VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings dated Monday, 20th March, 2017. Page 1…7 --
Mr Speaker, on page 7, item numbered 4 on the Votes and Proceedings -- I was here yesterday but I have been marked as absent.
Mr Speaker, my name is not captured at all. It is not even on the list of absentees. [Interruption.]
Page 8, 9 --
Mr Speaker, I would want to take you back. I heard my Hon Colleague say that his name is missing from the Votes and Proceedings. He is misleading the House. His name is captured as number 175. He is not sure of himself that he was in the House yesterday.
We shall soon go electronic. Page 10 . . . 12 -- Hon Members, the Votes and Pro- ceedings of Monday, 20th March, 2017, as corrected, are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper. Today, the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources is scheduled to answer a Question. The Question stands in the name of the Hon Member for Jaman South. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I do not find the excuse given by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader about the absence of the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resource convincing enough. This is an equally important business and
Not even ‘equally important' -- more important.
Mr Speaker, thank you. So, Hon Ministers must take this House and the Business of Parliament seriously because, we do not find this excuse acceptable. Mr Speaker, at your guidance, we know that there are other major issues and Business of the House but probably, when the Hon Minister is in the House, I am sure that Mr Speaker would exact a better explanation from him why he failed to appear before this House. Therefore, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader may make an application pursuant to Standing Order 53 (2) for the order of business to be varied, so that we would be able to consider it.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, rightly so. I would like to put on record that, Hon Ministers of State should take the Business of the House seriously. It is in bad taste that he is not here on time. But Mr Speaker --
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we are yet to know. So far as this is concerned, we are yet to know, and they must demonstrate it.
Very well, Mr Speaker. On that, I would want to stand on Standing Order 53(2), which is --
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we have not finished that matter. I will rule on it and we will know how to go forward. I will say something.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
The Hon Deputy Majority Leader will convey to the Hon Minister that, he will attend to the Business of this House at 12.00 noon. No further excuses will be taken. At 12.00 noon, he must appear before Parliament. [Hear! Hear!] Thank you very much.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker.
Item numbered 4 -- Statements. Hon Members, there is a Statement by Hon Augustine Collins Ntim, Member of Parliament for Offinso North and Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, to observe World Down-Syndrome Day, which falls on 21st March of every year.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make this Statement. Mr Speaker, Ghana joins the rest of the world to observe the Sixth “World Down- Syndrome Day” today, 21st March, 2017. The day has grown from a humble beginning to become a globally-celebrated
event to increase awareness of the syndrome. The theme for this year is, “My voice, my community-enabling people with down-syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community”. Mr Speaker, “down-syndrome” is a congenital disorder arising from a chromosome defect, causing intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities such as short stature (short neck, short arms and legs). The abnormalities also include low muscle tone, loose joint, as well as broad facial profile including a flat face, small ears, slanting eyes, small mouth and protruding tongues. In addition, about 40 per cent of those born with the disorder have cardiac related complications. Mr Speaker, down-syndrome was named after a British physician, John Langdon Down, who first made the attempt in the 18th Century to find a name for the disorder. He described the abnormality as mongolism, though he could not ascertain the cause of it. A research carried out later in France in the 19th Century then attributed the cause to genetic error. The research disclosed that the disorder had nothing to do with the environment. Further studies conducted by specialists, particularly, paediatricians and gynaecologists, identified different types of the disorder. However, Trisomy 21, Mosaicism and Translocation are the most common ones the world over. Mr Speaker, there are 23 pairs of chromosomes, making a total of 46 in each cell in humans. A condition where a person has 47 chromosomes in each cell instead of 46, is termed Trisomy 21. This results from an abnormality in cell division, which leaves a sperm or egg cell with an extra chromosome on the 21st pair of chromosomes, before or at conception. About 95 per cent of down-syndrome cases around the world are those of the Trisomy 21 condition. The other type, which is Mosaicism, happens when some cells in the body are normal while others have Trisomy 21 characteristics. Translocation, also another type of down-syndrome, happens when part of chromosome 21 breaks off during cell division and joins another chromosome, usually chromosome 14. Mr Speaker, because the 21st Day of the 3 rd month of the year, signifies the uniqueness of the Triplication (Trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes down-syndrome, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, on 19th December, 2011, declared 21st March of every year as World Down-Syndrome Day. The Day was first observed in 2012 and it was designated for member States, relevant organisations of the UN and other international organisations, civil society organisations and the private sector, to raise public awareness and educate people on the disorder. The Day was also set aside to give advocates, the opportunity to organise and participate in activities and events aimed at raising public awareness and creating a single global voice for the promotion of the rights and well-being of people with down-syndrome. Mr Speaker, down-syndrome is the commonest genetic disorder and cannot be prevented from happening. Even those who go for ante-natal care regularly, still stand the risk of giving birth to children with down-syndrome because it is as a result of genetic accident. Its prevalence, according to paediatricians and other specialists, is estimated to be about 1 in 800 births in every population worldwide. Those with the disorder are likely to pass it on to their children. Women with down-syndrome and above 40 years, may appear physically normal, but are more likely to pass it on to their children than those below 40. Women without the disorder and above 30 years, stand a higher risk of giving birth to children with down-syndrome than those below 30. It can be detected during the early stages of pregnancy and paedia- tricians can ascertain its intensity and advise whether terminating the pregnancy is a better option or not. Mr Speaker, the condition can be managed, especially those that are not extremely critical. Although people with down-syndrome experience learning difficulties that lead to delays in many areas of development, infants with down- syndrome enjoy communicating and make good use of non-verbal skills including babbling and gestures. Some of them are also talented in the field of sports and arts. They can also learn better from illustrations including pictures, gestures and objects. Because of lack of knowledge about the disorder, some people attribute it to reasons other than genetic errors. For this reason, couples who have children with the disorder sometimes resort to spiritualists for help and others even kill their children because they think they would be a burden on them and for that matter, the society. There is, therefore, the need to educate people on how to handle children with the disorder and also help them devise more effective teaching approaches and therapies to manage the condition. Mr Speaker, many of such disorders, including autism and mongolism, can easily be managed, if we had child development centres with allied health specialists like speech therapists occupational therapist and physio- therapist as pertains in other countries. The specialists at the centre can work together as a team in the provision of certain support services to children with such abnormalities. The allied health, specialists at the centre can also organise programmes and workshops to educate parents who have children with down-syndrome and other related disorders. Tests/assessments and evaluations undertaken on children with the disorders and the remedial measures/ strategies undertaken to manage them can also be documented for purposes of reference. Mr Speaker, the need to educate people on such disorders and establish child development centres to deal with the abnormalities, must only be the responsibility of Government. As we observe the World Down- Syndrome Day today, I urge corporate entities, civil society organisations, religious bodies as well as Hon Colleague Members of Parliament to join in the advocacy and consider establishing child development centres in every constituency to provide support services to children with down-syndrome and other related disorders to make them useful to society. Once again, I am very much grateful to you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I would like to commend my Hon Colleague for making such a very important Statement on the
Mr Speaker, I would want to commend my Colleague, the Hon Member, for this Statement. Mr Speaker, it is welcoming to know that the awareness of this down-syndrome disorder is increasing. Hitherto, people attributed down-syndrome disorders to spiritual issues and because of that, they try to look for spiritual solutions to all down-syndrome disorders. Some of them go to the extent of trying to kill the children or sacrifice them to gods because they think that it is the sins of their fathers or somebody working something against them spiritually. So, it is very comfortable to know that now, we as people in this part of the world, are accepting the fact that it is a disorder that could be taken care of.
Hon Members, silence. There is noise in the room. Hon Member, please, go on.
Also, most importantly, it is because most of them are not able to detect the disease or disorder early. Through this contribution, I would want to bring this to the attention of the Ministry of Health so that we equip our hospitals. I know that at some point of the pregnancy, the disorder could be detected and an effort would be made towards it. He said even mothers who go through the prenatal process have the disorder, how much more if one is pregnant and she does not go to the hospital? It means that she would be at a higher risk of getting the disorder. Mr Speaker, my conclusion is that we should accept that, this is not the child's fault. It is sad to treat somebody with down-syndrome harshly, as if he or she is not human because of the situation the person is in. It is not the persons make; it is not the person's fault. It is a disorder. Sometimes, it is even not the fault of the mother or the father, but it is a disorder that has to come because of the whole cell system of the person. So, as a group of people, and as a Parliament, we should work at making sure that those people who unfortunately are caught in that web or are affected by down- syndrome feel comfortable and feel as part of us, just like in the Western World where we have homes, which have special activities they take them through. Let us find a way to make them comfortable and also find a way to prevent further down- syndromes.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I beg to associate myself with the Hon Colleague who made the Statement on this World Down-Syndrome Day, otherwise known as Trisomy 21. Mr Speaker, all of us are made up of genes, and our survival on earth is an interaction between our genetic makeup and the environment in which we are born. Others like sickle cell disease, glucose 6 phosphate deficiency disease are all genetic abnormalities, but once born, our Constitution 1992 in article 13, guarantees the right to life. Mr Speaker, therefore, children with Down-Syndrome have the right to life. As a society, we have to ensure that we protect these individuals to live and also contribute to the nation Ghana. Mr Speaker, as well articulated by the Hon Member who made the Statement, it is known that in about 1 in 800 births, one is likely to be born with this condition, and therefore, as a society, we have to develop ways to protect them. Normally, they are born with problems such as feeding, difficulty in breathing and others that normal children are not exposed to. The public would have to be educated on the symptoms and signs of down-syndrome and what we can do to prolong their lives. Mr Speaker, sometimes, cultural practices endanger the lives of children with down-syndrome. In some societies, the elders find ways of disposing these children. Either they are thrown far away from society, into water or forests, just to ensure that they do not grow up with these challenges that society does not want. Mr Speaker, it is our duty to educate the public and let people know that they are also human beings and they have the right to life. If we protect them, they would live to contribute to mother Ghana. Mr Speaker, I would therefore, join my Hon Colleague to appeal that we develop
Hon Member, do you rise to contribute?
