the researches and take them away at the expense of this country. I believe it is a worrying situation that, we as a country, have to take a critical look at, and give the Ministry the needed resources, so that they could help develop this country and also help to discover the many talents that we have in this country to move forward. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to urge Hon Members on both sides of the House to support the approval of this budget allocation, so that the Ministry would be allocated this money to run the programmes and all the activities that they have lined up in 2017. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Member for Amasaman? Emmanuel Nii Okai Laryea (NDC -- Amasaman): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion on the floor, that this honourable House approves the sum of GH¢349,152,142.00 for the services of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would want to draw the attention of the House to the concluding part of the Report which is on page 19 on the Committee's Report. “Development in the world is currently hinged on the development of science, technology and innovations. If Ghana is to move in tandem with developments in the world, then there is the need to ensure that. the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and its departments are well resourced. Total financial support should be given by the Ministry of Finance to its departments, especially the newly- created ones to ensure that they are properly established.” [NII OKAI LARYEA] [NII OKAI LARYEA] Mr Speaker, there is a recurring problem that every single year, we seem to do the same thing -- which is approving Estimates for the various Ministries and their Departments and Agencies and the release of those moneys to the Ministries becomes a problem. Mr Speaker, in order to ensure that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation is able to carry out its activities in a timeous manner, I would plead with the Ministry of Finance that, releases to the Ministry are done in a timeous manner this year. At least, we cannot do business as usual. Things would have to change. We are in an era of change, so, things would have to change this year. Mr Speaker, I would also want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, the Ministry has a lot of important agencies under it, and there is the need for us to resource those departments and agencies very well for them to be able to undertake their activities. Mr Speaker, through our deliberations with the Committee and other agencies, the attention of the Committee was drawn to the fact that, the Agency which is CSIR, is woefully under resourced. This is an organisation, when properly resourced would be able to advance the research in Ghana and beyond. The attention of the Committee was also drawn to the fact that there is a particular variety of corn which is grown in South Africa which was identified by the CSIR which is the obatanpa species. Mr Speaker, so, I believe that, if we are able to adequately resource them, they could carry out their work very well. Mr Speaker, there is an interesting revelation also. The CSIR was able to develop a pozzolana lime and salt resistant brick. I believe a factory has been set up in Bawku and Sandema respectively. Mr Speaker, you would be surprised to know that, this finding of the CSIR, is currently being used for the fencing of the Takoradi Thermal Power Station, which is situated in Aboadze. Mr Speaker, I join my Hon Colleagues to say that, we cannot do business as usual. We are all aware that, change is here with us, so it is high time we did things differently. Mr Speaker, I would also want to comment briefly on the encroachment of CSIR lands. In my constituency for example, the Municipal Assembly, I believe sometime in 2013 or 2014, I sold land belonging to the CSIR to a private developer. I personally kicked against it. There was an Assembly member, who took the Assembly to court then, to seek redress. The result of that was that, the Assembly member was expelled and he was not allowed to take part in Assembly meetings. At the appropriate time, through the appropriate quarters, I will ask questions and I will have this situation addressed. Mr Speaker, I would finally want to touch on the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority, which was set up as a result of an Act of this House in 2016, Act 192, and an Executive Instrument (E. I.)180, which sought to dissolve the then Town and Country Planning Department. Mr Speaker, it is clear that, this is a new establishment and a very important one to say. It would be important that, this establishment is properly resourced for them to carry out their mandate. Mr Speaker, there is the need for them to set up their head office as well as regional and district offices in the various MMDAs. A very sad revelation also came up, which I believe has been captured in the Report. This is where the then Town and Country Planning Department went into an agreement with SSNIT and leased a portion of their land, which is situated in a prime area, opposite the head office of SSNIT, the Pyramid House. They were supposed to pay annual rent to the Town and Country Planning Department. As we speak, Mr Speaker, it has been twenty (20) years and beyond, and not a single penny has been paid to the Town and Country Planning Department. I would also at the appropriate time, and with the appropriate quarters, see how best we could resolve this issue. So at least, if some portions of the moneys that are owed the Town and Country Planning Department are paid, they would have enough resources to undertake the activities that they are supposed to undertake this year. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion on the floor. Thank you very much.
At this stage, I would invite the Hon Minister to wind-up. Hon Minister, do you wish to wind up? In winding up, I will want you to comment on the property of the Town and Country Planning, which was leased to SSNIT, and for which SSNIT has refused to pay the appropriate rent or give the office premises to the Town and Country Planning Department. I would like to hear why it is so and what steps have been taken to ensure that the appropriate things are done.
