Hon Members, we have communication from the Office of the President. SPACE FOR LETTER PAGE 2, 11.40 A.M.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper — Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. Hon Members, page 1, 2, 3…7 — Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye: Mr Speaker, on page 7, I was present but have been marked absent.
Thank you. Page 8, 9, ... 13
All right. Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 9th February, 2017, as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, item numbered 4 -- Business Statement for the Fifth Week.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met on Thursday, 9th February, 2017 and arranged Business of the House for the Fifth Week ending Friday, 17th February, 2017.
Arrangement of Business Formal Communication by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communications to the House whenever they are available. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by Mr Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members, in accordance with Order 72. Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and Committee Reports may also be presented to the House. Once again, the Business Committee urges the Appointments Committee to continue to expedite work on the consideration of nominees of H. E. the President for the subsequent consideration of the House. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions if any, taken during the week. Induction seminar for continuing Members Mr Speaker, the induction seminar which began two weeks ago, with the first time Members of Parliament and those who joined through by-elections, will continue this weekend for Hon Members who did not participate in the previous programme. Hon Members who are expected to participate in the seminar have already been notified. The induction seminar would take place at the Capital View Hotel in Koforidua from Saturday, 11th to Monday, 13th February, 2017. Mr Speaker, because the facility has been procured, the continuing Hon Members are reminded to show their presence. If they do not, Parliament would have lost out and the facility would have attracted cost, which Parliament would have to pay. Mr Speaker, participants may also be reminded that the seminar starts at 9.00 a.m. prompt tomorrow, Saturday. This is why it is important for Hon Members to endeavour to be at Koforidua this evening. All participants are requested to travel using their private means of transport to the Hotel today, Friday, 10th February, 2017 by 5.00 p.m. Parliamentary Calendar Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has prepared a proposed Parliamentary Calendar for the year 2017. The said calendar is attached to the Business Statement for perusal by Hon Members. Conclusion Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week. Formal Communication by the Speaker Statements Presentation of Papers Motions Committee sittings. Formal Communication by the Speaker Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Committee sittings. Formal Communication by the Speaker Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Motions -- Committee sittings. Formal Communication by the Speaker Statements
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader. Hon Minority Leader, do you want to comment? Any comments? Yes, Hon Member? Sorry.
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful that your eyes finally caught me. Mr Speaker, I realise that we still do not have any provisions for Hon Ministers of State to answer Questions that Hon Members may have. I am aware that the President has sworn in some Ministers already --[Interruption.]
So, when are we going to have the opportunity to programme them, so that we can file our Questions?
Any other comments? Hon Minority Leader, any observations before we leave the item? It appears there is no other comment, but if you have any observations, before we leave the item -- Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member inquired about whether Questions have been filed. He related to Questions, I should say. Mr Speaker, no Hon Minister can come to the House to answer any Question unless a Question is filed. But first of all, it must be determined whether any
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I repeatedly heard the Hon Majority Leader say that ‘I am not aware of a Question; rightly so because Questions are filed before the Speaker. It can only be a referral from you to him as Chairman of the Business Committee. I am aware that one particular Question had been filed by Hon Richard M. K. Quashigah, requesting an answer from the Hon Minister for National Security. But Mr Speaker, be it as it may, one appreciates the fact that Government is now being properly constituted and Hon Ministers, including him, except that he started earlier on 7th January, 2017, are beginning to identify proper seats and what they would be doing properly and not singing slogans again but to go to the business of work. I am sure my Hon Colleague is just serving notice that Hon Ministers should be alert that they would make the best use of the Parliamentary Question as an instrument to exercise oversight, particularly of the Executive and to address matters of peculiar concerns to various constituencies and matters that affect the Ghanaian people. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, the ‘I am not aware' phrase was used in a context. The Hon Minority Leader would know and appropriately inform himself that when matters are referred to the Business Committee, they would first of all come to the purview of the Chairman, just as any Chairman of any Committee would first appropriately be notified of any business. So, when I used the phraseology ‘I am not aware', that is the first chapter. Chapter two; Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader would inform himself that the Hon Majority Leader, to the extent that his party controls the Executive, doubles up as the Leader of Government Business. And if anything affects government, that channel would be used. That is the second chapter. Mr Speaker, may I inform him of the third chapter -- [Laughter] -- as the Hon Majority Leader, I double up as the Leader of the House and if anything should come to this House, I should be aware. Mr Speaker, I told him that I am not aware -- so, I combine these three offices. If he likes I can offer him these three hats for free for one day and he would know what it entails. But Mr Speaker, on a much more serious note, if an Hon Member files a Question, our Standing Orders provide that a Minister shall not take more than three weeks to respond to a Question from the House. Firstly, it has to be admitted by Mr Speaker and be transmitted to the Ministry and within that time, the Hon Minister is required to submit himself to Parliament to answer that Question. Mr Speaker, we are aware of Questions that were filed at certain Ministries and it took more than six months for them -- Sometimes, for more than one year, Questions were not answered in this House. Mr Speaker, this Government would exhibit demonstrable efficiency -- [Hear! Hear!!] -- for people to know that indeed, change has come. Mr Speaker, we would make sure that Hon Ministers deliver. After all, it is part of our exercise of oversight responsibilities. It is a pivotal matter for Parliament and I believe that Parliament as an institution, would bring force to bear on the Hon Ministers to show respect to us. In times past, it did not happen, but Parliament should live up to its responsibility and bring their weight to bear on the Hon Ministers to come and answer Questions timeously. Sometimes, Questions that are not answered timeously lose relevance and I believe that together, we must work to attain that so that it would be seen of our Parliament that we are not subjecting ourselves to the thumb of the Executive. Together with my Hon Colleagues in Leadership, including the Leadership of the Minority, we would have to ensure that the Hon Ministers live up to their responsibilities.
Mr Speaker, I was only trying to get your direction on this matter. Standing Order 53(1) listed some items there. In response to my inquiry, the Hon Majority Leader suggested that it was Business that we anticipate -- if I understood him well -- that are put on the programme. Does that mean that formal communication by the Speaker, Statements and Presentation of Papers are anticipated? I do not think that is what it means.
Mr Speaker, we take the assurance of the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business very seriously, except that I refuse to wear his black hat with his black chapters. Mr Speaker, for us and for many Ghanaians, this change must mean nothing but progress. Not a change when we come with the same old excuses of equalising that this happened before. So, we would monitor him and the Hon Ministers very closely and we would hold them diligently to what they pledged to do for Ghanaians. And so, excuses would not be acceptable. Mr Speaker, on that note, we can progress on our Business for today, but as for his black hat, I suspect he is already speculative and he wants to be inaugurated today as the Hon Minister and that is why he chose to wear -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, as he says he is the Leader of Government Business, I am sure he wanted to add that he will soon be the Hon Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.
Mr Speaker, to my Hon Colleague who spoke earlier, I think the import of what I said was that no admitted Questions have been put before the Business Committee and that is why they have not been programmed. Mr Speaker, as for the Hon Minority Leader saying that one would not be satisfied with any business of equalisation, nobody is proposing equalisation at all, but people should know that if there is no ‘Old Testament', there cannot be a ‘New Testament'. Mr Speaker, yesterday preceded today, just as today is going to precede tomorrow. He understands that. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Hon Members. It is very clear that Hon Members may bring forward their Questions as they wish, even soon after we have left this place to have them answered by the Executive, which is the prerogative of Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, going forward on the Business Statement, I would like to appeal through you to the Hon Chairman and the Committee Members of the Appointments Committee that this week, we have experienced a situation where we were waiting to debate and approve the Hon nominees, but there were certain days that it could not happen as expected. Mr Speaker, using the words of the Hon Majority Leader, I would appeal to them that next week, they should actually undertake that demonstrated expediency to bring the Report to the floor for us to debate. This is because time is of the essence and we have been in Government before, and that time to meet the promises they have made is of a great essence to this great nation. So, they should bring the Reports for us to debate. We are ready to approve the Hon Members for them to work for the betterment of this nation. Mr Speaker, that is my appeal through you. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I think every one of us would attest to the fact that the Appointments Committee has been doing a very good work for this country. Mr Speaker, the difficulty has been that yesterday, they worked quite late into the evening and they wanted to include what consideration they did yesterday in what they had done early on. It explains why there is a bit of delay. The Hon Minority Leader who is the Hon Ranking Member is hurriedly going through the Report and certainly, Hon Members would have it for it to be debated. It would span all 11 Hon nominees who have been considered. Mr Speaker, the Report on nine of the Hon nominees have been ready since the day before yesterday, but they wanted to include the considerations that went on yesterday. That is what is holding us down a bit but certainly, we would travel that distance.
The Business Statement for the Fifth Week is hereby admitted. Hon Members, item numbered 5 -- Statements. We have two Statements. The first stands in the name of the Hon Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, Member of Parliament for Atiwa East congratulating Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast, on the occasion of its 180th Anniversary.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to extend my congratulations to Wesley Girls' High School on the occasion of its 180th Anniversary. Since it was first founded by Mrs Wrigley and established by Mrs Waldron in 1836, “Wey Gey Hey” as we affectionately call it, has become the standard of excellence that all educational institutions in this country aspire to achieve.
Thank you very much. Order! Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would like to support the Statement of my Hon Colleague and fellow Old Girl of the Wesley Girls' High School. I think that the 180th Anniversary of Wesley Girls' High School is something to be celebrated in Ghana as a whole. This is because the school has produced a lot of strong women who have occupied various positions in our society -- [Interruption] -- Yes, including me. [Hear! Hear!]
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I would wish to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Member, Mrs Abena Osei-Asare to congratulate Wesley Girls' High School on the celebration of its 180th Anniversary as well as its Speech and Prize Giving Day.
This is because this school has produced a thousand and one women who are occupying very key positions in this nation. This august House has quite a number of Hon Members who attended this school. I think you need to commend all of us.
Hon Members, Order!
