Hon Chairman of the Committee, you may move Motion numbered 5 on the Order Paper. Hon Members, with regard to the order of business still pending, I order that the House continues to Sit beyond the prescribed hours.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the First Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial Appointments -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I am at a loss what the Hon Chairman and First Deputy Speaker has done. He was even on his feet when you had to suspend Sitting for Hon Members to have the opportunity to look at your Committee's Report. Therefore, I am not sure why he is seeking to move a Motion: He should proceed at your guidance and submit his Report.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the Hon Minority Leader is right. The Hon Chairman of the Committee has not presented the Report to the House yet. So, upon reading it to the House, we could then debate and adopt later.
Hon Chairman, you may make whatever statements or remarks that you find fit in this regard, then we will make progress.
Yes, Dr Akoto Osei?
Mr Speaker, I am getting a bit confused here. I thought that the Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee presented the Report by saying that: “he begs to move”. I do not think that that is the best way to do it. But the impression was that he has presented it and that Hansard should capture it in its entirety. Perhaps, he should be reminded that he
Mr First Deputy Speaker, you may make such remarks as you find necessary, and relying on the entire Report as presented, then we could make progress.
Mr Speaker, I was on my feet when the House was suspended, therefore, I could not continue from where I started. So, I have to start afresh, and that is why I moved the Motion again. Introduction On 10th January, 2017, His Excellency the President communicated to Parliament the nomination of thirteen (13) persons for Ministerial appointments including the underlisted eight nominees in accordance with article 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and these nominations were subse- quently referred to the Appoint- ments Committee by the Rt Hon Speaker for consideration and report. The eight nominations are as follows: i. Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah -- Minister-designate for National Security ii. Mr Kenneth (Nana) Ofori-Atta -- Minister-designate for Finance iii. Hon Dominic B. A. Nitiwul -- Minister-designate for Defence iv. Hon Ambrose P. Dery -- Minister-designate for the Interior v. Ms Gloria Akuffo -- Minister-designate for Justice and Attorney-General
vi. Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten -- Minister-designate for Trade and Industry vii. Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey -- Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs viii. Hajia Alima Mahama -- Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development. Reference documents The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during its deliberations: The 1992 Constitution The Standing Orders of Parliament The Curricula Vitae of the nominees. Consideration of the referral Pursuant to Order 172 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Committee, in the first instance, caused to be published in the national newspapers the names of the nominees and notice of the Committee's Public Hearing for the attention of the general public. The Committee also requested memoranda from the general public in respect of the nominees. The Committee further obtained the confidential reports from the Ghana Police Service and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and their tax status reports from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). The Committee thereafter held a public hearing to consider the nominations. On commencement of proceedings, the nominees subscribed to the Oath of a Witness and subsequently answered questions relating to their Curricula Vitae, matters relating 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 eight nominations and reports as follows: Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah -- Minister- designate for National Security Background Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah was born in Kumasi on 14th March, 1953 and hails from Boaman Maase in the Ashanti Region. He had his primary education at Amoako Methodist Primary School between 1958 and 1962 and his Middle School education at Amoako L/A Middle School from 1962 to 1964. The nominee proceeded to Acherensua Secondary School for his GCE Ordinary Level Certificate from 1964 to 1969. Between 1969 and 1972, he attended the Institute of Professional Studies (now University of Professional Studies, Accra) and obtained his RSA/AIA Inter Certificates. Mr Kan-Dapaah further attended the North-East London Polytechnic, London where he was awarded an ACCA Level 2 Certificate from 1974 to 1977. He then proceeded to the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy to obtain his final ACCA Certificate in 1978. Mr Kan-Dapaah commenced his professional career as an Accountant with the Christian Fosu & Co. International Accountants, Accra from 1972 to 1974. He was thereafter engaged as the Resident Partner of Panell Kerr Foster, Chartered Accountants in Liberia (1978-1986). Between 1986 and 1987, he was the Head of Audit at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT). He joined the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as the Director of Audit in 1987 and later held the position of Director of Finance in the same company from 1989 to 1995. He later became the Founding Member/Managing Partner of the Kan- Dapaah and Associates and acted in those capacities from 1996 to 2000. The nominee served as the Member of Parliament for the Afigya-Sekyere West Constituency from 1997 to 2013. While in Parliament, the nominee served as the Ranking Member on the Committee on Mines and Energy (1997-2001) and as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (2009-2013). The nominee has also served on a number of Boards and Councils including member of the Police Council, the Armed Forces Council and Fire Service Council. The nominee is the current Director of the Financial Accountability and Transparency, Africa and has served in that capacity since 2013. He is also the Consulting Director of the Centre for Public Accountability and has been an adjunct lecturer at the University of Professional Studies, Accra, since 2014. Mr Kan-Dapaah is a recipient of the Order of the Volta Companion Award of the Republic of Ghana and the Ordre du Mono Award of the Republic of Togo. Responses to Questions Response to a petition against his nomination The Committee received a petition alleging that Mr Kan-Dapaah omitted to act as Minister for the Interior even when he was told cocaine was on a ship heading to Ghana. The petition also quoted a WikiLeaks report in which an agent, John King, perceived Mr Kan- Dapaah to be “dismissive and irritated” when the issues of the cocaine in the ship were brought to his attention. In his response to a petition alleging an act of omission on his part during his tenure as the Minister for the Interior, Mr Kan-Dapaah debunked the claims that he did nothing to avert a cocaine haul. He also stated that he was not at post when the said incident occurred. He revealed that while he was appointed on 5th May, 2010 as Minister for the Interior, the said ship carrying the cocaine arrived in the country on 3rd May, 2010 and for that matter, he could not have been in office when the ship arrived. On his alleged conduct as reported by the WikiLeaks, the nominee indicated that he did have a discussion with an agent, John King but insisted that he did not at any point become irritated or dismissive as the report sought to indicate. He narrated that in the course of the interview, the agent made his point strongly and he equally did same. Mr Kan-Dapaah said he took time to take Mr King through the various programmes that the Government had pursued at the time to combat the drug menace in the country. He mentioned the Operation West Bridge programme as well as other interventions supported by partners in fighting the drug menace during his tenure as the Minister for the Interior.
He said if the agent's interpretation to his strong reaction to the agent's allegation amounted to being “irritated and dismissive”, then that should be seen as the agent's interpretation but that does not take anything away from the strong points that he, the nominee, put across to rebut the allegations. He further stated that as the Interior Minister, his supervisory role over Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) was only administrative and he had no hand in the operational activities of the Board and therefore wondered how he would be held accountable for the operational duties of the Board. Matters relating to the sale of a drill ship The nominee informed the Committee that no committee was set up to see to the disposal of the drill ship belonging to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). He however, disclosed that a committee was set up to attempt a settlement with the Societe-Generale but the work of the Committee was aborted as Societe-Generale went ahead to secure a court judgment and discontinued negotiations. Dealing with post-election invasion of public offices and unlawful seizure of public properties The nominee agreed to the suggestion that there was the need to put in place measures to curb the recurrence of invasion of public offices and unlawful seizure of public properties after change of Government. He noted that the usual defence has been that they did it against us and it is time for us to retaliate but insisted the practice must stop since two wrongs do not make a right. He therefore, stated that there was a need to find a lasting solution to curb the practice. He believed that the creation of a new Ministry for National Security would go a long way to address some of these issues and promised to appear before the House to respond to Questions relating to the issue. The nominee took the opportunity to commend the good work done by the Ghana Police Service for the efforts that they have made in recent times to curb these unfortunate incidents and indicated that their sterling performance contributed to a decline in the number of incidents recorded in recent times. He, however, indicated that there was the need to take steps to educate the public to respect the laws of Ghana. National Security Policy In responding to a question whether there existed a national security policy, the nominee said that the national security agencies were in the process of finalising consolidated policy to guide their operations. He informed the Committee that the process started a while ago. A number of efforts have been made to conclude the process including the engagement of the services of a consultant to assist complete the process. The current Administration intends to complete the process. As a result, a few other experts including former National Security Coordinators and former Ministers would be contacted to assist the consultant complete the policy. He was of the view that very soon, the policy would be completed. Review of the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (Act 526) Hon Kan-Dapaah informed the Committee that there was the need to review the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (Act 526) to meet the current security challenges. He explained that the issues which informed the passage of the Act have shifted to the provision of national security in an accountable and transparent way. He indicated that provisions of the Act such as the membership of the Council was too wide and required a review. It was therefore important to realign the Act to make it useful in order to address the present security challenges facing the country. He stated that a review of the Act would also afford the opportunity to ensure that the activities of the security agencies are brought in line with the principles of transparency while strengthening their operations. The role of the Minister for National Security The nominee informed the Committee that the role of the Minister for National Security is to make and implement decisions on policies in respect to national security. It also involves coordinating the activities of the various national security agencies, ensuring accountability as well as reporting to Parliament. He noted that in recent times, the emphasis was on making the operations of the national security agencies more transparent and also accountable to Parliament. He noted that by making the sector accountable to Parliament, the Minister would not only report on the operations of the security agencies but would also answer Questions on behalf of the security agencies. It would also afford the Minister the opportunity to make Statements on the floor to address urgent security issues facing the country. He explained that the current arrangements do not assist Parliament to oversee the operations of security agencies. Parliament is not adequately and timeously briefed on the activities of these agencies. He said, by appointing a Minister for National Security, the President is subjecting the programmes and activities of the agencies to parliamentary scrutiny. He conceded that the scope of national security could be very wide as issues including education, disease outbreaks, accidents, environmental degradation and crime could all be deemed to be within the remit of national security at a given time. He, however, stated that this should not make other Ministers subservient to the National Security Minister. He stated that an attribute of the Minister for National Security is the ability to liaise with fellow colleague Ministers to work as a team. He said if given the nod, he would work with his colleague Ministers as a team towards promoting national security while ensuring that his outfit becomes subservient to the authority of Parliament. Recommendation The Committee, by consensus, recommends to the House for the approval of the nomination of Mr Albert Kan- Dapaah for appointment as the Minister responsible for National Security. Mr Kenneth (Nana) Ofori-Atta -- Minister-designate for Finance Background Mr Kenneth (Nana) Ofori-Atta was born on 7th November, 1959 at Kyebi in the Eastern Region. He began his primary education at the Kyebi Government
School (1965-1967) and continued at the New Town Experimental School in 1967 and later continued at University Primary School from 1967 to 1969. He then proceeded to the Achimota Primary School to complete his primary education. He then progressed to the Achimota Secondary School where he obtained his Ordinary Level and Advanced Level Certificates in 1976 and 1978 respectively. The nominee pursued his first degree programme from 1980 to 1984 at the Columbia College, New York, USA and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He also attended the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Connecticut, USA and further obtained the Master of Business Administration (MBA) with Finance option from 1984 to 1988. Mr Ofori-Atta began his career at the Morgan Stanley & Co. (Wall Street, NY) as Financial Analyst from 1984 to 1986. He co-founded the Databank Financial Services Limited where he worked as the Executive Chairman of the company from 1990 to 2012. The nominee is currently the Chairman of the Family Ventures and Offices Limited, a West African Investment Platform, the Chairman of the Trust Bank (Gambia) Ltd, the Chairman of the Databank AgriFund Manager Limited and the Director of the Bank of Kigali. The nominee has also held several other positions including being the Director of the Enterprise Group Ltd, the Director of the International Bank (Liberia), and as a Board member of the Technoserve International (United States). The nominee has also received a number of prestigious awards including the John Jay Fellow for 2011 by the Columbia University, New York, 2nd most respected CEO in Ghana in 2007 and the 2009 PWC's personality of the year 2000 and the Marketing Man of the Year Award for 1996 by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Responses to Questions Proposal for Establishment of Financial Stability Council In a response to a question on the rationale for the establishment of the Financial Stability Council in spite of the provisions in the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), the nominee indicated that there is the need for tighter financial management and expenditure controls, which in his opinion, was insufficiently addressed by the Public Financial Management Act. He accordingly reiterated the need for the establishment of Financial Stability Council which is grounded in law to further help promote fiscal discipline and monetary policy. Proposed Tax Reviews When asked about the implications of the proposed tax reviews by the Government, the nominee said the intended tax review and abolition of taxes such as 5 per cent on real estate and 17.5 per cent VAT on Financial Services would not necessarily result in reduction in revenues. He indicated that there was an increase in revenue from corporate tax when the tax rate was reduced from 32 per cent to 25 per cent in 2001. He was, therefore, of the opinion that a further reduction in such taxes would lead to increase in revenue. He assured the Committee that the abolition of the taxes would be done concurrently with programmes aimed at broadening the tax base. These and other initiatives, he proposed, would rope in many more persons into the tax net and increase revenue generation. He debunked the assertion that the abolition of the proposed taxes would only put more money into the pockets of the rich and further widen the gap between the rich and the poor, explaining that such policies would rather serve as stimuli for accelerated economic growth. He further indicated that efforts would be made to block the leakages in tax collection and also ensure there was value for money in government expenditure. Such measures, he believed, would make up for any revenue losses resulting from the implementation of the proposed tax cuts and tax abolitions. Support to Ghana Standards Authority to establish a metrology laboratory to monitor oil production The nominee indicated that oil revenues have become a major source of revenue to the State since commercial production started in 2010. He explained that one of the primary objectives of the Ministry of Finance is to ensure financial accountability and to track all revenue sources with the aim of blocking all leakages. The nominee indicated his willingness to assist the Ghana Standards Board to establish a metrology laboratory to help monitor revenue flow from the oil sector. He indicated his intention to extend such monitoring systems to the management of revenues from other natural resources to enable Government maximise revenue from her natural resource endowments. Delays in the Payment of Newly Recruited Teachers and Nurses In responding to a question on what specific interventions the nominee intends to put in place to reduce the delays in the payment of salaries of newly recruited teachers and nurses, he attributed the challenge to the weaknesses in the verification processes for such new entrants. The nominee pledged his commitment to do everything humanly possible to expedite the verification process to ensure that the newly recruited teachers and nurses were paid on time. He however indicated that, the immediate attention of the Government would be the restoration of teacher and nursing trainee allowances. Specific interventions to reduce the suffering of Ghanaians On the specific interventions to relieve the suffering of Ghanaians as identified in the NPP's Manifesto pledges for the 2016 General Elections, the nominee indicated that the Government were putting in place elaborate programmes to reduce the sufferings of all Ghanaians. Among some of these interventions he mentioned included the proposed Zongo Development Fund, the restoration of teacher and nursing trainee allowances, the allocation of one million dollars for development projects in every constituency and reduction and abolition of some taxes. He further indicated his commitment to promote financial accountability and transparency through institutional strengthening to effectively track the issue of judgement debts and other financial leakages which deprive every citizen the full benefits of the country's resources. Controlling fuel prices in a deregulated environment In a response to a question on what the Minister for Finance can do to reduce fuel prices under the current deregulated
