VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, there is an Urgent Question which stands in the name of the Hon (Alhaji) Mohammed- Mubarak Muntaka, the Hon Member for Asawase. Is he in the House? Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I might have to seek your leave for the Hon Agbodza to ask the Question on behalf of Hon Minority Whip who is on some assignment outside the jurisdiction. If you so permit me, he has asked that the Hon Agbodza does so on his behalf.
Hon Minister for National Security. Hon Member, you might ask the Question.
MINISTRY OF NATIONAL SECURITY
Mr Speaker, my information is that there are no legally registered political vigilante groups in the country, and for that matter, there are no such groups to be disbanded. However, we need to be pragmatic and accept that foot soldiers of the leading political parties have been known to constitute themselves into action groups to molest and unleash violence on the peace loving people of this country, either from within or outside their political parties. Mr Speaker, we need to stop such activities, because these action groups have the tendency to degenerate into militant groups which can have serious repercussions on the security of the country. Mr Speaker, we must not mix criminality with politics. Lawlessness must be punished as demanded by the laws of our country. Government has made it clear to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to deal appropriately with all criminals, irrespective of their political affiliations. Mr Speaker, we must resolve as a House, to urge political leaders in the country to come together to deliberate on measures to discourage the establishment and recognition of such groups in political structures in the interest of State security. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, in his response, the Hon Minister acknowledged the fact that these groups are not registered. He also acknowledged the fact that foot soldiers belonging to the various political groups have constituted themselves into action groups. He also talked about the potential of these groups degenerating into militant groups. Mr Speaker, as we speak, there are two of these groups that are at the fore of some action, according to the Hon Minister. I am talking about the Delta Force and the Invisible Forces. Have they come into the Hon Minister's purview, and what is he doing to disband these two, particularly, as in recent times, we have not heard about any other group. What is he doing to disband the Delta Force and the Invisible Forces?
Mr Speaker, as I said, there is no such group as the Delta Force or the Invisible Forces. Some people have constituted themselves into action groups, and have undertaken certain acts which are obviously against the laws of Ghana. These fall in the area of law and order, and I know that my Hon Colleague, the Hon Minister for the Interior is doing everything to ensure that these people do not escape the necessary sanctions as demanded by the laws of the country. So, such activities as have taken place in the past are known, and clearly, the police who are responsible for law and order, would take the appropriate action.
Mr Speaker, my last supplementary question. Does the Hon Minister see the actions of some of these groups as a critical threat to national security, bearing in mind that one of his operatives was prevented from taking office in the Ashanti Region recently, in total defiance of the orders of the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, who is the President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo? Does he see the actions of some of these groups as a critical national security threat that need to be dealt with holistically and not only to be left to the Interior Minister?
Mr Speaker, I have always been disturbed by the activities of these groups. Their activities are not of recent origin. The activities of these militant action groups have been with us for many years. I take it from his question that he believes it is about time we dealt with all such action groups. I can assure him that I share that belief, and I know that the law enforcement agencies are doing everything possible to ensure that those who were involved in the recent incident in Kumasi, for instance, would be dealt with appropriately and in accordance with the laws of this country. However, the impression should not be given that this is the first time we are dealing with such militant action groups. Probably, if we had done something in the past, we would not be where we are now.
Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, while we are talking about vigilante groups, I would like to ask the Hon Minister whether he has heard of a group called “Azoka boys”, and if he has, does he see their activities and behaviour as a threat to national security?
Hon Members, order! Does this call for any --
Mr Speaker, I have heard of the “Azoka boys” and their activities and the problems that have been caused to this country in the past. I do not believe that any of the major political parties can claim not to have such groups. Mr Speaker, I believe it is important that we stop the activities of all such groups, irrespective of what political party they are affiliated to. I would continue to urge the House to help us find a solution to this problem, which I must repeat has all the tendency to create huge security problems for us in future. So, let us get all such action groups to recognise that they are not to operate in the country, and if they do, it would be taken as a law and order issue and they would have to go through the laws of the country as their punishment.
Mr Speaker, it is true, that these groups are not officially recognised under our laws. It is also true that their activities are inflicting harm on innocent people. For instance, recently in Sefwi Bodi, in my constituency, they vandalised the Health Insurance office. They even beat up the district manager. An official report was made at the police station. Those culprits are now walking free. Can the Hon Minister assure this House that all those involved in this vandalism after the election would be dealt with according to the laws of the land?
Mr Speaker, I have tried as much as possible not to mention specific groups or specific activities, but for instance, in recent times, I have seen properly -- organised meetings for a properly constituted committee of the NDC to try to find out what led to the defeat of the party. At such meetings, the members of the committee have been vandalised and driven away. So, it is not just happening to one party. There are instances all over the country, where either the NDC or the NPP action groups have been seen to be misbehaving. I prefer not to go into specific names and specific activities. The important thing is that, we should all accept that if we do not solve this problem -- Yesterday it was in the newspapers, a Nigerian professor gave us the advice that they would start as a small action group, but they would grow. Mr Speaker, when they grow, they may well become very serious terrorist groups. So, it is in everybody's interest that we do not politicise this. There are probably as many such groups in the NDC as there are in the NPP. We need to condemn the activities of such groups in all parts of the country. I would want to urge Hon Members not to let us start apportioning blames, by saying that they come from this political party or the other political party. When terrorist groups become strong, they will be a threat to all of us, irrespective of our political persuasions. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Maj Derek Oduro (retd): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would want to find out from the Hon Minister, whether it has ever come to his notice that these groups have resorted to the use of firearms.
Yes Mr Speaker, I am, as all Ghanaians are aware, that some of these groups have used very deadly weapons at times, and that adds to the problems that we have. We need to be able to contain the activities of these groups. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in giving his first response to the Question, the Hon Minister for National Security made the point that we must not mix criminality with politics. That is a point I wholly agree with. In view of that, I would want to find out from him, whether it has come to his notice that a senior political figure in this country has made the call, that these
Order! -- Hon Minister, will you hold your horses for a moment? Hon Member, would you give a concrete source, an authoritative statement? This is because, honestly, we cannot just be accepting any tabloid thing as a serious proposition in this Honourable House. So, if you have a very serious authoritative source, please state it and we would make progress; otherwise forget about that question.
Mr Speaker, the comments were made last Tuesday by the Hon Kennedy Agyapong on Adom TV's Morning Breakfast Show, Badwamu. He was on the show with Hon Sampson Ahi. He said it and the video is available. We could provide it to the Table Office.
In which the Hon Member stated that? You have to make that clear.
Mr Speaker, in which the Hon Member of Parliament stated that -- [Interruption]
Mr Speaker, he stated in the interview that, the Government is actively considering recruiting members of these action groups into the National Security apparatus. He said they were absorbing them -- those were his words -- to absorb members of these action
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
The Hon Member who asked the question is out of order. His question is to solicit the personal opinion of the Hon Minister on a statement allegedly made by some other Hon Member of Parliament, on some other occasion. No such questions shall solicit personal opinion on any such statement. For that matter, it is out of order.
Hon Member, you had your chance. Any other questions?
Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in all these situations, we have seen some ordinary members of the groups being showcased on television, and probably being arrested and later bailed. I would want to know, whether the National Security has been searching for the “big guys” behind these small boys? When I say the “big guys”, I mean the leadership of these groups. It is only when we touch on the leaderships of these groups that we could make a headway.
