Debates of 11 July 2017

MR SPEAKER

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. The Votes and Proceedings dated Friday, 7th July, 2017. Page 1…6 --

Speaker
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, on page 6, I have been captured as absent. Yes, I was absent, but I was on official duty.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Page 6...14 --

Speaker
Alhaji Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface

Mr Speaker, I was marked absent, but it should have been “absent with permission”. This is because on Friday, we were in Peduase.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Any further corrections? Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 7th July, 2017 as

Speaker
Mr Speaker

[No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, 30th June, 2017.]

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, I have the pleasure to introduce to you a 15-member delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and the Standing Committee on Public Participation and Petitions of the Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Legislature of the Republic of South Africa who are on a one-week study visit to Ghana. They are here, among others, to meet and interact with their counterparts of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development to share knowledge and learn best practices on governance at the local councils and the handling of petitions before Parliament. The visit is also intended to create the platform to promote networking between Hon Members and our South African counterparts with the aim of deepening relations between the two Legislatures. The delegation comprises the following: Hon G. N. Swartbooi-Ntombela -- (Chairperson, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Committee) Hon E. Vusi Dube -- (Chairperson, Public Participation and Petitions Committee) Hon S. C. Nkosi -- Member Hon N. M. Khoza -- Member Hon P. H. Mbatha-Cele -- Member Hon D. D. Dlamini -- Member Hon M. Ntuli -- Member Hon P. A. T. N. Buthelezi -- Member Hon S. Thakur-Rajbansi -- Member Hon N. Mlaba -- Member Mr N. J. Mpungose -- Chief Director Ms D. B. S. Gatsheni -- Researcher Ms D. P. Mpisane -- Researcher Ms Z. P. Molefe -- Committee Coordinator Mr S. N. Hlatshwako -- Committee Coordinator. Hon Members, on your behalf, I wish them fruitful deliberations and a pleasant stay in the country. Hon Members, item numbered 3 -- Statements Hon Members, we have a Statement on drug abuse by the Hon Member for Asene/Akroso/Manso. Hon Members, the Hon George Kwame Aboagye would make this Statement. Yes, Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, my information is that the Hon Member has signalled that he is on his way; but he has been caught up in serious traffic, so, he would not be here now.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much. Hon Members, there is also another Statement regarding the 25 years celebration of Hon Bagbin and the 60th birthday celebration. He is the Hon Member for Nadowli/Kaleo. Hon Members, again, there is a Statement by Hon Bedzrah, the Hon Member for Ho West.

Speaker
Mr James Klutse Avedzi

Mr Speaker, I think the same “disease” that infected the earlier Hon Member has also infected t h e H o n B e d z r a h . [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I am trying to reach him and as soon as I get him, I would alert him. So, we could move to the next item.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, we shall proceed to the Commencement of Public Business; item numbered 4 -- Presentation of Papers. Hon Members, item numbered 4 (a). Yes, Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, before I proceed to item numbered 4, I would like to inform the House in particular that the Hon Mohammed Abdul-Aziz, Member for Mion and the Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member for North Tongu --

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, so are we in the position to go on with the item numbered 4?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, respectfully, that is what I said.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, item numbered 4 (a).

PAPERS

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, item numbered 4(b) by the Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister responsible for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation is unavoidably absent. In his stead, we have the Hon Deputy Minister who would hold the fort and lay the Paper on behalf of the substantive Minister.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister, you may do so. By the Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (Ms Patricia Appiagyei) (on behalf of the Minister) -- Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation to the convention on Biological diversity. Referred to the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Item listed 4 (c) -- Hon Chairman of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, ordinarily, these matters are laid by the Hon Chairman of the Committee, but as our Standing Orders provide, any Hon Member, in the absence of the Hon Chairman of the Committee, can lay the Paper on behalf of the Committee.

Speaker
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka

rose

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is rising up even before I finish. Let him address whatever and I would squarely face him.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we just witnessed a situation where a statement from an Hon Member on the other side -- The Hon Member to deliver a Statement is nowhere to be found. Mr Speaker, I thought the Hon Member was going to rise to a breach of our provisions. If there is any breach of our provisions, he should tell us. If there is no breach, it is much ado about nothing.

Speaker
Mr James K. Avedzi

Mr Speaker, I am happy that the Leader of the House is now comfortably defending situations like this. What we are asking from our side of the House is to tell the Hon Ministers and the Hon Chairmen of Committees to come here and help the House to do the work. We are here to conduct business and he is the Leader of Government Business. If he is defending that because an Hon Member from here was not present to read a Statement as well, he has forgotten to note that another Hon Member from his side of the House was also not present to read his Statement. It means that he agrees with the situation that it should remain that way. He should rather take what we said on board and let the Hon Ministers know that we need them in the Chamber to conduct Government Business.