fuel regime, the nominee indicated that, under the current arrangement, fuel prices are determined by Oil Marketing Companies following a baseline price determined by the National Petroleum Authority. He indicated that the energy sector is currently suffering from a huge legacy debt which affects oil prices. He acknowledged the important role the Energy Sector Levy is contributing to generating the needed revenue to retire the legacy debt that has bedeviled the energy sector over the years. The nominee expressed his commitment to use proceeds from the Energy Sector Levy to redeem the legacy debt and allow the Bulk Distribution Companies space to borrow from the banks. He was also optimistic that the retirement of the debt would lead to reduction in fuel prices. Renegotiation of the IMF Programme The nominee stated that the Government would review the IMF programme together with the IMF. According to him, the deal contains certain performance indicators which have not been met and for that matter, the programme needed to be reviewed. He added that the Government had made promises to the people of Ghana and there is the need to create the necessary fiscal space to fulfil those promises. Settlement of State's indebtedness The nominee, in a response to a question whether the Government will fulfill its campaign promise of settling all debt owed contractors within 100 days in office, indicated to the Committee that, he was not aware of any such promise. He, however, indicated that, the Government would give utmost consideration to payment of contractors after it has collated all the figures to determine the actual indebtedness. He was hopeful that the collation exercise will be completed before March, so that the actual indebtedness would reflect in the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government to be presented to the House in March this year. Introduction of New Taxes In an answer to a question on whether the Government intends to introduce new taxes, the nominee informed the Committee that the Government was yet to appreciate the full facts on the ground and therefore, could not envisage whether new forms of taxes would be introduced by Government. He, however, added that with the fast-changing economic environment and the global financial architecture and technological changes, new forms of taxes are inevitable. Accordingly, it was difficult for him to predict with certainty whether the need will arise in the future for the introduction of new taxes. Ensuring balanced regional development The attention of the nominee was drawn to the Directive Principles of the State Policy under the 1992 Constitution, particularly article 36, and questioned how the Government policy on private-sector- led growth would ensure balanced development of the regions and districts. The nominee indicated that the policies of the Government have been deliberately formulated to promote balanced growth and development across all regions. He cited some of the Government policies, including One Factory One District, Zongo Development Fund, One Village One Dam and one million dollars to every constituency as some of the policies geared towards ensuring even development. Payment of customers affected by the microfinance crisis Responding to questions on whether the Government will keep its promise of paying the affected customers of microfinance institutions that were closed down by the Bank of Ghana in 2015, the nominee acknowledged the hardships and sufferings the crisis brought unto the affected customers. He blamed the Bank of Ghana, indicating that poor supervision and excessive granting of licences contributed largely to the crisis. The nominee indicated that he was not seized with the full facts in terms of the total liability involved but was aware that some processes were underway for repayment of the affected depositors. He expressed optimism that the Deposit Protection Scheme being implemented by the Bank of Ghana would help relieve the financial burden on customers in such occurrences in future. He further advocated for the need to further strengthen the regulatory framework of the Central Bank to reduce the risks of financial instructions failures in the future. Mckinsey as Back Office Staff On whether he had knowledge of the company called Mckinsey and whether the Government had any financial commitment to that company, the nominee indicated that he knew of that company. He, however , disclosed that the company had been providing some services to the Government but indicated that the Government did not have any contract with the company. He, therefore, affirmed that there was no financial commitment on the part of Government at the moment but he, however, hinted of the possibility of engaging the company on the long-term basis, if it becomes necessary. Recommendation The Committee, by consensus, recommends to the House for the approval of the nomination of Mr Kenneth (Nana) Ofori-Atta for appointment as the Minister responsible for Finance. Hon Dominic B. A. Nitiwul -- Minister- designate for Defence Background Hon Dominic Bingab Aduna Nitiwul was born on 4th November, 1977 at Chamba in the Northern Region. He had his basic education at the St. Joseph's Primary School, Gungumpa from 1981 to 1987. He attended St. Charles Secondary School, Tamale from 1987 to 1992 and obtained a Teacher's Certificate “A”. He further attended the then University College of Education, Winneba from 1998 to 2001 and obtained a Diploma in Science Education and again from 2001 to 2002 for his Bachelor of Education. Hon Nitiwul later attended the International Academy for Leadership from where he received Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management Certificates I and II in 2003 and 2005, respectively. He also studied at the University of South Wales (Glamorgan) from 2005 to 2006 and obtained a Master of Business Administration (Finance) Degree and again, the University of Westminster from 2006 to 2007 to obtain his Master of Laws (LLM) in Corporate Finance. He has further attended a number of conferences locally and internationally, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Geneva, Switzerland (2003), African Parliamentary Union meetings in
Ouagadougou and Abuja in 2010 and 2012 respectively, study tour on Parliamentary Friendship Association in Paris, France (2015) and a workshop on the Securities Industry Bill, Ghana (2013). Hon Aduna Nitiwul taught at the Chamba L/A Junior High School from 1995 to 1996. He was appointed the Assistant Headmaster at St. Joseph's Junior High School, Gungumpa from 1996 to 1998 and as a teacher at E.P. Senior High School, Saboba from 2001 to 2002. Hon Nitiwul served as the Member of Parliament for the Bimbilla Constituency from 2002 to 2005. He was again elected as the MP for Bimbilla Constituency from January, 2009 to date. While in Parliament, Hon Nitiwul held a number of positions including the position of Deputy Minority Leader (January, 2013-January, 2017), the Member of the Pan African Parliament (January 2013-January, 2017) and has served on committees including the Business committee, Appointments Committee, Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture. Hon Nitiwul was appointed a member of the Presidential Transition Team (In charge of Defence) in December, 2016. He is a Catholic and is married with four children. UN Peacekeeping Allowance for Security Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations On whether the peacekeeping allowance for Ghanaian soldiers on peacekeeping operations should be increased, the nominee indicated that Government was committed to adjusting upwards the allowances of Ghanaian soldiers on peacekeeping operations in line with the New Patriotic Party Manifesto promise of ensuring that personnel who serve in UN Peacekeeping Missions were paid at their duty post. He stated that although the previous Government had indicated an intention to increase the allowance from US$31 to US$35, the Government has not yet implemented the decision. He assured the Committee that the necessary steps would be taken to increase the allowance to US$35.00 if his nomination is approved by Parliament. Committing Troops to and Evacuating Ghanaians from The Gambia The nominee informed the Committee that about 50,000 Ghanaians, mainly fisherfolk live in The Gambia. Although the nominee could not specify the steps the Government was taking to possibly evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia if the need be, he assured the Committee that the Government was monitoring the volatile situation closely and was fully prepared to evacuate Ghanaians citizens if the need arose. Regarding the issue of sending troops to The Gambia to help resolve the political impasse in that country, the nominee stated that the Government of Ghana had an obligation under international law to support the efforts of ECOWAS and the international community to restore peace and democracy in The Gambia. This obligation, he said, was being fulfilled by the President by committing the troops to The Gambia as part of the diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation in that country. Presence in Ghana of the two Guantanamo Bay Ex-Detainees The nominee indicated that he was constrained to comment on the issue since the matter is currently pending in the law court. He assured the Committee of the commitment and preparedness of the Ghana Armed Forces and the security agencies to dispel any threat that the presence of the two ex-detainees may pose to the security of the country. He indicated that he would analyse the current state of intelligence on the situation and advise the Government on the appropriate action to take in the interest of the country. Threat to Cyber Security On the matter of how prepared the Ghana Armed Forces are to deal with the threat to cyber-security in the country, the nominee stated that cyber security and its related issues constitute a serious national security concern for the State. He was unable to disclose in public the capability of Ghana Armed Forces in tackling the threat of cyber security. However, he assured the Committee that the Ghana Armed Forces and the security agencies are ready to pre-empt any cyber security threat and defend the country in case of any cyber-attacks. The nominee assured the Committee of his commitment to ensure that adequate investments are made to train and equip the Forces in cyber-security issues; provide cyber security infrastructure; and develop policy guidelines that would regulate cyber-security and related issues in the country. Enlistment into the Ghana Armed Forces Regarding challenges associated with enlistment into the Ghana Armed Forces and the apparent existence of ethnic imbalance in the Forces, the nominee stated that although he was not fully aware of the causes of such perception of imbalance. He promised to review and restructure of the recruitment processes to ensure that the inherent challenges regarding regional and ethnic balance were addressed in accordance with the law. He informed the Committee that, already the military command had introduced an online recruitment process, which he believed would help to resolve some of the challenges associated with the process since it will reduce the human interface in the initial selection process. Recommendations The Committee, by consensus, recommends to the House for the approval of the nomination of Hon. Dominic Bingab Aduna Nitiwul as Minister responsible for Defence. Hon Ambrose P. Dery --Minister- designate for the Interior Background Hon Ambrose P. Dery was born on 23rd August, 1956 at Nandom in the Upper West Region. Hon Dery began his primary education at the Lawra L/A Primary School (1962 -196) and continued at the Saint Paul's Primary School (1966 - 1968). He progressed to the Adakura U/C Middle School at Zuarungu from 1968 to 1970. The nominee attended the Navrongo Secondary School from 1970 -1977 for his Ordinary and Advance Level Certificates. He also attended the University of Ghana, Legon from 1977 - 1980 and was awarded the Bachelor of Laws Degree. He thereafter progressed to the Ghana School of Law for his Professional Law Certificate from 1980 to 1982. Hon Dery had his National Service at the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs from 1983-1985. He then entered into private legal practice as the head of Bimi, Dery & Co. Law firm from 1985-2000 and later as Managing Director of the Dery &
Co from 2000 to 2003. For his professional life, he served as President of the Upper East branch of the Ghana Bar Association from 1993-2000 and again, as a member of the National Council of the Ghana Bar Association. He has also been on a number of boards on several capacities, including as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rural Aids (Northern) Ghana (1990-2003) and as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Network (Pronet). He was appointed as the Deputy Attorney-General (2003-2004), Regional Minister (2005-2007) and later as Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice (2007- 2008). Hon Dery again served as Deputy Minority Leader from 2009-2012 and as a Member of the Pan-African Parliament, South Africa during the same period. He was the leader of the Pan African Parliament Observer Mission to the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Namibia in November, 2009 and also led the Pan-African Parliament Fact Finding Mission to la Cote d' Ivoire in 2012. Nominee's responses to questions Measures to combat corruption When asked about how to fight corruption, the nominee responded that he would enforce the law strictly against group of persons or an individual who fell foul of the law, irrespective of one's political affiliation, religious or ethnic background. He also assured the Committee of his full commitment to do a follow-up on any complaint that was brought before his attention. Measures to combat child labour/ trafficking The nominee bemoaned the current T2 rating of the country on child labour and feared the the country could be further downgraded to T3 which will not augur well for its international image, and informed that Committee of his knowledge of a letter from the American Embassy in that regard. He acknowledged that the practice had become a challenge but promised to do his best if given the nod, and in collaboration with the Ministers for Gender, Children and Social protection and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney- general's Department to stamp out the practice. Improving the conditions of service of officers of the Ghana Prisons Service The nominee conceded that the conditions of service of Prison Officers were not competitive relative to what pertains in the other security agencies. He accordingly promised to work to address the pension issues for the Service to motivate them to give off their best if he got appointed. He further urged the Members to give their support to some of the interventions that may be brought to the House for approval in that respect. He further said that he would work on compensation issues of the officers of the Service as part of the incentive packages and assured the Committee that, if given the nod, he would expedite the processes to motivate them. Ensuring Professionalism in the work of Security Agencies In his response to a question on how he would ensure that security officers performed their duties with due regard to the rule of law, the nominee said that he had experienced some form of abuses of people he had represented as a lawyer and accepted the notion that the security agencies such as the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) should not be seen to be above the law. He explained that where persons detained by the BNI were denied the right to a lawyer, the results would be negative and that there was the need to accord detainees their right to counsel in that respect. He, therefore, promised the Committee that he would work closely with the Minister for National Security, as the BNI is an intelligence agency to ensure the full protection of persons detained by security agencies. On corruption in the security services, the nominee promised to direct heads of the agencies to enforce the applicable laws strictly and to apply the necessary sanctions. Recruitment into the Security Agencies Responding to a question on arrangements the nominee would put in place to ensure a thorough background search of persons who apply for recruitment into the security agencies, he accepted the suggestion that the current recruitment system must be restructured and to adopt a more robust arrangement for undertaking background checks. He bemoaned the reports of the involvement of some security officers in armed robbery among other crimes. Regarding the major mechanisms to get more women recruited into the Ghana Police Service, the nominee said that he would analyse the recruitment requirements and take a look at those that pose challenges to women in particular and adopt appropriate measures to achieve gender parity in the recruitment into the Service. Enhancing the security of Members of Parliament The nominee recalled that the issue regarding the provision of adequate security for Hon Members of Parliament had been a challenge since the 5th Parliament and received a lot of discussions from the House. He indicated that he was interested in putting in place a system that would ensure the adequate protection of Members of Parliament in view of the enormous risks associated with their work. He accordingly accepted the suggestion that Members of Parliament should be given security guards just like other public office holders. In that regard, he advised that the Leadership of the House should initiate the necessary steps in that respect. On what steps he would take regarding the murder of Hon. J. B. Danquah Adu, the nominee promised to continue investigations into the matter and promised to liaise with the Attorney- General since he had the prosecutorial authority. Dealing with conflicts On the question of causes of conflicts and how to address them, the nominee noted that conflicts in the country were mostly local as the causes may be chieftaincy at one location or economic in other areas. He advised that we should resort to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR) and particularly adopt traditional approaches, as the adversarial nature of the courts were not helpful in achieving lasting solutions to such conflicts. Resourcing the Security Agencies The nominee said, if given the nod, he would explore more avenues to raise more funds to equip the security agencies to deliver on their traditional roles of