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful. I beg to associate myself with the Hon Member who made the Statement. Mr Speaker, the arrival of a baby is usually supposed to be a source of joy and a time for celebration, but when one has a baby with down-syndrome, it is the beginning of many problems, especially in our setting, in developing countries or societies that are not advanced when it comes to technology in the area of child welfare. Mr Speaker, down-syndrome, as the name goes, is a syndrome because it is not one condition. It comes with a lot of problems at a time. The human being is a big unit, and it starts with a small unit. I would want to break it down. Mr Speaker, we could take the human being as a block with a code, which is like a software that makes one look like one's forebears or one's parents. We have 23 pairs of genetic codes, each of the pairs comes from both parents, so, the man contributes one and the woman also contributes one, and then we have a pair, 23 of them. In this condition, at the 21st position, we have three instead of two. So, we have the man or the woman contributing two units instead of one. Immediately we have three or four of a unit instead of a pair, we show symptoms of the down- syndrome disease. Mr Speaker, it was discovered by an English physician called John Down, and hence the name. I would focus on an interesting aspect of down-syndrome which makes it an emerging disease in the second or third world country. Mr Speaker, women who are advanced in age are at a higher risk of delivering babies with down-syndrome. In fact, once she gets to age 35, her chances of giving birth to a baby with down-syndrome quadruples, and the statistics show that if she gets to 40 years, her risk again doubles by the quadruple, that is eight times. Mr Speaker, if we look at the moder- nisation trend in this country, a lot of women have now become career women. So, they do not start families early. What it means is that, as a country, we have to double our efforts when it comes to infrastructure to support parents who have babies with down-syndrome. Mr Speaker, the down-syndrome baby has a lot of challenges. They have challenges with cognitive function, which is the ability to learn. They have health problems. Most of them have congenital heart diseases. A lot of them also die from infections, because most of their organs are not developed like the normal baby. Mr Speaker, because of these peculiar problems, it is important to have facilities that pay special attention to babies with down-syndrome and other genetic abnormalities like autism and sickle cell. Mr Speaker, the good news about down-syndrome is that there is technology that can diagniose the condition before a baby is born. In fact, doctors are able to predict that a child is going to come out with down-syndrome, and one has the option of therapeutic abortion, that is, the termination of the pregnancy so as to avoid all the social and economic problems that come with a down-syndrome baby. Mr Speaker, we, as a country, must look at investing into such areas, get the tools and machines, so that we can help to diagnose down-syndrome. Mr Speaker, one other important aspect is genetic counselling. As we stand in this country now, we give counselling to individuals wanting to marry with the history of sickle cell. They are advised that if their husband is a carrier and they are also carriers, they should take a second look at the marriage, so that they do not have babies with sickle cell. The same applies to down-syndrome. Once you are a woman who is 35 years and beyond, you need to receive counselling as to your chances of giving birth to a baby with down-syndrome. I have had occasions where I have spoken to women with three or four children who say they want to have a last one at 45 years, and I usually tell them that the last one could take away the joy they have with all the previous ones. 11. 10 a. m. Mr Speaker, most of the time, such genetic counselling is able to help couples or parents to decide whether they would still give birth or to avoid delivery. Mr Speaker, I am very glad that we have such a Statement. In fact, in Africa, the cause of every disease is spiritual, until otherwise determined, and I am happy that down-syndrome is one of the conditions that have been determined by science to have a genetic basis. Mr Speaker, so I would like to encourage society to accept Down- Syndrome as a physical condition and not a spiritual condition. With a lot of effort, the incidents or the prevalence could be reduced, and we could have a very happy society. Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Your contribution was very insightful.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I beg to comment on the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague on the other side of the aisle. Mr Speaker, down-syndrome is a problem of mostly children who have either or both parents carrying the disease in their genes. A research had shown that one in a thousand pregnancies for mothers less than thirty years could be with the down-syndrome, and twelve out of a thousand for mothers, who are above forty years. Mr Speaker, how would we support and make sure that we all understand, especially those in our communities, our parents, and our brothers and sisters out there, who might not have the opportunity to understand this issue? Mr Speaker, in the first place, we should note that this problem is not about women only. This is because men could genetically have that problem. So, it is possible that from the man, one could have such a child. It takes two to tango, and the two should be responsible. Mr Speaker, it is clearly stated that early signs could help parents, either decide to terminate such pregnancies, or have the
Thank you very much. This brings us to the end of Statements. This is a very useful Statement, and very important views have been expressed of real public concern, including areas of public education for the benefit of our people. The Public Affairs Department should capture the various Statements, make a publishable Paper thereon before the close of day for my observation, and send it out to the relevant Media for public consumption. Thank you very much, Hon Members. [Pause] -- Hon Deputy Majority Leader, you have an indication?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, as is clearly evident, we have the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources seated, and he is prepared to take the Question that has been filed by Hon Yaw Afful of Jaman South Constituency. Mr Speaker, you could therefore allow the Hon Minister to answer that Question.
Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Question to the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources regarding who the current owners of the Aviation Lands at Adenta are.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF LANDS
AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Mr Speaker, it is my pleasure and honour to be in this august House this morning to answer the Hon Member of Parliament for Jaman South's Question on who the current owners of the Aviation lands at Adenta are. Mr Speaker, in answering this Question, I would like to begin with a historical perspective of the issue. Historical Mr Speaker, the land measuring 632.74 acres was acquired compulsorily by the State in 1968 under Executive Instrument (E.I.) 127 as State Land (Accra - Adenta - Remote Receiving Station) Instrument of 1968. Following the publication of the Executive Instrument, two (2) expropriated land owners -- Daniel Abotchie Akpor, on behalf of the Labadi Agbawe Family and Head of the Adenta Family, and Kwetia Ahia -- submitted claims for compensation in respect of 608.88 acres and 22.86 acres respectively. Mr Speaker, Compensation was assessed and paid in full and final settlement in 1971 to the two claimants as follows: 1. Daniel Abotchie Akpor on behalf of the Labadi Agbawe Family and Head of the Adenta Family -- 28,629.00 new Ghana cedis (an equivalent of 14,314.50 British pounds) for 609.88 acres; and 2. Kwetia Ahia -- 1,371.00 new Ghana cedis (an equivalent of 685.50 British pounds). Mr Speaker, the construction of the University Farm Road transverse through the subject land, which subsequently required that the land be resurveyed and demarcated. Accordingly, in September 1981, the original acquisition instrument, Executive Instrument (E.I) 127 of 1968 was amended to reflect the net size of the land. The extent of the land was ascertained to exclude portions to the south of the University Farm Road. Mr Speaker, in effect, the size of the land diminished from 632.74 acres to 614.629 acres. Indeed, compensation was nonetheless paid fully for the original land size of 632.74 acres. Current situation Mr Speaker, in a letter dated 1st December, 2015, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources informed the Lands Commission of a Cabinet decision to change the use of the land acquired under E.I. 127 for Adenta Remote Receiving Station to other uses of public interest. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources acting for government also:
Thank you, Hon Minister. You may assume your seat in the meantime. Other Questions will follow, and you would come back to answer them in the same manner. Hon Member, your supplementary Question.
Mr Speaker, I would like to read the first paragraph of the Answer headed “Current Situation” and then pose a question from that. It reads: “In a letter dated 1st December, 2015, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources informed the Lands Commission of a Cabinet decision to change the use of the land acquired under E.I.127 for the Adenta Remote Receiving Station to other uses of public interest.” Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister what the other “public interest” is in this matter.
Mr Speaker, the rationale for every country and emerging nation as ours is to improve on our developmental agenda and drive through a country that becomes a modernised one for the purpose of intergenerational equity. It was on that basis that the rezoning and redevelopment concept was instituted. Mr Speaker, I am fairly new to the Ministry, but I have been briefed; my understanding of the concept is that we must begin to make Accra look more beautiful, and introduce some other concepts that were brought from other developed countries to our modern country, Ghana. That, Mr Speaker, was the rationale for the rezoning and redevelopment of the business district.
The Hon Member wants to know the “public interest” element. Hon Minister, if you would answer the Hon Member specifically. I believe it is well geared. What is the “public interest” content? Hon Minister, if you can help to make it clear to him.
Mr Speaker, the interest of every Ghanaian and the public at large is to make sure that the country is acceptable to all citizens.
Mr Speaker, I would like to read number 5 of the “Current Situation” and then pose another question. It reads: 5. Directed that specific acreages ranging from 4.6 acres to 150 acres be allocated to fourteen (14) companies …” Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister the names or particulars of such companies.
Mr Speaker, the following allocation letters were issued to the following companies -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, 1. Valuan Royal -- 5.24 acres and allocation letter issued 2. Homeful Dynamics Limited -- 4.49 acres and allocation letter issued 3. Ayork Holdings Limited -- 18.06 acres and allocation letter issued 4. Alive Pharmacy -- 6.06 acres and allocation letter issued 5. Matana Investment Holdings Ghana Limited -- 20.67 acres and allocation letter issued 6. Termorials Company Limited -- 55.33 acres and allocation letter issued 7. Anayina International Limited -- 14.73 acres and allocation letter issued 8. Gorford Company Limited -- 8.1 acres and allocation letter issued, and 9. Terapangai Resource Limited -- 4.6 acres and allocation letter issued.
Africa Fiesta Limited -- 18.6 acres; Satis Construction Limited -- 150 acres' and Pacquia Development Limited -- 5 acres. Mr Speaker, in total, quite close to over 200 acres, direction was given to that effect for allocation letters not to be issued. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member, you have your final supplementary Question.
Mr Speaker, I think that I would yield any other further Questions to other Hon Members. I have exhausted my Questions.
Thank you very much. Hon Members, any other Questions? Hon Minority Leader, do you want to ask a Question? I will give Hon Leaders the opportunity later.
Mr Speaker, I will come if given the opportunity, but I had to be on my feet to remind our Hon Colleague to respect you as the Chair; it does not lie within him to say that “I am done, I want to leave it for other Hon Members to ask their Questions.” [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, that amounts to a usurpation of --
Hon Minority Leader, it is enough, let us go with the Questions. Yes, Hon Member, I recognise you.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to find out from the Hon Minister whether the Adentan Municipal Assembly or the Lands Commission has gone through any procurement process to procure the developers for the allocation of the land.
Mr Speaker, I am not very familiar with these technical issues. I will get back to this House when I have been briefed properly. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minister, that means you would come back. We would not allow Hon Ministers just to tell us, “I do not have the answer now”, “it means that, within two weeks, you would come back and answer. Otherwise, Questions may hang somewhere. I am just giving the directive; you would get ready to answer what you do not have information on now within a period of two weeks. Every Question would be answered once asked by an Hon Member. Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources aware that since April, 2005, there has been an injunction on the land, and that the previous Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, in the previous Administration was injuncted and fined for contempt for the actions in the Answer given, and that the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, in the same matter, was also fined with contempt of court for pursuing these actions set in the Answer?
Mr Speaker, this has come to my notice and I have this -- [Interruptions.]
Order! Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, I am not aware of that development.
Thank you. Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to find out from the Hon Minister the reasons that prompted him to stop the allocation of over 200 acres of land to the last list of companies that he stated.
Thank you very much. Yes, Hon Minister?
Order! Hon Members, decorum is imperative. You cannot just be shouting about that way.
With all due respect, Mr Speaker, I do not think the Hon Minister heard my question; if you permit me, I would restate it.
Hon Member, it is not for you to say that he did not hear. If he did not hear and I think so, I am the person to repeat it.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minister, the question is, what informed the cancellation?