Hon Members, order! Hon Member, kindly repeat your question.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know whether the leadership of the groups have been identified, and what the Hon Minister is doing about them?
Mr Speaker, incidents such as these are purely criminal and they deserve to be investigated. I can assure the House that the appropriate agencies in this case, the Ghana Police Service, is actively investigating the matter. I believe they would come up with the report when they are completed. If court actions have to be taken, they would be taken. If there are further recommendations that they would make to forestall the happenings of similar events in future, they would also make it known to us and we would take the appropriate actions. Mr Speaker, I would want to emphasise again, that when a person has committed a crime, he should not be able to run away because of his political affiliation. We intend to treat this matter as such.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he indicated that lawlessness will be punished. Mr Speaker, H. E. the President, was in this House, and in his State of the Nation Address, he alluded to this development. I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether persons who have breached the law in terms of criminality, as he referred to, are being punished in accordance with Ghanaian law, to make their actions deterrent to others?
Mr Speaker, once an incident has been investigated by the Police and the law enforcement agencies and they have determined or established that a crime has been committed, the necessary sanctions are applied. Mr Speaker, in this case, after the investigations, if it is established by the Police that some criminal actions did take place, those who were responsible for those actions would certainly be sanctioned in accordance with the laws of the country. They would not be spared only because they belong to a particular political party.
Thank you very much. Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, my final supplementary question, if you may have permitted me would be to ask the Hon Minister, whether there are any plans by Government in particular, by his outfit, to absorb any vigilante group into the National Security outfit?
Mr Speaker, again, we run into the same problem. There is no legally registered vigilante group. So, I do not know of any person who belongs to any such group. But of course, it is not possible that the National Security Agencies would absorb into the agencies anybody who has a criminal background. Mr Speaker, security and criminal checks are undertaken to make sure that everybody who is employed into the National Security system has passed the necessary security and criminal checks. Mr Speaker, again I would want to emphasise that we must try not to politicise the security agencies, and we commit ourselves to doing just that.
Thank you very much. Hon Members, I would like to let some of the younger people learn a few things. The Hon Minority Leader actually reframed the question to show that he is experienced. To ask whether the
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would crave your indulgence to alter the order of Business, and we could take the Motion on item numbered 6, which is the Appointments Committee's Report on Deputy Ministers before we go to Statements, if it pleases Mr Speaker. Thank you.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, you could hold your horses a bit for me to proceed advisedly. [Pause] -- Hon Members, we have a Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Afenyo-Markin, on the celebration of the Aboakyer festival. Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you very much, Hon Member, for the Statement so ably made. Hon Member?
Thank you Mr Speaker. I beg to comment on the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu, Hon Alexander Afenyo-Markin. Indeed, festivals have and will always be an important component of every society. We would all agree, that throughout the length and breadth of our country, different ethno-linguistic groups find time to come together to celebrate important occasions through feasting, or the recognition of important historical events. Mr Speaker, festivals have a role to play in unifying the people who identify themselves to a common ancestor, a common culture, a common heritage and a common history. Mr Speaker, however, we are also aware that some have always tried to exploit what is usually intended to be a unifying event for their personal and selfish interest. This is why I am particularly elated, that my Hon Colleague is calling on the good people of Effutu to make sure that as they celebrate the Aboakyer Festival, it is done in a way that would foster unity, oneness and promote development. Mr Speaker, as a Member of Parliament for Builsa South, we also have what we call the Feok Festival, which is a combination of our victory over slave raiders like Baba Tu as well as celebrating the post-harvest season. I therefore would want to use this occasion to commend my Hon Colleague and the people of Effutu, and wish them well as they celebrate the Aboakyer Festival. May we continue to use these events to promote unity and development! I thank you Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for your kindness. Let me congratulate the Hon Member for Effutu for a well-captured Statement, and particularly identifying with the good people of Effutu. Mr Speaker, growing up as a young man, that particular festival had always been admired by my good self and my family, even though I do not come from Effutu. So, from a distance, I had always admired the way it is celebrated and the climax of it. Mr Speaker, however, let me just make a few points on the security aspect, as the Hon Member alluded to. Over the years, security challenges and security concerns have come up. So, I would wish that the celebration would be done, not undermining the cultural way it is done, but the security aspect should be watched again. I am particularly happy he called on the leadership of the Ghana Police Service to take a deeper look at it, and also ensure that optimally, we record peace at the end of it all. Mr Speaker, there is an environmental aspect, which in my view, is also critical. We cannot do away with the hunting of the deer as my respected Hon Member alluded to. However, we need, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that hunting and the celebration in its entirety is done in moderation. This is because the population of the deer is running out, because every year they have to be hunted. I am not sure there are conscious efforts to ensure their replacement. So, as we hunt the deer, the Wild Life Society of Ghana, and of course other parastatal State institutions should address their minds to it and ensure that we do not undermine our environment. Mr Speaker, it is so important, because there is a certain uncouth attack on our environment. It is an important concern and we need to look at it. The festival is very popular in our Ghanaian society and nobody wants to miss it. However, as time progresses, I think modernity has given a cause and a concern for us to celebrate the Aboakyer Festival with some measure of moderation. Mr Speaker, I thank you for your kindness.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Thank you Mr Speaker. Let me thank my Hon senior Colleague from Effutu, for making this Statement, celebrating the Aboakyer Festival. Mr Speaker, celebration of festivals in this country forms a major part of our tradition and culture. Aboakyer, which we all know, has been one of these festivals since time of old. But the problem and the challenge that we want to alert the Police to take care of, is the peaceful atmosphere in which this festival needs to be celebrated. Often, we hear of clashes of the two major factions in town, which normally mar the beauty of celebrating the Aboakyer Festival. When it comes to the environmental aspect, as my Hon senior Colleague and senior Member said, while in school in Winneba, WINNESEC, we were made to believe that the deer was always placed in the forest by the gods. So, if the gods are providing their deer, then Mr Speaker, on that note, I would say there is no cause for alarm for the depletion of the deer in the forest. What is a matter of concern is the peaceful atmosphere that Aboakyer needs. Actually, the people who come from far and near to witness and also to be part of this celebration, need to be protected as much as this major festival in the history of the country. On this, I would also add my voice in calling on the Police to make provisions to make sure people who attend this festival, the celebrants and the visitors as well, would all be protected so that after the 1st May Celebration, we would not have any problem or hear news of disaster and clashes in Effutu, which normally mar the celebration of Aboakyer. On this note, I would want to thank my Hon Colleague and brother, for making me remember my days in WINNESEC, when we would all join the masses in celebrating Aboakyer. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to comment on the Statement made by my Hon Colleague, Hon Afenyo-Markin, in the commemoration of the Aboakyer Festival. The people of Senya and Winneba are tied together by family ties, so if the people of Winneba are celebrating their
