VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 1st June, 2017.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 6th April, 2017.]
Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Business Statement for the Second Week. Hon Majority Leader and Chairman of the Business Committee?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met on Thursday, 1st June, 2017 and arranged Business of the House for the Second Week.
Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communi- cations to the House whenever they are available. Question(s) Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has programmed the following Ministers to respond to Questions asked of them during the week: No. of Question(s) i. Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts -- 1 ii. Minister for Communications -- 1 iii. Minister for Food and Agriculture -- 1 iv. Minister for the Interior -- 1 v. Minister for Finance -- 1 vi. Minister for Energy -- 1 vii. Minister for Roads and Highways -- 1 viii. Minister for Education -- 1 Total number of Questions -- 8 Mr Speaker, eight (8) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to eight (8) Questions during the week. The Questions are of the following types: i . U r g e n t - - 1; ii. Oral -- 7 Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by Mr Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members in accordance with Standing Order 72. The Minister for Finance has been programmed to attend upon the House on Wednesday, 7th June, 2017, to make a Statement in response to the Half Hour Motion moved by the Hon Minority Leader on Wednesday, 31st May, 2017. The Minister is expected to provide detailed information on the recent two billion, two hundred and fifty million United States dollars (US$2.25 billion) Bond, including the full complements of documentation related to the issuance, the participants, the utilisation of the proceeds and the currency in which the Bond was settled. Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Standing Order 119. Papers and Committee Reports may also be presented to the House. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Statutory Funds Mr Speaker, efforts are being made for the presentation to Parliament of the following formulae during the ensuing week: (i) Proposed Formula for distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) for the year 2017 (ii) Proposed Formula for the distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2017 (iii) Proposed Formula for the disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2017. The Committee of the Whole would subsequently consider them after being so laid in the House. Conclusion Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week under consideration.
There is a 21-gun salute. We have been duly informed, therefore, no panic -- [Laughter.] Hon Majority Leader, you may continue.
Urgent Question --
To ask the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts what steps the Ministry is taking to guarantee the safety of tourists at Ghana's tourist sites following the Kintampo Waterfalls tragedy. Questions -- *6. Mr Kwame Govers Agbodza (Adaklu): To ask the Minister for Communications what steps the Ministry would take to improve telecommunication connectivity in less privileged communities such as Adaklu. Statements Presentation of Papers -- (a) Regulation C/REG 22/11/10 Establishing Community Proce- dures for Management of Veterinary Drugs or Biologics, Guideline No. 11./CM/ECOWAS on Veterinary Pharmacy and Directive C/DIR1/11/10 on ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy on Quality Control. (b) Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the State- ment of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payments of the Bank of Ghana for the first half year ended 30th June 2015. (c) Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the State- ment of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payments of the Bank of Ghana for the second half year ended 31st December, 2015. Motions Committee Sittings. Questions -- *8. Mr Mahama Ayariga (Bawku Central): To ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture when the Board of the Cotton Development Authority will be constituted and inaugurated. *9. Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (Asawase): To ask the Minister for the Interior what steps the Ministry has taken to get the perpetrators of the attack on the Ashanti Regional Security Co- ordinator arrested and prosecuted. Statements— Minister for Finance on the recent US$2.25 billion Bond in response to the Half Hour Motion moved by the Hon Minority Leader on Wed- nesday, 31st May, 2017. Presentation of Papers (a) Report of the five-member Ad- Hoc Committee to investigate the effects of sandwinning in the country. (b) Report of the Finance Committee on the Customs (Amendment) Bill, 2017. Motions Committee Sittings. Questions *10. Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh (Juaboso): To ask the Minister for Finance how much the nation has spent so far on the 60th Indepen- dence celebration. *12. Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwame Dafeamekpor (South Dayi): To ask the Minister for Energy whether he is aware that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has disconnected power supply to Kpalime-Kaira, a community of about 1,000 people for two (2) weeks. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions (a) Second Reading of Bills -- Customs (Amendment) Bill, 2017. (b) Adoption of the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Statement of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Pay- ments of the Bank of Ghana for the first half year ended 30th June, 2015. (c) Adoption of the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Statement of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Pay- ments of the Bank of Ghana for the second half year ended 31st December, 2015. Committee Sittings. Questions *17. Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh (Juaboso): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the construction of Juaboso town roads will commence and be completed. *13. Mr Mahama Ayariga (Bawku Central): To ask the Minister for Education what urgent steps the Ministry would take to bring the fees and charges of public universities and senior high schools for approval by Parliament. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the five- member Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate the effects of sand winning in the country. Committee sittings.
