VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 4th July, 2017.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 28th June, 2017.]
Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Urgent Question. The Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations would get ready and take the seat. The Urgent Question stands in the name of Hon Kobena Mensah Woyome, the Member of Parliament for South Tongu Constituency.
Mr Speaker, may I seek your leave? [Interruption.] The Hon Kobena Mensah Woyome, Member for South Tongu Constituency in whose name the Question stands is unavoidably absent. So, he has requested that the Hon Richard Quashigah does so on his behalf, if it is at your pleasure.
Thank you. Hon Member?
ORAL ANSWERS TO URGENT
MINISTRY OF EMPLOYMENT AND
Mr Speaker, the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) established by the Youth Employment Agency Act of 2015 (Act 887), was preceded by the defunct Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) in 2012. This was also preceded by the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) established in 2006. The objective of the Youth Employ- ment Agency Act of 2015 (Act 887) is to achieve government's policy on youth employment. The Act thus mandates the Agency to develop, coordinate, supervise and facilitate the creation of jobs for Ghana's youth. The functions of the Agency include, but not limited to, developing guidelines for the implementation of an integrated and innovative national youth programme that facilitates employment in the public and private sectors of the economy. Mr Speaker, since the passage of Act 887, as part of the implementation process, a Legislative Instrument (L.I.) has been passed by this august House. The Agency has in place, an approved conditions of service and scheme of service. Mr Speaker, with regard to the state of recruitment, the Agency has a staff strength of 830 personnel. A considerable number of these personnel were migrated from GYEEDA to YEA. Recruitment into the YEA is based on laid down processes and procedures from the Public Services Commission (PSC). Staff recruitment is in two categories. First, the core staff is categorised into permanent and contract ones. Secondly, the Agency has engaged beneficiaries under various modules. Altogether, the Agency has twelve (12) job modules to date. Additionally, the Agency has engaged six hundred (600) monitoring and evaluation assistants to support the sixty two thousand, eight hundred and twenty five (62,825) programme beneficiaries engaged in the modules by the Agency to deliver on its mandate. Training Mr Speaker, with regard to training, YEA collaborates with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI), the Internal Audit Agency, the Controller and Accountant-General's Department and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to provide training for its personnel. These institutions run customised training programmes for Departments, senior and middle level staff in various disciplines and specialised areas. Mr Speaker, programme beneficiaries also receive hands-on training in the specific module areas they are engaged in. This training is undertaken in conjunction with partner agencies such as the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service, and the Ghana Health Services among others. Deployment Mr Speaker, a total number of one hundred and twelve (112) personnel are engaged at the Head Office, seventy personnel at the ten (10) Regional Directorates and six hundred and forty- eight (648) personnel at the two hundred and sixteen (216) District Offices in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) throughout the country. Mr Speaker, for the programme beneficiaries, a total of sixty-two thousand eight hundred and twenty-five (62,825) persons have been deployed throughout the country under the various modules. The distribution is as shown in the table that follows:
Hon Minister, thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister if he is aware of transfers of these personnel without transfer grants?
Mr Speaker, I am aware of transfers but transfer grants are not granted to the people until they have reported to their new places of postings. When that is done and it is reported to the office, the grants are then paid.
Hon Member, any follow- up?
Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Minister, how much the transfer grant is?
Mr Speaker, since this was not part of the core aspect of the Question, I would require notice to that. This is because I would not want to give this House any wrong figure. I would have to check and be sure of the figure before I give it out.
Hon Member, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister give the assurance that he would ensure that these personnel are given whatever is due them in terms of transfer grants?
Hon Minister, the Hon Member wants assurance.
Mr Speaker, what has been negotiated and what is due staff would be given them. I would want to assure this House.
Thank you. Any further questions?
Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister aware that, in spite of the YEA Act being operational, some personnel of the Agency have been summarily dismissed without due regard to Public Service Commission's guidelines.
Mr Speaker, I am not aware of that.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, when one engages a young person in the eastern region and pays the person GH¢300 a month and this person is transferred from his or her hometown in the Eastern Region to the Northern Region and the person is still paid GH¢300, does their transfer not effectively amount to a termination of their appointment? How is he or she going to survive on GH¢300?
Mr Speaker, I made a distinction between two categories of people who are recruited by the YEA. I said that we have a core staff and we have programme beneficiaries. Programme beneficiaries are not transferred, and they are the people who receive the GH¢300. No such persons have been transferred but those who have been transferred are the core staff.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, the YEA Regulations defines the modules that are currently being implemented and we would like to know about some of the modules.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful the Hon Minister gave some explanation on the method of payment and quantum of money. Now, we are aware that, they are operating on an electronic platform; could he guarantee that we are not going to have the issue of ghost names again? Mr Speaker, I ask this question because we often hear about review of ghost names -- They are operating on an electronic platform now and people's biometric data are being collected. Is this the termination point of a possible ghost name on his payroll?
Mr Speaker, it is our wish and prayer that, the list we have would actually represent the actual people who are working on the ground. No single method could be said to be a proof of honesty, let me put it that way. So, yes, we are revising the ways of monitoring. One of the ways is to go on an electronic platform, but I cannot guarantee that would automatically result in an effort-free, or maybe, a ghost-free list. Mr Speaker, on a daily basis, we revise our method of monitoring and that is why I said that we have engaged 600 people who also do monitoring on a daily basis.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out if the Hon Minister actually said that he did not know about the modules currently being implemented under the YEA.
Mr Speaker, I hope that my Hon Colleague did not hear me very well. I said that, there are 12 modules that we are operating now but I may not be able to mention all because I never had notice to this ahead of time. Mr Speaker, if I am given time or notice to do that, then I would provide the Hon Member with the names.
Mr Speaker, I do not really understand what my Hon Colleague means by “irregular recruitment of core staff.” This is because I have not come across any such irregular recruitment in the Agency. If the Hon Member may explain what he means by that.
Hon Member, could you be clear?
Hon Minister, has he made it clearer?
Mr Speaker, as I speak now, the Ministry is doing a Human Resource (HR) audit of all the staff of the Agency. The audit involves, firstly, checking the number on roll, their qualifications and matching the qualifications with the various grades that they have. Mr Speaker, I would want to believe that, the Report of that HR audit would be ready latest in a month's time and that would be able to help us. Mr Speaker, since January 2017, we have insisted that anybody assigned to do any work for the Agency is properly appointed and duly given an appointment letter for any function that he or she performs for the Agency.
Mr Speaker, in the first place, the Hansard Department is my witness. I never made a statement that I am not aware of any demotion. Indeed, no question had come to me on the issue of demotion, but to the best of my knowledge, nobody has had any reduction in scale, in terms of placement of persons so far as the structure of the YEA is concerned. Mr Speaker, I would want to insist on the “nobody”.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Minister that, in the scheme of all the transfers and the movements, has the governing board of the YEA been put in place?
Mr Speaker, the composition of the Board, as per the Act, is the responsibility of His Excellency, the President. Mr Speaker, he is in the process of getting a board together.
Mr Speaker, thank you. It has not been a long time since the Hon Minister assumed this seat, but I would want to find out if the transfers had
Hon Minister, the history of the transfers?
Mr Speaker, transfers are a management tool which any public office adapts to implement any programme that they would want to achieve. Transfers had been part of YEA and this is not the first time that YEA had had an incident of transfers.
Hon Muntaka -- Leadership privilege, so, go on.
Mr Speaker, I do not know when the Hon Majority Chief Whip entered the Chamber because, I have already answered the same question. Mr Speaker, I said that I would not be able to give the figure now -- I would need notice to that effect.