Mr Speaker, I humbly thank Hon Members for their contribu- tions and observations. The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation is a very important Ministry. This is because, I believe that, the poverty gap, is a technology gap. The difference between us and those who are supporting us with money and other things is that, they have technology and we do not have. I believe we need to change the structure of our economy from one that depends on the export of raw materials to an economy that is powered by the export of industrial goods and services. To do that, we need science and technology. This is because, all nature is science; everything around us is science. Nations that have made it have embraced science and technology in all areas of their endeavours. Mr Speaker, the Ministry would want to do a few things and I would urge the House to support us. This is because, without you, there is nothing that we could do. Mr Speaker, we would want to establish a fund in future for science, technology and innovation just like that of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), so that funds such as the one promised by the President that, he would allocate one per cent of GDP to research and development, could be paid to such a fund. Mr Speaker, we need to develop the capacity to do things. This is because, without science and technology, we cannot feed, clothe, defend and shelter ourselves. We want to use our own
Hon Members, we have come to the end of the debate. Question put and Motion agreed to Resolved accordingly. That this honourable House approves the sum of GH¢349, 152,142 for the services of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, could we take item numbered 1 on the Order Paper Addendum 2, which is the Annual Estimates of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation would take this together with the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Finance.
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 1 on the Order Paper Addendum 2, Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation? ANNUAL ESTIMATES, 2017 National Development Planning Commission
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢10,330,099 for the services of the National Development Planning Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, that this House approves the sum of GH¢ 10,330,099 for the services of the National Development Planning Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2017. In so doing, Mr Speaker, I present your Committee's Report. Introduction Mr Speaker, the 2017 Annual Estimates for the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) was laid in the House on Thursday, 2 nd March, 2017 and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with the Constitution and Standing Orders of the House. This referral followed the presentation of the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government to the House by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta. The Committee, in considering the Estimates, met with the Minister for Planning, Hon Prof. George Gyan-Baffour, Director-General of the Commission, Dr Nii Moi Thompson and a technical team from the Commission, as well as officials of the Ministry of Finance and hereby presents this Report to the House. Background Mr Speaker, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) exists to advise the President on national development planning policy and strategy, to prepare and ensure the effective implementation of approved national development plans and to coordinate the decentralised planning system. Objectives and functions The objectives of the Commission, as derived from the Medium-Term Development Policy Framework: The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA II) are as follows: Strengthen policy formulation, development planning and monitoring and evaluation processes for equitable and balanced spatial and socio- economic development; and Improve the responsiveness of the public service in service delivery. Pursuant to Act 479, the core functions of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) are to advise the President on development planning policy and strategy and to do any of the following suo motu or at the request of the President or Parliament: Study and make strategic analysis of macro-economic and structural reform options. Make proposals for the develop- ment of multi-year rolling plans, taking into consideration, the resource potential and comparative advantage of the different districts of Ghana; Make proposals for the protection of the natural and physical environment with a view to ensuring that development
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Mr Speaker, when leadership of a Committee speak, they should speak to the relevant Report. If the Hon Member were an ordinary Member and he went off-track, I would not mind, but we expect leadership to lead us. I am a Member of the Committee. There is nothing like what he said in the Report. What is the relevance? Then, he said, there is a Minister of State for Planning. There is no Minister of State for Planning. There is a Minister responsible for Planning. This is a House of records and, please, he is part of the leadership of the Committee. I expect him to lead us properly.
Hon Member, can you restrict yourself to debating the Report?
Hon Member, I ruled that you discuss the Annual Budget Estimates. Kindly do that. [Interruption.]
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the Hon Member for Sekyere Afram Plains that, this House has an Order of Business that is set out in Order 53. There is Question time. Standing Order 67 guides us on how to ask Questions. If he would want to know something about who is in charge of what Ministry, he should pose a Question and not use this kangaroo way to come in. Thank you.
Hon Member, please, respect the ruling that I made earlier.