Mr Speaker, I rise to comment on the Statement ably made by the Hon Member from the other side of the aisle. Festivals are based on culture, and cultures depict which tribes celebrate these festivals. In Ghana, we have not less than 40 different tribes, and these tribes have different cultures and celebrate different festivals. The celebration of festivals from days unnumbered, are meant to bring about unity, peace, friendship, relationships and bring on people who are interested in participating in these festivities. Mr Speaker, the issues of security, fighting one another and chaos arising when we celebrate these festivals do not send a good word about the various festivals we celebrate. I attended Winneba Secondary school, but at certain points, when the Aboakyer Festival was being celebrated, we were afraid to go there. This is because we were forewarned that opposing factions could come up to fight against those who caught the animal, or those who did not catch the animal. That was quite scary, because we feared that we could be caught somewhere along the line. There are a lot of people in Winneba from diverse cultures who celebrate different festivals, and would wish to emulate, watch and understand, so as to know what the festival is about, and sell its meaning and essence. If there is chaos and they believe that there would be fighting or problems, surely they would not want to be part of it. As a result, they would not come to the festival. Mr Speaker, as earlier mentioned by one of the Hon Members who commented on the Statement, it is a fact that Winneba is a place where so many people from diverse places go to school. They do not only study sports, culture, English, Mathematics et cetera in the university, but they even have nursing institutions there. Most of the students who attend schools in Winneba go there with their children. They wish to learn the best out of it, so that when they finally go back to their own cultures, they would be able to say, in Winneba this was what we saw and learnt. These are what we should practice. This is because there are some other festivals celebrated elsewhere which we may need to emulate the best of these cultures. Sponsors and other people would not want to participate in any celebration or festivals that are chaotic. So, I wish to urge our brothers and sisters who are directly involved, the indigenes who celebrate this festival, to note that from the beginning, it was not meant for people to show that they are strong, or belong to particular homes or groups et cetera. It was meant to bring about peace, love, care, concern and encourage people to admire and participate in it. They should go back to that and make sure that we get that back. All other festivals celebrated in Ghana should be seen in the same light, so that we would project our Ghanaian culture. We should make sure that people take interest in these festivals, so that sponsors and those who want to learn, would be ready to come in and see that yes, we have a very rich cultural background and that our festivities show where we come from. Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity and thank the Hon Member who made the Statement. Rev. John Ntim Fordjour (NPP -- Assin South): Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Effutu, Hon Alexander Afenyo-Markin. It is important to recognise that the good people of Winneba set aside the first Saturday of May every year to commemorate the migration of Simpafo from a place called Timbuktu in the ancient West Sudan to their current location. As we see year on year, people and tourists travel from far and near to celebrate the Aboakyer Festival and this augments the beauty of tourism in Ghana. As we wish the people of Winneba a joyful and happy celebration, my humble appeal to the youth is to remember the admonisions of the Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 14:40 which states as follows; “Let everything be done orderly and decently.” Let us have, as we have always had, a joyful celebration done in an atmosphere of peace, unity and national development.
Thank you Mr Speaker for the opportunity. Various Hon Members who con- tributed to this very useful and healthy Statement called on our Police Service. Beside the established security apparatus, we have opinion leaders in our various communities. Mr Speaker, this celebration is premised on a healthy competition between two competing Asafo groups of the Effutu community. I would want to call upon the opinion leaders of the Effutu land, as well as well-meaning people in
Any contribution from Leadership?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this very important Statement which was made by my Hon Colleague, Alexander Afenyo- Markin, on the celebration of the Aboakyer Festival. I would also want to join him to wish the people of Effutu land a happy festival. Mr Speaker, festivals are part of our culture in this country. I am not aware of any community or traditional area that does not have a festival. The Hon Member who made the Statement drew our attention to some few things that we would need to consider, which he spoke about regarding the Aboakyer Festival, which can be applied to all communities. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who made the Statement made us aware that, the hunting for deer is an integral part of the festival and I noticed that other Hon Members who also contributed talked about how we could ensure that the deer remains available, and this borders on sustainability. Much as it is expected that every year a deer would be needed, as a people, we must consider that in the way we treat the environment. I believe that as long as we continue to do the right thing, the deer would not be extinct so Aboakyer would not be abandoned. But if we fail to take care of the environment, I would not be surprised that one day, when we go hunting, we might not come back with a deer and I am not sure the festival can continue on that basis. So, sustainability is very important. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who made the Statement also talked about peace, which is very vital. During festivals, people abroad and those at home, and even people who do not come from that traditional area, troop in to celebrate that festival. The Aboakyer Festival is one of the most known festivals in this country and it draws people from all walks of life, and that helps to generate and improve on the conditions of living of the people there. Mr Speaker, I would back the call made by other Hon Members, that much as we expect the police to provide the necessary security, we also need to do preventive security so that the police would only intervene when there is trouble. As long as the people organise their things well, there would be no need for the police to intervene, and in the process create any problem. Mr Speaker, we would also need to understand that festivals showcase the different cultures we have. The Aboakyer Festival has a very rich culture and we hope that this festival would continue to showcase what they have to offer, especially, with regards to the youth. Most of the time, when there are challenges in terms of misunderstanding at these festivals, it boils down to the reaction of some young people, and I am sure that the young people of Effutu land understand that they have a very rich culture and so they must cherish and protect it. They should also conduct themselves in such a way, that this festival continues to attract all people and make it a very important festival. Mr Speaker, the last thing I would like to talk about is what festivals teach us. Last year, the people of Adaklu celebrated the Glidze Festival and people we had not seen for decades came. People were happy to suggest what we could do as a community, and people took responsi- bilities to support their various communities to bring about little developments that matter to the people of the community. Mr Speaker, I am sure the Aboakyer Festival has done that and would continue to do that. Festivals bring people together, show case our culture and also talk about how we can protect our environment. Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Member who made the Statement, and also wish the people of Effutu land a happy celebration, as they celebrate the Aboakyer Festival. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Any contribution from the Majority side of the House?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Statement made by the Hon Member for Effutu.