Hon Muntaka, you may come by way of a specific Question in that regard. Hon Members, that would end this aspect of Question time. Hon Minister, thank you very much. Hon Members, item numbered 4 on the Order Paper. That Question stands in the name of the Hon Member for Yilo Krobo and it is directed at the Hon Minister for Energy. So, let us hear what goes on in Krobo land.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF ENERGY
As a matter of policy, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) operates its billing system by reading installed post-paid meters and generates customer bills on monthly basis in accordance with L.I. 1816. The meters are read following a reading cycle for thirty (30) days with a margin of three (3) days. The bills produced are delivered to customers alongside the meter reading in the ensuing month. The billing process begins after completion of meters reading activities. All customers' Accounts with meters read and validated are billed with actual readings. Customers' Accounts readings rejected or not read are billed on estimates. The reasons giving rise to estimated billing are: i) Establishment of maiden bills ii) Non-access iii) Unauthorised meter transfers iv) Outages during reading, and v) Rejected readings Establishment of maiden bills The first bill received by a customer for electricity energy consumed is referred to as the maiden bill. This bill usually comes with estimate if the service is rendered after the reading of the area (route) as scheduled. Non-access In a situation where the meter reader does not have access to the customer meter (example, gated and locked compounds during the time of meter reading), estimated bills are generated for the customer. Unauthorised meter transfers This situation occurs when customers relocate their installed postpaid meters without prior notice to ECG. Outages during reading In instances where there is no supply due to faults or planned outages in some arears, reading from electronic post-paid meters is impossible, therefore, the customers' bills are estimated. Rejected readings Under this occurrence, estimated bills are issued when there are suspected faulty metres, meter tampering or human errors resulting from manual readings. In all the enumerated cases, when the actual readings of the postpaid meters are picked and validated after the previous estimates, the billing system automatically does a re-billing to reconcile the customers' accounts. Remedial actions to reduce estimated bills In order to address the challenge of estimated billing, ECG has introduced the following measures: i. Automated Meter Reading (AMR) facility for its major customers where metre readings are done remotely. ii. Handheld devices for the reading of residential and non- residential (small scale commercial customers) metres. It is to be noted that Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya are beneficiaries of the use of hand-held devices for manual reading.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, specifically, is the Hon Minister aware that, the incidence of estimated bills have become the norm rather than the exception, thereby generating unrealistic bills that gave rise to the recent disturbances undertaken by both Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Municipality electricity con- sumers?
Mr Speaker, as a resident of the aforementioned areas, I would not suggest that it becomes the norm. I admit there is a problem with quite a number of the bills that are estimated. But the problem goes beyond what the Hon Member is suggesting, and efforts are being made to reconcile the estimates and the actuals.
Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister be in the position to intimate to this House some of the measures being taken to reduce these incidences he alluded to?
Mr Speaker, as I indicated in the Answer to the Question, the ECG has introduced hand-held readers that do the reconciliation on a much faster basis. It also allows for remote reading, so that, even when one's gates or compounds are locked, the meter readers would be able to stand outside the house and read the meter. That is the innovation that the ECG is bringing.
Mr Speaker, finally, the Hon Minister is aware that, this challenge posts security problems in the two municipalities. What step is the Hon Minister taking to address, specifically, the challenges in the two municipalities?
Mr Speaker, the problem of estimated readings, indeed, is a national problem; it is not limited to Lower Manya and Yilo Krobo. The problem as it erupted in the Yilo Krobo area was unfortunate. I, as a resident in the area, periodically had to go to the ECG offices in Somanya to make enquiries and seek help in getting corrections. But there has never been an instance where, as the Minister, I have gone threatening the workers to do the right thing or else -- It should not be the situation where people who are unhappy with their condition resort to violence or unprovoked attacks. Mr Speaker, I admit that there is a problem in reading the meters, but the resolution is not attacking facilities of the ECG; it is in making sure that one presents his or her case and has it resolved over time.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. Hon Asafu-Adjei?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, is it the policy of the Ministry to sell meters to customers? If so, what is the price?
Mr Speaker, meters issued by ECG are not for sale; they remain the property of ECG. That is why there is a service charge for the use of meters.
Mr Speaker, the metres in both Lower Manya and Upper Manya are a mixture of prepaid and postpaid. We are in the process of rolling out and replacing all postpaid metres with prepaid meters.
Hon Member, please, repeat the question.
Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister how he guarantees fairness or reasonable estimated billing system.
The Hon Minister is entitled to seek explanation where necessary. I do not think he needs assistance from any quarters. Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, all estimates are guesstimates or educated guesses. Normally what ECG would do is either look at a pattern of consumption you may have established over time and strike an average, or use some index of the locality one live in to estimate for the first time. These estimates are over a period adjusted and corrected when the actuals are done. It is impossible to guarantee in the instance of estimates what the outcomes should look like.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he said the estimated bills were validated. I would like to know the mode of validation of the estimated bill. How are the estimated bills validated? And what are the steps. I ask that because, sometimes, it takes about two or three years before the bills are given to the consumers. What steps are they taking to make sure that these bills, whether estimated or actual bills, are sent to the consumers on time, so that they can also pay their bills?
Mr Speaker, part one of the Question was on validation. When the meter readers have access to my premises, they compare the actual against their estimates and adjustments; either additions or subtractions are made to arrive at an actual bill. So, if my previous estimate was GH¢20 and the actual suggests GH¢10, then I get some credit of GH¢10. That is how the validations are done. On the second part, in quite a number of instances, because meters are illegally moved or illegally acquired, there is always the problem that the ECG may not be able to identify the specific location of a particular meter until much later, then the accumulation is charged together. That is what I believe happens in our areas. A lot of the meters have been illegally acquired and illegally moved, so, the accumulation, once the illegality is found out, has a huge amount on it that we all start complaining about.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in asking my question, I refer to the Electricity Regulations 2008, L.I.1937, as well as the Energy Commissions Act, 1997 (Act 541), which make it an offence and an illegality to transfer meters in an unauthorised manner. Apart from the ECG, nobody has the right to transfer meters. The second part has to do with access to the reading of meters. Under the Regulation, one cannot prevent a staff of ECG from having access to read the meters. In the Hon Minister's Answer, however, he gives five reasons that give cause for the estimation of bills. Among
Mr Speaker, with respect to the unauthorised transfer of meters, it is not a sanctioned activity, and as my Hon Friend is aware, the illegalities continue. That is how come we have illegal connections. It is an illegality, but it happens, and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is trying as much as possible to be able to track the metres they issue. Mr Speaker, on the second question of access, I would say yes, we are supposed under the law to grant access, but often times, either people are not at home -- and this is not to suggest a deliberate act of prevention. It might just happen that people are simply not at home. Mr Speaker, on a lighter note, as the Hon Member sits here, people may be trying to read his meter but there may not be anybody at home to grant access. The hand held meters have just been introduced. Mr Speaker, in the Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Municipalities, they have the key pad instead of the electronic, but it is a gradual introduction, and we hope that, sooner than later, it would be fully functioning in those two areas. Mr Speaker, on the fourth point of vacation of post, the attack on the staff and the facilities at Somanya and the burning of the Police vehicle was so vicious that, it created a certain insecurity in the area, where the staff had to be withdrawn from Somanya to the offices in Juapong. So, they are there, it is just that the distance have become inconvenient. Mr Speaker, we are trying to establish normalcy in the area, so that the staff of ECG can return to post without any threat of physical harm to their persons.
Hon Members, the last one on this issue on the floor.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would want to know whether the Minister can give indications as to timelines in respect of when we would migrate users of post-paid to pre- paid meters. Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah -- rose
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order?
Exactly so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order, which is Standing Order 67 (1) (g), which says that Questions shall not refer to more than one subject matter. Mr Speaker, this is a supplementary question to an original Question, but the Hon Member who has been given the opportunity is using the opportunity to ask two questions in tandem. Mr Speaker, it certainly offends our Standing Orders, and I implore you to rule him out of order. Thank you.
Hon Member, is your objection directed at the Hon Member's Question, or my exercising discretion?
Mr Speaker, I can never begin to raise a point of order against the Chair. I am only drawing the Chair's attention to the fact that the Hon Member asking the question is infringing on our Standing Orders.