Mr Speaker, when the new Administration,under the Leadership of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, took office, structures were not immediately put in place. So, as a sector Minister, I found it very unnecessary for operational decisions to be taken, while the necessary administrative styles needed to grant approvals were not fully in place. That informed my decision to put hold on it.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. Hon First Deputy Speaker?
I thank you, Mr Speaker. I refer to the Answer of the Hon Minister, 2.0 sub 5.
“(5) Any property compulsorily taken possession of or acquired in the public interest or for a public purpose shall be used only in the public interest or for the public purpose for which it was acquired. (6) Where the property is not used in the public interest or for the purpose for which it was acquired, the owner of the property immediately before the compulsory acquisition, shall be given the first option for acquiring the property and shall, on such re-acquisition refund the whole or part of the compensation paid to him as provided for by law or such other amount as is commensurate with the value of the property at the time of the re-acquisition.”
Thank you very much, Hon First Deputy Speaker. Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, these were ongoing transactions before I assumed office. My attention has not been drawn to that constitutional provision.
Hon Minister, I direct that you respectfully have your attention drawn to that relevant provision, and advise this Honourable House further as to how you intend to deal with this problem holistically, including that reference to the Constitution as aforementioned. Thank you very much. Yes, any further Questions? Hon Minister, address your mind to the issue and come and advise this House.
Mr Speaker, my Question to the Hon Minister refers to the second part of his Answer under “Current Situation”, point 4. Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, I want to read. We are told that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources: “Engaged Anaina International Company Limited to provide infrastructure on the site and construct 100 executive apartments for government in exchange for 140 acres.” Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister what kind of infrastructure portfolio was that limited liability company supposed to provide? Secondly, I would like to find out whether due technical diligence was conducted in order that Ghanaians were not shortchanged, and that Ghanaians would have value for money in this transaction. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minster, any due diligence made to ensure Ghanaians, in effect, have value for money in the transaction in quo?
Mr Speaker, it is difficult for me to determine immediately, the value for money in respect of the infrastructural projects being undertaken. I visited the site and have observed the construction of roads and drainages, and demarcations of the various plots. Concerning the cost value, reconcilia- tion in terms of work done vis-à-vis the swap for land, I am not in a position to do that. I would get back to this House if detailed information is provided to my office.
Very well. Hon Minister, add this aspect also, that in two weeks' time, you would come and give Hon Members a full account of the dynamics of value for money, being public funds at stake.
Hon Member, if that were a direct Question, if it was apparent on the face of the original Question asked, then we could say so. This is a supplementary Question. It being a supplementary Question, the Hon Minister is entitled to go and advise himself and speak to it. Any further Questions? Yes, Hon Member?
The Hon Minister in response to a Question said that he is not aware of the injunction placed on the land. Currently, we have been made to believe that, work is still ongoing despite the injunction. Mr Speaker, now that we have been made aware of the injunction placed on it by a High Court of judicature, what does he intend to do?
Hon Minister, you are being apprised of some injunction in this matter. You may answer the Question if you are aware or indicate the need for time to do so. Please, your Answer.
Mr Speaker, I would call for the document, and if indeed the injunction is placed on that land, I would consult my legal department for the necessary action.
Mr Speaker, I rise to seek your guidance. The direction to the Hon Minister indicates that, he must come back to this House in two weeks' time. Two weeks from now would be 4th April. Next week is 28th March. The second week is 4th April
Which is my birthday. [Interruptions.]
Happy birthday in advance, Mr Speaker. The Business Statement that was approved last Friday indicated that we would rise on 30th March, 2017; but I do not know if the importance of this matter and the fact that it is your birthday, we may have a special birthday session just to listen to the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
Or so soon thereafter, which you know as a lawyer, when something is adjourned to a dies non. In law, it means the earliest day thereafter, that matter is before the court or the appropriate place. That would apply accordingly.
Mr Speaker, even so, if Parliament is not in session, it does not mean the whole Parliament staff and your office do not operate. I am sure your direction was to present it to the House, and if it is lodged in the Clerk to Parliament's Office, it is deemed to have been served properly to Parliament. Mr Speaker, I think your direction was in the right way. The fact that we are not appearing here to Sit in a Session does not mean the whole Parliament comes to a standstill.
Hon Members, I do not want Hon Leaders to engage further on this. I would be glad if Hon Members would continue with the matter before us. Hon Minority Leader, you were on your feet -- I would be very glad if anytime I make a ruling on something -- Hon Leaders included, you take a cue and allow us to continue with the matter before us. Otherwise, we shall have discussions which I do not appreciate too much. Yes, Hon Minority Leader, since the Hon Deputy Minority has spoken you may want to say something.
Mr Speaker, I would want an opportunity to further elucidate what the Hon Minister said, but I was compelled to rise after your ruling and guidance, when my Hon Colleague at the other side of the aisle --
Hon Minority Leader, are you asking your Question?
Yes, Mr Speaker, but before then, I would like to respond to the Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
Hon Minority Leader, I am not certain that Hon Members have finished asking their Questions. I would call you.
Mr Speaker, before I ask my Question, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader has attempted to define what “Parliament” means. By our Standing Orders, the “House” refers to Parliament. The office of the Rt Hon Speaker is separate and distinct from Parliament, even though Mr Speaker is the Chair of the House. She should not mislead this House. Mr Speaker, if you have directed that the Hon Minister should come back to report to this House -- and in the interest of transparency, we would rather associate with your guidance that, open House plenary, the Hon Deputy Minister should come with the details and share with this House and not what the Hon Majority Leader said that some letter be sent to some Clerk or to some committee even when the House is on recess. Mr Speaker, I would want an opportunity to clarify -- I have two Questions for the Hon Minister.
Hon Minority Leader, you would have your turn with regard to the Question. I appreciate very much your contribution.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know if the Hon Minister is aware that part of the land is used by the Ministry of Transport as I speak. I would also want to know if he is aware that part of the same land is apportioned per the Cabinet directive to the Adenta Municipality. Finally, I would also want to know if he would be kind to inform the House as to whether or not those who were allocated the land went through the right processes to acquire it.
Yes, Hon Minister? Hon Minister, you are entitled to ask for a Question to be repeated anytime you do not get it. Was the Question clear to you?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
You may go ahead and answer then. Otherwise, you may ask that it should be asked again.
Mr Speaker, with the issue of transparency in allocation of the land, I cannot tell. My understanding of the word “transparency” is to go with competitive processes fair in nature and acceptable to all the stakeholders. I cannot tell the details how competitive it was, whether it was open up for auction in terms of advertisement -- With that I cannot tell. Mr Speaker, as to the allocation with regard to the Ministry of Transport, I have spelt out the various acreages and names of companies that I found in the documents which were handed over to me. I have not come across the Ministry of Transport in the allocation document that I have. Maybe, the name might have been brought under one of these companies. Mr Speaker, these are some of the details that I would again bring to this august House.
Hon Minister, you would find all these out holistically as and we would give you two weeks to do so. Hon Members, we would take the last Question.
Mr Speaker, I rise as a representative of the people of La, who are the original land owners of the issue on the floor of the House -- [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, I would want to quote item numbered 2.0 in the Answer provided by the Hon Minister. “In a letter dated 1st December, 2015, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources informed the Lands Commission of a Cabinet decision to change the use of the land acquired under E.I. 127…” Mr Speaker, in addition to article 20 of the Constitution, when we refer to article 11 of the Constitution, in the hierarchy of laws, of Ghana an Executive Instrument (E.I), is a creature of the Constitution and I wonder whether a Cabinet letter could revoke an Executive decision without the underlining E.I. being revoked first.
Hon Members, Order! Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, my attention has been drawn to this and I would consult with my legal department for further clarification.
Hon Minister, this means you have a lot of work to do -- [Laughter] -- within a minimum of 14 days that we have given you. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I would want to refer the Hon Minister to paragraph one of his Answer and with your permission, I beg to quote: “The land measuring 632.74 acres was acquired compulsorily by the State...” Mr Speaker, I would want to know whether in his checks the conditions for compulsory acquisition were met.
Mr Speaker, can the Hon Member please, repeat his Question?
Yes, Hon Minority Leader? Hon Minister, please, address him as such in this House.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's own Answer to the Question, in line one of paragraph one of his historical background, he said the land was acquired compulsorily. I would want to know from him whether the conditions necessary for compulsory acquisition were met at the time.
Mr Speaker, I stated earlier that, this compulsory acquisition was done in the 1970s. I would check to see what actually prevailed -- whether the terms and conditions of the compulsory acquisition were actually met.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know if the Hon Minister is aware that the payment of compensation as captured in the last paragraph is part of the condition precedent to satisfy the compulsory acquisition.
Mr Speaker, that is a partial index of the fulfillment but it is not a conclusive evidence of a total fulfillment in accordance with the Constitution.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know if it is one of the conditions necessary --
Hon Minority Leader, I would allow you one more supplementary Question beyond your three Questions. So, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, I would want to refer to item numbered 3 of paragraph 2.0 of the Hon Minister's Answers for the Hon Minister to tell us the relationship between the Agbawe Kplen We of La and what he referred to as the Labadi Agbawe Family and Kwetia Ahia.
Mr Speaker, I believe the relationship between the words there is, “family”. But as to the details of how they interlink each other, I have no idea.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in his Answer in paragraph 2.0 said that, the land was rezoned to other uses of public interest. He then went on to say in item numbered 4 of paragraph 2.0 that, Anaina International Company Limited was engaged to provide infrastructure on the site and construct 100 executive apartments for government in exchange of 140 acres. Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister, whether the use to which the 140 acres would be put to, would be in the public interest. This is because, the land was originally rezoned in the interest of the public.
Mr Speaker, I will find out in due course if the 140 acres would also be subjected to the same land use plan.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether it then means that, this company has not been directed specifically to the use that it should put the 140 acres of land to — Was it not part of the agreement with the company?
Mr Speaker, the Adenta Business District is a complete designed infrastructure, and any persons that would want to work within that environment would need to conform to the designed criteria. Mr Speaker, I have not yet seen the detailed drawings of this particular company. So I promise the House that I would check to see if the design of this company is also going to conform to the set design.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources for attending upon the House to respond to Questions. Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business — I will go to the Order Paper Addendum presented to us, and with special reference to Presentation and First Reading of Bills — Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Bill, 2017. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, any indication?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance is here and if you could allow him to take that.
Hon Minister for Finance, what is your intention at this stage? Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I had an indication that you would want to withdraw the previous laying at this stage. So, if you would indicate that, I would grant the appropriate permission and it would then be represented. That is when the Hon Minister for Finance would rise, indicating his representation. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, if you would state this fact.
Very well. Mr Speaker, thank you for your guidance. Rightly so. After further consultations with the relevant committee, it has become necessary that the Hon Minister withdraws the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Bill, 2017, and properly relay them before your Honourable House. So, the Hon Minister is here to make the necessary withdrawal.
So the application at this stage, is for the Hon Minister to withdraw that which was earlier laid for him to represent.