maintaining law and order in the country. In that respect, he was of the opinion that the country could rake in more foreign currency if more troops were sent on United Nations peacekeeping operations. He thus assured the Committee that he would improve the internally generated funds to complement Government subvention in meeting the resource needs of the agencies. On measures to improve housing for security personnel in the country, Hon Dery indicated that housing had been prioritised by the Government under the National Barracks Regeneration Programme. He assured the Committee that he would partner with private entities to implement the programme but promised to ensure value for money in such dealings. Re-location of the Prisons Headquarters Hon Ambrose Dery said he was not aware of any sale of lands at the Prisons Headquarters as part of a plan to re-locate the headquarters but he promised to investigate the matter, if given the nod, and take appropriate steps to ensure that State asset is sold unjustifiably. He stated that if proposals come before him for the relocation of any such facility, he would consider each case on its own merit based on the proposals and give favourable consideration to only those that will enhance the national interest. Measures to decongest the Prisons On his plans to decongest the country's prisons, the nominee confirmed that with the over 13,000 prison inmates, the country's prisons were heavily overcrowded. He stated that, as captured in the NPP's 2016 Manifesto, he would work hard to ensure the introduction of non-custodial sentencing, review the pre- trial detention period and the remand regimes to help address the issue. He also promised to continue the Justice for All Programme and introduce a legislation to revamp it. Dealing with vigilante groups within political parties The nominee said that all wrongdoings must be condemned and not counte- nanced. He promised to treat each complaint with seriousness and get those culpable punished in accordance with law. He also said that he was aware of some prosecutions of persons perceived to be members of such vigilante groups for their involvement in some criminal activities. He further cautioned the perpetrators of such crimes that there is no vicarious liability when it comes to crimes. To political parties, he said crime had no political or partisan colours and when attempts are made to make crimes political, the offenders benefit while the security of the State is endangered. In this regard, he promised to deal with all offences dispassionately and called on all citizens to live up to their constitutional duty to protect properties of the State by reporting cases involving destruction of State assets. He was of the opinion that politicians should provide leadership in dealing with the issue and called on all sides to play their part since security is a shared responsibility. Recommendation The Committee, by consensus, recommends to the House for the approval of the nomination of Hon Ambrose P. Dery for appointment as the Minister responsible for the Interior. Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo -- Minister- designate for Attorney-General and Justice Background Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo, was born on 31st December, 1954 at Accra in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. She attended the Aburi Girls Secondary School where she obtained her O' Level from 1969 to 1973 and continued at the same institution in 1975 and later at the Accra Workers College for her Advanced Level Certificate. Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law and Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon in 1976-1979 and proceeded to the Ghana School of Law, Accra and obtained her Professional Practising Certificate from 1981. She was subsequently called to the Ghana Bar in 1982. She has since been a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana and a Notary Public. Ms Akuffo discharged her National Service obligation at the Agricultural Development Bank from 1981-1982 from where she went into private legal practice with the Ameyaw Chambers from 1984- 2001. She was appointed the Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice between 2001- 2005 and was thereafter re-assigned to work as Deputy Regional Minister for the Greater Accra Region. She was further appointed the Minister for Aviation and served in that capacity from 2006 to 2008. Ms Akuffo is currently a Private Legal Practitioner with Blay and Associates and has worked with the firm since 2011. Issues relating to the proposed Office of an Independent Prosecutor The nominee told the Committee that the intention of the NPP Administration to establish the Office of an Independent Prosecutor was in response to the alarming rate of corruption in the public sector and the numerous calls to find an antidote for the menace. She stated that corruption is not only a moral issue but has become a developmental issue and must be curbed. She informed the Committee that an Office of an Independent Prosecutor is intended to focus exclusively on the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases. She disclosed that the Office would be established by way of an Act of Parliament, which would guarantee a fixed tenure for the Prosecutor and would be structured in such a way that it will not be coterminous with the term of a President. Such an arrangement she said would engender the needed confidence in the Office to do away with the perception that the Office was being established to hound political opponents. On whether the establishment of the Office would not contravene article 88 of the 1992 Constitution, the nominee explained that though the Constitution invests in the Attorney-General the power to prosecute all criminal cases, she also has the power of delegation as pertained in the prosecution of some cases by the Police and the EOCO. In that regard, she assured the Committee that the legislation to establish the Office would be crafted in such a way that it will be consistent with the provisions of the Constitution. Negotiation of public contracts On whether she would support a call to outsource the drafting and scrutiny of economic contracts signed by the State to ensure due diligence, the nominee stated that she preferred working closely
with the various Legal Departments of MDAs in that regard as A-G's Office currently enjoys support from such offices. She however noted that the Attorney-General was often not engaged at the inception of negotiations and that makes it difficult for the Attorney- General's Department to effectively review such contracts. She accordingly promised that she would put in place mechanisms to address the situation. She indicated that she would collaborate with other Ministers to develop guidelines to ensure that certain contracts are duly reviewed by the Attorney-General before they are signed to avert potential legal consequences and judgement debts. Concerns about the passage of some Gender-based Laws Responding to some concerns about delays in the passage of some gender- based legislations including the Intestate Succession Bill and the Affirmative Action Bill, the nominee intimated that some of the concerns of women which the Bills seek to address are some of the challenges she has experienced in life as a woman. In that regard, she promised to set up a committee to facilitate the passage of such critical legislations to help ensure equity and fairness if she is given the nod. Issues relating to the Implementation of Government's White Paper on the Recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission On how she would ensure the implementation of the Government's White Paper on the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission, the nominee alluded to the establishment of the Implementation Committee by the previous Administration to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission. She disclosed that in view of the fact that the mandate of the Implementation Committee lapsed on 31st of December, 2016, the President had indicated his readiness to set up a new committee to review the work done in order to take appropriate action. She promised to fully support the committee to do its work when so established if she is given the nod. Ensuring speedy disposal of criminal cases The nominee cited weak institutional structures in the management of criminal cases and inadequate capacity of police investigators as part of the reasons for the slow adjudication of criminal cases at District Courts. She indicated that the situation has manifested itself in the number of adjournments that are often taken by police prosecutors with the excuse of sending dockets to the Attorney-General's Department for advice. She pledged to work closely with the Minister for the Interior to establish appropriate structures to ensure that dockets are expeditiously disposed of and also institute continuous in-service training for police prosecutors to upgrade their capacity. Matters relating to the Liquidation of the Ghana Airways Company On her role in the liquidation of Ghana Aviation Company, the nominee said the liquidation of the company commenced before her appointment as Minister for Aviation during the erstwhile Kufuor Administration. She recounted that the failure of the company's majority shareholders to inject the needed capital into the Company accounted for its divestiture. She intimated that attempts by the then Government to get other partners to invest in the company proved futile as the original partners often frustrated efforts by the State. She believed that the decision to liquidate the Company was based on the poor financial position of the Company. Commitment to retrieve moneys owed the State On how she intends to retrieve all moneys owed the State, the nominee informed the Committee that she would task the Solicitor-General to provide a comprehensive list of persons who owe the State and the steps she seeks to take to recover the moneys. She pledged to do her utmost best to retrieve all the moneys and where necessary with their accrued interests. Regarding the retrieval of funds wrongfully paid to Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the nominee disclosed that the court order secured by the State to auction his properties has stalled due to applications challenging that order. She however promised to pursue the matter to ensure that the State retrieved the funds. View on limiting the number of Justices of the Supreme Court The nominee indicated that she does not personally believe that the number of Justices at the Supreme Court should be capped. She explained that capping the number of Justices of the Supreme Court would tie the hands of the State and may deprive it of experienced hands who could support in speedy adjudication of cases. She explained that some of the reasons accounting for the delayed adjudication of cases at the Supreme Court had to do with the availability of Judges to sit on cases. She was of the view that capping the number of Supreme Court Justices will frustrate the call to increase the number of Appeal Courts in the country to ensure speedy disposal of cases. She said she would support the idea of the State utilising the current regime to dispense justice rather than it becoming an inhibiting factor to dispensing justice. Approach to pursue Ghana/Ivory Coast Border Dispute The nominee informed the Committee that the border dispute between Ghana and the Ivory Coast was among the priority cases that would be pursued by the Government. She was of the view that existing legal team should be maintained and disclosed that she had already held preliminary discussions with the former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice in that regard. Dealing with Late Appointments Commenting on the resolve to the NPP Administration to revoke some appointments made by the former Government after the declaration of the 2016 Elections, she said that though the 1992 Constitution provides a term of a Government for four years expiring on the 7th January, it was still important that major decisions are not taken to unduly commit the incoming administration. She recalled that prior to the commencement of the transition processes, the Transition Team established certain ground rules for consultations before any major decisions were taken by the outgoing administration. She stated that the previous administration flouted the rules particularly those relating to new
appointments. She accordingly hinted that such appointments would be reviewed and those found to have been made without due process would be terminated in accordance with law. Expanding Access to Professional Legal Education Responding to a question on how she would increase access to professional legal education, the nominee attributed the problem to the fact that there is only one School of Law which currently offers professional legal education in the country but the number of universities offering law courses continue to increase. She stated that it could be distressing for a student to obtain the LL.B but be frustrated along the way not because of their performance but because of limited institutions for training lawyers. According to the nominee, the General Legal Council has realised the current constraints and had started working towards establishing a Legal Village to address the issue. She promised that, if given the nod, she would use her membership of the Council to pursue that course. Recommendation The Committee, by consensus, recommends to the House for the approval of the nomination of Ms Gloria A. Akuffo for appointment as Attorney-General and the Minister for Justice. Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten -- Ministser-designate for Trade and Industry Background Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyeremanten was born on 3rd October, 1955 and hails from Ejisu in the Ashanti Region. He began his primary education at the State Experimental School in Kumasi from 1955 to 1965. He then proceeded to Adisadel College from 1965 to 1970 and later to the Achimota School from 1971 to 1973 for his Ordinary Level and Advanced Level Certificates respectively. The nominee pursued his first degree programme at the University of Ghana from 1973 to 1976 and obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Economics. He went back to the University of Ghana and studied law from 1980 to 1982 and was awarded a Bachelor of Laws Certificate and proceeded to the Ghana School of Law for his Professional Practising Certificate from (1983 to 1984). He later attended the University of Minnesota, USA from 1986 to 1987 as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow in Management. Hon Kyeremanten did his national service with the Ghana Armed Forces from 1970 to 1977. He started his career with the UAC of Ghana Limited (a subsidiary of Unilever International), as Sales Manager from 1977 to 1979 and later held the position of the Assistant Merchandise Controller at the UAC of Ghana Limited (Subsidiary of Unilever International), from 1979 to 1984. Between 1984 and 1988, the nominee was appointed the Senior Consultant and Principal Consultant of Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI), Accra and later occupied the position of the Deputy Chairman (Public Systems Management) from January, 1989 to September, 1990 at the Institute. He was thereafter appointed the National Director of Empretec Project, Ghana, (UNDP Ghana/Government of Ghana) from 1990 to 1994 and later rose to become the Chief Executive and Founding Director of Empretec Ghana Foundation from 1994 to 1997. The nominee was the Regional Director of Enterprise Africa (UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa) from January, 1998 to September, 2001. The nominee-was appointed Ghana's Ambassador to the United States of America and held that position from September, 2001 May 2003. He was later appointed the Minister for Trade, Industry and Presidential Special Initiatives from June, 2003 to December 2007. Between June, 2011 and December 2013, he became the Co-ordinator/Trade Advisor for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (African Trade Policy Centre). He has been the Chairman and Founding Partner of John Young & Associates (a management consultant agency) since October 1987. He is also the Executive Chairman of the Center for Strategic African Initiatives (CSAI) and has served in that capacity since September 2016. Hon Kyeremanten contested the primaries for the position of the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party in October, 2014. Response to Questions His ideas on the Government's Industrial Transformation Agenda On his ideas on the Industrial Transformation Agenda of the NPP Administration, the nominee outlined six actionable steps to be pursued by the Government under the Agenda. According to him, these interventions such as increasing the competitiveness of the existing industries through provision of stimulus packages, supporting strategic national resource-based industries at the district level and the establishment of strategic anchored industries including the integrated aluminum industry. He stated that the other interventions would involve the support for local industries to enhance value addition and to support business development and innovation. Regarding the specific interventions he would offer to support the private sector, the nominee indicated that he would facilitate access for medium to long term capital financing, help revitalise financial and intermediary financial institutions and help to reduce the current treasury bill rate and ensure that the corporate tax rate is reduced from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. He believed that the implementation of these interventions would significantly incentivise the private sector to invest in strategic areas of the economy. Strategy for the Implementation of the One District/One Factory Initiative On the strategy he would adopt for the implementation of the One District One Factory initiative as promised by the NPP in its 2016 Manifesto, the nominee said that his first step would be to establish a Technical Group and a Secretariat at the Ministry of Trade and Industry to work with the District Assemblies and MPs to identify commercially viable projects. According to him, the next step would involve the development of business plans which will provide the cost and strategies for operationalisation of the projects. Regarding the form of Government support under the Initiative, he said the Government intends to call for private sector equity participation and hinted that the Government would allocate part of the US$1m that would be earmarked for each District to support financing of the projects.