Mr Speaker, that represents the consideration that came before the Business Committee and we submitted the Report to the House for approval. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member, do you rise to contribute?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, before we rose, I vividly recalled two referrals that were made by your goodself. One is on the effect of sandwinning. I can see it captured in the Business Statement. The other had to do with a call for a Bill or a Regulation to regulate the activities of the Scholarships Secretariat which was referred to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. That is my first concern. I would wish to know from Leadership when that programme would be captured for presentation by the leadership of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Committee? Mr Speaker, my second concern is about the army worm infestation. Last month, we were struck by some army worm infestation across the country. The effect of it is there in my constituency. I have heard that some actions are being taken by the Hon Minister for Agriculture. I would wish to appeal to Leadership to programme the Hon Minister to come and brief the House on the interventions undertaken and the state of affairs regarding the army worm infestation across the country. I am grateful, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. On page 1 of the Business Statement presented by the Hon Majority Leader, he referred to a Ministry as Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts.
Civil Service Ministries. In the list, I can see Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture. Is the Hon Majority Leader referring to the same Ministry? This is because they are two different designations. Mr Speaker, I would want to add my voice to what the Hon Benjamin Kpodo said. Our younger brothers and sisters are about to start writing the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Mr Speaker, you would be surprised to know that due to lack of funds in the Assem- blies, some of them do not have any programme to go round and supervise this examination effectively. This is because the Assemblies have been rendered inactive for six (6) months. There is no money at all. Hon Members of Parliament are being asked to buy fuel and other things for their vehicles. Mr Speaker, I would like the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of Govern- ment Business to work together with the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to bring the formulae here for us to pass it. Hon Members of Parliament know that some of the ways we work include our ability to receive the funds in our Assemblies -- especially the GETFund and NHIS. Currently, beyond the Chamber, we have very little to do in terms of dealing with these issues. So, the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business should help the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to bring the formulae to this House, so that the Assemblies can become active. Some of the District Chief Executives (DCEs) who have been confirmed are probably sitting in their offices doing nothing. This is because, there are no funds to run the Assemblies. I believe it is the President's wish that the local govern- ment system should work effectively. It will not work effectively when no money is given to them.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon Majority Leader for the Business Statement. Mr Speaker, I noted that with the Questions, on a day like Wednesday, we would bring three Hon Ministers who would answer a Question each. I would want to suggest -- I am sure it is early -- going forward, we can consolidate more of the Questions. It would also help the Hon Ministers who would come. I concede it is likely that we would not have a lot of Questions that day. But going forward, if we could consolidate some of the Questions for the Hon Minister, it would help for effective work.
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, Standing Order 40 (2) states: and with your permision, I beg to quote: “The House shall sit on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Sittings shall, subject to the direction of Mr Speaker, ordinarily commence at ten o'clock in the forenoon…” Mr Speaker, we have been told that because of the work which is ongoing on our roof, Sittings would commence at 12.00 noon, but in the Business Statement for next week, we have not been told whether it would commence at 12.00 noon or 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Yes, Hon First Deputy Minority Whip?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, during the week, I believe Standing Order 49 was evoked and if I listened to you carefully on that day, you said that it was the first time that a Half Hour Motion was being moved in this House, and because of that we were doing it for the first time. Mr Speaker, we are setting a precedent, and if we look at the Business Statement for today, it states that the Hon Minister for Finance would come to this House next week to present a Statement in response to that Half Hour Motion, which was moved. Mr Speaker, I believe that going by our Standing Orders, if we read it carefully, it says that it is in response to the Motion that was moved in relation to the Bond, including the full complement of documentation related to the issuance, the participants, the utilisation of the proceeds, and the currency in which the Bond was set out. Mr Speaker, once we are requesting for documents, I believe that instead of coming under Standing Order 72, as the Business Statement states, it would have been better if we rather came under Standing Order 75, which has given us the mode for the presentation of Papers. Mr Speaker, I do not know if you would give me permission to read it for the House. Mr Speaker, Standing Order 75 (1), the side heading Papers and Petitions reads, and I beg to quote: with your permission “As soon as sufficient copies of a Paper for distribution to Members have been received in the Office of the Clerk notice of the presentation of that Paper may be placed on the Order Paper, and as soon as Mr Speaker announces “Papers for Presentation” the Paper shall be deemed to have been laid on the Table.”