If you look at our rules, it says that the Speaker “may”, and I am using my discretion. Hon Member, you could continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I was asking the Minister if he could give indication on timelines within which customers who are using post- paid would be migrated to pre-paid. Mr Speaker, because the Minister just mentioned the issue of vandalism of ECG property, I wanted to know the steps his Ministry would take to ensure that persons who were seen destroying property of ECG are brought to book.
Mr Speaker, on the question of property being vandalised, that is a matter that I believe should be left to the competent hands of law enforcement agencies, and of course the court. Mr Speaker, I do not believe that the Ministry has the power to bring people who have vandalised, or have been seen to be vandalising property to book. We would leave it to the courts and the law enforcement agencies. Mr Speaker, on the second point of timeline, we have quite a huge backlog on our hands in terms of transitioning from post-paid meters to pre-paid meters. It would, therefore, be difficult to give a specific timeline, but it is an activity that the Ministry is vigorously pursuing through ECG and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).
Thank you very much. Yes, Hon Ayeh-Paye?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister, how long the people of Yilo have received these estimated bills, or how long the estimated billing system to the people of Yilo has been in existence.
Yes, Hon Minister, for how long has this matter been going on?
Mr Speaker, estimated billing has been a part of billing from day one. So, it has been in existence since ECG started issuing bills. So, for how long is how long billing has gone on.
Is it a problem you inherited or what?
Mr Speaker, on the second point, with respect to -- [Pause.]. Mr Speaker, forgive me, I did not hear your question. Mr Speaker, your question was to know whether it was inherited or not, I would say yes, it is an inheritance we would have to live with. Mr Speaker, on the second point with respect to Yilo Municipality, I would say that since this is a House of records, I do not have the accurate answers, so, I would come back to the House.
Thank you very much. Yes, Leadership? Hon Minority Chief Whip?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in an earlier answer from the Hon Minister, when my Hon Colleague asked what led to the disturbances, I heard the Hon Minister say that, the problem is different from what the Hon Member of Parliament talked about. Mr Speaker, I would therefore want the Minister to tell us the specific problem. Secondly, he talked about the hand held devices, and I would want to know whether when the lights are off, the hand- held devices could read the meters. Mr Speaker, the Minister said the use of the hand-held device solves the problem, so that even if people have locked their homes, with the hand held device at a distance, they could read the meter. I am therefore asking -- this is because, part of their challenges is that when the lights are off, they cannot read meters. So, I would want to know whether the use of the hand-held device solves the problem when the lights are off. Mr Speaker, first, the Minister said that the problem was different from what my Hon Colleague was talked about. Can we know exactly what the problem he knew was?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I do not recall elaborating on the causes of the disturbances in Yilo Municipality in my Answer. On the second question of hand-held devices, it is the electronic version that gives the distance for remote reading. Yilo and Manya Krobo Municipalities have both handheld electronic and key punch. If there is no electricity, then the meter itself goes off and does not emit any diodes for the handheld device to read. So, it does not solve estimates 100 per cent, but it improves our situation.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister, for attending to the House and answering our Questions. Hon Members, that ends Question time. Item numbered 5 on the Order Paper -- Statements. We have a Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Joyce Adwoa Akoh Dei on socio-economic problems of Bosome-Freho and the way forward.
Background Mr Speaker, transportation is defined as the movement of goods and people from one place to another by air, sea, rail and road. In Bosome-Freho Constituency, the only type of transport system available is road transport, which carries goods and people to and from the villages and towns around. Mr Speaker, the advantages of road transport have for far too long eluded the people of Bosome-Freho, due to the bad or deplorable nature of roads in the constituency. Current state of roads The current state of roads is nothing to talk about, the stretch of road from Akrowen to Asiwa and then Asiwa to Kokoben were given just a primersealing and then abandoned. It has subsequently deteriorated badly such that, its current state is very deplorable. Mr Speaker, the Kokoben - Adakabraso enclave, including the surrounding villages, is one of the highest vegetable producing areas in the country. They specialize in the production of cabbage, but due to the bad nature of the roads, buyers from the city find it very difficult to travel to the villages to buy the produce, making these farmers ‘poor hard workers'. Those buyers who are able to make it to the farm gates offer ridiculously low prices for the produce. Travelling during raining season as it is now, is virtually impossible. The stretch from Duase to Ampaha, Apewu to Abono and Achiase through Anyaaso to Ayinase had only gravels heaped on one side or the other of the roads and left to be washed away by run- off water, causing very severe erosion on the roads. Mr Speaker, the following stretch of roads have not seen any work on them for years. These are Asiwa to Nsuayem No. l & 2, Abosamso and Amomorso to Nsuayem. It is unfortunate to relate that, many of the roads that I have mentioned have been captured in the previous govern- ment's popular Green Book, at page 106 under the caption “Expanding Infrastructure (Roads)” that they have been constructed. The former District Chief Executive (DCE) boasted on local radio stations that those roads have been asphalted. It might as well be that the roads were awarded on contract. If that is so, the contracts were not executed. Many of the roads in the constituency are so bad that it takes about an hour to travel a 20-kilometre journey by car. The pot-holes on these roads have graduated from potholes to “manholes”, in certain cases, “fish and frog ponds”. Bridges on some rivers which cross the roads were constructed over twenty years ago and many of the cocoa roads are currently un- motorable. All over the Lake Bosomtwi area, the roads are terribly dangerous and potential death traps which need to be levelled and tarred to prevent accidents and to enhance traffic to and fro. Agriculture Mr Speaker, majority of the people in Bosome-Freho are predominately cocoa and vegetable farmers but have one of the
Thank you very much, Hon Member for this well-made Statement.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Member. Indeed, we cannot as it were, underestimate the multi-sectorial importance of good roads in our everyday activities in this country. The tenor of the Statement touches on the significant role of roads in health, agriculture, industry, tourism and other related industries. Mr Speaker, the problem is not peculiar to her constituency or district. In my District in South Dayi, the road stretching from Asikuma through Have, Hohoe to Jasikan which is about 120 kilometres is in a deplorable state. The road from Todome through Tsate, Toh, Tongor to Dzemeni, a 23-kilometre feeder road, is in a deplorable state. The road from Dzemeni, through Djakiti to Adzebui, which is seven kilometres, is also in a deplorable state.
Order! Order! In contributing to a Statement, any Hon Member of the House is entitled to make comparisons, and if something has some universal application, he may say so and make specific references in that regard. I believe that is what the Hon Member is doing. Let us have this debate in a very orderly manner.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is, therefore, important that roads leading to our key tourist attraction sites, as the Hon Member rightly stated in her Statement, should be taken care of. They constitute a huge source of revenue generation for this country. Mr Speaker, in attracting tourists to tourist sites, the usage of roads, hotels and other state facilities that are connected to the aesthetic use of the facility are equally important. If the Kintampo Falls is in a beautiful state but the road leading to it is in a deplorable state, as a tourist, I would not be attracted. If the road from Hohoe through Likpe to the Wli Falls is in a deplorable state, as a tourist from Germany, I would not be attracted to spend my hard earned euro in the economy. I wish to commend the Hon Member for bringing this very important matter to the attention of this House. A lot of road projects are in abeyance because the contractors have been asked to stay their hands. I believe the Hon Member's Statement would serve as a wakeup call, that some of these projects are important for the everyday economic activities of this country. Therefore, they must not be suspended but be attended to. Mr Speaker, with these words, I commend the Hon Member for the Statement and thank you for the opportunity.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to contribute to the Statement that was made by the Hon Member of Parliament (MP) for Bosome- Freho. The Statement that was just made established what I might call the tip of the iceberg on the roads we have in Ghana. I would like to take this opportunity to correct the wrong impression that some people might have about roads in the city. In the Bantama Constituency for instance, about 64 per cent of our road networks are not good. We have situations where women in my constituency wear socks, cover it up with polythene bags and walk several kilometres before they reach where they could pick a car. If you came to places like Abrepo- Mpatasie, Adoato-Adumanu, Bohyen, Kokoso and Ohwin Hwidiem in the Bantama Constituency, about 12.4 kilometres of our roads cannot be used. Even in the cities, we have major problems.