Mr Speaker, I rise to speak to the Motion on the floor that, this House approves the sum of GH¢10,330,099 for the NDPC to undertake their activities within the 2017 reporting year. Mr Speaker, when the Commission appeared before the Committee, they told us that in 2016, an amount of GH¢4,191,690.41 was allocated to the Commission, but they spent GH¢4,179,305.93. An amount of GH¢12,000 was not disclosed to the Committee as to what item they spent that money on. There should be a full disclosure as the Chairman stated in the Report, so that we would, at least, know if this amount of money is sitting idle in their account or there are some commitments which the money would be used to pay. This is because, they have arrears of GH¢742,000 which they are demanding from Government, and I can see that GH¢742,948 is included in the 2017 allocation which would give them the GH¢10,330,099. Mr Speaker, so if the Chairman or the Report says that, Government should take steps to pay the refund of GH¢742,000, it does not sit well with the Committee's Report. This is because, they raised the issue and the Hon Minister for Finance took care of it. So, if we look at their budget allocation, we can see a Government compensation of GH¢3,659,281; Goods and Services of GH¢5,927,870 and Capital Expenditure -- that same figure is GH¢742,948. This means that the Minister has taken care of the arrears that were not released to the Commission to undertake its activities. Mr Speaker, like the Member who spoke before me mentioned, in 2016, about GH¢3.4 million was received as donor inflow but the Commission did not report on it. So, as it stands, we do not know what they used that GH¢3.4 million for. If we would want to entice donors to give us money to undertake our projects, and there was no full disclosure of that amount, how could we put up a case, so that people would also give more? This is because, we have domestic support and foreign support. Mr Speaker, this year, they anticipate to receive GH¢20 million which the Hon Minister for Finance did not also capture in the Budget Statement. So an amount of GH¢153,151,947 billion in the 2017 Budget Statement as grant or donor inflow is understated because, we do not take care of the GH¢20 million that they anticipate to receive from donors. Mr Speaker, the same thing is happening with the Ghana AIDS Commission which we would address when we get there. So, what the Hon Minister for Finance told us is not the true reflection of what is happening on the ground because, they are expected to receive GH¢20 million and it is not part of the Budget Statement. Mr Speaker, going forward, I know by July 2017, the Hon Minister for Finance would come back to this House to review the Budget. He should give us an indication of how much they would allocate to the Commission, taking into account, that GH¢20 million and what would go to Ghana AIDS Commission and other State institutions, which are in the position to receive donor inflows, so that we would know the real picture of the State. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support that we approve the sum of GH¢10,330,099 for the services of the National Development Planning Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Hon Minister, kindly wind up.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank all the Hon Members who contributed in supporting the Motion. The last Hon Member who spoke in particular, talked about conformity with the PFM Act. We would want to assure him that, if any money comes from the donors, it would not be spent until there has been a Supplementary Budget. We are conscious of our financial obligations. Thank you.
The debate is ended. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved: That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ 10,330,099 for the service of the National Development Planning Commission for the year ending 31st December 2017.
Hon Members, item numbered 7 on the Order Paper — Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. ANNUAL ESTIMATES, 2017 Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢60,708,078 for the services of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for the year ending 31 st December, 2017
Hon Ranking Member?
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion — [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, you called the Hon Ranking Member. He is the Vice Chairman, so, I am surprised he got up — I was confused — [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, the Ranking Member is on the other side of the House.
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, thank you for drawing my attention, but you did not catch my eye. You hijacked the Floor to draw my attention to the error I have made. Thank you for the correction though. May I now call on the Hon Vice Chairman of the Committee. Question proposed. Vice Chairman of the Committee (Mr Kofi Okyere-Agyekum): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion ably moved by the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present your Committees Report. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2017 financial year was presented to the House on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017 by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution. Pursuant to Standing Orders 140(4) and 184 of the House, the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations was referred by the Rt Hon Speaker to the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises for consideration and report to the House. Subsequently, the Committee met with the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Baffour Awuah and his team of officers on Tuesday, 14th and Wednesday 15th March, 2017 and considered the referral. The Committee is grateful to the Hon| Minister and his team for their support and co-operation. The Committee is equally grateful to an official from the Ministry of Finance, who was present to assist in the Committee's work. Reference documents The Committee referred to the following documents during the deliberations on the Ministry's budget estimates: i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana; ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament of Ghana iii. The 2016 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana iv. The 2016 Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations v. The 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana vi. The 2017 Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations. Mission Statement Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations exists to co-ordinate employment and labour related polices and interventions for accelerated job creation, promote harmonious labour relations and eliminate child labour for socio-economic development. Implementing Agencies 1. Ministry Headquarters 2. Youth Employment Agency 3. National Pensions Regulatory Authority 4. Labour Department 5. Fair Wages and Salaries Commission 6. Department of Factories Inspectorate 7. National Vocational Training Institute