and with your permission, I quote: “If so desired by the person presenting a Paper, a short explanatory statement may be made by him upon its presentation.” Mr Speaker, I believe that these two Standing Orders would have satisfied the requirement for the Half Hour Motion. I am just stating this just to seek your guidance because, we are charting a new path. Mr Speaker, tomorrow, we would not want it to be that we would bring a Half Hour Motion to seek for documents and it becomes a Statement. This is because, under Standing Order 72, it may become a Statement and this may open the way for Hon Members to contribute. A Statement has limitation, where Hon Members would contribute, but without provoking debate and things like that. Mr Speaker, I am seeking your guidance, that is why I am quoting the Standing Orders. Mr Speaker, thank you very much for your attention.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I am a member of the Business Committee, therefore, when the Hon Leader presents the Committee's work of which we always oblige him of our presence, I concur with the issues. Mr Speaker, suffice it to add, sometimes words matter, and ambiguities can be very worrying. It appears that, in paragraph 3 on “Statutory Funds”, there are some ambiguous words there, because it starts by saying: “Rt. Hon Speaker, efforts are being made for the presentation to Parliament of the following formulae during the ensuing week…”.
“The Committee of the Whole would subsequently consider them after being so laid in the House.” Mr Speaker, that is not the language of the Business Committee, and that should not be the language of the Committee, when we are adopting a position of what would constitute the Business of Parliament for the week. Mr Speaker, the Hon Leader of Government Business and Majority Leader must endeavour to be infected by the President's “I am in a hurry” syndrome. We should be “in a hurry” because before we went on the break for the First Meeting, part of the reason this House had to Sit for extended period was to consider the formulae of the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Fund. Mr Speaker, indeed, in respect of the DACF, we are particularly worried. I am told that there has been a decision by the President to appoint a new person, or there is an exit of the current Administrator of the Fund. Whatever the reasons are, the Fund must have an Administrator in accordance with the laws of Ghana. Mr Speaker, if the President is appointing, it is his prerogative, and he should do so, but he should not hold the country and the District Assemblies in abeyance. The District Assemblies need to function, and they can only function with the little resources that are sent from the centre to them. Mr Speaker, because of the absence of the Administrator, nothing is happening at the level of the decentralised districts. Mr Speaker, we chose for ourselves the devolution of powers where the District Assemblies must function. I beseech the Hon Majority Leader to do something. He should make sure that -- he knows I do not wish him ‘the other one', so, he should make sure that he is infected with the President's “I am in a hurry” syndrome. He must be in a hurry to support the President to ensure that the Fund has an Administrator. Mr Speaker, if they had a difficulty, there was a Fund Administrator called Mr Kojo Fynn, they should leave him there and he would do his work. After that, if they want to change him and they have difficulty in changing -- Mr Speaker, we want the formula, and we must have an Administrator of the Funds, who must appear before the Committee of the Whole at a designated date and time.
Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Member who first spoke related to what we meant by “… efforts are being made for the presentation to Parliament of the following formulae during the ensuing week”. Mr Speaker, the reason we said so was that, at the time we had not taken possession of the formulae and we were still knocking on doors to have them presented to us. As I speak now, we have the one for the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund). For the Health Insurance, we were told the person has travelled and we need to get it. Whatever it takes, next week, we should handle it. The other one with respect to the DACF, I guess Leadership can brainstorm on what to do. The Hon Minority Leader has alluded to the status of whoever takes care for now. My information is that, the Chief Executive at the place has gone beyond his expiry date. So, it has become necessary to change him. Mr Speaker, we now need to consider before the submission of the name of the person to take charge, whether as the President's representative before his or her name is submitted to Parliament and Parliament approves of the nomination, or in the interim, the person could be considered as the President's represen- tative to shepherd the introduction of the formulae in this House, Mr Speaker, it is for us to decide. Mr Speaker, because we have not settled that issue, I thought it prudent to still be a bit terse in the language, which is what I did. I thought I had even used a similar language in the Business Committee only for the Hon Minority Leader, who was my left-hand person at the place, to try to de-robe the Hon Chairman of the Committee. Mr Speaker, the issue about scholar- ship and the invasion of army worms did not come before the Business Committee. May I remind my Hon Colleague, the Hon Member for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, that the remit of the Business Committee, as captured under Standing Order 160, does not permit the Business Committee to suo moto generate its own Business and programme same. It is for referral to be made to the Committee, and once we have the referral, the Committee then programmes the Business. Mr Speaker, Hon Kwame Govers Agbodza, the Hon Member of Parliament for Adaklu, has related to some contradic- tions between the designation of the Ministry for Tourism, Arts and Culture. I believe the Question that was filed relates to that aspect of the Ministry which deals with tourism. So, perhaps, to avoid that confusion, we would have said the Hon Minister responsible for Tourism. I would be right but I take a cue from what he has said. This description did not come from the Business Committee; it was our officers who wrote it, but we shall effect the correction. Mr Speaker, what is to go to the District Assemblies, because of the situation at the DACF, I guess I have already spoken to it. However, Mr Speaker, I do not see anywhere in the functions of District Assemblies where it is slated that they should supervise examination. That would bemoan the fact that, maybe, we need to be timeous in the inferring funds to the Assemblies, is a germane issue. But to say that they are not supervising examinations, I do not see anywhere in the remit of the District
Assemblies where they are charged with that function or responsibility. But that we need to fund the activities is a germane issue. Mr Speaker, an Hon Member intimated that some Hon Ministers are coming to answer just one Question and that before we proceeded on recess, there were certain Questions outstanding. Mr Speaker, let me remind the Hon Member that the rules provide that Questions would normally expire when we go on recess, because some of them are time specific. They are time bound. When we recommence and an Hon Member would still want the Question to be answered, Mr Speaker, it is for the Hon Member to demonstrate that he still wants to pursue the Question. Usually, we have allowed them to flow, except that, as I said, some of them are time bound. If an Hon Member insists that they should still be answered, he should please indicate to us, through the Rt Hon Speaker, through the Table Office. It would come to us and we would programme same. Sittings to commence at 4.00 p.m. as the former Hon Chairman for Govern-ment Assurances Committee raised. Mr Speaker, I believe we have not varied the arrangement. We would Sit at 12.00 noon and then ordinarily close at 2.00 p.m.. If it becomes necessary to extend the time, we would do so. The Hon Deputy Whip for the Minority sought to implore the House to rather avail ourselves of Standing Order 75 (1) and 75 (2) in response to the Motion moved by the Hon Minority Leader, which Motion was seconded by me. I believe the better resort, is to allow the Hon Minister to come by a Statement. What he drew attention to, is submission of Papers. He could bring the Papers, lay them here and not respond to anything. It is like First Reading. Papers are brought here, they are laid on the Table and the Hon Minister walks away. That is not what we want. We would want to have the opportunity to further interrogate what response would come from him and the resort with respect to you, is Standing Order 70 (2) and not 75 (1) and 75 (2). I believe you are right. That is why we said that, he should bring the full complement of the documents related to it. Those documents would then be laid in the House for attention and perusal by Hon Members. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader again dwelt on the formulae for the distribution of the various funds. Let me just effect one correction. In respect of the formula for the distribution of the National Health Insurance Funds, we inadvertently wrote as follows: “Formula for the Disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund”. It should rather read: “formula for the Distribution…” That would be in sync with the others. The Hon Ranking Member for the Business Committee in his state of lamentation, talked about “formulae” in one breath and “formulas” in another breath. He talked about consistency on the part of the Government. May I also implore him to be very consistent in his language use? If he wants to use “formulae” he should use it; if he wants to use “formulas” he should do so. He cannot intermingle the two. Mr Speaker, I can assure him that as we all agreed at the Committee, we would do everything possible to have the various formulae brought to us in order for the Committee of the Whole to deal with them. With the antecedent of the Hon Minority Leader, where the provisional administration of this country lasted for 11 years, he is not quite comfortable when we even give assurances that, the transitional arrangements we have might last for just one week -- If he is comfortable with provisional arrangements lasting 11 years, he should be comfortable with the transitional arrangement not going beyond two weeks or, at least, one week. Mr Speaker, in relation to the Business Statement, at a point, I said that we need to interrogate the programme that came before us. I would plead with the Clerks for the Business Committee that, whatever programme comes to us that we approve should be submitted to us. I got a bit jittery looking at the Questions that have been slated. I just noticed it and that was why I made the observation that I wanted to be served with the Statement that came before us. I noticed that some Questions that did not come before the Committee found their way into the Business Statement. It is inappropriate. Let it come before us and we shall consider it. We would work assiduously to programme them, but it is a bit strange that we should have this situation. This is because, on Thursday, we did not have the Question by Hon Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamekpor before the Business Committee. Equally, we did not have the Question from Hon Mahama Ayariga slated for Friday before the next Business Committee. We should be consistent and show good faith to each other. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, the Business Statement as presented is adopted. The Leaders have made a programme that we should finish and go somewhere. So, I pray that the Leaders would help me to close accordingly, by their own arrangements. Hon Members, item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Statements. Monday would be World Environment Day. Normally, we would have taken this Statement on Tuesday as we would not Sit on Monday. In view of the fact that the Hon Deputy Minister for Environ- ment, Science, Technology and Innovation would travel out of the country by Tuesday, I have admitted that Statement. Interestingly, we have similar State- ments from Hon Emmanuel Agyarko as well as Hon Mark K. Nawaane, the Member of Parliament for Nabdam. Then Hon Terlabi, the Member for Lower Manya Krobo who is the Ranking Member would contribute. Hon Members would know how to speak to their Statements when they go
Yes, Hon Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane, you have five minutes.
Mr Speaker, World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action which takes place every 5th June. The World Environ- ment Day also known as the Earth Day has reached its current status as the largest secular observance in the world. It is celebrated by more than a billion people every year .It is a day of action that changes human behaviour and provokes policy changes and behaviour. Mr Speaker, the world environment day is a day for everyone everywhere. Since it began in 1972 global citizens have organised many thousands of events from neighbourhood cleanups to action against wild life crime and replanting of trees. Mr Speaker, the theme for 2017 is, “Connecting people to nature” in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator. This year's host country, Canada chose the above theme and would be at the center of celebration around the planet. My Speaker, ‘connecting people to nature'; the theme for this year's celebration implores us to get outdoors and into nature to appreciate its beauty and its importance and to take forward the call to protect the earth that we share. This year's theme invites us to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it. It challenges us to find fun and exciting ways to experience and cherish this vital relationship. Mr Speaker, connecting people to nature is a call to ecotourism. Therefore in Ghana on this day, we ask our children, students and other citizenry to visit places such as Aburi Botanical Garden, Afua Sutherland Children's Park and other parks in the capital city. In Kumasi, we encourage residents to patronise the Rattray Park which was recently constructed by the Metropolitan Assembly. All these parks have green grass, beautiful flowers and trees that provide shade. Some of them have play fields for children and adults to play games. However, Mr Speaker, in some towns, these parks are encroached upon by developers and squatters. This is disturbing and we appeal to the Spatial Authority of District or Metropolitan Assemblies to stop such developments. Mr Speaker, a good example of positive interaction between man and his environment can be observed at the Paga Pond, where the serene atmosphere with the clean water provide an ideal habitat for crocodiles and they in turn