Hon Members, in the course of this contribution, the First Deputy Speaker would take the Chair. Please, continue.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER IN THE
Yes, Hon Member, continue
Mr Speaker, as a Member of the Roads and Transport Committee, I do not believe that, the issue only has to do with bad roads. I believe that proper supervision -- I would like to call on MPs to exercise our oversight responsibility on how these contracts that are awarded for road construction are actually done. It is my opinion that some of the works contracted are not done according to book or the scope of works. For that reason, we have situations where there are bad roads. I would like to end by saying that, while we might say that some contractors are not constructing the roads up to expectation, it is also important that road contractors are paid on time. This is to avoid situations where they would have to make do with the meagre money they are provided to make ends meet in that context. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to thank you for the opportunity.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to associate myself with the Statement ably made by the Member of Parliament for Bosome-Freho. Bosome-Freho, like many of our constituencies and districts, falls within the rural enclave. These areas are predominantly rural. Therefore, roads are very critical in the day to day activities and economic development of these areas. It is also important to note that, roads bring to the fore, all economic activities, for instance, as she mentioned earlier, education, tourism and others. Ghana has a total road network of about 72,000 kilometres. Out of that, there is over 42,000, which is over half of this total network which is rural and fall, under the Feeder Roads Department.
Hon Member, the Hon Member who first made the Statement did not say that those roads have been earmarked for construction. She said that the “Green Book” noted them as done and indeed, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) spoke on air to confirm that they were asphalted. So, if you would want to comment on that, you are welcomed to.
Mr Speaker, it was misleading and I would want to confirm that these roads were awarded. The Hon Member who made the Statement mentioned some of the roads that have been halted because of non- payment. Around this time when we are in the raining season, if we do not attend to these roads, the situation would be worsened. Mr Speaker, I would want to request that the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways would come to the House and give a report on the state of those roads. If they remain in the halted state, I would recommend that they must be worked on accordingly. Mr Speaker, one of the areas that I would want to talk about is the Cocoa Roads Improvement Programme. We are aware that, the Ghana Cocoa Board has suspended all roads that were awarded under the previous regime, and these roads are in a poor state -- it is only God who knows what would happen to these roads now that we are in the raining season. Mr Speaker, I would want to recommend that the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways comes to the House. Mr Speaker, I would want to thank and commend the Hon Member who first made the Statement for bringing this information to the Floor of the House.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Member of Parliament for Bosome-Freho. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member gave us a vivid and a snapshot economy of her constituency. Mr Speaker, what I found had to do with health, tourism and transportation. In fact, Ghana abounds in a lot of heritage sites, especially, what the Hon Member mentioned. But unfortunately, we do not take advantage of those areas. Mr Speaker, I would want to draw the attention of the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture to take advantage and send technical people to inspect those places because these are areas where even the United Nations (UN) has so much interest and that could change the economy of her area. This is because if we develop such a site, it would give job opportunities to tour guides and reduce unemployment in that area. Mr Speaker, I would want to give a vivid example like the Fulfoso-Damongo - Sawla Road. The construction of the road has increased the number of tourists to the Mole Game, and this would also increase income for the economy. I believe if such an advantage is also taken, it can help boost the local economy from where to Hon Member comes from. Mr Speaker, apart from that, I believe those roads that were mentioned were identified, but were not constructed. I believe if the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways -- be it the Department of Feeder Road takes advantage, it could also help, especially, with the mortality rate in the area. As the Hon Member mentioned, when a woman is pregnant, she might lose her life or she and the baby might lose their lives. I hope if the roads are reconstructed, it would help to increase the life expectancy in those areas. Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Minister who made the Statement has done a very good job and has given a snapshot of her local economy. I would want to draw the attention of the various Hon Ministers to quickly send people to check, and that could help boost the local economy from where the Hon Member comes from.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement. Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement. When she was reading the Statement, apart from the names of the locations, I could replace exactly what has happened in her area with my area and it would fit.
Mr Speaker, we cannot construct airports in every town, we cannot construct railways in every town, we cannot construct water ways into every town; but we can construct roads to almost everywhere that human beings live. We must also understand that road construction is a huge capital investment, and there is no other way that we could build good roads without spending a lot of money. Mr Speaker, indeed, if we would want to go down the route “of we have a tourist attraction”, or “we have something that can generate economic activity” as the basis for constructing roads, then it would mean that some localities would never see roads. This is because the only resources there are human beings and not the tourist attraction, but they would also need roads because human beings are more expensive than whatever we could get from tourism. Mr Speaker, that is why when it comes to the notice of this House that we would want to spend to construct roads, and sometimes, the whole thing is done in a way which gives the impression that some road projects are not necessary there is no money or why are we doing it? I believe that as a country, we should come to a point where we prioritise certain things and know that despite everything -- for us to run proper schools, hospitals and everything, we need access roads. Mr Speaker, as I speak now, there are teachers in my constituency who are at home and do not go to school. This is because the rains have cut them off from their schools. There are nurses also do not go to the hospitals. Three years ago, a nurse had to be carried to a midwife to deliver a baby somewhere. Mr Speaker, all these things are because of lack of good roads in our communities. I sympathise with my Hon Colleague. Part of her Statement was to the effect of some roads having been awarded, or probably not even sure whether they were awarded. Mr Speaker, this is Parliament; I do not even understand why it would not be possible that anytime a road project is awarded — in fact, every road project that is within the boundary of Ghana would fall within a constituency. The Hon Member of Parliament should have a copy of that contract. This is because, how can one oversee something that he or she is not even aware of? Even if the person was to go on the road, he or she does not even know what the contractor is supposed to do. So, what does he or she stand on the road doing? He or she probably goes there on his or her sentiment because he or she does not even know the specification or the cost of the project. Mr Speaker, I will suggest that this House insists that anytime projects of those significance are awarded in our constituencies, the office of the Member of Parliament must duly be copied with that document, so that we can do the proper oversight. Mr Speaker, I would want to conclude by saying that it would be very helpful for this House to take a second look at what the Ministry of Roads and Highways is currently doing. Indeed, the cost of the road projects that are currently ongoing are huge, but I do not think it is proper for the Ministry to terminate or suspend some road projects, when, for instance, contractors working on those roads are not even asking the Ministry to pay them before they continue the work. The contractor never even bothered to raise a certificate for the road between Akwetey and Waya, my district capital. He said he got the money to complete the work, but he was told to stop. Mr Speaker, he has done some work, but has now stopped. The rains are coming to wash off all that he has done.
Hon Member, please, do not take advantage of the Statement made by somebody to talk about your constituency and your district capital. Please, come back home.
Mr Speaker, I take a cue from your advice. Dr Matthew O. Prempeh — On a point of order. Mr Speaker, as a matter of record, the Hon Member, in speaking and giving examples of his constituency, mentioned a contractor who told him that he has money, but the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways has asked him to stop. It should not exist in our records. Unless he wants to be taken on, particularly that he says the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways has terminated a contract in his constituency even though the contractor is not asking for money. Is that the record he wants reflected? He has to withdraw.
Mr Speaker, I cited two scenarios —
Please, turn to Bosome-Freho.
Thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I did not say that the Hon Minister terminated the contract in my village. I cited a project with a name, which you do not want me to say again, and said that contractor does not lack capital to do the work, but has been told to stop work and that record is there. I can understand why the Hon Minister is asking for some of these things. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member cited a situation where in her constituency, a road is supposed to be ongoing but she says the project is not currently ongoing. That was why the former Hon Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways said that indeed, some of those roads have been captured as projects, but nothing is going on. Mr Speaker, that is why I am saying that it should not just lie with the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways and the Hon Minister for Finance to make a determination whether to stop a road. This is because when a road project is ongoing at a certain level and it is stopped, the cost of that project is increased. If we do clearing, start formation and then stop work, unless we reach a stage where we start sealing, what would happen is that, after some rains, that level of work done would deteriorate. This means that this process the Ministry is embarking on would actually increase the cost of road projects in the country. Mr Speaker, that was why I said that some of these things should be something that Parliament can request and get clarity, so that we do not waste money in this country. I can understand why some of the projects needed to be reviewed, but a wanton suspension of all the works is not in the interest of this country.
I will allow one more contribution each and then come to the Leadership.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I would like to congratulate the maker of the Statement for drawing our attention to the bad nature of the roads in her constituency. Mr Speaker, the notoriety associated with bad roads are national in nature. Almost every community and consti- tuency one goes to, there are very bad roads that are negatively affecting business, industry and the lives of people in all forms. Mr Speaker, I would not like to take advantage of the Statement by my Hon Colleague to make another Statement, but basically, as a country, we have a huge problem with our roads. Sometimes, even when I am trying to make appeals about the need to come and work on my roads — I share in the gravity of the job that the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways is handling. This is because I know my Hon Colleagues also have very bad roads. So, with such a situation at hand, what do we do? Mr Speaker, when we look at the budgetary allocation for roads, it would take us a significant number of years before we can get our roads in shape. So, we have to find very innovative ways to ensure that every region and constituency has a fair treatment on some major roads that can, at least, make a significant impact. Mr Speaker, I have realised that most roads that were constructed in my constituency, and I believe it is the same with other constituencies, that have been there for many years, are still in good shape, while those roads that were constructed recently have gone bad. This is a fact in most constituencies. Mr Speaker, I do not want to mention particular roads like the flyover that was built at Circle. We know that some parts had potholes and recently had to be worked on. A major road like this, which is not even up to seven years, to get contractors going back to it, means that we have a serious problem with our audit mechanisms. These are the departments of our work that we have to take a serious look at. This is because the contractors go to site and do what they deem fit. Whether it matches the contract value or the money that they have been allocated, that is not the business of most people who are supposed to do the supervision. Mr Speaker, in my engagement with people from my constituency and elsewhere, I believe that most Ghanaians are ready to pay even more if only what they pay would be used to fix the roads. Mr Speaker, now the big problem we have is not that citizens do not want to pay to get our roads fixed, but they would want to know the systems that have been put in place to ensure that there is accountability and transparency in the awarding of contracts, and value for money assessments are done. So, these are the challenges that we have to look at. Mr Speaker, I suggest that the Ministry of Roads and Highways together with other stakeholders do more public engagement. We need to know how much is in the Road Fund, which projects are being done with the Road Fund, what is coming from Government, some of the shortfalls that we have, and make proposals as to the ways to have enough funds to ensure that our roads are fixed. Mr Speaker, one other innovative way we have to consider is the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. In some countries, some kilometres of roads are given to financial institutions to fix. It is a form of investment. So, they invest money into the road and there are road tolls to ensure that they get their money over a couple of years. Mr Speaker, we have to identify major roads that can go through these systems. This is because, when we start to consider such a method, I believe that we may not have to wait for a 100 years to get some of these basic infrastructure put in good shape. Any bad road that puts stress on the body and the vehicle also puts stress on the economy.
Mr Speaker, the Statement made by the Hon Member from the Bosome-Freho Constituency is one that touches every Member of Parliament sitting in this Chamber. We all have roads that require urgent Government attention, and I believe that it is a step in the right direction. However, I would make my contribution very short since you have laid down the
Hon Member, do you know any part of the roads that have been listed in there?
Mr Speaker, thanks to Google Maps, I have found the road.
Hon Member, you have found the road on Google Maps?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
I would invite you to come and travel on it, and you would see whether there is a construction -- [Laughter]
Mr Speaker, I will willingly go with you onto the Afienya-Dawhenya Road. [Laughter.]
I happen to know the road in question, so I very much empathise with the Hon Member who made the Statement. Anyway, I would give the last opportunity to Leadership, after which I would come to the Hon Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways. Hon Collins Amankwah, you are seated today at the Leadership position.
Mr Speaker, thank you for this unique promotion. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague from Bosome-Freho. It is an incontestable fact that no matter where one lives in this country, we all have a common challenge, which is that our roads are in a very deplorable state. I would want to put it on record that construction of proper roads are very key to even our survival as citizens. Mr Speaker, but we were made to believe, especially prior to the 2016 General Elections, that former President John Mahama's Government had been able to construct almost 80 per cent of our roads in this country. But here we are lamenting that each constituency --
Hon Member, with Statements, one is not to invite controversy, please.
Mr Speaker, I listened to some of the comments from the other side, and I would want to correct them, that the Manhyia North Constituency was significantly neglected in terms of road distribution by the NDC Government. Mr Speaker, going forward, however, I have a strong belief that the current Government is so committed to ensuring that we improve the road network in this country. I share the same sentiments with the Hon Member who made the Statement. Indeed, she touched on some of the critical sectors that are key to our survival, and we could only appeal to the Government to improve our infrastructural development in order to improve the lot of our people. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement on the floor of the House, which is on the nature of roads in our country. Mr Speaker, the demand for good roads would live with us for many years. This is because there are new settlements in our country every day. Once there are new settlements, there would be the need for road construction to those new settlements. So, as we struggle to fix and construct the existing number of roads in our country, we also add up to that number because of the new settlements springing up all over the country. So, the demand for good roads would remain with us for some time. Mr Speaker, the Statement would definitely affect every Hon Member of the House; every Hon Member of this House almost on weekly basis would want to ask a Question about what plans the Ministry of Roads and Highways has for the construction of roads in their Consti- tuencies. We would have to have some sympathy for the Ministry of Roads and Highways because the demand is too much on them. Mr Speaker, the issue here is about funding for the construction of roads. So when issues came up and Hon Members said that a particular Government neglected some Constituencies, I believe that it is not proper. A new party is in Government now; what would they do? Would they have the financial resources to fix all the roads in Ghana? I do not think the answer would be yes, so let us not go on that tangent. Mr Speaker, but we can take a cue and learn from other jurisdictions as to how they handle their situations. When one goes to Malaysia, major roads, regional and national roads are constructed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) agree- agreements where private and public capital are pooled together to do those roads which are then tolled. We can do same in our country by looking for private capital to support public capital to build those major roads that can be tolled. Mr Speaker, the Road Fund could be focused on the feeder roads and the local roads, but here is the case, we have a situation where the Road Fund is used for fixing feeder roads as well as the maintenance of major roads. So we should make a conscious effort and have a strategy and promote PPP as that is the only way we can pool in capital from the private sector to support Government. If we leave it for Government to do it alone, I do not think that Government would be in a position to do that. It would take a very long time for Government to do that. Meanwhile, the demand for good roads in order to promote economic activities is now. We need it now to grow our economy. So how long should we wait for Government to fix those roads in order to grow our economy? Mr Speaker, this is something that government must start thinking about, and I am happy that the Hon Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways is here. The efforts started by previous governments on PPP should be revisited and continued to ensure that we bring in more private capital to support the construction of roads, especially the major ones in our country. Thank you.
Hon Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways? Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways (Mr Kwabena Owusu- Aduomi)(MP): Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Deputy Minister, wind up. You have given us enough information.
Mr Speaker, it is very difficult for the Ministry of Roads and Highways now, but we believe since all Members of Parliament are concerned about the poor state of roads, when we come with the Budget Statement, we should all speak in favour of the Ministry of Roads and Highways, so that we would get adequate moneys to build our roads.