I wish to use the opportunity to congratulate one, the leadership, the staff and non-teaching staff and the old girls for their dedication, hard work and support. I would wish to say that as the school celebrates its anniversary, all the other institutions should visit the school, interact with leadership to find out why the school has consistently been doing well all these years. The headmistress and staff are very warm and I believe that if some other heads of institutions visited the school, they would open their hands and welcome them. Mr Speaker, once again, congra- tulations to Wesley Girls' High School. Let us continue to work hard to support the school; so that we can continue to raise great women for our nation and the world.
Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by Hon Osei-Asare on the 180th Anniversary of Wesley Girls' High School -- [Interruption.]
Mr Chairman, Wesley Girls High School is indeed, one of the best and one of the finest secondary schools that we have in Ghana -- [Hear! Hear!] And most of the finest secondary schools that we have in this country are located in the Central Region. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker --
Hon Dr Akoto Osei, do you rise on a point of order?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I would want to remind my good Friend that when Statements are made, we are expected to stay away from issues that would provoke debate. He is
Hon Minister, out of curiosity, may I know who are the “we”; who are ready? -- [Laughter] -- If he wants to provoke debate.
Mr Speaker, we are all here.
Who are the “we”?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader and I.
I thought we were talking about “we” in school terms. [Laughter.] Hon Member, you may continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Wesley Girls High School is indeed, one of the best and one of the finest secondary schools in Ghana and we wish them well.
Mr Speaker, but all the same, I wish them well and I hope that they live to celebrate another 180th Anniversary. I would wish and pray that the new secondary schools that have been set up in the country would also be supported by the new Government so that they too would one day celebrate 180 years. With these few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Yes, Hon Member?
On the occasion of this 180th Anniversary, I can only say that -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, I would still stand on the point that --
Hon Member, I am reminding you to speak for yourself. [Laughter.] You may continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Some of us, including myself were hoping to attend Wesley Girls' Senior High School at that time. Unfortunately, we could not get access. The school has set very good standard for itself right from that time till now. I could only commend them as they celebrate their 180th Anniversary and say that they should continue to maintain the good standards that they have set for the school and for themselves. They have churned out a lot of intellectuals, doctors, lawyers, professors and others, likewise other schools. I also have one of the best schools in the Brong- Ahafo Region -- Serwaa Kesse Girls' Senior High School -- and they should also continue to do their best. I wish Wesley Girls' Senior High School all the best as they celebrate their 180th Anniversary. I hope that they would continue to maintain the standards that they have maintained for themselves, so that other schools would emulate same. I wish the headmistress, the teaching staff, the non-teaching staff, the students and all those young people who are hoping to enter Wesley Girls' Senior High School all the very best.
Mr Speaker, let me also add my voice to congratulate the Wesley Girls' Senior High School on their 180th Anniversary. Mr Speaker, as we celebrate the strong women and very successful graduates that Wesley Girls' Senior High School has produced, let me focus on the access to Wesley Girls' Senior High School and such Ivy League schools and how difficult they are -- and what we could do as a country to create more Wesley Girls' Senior High Schools in the country. On yearly basis, in times of admission, one would see students who have the grades and are qualified to go to Wesley Girls' Senior High School and other equally good schools struggling. This is because admission to the school is very limited, and one could only imagine the pressure on admission. The reason this happens is the disparity in school infrastructure; good laboratories, good teachers, and all other things we would need in other schools, are excellent there. So, Mr Speaker, as we celebrate Wesley Girls' Senior High School, I believe we have to begin to ask ourselves as a country; what steps are we taking to create more Wesley Girls' Senior High Schools across the country? On that note, let me congratulate the Wesley Girls' Senior High School on their anniversary.
Thank you very much. The last contribution, Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would like to appreciate my Hon Sister, Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, Member of Parliament for Atiwa East for the wonderful Statement put together to appreciate the school. I did not go to Wesley Girls' Senior High School, but I believe at this particular moment, we should also appreciate the schools that are doing well. There are other schools like Adawukwa where one walks with bare foot to school. Some of them come out to be good students and get good education and become good people in society. We should also appreciate them in a way, that from the very onset and scratch, the difficulty some of the students go through to become better people in society -- We take this opportunity to say that if one attends Christian Methodist Senior High School, like myself, standing here, and from there, one progressed to attend Accra Girls' Senior High School, then it means that, from Adawukwa to Christian Methodist Senior High School to Accra Girls' Senior High School, there are people in society who have hustled hard to get here.
Any comment from Leadership? Hon First Deputy Speaker?
I thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, ordinarily, I am not a fun of big-named schools. This is because I believe that people make schools. However, I believe, many years ago when I was in my school, Juaben Senior High School, not a big named school though, my head teacher used to say, go and see how Wesley Girls' Senior High School students behave. They sit in the woods and read to the trees. Learn that. That is how you would build your English language. At that time, it did not make any impact on me. But Mr Speaker, I have one daughter. She went to Wesley Girls' Senior High School and I have observed some tradition which I think is unique -- the culture of reading. Even if she is watching the television, she would have a book by her side, and be reading. I think that culture of reading that Wesley Girls' Senior High School manages to imbue in their students, is such a commendable culture that I would commend to every school. This is because in the end, everything is about information, and if one develops the culture of reading to get information, I believe one would have made ninety-nine out of the hundred steps to reach his goals. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to commend Wesley Girls' Senior High School on their anniversary and recommend that culture of reading to all schools, so that all students would develop the culture. Reading culture is what we need to make people upgrade themselves, pass all their examinations and be what they want to be in future. I wish to add my voice to the Statement made by our Hon Abena Osei-Asare on this anniversary. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Mr First Deputy Speaker? The second Statement stands in the name of Hon Mavis Nkansah-Boadu, Hon Member for Afigya-Sekyere East on the need to enforce road traffic and motor regulations. Yes, Hon Member? Enforcement of Road Traffic and Motor Regulations
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make this Statement. Every vehicle owner needs to be well aware of the local regulations set for road users which ensure they drive with due care and attention. There are laws set out for pedestrians to ensure their safety. Motorists should be aware of these laws, road traffic regulations and the sanctions thereof. However, in the last few years, some issues of concern have been raised on our roads. They include; the littering of our roads, broken down vehicles which are left to be towed, wrongful parking, pedestrians' refusal to use footbridges and lawlessness of some motorcycle riders. With regard to the issue of footbridges, this country invests millions of cedis solicited both externally and internally to construct footbridges which are built over dual carriage ways and multiple lane roads. Currently, there are many footbridges constructed in Accra, Kumasi, and other parts of the country that are not utilised by pedestrians. This situation is not one that requires the enactment of a new law. This is because such legislations already exist and reference is made to the Road Traffic Act, 2004 (Act 683), the Road Traffic Offences Regulation 1974 (L. I. 952), and the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012, (L.I. 2180). Section 154 (3) of the Road Traffic Regualtions, 2012, provides that, pedestrians who fail to use footbridges or an underpass where one is provided commit an offence. Furthermore, “persons who engage in jaywalking are liable to summary conviction or a term of imprisonment for not more than seven days or both.” The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) is commended for taking measures to enforce section 154(3), but they are implored to do more. The other issue relates to the indiscipline and lawlessness of motor riders popularly referred to as “okada” drivers who continue to flout sections 11 and 14 of the Road Traffic Act. The use of motorcycles for commercial purposes is dangerous and the above listed laws prohibit it. Legislative Instrument (L.l.) 2180 of 2012, under section 128, states that “motor cycles for commercial purposes are prohibited, and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) is also required by law not to register these motorcycles for commercial use.” The activities of “okada” drivers result in indiscriminate violation of motor laws in the country. Mr speaker, the operations of these “ okada” drivers are adversely affecting the nation in diverse ways : no tax obligations, the use of illegal routes and other anti-social behaviours. I therefore propose that the laws prohibiting the “okada” drivers be either removed or union could be formed. Furthermore, the formation of a union that would regulate their activities on the roads to ensure their safe operations could be the optimal choice or the establishment of a special taskforce that would prohibit their activities entirely. Sensitisation has proven to work over the years in Ghana. The popular sanitation campaign with the catchphrase “hohoro wonsa, fa samina y3” created awareness
and improved the health of many citizens. There should be sensitisation of the public, through an entertaining jingle or commercial to instil in them the value of life and the need to use footbridges. Footbridges are not just for infrastructural beauty but the proper use of it ensures safety on the roads and protects lives. The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), together with the Ministry of Roads and Highways are encouraged to ensure strict enforcement of road laws and seek the support of the public to report any reckless conduct of drivers or pedestrians on the roads. Crashes and collusions are no respecter of persons; hence, it would take collaborative efforts from all stakeholders to keep our roads safe.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement. This Statement is very important. Road safety and carnage on our roads is nothing new to any of us. Mr Speaker, even yesterday, along the N1 Highway, there was another terrible one. Mr Speaker, she did mention something about “okada”, which is, the people who use motorcycles for commercial purposes. Mr Speaker, this House passed that law, but it is very simple to pass a law to say that if you use motorcycles for commercial purposes, it is illegal if you live in Accra or Kumasi. But when you live in a village like mine, you would probably notice that the easiest way a pregnant woman would reach a hospital in an emergency could be on a motorcycle, because that is the only available means of transportation. Mr Speaker, I suggest that this House or the sponsors of that law take a second look, if it would be possible, for them to train some people and license them to do that. This is because, I cannot understand, and I would not call somebody who is able to do that and save a life in my village a criminal, simply because he tried to save the life of somebody using a motorcycle when there are no taxis and no public transport whatsoever. We need to look at that again. Mr Speaker, there is another thing that causes road carnage in this country. It is not uncommon -- I cannot mention anybody -- that in this country, people who should know better, including Hon Members of Parliament, judges, police, everybody -- you see them driving with their mobile phones stuck to their ears when we know it is against the law. Research has shown that it is a wrong to drive while using a mobile phone. So Mr Speaker, if we want to enforce this, I do not see how it is alright for a Member of Parliament, a judge or a policeman to be able to use a mobile phone while driving and go scot free, but arrest somebody who uses a motorcycle to rescue a pregnant woman in my village. Mr Speaker, we have to look again at this law. This law on “okada” usage is a bit problematic for us as villagers. So, we must take a second look at it. I see no reason why if somebody is trained -- after all, if the person has got the ability to carry one extra person at the back, even if the person is not a passenger, he is able to do that. So, what difference does it make if he takes money but rescues somebody? Mr Speaker, what is needed is training. So, they should use the appropriate safety kit. We should ensure that instead of making it illegal for anybody who carries another person at the back of ‘Okada' for commercial purposes to be considered as having committed a crime