Mr Speaker, this is a House governed by its Standing Orders, which we jealously would maintain religious respect for those Standing Orders.
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Minority Leader was engaged in my earlier presentation, what I indicated, per your direction, was that, the Hon Minister is here to do so, and by that, in his presentation, the Rt Hon Speaker would know that we are actually adhering to Standing Order 132 as elucidated by the Hon Minority Leader. I never said that it has been withdrawn. I said the Hon Minister is here to duly do so. And he is reliably informed and guided by our rules, and he is going to do exactly so.
I clearly understand the Hon Deputy Majority Leader as informing us of the purpose of the presence of the Hon Minister, so that we proceed accordingly.
Hon Minister for Finance, you may now make your withdrawal with leave to re-present. Hon Minister for Finance, please proceed.
Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 132, and with your leave, I beg to withdraw the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Bill, 2017, that was laid on the Floor of the House on the 15th of March, 2017. I so move.
Hon Minister, you would not need to move as such; you only ask for my permission to -- The Hon Minister has sought my permission to withdraw the Bill and its referral to the relevant Committee. The Bill earlier presented and the referral to the Committee on Finance is hereby withdrawn. The Hon Minister may now re-present what he has for the Honourable House now. So, we have Presentation and First Reading of Bills -- Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Bill, 2017. Mr Haruna Iddrisu — rose --
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, it appears the Deputy Majority Leader did not even want to benefit from your earlier guidance and our guidance. Mr Speaker, even before the Minister's attention was drawn by you to withdraw -- but for your guidance, the Minister for Finance has already bowed to the First Reading of the Bill. That is inappropriate by our Standing Orders and it is also appropriate that, when a Motion is moved, per Standing Order 81, it has to be seconded. The Motion was moved and because the Deputy Majority Leader was interested in fighting the Hon Minority Leader, I remained on my seat and to question my integrity for respecting the Standing Orders-- She was interested in some unnecessary battle of who knows the Standing Orders -- the Hon Deputy Majority Leader knows it better.
I take the Motion as moved. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, formally say you second the Motion and let us make progress.
Mr Speaker, it has gone on record. We are not here to fight --
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, you would take a cue -- second the Motion and leave me to make progress.
Mr Speaker, rightly so. I second the Motion; but I am not here to fight anybody. I am here -- Question put and Motion agreed to.
BILLS -- FIRST READING
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, with regard to the main Order Paper, the way of Public Business now, we have item numbered 5 following. We would want to know the reports that are ready for the consideration of the House.
Mr Speaker, the reports that are ready on the Order Paper are items numbered 5 (b) and k (ii).
I would want full clarity on where the reports are available so as to make progress. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, you may indicate one after the other what is available and let us continue.
Very well. Mr Speaker, what is available on the Order Paper are items 5 (b) and k (ii).
Very well. Let us have item numbered 5 (b) on the Order Paper. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, please, mention them one after the other. Hon Members, item numbered 5 (g) (i) by the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture. By the Vice Chairman of the Committee -- (ii) Report of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, please read them one after the other so that we are sure that we are singing from the same hymn sheet.
Mr Speaker, the earlier one, which is item numbered 5 (b), on the Order Paper has been captured and the Hon Chairman of the Committee has bowed to it. We are now on item numbered 5 (k) (ii) which is the Report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Mr Speaker, we want to help facilitate Business but Leadership must help you. Even though this is not Question time, I would want to know whether he is the Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Committee? For the Hon Deputy Majority Leader to take a cue, where an Hon Member or Hon Vice Chairman seeks to do this on behalf of the Committee, let it be known to the Hon Speaker, so that we would report accordingly, please.
That is seriously upheld. We would not want to appear to be impersonating. Hon Members have positions in the House. So, if the Hon Chairman of any particular Committee is not available, it is a simple procedural matter to seek the permission of the Chair for some other Hon Member to present or lay the Reports. So, let us remember that and go through the Motion in that connection for the future.
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. We would be guided by your directions.
Hon Majority Leader, what is the next item? -- [Interruption.] Did we complete that which appeared to be ongoing?
Mr Speaker, we have completed the item numbered 5 (b) and the Hon Member who stood and bowed is actually the Vice Chairman of the Committee.
To present it -- [Interruption.] -- Thank you very much. [Pause.]
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, the next item.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Chief Whip is a Member of the Committee and would want to present the Report on behalf of the Hon Chairman of the Committee.
Which is the next one.
Mr Speaker, it is item numbered 5 (k) (ii) on the Order Paper.
Since you are jumping items, kindly read it out for Hon Members to be clear.
Mr Speaker, it is the Report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relation for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises; and you seek permission for another Hon Member to lay?
Mr Speaker, rightly so.
It is granted. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I am informed the Hon Vice Chairman of the Committee is here to do so. [Pause.] By the Vice Chairman (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) -- (iii) Report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for the year ending 31st December 2017.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, any other item?
Mr Speaker, not at the moment, and with your leave and direction, if we could, under Standing Order 53(2), vary Business and take item numbered 6; Motion.
Hon Members, item numbered 6 -- Motions. That this Honourable House adopts the Seventh Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for appointment as Deputy Regional Ministers.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House adopts the Seventh Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's Nominations for Appointment as Deputy Regional Ministers. In so doing, I present the Committee's Report. Introduction In accordance with article 256 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, H. E. the President communicated to Parliament the nomination of ten persons for appointment as Deputy Regional Ministers on 3rd March, 2017. Consequently, the nominations were referred to the Appointments Committee by the Rt Hon Speaker for consideration and report, pursuant to Order 172 of the Standing Orders of the House.
at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital on the face of high infant and maternal mortality rates, the nominee informed the Committee that as a Member of Parliament on the Select Committee on Health, she together with the Committee visited KATH more than ten times all in a bid to find solution to the challenges but all to no avail. She assured the Committee that, when given the nod as the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, she would do all in her power to assist the Regional Minister and the Sector Minister to complete the Maternity building which has been ongoing for dacades. Combating illegal mining in the Ashanti Region On what she would do to address illegal mining (galamsey) and the pollution of water bodies in the region, the nominee stated that the issue of illegal mining was one of a national issue and government was working on it. She intimated that whatever policies government rolled out would be supported by her and the Regional Minister to ensure successful implementation. Recommendation The Committee recommends to the House for the approval by consensus the nomination of Hon. Elizabeth Agyeman for appointment as Deputy Regional Minister for the Ashanti Region. Hon Joseph Tetteh -- Deputy Regional Minister-designate for the Eastern Region Background Hon. Joseph Tetteh was born on 14th May, 1966 at Asesewa in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He had his basic and middle school education at Asesewa Anglican Primary School and Asesewa Roman Catholic Middle School from 1972 to 1978 and 1978 to 1982 respectively. He enrolled in New Juaben Secondary School in 1982 where he was awarded the G. C. E. “O” Level certificate in 1987. In 2010, the nominee enrolled in the Graduate School of Governance and Leadership where he was awarded a Certificate in Public Procurement. The nominee began his career as a farmer between 1987 and 1990 before taking up the post of sales attendant at Asodam Enterprise. He later established his own business, Joetee Enterprise Limited, where he worked as the Chief Executive Officer between 1997 and 2016. Along the line, he ventured into the financial service industry and established the KLO Financial Service, acting as the chief executive officer until his election as the Member of Parliament for the Upper Manya Constituency. The nominee held several political positions, including, being a member of the NPP Council of Patrons in the Eastern Region and the Upper Manya Constituency. The nominee is married with three children and speaks English, Twi, Ga and Dangme. Response to Questions Proposal to deal with illegal mining in the Eastern Region The nominee in a response to a question on the most effective way of dealing with the menace of illegal mining in the Eastern Region, lamented the extent of the problem and its attendant effect on water bodies and agriculture. He explained that the Eastern Region has become a fertile ground for the activities of illegal miners because of its vast deposit of mineral resources, including gold and diamonds. He acknowledged that efforts put in place by successive governments to arrest the problem have yielded little result. He indicated his intention to support the Regional Minister to liaise with the relevant state agencies, including the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Interior to devise a new strategy to curb the menace of illegal mining in the Region. Activities of political vigilante groups In a response to a question on what actions he intended to take to control the activities of political vigilante groups in the Eastern Region, the nominee explained that, the activities of those vigilante groups were illegal and should not be entertained in any form. He indicated that a crime committed constituted a crime, and any individual or group of persons found culpable of any crime should be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the state irrespective of political affiliation. If given the nod, he said he would assist the Regional Minister, and with support from the security services clamp down on the activities of political vigilante groups in the Eastern Region. Improving Girl-Child Education On specific intervention to be put in place to promote girl-child education in the region, the nominee lamented the dwindling public interest in the promotion of girl-child education. He emphasised the significance of girl-child education to women empowerment and poverty reduction. He assured the Committee that, given the nod, he would propose a collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to intensify public education on the importance of girl- child education to his Regional Minister. Promoting Youth in Agriculture In a response to a question on plans he would put in place to encourage the youth to take agriculture as a career, the nominee explained that, agriculture is the predominant activity of the people of the Eastern Region and provides employment for majority of the inhabitants. He indicated that, most of the farmers are aged hence the need to encourage more of the youth to venture into farming to ensure food security. He admitted that most of the youth in the region are not interested in agriculture because of the labour intensive nature of the venture, and the high level of risk associated with farming. The problem is further compounded by the failure of financial institutions to extend credit to the agriculture sector. The nominee was, however, optimistic that with the implementation of the government's agriculture sector initiatives, including “planting for jobs and food”, more youth would be attracted to the agriculture sector. He assured of his preparedness to support the youth to access the needed financial resources to motivate them venture into agriculture. Recommendation The Committee recommends to the House for approval by consensus the nomination of Hon Joseph Tetteh for appointment as Deputy Regional Minister for the Eastern Region. Hon Evans Opoku Bobie -- Deputy Regional Minister-designate for the Brong Ahafo Region Background Hon Evans Opoku Bobie was born on 1st December, 1974 at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region. He had his basic education