Hon Members, we have another Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Nabdam, on the current meningitis issue. The current situation of meningitis in the country
I am grateful to Mr Speaker for accepting my Statement on the current situation of meningitis in the country. Mr. Speaker, this Statement has been necessitated by the reported deaths of 58 people from meningitis in the Upper East Region, where my constituency, Nabdam is located. Four (4) students in Kumasi Academy High School also died under similar circumstances. Mr Speaker, in our neighbouring country Nigeria, over 300 deaths have already been recorded due to meningitis and it is said in an African proverb that; when your neighbours beard is burning, you better put water by your own beard. Mr Speaker, meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It is most often caused by infection (viral, fungal or bacterial). Bacterial meningitis is caused by several bacterial pathogens but neisseria meningitis, streptococcus pneumoniae and haemophilus influenza type B, represent the triad causing over 80 per cent of all cases of bacterial meningitis. Mr Speaker, bacterial meningitis is airborne and enters the body in the form of aerosol or droplet transmission through the nose, throat or ears. Mr Speaker, this sickness starts with symptoms such as headache, fever, malaise and vomiting, and may be mistaken for any febrile illness such as malaria, simple cold or even typhoid fever. However, in some few hours, the patient's condition worsens and he develops neck stiffness. Indeed, the triad of headache, fever and neck stiffness is preliminarily diagnostic of meningitis. At the hospital, the doctor can illicit the kerning's sign to confirm the diagnosis. Also, various laboratory tests can be done, including an examination of the cerebrospinal fluid. Mr Speaker, meningitis without adequate treatment is always almost fatal. However, there are currently very potent antibiotics such as ceftriaxone and chloramphenicol and xpen, which can be used in cases of early diagnosis. i. Mr Speaker, the spread of the disease occurs faster in areas where people mass up or are of close proximity to one another. These include school dormitories, churches, mosques, Parliament, funeral grounds, et cetera. Such areas should be well ventilated. ii. The heatwave as a result of the equinox, the drought, the deforestation and climate change will also facilitate the spread of the disease. The citizens are therefore encouraged to drink copius quantities of water. The government is also advised to be epidemiologically alert and to start considering the administration of vaccine to the high risk groups. It is worth noting that samples have been taken to the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute to identify the causative pathogen. iii. The last but not the least, is the need to carry out extensive education of the citizenry, to enable them report early to health facilities and also avoid overcrowding. I wish to express my sincere condolences to the bereaved families of the students who died in the Kumasi Academy High School. I thank you Mr Speaker. I am done.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by my Hon Colleague on the current meningitis situation in the country. Mr Speaker, indeed, meningitis, which is an inflammation of the meninges, the covering of the brain and spinal cord, is a disease of public health concern in this country. We have lost more than 62 people from the northern part of this country; Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Ashanti Regions, and other regions of this country due to this deadly disease. Mr Speaker, as the Hon Colleague articulated, the causes could be bacterial, viral or even chemical. But what is most important to us as a country, is the bacterial cause. I know the health authorities are making very important strategies — They are doing their best to control this disease which normally comes during the dry season, from November through to April. And it is because as a country, we find ourselves in the meningitis belt, which spreads from Senegal, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, including Ghana. Mr Speaker, there is a cure for meningitis, especially those caused by bacteria. But normally, what happens is that, people present cases of meningitis very late. So, we advise that if one experiences acute fever, headache and neck pains, the person should report early to the nearest health facility. Mr Speaker, once the patient reports to the hospital early, he or she can be cured. This is because investigations
Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, meningitis is just like malaria, typhoid and some of the infectious diseases that are common in Ghana, and for that matter, Africa. It is not particularly dangerous, but it has become dangerous in our setting because doctors or health workers miss the opportunity to diagnose it early. Mr Speaker, meningitis has symptoms similar to all the other very common conditions like malaria. We have fever and headache; so what happens is that, most of the time, those who have meningitis confuse it with other infections and that is the reason for the delay. We have the opportunity to bring meningitis to the lowest level in terms of prevalence or eliminate it completely, and that can be done through the issuance of vaccines. The challenge we have in most African countries, Ghana inclusive, is the cost element, and what most health practitioners or public health practitioners have suggested is to be discriminatory in issuing the vaccines. Mr Speaker, when we go up north, meningitis outbreak is usually common, compared to the south. The reason is very simple; hot conditions or climates is a risk factor for having meningitis. So, going forward, some of the recommendations are to look at policies that would make sure that those at greater risk are offered the vaccines. Unfortunately for us, not all meningitis are caused by bacteria, some are caused by viruses and even fungi infections occur. This is particularly so in those who have immune compromised states like those with Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and those who are malnourished or those affected by severe poverty conditions. Mr Speaker, beyond vaccines, one other good recommendation is that there should be a protocol at all hospitals or clinics, especially those hospitals that are up north -- those areas with hot climate. That if one is a health worker, anybody with ordinary temperature suspect meningitis until proven otherwise. Any doctor who is told to suspect a particular condition would always look out for it first, so that he does not miss it. Mr Speaker, it is similar to doctors who are at the emergency section; they are told that when they see any young lady within the reproductive age, they should suspect pregnancy until proven otherwise. [Laughter.] This is because some come to the hospital with severe bleeding and by the time the doctor realises, they are dead because they might have an ectopic pregnancy. So, it is the same policy that we are transferring to meningitis. That any doctor at the emergency unit should suspect meningitis. The reason is very simple; when a doctor detects it very early, the drugs to cure them are available. But when the condition progresses and the doctor detects it late, then the prognosis is not too good. Mr Speaker, the last one is to make sure that almost every Continuous Professional Developments (CPDs) for health workers to update them on current treatment, from Kumasi up-north, should include meningitis as much as possible. This should happen even if it would take five to ten minutes, so that the doctor or nurse is always reminded that meningitis could be around the corner. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I am grateful for the opportunity.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, if we could take item numbered 6, which is on page 3 of the Order Paper. It is on the Ninth Report of the Appointments Committee. Thank you.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements.
Mr Speaker, item numbered 6, on page 3 of the Order Paper; Report of the Appointments Committee. Mr Speaker, as the Hon Vice Chairman of the Appointments Committee, I wish to lay the Paper on behalf of the Hon Chairman of the Committee. So with your permission, I would proceed.
Hon Members, in the absence of the Hon Chairman of the Committee --
— rose --
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what is your pleasure?
Mr Speaker, before I take the item numbered 6 on the Order Paper, we can lay the Paper which is captured as item numbered 5 (b), on the Order Paper, which is on the Tenth Report of the Appointments Committee.
Hon Member, item numbered 5(b) -- Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I have a difficulty with the Report. It has just been brought to my attention and I am currently editing and reading it. Mr Speaker, if we would want elegant and proper work, I do not believe that the Hon Deputy Majority Leader should be in a hurry to lay it, as I just got a copy this morning. Mr Speaker, advisedly, we said that if we did the bulk up to Wednesday, we should have time to assess --
Hon Minority Leader, please spare us going back on the past. Hon Members, can we have that Paper laid at this stage?
Mr Speaker, I do not believe that it is ready to be laid.
Is the Paper ready to be laid?
Mr Speaker, it is not. I just got a copy, it is on my table and I am now reading it. So, it is not.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader is the Hon Ranking Member on the Appointments Committee, and so if he gives an indication that he just had it, and would want to go through it before it is laid, I believe it is only fit and proper. But maybe, we may also have an indication from him when we would have finished with the job for it to be done. This is because he cannot also hold the Business of Parliament in eternity; he cannot.
Mr Speaker, he knows that I do not need more than an hour or two. I have edited one in his presence in his office, and so he knows my capacity. It was just brought to me this morning. He says we should work to rules; so it is not ready. I do not need more than an hour or two, depending on the reference documents available to me. But let him be guided that, probably, it is the same -- even though Mr Speaker, you do not want us to go back, we would go back compelled by what he has said. Mr Speaker, I had discussed with him, that we should work up to Wednesday and the bulk of the work, we assess it, make a report and bring it to plenary for approval. He insists that we should continue working, even as we have not completed --
Hon Minority Leader, shall we make progress or not?
Mr Speaker, we can proceed.
We can make progress?
Mr Speaker, rightly so.
Then Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee, item numbered 5(b) -- Tenth Report of the Appointments Committee?
Mr Speaker, what the Hon Minority Leader, who is an Hon Ranking Member said was that, he requires between one and two hours to finish. What it means is that it cannot be laid now.
Hon Majority Leader, I thought the Hon Deputy Majority Leader would simply rise and we would take this as laid and then we proceed.
Mr Speaker, as I said early on, the Hon Minority Leader, who is the Hon Ranking Member said that he has not finished with the Report, and that was why I wanted to have an indication from him, how long he was going to keep the Report. He says he requires between one and two hours, and I believe it is only fit and proper that he is allowed space to do that. So, for the time being, it cannot be laid until he finishes. So, we could deal with item numbered 6 on the Order Paper.