Alright. I believe the problems have been sufficiently discussed. We would look forward to some solutions in the next Budget Statement that would complete the section you started from your Constituency to mine. [Laughter.] Hon Deputy Minister, I know that you were the Regional Engineer who designed that road and supervised the construction, when you became the Hon Member of Parliament (MP), you had oversight. The link is still not completed. So, now that you are the Hon Deputy Minister, make sure that your work is complete. Thank you. There is a Statement by Hon Abdulai Jinapor on the threat of human activity on high tension cables and poles in Ghana. Threat of human activity on high tension cables and poles in Ghana
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to make this Statement.
Hon Member for Effutu?
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, it pleases you. I would want to ask leave of you to lay a Paper before you take the debate. Thank you very much. Mr Speaker, it is rather item numbered 6 (a); the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance would do so on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance.
All right. Item numbered 6(a).
Mr Speaker, I wonder if the title of the Report should be the “Status of the Implementation of the Auditor-General's Recommendations…”. Mr Speaker, is it not the Recommenda- tion of Parliament -- that is the final? The Auditor-General recommends to and submits its Reports to the House. The House debates that Report and also recommends. It is the implementation of that Recommendation of the House -- the Status Report of that implementation is what we are supposed to receive and not the implementation Status Report of the Auditor-General's Report. So, I wonder what it should really mean.
Hon Member, sorry. What you said was not clear. So, could you say it again? I did not follow you.
Mr Speaker, I said that if we read the Paper that is being laid carefully and with your permission, it says; and I quote: “Status of the Implementation of the Auditor-General's Recommendation in His Report on the Public Accounts of Ghana …”. Mr Speaker, is this Report coming from the Auditor-General?
Mr Speaker, I believe that the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is getting it wrong -- and he happens to also be the Hon Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. Mr Speaker, the Report is rightly captured because in the Auditor- General's Report for every year, the Auditor-General gives recommendations after the findings and the recommenda- tions are in the Report. Mr Speaker, that is separate from when the Public Accounts Committee sits, and based on these recommendations, hold a public hearing, invite the parties involved and after that the Committee submits a report to the House. In that Report, the Public Accounts Committee also makes recommendations on the way forward per the recommendations and findings of the Auditor-General. Mr Speaker, so, it is rightly captured.
Very well. On the face of the record, the document that was transmitted to this House and laid had this title. So I have referred it to the Public Accounts Committee and if there are any corrections to be effected to the heading, then you would have the opportunity to do so. So, the document is referred. Hon Member for Effutu, you may make your contribution now.
Hon Member for Keta?
Mr Speaker, thank you so much. Mr Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the Statement ably made by the former Hon Deputy Minister for Power. Mr Speaker, it is a very apt Statement and it is a crusade that we must all join, because these are matters when raised, do not irk the necessary momentum, as it were, to really embark on the kind of crusade that he is championing. Apart from its impact on human activity as in habitation under high tension poles, it is a threat and danger to human life because large volumes of power run through these lines and over a period that could affect human life. Mr Speaker, the other aspect, which is destruction of poles and pylons is very critical because of the financial implications. Often times, Hon Members of Parliament are under pressure by their constituents to ensure that poles are extended to their communities whereas when we do our checks, we would realise that these are communities that have previously benefitted from electric poles. Mr Speaker, but as a result of especially bush fires, these poles are burnt down and the same people expect government or the State to make provision for them again. This is an indication that people do not see or value these things. They do not recognise that moneys are spent in the provision of these things. Mr Speaker, as I speak, I am under serious pressure from some communities in the Keta Constituency for poles. This morning I was in a discussion with Hon Jinapor over this same issue. Mr Speaker, I did a quick check on graphiconline.com on 9th June, 2017, and it was reported by a certain man, Mr Coleman, who works with the ECG, that government spent GH¢94,000 to replace burnt poles in some areas in the Central Region. Mr Speaker, the article talks about 78 high tension poles and 49 low tension poles in 10 operational districts in the Central Region; Saltpond, Cape Coast, Assin Fosu, Kasoa districts. Mr Speaker, if only in 10 operational districts, GH¢94,000 had been spent on replacement of burnt poles, then what would be the situation if we take the whole country into consideration? Obviously, all these things are not boding well for an economy that is so much in distress for resources and we are always moving around the world with a cup in hand. We go to China and look for money -- US$19 billion, US$15 billion, US$2 billion, US$3 billion, US$2.5 billion. Mr Speaker, it is very important that we get the media to be very interested in public education. Awareness creation is very critical and I believe that the crusade by Hon Jinapor is very much in place and we must all be part of it. We should all become crusaders. I believe that silently, we are all crusaders but we must really activate it so that we could go to our constituents and preach this gospel. Mr Speaker, they are always asking for electricity, poles, meters, et cetera. But when these things are provided, do they take good care of them? So, Mr Speaker, I believe it is a very apt, well researched and deep Statement, and I associate myself with it. I know all Hon Members in this House are also like me in that direction. We all associate ourselves with the Statement and we would do all we could to ensure that the awareness creation is heightened. Especially, the media should help us, and I am sure we would get somewhere. Mr Speaker, if we were to save GH¢94 million from replacing burnt poles, I am sure those ten operational districts could have benefited from some other developmental projects from the GH¢94 million. I am sure if it cuts across the whole country, we would be looking at hundreds and thousands of Ghana cedis, which could do a lot for this nation, and that could also reduce our going round and begging and borrowing money from China and other places. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to support the Statement made by my Hon Colleague. It is a fact that Ghana, in terms of our accessibility to electricity, is at 84 per cent, which is very good; the second best in Africa, apart from South Africa. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who made the Statement has done a very good job in his call for everyone to be involved in terms of the education, especially about bushfires, to stem the burning of electricity poles. It is very much welcomed. Mr Speaker, though we have such a very good figure of about 84 per cent accessibility, there are still challenges within the industry for which we all have to advert our attention to, especially provision of metres. Hon Members are called upon most of the time, to assist in the provision of metres for our constituents.
Hon Member, as the Chairman of the Committee, I know you have many concerns, but this Statement is about settlements under pylons and high tension poles. So on another day, you could talk about metres. Let us restrict ourselves to the Statement.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who made the Statement mentioned this in
Thank you. There is one more Statement which Mr Speaker has admitted. It is a Statement by the Hon Ekow Hayford who is the Member of Parliament for the Mfantseman Constituency. The topic is: Instant justice; a threat to national security. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, do you have something to say?
Mr Speaker, rightly so. Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to come under Standing Order 53(2) to vary the order of Business and respectfully lay the Paper, which is item numbered 6(b) on the Order Paper. That would be done by the Hon Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. The Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources is undertaking other pressing duties, and he sent his apologies. So, the Hon Deputy Minister would do it on his behalf.
Very well. Item numbered 6(b) on the Order Paper. Hon Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation?
Hon Ekow Hayford, you can make your Statement now.