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Any further contributions?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, any equipment is good when used appropriately. When it is not used appropriately, it becomes danger to the user and sometimes, to the general public. In this case, I am talking about motor bicycles and okada riders. The motorbike is a very good equipment like other Hon Members have said. Their use in the rural areas is very good, but then it is because the riders do not obey traffic regulations in the city, that is why we have those problems recurring. One would be at the traffic light, and the minute the light turns -- and in some cases, it does not even turn green before the okada riders meander through. That is what causes the problems. So, I would entreat the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and so on, to take certain measures if possible. The first measure is to train them properly to observe traffic regulations. This is because, some of them just learn to ride the motorbikes, but they do not have any inkling about the rules governing the use of road ways. Mr Speaker, the second, is to encourage the Police to be able to arrest them, so that they conform to the regulations. Third is the continuous education for all road users, and not only the okada riders. I believe that the DVLA should be encouraged to even provide continuous training when members of the general public go to renew their licenses, so that they would be aware of any changes and be abreast so that they do not go stale. Mr Speaker, some people still obey the traffic regulations, which were being used in the 1970s. In some cases, they cannot even read the road signs properly. An example is the situation where somebody was asked about the meaning of a cattle on the signboard, and he said it meant chopbar ahead. Those things should not occur anymore. Mr Speaker, I therefore, believe that we should encourage the DVLA, to come up with new rules on what to do about these things. We hope that with that, people would upgrade their knowledge, and use the roads appropriately, so that the usage of the road does not become a danger to themselves and others. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to say thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity, and let me congratulate the Hon Member who made this Statement for the wonderful delivery. Mr Speaker, there is a deep-rooted problem when it comes to our road designs and its users. When one comes to my constituency in Kwadaso, the famous Sofo line interchange; from Bekwai roundabout to Abuakwa, there is no footbridge on that stretch of road. Meanwhile, the road boasts of three major institutions. Prempeh College is one, University College of Education is another, and Yaa Asantewaa Senior High School is also on that same stretch of road. Mr Speaker, people die everyday on that stretch of road. Again, when we look at the design of that road, it is a double carriage road, but it narrows in the middle of a major town, so, there is traffic at the end of the road. Meanwhile, based on the original design, it was supposed to extend beyond Kumasi. Mr Speaker, this is causing problems in my constituency, and I would urge the new Minister for Roads and Highways to come to our aid as soon as possible. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Hon Members, one more from each side. [Interruptions.] --
Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I would want to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement, and add that we must request the Police to apply uniformity in the implementation of our Road Traffic Laws. Particularly, we realised that it is not only the okada riders who constitute a menace on our roads, but other entities such as private courier companies. They also employ motorbike riders for their purposes, and these riders are worse off in terms of accidents that they cause on our roads. Mr Speaker, I would therefore, want to urge the Police to apply the law as other police officers do in countries like Burkina Faso and Togo. When one gets to the Republic of Togo, when the traffic light turns red, vehicles, as well as bicycles and motorbikes all stop until it turns green before they move. But when it comes to Ghana and the traffic light turns red, we do not find motorbike riders and ‘okada' riders obeying the traffic regulations. So, it is very important that the Police are tasked to uniformly apply the law. Mr Speaker, again, we would realise that, for instance, tomorrow being the 180th Anniversary celebration of Wesley Girls Secondary School, we would find dignitaries and important personalities flouting traffic regulations, because they are in a hurry to get to the event centre, and in doing so, they would drive recklessly, and would not obey traffic regulations. For that, we would also urge very important persons in our society that though they may be in a rush to attend such important occasions, they must drive and obey traffic regulations, so that all of us would become observant of road traffic regulations, and ensure that our roads do not pose danger to the road users and other people who use the roads. Mr Speaker, I would therefore want to associate myself with the Hon Member who made the second Statement and thank her for bringing this to the attention of the House and the State.
I am grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I am excited to hear this particular Statement. This is because I made a presentation when I was doing my Masters programme on the ramifications of road accidents in Ghana. Mr Speaker, the interesting revelation that came out of the presentation was that, in this country, more people die from road- related accidents than we have when we come to HIV/AIDS.
Hon Members, Order!
I made the statement that it is better for one to come to Ghana with a helmet than with a mosquito repellent. Mr Speaker, more often than not, when we talk about mortality on the roads, that is, death on the roads, we forget about the morbidity as well. That is those who get maimed, and those who get incapacitated all their lives as a result of accidents that most of the time not their faults. Mr Speaker, it has become increasingly clear that, when technocrats meet to plan projects, they do not consider the health aspects. When one takes the N1 Highway, for example, a lot of Ghanaians are killed on daily basis and all we seek is to look at the statistics at the end of the year. The question is, how come we do not have adequate footbridges along the N1 Highway? The planners considered vehicles and forgot that roads are not meant for only vehicles, but human beings as well. Mr Speaker, we have done enough talk. I believe it is about time we took drastic action to make sure that a lot of action is taken now at places where a lot of people are killed. I have been using the N1 Highway for sometime. It is so pathetic when you see Ghanaians amass on the side of the road and hope that some drivers would show mercy. Mr Speaker, when one goes to Ledzokuku, my constituency, we have a very fine dual carriage road which has been constructed. There is no place for footbridges. I believe that the time for considering the health aspect of projects is now, be it railways, roads or even all public institutions. Mr Speaker, let me make these two points before I take my seat. I did a small research on road traffic accidents and realised that the benchmark of the National Road Safety Commission for las year , 2016 -- They targeted 4,000 deaths from road-related accidents, but we had close to 10,000 road related deaths in 2016. In a country where the Commission that takes care of these statistics sets 4,000 deaths as their minimum, then we should know that we are in trouble. Mr Speaker, 4,000 deaths would look ordinary until a relative in your family gets caught up in this particular carnage. I would plead with all the related institutions and make a proposal. Those who use the roads and flout our rules have become friends of the Police, so, when they are caught up in any form of contravention, all the Police does is to engage in talks, and it gets settled. I believe going forward, we should have a quality control unit that has elements from society who would conduct checks on our roads. All those broken down cars that are not being moved -- so that they get reported and if the Police or any other stakeholder is found culpable, they should be brought to book. This is the only way to put fear in those who are supposed to obey the law and those who are supposed to enforce it. I am grateful for the opportunity, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I rise to associate myself with the Statement ably made by Hon Mavis Nkansah-Boadu and to commend her for bringing to the fore a matter which affects lives and which is of prime concern to many of our citizens. Mr Speaker, the indiscipline on our roads and responsibility and discipline on the roads must be discussed together. The responsibility to be able to maintain discipline is a shared one. It is a shared one among motorists, road users and pedestrians and in particular, the Police playing their role. Mr Speaker, if one travels to Turkey and comes back to Ghana using a motor vehicle, one would wonder whether there is no best experience somewhere. For instance, in Accra and Kumasi, we have notable roads which are declared one-way roads. In many other jurisdictions, every road can be declared one-way for purposes of decongesting the road. For instance, what the Police does when they notice that the Ring Road is choked is to close all other roads to allow for smooth traffic flow. We can learn. They have a system in Turkey where the person responsible for road traffic can sit at the comfort of his office and have a view of the entire traffic congestion situation. I do know that it was part of a traffic management which was thought of, sometime ago. Maybe, our new Hon Minister for Roads and Highways and those responsible can re-look at it and adapt it.
convenience, comfort and speed. Secondly, cost; the young men who ride okadas are unemployed. They want to earn a living, so, they choose that this is the economic activity they can engage in, in order to have a living. So, if we cannot stop them then we should regulate them well by law. We cannot say that we have outlawed okada when we cannot enforce the legislation on that particular subject. Mr Speaker, the second one is cost. Maybe, that poor person cannot afford a taxi or a trotro fare back home, so, he finds convenience in the use of okada. Some husbands will not tolerate wives going home late. Therefore, the time she must be home, she ought to be home. She will struggle to make the use of an okada to save cost and for the convenience and comfort of getting home early. Mr Speaker, who do the DVLA give licence to? Are they qualified? Can they go through basic training of traffic rules? We must insist on what the Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee, former Chief Executive of DVLA -- There is a policy that do not give driving licence to illiterates or persons who cannot read and write or take them through basic driving literacy examination, so that they would appreciate that they are not the sole users of the road. We would have to look at it.