Hon Minority Leader, are you obliging at this stage or not so that we do not revisit and revisit?
Mr Speaker, I would respect your guidance on this matter.
In view of your position on the Appointments Committee, would you therefore want to bow to that particular presentation of the Report? [Pause]
Mr Speaker, just so that my Hon Colleague would not go out and say that he acted under pressure, if there are no impediments and he wants it to be laid, as an Hon Ranking Member, he has the authority to lay it. So, I would plead with him, if he is not in the position -- let him lay it --
Hon Majority Leader, do not repeat it, he is very much aware of it. I am just waiting for his magnanimity, then we make progress. There is no point in any further comments. Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, our rules do not allow laying subject to completing the Report; other than that, I would just bow and say, I have laid it. But I respect your guidance on this. The Hon Majority Leader knows he is the problem I have no difficulty but I would need to satisfy myself. Again, I have indicated here that I feel embarrassed when Reports I am associated with are read and there are corrections to them.
Hon Minority Leader, thank you very much for your cooperation.
Mr Speaker, for the avoidance of doubt, let the Hon Minority Leader take me out of his own contrivance. [Laughter]
Hon Majority Leader, shall we move on to item numbered 6 on the Order Paper as you indicated early on?
Mr Speaker, that is so.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for the adoption of the Ninth Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nomination for Deputy Ministerial appointments in respect of Hon Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, Hon Godfred Yeboah Dame, Hon Kwabena Owusu Aduomi -- Mr Speaker, in doing so, I am compelled, once again, to refer you to article 94 of the Constitution so that the public would appreciate the work that we do at the Appointments Committee. Mr Speaker, article 94(e) serves the basis of the minimum qualification of who could become an Hon Minister of State - - the person must qualify to be an Hon Member of Parliament. Article 94(2) reads: “A person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he -” Mr Speaker, so, it defines the basis and so, for a person to be an Hon Minister, then that person must satisfy this minimum basic legal requirement. Mr Speaker, I beg to further refer you to articles 78 and 79 where the Constitution again says that the President shall, with the prior approval of Parliament . “Prior approval of Parliament” is a term of art defined by the Supreme Court in the case of J. H. Mensah vs Attorney-General. It also defined the role that Parliament should play in supporting the President to complete the nomination process. So, the President initiates the process of nomination by submitting to Parliament the names of nominees, and Parliament exercises the prior approval through the process of what we do at the Appointments Committee by scrutinising the appointment of the person. Mr Speaker, for this purpose, and as I have quoted the Constitution, I beg to refer to paragraph 3.2 of your Committee's Report:
Hon Majority Leader?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, we are considering Hon Deputy Ministers nominated by the President and who have come before the Appointments Committee. The person whose issue the Hon Minority Leader is raising is not part of this Report so, I am surprised that he is talking about that person; he is not here. [Interruption] I do have a problem. Mr Speaker, so on the issue of relevance -- the person is not being considered here. He has not gone before the Appointments Committee, and so if it comes to considering the person and he raises it then -- yes. Mr Speaker, but he is not part of this list.
Hon Minority Leader, you would restrict yourself to the matter before us.
Mr Speaker, before I am guided by your ruling, the Hon Majority Leader should read paragraph 1 of this Report -- I am within relevance. Mr Speaker, it reads: “In accordance with article 79 (1) and 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, H. E. the President communicated to Parliament the nomination of four (4) Ministers of State and fifty (50) Deputy Ministers …” Mr Speaker, what I am referring to is part of the 50 Hon Deputy Ministers -- [Interruption.] -- No, then why did we put it in the paragraph and report on it?
Order! Hon Minority Leader, we would restrict ourselves to the Report Order! We have a clear number of Hon Deputy Ministers-designate and their names before us, and so we would speak to approving the Report on them. That is what we shall do. Hon Minority Leader, please leave that out and let us proceed.
Mr Speaker, there is a referral from the President on ministerial nominees. Yes, we are taking them in batches and there is information -- Mr Speaker, this is not the first time that I am mentioning this.
Hon Minority Leader, I have ruled. Let us make progress. We would speak on the persons before us -- whether we would approve them or not. Other matters are not part of this. Please proceed.
Mr Speaker, all right. Mr Speaker, I would be guided. The monkey says that the reason it weeps early on the way to its mother's funeral is to note that it does not arrive and others would say it did not weep. We would come to this matter, and I would have my case on it. Mr Speaker, but I stand by my submission, that it is the most appropriate thing to do --
Let us wait and when we get to the hurdle, we would jump it. Please proceed on this particular matter.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister-designate for Roads and Highways, Hon Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, demonstrated considerable knowledge and competence. We are certain that he would assist the Hon Minister to improve the road infrastructure and make Ghana a proud hub of transportation in West Africa. Mr Speaker, what was reassuring of him was his communication to the effect that, he would ensure value for money. More importantly, for him to work with the Ministry of Finance to improve the conditions in the commencement certificates that they grant; they deny contractors mobilisation and they also do not pay contractors their delayed payments with accrued interests. Mr Speaker, he has our support by consensus. Mr Speaker, our Hon Colleague, Hon Patricia Appiagyei, who is the Hon Deputy Minister-designate for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, is a very calm person, she has earned her respect and she is self-respecting. Mr Speaker, our Hon women remain an inspiration to many, because not many women would accept the rigors of Ghanaian politics, but for her to accept it, from the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) through a Deputy Regional Minister and now to a Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, we trust that she would situate and mainstream science and technology in our national development efforts, and to encourage in particular science and mathematics education. By consensus, she therefore has our support. Mr Speaker, with the young nominees, Hon Godfred Dame and Hon Kpemka, going to assist the Hon Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, also have some knowledge of the law. Again, they assured us that they would ensure that they administer the law which safeguards the rights and freedoms of Ghanaians. We are mindful that continuously, there are breaches to fundamental human freedoms and human rights, which undermine the integrity of our commitment. My disagreement with them was their individual views on the special and Independent Prosecutor. I still hold a strong view, but we looked forward to what Government wants to do with it. But we want to assure the public that we on this side of the House, have no objection, [ MR H. IDDRISU][MR H. IDDRISU] and we would fully support the appointment of a Special Independent Prosecutor, but it must be done to sit in tandem with the Constitution, in particular, article 88(3). Mr Speaker, they also assured us that they would support their Minister to succeed. Mr Speaker, this leads me to the Hon Darko-Mensah, the Deputy Minister- designate for Aviation who would also support his Minister. The Tamale International Airport and the Kumasi International Airport require some second phase initiatives to get those airports to come up to international standards. We are particularly interested in late evening and late night flights, particularly from Kumasi to Tamale to improve domestic travel. Mr Speaker, he was working, as we picked up, on the Transition Committee on Energy, and he goes to support the Ministry of Aviation. We wish him well. Mr Speaker, this leads me to Hon Osei Bonsu Amoah. I believe he would be the senior of the Deputy Ministers. Undoubtedly, Hon O. B. Amoah has distinguished himself as a Member of this House, particularly as the Hon Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee. He has been deep in terms of his work at that committee level, particularly in situating subsidiary legislation to parent legislation and ensuring that the subsidiary legislation sits in tandem with the parent Act of any legislation. Mr Speaker, he would be assisting our sister, Hajia Alima Mahama at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. There is more work to do and again, we assure him that we remain committed to deepening the principles and values of decentralisation, delegation and derogation of the powers at that level. We are again concerned, and we are looking at it; whether we are satisfying minimal requirements in terms of what should go into the District Assemblies Common Fund. Therefore, it is associated with the disbursement to sit with it. Mr Speaker, the