He also indicated that the Government may consider borrowing from the capital market to finance projects with high economic prospects and promised to work closely with the Ghana Investment Promotion Council in that respect. Regarding the timeline for the operationalisation of the initiative, he said he would first identity existing projects and assess them to determine whether they qualify as District Enterprises. He disclosed that the Ministry would initially focus on the existing projects and review the 100 Business Plans which were prepared in 2007 during his tenure as the Minister for Trade and Industry. He indicated that the commencement of such projects would depend on the completion of these processes but expressed optimism that the Initiative would be implemented within four years. Making Domestic Industries more Competitive On whether he would consider imposing a ban on the importation of certain products in the quest to protect local industries, Hon Kyeremanten responded in the negative and explained that regional and sub-regional trade Agreements do not allow for total ban of foreign imports but he indicated his resolve to deal with dumping. He rather said he would empower local industries to become more competitive as the best way to address the issue as envisaged under the Government's agenda for the sector. Promotion of Made in Ghana Goods As to what specific measures he intends to put in place to promote the use of local goods and services, the nominee disclosed that he would employ a three- prong approach. He said his first approach would be to intensify sensitisation campaigns for consumption of made in Ghana goods. The second approach would be to fully implement the local content regulations and to advocate for the use of Government procurement as a means to procure local goods and services. He further stated that he would provide support to the local private industries to be competitive with the foreign companies so that Ghanaians would naturally patronise local products. Enhancing Ghana's Opportunities under the AGOA On how he would help the country to maximise opportunities under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to increase Ghana's export to the American market, the nominee indicated that he would help identify potential products that the country export to the American market. He also said he would provide support to the companies that will produce such products to enable them meet the required standards and facilitate the transit of such products to their final destinations not to compromise product quality. Measures to Improve Financing for Businesses The nominee noted that interest rate is among the critical challenges facing industries in the country but indicated that what determines interest rates is the Bank of Ghana policy rates, since it sets the floor at which commercial banks borrow from the Central Bank. He therefore suggested that the way forward was for Government to bring the policy rate down if we are to get interest rates reduced. He also believed that the implemen- tation of other key Government interventions would reduce the risk profile of companies and thereby reduce the interest rates charged by commercial banks. Support for the Automobile Industry The nominee stated that the call for the support of the automobile industry was in consonance with the Government's intention to establish a Vehicle Assembly Plant and in that respect he would identify existing automobile industries that require Government support and help them to be competitive. He promised to also work to attract foreign strategic investors to partner the local automobile companies. He further alluded to the establishment of a proposed industrial development fund into which capital will be channeled to provide support to such industries. Ghana's Interim Economic Partnership Agreement The nominee indicated that getting a dedicated Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for the country will require a joint effort between the office of the President, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. He explained that the architecture of the EPA requires the Agreement to be negotiated by the Regional Bloc and for that matter Nigeria should be impressed upon to live up to its international obligations as after Ghana's ratification of the Agreement, we needed Nigeria to do same to get the process completed. He would advise the President to use quiet diplomacy to get Nigeria to sign up so as not to frustrate the Agreement and to enable Ghana realise the benefits under the EPA. Recommendation The Committee, by consensus, recommends to the House for the approval of the nomination of Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen for appointment as the Minister responsible for Trade and Industry. Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey -- Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs Background Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey was born on 8th February, 1963 in Accra. She hails from Gbawe, a suburb of Accra. Between 1975 and 1980, she attended Akosombo International School where she obtained her Ordinary Level Certificate. She proceeded to the St Mary's Secondary School for her Advanced Level Certificate (1980-1982). She pursued a Diploma in Secretarial and Management studies at the Pitman Central College, United Kingdom, from 1983 to 1985 and again obtained a Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra (1995 -1997). She also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Communication and Public Relations from the University of Westminster, UK (2001 -2002) and an MBA in Project Management from the University of Ghana Business School (2002 -2004). The nominee has attended short courses on Governance and Leadership from notable institutions including the Harvard Kennedy School, Boston, USA, the African Leadership Initiative/ the Aspen Institute and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
Hon Botchwey was the Chief Executive Officer of Dynacom, a Marketing Communications and Advertising Company in Osu, Accra (1999-2004); Marketing Manager for Worldspace Ghana Limited (1996-1999); Personal Assistant to the Executive Secretary of Divestiture Implementation Committee (1993-1996); Administrative Assistant at Hodge Recruitment (1987- 1992) and a Sales Assistant for Argos Distributors, London (1985 -1987). Hon Botchwey has been the Member of Parliament for Anyaa-Sowutuom Constituency in the Greater Accra Region since 2013. She was also the former Member of Parliament for Weija Constituency (2005 - 2009). She was appointed Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (2006- 2007); Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry (2007-2008); and Deputy Minister for Information (2005-2006). The nominee served on a number of Committees as a Member of Parliament and they include Committees on Communications, Members Holding Office of Profit, Foreign Affairs and Gender and Children. She has been a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament since 2013. Hon Botchwey is a recipient of the Global Leader of Integrity Merit Award from the Integrity Communications Network in 2012 in recognition of her contribution to the field of communication and advertising. Responses to Questions on National Service On whether she has fulfilled her national service obligation, the nominee informed the Committee that she did not do national service. She explained that at the time she completed her ‘A' Level in 1982, the national service law had not come into force. Views on Ghana's Foreign Policy The nominee noted that the country's foreign policy has changed over the years since the country attained her independence. She said the country's foreign policy has shifted from the promotion of Pan-Africanism, and the non-aligned movement to economic diplomacy. According to her, the thrust of the current foreign policy was to link trade and foreign direct investment to the socio economic development of the country. In order to realise this policy aspirations, she indicated that she intends to capacitate the country's Foreign Service in the areas of business negotiations among others. She added that she would liaise with the Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA) to run short courses with curricula that is informed by foreign policy. She stated further that she intends to collaborate with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the GIPC to push forward the foreign policy objectives. Promoting the welfare of Ghanaians Living Abroad The nominee expressed her disapproval of the emerging phenomenon whereby some Ghanaians, particularly women are lured by employment agencies to foreign countries on the pretext of placing them in lucrative jobs only to be maltreated. She highlighted the need for authorities to clamp down on activities of illegal travel agencies promising non- existent jobs. She said, if approved by the House, she would engage her colleague Ministers responsible for the Interior, and Employment and Labour Relations to deal with the situation. She recommended the stringent licensing procedures for recruitment agencies by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, including thorough background checks, enforcement of the country's laws and called for sensitisation programmes to reverse the phenomenon. Strategies to encourage Ghanaians in the fiaspora to invest in the country On which strategies she would employ to attract Ghanaians living abroad to invest in the country, the nominee stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration recognises the immense benefits that the nation stands to gain from its citizens abroad and has accordingly established a Foreign Diaspora Unit which was later upgraded to a Bureau. She noted that there are several Ghanaians living abroad who are captains of industry and whose skills could be leveraged to support the industrialisation agenda of the State. She said she intends reviewing the operations of the Foreign Diaspora Bureau to meet current demands if approved by the House. Renovation of Foreign Offices In responding to questions on the conditions of the country's missions broad, the nominee noted that most of the Offices of Ghana's missions were in deplorable state and expressed her unhappiness about the situation. She hinted that she would make the refurbishment of Ghana's mission abroad one of her topmost priorities if approved by the House. The nominee commended the previous Government for securing a US$50 million for the rehabilitation of Ghana's Missions abroad. She advocated for public-private arrangements as well as the retention of larger portion of the internally- generated funds of the Foreign Affairs Ministry to support such critical projects. Possible impacts of Brexit on Ghana The nominee acknowledged that Brexit could have impact on the country's relations with the United Kingdom particularly in the area of trade, as the United Kingdom is one of Ghana's major trading partners. She said Brexit could lead to the redefinition of the country's trade policies with the United Kingdom. The nominee however indicated that her interactions with experts suggest that trade relations would not fundamentally change. She indicated that since the UK was still going through the necessary procedures for the Brexit, it was important that Ghana commences her engagements with the United Kingdom regarding Brexit to safeguard her interest. She pledged to pursue the country's foreign relations with the United Kingdom in that direction if given the nod. Concerns relating to acquisition of Ghanaian Passports Commenting on concerns on the delays and frustrations in the acquisition of Ghanaian Passports, the nominee alluded to resource challenges of the passport office, mistakes in documentations, and difficulty in contacting applicants to authenticate information provided as major challenges confronting the Passport Offices both in the country and abroad. Regarding the resource challenges, she said the Passport Office was in the process of implementing a new on-line application system to speed up the process as well as reduce errors committed by applicants and queues at the Passport Offices. While
entreating applicants to pay critical attention to their passport documen- tation, the nominee hinted that she intends to expand on the current number of six missions outside Ghana issuing passports in order to better serve Ghanaians in the diaspora. The nominee added that she would also undertake similar initiatives to decentralise the passport application centres to cover the remaining four regions in the country. She pledged to also fast-track the introduction of the chip- embedded passports if her nomination received approval from the House. Recommedation The Committee, by consensus, recommends that the House approves the nomination of Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey for appointment as the Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. Hajia Alima Mahama -- Minister- designate for Local Government and Rural Development Background Hajia Alima Mahama was born on 17th November, 1957 at Walewale in the Northern Region of Ghana. She had her primary education at the Walewale Local Authority Primary School (962-1967) and Middle School education at the Walewale Middle School (1967-1969) and Nalerigu Middle School (1969-1970). Hajia Mahama attended Saint Francis Girls Secondary, Jirapa, where she obtained GCE ‘0' Level in 1975. She then proceeded to Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast for her GCE ‘A' level (1975 -1977). Between 1977 and 1980, Hajia Mahama attended the University of Ghana, Legon where she was awarded a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Law and Sociology. She furthered her education at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands between 1985 and 1986 and obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Development Studies with a Specialisation in Regional Development Planning. In 1987, she gained a Certificate in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). She was a Pearson Fellow at the University of Ottawa (1990-1991) and Humphrey Fellow at the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, USA. Hajia Mahama discharged her national service obligations at the Tamale Secondary School where she taught English Language and Literature in 1983. Between 1987 and 2000, she worked as a Development Consultant to a number of organisations and institutions which include the Christian Council of Ghana, International Fund for Agriculture Development, World Bank, Action Aid, Maalizaali -- an NGO and the Canadian International Development Agency. She was appointed the Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development and served in that capacity from 2001 -- 2003 and later as the Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiatives (2003-2005), Deputy Minister for Women and Children's Affairs (2005 - 2009). Hajia Mahama served as the Member of Parliament for Nareligu-Gambaga Constituency from 2005 to 2009. While in Parliament, she served on the Appointments Committee and the Committee on Water Resources, Works and Housing. She was engaged as Senior Technical Advisor by the Ministry of Gender and Development of Liberia on a DANIDA Project on MDG 3 (2009- 2011). She has been practising as a Gender Consultant since 2012. Hajia Mahama belongs to a number of professional bodies including the Ghana Bar Association, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and Ghana Institute of Planners. The nominee was awarded by the Government of Denmark in recognition of her contribution towards the attainment of Millennium Development Goal 3 on / 102, Women Empowerment in Ghana in 2008. Nominee's Responses to Questions Arrears relating to the District Development Fund The nominee acknowledged that the District Development Fund (DDF) was in arrears to the non-payment of the counterpart funding from Government. This had caused a delay in the implementation of the Fund. She however, informed the Committee that since 2008, Government had been committed to paying its share of the Fund. She said the Fund had been a source of funding for the Assemblies to undertake the necessary infrastructural projects. There is therefore, the need for Government to provide the needed counterpart funding to enable the Fund operate efficiently. She said as a Minister, she would take steps to ensure that the Fund is operational. Election of Metropolitan, Municipal, District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) The nominee reiterated the commitment of Government to elect MMDCEs in two years. She said that for this to be possible, there was the need for some constitutional amendments. She identified articles 55, 243 and 248 of the 1992 constitution she said whilst articles 243 and 248 were not entrenched provisions, article 55 (3) was an entrenched provision. In respect of articles 243 and 248, Government would have to come to Parliament with the necessary proposals to amend the provisions. The amendment of article 55 of the 1992 Constitution would require a referendum to effectthe needed amendments. The amendment would pave the way for the Electoral Commission to organise the elections for the MMDCEs. She assured the Committee that Government would implement this commitment. Using the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS) for Management at the District levels The nominee acknowledged the important role that GIFMIS had played towards ensuring efficiency and accountability especially at the Central Government level. She explained that inherent in GIFMIS, is an approval process that ensured that systems and procedures were adhered to before authorisation was given. Such an integrated system ensured financial discipline and also go a long way to attract funding. She said with the GIFMIS, the system is based on ICT. However, internet systems and connectivity is very poor in rural areas. Given that GIFMIS is internet based, the inherent benefit of GIFMIS as an efficient tool may not be realised in the