at the Methodist Primary and Junior High Schools between 1982 and 1990 where he obtained his BECE certificate. He proceeded to Gyamfi Kumanin Senior High School, where he obtained his Senior Secondary School Certificate in 1993. Between 2000 and 2002, the nominee pursued a Diploma in Adult Education at the University of Ghana. He was later awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Psychology by the same University in 2005. In 2008, He enrolled in the University of Cape Coast and was awarded a Master of Arts Degree in Development Management in 2012. The nominee began work as a Pupil teacher at Asunafo Educational Complex and Dominase Junior High School from 1994 to 1996 and 1997 to 2000 respectively. Having completed his mandatory National Service assignment with the Department of Community Development at Asunafo North Municipal Assembly in 2003, Hon Evans Opoku Bobie began his professional career as Credit Manager at the Ahafo Community Bank Limited at Kukuom. He rose through the ranks as a Personnel Officer and was appointed General Manager of the bank in 2010. This position, he held until his election as a Member of Parliament in January, 2017. The nominee has participated in several training and capacity building workshops on financial institution management and regulations. He is married with two children. Responses to Questions Achievements as Managing Director of Ahafo Community Bank Espousing his achievements as the Managing Director of the Ahafo Community Bank Limited, the nominee indicated to the Committee that, when he took over the financial institution, it had very weak fundamentals. He said, at the time he became the Managing Director, the deposit base of the bank had reduced significantly. The bank at the time was also struggling with a high portfolio of non- performing assets. The bank had weak internal control systems and the Central Bank rated the bank as a distressed financial institution. With pragmatic leadership, introduc- tion of appropriate management and strong internal controls and measures, the fortunes of the Ahafo Community Bank were turned around from a distressed bank to one that merited a satisfactory Central Bank rating. He said, by the time he was exiting, the customer and deposit levels of the bank had increased significantly, leading to the establishment of new branches. He said, under his watch the assets of the bank increased significantly. Support for Agriculture On the specific interventions he would introduce to help improve agriculture in the region, the nominee was of the view that, the participation of the youth was vital in any effort to sustain the image of the Brong Ahafo Region as the hub of agriculture in Ghana. He cited the lack of financing and the destructive effects of annual bushfires as some of the major factors inhibiting the attractions of the youth into agriculture. The nominee expressed his readiness to assist the youth have access to finance to support investment in agriculture. On the effects of bushfires on agricultural productivity, he expressed the need for closer collaboration between the Local Authorities and the National Commission for Civic Education to educate farmers on the causes and effects of bushfires. This would help reduce the incidence of bush- fires and its attendant effect on agricultural productivity. Women empowerment Responding to a question on the specific actions he would undertake to ensure women empowerment in the Brong Ahafo Region, the nominee acknowledged the important role of women in nation development. He indicated that, women play a vital role in the agricultural value chain. Their business activities however are impaired by unavailability of credit to support their businesses. He indicated that when given the nod, he intends to work with the Minister to encourage women to form groups to enable them access credit facilities to support their businesses. He assured the Committee that, he would work with all stakeholders to ensure that the needs of women are factored into the implemen- tation of all government development programs and projects at the Regional and District level. Recommendation The Committee recommends to the House for the approval by consensus the nomination of Hon Evans Opoku Bobie for appointment as Deputy Regional Minister for Brong Ahafo Region. Mr Maxwell Qophy Blagodzi -- Deputy Regional Minister-designate for the Volta Region Background Mr Maxwell Qophy Blagodzi was born on 18th November, 1966 at Chillinga in the Volta Region. He had his primary education at Bontibor L/A Primary School and continued at Nkwanta L/A Middle ‘A' School in the Volta Region from 1973 to Mr. Blagodzi started his career as a teacher at the Chillinga D/A Primary School from 1990 to 1992 and moved to the New Agou D/A Primary School from 1992 to 1994. He was later transferred to Bontobor D/A Junior High School (JHS) (1994 - 1997), Brewaniase D/A JHS (1997 - 1999), Keri D/A JHS (1999 - 2002), Ntruboman SHS (2006 - 2011), Nkwasec D/A JHS (2011 - 2013) and Nkwanta D/A JHS ‘A' from 2013 to 2016. He has been the Headmaster of Nkwasec Basic Schools of the Nkwanta South District in the Volta Region from September 2016 to date. Mr Blagodzi started his political career as the Nkwanta Constituency Youth Organizer for the NPP from 1996 to 2009. He was also the Nkwanta Constituency Secretary for the NPP from 1999 to 2002 and again the Volta Regional Youth Organizer for the party from 2005 to 2009. He was a Government Appointee to the Nkwanta District Assembly from 2001 to 2006, becoming the Volta Regional campaign coordinator for the NPP in 2008. The nominee was elected as an Assembly Member for the Shiare-Chillinga Electoral Area from 2006 to 2010. Responses to Questions Secession of part of the Volta Region On whether he was aware and would support the Regional Minister to deal ruthlessly with one group advocating for the secession of part of the Volta Region
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion ably moved by the Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee and First Deputy Speaker in respect of Deputy Regional Minister nominees, pursuant to article 256(2) of the Constitution. To support the recommendation that the affected persons as named by him captured on page 36 of the Report be approved as Hon Deputy Ministers. Mr Speaker, Hon Deputy Ministers are to assist their substantive Ministers in the performance of their duties. There have been some public criticisms of the Appointments Committee and it is important that, we explain that when we vet nominees who are Hon Members of Parliament, the public should not expect us to exert the same consideration as other persons. This is because, the understanding is that an Hon Member of Parliament already satisfies the minimum legal requirement under article 94 of the Constitution, to be qualified to be an Hon Minister of State. That is why relative to the assessment, we appear to do what the public says that, we favour our Hon Members. It is not favouritism, it is a matter that they have already met the minimum requirement. Mr Speaker, I would speak just in respect of two of them in order that I keep it short. Firstly, is the Hon nominee for the Upper West Region -- Amidu Chinnia Issahaku. Mr Speaker, he was very impressive at the vetting and appeared ready to assist his Hon Minister to succeed. He demonstrated knowledge of the area. We encourage him to support the cotton industry, particularly, in the Tumu area in pursuit of the government's policy on ‘One district/One factory'. But ours is for the Hon Deputy Ministers to build cohesion and avoid possible conflicts with the Hon Ministers and then address the age-long problem of conflict between District Chief Executives (DCEs) and Hon Members of Parliaments (MPs). Mr Speaker, finally, it is to congratulate my own Hon Deputy Regional Minister, for the Northern region Mr Solomon Namliit Boar and to assure him and his Hon Minister that, we would support, but he should know that peace and security and the threats to it remains a fundamental challenge in that particular area. There are no economic activities in that area and rural-urban migration remains a major challenge. Then also, to disagree with him when he still pegs the illiteracy rate at 62 per cent. I would refer him to some publications, so that he would be up-to- date that we cannot have that frightening illiteracy rate. However, I congratulate him and wish him well and also, in respect of the -- Mr Speaker, so, we are approving by consensus the respected Hon nominees that the Hon Chairman referred to. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I wish to support the Motion at the outset and focus on two of the Hon nominees who are my good Friends and Hon Members of this House. Mr Speaker, let me start with the Hon nominee for the Northern Region, Hon Solomon N. Boar. I have known him for a very long time and so, it did not come to me as a surprise when the President nominated him to go back home to the Northern Region to serve his people. Mr Speaker, the Hon Boar talked about peace and security in the Northern Region as a priority area that he would focus his attention on, and I would bear testimony to the fact that even as an Hon Member of Parliament, when the Ministry for the Interior was called upon to deal with disturbances at Hon Boar's own backyard Bunkpurugu, he was very supportive. He accompanied us to his own backyard and also accompanied us to visit the overlord of the Mamprugu traditional area; the Nayiri with the view to assist us to try to foster peace in that area. There is a protracted dispute between two clans in the Bunkpurugu area, which are the Jamog and the Jafoc clans. They are very much related but are at each other's throat over some chieftaincy disputes. So, as a son of the area, Mr Speaker, I would continue to implore my good friend to take it upon himself to get the feuding parties to resolve that protracted dispute once and for all.
Mr Speaker, thank you. I would want to firstly congratulate the Hon women nominated by His Excellency the President to be Hon Deputy Regional Ministers; Hon Elizabeth Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey, Hon Gifty Eugenia Kusi and Hon Elizabeth Agyeman. Mr Speaker, not only are they examples but they have arrived where they are by dint of hard work. They are very experienced and bring a very good mix to the line-up of Hon Deputy Regional Ministers. Mr Speaker, Hon Elizabeth Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey, who is the Hon Deputy Regional Minister-designate for the Greater Accra Region, has a rich experience in public service and I believe that a region as sensitive as Greater Accra, she would be extremely useful in helping to manage and sustain it. Mr Speaker, Hon Gifty Eugenia Kusi joined the Leadership as soon as she entered this House and I believe that the House saw some qualities in her which led to her serving for several terms from 2001 to 2017. It is no wonder that, today, she has been elevated to the high office of Hon Deputy Regional Minister of the Western Region. Mr Speaker, I have the same to say about Hon Elizabeth Agyeman who, I am proud to say, is the Hon Deputy Regional Minister for my region -- Ashanti Region. [Interruption.] Where I extract and where -- [Laughter] -- Mr Speaker, my home region, and that is not to say that I do not represent Adentan very well in the House. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Regional Minister-designate is interested in issues that advance women, particularly young women, vulnerable women, disadvantaged women in trade, farming and other occupations which would enable them to become self-sufficient and support their families better than they are doing now. Mr Speaker, the three nominees have between them an excess of 12 years in this House and I believe that the House should be proud of them for the contribution they have made and would continue to make outside the House. Mr Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I rise to congratulate Hon Elizabeth Sackey on her nomination to the position of a Hon Deputy Regional Minister. I have known the Hon nominee virtually all her life from the Ablekuma South Constituency and I have great respect for her and for her public service. Mr Speaker, the days when she served as the Hon Member of Parliament for her constituency, she attended to responsibilities of this House and that of the constituency very well. Today, I believe that she has made the people of Ablekuma South, especially the women very proud. Indeed, she is a role model for the people of Ablekuma South and the Greater Accra Region. Knowing
Mr Speaker, thank you. First of all, I would say that I am grateful to His Excellency the President for such a wonderful combination that he has put together. I say that it is a wonderful combination because, we have the substantive Hon Regional Ministers and he made great complements. Mr Speaker, all the Hon nominees have great exposures and they have worked as mothers and fathers in societies and are prepared to serve the nation from their hearts. One thing that I noticed from Hon Elizabeth Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey during her vetting was that she spoke about women. Mr Speaker, in answering the question on women empowerment in the region, she said that, Mr Speaker I beg to quote: “women are the backbone of family and society at large and their empowerment would go a long way to alleviate poverty in the region.” Mr Speaker, because she is a woman -- the men are also compassionate to these ideas. I stand here as a woman to say that, the President has done well to add up a lot of women to complement our substantive Hon Ministers and with the substantive Hon Ministers who are women, I stand here to say a big congratulation and I know that the calibre of people that the President has nominated would do a good job to help the President to discharge his duties and the promises made. Mr Speaker, I am grateful for this opportunity. Thank you.
Hon Member, you would be the last to make your contribution.