other nominee is Hon Mohammed Habib Tijani, the Deputy Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. He has our support, but we assured him that in some events in 2002, following the murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani, when he was a District Chief Executive, he probably did not exercise proper diligence as the head of security of that area to have prevented that dastard murder act which tore Dagbon apart. But as the Deputy Foreign Minister- designate, we say the President's foreign guests would be in his hand. So, this time, he must be very cautious and careful what role he plays, and how he acts with any intelligence he might have. Mr Speaker, we also have the Hon Andah, the Deputy Minister-designate for Communications. Undoubtedly, he has a profound knowledge in the area. I worked with him in my capacity as the Hon Ranking Member and Minister for Communications when he worked with Scancom Limited (MTN Ghana), and subsequently with Globacom Ghana Limited (GLO). Mr Speaker, there are matters of digital migration which the country needs to take urgent attention of. We ought to have gone digital in the year 2016. We are in the year 2017, and that has not been completed. It has value improving for our digital spectrum, which could give us additional radio and television stations and improve quality. Mr Speaker, we were also particular, giving his experience about the branding of the country, even though he may not necessarily be doing so. We know that the National Identification Authority (NIA) now comes under the Ministry of Communications. Our banking system requires that we have an established and verifiable data system. We have the National Data Centre, which I commenced as the Minister for Communications. It has not been completed. Therefore, we should harmonise all the data; the Ghana Immigration Service holding to separate data, National Communication Authority to a separate data, telephone companies to a separate data. We need to harmonise the data, taking advantage of the National Data Centre. Finally, Mr Speaker, let me comment on Mr Ahomka-Lindsay, the Deputy Minister-designate for Trade and Industry. By consensus, we approved him. We expect that Ghana would take full advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and then expand exports, particularly the textile sector. Mr Speaker, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations is here. I know that there was request from the American Government for us to engage Kayayei in the textile industry to take advantage of the AGOA. He could liaise with his colleague Ministers so that Ghana could take maximum advantage of him to increase our export in that particular area. Mr Speaker, foreign direct investment grew significantly under the President Mahama Administration, but much more could be done in situating Ghana as an attractive destination for it. Mr Speaker, finally, our Colleague, Hon Titus-Glover, who is a member of the Appointments Committee. The Tema Mantse has also worked on the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism in Parliament, and has a lot of experience on how to support Small and Medium-scale Enterprises, the benefit of AGOA and related issues and for them to deal with the Chinese invasion of the domestic market. Mr Speaker, today, we are all complaining about galamsey. Tomorrow, it would be its effects within our retail market. So, we should take a collective position. Mr Speaker, generally, by consensus, we approve of these nominations, and I should state, that we expect that when Curriculum Vitae (CVs) are given to us, we are given enough time to do background checks. This is because it is in the interest of the nominee that no member of the Appointments Committee impugnes the integrity of a person for nothing. To be able to do so, we also need to be thorough. Mr Speaker, in fact, as we approved the last nominations, there was a nominee that I had to deal with at the level of a foreign embassy to satisfy myself that the detail I got was right. We need time. In respect of one, the United Kingdom Data
Hon Members, you are at liberty to pick specific areas because every Hon Member would have five minutes. Pick specific areas and do not attempt to speak on the whole Report. You would not get anywhere.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion for the approval of the President's nominations.
Please, no more introductions. Make your contributions in five minutes.
Mr Speaker, out of the 17 nominees, 14 are Hon Members of Parliament. These are people we have known and worked with for some time. I, therefore believe that there is nobody herein present, who would doubt the competence of these nominees. I believe that these nominees would work in tandem with their respective substantive Hon Ministers in order to deliver on the promises made by His Excellency the President. Mr Speaker, with respect to the three who are not Hon Members of Parliament, reading through the Report, it cannot be gainsaid that these nominees are competent. Somebody like Mr Godfred Dame, we all know, is a legal luminary who has been in the news for many good reasons. His competence in the area of the law profession cannot be doubted. I hope that he would work very well with the Hon Minister, in order to be able to dispose of many cases that confront the Attorney- General's Department. Mr Speaker, Mr Perry Okudzeto who has been nominated as the Deputy Minister for Information, was some time ago a Communications Director for His Excellency the President. He was also the Acting Director of Communication for the New Patriotic Party (NPP). His knowledge in information is, therefore, not in doubt. Finally, Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsey, who has been nominated as the Deputy Minister for Trade, was also some time ago the Chief Executive Officer for Ghana Investment Promotion Council. The Report indicates that he has held positions in many international companies. I believe this gentleman would bring his rich experience to bear on the Ministry he has been nominated to, to assist the substantive Hon Minister. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Thank you very much for your brevity. I hope others would go by that. As much as possible, Hon Members of the Appointments Committee should give other Hon Members the preference.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. I would briefly touch on a few of the nominees, and the first is Hon Anthony Karbo, whom I have known personally during our time as student leaders. I have admired him for his passion in everything he sets out to do. I am particularly happy about his response and advice to young people to be careful of their utterances, and not to say things that they would regret and come back to apologise. For that to come from him, I see it to be very worthy. Mr Speaker, just this morning, you had cause to admonish young people and new Hon Members of Parliament to learn from people like the Hon Minority Leader, and the way they make statements; so I see all these as timely. I would want to advise Hon Karbo and all the young people who have caught the attention of His Excellency, to serve as Hon Ministers to make all young people in this country proud, and also to follow Mr Speaker, I would also touch briefly on Hon Patricia Appiagyei and Hon O.B Amoah. I have served with the two on the Committee of Local Government and Rural Development, and I admire them. With Hon O.B. Amoah, nobody can question the passion with which he works. His response on page 21 is something that I would talk about, and briefly I beg to read: “On the legality of reducing the budgetary allocation for the DACF, the nominee indicated that the Constitution provides for the allocation of between 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent of the national revenue into the District Assemblies Common Fund…” Mr Speaker, clearly, article 252 (2) of the Constitution, and briefly, I beg to read: “ Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall annually make provision for the allocation of not less than five per cent of the total revenues of Ghana to the District Assemblies for development;…” The Constitution does not provide any upper limit, and so I see this as unfortunate to come from such an experienced Hon Member of Parliament, who is going to serve as Hon Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development. I would want to believe that, if the Committee had enough time to do their