rural areas. It may rather stall work with its attended difficulties. She said if GIFMIS is to be deployed in the rural areas, then there was the need to develop the capacity of the districts as well as the ICT facilities in there. She acknowledged that GIFMIS had been approved by the House and said as a Minister, she would work towards it. Raising revenue for the District Assemblies The nominee admitted that most Assemblies had a lot of revenue potential. Unfortunately, these potential had not been explored. Other challenges to revenue mobilisation were capacity and revenue leakage. She said there was the need to look at the various resource base of these districts with the view of developing them. Further, the capacity of the districts needed to be built to ensure that they effectively collect and account for all the revenues collected. Properties sited in the Assemblies could be revalued to ensure increase in proceeds from property tax. She said as a Minister, she would work with stakeholders to improve revenue base of the Assemblies. Deductions from Allocations to Assemblies The nominee agreed to the suggestion that there are a number of deductions made from allocations to the Assemblies from the Central Government. She indicated that most of these deductions are captured in the Report on the Allocation Formula approved by Parliament. She said there are instances where only about 33 per cent of allocated funds get to the Assemblies for their development projects. She said there was the need for a review of the deduction list. The nominee informed the Committee that she would work with Parliament to ensure that more of funds allocated to the Assemblies get to them. Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) not pursuing activities to enhance economic development The nominee informed the Committee that most of the Assemblies do not pursue systems that would enhance and promote economic activities at the district level. She indicated that most of the MMDAs focus on service delivery programmes and have not directed their attention to developing economic development policies. She said if MMDAs were to undertake economic development policies, the economic activities would develop creating more opportunities for the residents in the districts. In order to address this issue, the nominee called for an orientation of MMDAs to help them rather develop economic development policies. She indicated that Government's pledge of one district-one factory when implemented would also go a long way to push the Assemblies to undertake such similar ventures in order to develop their districts. She said she would work with the various stakeholders to address the issue. Irregularities contained in the Auditor- General's Report on District Assemblies The nominee acknowledged that a number of irregularities had been identified by the Auditor-General with respect to the operations of the Assemblies. She said with strengthened supervision and revenue tracking, most of the irregularities could be dealt with. She said she would strengthen supervision and financial management as well as improve revenue tracking systems within the Assemblies to reduce the irregularities. She also called for capacity building of the staff of the Assemblies. Conflict of roles of some Ministries The nominee disagreed with the suggestion that the new portfolios created by the President may conflict with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural , Development's role. She said which the issue of sanitation used to be handled by the Ministry, the President holds the view that if assigned to a designated Minister, the issue could be addressed better. This is because sanitation issues had become a major issue confronting the country and the world at large. It was in this light that a portfolio had been created to help address it effectively. She informed the Committee that another commitment of the President was regional organisation. This commitment involved a lot of work including organising referendum in selected regions of the country. The President intends not to overburden a Minister towards implementing his programmes. She said it is in view of the above that these portfolios were created. She assured the Committee that there would not be duplication of functions. It would rather contribute to the effective implementation of Government programmes. Dismissal of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives The nominee disagreed with the suggestion that she erred when she signed a letter dismissing the existing MMDCEs. She informed the Committee that in a letter dated January 9, the President wrote to her to take charge of affairs at the Ministry in accordance with article 58 (3) of the 1992 Constitution. He further directed that by virtue of the powers vested in him under article 243 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, he was relieving MMDCEs of their position and that she should inform them accordingly. She informed the Committee that she signed the letter as the President's representative-- on behalf of the President. In her view, there was no violation of the law. Recommendation The Committee, by consensus recom- mends that the House approves the nomination of Ms Hajia Alima Mahama for appointment as the Minister responsible for Local Government and Rural Development. 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 eight (8) nominees to the House for approval:
iv. Hon Ambrose P. Dery -- Minister-designate for the Interior v. Ms Gloria A. Akuffo -- Minister-designate for Justice and Attorney- General vi. Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten -- Minister-designate for Trade & Industry vii. Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey -- Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs viii. Hajia Alima Mahama -- Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural development Respectfully submitted.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, that this Honourable House adopts the First Report of the Appointments Committee on His Excellency the President's nomination for Ministerial appointments and to indulge you to reserve my right to speak and to comment on this subject after you have allowed for some thorough deliberation on it by other Hon Members. Question proposed.
I have a list here, six on each side. I will begin from Hon O. B. Amoah.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to support the Motion on the floor, that this Honourable House adopts the First Report of the Appointments Committee on His Excellency the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, as a member of the Appointments Committee, I can say that all the nominees who appeared before the Committee are highly qualified in all respects. They are very experienced, articulate and confident, knowledgeable, and they showed that they are abreast with issues pertaining to their respective sectors. Mr Speaker, six out of the eight nominees served in the Executive branch of Government in various Ministries in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government of 2001-2008, while five have been Members of Parliament for various terms in this House. Mr Speaker, indeed, only one person had neither been a Member of Parliament nor a Minister, but was very experienced in banking and finance. Mr Speaker, the nominees distinguished themselves very well. The nominee for National Security, Hon Albert Kan- Dapaah is very experienced. He served in various capacities as a Minister of State and was also a four-term Member of Parliament. Mr Speaker, he briefed the Committee in camera about national security issues, especially the review of the Security Agencies Act and also the role and policies pertaining to national security. He felt that the position of National Security Minister would enhance our democracy, in the sense that, it would bring more transparency and accountability in our governance, and that this was the right time to have a Minister who would be accountable to Parliament as far as national security issues were concerned. Mr Speaker, he responded to all the major issues to the satisfaction of all Hon Members of the Committee, and I believe he deserves to be approved to be the Minister for National Security. Mr Speaker, likewise other nominees, for instance, the Minister-designate for Defence, Hon Dominic Nitiwul. He is a young man in various respects, especially if we consider his age, but he is experienced enough, having served in Parliament for three terms and also having pursued various courses regarding security. He answered the questions very well, distinguished himself and I believe that this House should approve his nomination, given the fact that he was able to respond to issues regarding threat to cyber security, enlistment into the Ghana Armed Forces, United Nations (UN) peacekeeping allowance and other issues pertaining to Ghana's defence, home and abroad. Mr Speaker, regarding other nominees, the Committee was unanimous that they deserved to be approved to start working as Ministers of His Excellency, President Akufo-Addo and his Government, because they were able to provide all the answers to the major issues which were raised. Mr Speaker, for instance, the Minister- designate for Justice and Attorney- General, Hon Gloria Akuffo informed the Committee that after so much work on the Constitution Review Committee, an implementation committee had been put in place, and a White Paper was issued by the late President Mills and indeed, she had come to meet the implementation committee. But since the term of former President Mahama had ended, President Akufo-Addo was setting up a new committee to be able to look at the major issues confronting us regarding the review of our Constitution and the issues raised in the White Paper. Mr Speaker, the nominee for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama informed the Committee of the general management of our District Assemblies and the role the Minister is required to play in making sure that local governance is effectively carried out. Mr Speaker, she briefed Hon Members on the new Local Governance Act, 2016, which was gazetted on 20th December, 2016, and informed the House of the role of the inter-Ministerial Management Committee, the role of the Assemblies, as far as generating internal funds, monitoring and generation of revenue from other sources were concerned. Mr Speaker, she was also asked about the election of the Chief Executive for the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and she referred to the various aspects of the Constitution to confirm that there were grounds for any Government to carry out that. Mr Speaker, in all, I would support this Motion and would say that indeed, all the nominees are very qualified to hold their respective positions -- [Interruption] -- and deserve to be approved by this House. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. [Pause] -- I will now call on Hon Mahama Ayariga and I plead that Hon Members make their own personal general comments, and as much as possible, without reference to what has already been laid before us, so that we could make progress.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion ably moved by the Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee on His Excellency the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, please, allow me to make some preliminary observations about the constraints of the Committee itself. Mr Speaker, there are, I believe, twenty- five Hon Members on the Committee and the Committee agreed to ask three questions per an Hon Member, who is not a leader and those who are leaders to have a higher number of questions to ask. For Hon Members who are not leaders, they were not permitted to ask follow-up questions and this created some challenges, in terms of probing certain matters that were raised by nominees. But nevertheless, the other constraint was that, if we multiply twenty-five by three, at the minimum, if everybody asked even three questions, it meant that each nominee would have had the herculean task of answering seventy-five questions at the minimum and if follow-up questions were admitted, then we could imagine that a nominee could end up with over hundred and fifty questions at the minimum. This is just so that those observing proceedings would have an appreciation of the challenges and constraints of the Committee. Mr Speaker, nevertheless, within those constraints, the Committee did its best and sometimes sat until about 11.00 in the night and on weekends, in order to assist and ensure that the nominees were processed expeditiously for Government to be formed for business to start in earnest. Mr Speaker, the nominees were generally impressive and raised very important issues, which they would address when approved. We, however, had a few issues that we would highlight and one of those is the importance of co-ordination in the work of the different nominees and subsequently, Hon Ministers of State. Mr Speaker, when we take for instance, the Hon Minister for National Security, already, the President would have a National Security Adviser, a National Security Co-ordinator and a Minister for National Security. Mr Speaker, I see a number of Ministerial portfolios that may end up making Ministerial positions sound like the roles of liaison officers and messengers --[Laughter] -- between substantive Ministers and the Presidency --
Hon Member, are you talking about liaison officers and messengers? [Laughter.] M r Ayar iga: Mr Speaker, the specific --
Hon Ayariga, kindly advise yourself and let us make progress.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I believe that the answer was that, the role of the Hon Minister --
Hon Ayariga, I will be glad if we would end this matter without further ado. Do the right thing and let us make progress.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the other issue, in my view, is significant --
Hon Ayariga, please, with regard to the remark that I commented on, please, make progress by doing the needful -- [Interruption.] Hon Members, Order! Hon Members, in the future, I will be glad if Hon Members do not try to assist me by telling others what to do. So, please, let Hon Ayariga do the necessary, which I
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the second issue has to do with the nominee for the position of Hon Minister- designate for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, who was very impressive in his response to issues, except to highlight his revelation that he is going to bring in MacKenzie Group of Consultants, a consulting firm, to serve as back office staff to help in the management of the economy -- to consult and provide services.