Mr Speaker, what is the interest of the Police when they are on the roads? It is about extortion; extorting money from taxi drivers and trotro drivers and making those necessary changes. They must focus on their primary role. I have seen instances where when pedestrians are crossing, their interest is not in what they are doing. In the night, I have observed, using the Police Hospital around Danquah Circle, all they do is to get flashlights and say pass. What are they searching for? Their focus must be on the security. They use flashlights and they are not diligent about it. It is of concern to many of us even though there are times that many motorists too are naughty. When they stop them, they would disrespect them. Mr Speaker, so, we thank the Hon Member who made the Statement. But I believe that it should be a concerted effort for us all to work towards discipline. Then the motorability of our roads -- Many of the roads are not in good shape. We still have to invest more in improving our road infrastructure and find alternative ways of doing it. Thankfully, our Hon Colleague, the Hon Minister for Railway Development will do Ghanaians proud if we were to develop an alternative, which is the railway system, so that we do not have to continue to use the roads. Finally, the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) camera and then discipline on the roads. We have seen instances where private people have tried to partner the Police in order to allow for discipline on the road. In Washington and elsewhere, one knows that when one crosses, the camera would pick it. The next thing one finds is a fine at the home or in your vehicle to pay. Mr Speaker, indeed, if we encourage the Police to use the CCTV camera, we would be able to generate additional revenue for them and we should consider that. They should explore it with a public private partnership. Then the CCTV should not just be at the port; it should be everywhere in the country -- Even safety in our homes and within this Chamber, we should be able to monitor the activities of men with good and bad intentions with the use of the CCTV camera. While I thank the Hon Member who made the Statement, I believe that we all have a responsibility to contribute to the discipline on our roads and the respect for road traffic regulations generally.The Police, particularly the Motor Traffic and Transport Directorate (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service should be up and doing. Mr Speaker, finally, just recently, we lost a journalist called Mr Bismarck Bebly, who was stopped by a police officer. I can give similar examples of the same nature, where just after a stop by the Police, in an attempt to use his vehicle, he was knocked down and then he lost his life. It is unfortunate and regrettable. Mr Speaker, but there have been many instances where broken-down vehicles on the roads contributed to accidents. Yet the Police can again partner private people for towing. I know that some experimentation of that was also done. Mr Speaker, with these remarks, I would once again want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement. Mr Speaker, I would want to urge you to refer this Statement to the appropriate institutions and task them with specific responsibilities, probably, to report back to a Committee of this House or directly to you. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Thank you very much. Hon Deputy Majority Leader? Deputy Majority Leader (Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo): Mr Speaker, I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for such an insightful and well researched Statement. Mr Speaker, we would all agree that road safety is an issue for both drivers and pedestrians in general. Mr Speaker, the problem we have here in Ghana is not about legislation. The Hon Member who made the Statement enumerated the relevant legislation -- Regulations as well as the Acts -- which deal with road safety. So, we are well taken care off when it comes to regulating or legislating on the matter. The problem we have as a country has to do with implementation and professing the necessary sanctions that ought to be given when such rules, laws and Regulations are contradicted. Mr Speaker, in this case, we seem to be a bit relaxed on our laws, so, we have so much indiscipline on our roads. It is costing the nation precious lives. People could have avoided these accidents and deaths; but unfortunately, due to recklessness and disregard for their own lives, we see many of these deaths happening in this country. Mr Speaker, my neighbouring constituency, Okaikoi North, has experienced a number of accidents on the N1 Double Carriage way. The Hon Member for Okaikoi North (Mr Fuseini Issah) has made a number of Statements on this floor, calling on the general public to adhere to the footbridges that have been provided on these highways. Mr Speaker, it is sad that it is only in this part of our world that we see people crossing highways and double carriage ways without pondering. One would wonder -- It does not happen anywhere. Footbridges are provided where they could actually cross to the other side of the road, but they do not do that. Nobody is there to enforce it. Day in day out, a lot of people lose their lives. Mr Speaker, again, we could also look at regulating and ensuring that drivers' licences that are given out are done in a proper way. Mr Speaker, I remember when I had to study in the United States of America, and I had to procure a driver's licence in the State of Virginia, I had then finished my first degree. I wrote the road test for about five times before I got my licence. So, one knows everything one ought to know on the roads before one is given the licence. This is because one's life and that of others are at stake. Mr Speaker, we do not say that we should subject Ghanaians to that rigorous way of testing; but at least, there should be some test. We should do away with “Goro Boys” at the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA), who approach people and take moneys from them to procure
drivers' licences for them without testing if they are actually qualified to sit behind a steering wheel. Mr Speaker, the more we relax our rules, the more lives we are going to lose as a country. I agree with the Hon Minority Leader when he talked about the closed circuit television cameras. There should be Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements to get the private sector to partner the security agencies to get these things on our roads. Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is asking me how we are going to even locate these people. This is because we do not have an address system. How do we track these people? It is a major concern which has been raised. The process for street naming started in our country, but it has not been completed. Many of our streets are not named. So, locating -- We usually use the ‘waakye seller at the junction', and then one is directed to take left turn and spot a mango tree. That is the usual way of directing people to our residences and places of work. Mr Speaker, I believe that as we push for reforms and enforcement of these laws, we should also look at developing our street naming system to ensure that, as we push for the enforcement, there is an enabling environment for whoever is to enforce the law to be able to do so. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement. I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon First Deputy Speaker, it is just appropriate that you make a few remarks.
Mr Speaker, my position on issues of road safety is quite well known in the House. The records would bear me out. Mr Speaker, I wish to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement, and in particular, Hon Dr Okoe Boye, who contributed and brought out the main issues on road safety -- The loss of lives, property and limbs, and how our planning and implementations are contributing to the experiences we are getting. Mr Speaker, I wish the Hon Majority Leader had asked other Hon Members who referred to “okada”. Mr Speaker, however, what Ghana does not permit is the use of motorcycles for commercial purposes. Ghana does not stop anybody from riding on a motorcycle. If one takes a lift from a friend on the motorcycle, one decides the risk one carries, weighs it and determines whether it is safe to travel from here to Agbogbloshie on a motorcycle. It is one's choice. The issue has been that, we should follow other countries and license the motorcycle operators as commercial operators. That has been a challenge which Ghana as a country -- This Parliament has refused to assent to that. They were proposed in the Regulations. I recall that, the former Hon Deputy Attorney-General, Hon Osei- Prempeh, and I, fought against that and it was removed from the law. Mr Speaker, to Hon Members who argued and justified it, it may be a life- saver at some point; but would we like that to be a main means of transport? How are we ensuring the safety of those who would pay money to be carried to the next point on these vehicles? Mr Speaker, so, I believe we should move away from saying that Ghana has banned “okada.” Ghana has refused to license motorcycles for commercial purposes. Every motorcycle that is operating is licensed for private purposes. So, if you are going to pay money for somebody to carry you at the back of a motorcycle, you should know that it is not covered by any contractual relationship. This is because the person riding the motorcycle has no power to engage in commercial activities with it. However, those who cite other countries, I wish they would also cite the statistics of limbs and deaths as a result of motorcycles. We have had the occasion to compare with countries like Togo, Benin and others. The statistics of the limbs that have been lost as a result of motorcycle accidents are staggering. Mr Speaker, I understand that, sometime last week or the week before, a motorcycle run into your motorcade and there was an accident. That is the challenge; the belief that because they are motorcycles, they should not obey road traffic regulations. That is the major challenge we have to deal with. My experiences on the Tamale High Street are serious. In places like Tamale, they have actually made motorcycle lanes so that they could be removed from the main road. There is no conflict with the other vehicles. However, when you get to traffic intersections and you are waiting, 15 to 30 motorcycles come and crowd in front of you. If you lose focus for one second, you would run over a motorcycle. The real challenge is how to ensure that whether they are using it for private or commercial purposes, they obey the road traffic regulations and assure safety for themselves and other road users. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and wish that we would do better for ourselves in road safety management.
Hon Members, it is quite appropriate that the Committee on Roads and Transport takes a further look at this issue, have interactions with the appropriate agencies and make recommendations for the attention of this Honourable House. Hon Majority Leader, as we now move on to item numbered 6 -- at the Commencement of Public Business, item numbered 6, what is the position at the moment?
Mr Speaker, the Fifth Report of the Appointments Committee is still in the works and it is being finalised now. In fact, it is being printed. That being the case, I would propose that we take a suspension of Sitting and resume at 3.00 o'clock. This is a product of a pre-Sitting meeting that when we hit 1 . 00 p. m. and it is not out of the oven, we take a suspension and resume at 3.00 p.m, to enable our Muslim brothers and sisters to worship and come back to join us. So, we may take a suspension for one and half hours. While we are at that, yesterday, when we adjourned, we took some presen- tations from certain stakeholders. We would continue with that immediately we take a suspension for three groups to make their own presentations in the interim. There are committee sittings programmed. I do not know whether it would be worth their while to also migrate to various places to do the consideration of their own matters. The third matter which has come before me; in composing the Committee to deal with the alleged bribery scandal in the House, we included a woman from among us -- Hon Ama Pomaa Andoh -- Member of Parliament for Juaben. Unfortunately, she has to be in Abuja to attend to the business of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She is not coming back until after two weeks. Mr Speaker, additional information is coming to me that the principal witness, Hon Mahama Ayariga has also flown to Abuja to participate in the activities of the ECOWAS Parliament. That would mean that business before the Committee cannot be transacted until they return.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader described Hon Ayariga as a principal witness. I just want to put on record that in front of the Committee, there are no principal witnesses. All the persons appearing before the Committee are witnesses who are to assist your Committee to arrive at the truth or otherwise of the matter. I agree that he is one of the witnesses we intend to call, but he is not a principal witness. He is a witness like every other witness.
Hon Majority Leader, may I suggest that you come to a clear conclusion on this with the entire Leadership. You came by a Motion to have this considered and approved by the House. If for any good reason, you would want to make some changes, you know what route to come by.
Mr Speaker, I take a cue from what you said. I get the indication from the Chairman of the Committee that they may want to have some preliminary hearings. That being the case, the proposal that I submitted before you, that is, substituting Hon Ama Pomaa Andoh for Hon Abena Durowaa Mensah, Member of Parliament for Assin North, if it is acceptable, then I may have to come by the appropriate vehicle, which is by a Motion. Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Committee --
Hon Majority Leader, is there enough consultation between you and your Hon Friends on the other side, so that we can have this done formally? I would respectfully suggest that we take this the moment we come back from our suspension.
Mr Speaker, I would take your advice, but there has been sufficient consultation, even though it has been by sign language.