Mr Speaker, I would make a few comments on the Deputy Minster- designate for Transport, Hon Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover. Mr Speaker, I believe strongly that Hon Titus-Glover would bring a lot of experience and energy to the Transport Ministry to help the Hon Minister accomplish some of the targets of the Ministry. With a history in labour relations, I believe strongly that he has discovered the importance of dialogue, and he would use more of that to help get the job done at the Ministry. He also has a history in teaching. Teaching gives us a lot of patience. When one teaches, one realises that one needs patience to get ideas across. This would also be very relevant at the Ministry. I have had the opportunity to play some games with him when it comes to football. He is a very good team player. It is my hope that this would be transformed into his work at the Ministry. One interesting revelation in his CV is that he is the Chief Executive Officer of 2 + 2 Logistics International Company Limited. As a young parliamentarian who takes a lot of advice from Hon Titus- Glover, it is my hope that God would give me the strength to have a company which would be bigger than 2 + 2; perhaps, 4 + 4 Logistics Company in the future. I would also make a few comments on Hon Karbo, who is the Deputy Minister- designate for Roads and Highways. Mr Speaker, Hon Karbo is a typical example of one who rose through the ranks, when it comes to party politics. He is very committed and has a very good relationship with the ordinary person on the street. I worked with him as a youth organiser of the NPP some years ago, and I admire his energy and simplicity, when it comes to dealing with issues, as well as his proactiveness. I believe strongly that most of his skills, when it comes to experience and his energy, would be brought to bear to help with work at the Ministry. I heard him the last time sharing his experience, that to travel from Accra to Lawra, one needs not less than 12 hours to get to his destination. Experience is the best teacher and motivator. To travel 12 hours on our roads means that he has a good experience with the various shades or condition of roads in this country, and that should be a motivator to work assiduously, to make sure that most of the road networks are improved significantly within the years that he has the opportunity to serve at the Ministry. Mr Speaker, with these ample words, I am very grateful for the opportunity.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, looking at the seventeen (17) Hon Members presented to this House for approval, and looking through their CVs, it gives me hope that these people will go to our various sectors and deliver for the betterment of this country. Mr Speaker, Hon George Nenyi Kojo Andah, Deputy Minister-designate for Communications, as was said by the Hon Minority Leader, is somebody who has experience in the communication field. He has worked with a lot of communication authorities. For that matter, I believe that his experience with Globacom and MTN Networks, which most of us use today, will help his Hon Minister to enable us as a nation -- where we have problems with networks. Mr Speaker, in some constituencies that I know of, a person would have to go and stand on a hill or a tree to receive a telephone call. I believe the Hon Member's experience will help the Hon Minister and the Ministry to work for the betterment of this nation. Mr Speaker, Hon Kwabena Owusu- Aduomi will also go to the Ministry of Roads and Highways. I thank God that he was a former student of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and a Civil Engineer. He has worked at the Roads and Highways Department, and he has held a lot of positions in that department. Going back as an Hon Deputy Minister, if this House approves of him, I believe it will help us. We have a lot of problems with our road networks in this country. Getting somebody who has experienced in that sector and advising his Hon Minister, who I also know was a former District Chief Executive (DCE), current Hon Member of Parliament and a lawyer, I believe strongly that Hon Aduomi will support his Hon Minister to do a better work for this country. Mr Speaker, lastly, Hon Barbara Asher Ayisi, Hon Deputy Minister-designate for the Ministry of Education. We all entered Parliament this year, on the 7th of January. I have had close relationship with her. Mr Speaker, when I look at her experience, I can say for a fact that she is the best for this position. She has taught in Mfantsipim and Wesley Girls' Senior High Schools, and other secondary schools in Cape Coast. Mr Speaker, with her background in education, and going back to that sector, I believe that while the Hon Minister for Education, a medical doctor , will be giving diagnosis, she will also be directing on how they can shepherd things up. I hope and believe that her support will help to speed up the Free Senior High School Policy the Government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has promised. I know that these 17 Hon Deputy Ministers-designate, who are being approved by this House, will help their Hon Ministers to deliver for the betterment of this country. With these few words, Mr Speaker, I support the Motion for us to accept these Hon Deputy Ministers-designate.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity.
Hon Member, if you rise, it is enough. You need not throw your hands. [Laughter.]
I have not given you permission to speak. I am still considering. [Laughter.] You may speak.
Hon Member, go to the point.
Hon Member, you should wind up.
Thank you very much. Hon Members, I would call on the last contributor at this stage.
Mr Speaker, I rise to commend the 17 Deputy Ministers- designate for the various Ministries and, in particular, to speak concerning Hon Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover. Mr Speaker, looking at his experience, he has served as a teacher, a manager, an administrator and a Chief Executive Officer in various positions, and I believe that he is well suited for the position. Mr Speaker, I have known the Hon Deputy Minister-designate for many years, and I know that he is well suited for this position. I hope that with his inclusion in the Ministry, he would work with his Hon Minister, so that we can see improvement in urban transport in this country, especially the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) going to other segments of this country. Mr Speaker, it is also my hope that they would together work well to see improvement in all of our trotro and taxi stations in this country. The Ministry of Transport has a lot to offer our transport services, and it is my hope that, as he goes into this Ministry, given his background and his knowledge, and in Accra in particular and Tema, those experiences would guard him in the decisions that are made, for us to enjoy better transport services in this country. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Yes, Leadership?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would want to yield my position to Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to contribute and support the Report, that has been ably delivered. Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion, I would want to draw the attention to a few corrections that have to be made.
“Ministers of State and fifty (50) Deputy Ministers appointments on Wednesday…” I believe the phrase should be “…Deputy Ministers for appointments on Wednesday…,” The word “for” is missing. Mr Speaker, on page 2 of the Report, if it pleases you, on xvi, the Hon George Nenyi Kojo Andah, has been captured as the “Deputy Minister-designate for Communication”, but it should be “Deputy Minister-designate for Communications”. The letter “s” is missing. Mr Speaker, on page 19 of the Report as well, the Hon O. B. Amoah, as I recall, told us at the Committee that he attended the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), not the University of Ghana. He was called to the Bar in 1995, I am told, not 1998. So, I do hope that these amendments would be made. Mr Speaker, there is a concern that I have on page 50 of the Report, which has to do with Mr Robert Ahumka-Lindsay. An issue was raised about his tenure at
Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC), we produced minutes and reports by the Board, which showed that he owed the GIPC US$108, 138.00 from some consultancy that he had awarded to himself when he was Chief Executive Officer. He indicated that the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), which carried out the investigation, later withdrew from the investigations and that he would provide evidence. The Committee asked that he should submit a copy of the report he referred to. As an Hon Member of the Committee, I am seeing for the first time on page 50 of the Report, that the nominee, and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I quote the last paragraph: “…the nominee has since tendered proof of evidence of the withdrawal of the allegations to the secretariat”. Mr Speaker, I believe that we need to develop proper processes moving forward. If evidence has been brought to the secretariat, it is only fair that the Committee is called, so that the evidence is shown, we discuss it, and as a Committee, we all consider the evidence, we approve of it, and we all move forward. Mr Speaker, but if it is just submitted to the secretariat, the Committee does not have the opportunity to meet, discuss, assess it and take a decision on it, but we only see it in the Report when we come to plenary, I am not sure that should be the best of practices. So, Mr Speaker, I just want to draw your attention to that, moving forward. I believe that we can do some of these things better. I have nothing against the nominee, Mr Ahumka-Lindsay, who has an illustrious career in the private sector, served at the GIPC and did well to improve our Foreign Direct Investment. So, it is in his own interest, that when these matters have been raised, they should be seen to have been dealt with properly, so that there would be no doubts in the minds of anybody. Mr Speaker, the Hon Barbara Asher Ayisi has been nominated for the Ministry of Education. A young, dynamic and very promising Hon Member of Parliament, she is our Hon Colleague. She was a teacher of the Wesley Girls' Senior High School, and we did encourage her, to ensure that the high standards of Wesley Girls Senior High School, which ensured that history was made last year where all the three best West Africa Secondary Schools Certificate Examination (WASSCE) Award recipients were from Ghana and from one school -- It has never happened in the history of the West African awards, and the interna- tional awards. So, we encouraged her that their good deeds, as teachers of that celebrated school, be brought to bear on improving quality, time on task, and standards as she moves to the Ministry of Education. We were also gladdened that our Hon Colleague and good Friend, the Hon George Andah—
Hon Member, you would conclude.