Hon Member, do you stand on a point of order?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
Hon Ayariga, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, indeed, he is right about the pronunciation. Before I started, I googled the name and I saw that it is “McKinsey” but the Report captured “Makenzie”. That is why I pronounced it that way. So, the authors of the Report must change it to reflect the actual pronunciation of the name of the consulting firm. Be that as it may, Mr Speaker, the nominee said that McKinsey and the workers of the consulting firm are already here working with him and Government. When we raised the issue of procurement of their services, he then said they had not hired them, but then they were already here providing the service and they were talking to them about hiring and when they conclude on that, they would let us know. Those were exactly what he said to the Committee. This is because we wanted to find out how much he would pay them for providing the service of advising on how to manage the economy. Mr Speaker, my simple concern is that whatever it is, this country has built a cadre of public and civil servants who are very capable, effective and can help the Hon Minister for Finance in the management of the finances of Ghana. That is why I am a bit concerned that he intends to create that structure in his office that may end up undermining the Civil Service of Ghana. Mr Speaker, the Minister for the Interior-designate and the National Security Minister-designate raised a very important issue about ensuring that members of the intelligence and security agencies conduct themselves within the framework of our Constitution especially, when it comes to the protection of fundamental liberties. I believe that he would keep to his promise to ensure democratic accountability when it comes to the actions or inactions of the security and intelligence agencies. The law establishing the agencies requires that annually they submit reports of their activities to this House. Mr Speaker, we have not seen the reports. I believe with the appointment of a substantive Minister responsible for National Security, who has a rich history of parliamentary experience, he would respect this legal provision to ensure democratic accountability for the actions and inactions of the security and intelligence agencies. Mr Speaker, my last point has to do with the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice-designate. I must say that the nominee was very impressive and I believe she was one of those who spent the shortest time with the Committee because of the brevity in which the questions were answered and the conciseness of the answers focusing on the issues at hand and that helped the Committee enormously. I believe that carrying that distinguishing attitude to her work at the Ministry, would indeed, enhance the work of the outfit. On that note, Mr Speaker, I would want to also support the Hon Chairman that this august House should approve these nominees for appointment to the various Ministries that the President intends to appoint them to. Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion, that this Honourable House adopts the first Report of the Appointments Committee on His Excellency the President's nomination for Ministerial appointments. Of the first eight nominations to be approved, three are women and that is about 37.5 per cent. Mr Speaker, clearly, the NPP manifesto promises of appointing at least, 30 per cent women, is being fulfilled right now. Currently, it is 37.5 per cent. There were a number of issues that were raised during the vetting of the nominees. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like to refer to page 8 and for our purpose, it is on the “Delays in the Payment of Newly Recruited Teachers and Nurses”. On page 8, the Hon Minister for Finance-designate pledged his commit- ment to do everything humanly possible to expedite the verification process to ensure that the newly recruited teachers and nurses are paid on time. Mr Speaker, it is refreshing to hear this from the Hon Minister-designate. It has been a source of worry to most Ghanaians. In my constituency, some have worked for the past 3 years without pay. In most instances, trainees are paid only 3 months' salary. Mr Speaker, I then refer to the Hon Minister for the Interior-designate. On page 17 of the Report, the Minister for the Interior-designate promised to work hard to decongest our prisons. I urge him to ensure and pay serious attention to this promise. Then we will be looking at the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry. The attention of the Minister- designate was drawn to the fact that most Assemblies had a lot of revenue potential but were not utilising these potentials. And the Local Government and Rural Development Minister-designate promised to work with stakeholders to improve the revenue base of the Assemblies. This is one area that the District, Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies should work hard at. Property tax rates are very low and I think it has been a source of worry to the Assemblies, not to talk of the fact that a lot homeowners are not even billed. Mr Speaker, I applaud the nominees for doing very well in the vetting and I urge Hon Members to unanimously approve them, so that H.E. the President can begin to form his Government. Thank you.
Hon Eric Opoku?
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Motion on the floor of the House and in doing so, I would like to concentrate on the statement made by the Hon Minister-designate for the Interior, Hon Ambrose P. Dery. Mr Speaker, the Hon nominee spoke about decongestion of our prisons and I believe that it is something very important for all of us to look at how we can support him to do that. Mr Speaker, the problem goes beyond decongestion. When you look at our prisons in the country today, we have forty-three prisons. Out of the forty-three, only three were purposely built for prisoners. The other forty were inherited from businesses and Government entities, many from the colonial period. So, you would realise that these are facilities that were not meant for prisons but we are now using them as such. Mr Speaker, when you look at the Yeji Prison Camp, for instance, it used to be an abandoned clinic but now, it is being used as a prison. When you go to Winneba for instance, the Winneba Prisons used to be a warehouse dating back from the colonial times. Then you
Mr Speaker, the prisons that we have in Kenyase and Duayaw- Nkwanta were structures being used by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture but they are now being used as prisons. So, these facilities do not have facilities for correction and the purpose of keeping in offenders, basically is to reform them -- [Interruption.]
Hon Member, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, I would refer the Hon Member to go and read the Annual Report of Stakeholders, Ghana Prisons Council, 2015/2016. It is stated in there. All Hon Members have been given copies of the Report. I believe that when he reads the Report, he would get the information accurately. It is there.
You see, you do not read!
Order! Order! Hon Member, please, continue.
The purpose of confining offenders is to ensure that we reform them and bring them back to society but the facilities that we have now, do not have what it takes to reform the prisoners. So, it is important for us to look at how we can reform, look at the structures we have and ensure that we provide correctional facilities, and not only detain offenders but we also correct them so that at the end of the day, we can have a peaceful environment for all of us. That is why I urge the whole House to support all of us.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister-designate for Finance also spoke about the microfinance issues in this country. Mr Speaker, you would recall that during the electioneering campaign, one of the topical issues was the DKM and the other microfinance matters -- [Interruption.]
Hon Members, Order!
The issue was extensively discussed on the floor of this House. When a question was posed to the Minister-designate for Finance the quantum of money involved in the DKM matter and what preparations they were making to ensure that those who were the victims are paid, the Minister-designate responded that that was not captured in the NPP manifesto for 2016. But Mr Speaker, this was a campaign issue. It was an issue raised by the then Flagbearer of the NPP on a platform in Sunyani, that the NPP Government would pay DKM customers; the NPP Government would pay Jasta Motors' customers, the NPP Government would pay God is Love customers. Mr Speaker, this was a big campaign promise.
Mr Speaker, today, they are in power and they are running away from their own promise. Mr Speaker, it is important for all of us to know that sometimes, when you are out of power, you see things differently and therefore, you make political capital out of non- existing issues -- [Interruption.]
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the recognition.
Mr Speaker, I am interested if the Hon Member can give us evidence of this, where and when? -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, the statement made is not actually in the Report --
Hon Member, you have made your point.
The Hon Member has to tell us where and when the statement was made. The Hon Member is throwing dust into the eyes of Hon Members -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, if he has no evidence --
Hon Member, resume your seat. Order! Hon Member, this is a House of records. You have purportedly made a statement of fact. You either support it now or withdraw it -- Order! Order!
Mr Speaker, on the 26th of November, 2016 --
Hon Member -- I will want to make it -- Those on my right who are urging in their own way, it would not help anybody. I want to make it very clear that anytime any Hon Member of this Honourable House, whether on my left or right, is challenged on a purported statement of fact, I will rule that he or she must support it or withdraw it. That will apply as long as I am presiding. Hon Member, if you are able to support it, you will give me your source of support and then you can speak.
Mr Speaker, on the 26th of November, 2016, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the then flag- bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), was in Nkoranza --
Hon Member, what authoritative --
Hon Minority Leader, using your experience in the House, I will urge that you check whether there is an authoritative document, otherwise, advise -- [Interruptions.]
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I cherish the fact that you have insisted that you will insist on accuracy and record. What our Hon Colleague, Eric Opoku is about to do is for him to be given the opportunity. He has the evidence and he would present it. [Hear! Hear!] The point of order of our Hon Colleague reminds me of an age old proverb in Dagbani. When a blind man says he will throw a stone at you, he is probably stepping on it. Hon Opoku, in this matter, as the blind man, is stepping on a stone. Mr Speaker, momentarily, give him an opportunity to substantiate or otherwise, but an opportunity for him to answer the question that the Hon Colleague raised. With that point of order, I am compelled to quote Hillary Rodham Clinton; “You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose.” There was no need. That was campaign but he should be given the opportunity to share with us. We have -- [Interruptions.] Whatever it is, I have given -- Mr Speaker, I think that you should give the Hon Member the opportunity to quote his source and then you make a determination on the matter. Thank you.
Hon Opoku, you either produce it now or withdraw it -- [Interruptions.] Order! Order! Order! Order! Let me make it clear, that which cannot be supported on the floor, would be withdrawn. That is the practice. That which an Hon Member cannot support on his or her feet on the floor of this House, would be withdrawn. Some other time, you may come and make your reference. In the meantime, withdraw it and let us make progress. You have one minute to conclude.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I was referring to a statement made on a platform which has not --
Hon Member, please -- There is a procedure for quoting sources. Hon Minority Leader, I will prefer that you ask your Member to come to you and you teach him the process of quoting sources.
Mr Speaker, with all respect, I think you must allow the Hon Member. He who avers must prove. He has stated categorically that he has the evidence. We live in a technological world where now, these matters are recorded and the details provided. It is for him to provide the evidence, then you can rule upon it that he should submit it for your attention. However, you have not even given him the opportunity. Mr Speaker, the rules of natural justice, he must be heard and he must be heard well.
Hon Member, please, give us your source and proceed.
Mr Speaker, Ghanaweb --
I sit here very conversant with the rules of natural justice and that is why I am giving you every opportunity to give that to us.
Mr Speaker, I would want to give you the source --
Give us the source and continue.
On 26th November, 2016, Ghanaweb reported exactly what transpired in Nkoranza when the then New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Flagbearer appeared on a political platform and promised the people of the Brong Ahafo Region that all the victims of DKM activities would have their moneys paid fully to them. Mr Speaker, I have the video. He did not even end there. He went on to say that customers of Jasta Motors, God is Love and all the other microfinance institutions would be paid when the NPP gained power.
Order! Order! Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the exercise that Parliament is engaged in now is in respect of article 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution. We are considering, approving or not approving the President's nominees for Ministerial appointments.
“Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament from among Members of Parliament or persons qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament, except that the majority of Ministers of State shall be appointed from among Members of Parliament.” Mr Speaker, the first concern of us as Members of Parliament, when such names come before us, is the qualification and eligibility of the nominee. Mr Speaker, the Constitution provides further in article 78 (2), that and I beg to quote; “The President shall appoint such number of Ministers of State as may be necessary for the efficient running of the State.” Mr Speaker, we are not only looking at qualification and eligibility but also the capability, competency and so on, of the nominated persons. Mr Speaker, with respect to my Hon Colleague who is the former Hon Minister for the Brong Ahafo Region, under whose watch this infractions that he had talked about happened -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, I wonder what relevance -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I do not know what the two Hon Members have risen to do. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague asked about the rule. Any Parliament worth its salt does not live by the rules or procedures alone. There are conventions and practices of the House that must be respected by Hon Members of this House.
None I will disregard what is coming from the Hon Member for Asewase. I will not relate to him because his equal would handle him.
“The speech of a Member must have reference to the subject matter under discussion.” Mr Speaker, I would suggest to the Hon Member that the matter before us, is first about qualification and eligibility of the person. Mr Speaker, so respectfully, I would just want to bring my Hon Colleague back on track, that the relevance of what we are dealing with is really digressing and I would like to bring him back, so that we can make progress.
Hon Majority Leader, the Hon Member had already finished with his contribution. Hon Members, we have four more contributions, so, let us focus on our Business. By the nature of things, the four Hon Members from each side will have five minutes to contribute according to what Leadership has provided for me. I will keep to the time. Yes, Hon Titus-Glover?
Hon Minority Leader, do you rise on a point of order? Hon Members, our Committee has gone into this matter and brought a Report. I will plead that we stick to matters coming out from our own Report and make progress. Hon Minority Leader, if you are inclined towards what I have just said that we should stick as much as possible to our Report and consider the merits of the other application, then we may make progress. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I am on my feet for two reasons. One is to indulge you to allow the Hon Eric Opoku who was on the floor to conclude with his contribution. Mr Speaker, he has to conclude with his contribution because it was at your guidance that he should tender in some evidence which he shared. I am sure the shouts of “who cause am?” And “who must be paid?” truncated that. Mr Speaker, even more importantly, I am hugely surprised at the Hon Majority Leader's attempt to raise the issue of relevance. He referred to article 78 of the Constitution -- A Report is emanating from the Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee -- Mr Speaker, Hon Eric Opoku was quoting verbatim in reference to a statement and comment made by a nominee — [Interruption] — to an outstanding issue of DKM and God is Love; he referred to them.