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion and in so doing, as the Ranking Member of the Committee, I would want to draw the attention of the House to page 10, paragraph 7.7.2 of the Report of the Committee. Mr Speaker, in the review of 2016, the operations of the Department of Factory Inspectorate brought to the fore, the very inadequate emphasis on factory inspec- tions and the relatively low level in which the Ghanaian State holds the worker. Mr Speaker, in the absence of vigorous enforcement of factory regulations, and in the absence of vigorous enforcement of health and safety regulations and other such regulators, employers are often minded to take the health and safety of workers for granted, particularly some of the foreign investors that we have attracted to this country. Mr Speaker, if we look at the Report, in 2016, the Factory Inspectorate only ended up performing 20 per cent of the inspections that they had earmarked to perform in 2016. Our workers were left exposed, their interest seemed not to be of paramount importance to the Department of Factory Inspectorate. Mr Speaker, I call on this House to ensure that going forward, the Ghanaian worker becomes the centre of State policy and ensure that productivity, safety and the rights of workers are protected. Our expectation is that, in 2017, the Hon Minister, working in tandem with the Ministry of Finance would ensure that the resources needed for this critical Department are made available, so that the Department performs its functions to its fullest ability. Mr Speaker, on page 8, the Committee was also informed that, the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) lacks staff with adequate competences to perform the functions for which this House had assigned them through their parent Act. It baffles me that the NPRA is still on the Consolidated Fund. This ought to have been one of the first authorities to be weaned off the Consolidated Fund. Mr Speaker, on the issue of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) and pure Public Sector Wage Scheme, it would be difficult for them to attract the necessary actuaries and the necessary investment managers that the pension industry needs. However, if they are able to wean themselves from the Consolidated Fund, then, the Petroleum Commission and other such bodies would be able to attract the needed competencies. Our pension system, especially, with the 2nd Tier Pension is one of the major possible pillars for our economic growth for long term investments. Mr Speaker, the life and pension industry should be given more attention than it had been given in the past. Mr Speaker, with these few words I support the Motion on the floor. Thank you.
Very well. Let me come to the Leadership. Let the Hon Leader wind up so that the Hon Minister would --
Mr Speaker, at that time, the Hon Ranking Member was away. So, Hon Quashigah played a significant role. I would plead with you that he comes in and then I could wind up.
It is a lopsided contribution --
Mr Speaker, he would speak very briefly.
Very well. Hon Member for Keta?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity and I would extend the same gratitude to my Hon Leader for the intervention.
Mr Speaker, we must be careful, other than that, along the line, somebody might decide to go to court, that these moneys are supposed to go directly to the Youth Employment Agency (YEA). Meanwhile, it goes into the coffers of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) and they disburse directly. Mr Speaker, the Ministry does not have any control. The Ministry does not even know whether the moneys are judiciously applied. We believe it is not proper. If this is the mother Ministry which should have the supervisory role, it means that all such moneys which are by law established should go directly to these institutions must be abided by. So, we would crave the indulgence of this august House to ensure that this is carried out, other than that, we might have too many court cases on our hands this year. Mr Speaker, the Ghana Co-operative College could do better than it is doing. It offers services and trains artisans, meanwhile, they do not charge any fee. However, looking at the Labour law and the law that established it, nothing prevents it from charging fees. The Committee is of the view that, the Ghana Co-operative College, just like the Ghana Co-operative Council, must be mandated to charge, at least, some small fees. This is because, sometimes, they train people in the private sector and as we know, if we get things for free, we do not value them. But when people pay some token for it, they tend to value those. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity to support the Motion.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion for the approval of GH¢60,708,078.00 for the programmes and activities of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for the 2017 fiscal year. Mr Speaker, in doing so, to share my position, having been in the shoes of the Hon Minister before, I just want to highlight some matters, so that the Hon Minister could take them, even as he implements his programmes. As he is aware, as the former Minister, even in my handing over notes to him, I dedicated a personal note which was to highlight major concerns that needed urgent Government attention, including the description of unemployment as a national crisis that we need to take a decision on and act urgently, in order that we could keep the good of the country together. Mr Speaker, it is one Ministry that needs every support. Unfortunately, there is a conceptual dilemma, appreciating what the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations does and what resources he needs. Until I got there, even with negotiations with organised labour to engage social partners, sometimes, at lunch, we would struggle for water. But thankfully, I left the Ministry richer than it was before. [Laughter.] Yes, he knows that. Thanks to good people like the Hon Osei Bonsu Amoah and company -- [Interruption] -- when we were passing the Youth Employment Agency Act then, as the Hon Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee --
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation
knows more. The best way to get the Ministry of Finance is to tie their hands. So, when we got to this House, we tied their hands through legislation and set a certain percentage in the Youth Employment Act to be dedicated for the supervision of the Ministry. So, at least, he now has something that he could use to run his activities, contrary to what existed since the creation of the Ministry.