Mr Speaker, I rise to make a Statement on the issue of instant justice which seems to be on the ascendency. Mr Speaker, following the lynching of the late Maj. Adam Maxwell Mahama, which received a huge public outcry, I think it is time we addressed this issue which has now become a norm accepted and practised in almost every part of Ghana. Many were those horrified and shocked by that regretful event, when the images were shared across social and main line media. The view of the majority of Ghanaians then was “NEVER AGAIN” should we allow this to happen. But alas, there has been not one nor two but three further alleged incidence of lynching innocent Ghanaians. Firstly, there was an alleged lynching of a witch in the northern part of Ghana. Then we read of the lynching of a mobile phone thief in Kumasi as well as mob action on a man in the Central Region for failing to pay for GH¢1.00 (one Ghana Cedi) worth of alcohol he took. Chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution contains a catalogue of our fundamental human rights. Article 13 says and with your permission I quote: “No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally”. Article 14 guarantees the personal liberty of all and adds that no person shall be deprived of this liberty except in cases permitted by law. Our society is unfortunately ignorantly accepting the systems of instant justice as a mode of punishment for offenders of certain crimes thereby killing and maiming innocent souls in the process. Instant justice also known as mob action has become so common in our country that our incipient democracy and the rule of law suffocate under its intense pressure. The act takes many forms and shapes, among which are, flogging suspected robbers to death, slashing suspected criminals, stripping suspects naked and beating them with offensive weapons till they die and, sometimes, setting them ablaze. Mr Speaker, the main reason for people to resort to instant justice, in my view, is the lack of education and understanding on how our justice system works by the populace. The public see delay in justice as an antidote for corruption, forgetting that the wheel of justice is very slow. There is therefore the need for public education on our justice system. Secondly, the Ghanaian populace has little confidence and trust in the Ghana Police and the other security agencies. Our Ghana Police should therefore be resourced to be able to win the trust of the Ghanaians by handling reported- cases expeditiously. This can only happen when the ordinary Ghanaian is fully aware that reporting a case does not demand anyone using his or her personal resources to move the police to and from a crime scene but rather the police are resourced enough to carry out investigations to ensure justice is delivered and on time. Finally, there has not been adequate and well advertised deterrent for persons caught to have participated in this behaviour. It would appear that over the years, people have taken the law into their hands and walked scot free encouraging more people to act with impunity.
Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by Hon Ekow Hayford, Member of Parliament for Mfantseman. Mr Speaker, in contributing to this Statement, may I humbly refer the House to article 15 of the Constitution, which states: “(1) The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable. (2) No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or detained, be subjected to -- (a) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment ; (b) any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being.” Mr Speaker, this is not to inflame passions of the family members of the late Maj. Adam Mahama, but my question is, if the people of Denkyira Obuase were right in their assessment or in their thinking that the person they were dealing with was an armed robber, and if indeed, it had turned out that he was an armed robber, what would Ghanaians have done? I believe that prior to his incident, there were many other incidents that we heard, sometimes in the news, that somebody had stolen something or committed a certain crime and there had been mob action; the person had been killed. No one ever raised questions that these modes of meting out instant or mob justice was frowned upon by our laws. I do not believe that Ghanaians rose to the occasion to condemn these until it happened to an innocent person. I am sure Hon Members of this House share this opinion with me, because we heard it many times in the news. We saw footage of people being pushed down. They would put car tyres on them and set them ablaze, and not a single soul was ever arrested for getting involved in this kind of mob injustice. So, somehow, we as a people have contributed to this just by our inaction. We have sat by and this practice has gone on until it got to the point where an innocent person was killed, and then we all raised issues. After that, these three incidents that have happened, the question I pose is this; who has been arrested? I believe the answer would be nobody. If nobody has been arrested, do we take it that the people who perpetrate this are right in their judgment, and that the person to whom they are doing this is indeed an armed robber or has committed a crime, so we should sit by? This education must go down to everyone. Indeed, we must let people know that even if you go and see that somebody has stolen something and he has it in his hand, it is not within your province to take up the law and deal with the person the way you think, just because you have found him In flagrante delicto. To wit, that the person has actually stolen or done something wrong. You must take the person to the police station and allow the investigative process to take its course. When this education gets done very well, this instant mob injustice would stop. Mr Speaker, I am speaking from my background as a lawyer. Sometimes, somebody would come to a lawyer and tell him that somebody has stolen something from them or has done something to them and so they took him to the Police Station and the person was arrested, but in the next moment, they realised that the person was out there. Mr Speaker, the thinking has been that when a person succeeds in getting the Police to arrest the alleged offender, the offender must be kept in cells until probably he is vindicated, perhaps by way of restitution or some other kind of compensation. Mr Speaker, however, it is because those people do not understand the justice delivery system and the fact that the person who is alleged to have committed a crime also has a right, and so his right must be respected because the law presumes him innocent until he has pleaded guilty or have been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be guilty of the offence charged. Mr Speaker, I therefore, join forces with my Hon Colleague in calling for greater education, so that our people would understand that the fact that they might have been a victim of crime does not give them a warrant to just take the law into their own hands and deal with the alleged perpetrator of the offence. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
[NII LANTEY VANDERPUYE]Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye (NDC - - Odododiodioo): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to also contribute to the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague on the arbitrariness of people in their own desire to perpetrate what the Hon Minority Leader has called “instant injustice”. Mr Speaker, I believe seriously that one of the main contributors to this particular issue is the erosion of our value systems. We used to be a society where we virtually cared for one another and saw each person as belonging to our system and our family.
“Oh! Monnyae no, na mo be pira no”. This time, individualism has taken over, and people do not care who is next. People do not even look at a person the way they would have loved to look at them, because they have no time for them to know whether they existed or not. They just do not care about who is being beaten -- they just do not care. Nobody would even dare to try to go in and show some sympathy. Mr Speaker, some of our Hon Colleagues who live in other parts of West Africa saw these things manifested itself in various forms in those countries, and people have transported these things into our culture, because these things were alien. Mr Speaker, I seriously believe, following what my Hon Colleague just said, that constant education within our social sector, our churches, our mosques and our traditional settings would help in bringing back this attitude into our people for us to love and care for one another. Mr Speaker, one other issue has to do with the further erosion of the authority of our traditional people, in the adjudication of such cases within our communities. In the past, if anybody offended the law, whatever be it, whether traditional law, by-law or anything, the first point of call by people within the community was the Palace. Mr Speaker, in Akan, they would say: “mo ma yen fa no nko ahenfie”. Traditional authorities had that power to dispense justice and make sure that even if such cases were beyond their jurisdiction and could go to the Police, at least, some security is given to the person who has committed the offence, and people could not take the law into their own hands. Mr Speaker, however today, we do not give any preference, prominence and respect to that adjudicative authority of our traditional authorities. It is painful because in the case of whatever happened in Denkyira Obuasi for example, if the traditional authorities in that area were that respected and still wield that sort of influence and power like we used to have, then somebody amongst them would have remembered that: “yen fa no nko ahenfie” (they should send him to the palace), so that under the umbrella of the traditional authority of the palace, the victim would have been secured temporarily. Mr Speaker, these things are no more adhered to, and I believe that it is time that we tried once again to go back to what the Bible says: “our first love”. We should try and do some of those things we used to do within our communal set up, to instil some discipline and justice within our system. Mr Speaker, I believe seriously that if we would give our traditional authorities that power to exercise this little bit of authority within our system, then it would once again help us to minimise these cases. Mr Speaker, I seriously believe that the issue of delays by the Police and also in the judicial system should not be an excuse for anyone to take the law into his or her own hands. Mr Speaker, you may have grown up in Kumasi for some time. I also grew up in Kumasi and stayed in Kumasi but these things were very dangerous. If a person had a problem with somebody -- Mr Speaker, I remember a case of a friend who was seeing the same girlfriend with a guy. The guy told him: “wo de twen na wo be hu!” Mr Speaker, the next time the guy saw my friend --
relevance? Nii Lantey Vanderpuye: Hon Member, it is very relevant. I am coming towards that.
“awi o!” (thief, thief!) and before people could come in to defend my friend, he had been beaten mercilessly. So, Mr Speaker, it is not just a matter of a person committing an offence. People might have personal hatred and personal vindication against a person, and could instantly incite people to attack them. These are dangerous precedence, and we think that the law enforcement agencies must take these things very seriously, and deal with the perpetrators of these actions. I believe examples would act as a deterrent to those who think that they can take the law into their own hands and disperse justice the way they think it is fit for them. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity.
Yes, Hon Member for Bantama?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I would like to contribute to the Statement that is being debated on, made by the Hon Member for Mfantseman. Mr Speaker, instant justice in any form, regardless of the cause is not acceptable; it is primitive and an insult to the laws of this land. There is no way that any of us for any reason should speak for it, because it is a bad practice. Mr Speaker, I would like us to look at some of the causes of this instant justice, a situation where people take the law into their hands and try to lynch people. Mr Speaker, lack of education is a cause, delayed justice is another, and also failure of our institutions to do their work. In this context, especially in the case of the Police. Mr Speaker, for almost the last two to three weeks, I have been in the Bantama Constituency, and the complaints that are coming to me is that there is an increased incidence of armed robbery in the Constituency. They say there is also an increase in pick pocketing, and some of my constituents have become victims. I know four people that were attacked.