permit man to sit on them as if acknowledging the kindness of man in this case. A visit to the Mole National Park also provides the unique opportunity to see elephants, lions, antelopes, tigers et cetera. A walk on the Kakum Canopy Walkway would enable a prospective visitor to view the beautiful tropical forest with its diverse flora and fauna. Mr Speaker, on this day of connecting people to nature, Ghanaians are called upon to visit places earmarked for ecotourism. Also, the Minister for Tourism has called on us to visit tourist sites as a way of encouraging domestic tourism. However, Mr Speaker, how can we connect to nature and visit sites that are potentially dangerous? I am referring to the Bunso Canopy Walkway accident that resulted in the injury of 20 people and the Kintampo Waterfall disaster that occurred this year and claimed the lives of 20 people and injured over 22 people. Such accidents could have been avoided if planned routine maintenance had been carried out and adherence to basic regulations ensured. Mr Speaker, the World Environment Day celebrates the natural environment and allows a global platform to raise awareness on the environmental issues worldwide, with plans to mitigate these issues as a global community. For us in Ghana, Mr Speaker, the relevance of this day is grounded on the facts of the depletion of the ozone layer, climate change and global warming, felling of trees, bushfires and their associate diseases. Also there are problems associated with the disposal of solid waste including non- biodegradable ones such as plastic. There are no toilet facilities in some homes and open defecation is even practised in the capital city, Accra. The filthy environment and contamination of sewage cause diarrhoeal diseases. Mr Speaker, last but not the least, is the menace of galamsey and small scale mining. Our rivers, streams and other water bodies are polluted. After mining, reclamation of the sites are not done. Deep holes with undulating surfaces are left uncovered, posing threat to human beings and other living organisms. Mr Speaker, the World Environment Day for Ghanaians should be a day of total reflection on the environment. It is a day that we need to think deeply about what we need to do holistically to improve upon our immediate environs. There is the need for non-partisan, inter-sectoral and collaborative efforts from various sector Ministries to achieve the goal. Also, there is an urgent need to educate the citizenry on the need to have clean and healthy environment. We can connect better to nature if we understand that it is our collective responsibility to improve
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Yes, Hon Emmanuel Agyarko, you have five minutes.
Mr Speaker, Ghana is joining the rest of the world to celebrate the 2017 World Environment Day (WED), which was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. This very important global and national event is celebrated every year on the 5th of June to raise global awareness on the importance of healthy and green environment for human sustenance and a call for positive environmental action by all facets of society. The global theme for this year's celebration is “Connecting People to nature -- in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator”. The national theme is “Connecting Ghanaians to nature from Cape Three Points to Bawku” with the slogan “Connecting to Nature”. Mr Speaker, connecting people to Nature, the theme for World Environment Day 2017, entreats us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we all share. World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, governments and diverse stakeholders have organized many thousands of events, from neighborhood clean-ups, to raising awareness on the need to protect the environment, planting of trees et cetera. Mr Speaker, the value of nature to humans is priceless; nature's gifts are often hard to value in monetary terms. Like clean air, they are often taken for granted, at least, until they become scarce. In recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems, such as, global warming are helping us to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support our own prosperity and well-being. For example, the world's oceans and other water bodies, forests and soils act as vast stores for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane; farmers and fisher-folk harness nature on land and under water to provide us with food; scientists develop medicines using genetic materials drawn from the millions of species that make up the earth's astounding biological diversity. Billions of rural people around the world spend every working day ‘connecting to nature' and appreciate their dependence on natural water supplies and how nature provides their livelihoods in the form of fertile soil. They are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation. Mr Speaker, against this backdrop and considering the current environmental challenges facing our water resources due to the activities of “galamsey” operators, our attention in this year's national celebration is focused on water resources management. The uniqueness of the Atiwa Range Forest Reserve which is home to the head waters of three major rivers; that is, Pra, Birim and Densu in the country, as well as a source of drinking water for millions in our cities in the Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions will be the focus of this year's celebration. There is severe land degradation at the fringes of the forest as a result of illegal mining activities. The celebration of the WED in the East Akyem Municipal Assembly area will