Mr Speaker, thank you. I also rise to contribute to the Motion on the floor, and in doing so, I would like to congratulate all the Hon nominees who performed so well during the vetting. I am particularly happy about the performance of the three Hon Women namely; Hon Elizabeth Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey, Hon Gifty Eugenia Kusi and Hon Elizabeth Agyeman. These are women who have great experience in gender issues and their nomination and vetting came at a time when we had just celebrated the International Women's Day. This means that, a lot of women are being recognised in the work that they do. Mr Speaker, with their vast experience, there is no doubt in my mind that, these Hon Women would continue to fight for gender equality and equity in the new spheres of life that they have found themselves. Mr Speaker, when the Hon Deputy Ministers-designate were nominated, some of us thought that women were not represented at that level. However, having three of them as Deputy Ministers- designate gives us some comfort that women have a place in the current government and the work that it intends to do. Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the women and also encourage them to continue the fight for women and girls. I would again go back to the work of Hon Elizabeth Agyeman, who has taken the issue of kayayei as a special one and has really gone out to set up a project to address this particular problem facing our young girls. Mr Speaker, I have no doubt that, these women and all the nominees would perform creditably well and that their work would push the agenda of the Government to where it should reach. With these few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I was going to persuade you for a special attention to be given to the Hon Joseph Naabu before you bring it to closure. Mr Speaker, if you could allow him two or three minutes.
Hon Minority Leader, you have every right to concede to whoever you please, so, I take it that you have conceded your Leadership right at this juncture. Otherwise, debate closes in that --
Mr Speaker, this is a special request. I would not speak on this Motion again.
And no one else would speak if you defer. I just want to make this very clear. If you would want to let Hon Joseph Naabu speak, then I would move to my right. Please, decide quickly.
Mr Speaker, maybe, let me yield to the First Deputy Speaker who is the Hon Chairman of our Committee.
Mr Speaker, in this case, there is an agreement across the divide that Hon Naabu be given a special dispensation to make a contribution. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, Hon Naabu --
Hon First Deputy Speaker, do not spend too much of your breath. I agree. [Laughter.]
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for having given me the opportunity. I just want to talk softly. I thank Nana Akufo-Addo, the President, for having chosen seasoned, experienced and able Hon Ministers. I do agree that all his nominees are capable of doing the job, but I would want to let the nominees know that with the commitment they are given, they must ensure they do the right thing in order not to bring the President down. They should also know that, being an Hon Deputy Minister does not mean that they are above anybody. We are all the same. We saw a lot of Hon Ministers in the past NDC Government lose their seats. So, when they go, they should listen to the people and do the right thing. Mr Speaker, I am very happy for Hon Solomon Boar being nominated by the President. He has done well. Since 1979 when Dr Hilla Limann appointed somebody from the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District, we neither had an Hon Deputy Minister nor Hon Minister. That was in the person of D. D. Kolla and in Nana Akufo-Addo's Administration, he has appointed another son from Bunkpurugu- Yunyoo. I know Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo is a hotspot conflict area. I am also from there. I praise the President very well and Hon Solomon Boar should also ensure that he does what is expected of him.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice to the Motion. Mr Speaker, I would like to thank His Excellency, President Nana Akufo-Addo for nominating Hon Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Hon Elizabeth Agyeman and Hon Elizabeth Sackey. They were all Hon Members of Parliament. I say so because, if you talk about honesty and faithfulness, you would see women. So, I have the belief that wherever the President sends them, they would deliver to the satisfaction of Ghanaians. Mr Speaker, Hon Elizabeth Sackey is the Hon Deputy Minister-designate for the Greater Accra Region. The Hon Minister for the Greater Accra Region spoke about “One District/One Factory” and Hon Elizabeth Sackey also confirmed it. It means that the Greater Accra Region is going to get about 30 factories. This is because, both of them have the belief that the “One District/One Factory” would be their policy or something that they would pursue for the region. The youth of the Greater Accra Region would be grateful if the “One District/One Factory” would materialise, especially, the youth in Ada and other Ga Adangbe areas. They are all waiting seriously to work in those factories. Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity. I thank you, and I support the Motion.
Thank you very much. Majority?
Mr Speaker, before I conclude, I wish that, some two corrections be made in the Report. Mr Speaker, on page 12 of 36, there is a clerical error; “teenage” has been wrongly spelt. If we might substitute “teenage” for “tenage”. That is on page 12, second paragraph. Under teenage pregnancy. Again, Mr Speaker, on page 20, the first line, it should read; “University in 2008.” It is not 2005. Then, in the next sentence, it is “In 2009”. So, we substitute the third word of the line with “2008” and the fifth word for “2009”. Mr Speaker, subject to these corrections, I thank Hon Members for their contributions, and I urge Hon Members to adopt the Report for the confirmation of the Deputy Ministers, by consensus. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the nominees for having received Parlia- mentary approval for appointment as Deputy Regional Ministers.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, if we could take the Motion numbered 7 on the Order Paper.
Item numbered 7 -- Motion -- that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢321,830,698 for the services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Item numbered 7 -- Motion -- Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development? Consideration of Annual Estimates, 2017
MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢321,830,698 for the services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year ending 31st December, 2017. Mr Speaker, this amount is made up of donor support and Government of Ghana (GoG) support, GoG support totalling GH¢26,537,186, and donor support GH¢272,522,833. Mr Speaker, the Ministry's goal and objective is to foster decentralisation and promote rural and economic development in both our rural and urban communities. Mr Speaker, the amount would be applied to implement our planned programmes, including proposed legisla- tions that would be brought to this House. Mr Speaker, we need to resolve our district boundaries. There are a number of districts that do not have clear demarcations. We would therefore, develope, formulate and bring to this House, Constitutional Instruments (C.I.s) to ensure that we resolve the boundary disputes in the country. Mr Speaker, we would also bring the Local Government Municipal Bill to this House, and the resources would be applied to conduct stakeholders' consultation to review these legislations, including the work towards election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs). Mr Speaker, to deepen decentralisation, we would focus on building capacity of our sub-structures, that is the zonal, town councils, area councils and unit committees. Mr Speaker, we would also focus on developing guidelines on fee fixing from MDAs. The current guidelines have been there for quite a number of years, almost ten years, and there is the need for us to do that, and so finances would be applied to do that. Mr Speaker, we would look at the possibility of promoting Private Public Partnership in Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) mobilisation for MMDAs. Mr Speaker, under Local Government, we would support community development and other partners of the Ministry, we would give support in the mobilisation of the communities, and work to promote the local economic develop- ment policy with our departments to support the “One District/One Factory” initiative, as well as support the new agricultural initiative for planting, for jobs and food. Our urban development programme would continue to promote resilient infrastructure and urban systems in the country, and we would cooperate to ensure property address systems, especially in all our cities and towns but hopefully move on to other smaller secondary towns in our nation. Mr Speaker, we would collaborate with our donors to continue to support our activities in urban infrastructure delivery, capacity building and also work on compliance with the Government of Ghana legal and regulatory framework. Mr Speaker, as has been noted in the Report, we have a lot of activities with donors. Donor activities and support to the Ministry would be ending by December 2017, and we would propose to work towards promoting the second phase of most of these initiatives. Mr Speaker, I therefore move, that this House approves the allocation of GH¢321,830,698 to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to implement our planned activities for the financial year ending 31st December, 2017. Question proposed Vice Chairman of the Committee (Mr Kwasi Boateng Adjei): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, and in doing so, present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government ot Ghana for the 2017 Financial year was presented to Parliament on Thursday, 2nd March 2017 by the Minister for Finance, Hon Ken Ofori-Atta, in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution. The Speaker referred the Draft Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development for consideration and report to the House pursuant to Orders 140(4) and 181 of the Standing Orders of Parliament. Deliberations The Committee met on 15th March 2017 and considered the Draft Estimates of the Ministry. Present at the meeting were the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, the Chief Director, Mr Charles K. Dondieu and other officials of the Ministry. The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister and her team for their inputs and clarifications. Reference materials The Committee was guided by the following documents during its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament; iii. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the 2016 Financial Year; iv. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the 2017 Financial Year; v. Local Governance Act, 2016, Act 936 Mission and Vision of the Ministry The Vision of the Ministry is to achieve a sustainable, equitable economic growth and poverty reduction through citizen participation and accelerated service delivery at the local level within a decentralised environment. Flowing from the above Vision is the Mission of the Ministry which is to ensure good governance and equitable development of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) through the formulation of policies, programmes and projects and ensuring efficient monitoring and evaluation. Review of performance for 2016 Financial performance for 2016 A total amount of GH¢228,655,075 was approved for the Ministry for the 2016 Financial year out of which GH¢200,- 758,406.72 was expended leaving a balance of GH¢27,896,668.28. The amount released represents about 88 per cent of
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Member, you have the floor.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to support this Motion, which requires this House to approve an amount of GH¢ 321,830,698 for -- [Interruption.]
Hon Member, hold on. Yes, Hon Afenyo-Markin?
Hon Member continue.
Mr Speaker, thank you for not allowing me to answer that question. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, we went through the submission made by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and we realised that, the Ministry, for the purpose of capital expenditure, is heavily dependent on donor partners, which amounts to about GH¢ 218 million. Upon enquiry, we realised that most of these expenditures would go to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). Mr Speaker, we believe that, in future, a schedule should be made to support how these amounts would be disbursed and to which MMDAs and the various categories of the sums to be disbursed by the donor partners, so that we could closely follow up to ensure that what was intended to be done is actually done. Mr Speaker, the Vice Chairman of the Committee made reference to an outstanding amount of US$40 million for the support for the District Development Facility (DDF) Programme. We require that this amount is made available to enable us access some of the donor funds that hang. Mr Speaker, even though a specific provision has not been made by the Ministry of Finance, the Committee urges the Ministry of Finance to look into their adjustment fund, which they provided, so that they can make these funds available to enable the Ministry access the donor funds. Mr Speaker, we also noted that there is some duplication of efforts coming up on the part of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. There is talk about the One District/One Factory, One Village/One Dam. They are again provided for in the budget of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, while we know that it comes under special initiatives from the President's Office. So, we would need a clarity on this. Mr Speaker, in the same way, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is being funded or organised by the Ministry of Transport, yet, the Ministry of Local Government also makes provision for it. I believe there should be some clarity as to the Agency that would implement these projects. Mr Speaker, we note that up until now, only 41 per cent of the street naming exercise has been accomplished. We wonder why it is so. We need to make the strenuous effort to get this exercise carried out successfully. Mr Speaker, we have visited some organisations which have done excellent jobs. During the meeting, we recom- mended to the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to contact organisations like Suba Infosolutions Ghana Limited, which has done a lot on street naming and house identification. They have digitised the whole process and it may be very useful for the Ministry.
Hon Member for Manhyia South?
Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Speaker, I also would want to commend the Ministry for having carried out the computerisation of the registry of births and deaths. It is very important that, we know the people with regard to their names, their dates of birth and their locations in this country. It is a very good exercise that they have done up to the regional level, but this should trickle down to the district levels and the electoral areas, so that on the click of a button, we are able to identify who the people in Ghana are. Mr Speaker, I believe that it is an exercise which we must support and if the amount allocated for it is not enough, then the Minister should look into the approved budget and get some funds to enable the Ministry accomplish this within a specified time. Mr Speaker, in conclusion, when the Report was read, commendations were made to those we contacted. I would want to commend the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development for her upbeat attitude and enthusiasm. She is very vibrant and I believe that, she would implement the programme for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in the year.