Hon Majority Leader, I believe we can do this in one and a half hours and in a manner that would not be any matter of debate. The House stands suspended for one and a half hours. 1.30 p.m. -- Sitting suspended. 4.40 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
Hon Members, consi- dering the time and the Business before us, the regulated hours are extended for Business to continue accordingly. Hon Members, we would take item numbered 6 -- Motion
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Hon Members, item numbered 7 -- Motion. Adoption of the Fifth Report of the Appointments Committee
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Fifth Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Introduction On 17th January, 2017, H.E. the President communicated to Parliament the nomination of eleven (11) persons for Ministerial appointments in accordance with article 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution. The nominations were referred to the Appointments Committee by Mr Speaker for consideration and report, pursuant to Order 172 of the Standing Orders of the House. The nominations are as follows: i) Hon Catherine A. Afeku -- Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture ii) Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- Minister-designate for Parliamentary Affairs iii) Hon Prof George Y. Gyan Baffour -- Minister-designate for Planning iv) Hon Isaac K. Asiamah -- Minister-designate for Youth and Sports v) Mr Awal Ibrahim Mohammed -- Minister-designate for Business Development vi) Hon Mavis Hawa Koomson -- Minister-designate for Special Development Initiatives vii) Hon Boniface Abu-Bakar Saddique -- Minister-designate for Inner-City and Zongo Development viii) Hon Cecilia Dapaah -- Minister-designate for Aviation ix) Hon Kofi Dzamesi -- Minister-designate for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs x) Hon Elizabeth Afoley Quaye -- Minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture and xi) Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid -- Minister-designate for Information. Reference documents The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana ii. The Standing Orders of the Parliament and iii. The Curriculum Vitae (CV) of the nominees. Consideration of the referral The names of the nominees and notice of the Committee's public hearing were published in national newspapers for the attention of the general public, pursuant to Order 172 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House. As part of the publication, the Committee requested Memoranda from the general public in respect of the nominees. The Committee subsequently obtained confidential Reports in respect of the nominees from the Ghana Police Service and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI). The Committee also obtained Tax Status Reports on the nominees from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). The Committee thereafter, held a public hearing to consider the nominations. Prior to the commencement of proceedings, the nominees subscribed to the Oath of a Witness and proceeded to answer questions relating to their matters and to their eligibility, issues pertaining to the offices to which they have been nominated and other issues of national concern. The Committee has duly considered the nominations and Reports as follows: Hon Catherine A. Afeku -- Minister- designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture Background Hon Catherine Abelema Afeku was born on 27th June, 1967 at Bibiani in the Western Region and hails from Axim in the same region. She started her elementary education at the Axim Methodist Primary School (1972-1973) and continued at the Kweikuma Primary School (1973-1974), Aggrey Memorial Primary School, Sekondi (1974-1975), Kweikuma Primary School (1975-1977) and completed at the Axim Roman Catholic Middle School (1978-1979). She proceeded to the Nsein Secondary School for her Secondary School from 1980 to 1985 for her ‘O' Level. Hon Afeku studied at the United States International University, Kenya (1986- 1988) and later at the Ecole les Roches Bluche, Switzerland from June, 1989 to December, 1989. She further attended the Devry University from August, 2003 to June, 2008. Hon Afeku did an attachment with Zevet Kenyan Architectural Firm (August, 1988 - December, 1988) and later as student trainee at Novotel, Accra (January 1989 - May 1989). She worked as a Bilingual at the InLingua School of Languages, Brescia, Italy from 1990-1993. She then moved to the United States of America
Tourist sites in Ghana The nominee disclosed that she had received a brief from the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, that we have 64 Forts and Castles in Ghana, but indicated that only 18 out of the number are in good standing. She mentioned some of the prominent ones as the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles, and the Fort St Antonio at Axim as some of the prominent monuments. According to her, Ghana has the opportunity to promote the 18 prominent ones which actually drive traffic and to engage curators and conservationists to revisit some of our old sites to bring out their historical significance. Promotion of ZongoFest The nominee indicated that she would draw on the success of the HomoFest to promote similar programmes such as the ZongoFest which was organised last year at Asawase in the Ashanti Region to showcase our cultural diversity and religious tolerance. Tourism promotion at Airports The nominee observed that the first experience that travellers get is at the airports, and that, in other jurisdictions there are visitors' bureau and tourism offices at airports where travellers are introduced to tourist interests in their countries. She accordingly promised to establish a visitors' bureau at the airports and to aggressively market them on social media and the country's Embassies to augment the physical presence of staff of the bureau. Improving the condition of roads in tourist areas The nominee stated that she has had discussions with the Ministry of Roads and Highways to help invest in improving the condition of roads in tourist areas including those in the Cape Coast, Elmina, Nzulezu, and Seseme in the Dome/ Kwabenya Constituency. She accordingly promised to make a case at the incoming budget hearings and to meet with collaborative Ministries such as Roads and Highways, Water and Sanitation and Aviation to discuss it. Recommendation The Committee recommends to the House to approve by consensus the nomination of Hon Catherine Afeku as the Minister responsible for Tourism, Arts and Culture. Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu-- Minister-designate for Parliamentary Affairs Background Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was born on 3rd February, 1957 at Bremang, Kumasi and hails from Afrancho- Bronkong. He started his elementary education at the Afrancho L/A Primary School (1962-1966) and continued at the Suame L/A Middle School from 1967 to 1970. He attended St. Peter's Secondary School, Nkwatia Kwahu for his Ordinary and Advanced Level certificates between 1970 and 1977. He also attended the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi from 1977 to 1982 and was awarded Bachelor of Science in Planning (Urban Option). He did his national service at Kumasi Girls' Senior High School from 1982 to 1984 and proceeded to take up teaching appointment at the same institution. He then moved to Zimbabwe where he worked with DATAME Consult as Project Manager between 1987 and 1989. On his return to Ghana, he became self-employed and operated his own business from 1990 to 1996. Between 2002 and 2009, he served as the Director of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC). He was also the Chairman for the Advisory Board on Water Restructuring for the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (2001- 2003). Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is the Member of Parliament for the Suame Constituency and has maintained that seat since 1997. While in Parliament, the nominee became the Secretary for the Minority Caucus (1998-2001), Deputy Majority Chief Whip (2001-2002), Majority Chief Whip (2002-2007) and later appointed Deputy Majority Leader from 2007 to 2009. He was appointed Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs from 2007 to 2008. He also served as the Minority Leader from 2009 to 2017. Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has led several Parliamentary delegations both within and outside Ghana from 1997 to 2016, including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU), the African Parliamentarians' Network Against Corruption and ECOWAS Parliamentary Delegations. He has also attended workshops and seminars organised by Parliament and some Committees of the House. Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is the current Majority Leader of Parliament and Leader of Government Business and assumed this position on 7th January, 2017. Nominee's responses to questions Role as Majority Leader and Minister of State On how he would lead Parliament to exercise its oversight function over Executive, the nominee referred to the Westminster system where all Ministers of State are appointed from Parliament, but they nonetheless exercise their oversight functions in other Committees other than those which have jurisdiction over their own sectors. He noted that, in the case of Ghana, he recounted that we have had Majority Leaders who doubled as Ministers for Parliamentary Affairs since 1993, starting with Hon J. H. Owusu-Acheampong, Hon (Dr) Kwabena Adjei and that was continued under Hon J. H. Mensah, Hon Papa Owusu Ankomah, Hon Felix Agyepong and Hon Ossei Aidoo. He, however indicated that the tradition was discontinued during the last two NDC Administrations which he said introduced some challenges into the governance scheme in Parliament. He was of the view that as the Majority Leader, if your party controls the Executive, you also become the Leader of Government Business and for that matter you should be able to understand what Government is. He further stated that you should also be part of the evolution of Government policies and programmes so that you can lead the Business of the House in a convincing and persuasive manner. Review of the Standing Orders of Parliament On the critical areas for the review of the Standing Orders of the House, the nominee stated that there are so many areas in the Standing Orders which needed
Committee that he will find the avenue to raise the needed funds to put it back on track when given the nod. Digital migration When asked about his view on the movement of digital migration from the Ministry of Communications to his sector, the nominee stated that he is not abreast with the view whether it should be at the Communication or Information Ministry and informed the Committee that his main priority is to meet the September deadline for being completely digital. The nominee stated that he will collaborate with the Ministry of Communications to ensure that there is no disruption in the entire process. Media Development Fund The nominee informed the Committee that capacity building is one of the major challenges confronting the media industry and lauded the initiative by the previous Administration in establishing the Media Development Fund. He stated that since governance is a continuous process, he would commit part of the fund in building the capacity of our journalists within the media sector. In his view, this will go a long way to ensure timely and accurate reportage within the media fraternity. State of the Broadcasting Bill The nominee informed the Committee that he has seen The Broadcasting Bill in its draft form and has been asking around to see where it is in the legislative mix but he has been unable to find the answer. He assured the Committee that when given the nod, he will ensure that the Bill is passed within the shortest possible time. Media censorship The nominee stated that the country has gone far with its democratic experiment and that it would be very difficult for any government to censor the media. He stated that the National Media Commission attempted through L.I. 2224 to bring in some regulatory framework that will control the actions and inactions of the journalists and so the court ruled in favour of the journalists. He therefore indicated that he will abide by the constitutional provision that allows journalists unfettered freedom to do their work. Recommendation The Committee recommends that the House approves by consensus the nomination of Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid as the Minister responsible for Information. Conclusion and general recommendation The Committee has duly considered the nominations of His Excellency the President for Ministerial appointments in line with the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House and recommends the following nominations to the House for approval: iii) Hon Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour -- Minister-designate for Planning iv) Hon Isaac Asiamah -- Minister-designate for Youth and Sports v) MrAwal Ibrahim Mohammed -- Minister-designate for Business Development vi) Hon Mavis Hawa Koomson -- Minister-designate for Special Development Initiatives vii) Hon Boniface Abu-Bakar Saddique -- Minister-designate for Inner-City and Zongo Development viii) Hon Cecilia Dapaah -- Minister-designate for Aviation ix) Hon Kofi Dzamesi -- Minister-designate for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs x) Hon Elizabeth Afoley Quaye -- Minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture xi) Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid -- Minister-designate for Information. Respectfully submitted. i) Hon Catherine A. Afeku -- Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture ii) Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- Minister-designate for Parliamentary Affairs
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for the adoption of the Fifth Report of the Appointments Committee on His Excellency the President's nomination for Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would want to make a few remarks about a number of them and to particularly begin with the Leader of the House, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minister-designate for Parliamentary Affairs. Mr Speaker, as the nominees appeared before the Appointments Committee, the exchanges were very cordial; particularly for the Leader whose tenure in this House eclipses many, if not all. I am sure with the exception of the Hon Alban S. K. Bagbin, the Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu belongs to a class of his own as a senior senator, or senior Member of Parliament, having served his constituents, the people of Ghana and Parliament well. Mr Speaker, we trust that he would support you to build a more responsive, transparent and formidable Parliament which would hold the Executive accountable for its actions. Mr Speaker, we take encouragement in his commitment to support you for this House to have an improved Standing Orders which Mr Speaker has already given a public indication to support. Mr Speaker, he is also forthright in sharing and having harmony with you in your thought of the sponsorship and promotion of the Private Members' Bill.