Hon Eric Opoku, you have two minutes.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. The issue about microfinance is captured on page 10 of the Report and that underscores the relevance of my contribution. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister- designate for Finance also answered questions on increase in petroleum prices. It is very relevant for us to know in this House, that immediately after the announcement of his nomination, he indicated to the whole world that, fuel prices were not going to be increased in this country. Mr Speaker, four days later, fuel prices went up. So, when he appeared before the committee, we asked him what specific role could the Minister for Finance play in regulating the prices of fuel in an environment of deregulation. Mr Speaker, he said that the Minister for Finance could not do anything about fuel prices and deregulations. So, what informed the promise he made to the good people of this country, that prices of fuel were not going to be increased. Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover (NPP — Tema East): Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I equally rise to support the Motion for the adoption of the First Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E the President's nominations on Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, I sat through the vetting and I can confidently say that these nominees that H.E the President has chosen are men and women of substance, who have carried themselves diligently in their areas of profession. They are very experienced; they have the capacity and the knowhow to run the Ministries that they have been assigned to. Mr Speaker, to borrow the words of the Hon Majority Leader, even though he took the wind out of my sail, article 78 (2) and with your permission, I beg to quote: “The President shall appoint such number of Ministers of State as may be necessary for the efficient running of the State.” Mr Speaker, when Hon Mahama Ayariga was making his submission, he attacked the integrity of H.E the President — [Uproar] — By saying that, we have a National Security Advisor, National Security Co-ordinator, why add a Minister in charge of National Security?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member must make a clear distinction between doing a critical analysis of a speech that was made and not misconstruing it for attacking the integrity of the President. I think he must come very clear on that. There is a clear- cut distinction between the two. They are not the same. Doing a critical analysis of what took place is completely different from attacking the integrity of the President. Mr Speaker, he must withdraw it and say what is appropriate in the context.
Hon Member, one may disagree with the judgement of a person and say so. However, but that does not necessarily mean that you are attacking his integrity personally. I will be glad if you withdraw that and continue — [Hear! Hear!] Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, with respect to the Chair, I withdraw that. Let me say, however, that the President has a vision to run this country and he can decide the number of Ministers he wants to enable him perform his functions. Mr Speaker, going through the Report on the Minister designate for the Interior, it was evident at the Committee level that, there are a few issues that are happening in this country that are of national security concern. Mr Speaker, the first is about galamsey operations, which are destroying our vegetation and water bodies. Another issue that also came up is about youth unemployment. It is a national security matter and we have a good President like H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who has been elected to run this country. It is his duty to have a Minister in charge of National Security to harness the various security Ministries. Mr Speaker, one thing that he said is that, inasmuch as we have a Minister for the Ministry for Defence, it does not make them subservient to the National Security Minister. I think that is very important and we need to commend him on that.
designate for Finance, we were in this country and there were so many kinds of taxes, including taxes on condoms
Hon Member, you have a minute. Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, at the Committee level, he did assure us that certain taxes were going to be reviewed, that is, 17.5 per cent on VAT and financial services and the 5 per cent on the housing agencies. Mr Speaker, if we are able to reduce this, it is going to give a lot of room for these businesses to grow and by so doing, we can get a lot of revenue.
In conclusion — [Laughter.] Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, I pray that you give me an additional two minutes because there has been a lot of heckling. Mr Speaker, the issue about the laboratory — The National Liberation Council Decree 326 empowers the Ghana
In conclusion? Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, when one goes to the Jubilee Fields, all the oil production that is going on, it is their duty and mandate to really find out —
Hon James Agalga?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity for me to contribute to the Motion. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would want to first and foremost, congratulate the nominees as they acquitted themselves well, particularly the Ministers-designate for the Interior and National Security. I would confine my contribution to the responses of the two sector Ministers because of my own background as the immediate past Deputy Minister for the Interior. Mr Speaker, reference is made to page 6 of the Report and on page six, the Minister-designate for National Security is captured as having said that, and with your permission, I beg to quote; “The Minister would not only report on the operations of the security agencies but would also answer Questions on behalf of the security agencies”. Mr Speaker, this is captured in the Report and is problematic; it brings to the fore the potential for role conflict between what the Minister for the National Security would be doing as opposed to what the Minister for the Interior would perform under this dispensation. Mr Speaker, under the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act where the Minister for National Security draws his functions from, that office is supposed to collate and analyse intelligence and also to co-ordinate the role of the security agencies.
Yes, Hon First Deputy Speaker?
Mr Speaker, I think to help the Hon Member on the floor of the House, the reference to the security agencies is clearly an error. We wanted to talk about intelligent agencies, such that the discussion can be fairer. Mr Speaker, so, I would seek leave to amend the part referring to the Minister- designate for National Security purporting to --
Duly corrected. Order!
Very well, Mr Speaker, I am happy that the Hon Chairman of the Committee has done the proper thing. Mr Speaker, having said that, it is important to state that it is the Minister for the Interior who reports for the security agencies on the floor of Parliament and not the Minister for National Security. Mr Speaker, I have also read statements attributed to the nominee for the Ministry of the Interior, the Hon Ambrose Dery and he acquitted himself well at the vetting. He is an old student of the Navrongo Secondary School -- NAVASCAN -- and I believe strongly that he is going to perform well in that Ministry. In one of his responses to a question posed on measures to decongest prisons, he clearly stated on page 17 that it is captured in the New Patriotic Party's (NPP's) 2016 Manifesto that non- custodial measures would be introduced
Hon Member, you should be concluding.
Mr Speaker, I wish to state that non-custodial measures are part of the criminal -- [Interruption.]
Hon Member, are you up on a point of Order?
Mr Speaker, yes. Hon Agalga is a good friend of mine and so, I do not think he meant to say what he said. He said that “it is only the Minister for the Interior who reports on the security agencies.” Mr Speaker, the military is a security agency but the Minister for the Interior cannot answer Questions on the military and so, he should correct himself.
Essentially, a point of correction. Hon Member, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, the role of the Minister for the Interior is the maintenance of internal security - law and order. So, the reference to reporting for the security agencies here would be in reference to the internal security agencies excluding the Armed Forces, which is responsible for
Hon Member, and in conclusion --
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the point I need to stress is that non- custodial measures are already part and parcel of the criminal and other offences laws of the land. So, as the Minister- designate, I wish to draw his attention to the fact that when we were at that Ministry, we took steps --
Hon Member, you would conclude.
We took steps to infuse those measures into the criminal laws of the land. So, I would urge him to continue from where we left off --
Hon K. T. Hammond, your turn.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Motion. Mr Speaker, I congratulate the nominees and I pray that the House would approve all of them. My comments are pretty brief and confined to the nomination of the Hon Albert Kan-Dapaah, and to some extent, Ms Gloria Akuffo. Mr Speaker, I have been hearing the Hon Minister-designate for National Security was queried about his temperament and that there was some suggestion that he was sometimes dismissive and irrational about some matters. [Interruption] -- That he was getting irritated about some matters. Mr Speaker, the point I am making is that you would need to be close to Hon Kan- Dapaah to know his personality, affability and approachability. [Hear! Hear!]
Mr Speaker, the nation must be grateful to Hon Albert Kan- Dapaah for what we now have and for all the reserves of oil in the country -- Mr Speaker, as one of the Ministers, I worked with Hon Albert Kan-Dapaah and I am in a better position to talk about his inclination to peace, his stability and the way he goes about his business. Mr Speaker, towards the later part of the 2008 Elections -- and I refer specifically to the Tain end of the election when massive insanity was threatening to break up in the country -- when I was then the Deputy Minister for the Interior and Hon Albert Kan-Dapaah was the Minister for Defence. Mr Speaker, you should have been around him to see the calmness with which he operated. Mr Speaker, I congratulate the President for nominating Hon Albert Kan- Dapaah to the position of Minister for National Security. [Interruption.] -- Indeed, Mr Speaker, those Hon Colleagues looking at me and laughing should not do that -- They should not do that. This is because you would recall that after the appointment of Hon Francis Poku by His Excellency President Kufuor, they laughed. For a very long time, we did not have a substantive Minister for National Security. I think we had a situation where the Minister for the Interior was made responsible -- He was never the substantive Minister for National Security.
None Mr Speaker, just a few comments about the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice-designate. Mr Speaker, I do not find the answers to the questions captured in the Report here. When the nominee for the Office of the Attorney- General was questioned about employment, facilities and the conditions of service for the Office of the Attorney- General, she actually responded and expressed her desire to make sure that they are properly cared for. We do not seem to have the answers in the document here. Mr Speaker, it is important for the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to note that they are working under some pretty precarious conditions. They do not have printers to start with; they do not have A-4 size papers or toners for their printing; there are no air-conditioners; they do not have electricity and they do not have parking space at the High Courts
Hon Member, please, wind up. [Interruption]-- And in conclusion?
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice-designate should kindly look into the service condition of those who work under her. I believe with the right atmosphere, they would provide the relevant condition for her to operate successfully. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. I rise to support the Motion on the floor of the House on the nominations for Ministerial appointments.
Order! Order! Order!
Mr Speaker, if I may state, I am referring to the eight nominees because that is the Report we are discussing. Mr Speaker, I said this because it is one of the areas we have always spoken about, to make sure it happens. I was the Chairperson for the Committee on Gender and Children in the past Administration. I would want to state that I am impressed by this - [Hear! Hear!] But we are still asking for more. Mr Speaker, I am not talking about the general nominations that have been made. With the nominations in total, ladies are about five per cent. I am referring to this Report because -- [Hear! Hear!] This is what I am talking about. Mr Speaker, however, I praying that, at the end of the day, we would have many more ladies to come on board. This is because, listening to the Communication from the President this morning --
Hon Member, you would wind up.
Mr Speaker, there was no lady among the Regional Ministers who were nominated. My sincere pleasure goes to Hon Alima Mahama for her appointment. She is a role model and from where she comes, she would help more women to come on board. When it comes to political decision-making and leadership, the three northern regions are normally left out. Mr Speaker, it would interest you to note that, in this past elections, only two women have come from the northern sector into this House; that is one from the Upper East Region and the other from the Upper West Region. That is not good enough.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Appointments Committee for the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the Committee for doing a very diligent job and the quality of the Report is also good. Mr Speaker, I would want to restrict myself to responses given by one of the nominees to questions posed by the Hon Members of the Committee.
The Deputy Leaders have five minutes each and the Leaders will have 10 minutes. Hon Member, you have one minute more left.
Mr Speaker, I am winding up. The nominee indicated that oil revenue has become a major source of revenue to the State since commercial production started in the year 2010. Mr Speaker, it is not true. It is not true that oil revenue has become a major -- If we take the budgets of previous years -- in fact, I have done a tabulation here, which I can tender in to help Hon Members --
Mr Speaker, that shows that the contribution of oil revenue to the total domestic revenue for the year 2012 was 3.3 per cent. The contribution of Annual Budget Funding Amount to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 0.71 per cent
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, in conclusion?
Mr Speaker, that can never be a major source of revenue to Government. So, if the nominee thinks that the oil revenue is the only source of revenue, and for that matter, he would reduce the corporate tax rate, he should rather review his thoughts and do a proper analysis to ensure that he maintains either the 25 per cent or reduces the 20 per cent and find out how he could use that to increase revenue collection without depending on oil revenue.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, you have a minute.
Mr Speaker, when one goes through the Criminal Act, there are laws on corruption there. When one goes through all these laws, we have the Financial Administration Act, the Public Procurement Act and the recently passed Public Financial Management Act. So, the issue is to have an independent body to deal with corruption, and she so indicated. Mr Speaker, also, on Hon Shirley A. Botchwey --
Mr Speaker, I believe that her experience as the former Deputy Ranking Member on the Committee on Foreign, her competence is not in doubt. I add my voice to my Hon Colleagues on the floor of the House that the nominees so nominated by the President be given the needed approval for the President to swear them in accordingly to serve this great nation, Ghana. Indeed, we have the men and women and they are all competent and up to the task.