Hon Member, you are out of order. Conclude and let us go.
Mr Speaker, nonetheless, I believe that this honourable House should not have any difficulty approving the sum that the Ministry requests for the year to implement its projects. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development. Mr Speaker, at the Committee level, during the consideration of the Estimate for the Ministry, we made several observations and one of the observations was that there was an increased allocation for compensation of about 25 per cent, as compared to 2016 allocation. Mr Speaker, we tried to find out the reason for the sudden increase and we were told that the total expenditure for the compensation had been increased as a result of realignment, which has brought the Community Development Institute under the Budget. Previously, this institute was not captured under the Ministry's compensation. For purposes of realignment this year, 2017, the Ministry believes that, they have to add it to the compensation of the Ministry and that has resulted in the increase. Mr Speaker, we also observed that there was no provision for counterpart funding for DDF. There was an arrears of US$40 million in 2016, which the Government of Ghana could not make available to the DDF. So, we wanted to find out why there was no allocation for them. The representative from the Ministry of Finance made us understand that, the arrears had been captured in the DACF, and that they would cater for the US$ 40 million arrears for the DDF. Mr Speaker, we went further to find out whether this allocation at the DACF would not affect some Assemblies if we look at it from the angle that the DDF is based on performance. If it is allocated to the Assembly and that Assembly is not performing, therefore cannot access this fund, definitely, there would be some kind of partial distribution of -- But we realised that, it is important for the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development and Finance to look for another source of funding to support the DDF. We know how important this DDF is and how it had helped most Assemblies. We need to get a dedicated fund. We cannot continuously rely on the DACF to finance government support to DDF. Mr Speaker, we also observed at the Committee level that, almost 85 per cent of the Budget for 2017 is financed by donor support. It is very dangerous; it is unreliable. We cannot continue this way as a country, where 85 per cent of a whole Ministry's Budget comes from donor support. What happens if the donor organisation decided not to make funds available? This is a serious issue. We recommend to the Ministry of Finance and its representative to also look for other sources of funding, so that we can have a sustainable and dedicated fund for the Ministry. If we look at the various activities that the Ministry has lined up, it is important that we have a dedicated fund to support the Budget. Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the Committee was satisfied with the Estimate which was presented to the Ministry. If we look at the set of objectives and the programmes outlined by the Ministry, we believe that, it is in line with their activities. Therefore, the amount that they are seeking, which is about GH¢321,- 830,698.00, is in line with the activities and programmes of the Ministry. The Committee has agreed that we support the Ministry, so that this amount would be approved for them so that they can get it to pursue whatever activities that the Ministry has lined up. Therefore, I would urge the House to support the approval of the said amount to enable the Ministry carry out their activities smoothly in 2017. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development on the 2017 Annual Budget Estimates.
Any more contributions from the Majority side of the House then I can bring the debate to a close?
I am grateful Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion for the approval of GH¢321,830,698.00 for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year ending 2017. Mr Speaker, as an Hon member of the Committee, we had a lot of deliberations, and tried to know about the insight of the activities that would be carried out for 2017. Mr Speaker, even though the Budget for the Ministry is largely dependent on donors, it is refreshing to know that this year, provision has been made to ensure that Functional Organisational Assess- ment Tools (FOAT) assessment is carried out, so that we can access funding from our donor counterparts. This is as a result of very pragmatic strategies put in place by this Government. Indeed, it is worth supporting them to enable them access donor funds. Mr Speaker, one area which was also interesting was the fact that they will give meaning to local governance. Indeed, it is said that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.” The election of MMDCEs is a very enormous task and they have indicated that they would bring the necessary amendments for us to consider in this House, to pave way for the election of MMDCEs. Another area which is significant for us to support the Budget is the area of J- SUP which would lead to the carrying on of the labour intensive public works. Mr Speaker, this is an area where most of our rural folks benefit a lot from activities which they undertake and are paid some small amounts of moneys so that they also are able to survive. Under this Budget that they are seeking our support now, they have indicated that, they would continue in the year 2017, which I think we have to take into consideration and support them as such. Mr Speaker, lastly, in my view is the beginning of the Urban Rapid Transport Expansion, which would see them develop it from Accra to Madina-Adentan route. I believe if they are able to do this, and indeed, they have indicated in the Budget clearly that they would engage stakeholders in this regard for this activity to happen-- Once they are able to do this, you can imagine the enormous benefit that commuters would generate as a result of this expansion. With these few words, Mr Speaker, I plead that we all support them for their budget to be approved. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I also support this Motion for us to approve the money for Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and in doing so, I want to say a few things; one is where my Hon Colleague opposite, the last Hon Member who spoke ended, the roll-out of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT). I am very familiar with this because I brought a Bill here, it was approved and passed. At that time, the confusion was why should the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development pilot a Bill for transport? Everybody asked that question and the simple answer is this that this is a municipal service to be delivered by the Assemblies. The World Bank arrangement that we had which was initiated in Kufuor's Administration and continued was to make sure that, various Assemblies make rules and regulations -- we have to group them because they have to register transport operators in the sector. So I see this as very important. Unfortunately, what we gathered from the start was that, people walked past the buses and go and take trotro instead of boarding these luxurious and comfortable buses. I believe that the management of these buses ought to increase their publicity and advertisement to be able to get people to patronise them. Indeed, they should also study the local conditions that we have and see how they can adopt modern methods to attract the clientele they need. Mr Speaker, donor support, indeed, that is at paragraph 5.4 of the Report, and again, very much related to it is the District Development Fund (DDF). During my time, I did not want the confusion between fund and what we had established then. If we say it is a fund, it means it was legally established, like we know of the District Assemblies Common Fund, GETFund and the rest. But this was a facility so, appropriately, we re-named it the District Development Facility to distinguish it from a fund. The donors who were willing to give us the loans or the agreement to get the money wanted Ghana Government's contribution.
It has always been difficult to get the Ministry of Finance to allocate a specific amount as government's contribution to the donor's contribution, so that after it has been collected, it can then be distributed. It is important we distinguish between the Common Fund, which across board, is based on the development levels against some several other factors. This one is performance-based, so even if we see it in the Constitution, it distinguishes between the District Assemblies Common Fund which is across board and other grants that would be made available based on performance. For us, the District Development Facility (DDF) was very critical because it enabled the Assemblies to conform to good governance. They must hold regular meetings and there must be evidence of the Assemblies' meetings. Beyond that, if there are audit queries, steps should be taken to retrieve any moneys that would have been taken away wrongly. So, in short, it was to enable the Assemblies to be more accountable and progressive. So, we need to do something about this fund. The District Assemblies Common Fund was always used in the past in order to attract what was the donor component. And all of us who are conversant with this, it is because the Ministry of Finance does not like earmarked funds, they want all the money, so that they would use it according to their discretion. We must help the Hon Minister if this Bill is to come and pass here for capping, one of the things that must be indicated is that, that part of the capping must go to give the outstanding amount for DDF to be operationalised and the outstanding payments to be made to the various District Assemblies. Mr Speaker, if we look at the other issue of dependence on donors, these are again, because Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has brought a number of Loan Agreements to be approved for support to Municipal, Metropolitan and in some cases, District Assemblies. So, these are Loan Agreements. We cannot continue to do that. What we need to do is to make sure that, the bigger Assemblies -- the Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies are sitting on a lot of money and if there is a way to motivate them to raise their money, they would even be richer than the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development itself. And indeed, if we look at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), the budgets they deal with can be more than that of four Ministries. What we need to do is to insist that they raise the funds. The leakages there would not be about kayayei levies or rates. They are about ensuring that property rates are collected and properly done, using technology, identifying the appropriate people from which they can get these. I know that they have already amended one to sack the District Chief Executives (DCEs), but what is crucial is to let us know what type of elections we would hold for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs). Is it a closed door New Patriotic Party (NPP) election or open to all parties based on competence or people who would run for the elections? What she should be speeding up here --
Hon Member for Adentan, do you have a point of order?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Wa West is being very speculative. The law will come, and it has been indicated to us that it would be brought. Without knowing the contents now and the intentions of the Hon Minister, this House cannot be inflicted with the kind of speculation that is going on now.
The rule to use is that he is anticipating. That is against our Standing Orders. So, Hon Member stop anticipating and speak to the issues before you.
Thank you very much. I would not anticipate; I would urge her to bring the legislation that would enable MMDCEs to be elected. That would be a new legislation. [Interrup- tion.] No, but it is the amendment of the Local Government Act, which was passed less than six or three months ago and they want to amend it. That is what I am worried about. On the whole, if we look at the key issues she raised, the worry has been taken away -- some of the municipal services, the ones that districts should do, so that under her watch, she can supervise and bring notices to us in terms of information as to what is being done. However, when we see other Ministries perform similarly or take away some of the functions that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development used to perform, then there is cause for alarm. All the same, I believe that we should approve the said amount of money for the operation of the Ministry. Thank you very much.
Now Leadership -- Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion for the approval of the sum of GH¢321,830,698 for the services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. Mr Speaker, just on that page, is the figure GH¢321,830,699 or GH¢321,830,698? We should look at it. Again, on paragraph 4.0 of your Committee's Report, Compensation is GH¢18,000,000.00; Goods and Services, GH¢29,707,865.00; Assets, GH¢1,600,000.00; and Grand Total, GH¢26,537,186.00. May I refer you to page 170, Appendix 4A of the Budget Statement? The figure ought to be GH¢49,307,865. Therefore, even if we do our -- I did not go to Achimota School -- we would just do kulikuli school arithmetic of 18 plus 29 plus one, we certainly should not get GH¢26 million. If we refer to the Appendix 4A it should be GH¢49,307,865. Probably, when the Hon Minister or Hon Chairman is winding up, it would be appropriate to respond to that. I believe that my submissions are appropriate and consistent with what the Budget Statement contains.