None Mr Speaker, he must start well. As this House is meeting at this material moment, I believe the staff are unhappy and Hon Members themselves are unhappy because as Leader, he ought to have made adequate preparation for this extended Sitting of the House. [Laughter.] Therefore, as I wish him well -- he belongs to the category of MPs we would describe as the John Dingell of Michigan; Mr Speaker, not the name that you publicly detest to hear. Mr Speaker, for many of our Colleague Members of Parliament, the Hon Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu and Hon Alban S. K. Bagbin remain an inspiration and mentor for many of you. We would have to ask these two Members how they did it, and how they survived it, even though I know that last minute, all of them normally, within their parties, are subjected to some unhealthy competitions unbecoming of a Leader. Mr Speaker, if I proceed further, it would look as if I am securing my own future within my own party on this matter, so, we unanimously support the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. Mr Speaker, he would bring his huge experience, particularly to support the President in Cabinet even though it is not our wish and I believe not his personal wish; that he is added as a Cabinet Minister. This is because we do not want him to be controlled by the Executive directly. We would still want him under your watch. Therefore, the President and Mr Speaker should take note that when the President is giving us Ministers with asterisks, we would expect that the Majority Leader would remain Leader of Government Business but partake in the business of Cabinet in some other capacity as a Minister of State. Mr Speaker, we therefore, support him. He has parliamentary practice and procedure at his fingertips. We believe rightly that he would facilitate the work of Parliament and help Mr Speaker to succeed. Mr Speaker, next to get my comment would be the Hon Prof. Gyan-Baffour, Minister-designate for Planning. He has headed the National Development Planning Commission already. He has been a Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry; Deputy Minister for Finance and I openly had to come out of my hiding to tell him that, anytime we debate budget and economic policy, with my few years in this House, he is among the few people I like to listen to because there is always depth and insight into his debate on matters of the economy and he has the passion to help the private sector. I believe that within the National Development Planning Commission, he would make appropriate recommendations that allow Government to create an enabling environment for the private sector, and to allow the private sector to lead the process, particularly in addressing the growing unemployment in the country. Mr Speaker, he was very candid with us that he does not believe in a long-term 40-year development plan. In his view, short medium terms which are achievable are what we should work out. As a much respected economist, I am sure he would bring his expertise on industrial relations to bear on it. This is because, like it or not, part of the thorns of this Government would be how to manage the industrial atmosphere of the country once we have a relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Mr Speaker, he was also very forthright with us on his thinking about the three- year external credit facility with the IMF and his view on zero per cent Bank of Ghana financing. He showed respect to this House that the international, multilateral and bilateral institutions must respect Parliament and the laws passed by Parliament. Therefore, we recommend him strongly and unanimously, and by our Standing Orders by consensus that Prof. Gyan- Baffour be approved as Minister for Planning. Mr Speaker, next will be the Hon Isaac Kwame Asiamah, Minister-designate for Youth and Sports. He is one of our young Colleagues who have been recognised by President Nana Akufo-Addo. He can learn from us; I am sure he still would have to moderate his temperament even as we engaged him, he was still trying to score points at the Appointments Committee level. Mr Speaker, he should get to work and what Ghanaians want is the development of the lesser-known sports; more focus on the development of the local premier league in Ghana and to get Ghanaian players what they deserve in order to bring us glories. We should stop counting our glories of 1960 and 1980; and we trust that under his watch, Ghana would celebrate with some calm at the African Cup of Nations or probably at the World Cup. Mr Speaker, he has a lot of work to do in terms of improving his relationship with the Ghana Football Association (GFA). Even though there is a rule against political interference, he represents the State in this matter and he must bring some discipline to bear on what the GFA does. But to focus particularly on the development of basketball and boxing. I would refer him to collaborate with the legend Azumah Nelson, among others, so that we can develop more crown winning persons in that particular enterprise. Mr Speaker, what abortion encouraged me with was his innovativeness to have a sports fund. In identifying the source of funding for it, he committed to it. We would track his progress on it and track how well he raises the money to support football administration. Mr Speaker, we, by consensus, support his nomination as the Hon Minister for Youth and Sports. Mr Speaker, let me just pass a brief comment on our Hon Colleague, Hon Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Hon Minister- designate for Special Development Initiatives, who was very brief with us. Mr Speaker, she, at least, committed that she would be responsible for the President's One Million, One Constituency Project; except that she failed to tell us where the money would come from. Mr Speaker, but we trust that she would work with the President to raise the needed money in order to bring it. We also reminded her that the President has many other special initiatives; One Village, One Dam; et cetera. [Interruption]-- We would track the progress and implementation of that. We would want to commend her and wish her well in that portfolio.
Mr Speaker, our Committee also looked at Mr Awal Ibrahim Mohammed. As we approve this, we would have approved 36 Hon Ministers so far. That is unparalleled and unprecedented. It is the largest under the Fourth Republic. When we add 10 more Hon Regional Ministers, it would be 46. Mr Speaker, that would mean that it would have an impact on the public purse, and we are concerned about it. Mr Speaker, Mr Awal Ibrahim Mohammed, who hails from Kunbumgu has some business experiences, and he is to be responsible for Business Development. He says that he would build the competitiveness of Ghanaian entrepreneurs and businesses. He would also be responsible for building up the Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) business sector for our country, which would support small and medium enterprises. He has our support to be the Hon Minister for Business Development. Mr Speaker, again, our caution is that, he must collaborate with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and other Hon Ministers responsible for the private sector, in order that the Government could create a congenial and enabling atmosphere for the private sector. Mr Speaker, but he comes with some experience from the private sector, and we trust that he would make the nation proud. He has some passion for the work of Parliament. He has worked at the Ministry of Finance. Mr Speaker, but in this respect, he is responsible for a particular area. As I listened to President Akufo-Addo when he unveiled him, he said that Hon Alhaji Boniface is the darling of the Zongos. We expect that the Hon Minister would not betray the trust of the President, and that he would work assiduously to lift up the impoverished and deprived populations of Zongos and inner-cities in our country, and make the commitment to address some of their infrastructural challenges. When we refer to Zongos, it is not that they are poor people. They are people with dignity and honour, but they lack basic social and economic infrastructure. We do not believe that the allocation of US$50 million for a Zongo Development Fund is enough; it is woefully inadequate. In fact, just a drain in Nima is in itself costing close to US$10 million. Yet, we have slums all over; from Agbogbloshie through the Kwesimintsim corridor in Takoradi to other parts of the country. Mr Speaker, we wish the affable Hon Boniface well. He is an unassuming and humble person. He respects every person. We, therefore, strongly recommend him for approval. Mr Speaker, in respect of our former Hon Colleague, Hon Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Hon Minister-designate for Aviation, she assures us that she would continue with the building of rapid infrastructure of the Aviation sector of the country from Kumasi through the Tamale International Airport to that which was being constructed at Ho. She assured us that Sunyani, Cape Coast and Koforidua would receive her attention. Mr Speaker, we particularly drew her attention to the unfair treatment of Ghanaian passengers on British Airways and the allocation of kilogrammes. We would, therefore, track how she deals with this problem as she assumes office. There was a controversy of revenue sharing between the Ghana Meteo- rological Agency and the Airport Company Limited. She indicated to us that she would work with the Hon Minister for Communications to resolve that. We, therefore, by consensus strongly recommend her for approval as the Hon Minister for Aviation. Mr Speaker, my Hon younger Brother -- All along, I thought Hon Mustapha Abdul Hamid was older, but as I perused his date of birth, he was as close to the likes of Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo and others. [Laughter.] I am, therefore -- now he is my younger Hon Brother. He is going to the important Ministry of Information. Accurate and timely information is important for this country. When we have senior Government officials publicly say that seven billion Ghana cedis is missing, that cannot be accurate information. Yet, when it is said that seven billion Ghana cedis is missing, nobody is arrested, prosecuted or interrogated.
Mr Speaker, we would expect that he would relay accurate and timely information to the people of this country.
Hon Member, what do you seek to do?
Mr Speaker, for this protection, I can only conclude. [Laughter.] I appreciate this protection. Therefore, I would want to conclude that the Hon Mustapha Hamid -- There are problems with access to television transmission in Ho, Bole and Kwesimintsim in Takoradi, and the Western Region area. We believe that he would pay urgent attention to them. He assured us that he would not do censorship, which is the way it should be. Ghana has one of the best media landscapes, not only in Africa, but in the world today in terms of enhancing freedom of expression. Nothing should be done to limit it, particularly for those of us in this House. He assured us that he would work on a Broadcasting Bill and bring that to Parliament. To other Hon Colleagues, we support what the Hon Chairman has presented. This House should approve the 11 nominees as Hon Ministers.