Hon Minority Leader, you have ten minutes.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion ably moved by the Hon First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, to which I had the opportunity to second and now, with your leave, to make a comment. Mr Speaker, let me assure you of our commitment to work to facilitate Government to establish the machinery of Government well in order that it would facilitate the delivery of public goods and services. Mr Speaker, the Appointments Committee has been working in earnest and diligently to submit its recommendations to this august House for consideration. Mr Speaker, but with the President's nominations to Parliament, we are concerned about the signal on the size of Government and its implications on the public purse. Already, looking at the numbers, we are not too sure whether those commitments would not have implications on the public purse. Mr Speaker, our second concern is on role conflict and duplication, which are becoming evident, even in the appointments and references that are done -- Some of them even without recourse to amendment of appropriate legislation that would allow for that to happen -- in respect of they exercising oversight. Mr Speaker, having said so, may I now refer to your Committee's Report and probably look at some of the personalities -- One after the other. In respect, of Hon Albert Kan-Dapaah, Hon Minister-designate for National Security -- He is an affable gentleman and there is no doubt that he has the competence and capacity to oversee National Security on behalf of the President. Our primary concern is about the protection of the fundamental human rights and freedoms, in particular, the Bureau of National Investigations was established to respect the right of persons who are arrested or detained, to have the right to counsel and not to subject people to inhumane treatment. We trust that, given his performance in Parliament, particularly at the Public Accounts Committee, he would bring some diligence and competence to the portfolio of National Security. Mr Speaker, he gave an assurance to this House of his preparedness to demystify National Security and Intelligence and where necessary, share some details with us. For the next four years, we could entrust our national security into his hands. Mr Speaker, may I now move to the Hon Minister-designate for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta -- A very clam personality. He was very sober at the vetting in terms of his temperament and demeanour. Mr Speaker, but his answers to the questions leaves much doubt. For instance, I would refer to your Committee's Report on page 7 -- Proposal for Establishment of Financial Stability Council. Mr Speaker, it is needless and an exercise that would be in futility. There is already a Public Financial Management (PFM) Act and incorporated in it is the fiscal responsibility. To just add a “Council” to it would serve no purpose. I know that in 2007 and 2008, my senior Hon Colleague, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, pledged to put a Motion for a Fiscal Responsibility Bill. There is a Public Financial Management Act -- and you come and promise the people of Ghana that you would bring a Council.
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, my Hon Friend is giving the impression that the Fiscal Responsibility Act is the same as the Fiscal Council. The two are not the same. I was part of the team that helped to bring the PFM Act, but there is a gap and the Fiscal Council seeks to fill that gap in the Act that we just passed. Mr Speaker, just like we have the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at the Bank of Ghana, we would need the Fiscal Council at the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance ought to be supervised by a group independent - Your previous Hon Minister did not want it and that was why it was taken out of the Bill. When the Bill came to Cabinet, you knew that it was inside but it disappeared when it got here. So, please, do not mislead the House.
Mr Speaker, whatever it is, the Hon Minister for Finance would be at the fore front of realising the many policy objectives of this Administration. Mr Speaker, may I refer to page 9 of the Committee's Report -- Renegotiation of the IMF Programme. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister-designate hinted at the Committee that Government -- Yes, we are a sovereign country and a sovereign member of the IMF -- Mr Speaker, but we negotiated and concluded a three-year extended credit facility, which is two-thirds complete. Therefore, when we hear that we would “renegotiate and not bring to completion and closure and be on our own”, it sends worry. Particularly, when the essence of negotiation as he said is to ask for more fiscal space. Which fiscal space? Mr Speaker, the IMF is not a charity non-governmental organisation (NGO), that on the basis of your manifesto, you would go to them and say that we have won elections in Ghana, therefore, change
Mr Speaker, I have been involved in IMF negotiations for a long time and the word “renegotiation” is synonymous to “review”. I would want to remind the Hon Member on the floor that as we speak, the programme is off- track. If it is off-track, then it has to be renegotiated and that is the context, and it is a reality.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I said that given the fiscal outturn for the year 2016, which has been overstretched -- and to also remind my Hon Colleague that ex-President Mahama, in his last State of the Nation Address, said that, the fiscal target could not be met because of the declining oil revenues, it was to hint that there would be factors which would make achieving the targets impossible. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is a trained economist, and instead of indicating he is asking for fiscal space -- I said that, we could do expenditure re- prioritisation to cut down expenditure but not aim at cutting down on taxes. They said that they would cut down taxes, yet they ask for fiscal space. That is paradoxical and a contradiction. Mr Speaker, in any case, if the IMF could not give the previous NDC Administration fiscal space, then we would find out where they would get the space and give it to them. Mr Speaker, on the fiscal deficit --
Hon Minority Leader, you have two minutes.
Mr Speaker, we do not know who to believe. We heard the Minister-designate for Energy say that their Government would review the Energy Sector Levy downwards. Then a Minister-designate for Finance also said that it would be intact. The Vice President of the Republic also gave a different opinion -- three contradictions in the same matter, yet they want to be believed by the people of Ghana on the Energy Sector Levy. Mr Speaker, it remains fundamental and they should understand that to achieve fiscal consolidation and solve the problems within the energy sector, they would need to maintain the Energy Sector Levy in order to avoid this country walking the path of dumsor again and to also ensure that the energy sector institutions such as VRA and ECG are able to issue Letters of Credit and borrow on their own balance sheet. They would be learning and picking it up from the NDC. They promised debt restructuring and we restructured -- They are using the Energy Sector Levy and receivables as their guarantee -- thank the NDC Government --
And in conclusion.
Mr Speaker, this is Leadership. Mr Speaker, let me now speak on the Minister-designate for the Interior. Undoubtedly, an affable personality who assures us that our home affairs and internal security would be strengthened. He has also demonstrated respect for fundamental human rights. Mr Speaker, again, as the President's principal legal adviser on internal affairs, let it be said that we have just been told that the President has appointed a new Inspector General of Police (IGP) -- [Interruption] -- an acting -- Whatever. Mr Speaker, I have heard people referencing the President -- article 199 of the Constitution, with its headnote is on retirement of public officers. The constitutional provision for the appointment of the IGP is article 202 which says that he shall do that in consultation with the Council of State, which does not exist. So, who did he consult before appointing the IGP? Who is a fine and suitable gentleman? Mr Speaker, the President must be encouraged to hasten to respect our institutions and constitute the Council of State and the Police Council in earnest and avoid steps that might give an indication that he does not respect the Constitution he sought to uphold. Mr Speaker, finally, as regards the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, I was impressed with content and depth of the Hon (Hajia) Alima Mahama and her commitment to deepen decentralisation. I believe in making the office of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives' elective, there is a general national consensus on what to go about. We would encourage her to deepen decentralisation, particularly, the devolution of power and the mobilisation of resources.
None Mr Speaker, one final point and I would be done. She indicated to the Committee that she would appoint someone into the “office of Special Independent Prosecutor. Again, we are sure that in principle, nobody has an objection and nobody would make an effort by any machinery of Government to fight graft, corruption and white collar criminality. We have a problem when an Attorney-General and Minister to be, throws the House in despair and says that she would leave this to a special prosecutor. Do we mean that the office of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is not enough? The very influences and forces that make her impossible and practicable to deliver, same forces would threaten the office of the Special Prosecutor. But again, Mr Speaker, our special concern is respecting the Constitution. Article 88 of the Constitution, which relates to the Executive arm of Government relates to the entrenched positions of the Constitution. We are saying that respect --
Hon Minority Leader, shall we conclude?
Mr Speaker, I am on the last --
Hon Minority Leader, I do not know what you have. I only said you should conclude. [Laughter.]
Therefore, Mr Speaker, we are not against the Special Prosecutor's office; we say, let us all research deeply into constitutional jurisprudence and know what to do in order to strengthen the arm of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice with that particular office. Mr Speaker, to the Hon Nitiwul, a young promising person, I am sure his performance would determine the future of many young people here as we demonstrated in the past with the late former President Mills. How he performs and supports President Nana Akuffo- Addo might open the opportunity for many more.
Hon Majority Leader? I pray that you would retire when I make the indication, and I would be very glad if Leadership in particular would cooperate with me in such matters.
Mr Speaker, I believe I would speak for less than ten minutes. Mr Speaker, the first is to commend the Committee members for the work that they have done. They sat through long hours, sometimes, sitting at 10.00 am and closing after10.00 p.m. -- twelve hours of sitting. We must commend them for a very profound job done. Again, the quality of the Report that they have submitted to this House clearly demonstrates the movement of the Committee in another direction altogether. They are lifting up the performance of the Appointments Committee, and they must be commended. Mr Speaker, really, probing and searching questions have been asked, and I guess in this direction, we must commend highly, the performance of the leadership of the Committee, in particular the Chairman of the Committee. Mr Speaker, issues have been raised about the size of the Ministers, that is, those of them who might have the opportunity to assist the President to run the State efficiently and also assist the President to formulate policies for the national development agenda that the President intends to unveil and indeed, unleash. The Constitution is clear on this in article 78 (2). It does not place any upper ceiling on the number of Ministers that a particular President might appoint. Mr Speaker, the delivery of those Ministers would really attest whether there is the need for the number of Ministers appointed by a particular President. If at the end of the day, they are able to lift and indeed, add to the standard of living of Ghanaians, improved in a very profound manner, that number would be justified. If on the other hand, they are not able to perform, certainly, one could raise issues about the number of the Ministers. We are not there yet at all. So, people should have patience. Let them cool their hearts and heads until after four years. Certainly, at the end of it all, we would be in the position to assess the performance of those Ministers. Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, the latitude that has been granted at the Committee level has not been seen before. However, in my opinion, giving the number of hours that each nominee spends before the twenty-six member Committee, the time has come for us as a House to have a second look at the composition of the Appointments Committee. As part of the review of the Standing Orders, we have proposed to cut these numbers down. And I believe if we do that, we would enrich the performance and the work of those various committees. Mr Speaker, I would want to address this last matter raised by my Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader, in respect of the appointment in an acting position of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP). What must be known to the country is that the immediate past IGP was appointed on 4th of February, 2016. When he was appointed, he had only thirteen days to run to his retirement age. He was due for retirement on 17th February, 2016. Indeed, beyond that date, he ought to have been given a contract. No such contract was given him, which meant that he had become functus officio on 17th February, 2016. So, in what capacity was he acting? What is right is right; what is wrong is wrong. And I believe that we must as a nation attend to these matters. Mr Speaker, the question to the Minister for Finance-designate was specific. The question was asked of him whether they had promised that they were going to make payment to the DKM Diamond Microfinance saga victims, and he said that did not exist in the manifesto. This is because it was quoted to him that in their manifesto such was what they had said. And he was crisp; he said it did not exist in the manifesto. I agree with my Hon Colleague that some statements have been made to that effect, but Hon Members would recollect that on this very floor we brought the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and he alluded to it. Hon Members even pleaded that that should be done, and the former President, President Mahama indicated that steps were going to be taken to do just that. So, what is the fuss about that? Mr Speaker, excuse my language. “What is the noise about that?” Mr Speaker, we should be consistent. It is a paradox of circumstances when the Minister in whose region this camp operated would have the -- I would not want to say the audacity or the temerity to raise this matter. Mr Speaker, we must be candid with ourselves. Mr Speaker, having said that, I would not want to go into assessing the quality of the materials that have been placed before us. I believe enough has been said about them, and by and large we are ad idem on the quality, the competence and the integrity of the people who are coming on board. Mr Speaker, people have spoken about corrupt practices of some Ministers in the past. As a House, we should live up to our responsibility -- the discharge of our oversight functions. Mr Speaker, human beings are human beings, regardless of the platitude. If we leave them, they may fall foul and go errant. That is why Parliament should be very proactive in the way we conduct our business. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the space granted and I appeal to my Hon Colleagues that we should approve all of them, not merely by consensus but unanimously approve of the people who have come before us. Thank you very much.
Hon Members, at the conclusion of the debate --
Hon First Deputy Speaker, you are entitled to make a few remarks.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. In winding up, I would just like to request Hon Members to amend the Report on the last page. “Ms. Hajia Alima Mahama” should be replaced with “Hon Hajia Alima Mahama”. She is a member of this House. Mr Speaker, having said that, I would like to thank my Hon Colleague Members of the Committee. We endured long sitting hours to come out with these conclusions which are today before the House, and to thank all Hon Members for their contribution and their support.
Hon Members, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the following nominees who have received parliamentary approval for appointment as Ministers of State. i. Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah -- Minister-designate for National Security ii. Mr Ken Ofori-Atta -- Minister-designate for Finance iii. Hon Dominic B. A. Nitiwul -- Minister-designate for Defence iv. Hon Ambrose P. Dery -- Minister-designate for the Interior v. Ms Gloria Akuffo -- Minister-designate for Attorney-General and Justice vi. Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten -- Minister-designate for Trade and Industry vii. Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey -- Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs viii. Hajia Alima Mahama -- Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development. It is far past time, but just in case we have some indication from Leadership as to any other matter how be it.
Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the Hon Members of the Committee on Selection to have a short meeting with you in your holding room upon a adjournment.
Mr Speaker, I understand that you will chair the Selection Committee in order that we get the committees in place, so that we could take that Motion tomorrow to get the House Committees properly constituted. I associate myself with the comment. Thank you.
The House was adjourned at 4.52 p.m. till Friday, 27th January, 2017 at 10.00 a.m.