Speaker
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, if you would put your Standing Orders down, it would help us. [Laughter.] The argument now is not about the fact that another Hon Member may in the absence of the Chairman -- But if the point is that we all have a duty -- If we are to primarily perform the function, then that is the issue. I believe that can be debated upon. I see the Hon Majority Leader.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, nobody is running away from the arrangements that we have in this House that Papers from Committees are required to be laid in the House by Hon Chairmen of Committees. In their absence, any Hon Member could lay the Paper just like if an Hon Minister is, for inexplicable reasons, unavoidably absent from the House. Mr Speaker, what we have always done at the Cabinet level is for the Hon Minister holding the fort for the one who is not in the Chamber to perform the assignment on behalf of the Hon Minister who is absent. Mr Speaker, other than that, an Hon Deputy Minister could perform that function; especially when in this case it relates to just the laying of the Paper. Mr Speaker, we are not even considering the Paper. The the issue that I raised is that we would endeavour to have the Hon Members, and indeed, the Hon Ministers responsible for various issues to be in the Chamber to address matters. Mr Speaker, we would take it on aboard, but I just made the point that in this case, no breach of our rules has ensued.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, that is the reason I asked the Hon Member with his rule book to please save us that. Hon Members, let us face it. If a person has a primary duty to perform, that Hon Member must be in the House. It is both sides. We must all on both sides of the House take the work of the House seriously. If we did so, we would not just turn our eyes left and right to see the numbers now seated in the House. In order that the public would not go on criticising Parliament, let us take some of these things seriously. An Hon Member is called to make a Statement, but he or she is not here. We have just seen it. A primary function to perform, the Hon Member is not here. I do not think that we would want to be seen as the rubber stamp of this Honourable House. So, please, let us all be up and doing. In fact, this has nothing to do with rules at all; it is just that relevant persons are conspicuously absent and it is not good enough. Where necessary, others could act in the stead of others. There is no doubt about that. Very well, let us make progress. Item numbered 4 (c) -- are we able to do anything?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we have an Hon Member of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises.The Hon Member for Fan- teakwa South would do the --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The Hon Member may do so. Please, proceed. By Mr Kofi Okyere-Agyekum (on behalf of the Chairman) -- Report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the Committee's Participation in the 106 th Inter- national Labour Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland from 5th to 16th June, 2017. 12. 45 p. m.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Item listed 4 (d), Hon Chairman of the Committee?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, you are the Hon Chairman of the Committee of Selection and I rise to present the Report of the Committee of Selection to plenary by bowing. [Interruptions.] I guess I would respond adequately to the Hon Member for Aburi when I have finished laying the Paper. By the Hon Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) — Report of the Committee of Selection on the re-composition of Committees of the House.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Order! Item listed 5 -- Motion — Hon Chairman of the Committee?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we agreed to lay it today, but we would deal with the subsequent Motions tomorrow.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Bedzrah — Hon Members, order! Hon Majority Leader, at this juncture, any indication?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, because there are so many Committees slated to sit and have serious discussions and deliberations about relevant issues before them, I may want to move that this House adjourns until tomorrow at 12.00 noon. Mr Speaker, but I think it is imperative for Hon Members to know that when Mr Speaker is talking, Hon Members should not stand — [Interruptions] — whether they are in blue or green colours. Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House adjourns until tomorrow at 12. 00 noon.

Speaker
Mr Avedzi

Thank you, Mr Speaker. In seconding the Motion for the House to adjourn to tomorrow at 12.00 noon, I would just want to correct the impression created by the Hon Majority Leader that he is now Mr Speaker — [Laughter.] This is because he said when the Rt Hon Speaker is speaking, no Hon Member should stand. Mr Speaker, at that time, your goodself was not on the floor speaking. So, let us correct that impression; he is not the Rt Hon Speaker, he is the Hon Majority Leader of the House. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader? Order!

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader said, before he seconds the Motion and then he chose to run his own commentary. He ended up not seconding the Motion. Mr Speaker, but the point that I sought to make was in respect of an Hon Colleague, a former good Friend of mine -- [Laughter] — who was on his feet while you were addressing the House — [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minority Leader, for the avoidance of doubt, did I hear you second the Motion?

Speaker
Mr Avedzi

Mr Speaker, I second the Motion.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, may I venture to ask, do you have any further Business for this afternoon?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I am clear in my mind that when you put the Question, the “Ayes” had it. — [Laughter] --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, that was not the question I asked you. Do you have any further Business for us?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the Business that is outstanding is Committee sittings.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Committee sittings?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Yes, Mr Speaker. There are six Committees of this House slated for serious business. Mr Speaker, unless the pocketful of Hon Members who shouted “No” have, in their pockets, assorted Committee Business or Plenary Business, they may opt to stay it. Mr Speaker, but as I said, I am very clear in my mind when I heard that the “Ayes” had it when you put the Question.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

I will put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to.

ADJOURNMENT

The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.54 p.m. till Wednesday, 12th July, 2017 at 12.00 noon.