Hon Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye assured us that the European Union (EU) had banned Ghana, which cost us some US$150 million; she would enforce the legal reforms and allow for sanctions regime within the fisheries sector, improve transparency and access to premix fuel, which is one of the many problems affecting that particular area. Mr Speaker, with this remark, I beg to second the Motion. I thank you. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Motion on the approval of Hon nominees appointed by the President for various Ministries. Mr Speaker, but I beg to limit my contribution to the four wonderful ladies who were vetted. First, I would want to speak on Hon Catherine A. Afeku, the Hon nominee for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. She rightly identified the problem facing tourism in Ghana when she emphasised sanitation as one of the salient points of tourism in Ghana. We have beautiful beaches in Ghana. If we go to Ekumfi, my constituency, we have very beautiful beaches. Mr Speaker, but because citizens do not have very good places of convenience to ease themselves, they defecate along the beaches. So, it does not become a sales point in terms of tourism. Mr Speaker, I have travelled around a little, and I think some of the beaches that we have around are even far better than the so-called large beaches that we visit in Europe. Mr Speaker, but our disadvantage is that we have not cleaned up these places. So, I support her and pray that it would not just be a talk show, but something that she would really put her heart into and work on. She also talked about the ongoing Marine Drive Project in Accra. When we travel around Accra, especially Odawna, which is almost in the middle of the city, this has a big tourism potential. What is happening is that it has been taken over by filth. People defecate around the Odaw River. Mr Speaker, but we could develop this into ecotourism, put a lot of restaurants and recreational centres around it to raise more money for the country. So, if she is going to focus on cleaning up the city to drive tourism, then she is in the right direction and that is why I support her approval to be an Hon Minister. Mr Speaker, I would want to come to the Hon (Mrs) Mavis Hawa Koomson who has been nominated for Special Development Initiative --
Hon Members, we will not go one after the other but you will speak generally since there is consensus.
Mr Speaker, alright.
You have one and a half more minutes to go. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I would want to salute the Hon Koomson
Hon Member, your time is up. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I support this Motion for the 11 people to be approved but I would want to point out one important thing in particular about the creation of the Ministries. Mr Speaker, Act 600 requires the President to create Ministries, Departments or re-align them. We are approving these Hon Ministers but there is no Executive Instrument (E.I.) to show us where they are going. Mr Speaker, secondly, we would soon be filing Questions and so, if we do not know which Hon Minister we should address, which Departments are under a Ministry, it would be difficult for us to file our Questions for Hon Ministers to answer. I urge the Hon Majority Leader to work hard; now, he is also an Hon Minister and my problem is in case he gets re- shuffled outside the Majority Leadership, there would be confusion. The other issue would be that, if the President does not act timeously to delineate the roles and Departments properly for these Hon Ministers, we would spend six months fighting for turf -- each Hon Minister wanting to take one part of the other. So, I think that he should work very fast to clearly define and let this Parliament be aware of who is to do what and when they fail, we could hold them responsible. Mr Speaker, the most important thing is about how all these good men and women who have been nominated to perform will be resourced. What I can tell you is that some of them were enthusiastic and giving us the statistics, we referred them to their own Manifesto and it is littered with ‘in collaboration with private sector'. If it is the private sector, one whole year will pass and nothing will happen but we pray that the private sector will collaborate with them otherwise, they must have
Hon Member, you may be concluding.
Mr Speaker, the final issue is how Hon Ministers would collaborate with each other. Some are new Ministries carved out from other places but an issue that concerns me is that if one looks at sanitation and water, sanitation services are municipal services to be delivered at the local level -- one cannot centralise it. Therefore, if it is taken away from the oversight of the Ministry of Local Government, it creates a problem; but I wish that they would resolve these problems quickly for us to see. Mr Speaker, now, we are approving 36 people and we want the Government -- not the slow nature of the things that we are seeing today. Thank you very much. Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah -- rose
Hon Collins Amankwah? Hon Members, I have a list I am operating with.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion that this Honourable House adopts the Fifth Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, I am of the view that these Hon nominees should be given the clean bill of health and be subsequently approved by this august House. Mr Speaker, as human beings, we have tendencies to be enamoured about certain individuals if we deem them fit for particular jobs. I want to comment on Hon Mrs Catherine Afeku. She had a very beautiful Curriculum Vitae (CV) and having served in the capacity as the spokesperson for the Ministry for Information and National Orientation in the year 2006, make her more fit for this current job. I have no doubt that she will deliver to our satisfaction. Mr Speaker, also, the Hon Minister- designate for Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs happens to be our Leader. He is a role model to some of us here and he has a vast experience when it comes to Parliamentary Affairs, very intelligent, knowledgeable and I am of a strong conviction that he is more than qualified for this particular assignment. Mr Speaker, on the Hon Minister- designate for the Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development. Honestly, I was overwhelmed with some of the responses to the questions posed by some of the Members of the Appointments Committee as regards the establishment of the Zongo Development Fund. These funds would not be used on funeral donation, merry making activities and so on. They are going to be used judiciously to maximise the welfare of our brothers and sisters in the Zongo community.
Hon Member, you may conclude.
Mr Speaker, also, the performance of the Minister-designate for Youth and Sports, Hon Isaac Kwame Asiamah, at the Appointments Committee was very impressive. He was on point. His appreciation of things as far as the Sports and Youth Ministry is concerned were tact and well grounded, and I have a strong view that he would deliver.
Hon Emmanuel Bedzrah, it is your turn. [Laughter.]
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice to the Motion and also to state that the House approves all our Colleagues who have been nominated by H. E. the President. By all standards, I believe all the nominees have met the criteria and qualify to be Ministers of State. Mr Speaker, permit me to comment on only three portfolios. The first one has to do with Planning. We all know Prof. Gyan- Baffour is a fine gentleman. He is up to the task. This is because when it comes to planning, it is the heart of development. Without planning, no nation could develop. Therefore, I urge Prof. Gyan- Baffour, with his vast experience to bring his expertise to that Ministry. One particular thing he mentioned is the fact that they would realigned town and country planning to his Ministry. We all know town and country planning is under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. Now, it would be realigned under the Ministry of Planning. That would help us somehow because we know how people build anyhow in the country, but with the support and resources to his Ministry, town and country planning and spatial planning would see the light of day and Ghana would be a fine place for all of us. Mr Speaker, permit me to also comment on the Minister-designate for Special Projects. One of the things the nominee, Hon Hawa Koomson did which I applaud her as a Sister was to apologise for what she said during the campaign period. She apologised to the former President and that is a show of how mature a politician should be. When one made a statement and she is referred to it, she apologises. Mr Speaker, she is entering into the shoes of the “three wise men” we all know; those honourable three wise men who were in charge of special projects. Now, she is entering that office. I believe as one person who is entering into the shoes of three special wise men, she would take special projects very seriously for us to have the projects that the President has also brought up. Also, Mr Speaker, I would want to commend my Brother, Hon Isaac Kwame Asiamah and to tell him that the people of the Volta Region are waiting for our sports stadium. In fact, they asked me to tell him that by next year, we should see our sports stadium being constructed and also for him to work on the lesser sports which we all know. Mr Speaker, lesser sports are sports that we all know that do not attract a lot of us. People only look at soccer and we watch soccer but there are other sports as he mentioned that there are forty other sports. There is a sport called the Korfball. Korfball is from Denmark, and I have brought in a team that is playing Korfball. They even went as far as La Côte d'Ivoire to practice it, and they came back. I would want him to continue and to develop those lesser sports so that Ghana could have revenue through other sports. Finally, Mr Speaker, I have seen a clear departure of what we all know as the
politics of inclusion where His Excellency the former President, Mr Agyekum Kufuor brought in Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom and other people to support his Government. I also saw that the former President, Prof. Mills brought a lot of people. Clearly, this one shows that when one is hardworking, he works for a particular party, he is included in a particular Government. That is a good sign that when one works hard for his party, he should be rewarded to work for that party. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you.
Hon Henry Quartey? I am going by the list.
Mr Speaker, I rise to remark on the Fifth Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, I break these appointments into three categories. One of them is the President recognising hard work and ensuring that institutional memories stay. The second one is recognising the commitment of the young politicians in this Chamber. Mr Speaker, the third one is also encouraging women in the 21st Century to join politics and also for them to get to the limelight. Mr Speaker, let me start by commenting on the indefatigable one and only Hon Majority Leader, the Hon Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, whom I always remember with this signature tune; capricious and comatose. Mr Speaker, let us be reminded of the fact that almost about half of Members of Parliament (MPs) did not come back to the Seventh Parliament. Out of 275 MPs, only 139 came back. The rate of attrition in Parliament is becoming a problem. In view of this, I am particularly happy and grateful to H. E. Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo for appointing our Hon Majority Leader, under whom some of us have learnt a lot because we came to Parliament knowing next to nothing. But under the able leadership and membership of the likes of our Hon Majority Leader and the Hon Alban Bagbin and Hon Gyan-Baffour, today, we could also say something on parliamentary practices and proceedings. Mr Speaker, incidentally, tomorrow would mark the 180th anniversary of Wesley Girls' Senior High School and preceding their celebration, today, the President would be swearing in as many as four women. In my opinion, that is good. Affirmative action would be happy. We encourage women to join the politics of this 21st Century so that they would also have a place in our politics. Mr Speaker, on the part of my good Friend whom we refer to as “sharp! sharp!, sharp!”, a very young, committed and dedicated politician, affable, caring and who is accessible to all. Mr Speaker, we hope and pray that by the grace of God, he would be able to work collectively with this Ministry so that for once, the fear and mystery around that Ministry, Insha Allah, would be broken. Mr Speaker, coming from a Zongo community, let me comment on the Hon (Alhaji) Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface and also remind him of the fact that the President referred to him as the darling boy of the Zongo community. Indeed, judging by the people who supported him during the vetting, it was clear that the Zongos put aside their political intereste, and they all came in their numbers to support him. Mr Speaker, today, the Zongos have been deprived. We are the silent majority in the country, and I hope and pray that with the rich experience that the Hon Boniface brings to the governance of the Executive, he would use that to bridge the gap between the elite and Zongo people.