Hon Member, hold on. Having regard to the time and business at hand, I direct that Parliament sits outside the regular time. Now, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, there is an Act of Parliament which increases the District Assemblies Common Fund to seven and a half per cent. I do not intend to bore you, but just for emphasis, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall annually make provision for allocation of not less than five per cent of the total revenue. So, we assume that not less than five per cent, mathematically, meaning it can be more than five per cent constitutionally. That is why we passed the Act, increasing it to seven and a half per cent. Even while the law says seven and half per cent, they have disrespected it. It is granted that, they would want to disrespect that Act of Parliament because so long as they are within the constitu-
If we refer to the Budget Statement of total revenue provided at GH¢34 billion, the allocation to the DACF for this year is GH¢1.5 billion. Mathematically, if we calculate five per cent of it, it is GH¢1.7 billion. So, there is a deficit of GH¢143 million when we use the Hon Minister's definition of total revenue synonymous to tax revenue - even though I would disagree with that position. In my view, total revenue is not the same thing as tax revenue. So, if they say they would allocate GH¢34 billion and we calculate five per cent of it, we would get GH¢1.7 billion and not GH¢1.5 billion as it has been allocated for the DACF. Mr Speaker, when I was growing up, I was told “weep not child”, and so we should stop weeping. Then they say that they do not have money to do counterpart funding for DDF; yet, they are capping the same DACF to do what? Is it because the Hon Minister for Finance would set up some rural infrastructure project? Mr Speaker, in order for the Hon Minister to avoid a possible legal action, we are determined to pursue this matter and seek an interpretation in the Supreme Court of what amounts to five per cent of total revenue in accordance with article 252 of the Constitution and section 126 of
the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 986) in other to understand it. Mr Speaker, while we support and approve this, we would urge the Hon Minister to liaise with the Hon Minister for Finance before Appropriation, so that the Ministry of Finance would come clear and we would know that they exercise oversight over the fund and the initiative would come. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance, before Appropriation, must satisfy us that he would meet the minimum five per cent, even though we know that by some other existing legislation, which is not inconsistent with the Constitution, there is seven and half per cent. Mr Speaker, my worry is that, while we cap the DACF, the Committee came to tell this House that, they would find US$14 million. Where would they find it with the limitations of the capping? The Hon Minister can cap, but he should free the DACF from his realignment and capping. This is because, whatever it is, this money would go for decentralised activities. We have all said that we are committed to the development of our districts. When the number of districts were less, they were increased to seven and half per cent and now that the number of districts are more, they would want to do less. What kind of mathematical assumption is this? Mr Speaker, we support the Hon Minister, but in order that they have more money to be able to pay counterparts, the Ministry of Finance should make available the gap between what the Hon Minister for Finance declared in the Budget Statement of his computation of five per cent of total revenue or tax revenue. Mr Speaker, but the Hon Minister should be reminded that the two words are not synonymous. They can never be synonymous and they never mean one and the same -- that total revenue is the same as tax revenue. Mr Speaker, we would also encourage the Hon Minister -- and with the “Increased Allocation for Compensation” in paragraph 5.1, it is a good thing. I would want to remind the Hon Minister again that, compensation, as she rightly pointed out, remains the nemesis of all governments under the Fourth Republic. Compensation, interest payment on loans and statutory funds -- that is why realignment has been done. The Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development's headache would be the group that is called the saman saman people -- those young people -- sanitation officers who have left school. Mr Speaker, in time past, when I was the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, I slept on the bed of thorns. Every now and then, the environmental health workers would dance to the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development's office. I remember Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye who was the then Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development -- I got some bashes of heavy rain. Mr Speaker, with compensation, the Hon Minister should anticipate that, she must make room in the future, with the Hon Minister for Finance, to absorb those young people. That itself, tomorrow, would affect the compensation budget. They already have two or three batches that have not been attended to in the name of public sector rationalisation. Mr Speaker, finally, with matters relating to naming and property address system, I believe that, it is good and that the Hon Minister must elevate it and get it completed. We had assurance in the Budget Statement of a digital national address system. This would mean a lot for the Ghanaian banking sector because in many cases, they are not even able to trace persons who default. When this is done, apart from improving the revenue of the assemblies themselves -- Mr Speaker, I would want to end finally with the Births and Deaths Registry. Mr Speaker, in the United States of America (USA), when a child is born, the name is provided, and it goes into a national data. So, tomorrow, there is no conflict as to whether the person was properly Ghanaian or not, consistent with our laws. In Ghana, if we would want to have a reliable data system even for purposes of elections -- if we would want to know whether people are of age, they must rely and strengthen -- Mr Speaker, sometimes, it is worrying that we do not appreciate what the Births and Deaths Registry can do. In Ghana, my culture would be one of the guilty cultures -- Would we want them to go and register the death of a person? I am even sure that it is the same with the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development's culture. It is not known to many cultures. For purposes of succession and matters of inheritance, this is very important. Strengthening the Births and Deaths Registry is an important intervention, and I would encourage the Hon Minister to invest more in it. This is so that tomorrow, Ghana can have a reliable data system based on proper births. Even if one goes to the hospital and there is a birth - many of the births are done outside the hospital and therefore, we should find a way. Mr Speaker, I would want to suggest to the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to engage the Hon Minister for Communication. We should begin to develop an information technology (IT) platform that allows citizens to register births using mobile telephony. This is because everybody seems to have one. So that if there is a birth or a death, we would be able to track down on some statistics. Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I know that the Hon Minister responsible for Regional Reorganisation and Development would work in tandem with this Ministry to give meaning to creating more regions -- [Interruption] -- I am happy that he would not create more Ministries, but he would create more regions pursuant to the President's objectives. Mr Speaker, subject to the corrections, I believe that, we should approve for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the sum of GH¢321,830,698 for their operations for the year ending 31st December, 2017. We trust that the Hon Minister would come back to this House with some performance report that many of the targets that she set for herself -- she should behave the same way as when she was in the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). She should not go to the public sector and abandon her NGO values. She should come back to us and tell us the target she set for 2017, and what she has been able to achieve.
Mr Speaker, with these, I support the Motion.
Hon Majority Deputy Leader?
Hon Member, how do you amend the Constitution? Is it not by a legislation?
Mr Speaker, yes — by a legislation.
So, let us proceed. Assuming that, it should come with the appropriate legislation.
Mr Speaker, that is exactly where I am heading to. If it is not an entrenched provision in the Constitution — Indeed, if we want to go by the way that the President shares his vision; that Municipal and District Chief Executives would be elected, it is doable through legislation, just as you directed, to also amend the Constitution. Mr Speaker, on this note, I would want to talk a little about the computerisation that has been indicated in the Report laid by the Hon Chairman of the Committee, when they met the Hon Minister, on the registration of births and deaths. We would want to assure the other side and the people of Ghana that, indeed, registration of births and deaths is actually fundamental to our development. Computerisation is the way to go, and that is exactly what the Hon Minister has indicated to the House that we do. Mr Speaker, the capping of the District Assemblies Common Fund and the enumeration made by the Hon Minority Leader is taken in good faith. He made the correction himself when he made his submission that, there is no law that pegs the capping at 5 per cent or 7.5 per cent, there is no such law. It has already been a government initiative and policy. The Kufuor Administration actually went to 7.5 per cent. But that is not to say it is legislation. We have to put it on record. The Hon Minority Leader said that indeed, 5 per cent or 7.5 per cent. It is no law, but he was urging that, indeed, the capping ought to be done, and we go accordingly.
Mr Speaker, “5 per cent or 7.5 per cent -- “it is no law” — It is law. The Constitution is law; the 5 per cent is mentioned in the Constitution. So, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader should stop using, “it is no law”. It is law.
Hon Members, in my view, this debate is hurried. We will deal with the matter when it comes before us. So, let us conclude the discussion on this report. If the Hon Deputy Majority Leader is finished —
Mr Speaker, we would go by your direction. Mr Speaker, but in the submission of the Hon Minority Leader, he said that there was an Act of Parliament that pegged the capping, and that is exactly what I made reference to. That, there is no Act of Parliament that pegged it at either 5 per cent or 7 per cent. So the Hon Member actually, in his subsequent submission made — and that is why I early on said he made the correction himself in his subsequent submission. Mr Speaker, on that note, I would urge this Honourable House to approve the sum of GH¢321,830,698.00 to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to enable it implement its planned programmes and projects.
Hon Minster, would you like to summarise?
Mr Speaker, before the Hon Minister comes in with the summary, the Hon Minority Leader drew our attention to some miscalculation or the figure there not being accurate. I seek your leave to correct the figures. Mr Speaker, under “GoG”, the total is, “GH¢49,307,865.00” and not the “GH¢26,537,186.00” that was indicated.
Very well. Let the record reflect the amendment.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank all Hon Members who have given us support for our estimates to be approved, and for the comments that they have made. We would take the comments in our implementation of the planned activities. Mr Speaker, but I would like to just refer to few points that were raised under the District Development Facility (DDF). The Hon Ranking Member mentioned the DDF and the “One District/One Factory”, “One Village/One Dam”, and he was worried about duplication. I would want to assure the House that, there is no duplication. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development would support the district and mobilise them to respond to these initiatives. It requires logistics, travelling and workshops. In mobilizing the Districts to respond to these initiatives, we need funds, and that is why we have budgeted for them. If we look in the budget allocation, it is just about 200,000 and 100,000 in different columns. Mr Speaker, I would also want to talk a bit about the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). In fact, for now, we are operating a quality bus service. This is because with Bus Rapid Transit, one would need a dedicated lane, and we do not have that as of now. When they started the service on the 8th December, 2016, they started with less than 140 passengers per day. They gradually moved on to 5,000 passengers per day, and today, they have ridership of 7,000 passengers per day. So, there is improvement in what is happening. We hope to move another lane. Right now, they are operating on Amasaman- Tudu lane. We would be moving to the Adenta-Accra lane, and we are working with the Ministry of Transport to ensure that we would really have a BRT this time around, with a dedicated lane for this service. We hope that, by the time we get to a ridership of 10,000 passengers a day, they would break even and there would be no need to come further for more resources from this House. Mr Speaker, we have made the right corrections. I thank the Hon Minority Leader for drawing our attention to that. Indeed, I had it correct on my paper, but when I saw the different figures in the Report of the Committee, I decided to follow it rather than my own figures. Mr Speaker, I would also like to make the Hon Minority Leader know that we recognise his concern on the births registration. Indeed, because of our own socio- cultural circumstances, the Births and Deaths Registry propose that, we cap registration at six years. So that beyond six years, there should be some kind of penalty imposed for anybody who does not register the child from birth to six years. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I beg to move that the House approves the amount of GH¢321,830,698 for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. Thank you. Question put and amendment agreed to. Resolved: That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢321,830,698 for the services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Mr Speaker, I would want to draw your attention that a Paper or Report be laid. The Report is the item numbered 5 (g) (ii) on the Order Paper
Very well. Chairman of the Committee -- By the Chairman of the Committee— (iv) Report of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs for the year ending 31st December 2017.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, there are a number of Committees that ought to sit, discuss and debate the Annual Estimates
Hon Member, hold on. I would have to direct that the Report that was laid be distributed.
Very well. Mr Speaker, there are a number of Committees that ought to sit to discuss the Annual Estimates for 2017. So, in the absence of any further business for today -- Mr Speaker, I crave your indulgence that since we are Sitting beyond the usual hours, this House should be adjourned. Thank you.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, it seems the Hon Deputy Majority Leader was taxiing and decided to cruise, and appreciated that at this juncture, we are in your good hands, therefore, you may so adjourn proceedings of the House. Thank you.
The House was adjourned at 2.24 p.m. till Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017 at 10.00 a.m.