Hon Minority Leader, hold on. Yes, Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, in his submission, the Hon Minority Leader praised the Hon O. B. Amoah, and he pointed at me, that we did not help. I would want to draw his attention to the fact that I was a member of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture, and we handled that Bill. I worked tirelessly to ensure that the Bill was passed. Woanya hwee amma w'ase a, yemmo no kroon, to wit, if you cannot offer your in-law a gift, do not steal from him.
Hon Minority Leader, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, I am guided. My pointing at him was to acknowledge his tireless sacrifice in contributing to the passage of the Bill. I so admit. Mr Speaker, I join other Hon Colleagues, but probably, as I have indicated, the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation has been at the Ministry of Finance. It is a very delicate issue; National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA). My view is that, it should be under the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. Once we do not have the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) under the watch of the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, which is even the demand of social partners, including the Trade Union Congress, the regulatory body -- this is because the Ministry of Finance itself must be regulated. I understand that they used pension funds, which the Hon Minister needs to understand, for fiscal purposes. When they are broke and do not have money, they depend on pension resources to keep the economy running. That is a delicate balance that the Ministry of Finance does with it. Mr Speaker, however, with regulations, we do not want a day where pensioners would rise up for their money and they would be told that it is in treasury bills, in arrears or been borrowed. So, we must have a regulator, which is the NPRA, and I believe the supervision should be done by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations. But I can understand why, for now, given the challenges of the economy, the Hon Minister for Finance would want to exercise supervision for fiscal management purpose. Mr Speaker, why it is also urgent that he allows the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations some space is that, there are unfinished issues which would threaten the industrial peace of the country. I signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which I attached to the handing over notes, with twelve workers' unions, including teachers, nurses and Judicial Service workers who would not compromise on the Second Tier Pension issue. Suffice it to say, what was signed as an out of court settlement, and we had together with them appointed the custodians, the Fund managers and the others. And I thought that the Ministry of Finance would give him time to work with them, so that the money could begin to hit the accounts of the custodians and get disbursement of it. This is because, at least, that provides for a take-off. Mr Speaker, again, the Ministry of Finance would want every entity under them. Why? They have enough. Therefore, with this business to say everyday that, bring Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) under us, they would want the Ghana AIDS Commission to be under the Office of the President, I cannot simply -- So, I share the view of the President that we should relook at the NPRA. To share what the Hon Member said, in terms of wean off, he would find it in his files. I have long written that the NPRA should be weaned off Government's subvention in order that it would be on its own. I recall travelling to Kumasi and Tamale to inaugurate the NPRA regional offices. Mr Speaker, there is more to it. I even had to come to Parliament, although not as the Minister for Finance, with the support of the Hon Anthony Osei Akoto to amend the Pensions Act, to defer some matters of pensions for an additional five years, yet, this is a matter that the Ministry of Finance would say they are responsible for pensions. But they waited until the dire hours, they were not ready and SSNIT was caught in some embarrassing situation in terms of managing pensions and we had to seek that amendment. Mr Speaker, my other comment is on youth employment. Again, I hope the Hon Minister is aware. We left not less than a hundred million Ghana cedis in their account, thanks to what I said. That was why I recognised the Hon O. B. Amoah and company. Having earmarked the Youth Employment Fund Act, and having passed the regulation, which was largely to deal with the horrifying revelations of the Ghana Youth Employment Development Agency (GYEDA) Report, the institution must now run and run properly on the law and the regulations. He has a lot of money to roll out many of the models. That is why he has a hundred million Ghanaian cedis sitting in the accounts. I have shared with him the apparel model for which the American Government had an interest in terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and making sure that they recruited kayayei. So, instead of taking kayayei levies off, they should go and train kayayei using some of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) money. About five to ten thousand of them could be engaged productively in the apparel industry to be able to make meaningful contribution, and take them out of that difficult life. Mr Speaker, that raises another question that the Ministry of Finance officials must answer. They seek to earmark the District Assemblies Common Fund. In the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Bill, they seek to earmark even the Youth Employment Agency. That would put him in a major difficulty of addressing the unemployment of the young people, so, if he wants to earmark any Fund, he should free the Youth
Hon Minister, would you want to wind up?
Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would thank all those who contributed to the Motion, especially the Hon Vice Chairman and those from the Minority side. Mr Speaker, they raised issues that need to be commented on, especially on
Mr Speaker, you should allow him.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I ordinarily should not interrupt the Hon Minister, especially, when he is winding up, but he used the phrase “under his watch”.
other than that, tomorrow somebody would also come and say -- “under the Hon Minister's watch”. What I know is that, I inherited the Ghana Youth Employment Development Agency (GYEDA), its contracts and its liabilities as Hon Minister. So he should not say “under his watch”. I am not responsible for events which happened prior to my arrival at the Ministry. Mr Speaker, I would also add that, I instructed the Auditor-General to conduct the audit, the Hon Minister talked about, into those activities. All the reference letters are available for him, so he could relate to the Auditor General. I do not take kindly to the phrase, “under his watch”; but certainly yes, I was within the Ministry and would be. Mr Speaker, secondly, the Hon Minister must watch his files. He himself alluded to it that it was largely supervised by the District Assemblies Common Fund and the Ministry of Local Government. So the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations only came in when I was asked to exercise oversight of that Agency and the NPRA, which was on or around August 2014. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minister, be guided by the correction.
Mr Speaker, my able Friend, the immediate past Hon Minister for my Ministry, perhaps runs away from the fact that he once headed the Ministry. [Laughter.] Of course, if one heads an institution, they inherit both assets and liabilities. Mr Speaker, that notwithstanding, I believe that all the various advises proffered are taken in good faith, and we would incorporate them in our actions and make sure that we advance the course of the Ministry. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved: That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢60,708,078 for the services of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for the year ending 31st December 2017.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, there is one Paper that ought to be laid and with your permission, we would want to lay that Paper, as exhibited on the primary Order Paper, item numbered 5b (ii), which is the Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Railway Development.
Mr Speaker, the Chairman of the Committee is not here, but an Hon Member of the Committee, Mr Collins Owusu Amankwa, would do so on his behalf.
Hon Member, do you seek permission for him to do so on behalf of the Hon Minister?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
Very well, it is granted. Hon Member for Manhyia North?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, on the Order Paper Addendum 2, we could take item numbered 2.
Hon Members, item numbered 2 on Order Paper Addendum 2 -- Motion. Hon Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, I seek leave to amend that. On behalf of the Minister for Finance, the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation would move the Motion. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Very well. Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation? ANNUAL ESTIMATES, 2017 Office of the Head of the Civil Service Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation (Dr Anthony Akoto Osei)(on behalf of the Minister for Finance): Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢12,145,580 for the services of Office of the Head of the Civil Service for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Question proposed.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, and in doing so, I present the Report of the Finance Committee on the 2017 annual budget estimates for OHCS. Introduction The 2017 Annual Estimates for the Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS) was laid in the House on Thursday 2nd March, 2017 and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with Article 103 of the 1992 Constitution and Orders 169 and 140(4) of the Standing Orders of the House. This referral followed the presentation of the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government to the House by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori- Atta. The Committee, in considering the Estimates, met with the Head of the Civil Service, Nana Agyekum Dwamena and a technical team from the OHCS as well as officials of the Ministry of Finance and hereby presents this report to the House. Background The Office of the Head of the Civil Service (OHCS) is a Central Management Agency that provides leadership and facilitates the work of Civil Service Organizations to enable them to respond positively to Government's expectations as well as the aspirations of its stakeholders and the general public. The Office exists to manage human resources and promote efficient records management, organisational development and value for money procurement for the delivery of results-oriented, knowledge- driven services by Civil Service Organisations towards the attainment of national goals. The vision of the Office is to be a modernized customer sensitive public organization, providing world-class public services and policy advice. Objectives and functions The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA II) contains four policy objectives that are relevant to the Office of the Head of Civil Service. These are: Promote and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of performance in the Public and Civil Services. Rationalise and define structures, roles and procedures for state institutions. Enhance supervision and produc- tivity in the public services and Improve transparency and access to public information. The Goal of the OHCS is to have the human resource and institutional capacity to formulate, implement, monitor and evaluate policies for national development, as well as the ability to effectively and efficiently provide timely and satisfactory services to all its stakeholders.