Hon Member, be concluding.
Mr Speaker, let me remind him that the fasting period is at the corner and I hope that he would use the opportunity to help to celebrate Sallah festival across the country.
Hon Samuel N. George?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I would start with the Minister- designate for Parliamentary Affairs, the Majority Leader, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu. Mr Speaker, I have heard many people refer to him as Lionel Messi, but bearing in mind that, exactly a week ago, he celebrated his 60th birthday, I would want to rather domesticate and say that he is the Charles Taylor of this Parliament --
Hon Member, who is Charles Taylor? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, Charles Taylor is a footballer whom I presumably think comes from his constituency --
Hon Member, I hope you would take a cue from some of the things I said earlier. Let us have good references for each other. I am afraid I would insist on that one.
Mr Speaker, I respectfully withdraw and apologise. I would say the Charles Taylor of Hearts of Oak and Kotoko fame --
Hon Member, please, make your contribution -- [Laughter.]
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker --
A minute of your time is gone -- [Laughter] --
Mr Speaker, in touching on sports, which is also something which is dear to my heart, I would urge the Minister-designate for Youth and Sports to take a cue from what happened yesterday in the English House of Commons. Yesterday in the English House of Commons, the House started debating reforms for the English Football Association (FA) aimed at making sure that sanity was brought into the English game. Mr Speaker, for us to develop sports in this country, especially Ghanaian football, we need to begin to look at the role of Parliament in helping us reform the Ghana Football Association, and also in supporting the lesser sports. I hope that Hon Asiamah would take a look at that. On Sarikin- Zongo, as we call him here in the House, Hon Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface, I would want to believe that his look at Zongos would also go into untraditional Zongo areas like Ningo and Prampram where we also have Zongo communities.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. I rise to support the Motion for the Fifth Report of the Appointments Committee of His Excellency the President's nominations. As a general comment, so far looking at how a lot of the Ministers-designate are being recommended for approval by consensus, it shows the diligence and the good work that His Excellency the President and his team have done with the calling of those names. So I thank the President for such good work. Mr Speaker, I would touch on two of the nominees. The importance of Parliament in our democracy cannot be over-emphasised, and the fact that this Government has a Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs means that this Government is looking at making sure that our democracy is grounded. And to have no mean a person than Hon Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu as the Minister is also very commendable. Mr Speaker, we as level 100 people or new comers are very confident that under his leadership we would be able to learn a lot and this Parliament as a whole would benefit from the kind of leadership that he brings on board. Mr Speaker, I turn to my Aunt, Hon Hawa Koomson. I am with her. We are neighbours. My constituency is mixed with her constituency, and sometimes I go to campaign and I have to campaign for her, and I know she also does that for me. She has been able to pull some of us along and has brought us successfully to this House; a very humble person, a teacher, affable, very tough lady. If it is a special assignment, then we need a special person to do that, and that person is Hon Mavis Hawa Koomson. I have no doubt that she would shine and make sure that the President's dream of one million one constituency would be accomplished. Thank you Mr Speaker for the opportunity.
The last contribution from the other side of the House.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Let me congratulate the nominees and thank the Appointments Committee for very diligent work. I have to say that this Appointments Committee has been asking very good questions. It is very unfortunate we had this issue we had to deal with, but on the whole, the Appointments Committee has been asking very tough and very relevant questions. Mr Speaker, I would begin with the Majority Leader, Hon Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu. A lot has been said about his leadership qualities and the role he has played in this Parliament. As Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, he would continue to speak for Parliament and fight for the interest of this House, especially for our welfare as Members of Parliament. There is no doubt in my mind that it would happen. Mr Speaker, I would congratulate my Silver Spring Maryland neighbour, Hon Gyan-Baffour. I noted that one of the areas that was discussed was the issue of spatial planning. Spatial planning is a very crucial area that, as a country, if we are to develop we would have to look at. Again, the point that was made by Hon Yieleh Chireh was the issue of how to really coordinate with the Ministry that would directly deal with these issues. For example, I know that the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology deal a lot with these issues; how to coordinate with these Ministries to make sure that positive outcomes are really achieved is very important, but there is no doubt in my mind that he would do that. There is also the concern with the role he is playing as the Minister for Planning and the National Development Planning Commission's role, and how that is coordinated is very important, but again, the point must be stated that the issue of planning for our country is crucial, and those points were properly raised in the Report. Mr Speaker, my last area of interest is on the Ministry of Tourism. I am very proud of my own sister, my next door neighbour, the Member of Parliament for Evalue/Ajomoro/Gwira, Hon Catherine Abelema Afeku. I have known her since she was a tender 16 year old -- [Interruptions] -- Mr Speaker, I have known her for a long time, and there is no doubt in my mind that she is a lady of character. She has the resilience and determination to succeed in all the areas that I have seen her work, and there is no doubt that she would do that. Mr Speaker, there are three areas that have been talked about; the issue of quality and good service for the hotels in our country and how we would ensure standard. I believe that is very crucial, and I would urge the Hon Minister to focus on it when she gets the nod. Mr Speaker, we have to also promote domestic tourism. It is an issue that is very important. I do not know how many Ghanaians even know the entire country and whether we have travelled across our own country. Somebody made the point that, we probably travel to Europe more than we travel in Ghana. How do we ensure that Ghanaians are excited about going to various regions and exploring how beautiful our country is, and in so doing, creating jobs and opportunities? Mr Speaker, there is a way of doing that, it is an area that must engage the Ministry. Mr Speaker, the promotion of tourist sites is also very crucial, and we need to do that. We have castles and they must be maintained —
Hon Member, please, conclude.
Mr Speaker, I would sit down, but lastly, the Hon Minister should not forget, Nzulezu, the Apolonian Castle and the Ankasa Forest Reserve right in our neighbourhood to be promoted. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Leadership? Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I do not intend to contribute -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, on the subject we are discussing, do I have your permission to proceed?
Hon Member, you may.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is on his feet. He is being discussed, and he seeks the approval of this august House. I thought that he would reserve his energy to be sworn in as the Hon Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, or assure us that he has made adequate preparation to keep us long in this Chamber, but he is on his feet.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I have never known about the Hon Minority Leader, being a seer. Mr Speaker, I would just want to respond to one or two things. The Hon Minority Leader is the one who called for the Executive Instrument, defining the creation of the Ministries. I would just want to assure him that, indeed, that has been done. There is an Executive Instrument (E.I.) that covers all the Ministries that have been created. Mr Speaker, the Hon Leader would be reminded that before the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo- Addo became the Attorney-General, the creation of Ministries used to be done by a Legislative Instrument. He, as the Attorney-General then, argued extenso that we should rather come by E.I.s. So, he knows what to do, and has done that. Mr Speaker, having said that, there are a few corrections, and I do not know whether the Hon Chairman of the Committee would want to respond to that. I wanted to draw his attention to them. Mr Speaker, if he is minded to do that, on page 12 of 55, it is said of me that I have maintained the Suame seat since 1997. Mr Speaker, it is not so. I have secured and retained that seat since 2004. It used to be Old Tafo Suame. It was in 1997 when I first entered this House, and it was a seat reserved for Old Tafo Suame. Mr Speaker, the other thing is that, some people describe the Deputy Whips as “Deputy Chief Whips.” That expression finds space in the Report, but we have only one Chief Whip. The rest of them are “Deputy Whips”, and not “Deputy Chief Whips”. Mr Speaker, I also hope that Hon Members would borrow a leaf from the Statement by the Hon Minority Leader, in respect of communities that we described as “Zangos”. Here in Ghana, we describe them as “Zongos”, but they are indeed called “Zangos”. “Zango” is a Hausa Fulani word. I got baptised in 1983, when the first inter-religious conflict that engulfed Nigeria started. It started from a community called Zango Kataf. That was when I got to know that the real name was “Zango,” and not “Zongo” as we say it in Ghana.
Innocent knowledge. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I rest my case then. Mr Speaker, I wish to thank Hon Members for staying through to let this Report see the light of day. I thank all Hon Members, particularly Hon Members of the Committee for the stress they have endured with me with very little motivation. I pray that by the time we resume next week, some motivation would be available. Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Hon Chairman of the Committee. Question put and Motion agreed to. The House has accordingly approved by consensus the following nominees for appointment as Hon Ministers in accordance with article 78 (1) of the Constitution: i) Hon Catherine Abelema Afeku -- Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture ii) Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- Minister for Parliamentary Affairs
Mr Speaker, let me use the occasion to commend and indeed, show profound appreciation to Hon Colleagues for the stay in power that they have de- monstrated over the past two weeks. Especially, Hon Members of the Appointments Committee have demonstrated great dexterity and they have discharged their responsibilities without any inducement and indeed, Mr Speaker, they have taken the work of the Appointments Committee to new levels much the same way as Hon Members have stayed and whenever they were called upon, Mr Speaker, they discharged their responsibilities accordingly. We have exhausted the Business captured on the Order Paper save that on the Order Paper Addendum but we have agreed among ourselves, after some consultations, that we take what is captured on the Order Paper Addendum, on Tuesday next week. Mr Speaker, the continuing Hon Members from here have to journey to Koforidua this evening to begin their workshop tomorrow early morning at 9.00 o'clock. On that, Mr Speaker, I would urge that the time reading 6.04 p.m. the adjournment of the House is in your bosom.
Mr Speaker, we have done our utmost best at the Appointments Committee level. We will continue to work diligently and conscientiously to the best of our ability. I appreciate the fact that continuing Hon Members have to be in Koforidua and it is safer that they drive early than late. So, we are in your good hands, Mr Speaker, for adjournment so that on Tuesday, we can consider the item on the Order Paper Addendum after some consultations with the Leadership and probably with your goodself.
May I congratulate Hon Members for standing to duty.
The House was adjourned at 6.06 p.m. till Tuesday, 14th February, 2017 at 10.00 a.m.