Mr Speaker, the Hon George Andah had the opportunity to also clarify some statements he had made during his campaign, and he did indicate that, moving forward, he would be a better campaigner; especially, when he has a female opponent, a former Member of this House and a former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. Certainly, he is promising, and we have no doubt that he would do a good job in assisting the Hon Minister for Commu- nications. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Majority Leader, any comments?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. We have heard Hon Members speak eloquently about the qualification, eligibility, and indeed, the competence of the nominees. I do not intend to overflog the issues raised. Mr Speaker, these are not babies. These people before us are certainly not babies at all. They come with various degrees of competence and versatility. No mischief intended. This is because I saw the Hon Opoku turn. Mr Speaker, no mischief intended. Mr Speaker, I guess we should also offer this correction, as the Hon Okudzeto did. The Hon Joseph Didiok Kpemka is a Deputy Attorney-General-designate. He is not a “Deputy Minister-designate for Attorney-General..., He may also be a Deputy Minister-designate for the Ministry of Justice. Equally, the situation repeats itself for Mr Godfred Yeboah Odame. Mr Speaker, I believe we should get the designations correct. Mr Speaker, having said so, let me also relate to the issue that has also surfaced again in plenary about Hon Habib Tijani. The Hon Minority Leader related to an incident that happened; the unfortunate demise of the Yaa Naa at the time when he held the position as the District Chief Executive for Yendi. Mr Speaker, all enquiries have established that the Hon Mohammed Habib Tijani was not culpable, and there was no negligence on his part. Indeed, he has been commended by the various Commissions that have investigated the unfortunate transition of the Ya-Naa. So, if it should be played out every now and then, that is most unfortunate. I thought it was unfortunate that the Hon Minority Leader raised the issue on the floor. At the Committee, it came up and he related to the various enquiries that have been conducted. Indeed, he has been commended for the role that he played. So, for it to surface in plenary and made to appear as if he was culpable or negligent in the performance of his duties at the time -- Unfortunate as the situation was, Mr Speaker, respectfully, it would do harm or injury to the image of the Hon Tijani. Mr Speaker, I listened to the vetting of Mr Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, Deputy Minister-designate for Health.
We all acknowledge that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is in some financial distress. We also acknowledge that there is a lot of waste at that outfit. It is for that reason, that the President elected to appoint Hon Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the immediate past Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of this House, to bring some sanity into the operations of the NHIS. I believe that Hon Kingsley Aboagye- Gyedu, himself an accomplished accountant, would contribute to cleaning up the system and repositioning the NHIS. Mr Speaker, I do not intend to go through the list, except to make a comment or two about all of them. Hon Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, my junior in secondary school as well as the university, is a very accomplished engineer and knowledgeable person whose competence the entire House could attest to. Hon O. B. Amoah distinguished himself in the previous dispensation. As the Hon Minority Leader said, I hoped that he would have some elevation this time around. Mr Speaker, it is not the end of the world. As a Deputy Minister, I believe he could discharge his functions well in order to catch the eye of the President. Perhaps, in his next life, he might hit the ultimate. Hon Titus-Glover is a very articulate person in the House. Hon Barbara Asher Ayisi, a new Hon Member, who is fast establishing herself in the firmament of Parliament, Hon Karbo and Hon Michael Gyato are new Hon Members in the House. Yet, they have indicated by every passing day that they would be forces to reckon with in the House. Hon Benito Owusu-Bio has been with the Committee on Lands and Forestry for close to 12 years, ever since he came to this House. He has learnt the rules, lessons and all the issues that relate to lands and forestry. I believe he would bring his tremendous experience to bear, and indeed, assist the Hon Minister to run the Ministry. Hon Darko-Mensah, Hon George Nenyi K. Andah, Mr Ahomka-Lindsay and Hon Agyenim-Boateng -- I do not think that I have to waste much time on them, except to say that, they are all very good material. One hopes that they would contribute to repositioning Ghana where we want Ghana to go and lend credence to the fact that Deputy Ministers, as many as possible, should come from Parliament. So that they would be able to assist the substantive Ministers. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Thank you very much. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, the House has accordingly approved by consensus, the nominees for appointment as Deputy Ministers in accordance with article 79 (1) of the Constitution. Hon Members, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the nominees for having received parliamentary approval for appointment as Deputy Ministers. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I would crave your indulgence to have the House suspended, for us to recline into a Committee of the Whole to consider a very pressing issue before us.
Mr Speaker, I know that the Hon Majority Leader and Chairman of the Business Committee had programmed for the Committee of the Whole, but I thought that the Committee of the Whole would also consider the proposed formula for the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), the National Health Insurance Fund and the GETFund. Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader appears very silent on those statutory matters, part of which was his motivation for this House to extend Sitting to consider the statutory funds. Mr Speaker, if he could tell us what the status of these funds are before we recline to the Committee of the Whole, that would be helpful. But we have no objection to us reclining and going into the Committee of the Whole.
Mr Speaker, yesterday, my Hon Colleague was not here when I spoke to those issues. In any event, when I proposed that we should recline into a Committee of the Whole, I said we would consider certain strategic matters which were before us. I did not make any disclosures, but the Hon Minority Leader engaged in speculative adventures and said that I did not make any disclosure on the statutory funds. Mr Speaker, when we get there, we would know what it is that we should consider.
Mr Speaker, the matter of the statutory funds and it being referred to the Committee of the Whole is not in the bosom of the Hon Majority Leader -- odaadaa yen; to wit, “he is deceiving us.” [Laughter.] -- He knows that he has been misleading us in the last few days.
Hon Members, Sitting is suspended accordingly. 1. 06 p.m. -- Sitting suspended. 2.13 p.m. — Sitting resumed.
Hon Members, the House is called to order.
Mr Speaker, the House reclined into a Committee of the Whole, and after the completion of the Business before us, we have reconstituted ourselves into plenary meeting. Mr Speaker, before we went into the Committee of the Whole meeting, we had about exhausted the Business for the day, and with the time reading, 2:13 p.m., you may on your own adjourn proceedings until tomorrow 10:00 in the forenoon. Mr Speaker, we would go by that, if that is your pleasure.
Mr Speaker, rightly, we are in your hands. We could adjourn and probably look up to tomorrow. I do believe, however, that we should be able to rise sine die tomorrow — My Latin is not as good as that of Mr Speaker — I saw you smiling. Mr Speaker, we are in your hands.
The House was adjourned at 2.16 p.m. till Friday, 7th April, 2017 at 10.00 a.m.