Mr Speaker, I would want to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement for doing a good job which has brought to the fore, once again, the issue of instant justice. Mr Speaker, as has been mentioned earlier by my Hon Colleagues, education is the key to solving this problem. It appears we have lost the age long mantra of civic education. I remember when we were school children, we had civic education -- a book by the Civic Department of the Ministry of Social Welfare which was given to schools to study and to understand their social responsibilities in this country. It appears it is not a deliberate attempt by the police as people would want to blame them for some of these unfortunate incidents but because we have not educated ourselves, it has become a very big problem in our society. The judicial system, which comprises all security agencies and the courts, has a big role to play in dispensing justice. Justice delayed is justice denied. Most of these cases that are reported to the police take a very long time to be investigated and with time, it has brought a lot of problems in controlling the emotions of people? The case of Maj. Mahama, who innocently was jogging along the streets of Denkyira Obuasi and only to meet his untimely death, shows that people are still not happy with the type of laws that we have in this country. Why should he be killed? Why should an innocent man, because somebody said ewi, then everybody came around and murdered him. Innocent people have died and there are innocent people even in the prisons because of the system that we operate. Investigations are not done properly and when they are done, justice is delayed. In the courts, we have similar issues also taking place. The Ghana Police Service, these few days, have exhibited their professionalism. At least, they have made some arrests across the country where we have instant justice, mob actions and people are being prepared for the courts. I believe if we can encourage them with logistics and give them robust vehicles that would be enough to enter every community and hamlet, and bullet-proof vests which would help them to also combat crime, I believe they would be able to do justice to whatever assignment that has been given to them. Mr Speaker, the courts also need to be looked at. What are the conditions that they operate in? Do they even have computers in all the courts across the country to be able to keep data and to dispense justice? So, the whole system needs to be revamped and if it is done, I believe that it would be a motivation for people to continue to work and to ensure that there is peace and tranquillity in this country. Finally, this House has done its best by giving us the opportunity to talk about instant justice and other forms of insecurity in this country. We should continue to debate it and it should be on bi-partisan basis so that we can come out with the true facts of issues of that nature and deal with them appropriately. Mr Speaker, if the laws that we pass need to be revised, we should do it and make sure that appropriate laws empower the police and the Judiciary to be able to discharge their duties. With these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what do you propose to do with items 6 (c), 7 and 8?
Mr Speaker, Leadership of both sides of the House are yet to complete with the re-composition of the Committees. So, we cannot take those Motions today so we would have to step them down.
Very well. In that case, I would allow one more contribution from either side of the House and then I would continue. Hon Member for Mpohor then after that, I would go to the Hon Member for Tamale North and then I would close it.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Member. Mr Speaker, it is important that this particular phenomenon is not made to die completely. We need to constantly remind ourselves about this canker. Mr Speaker, various philosophers try to explain mob injustice with the divergent and convergent theories. If you separate those people who are involved in some of these things and ask them to hold a knife and even cut a fowl, they would run away but the moment they come together, there is some latent force -- a negative one -- that they exhibit. That is how come they can subject a whole human being to such gruesome death. Mr Speaker, that is about the convergent theory. They also have a situation where people of like mindedness -- Some people feel that they are ready to kill and once there is an opportunity, this one also has the same view and so many of them also come together and they can exhibit such inhumane characteristics.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Hon Member who made the Statement. About a month ago, that is the first week of June, I submitted a similar Statement on this matter in which I challenged -- It is yet to be admitted but I hope when it is, some of the suggestions I made would be considered by this House. In the Statement, I challenged a long held view that we are a peace loving people and some of these things are un- Ghanaian. I think that if we still doubt our love for mob injustice, we should recall the events of June 4, 1979. For me, it was an epic display of our love for mob injustice, when people, students, the old and young, called for blood to flow. Mr Speaker, I also argued that in the recent past, some things have happened that should frighten all of us. This is because in Dagbani, it is said that when the shrubs hear that the stones are burning, they have to run for cover. Before Major Mahama, there was ASP Nanka Bruce at the seat of Government. Before ASP Nanka Bruce's incident,there was that of Maj. George Agyei at the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), also a security zone. We have also heard of attacks on police stations; Tema New Town, Half Assini, Somanya and other places. The gravity is not with the savagery that these attackers mete out but the audacity to commit such acts at security zones. That should tell all of us that we are not safe. Early this year, we heard and saw videos of a young lady who was stripped naked at the Kejetia Market. We have also in the past, heard of how young ladies were treated on our various campuses when they were suspected of stealing one item or the other. There was even insertion of fingers into private parts. Mr Speaker, we have also heard and seen videos of young ladies again at our malls and how they were treated. This is becoming our culture and the earlier we accept it as a way of life we have to discard, the better for us. It is not safe for us to continue pretending that it is not un-Ghanaian and it is not like us when our every act daily, seems to point to our love for mob injustice. Mr Speaker, I hope that when my Statement is finally favoured by you, some of the suggestions that I made moving forward, would be considered and perhaps pushed by the Ministry of the Interior and the Attorney General's Department and Ministry of Justice for us to find lasting solution to this growing canker. With these few words, I thank you very much for the opportunity.
Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior, would you like to say something? Deputy Minister for the Interior (Mr Henry Quartey (MP): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement ably read by my Hon Colleague on the other Side. Acts of mob injustice or vigilantism should be condemned in no uncertain terms. Mob injustice has no political colour and must not be entertained in a country like Ghana, which in recent times, has gained a lot of reputation as a beacon of Africa. I agree with my Hon Colleague that an attempt to say that mob injustice is un- Ghanaian cannot be true. If you would recall, many years ago, acts of mob injustice and things that ordinarily should not be meted out to a human being have happened in this country. Mr Speaker, many years ago, we heard eye kania, eye hai, to wit, it is light, it is bright. Under governments upon governments, vigilantism has prevailed. Today, as politicians, the onus lies on us to speak to it and educate the good people of this country. Our security agencies have been trained and have performed their duties professionally. However, even in developed countries, you would not find security agencies performing their duties and bringing justice in the society without the flow of information.
Hon Deputy Minister for Defence, I would want to give this caution. The so-called “citizen's arrest”, is not anywhere in our law books. When an offence is committed in a person's presence, the person has the right to arrest the person who has committed the offence, but when a person hears people shouting “thief” and follows, that person did not see the thief stealing and so, no such power would be vested in that person. Let us be careful.
Mr Speaker, I take a cue. What I want to say is that, we should be able to hand suspects over to the law enforcement agencies for them to do what is expected legally of them rather than taking the law into our hands. That is an area that all of us as politicians devoid of our political colour, ideology and fraternity should be able to educate our people on. Mr Speaker, I would want to make this position that the security agencies are doing their best -- and because there were evidences surrounding the death of a very gallant soldier -- a brave young man who was trained to defend Ghana, he rather died at the hands of the very Ghanaians he was supposed to defend. But because there were some pictorial evidence, some people have been arrested. Mr Speaker, again, because we are in a democratic dispensation, due process is key and we must allow it to take its course. Mr Speaker, I would want to assure the House that the Ministry of Defence and the other security agencieswould do their best to ensure that anybody found to have committed acts that tend to flaunt the law would be dealt with regardless of the person's political affiliation or colour. Mr Speaker, other issues are being investigated in court and so, I would be careful not to delve too much into it -- but I would want to assure the good people of this country that the security agencies would not relent in their efforts to protect lives and property. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you very much.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, do you have any indication?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 3.25 p. m. till Thursday, 6th July, 2017, at 12.00 noon.