highlight the opportunities and benefits the forest reserve presents to humankind and establish the link between nature and our survival and replant trees on the degraded lands from the illegal mining activities in the area. Mr Speaker, several activities have been lined up leading to the day and after 5th of June. These includes the following: Symposia Tree planting Hiking to the source of the Birim river Float around the Akyem area (between Asiakwa and Kyebi) and Durbar to be held at the forecourt of the Okyehene's Palace at Kyebi where diverse stakeholders would make statements and give solidarity messages to drive home the need to protect our forests and water resources. Mr Speaker, the Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology, and for that matter, Ghana's Parliament as a vital institution for national development identifies itself with individuals, institutions, groups and indeed, every Ghanaian citizen who has taken the initiative to protect nature (forest and water resources). As members of Ghana's Parliament, we would take it upon ourselves to champion this cause to ensure that our water resources are well protected for present and future generations as we regularly visit our constituencies. I wish our motherland Ghana a very successful World Environment Day Celebrations. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, the theme for this year connects to nature. It means we need to know what is happening around us. We may not need to go to Kakum Forest to connect to nature. But we can start by planting flowers in our pots and around us. We can also remove some of the slabs in our houses to see what is actually happening under the slabs — to see amount of nature of organisms that we are prevented from enjoying — or how we are influencing nature by covering our compounds with slabs. Mr Speaker, it is easy to identify or get in touch with nature right in our backyards. It is indeed heart-warming that the whole world seems to agree that we need to do something about our environment, and that, the environment that we knew hundred years ago is not the same as now. Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I believe this celebration this year is in jeopardy. Why? We have the second largest country that contributes to global warming
And in conclusion?
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, we should take some time out of our gyms, halls and comfort zones and move out, remove the slabs and identify with nature and look at what is happening there — we should look at the organisms that we are preventing from living and interacting with the environment, and we would really appreciate that there is indeed, the need to have an environment where trees are planted — Mr Speaker, thank you —
Leadership — If you may please give us some brief remarks.
Mr Speaker, we thank you very much. We know the tight schedule. Hon Members have done justice to the topic, so, we are with them.
Hon Majority Leader, any comment? Thank you very much. Hon Members, that ends Statements time. Hon Members, At the Commencement of Public Business, item numbered 5 — Presentation of Papers. Item numbered 5 (a) by the Hon Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.
Hon Members, item numbered 5 (a) iv on the Order Paper? By the Hon Majority Leader -- (iv) Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana (Pre-University Educational Institutions) for the financial year ended 31st December, 2015. Referred to the Public Accounts Committee.
Item numbered 5 (b); Hon Minister for Transport?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Transport is caught up in a meeting outside Accra. In the circumstances, if the House would indulge us, I would plead that the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation lays the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister for Transport.
Very well. Item numbered 5 (b) on the Order Paper? By the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation (Dr Anthony Akoto Osei) (on behalf of the Hon Minister for Transport). Budget Performance Report in respect of the Ministry of Transport for the period January to December, 2016. Referred to the Committee on Roads and Transport. Item numbered 5 (c); Hon Minister for the Interior? By the Hon Minister for the Interior -- Budget Performance Report in respect of the Ministry of the Interior for the period January to December, 2016. Referred to the Committee on Defence and Interior.
Hon Members, after Sitting, the Leadership of the House will visit Burma Camp to pay external condolences to the family of the murdered Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama and to the military. The Leadership may be accompanied by Hon Members of the Committee on Defence and Interior accordingly. Hon Majority Leader, any indication?
Mr Speaker, just to relate to an observation. Mr Speaker, the observation is that, our Standing Orders provide that, in the period preceding adjournment, once Mr Speaker pronounces that the House be adjourned, the Speaker must rise before Hon Members do rise. Often times, I see Hon Members rise as if they are purposed to hurry Mr Speaker out. [Laughter.] So, once Mr Speaker pronounces adjourn- ment, Hon Members would have to wait until the Speaker rises from the Chair before we also rise. Mr Speaker, having said so, let me indicate that we have exhausted the items captured on the Order Paper today. Given the fact that there are outstanding matters for us to transact, I would want to move and indeed, I do move that this House adjourns until Tuesday, 6th June, 2017 at
Mr Speaker, I second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.