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 Thursday, 29th June, 2017.]
Hon Member, on which page?
Mr Speaker, I could not find my name.
Hon Member, were you absent?
Mr Speaker, please, no I was present.
Hon Member, please, make yourself clear. Were you present or absent?
Mr Speaker, exactly so.
I asked you “either”, “or” and you say “yes”.
Mr Speaker, that is why I am getting confused.
Were you present?
Mr Speaker, I was -- exactly. Yes.
You were present.
Mr Speaker, thank you. It has been found. [Laughter.]
Hon Member, you took us backwards and so, you say; “I apologise”.
Mr Speaker, sincerely so.
The Business of this Honourable House is serious business and if you are genuinely mistaken, it does not matter. But at least, accept it and apologise and then we proceed. All right. Hon Members, Official Report of 22nd June, 2017? Carefully look at the Official Report and identify any mistakes.
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 22nd June, 2017.]
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, I am presenting the Business Statement on behalf of the Hon Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, the Committee met on Thursday, 29th June, 2017 and arranged Business of the House for the Sixth Week ending Friday, 30th June, 2017.
Arrangement of Business Formal communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communica- tions 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 Energy -- 1 ii. Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources -- 2 iii. Minister for Food and Agriculture -- 2 Total number of Questions -- 5 Mr Speaker, three (3) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to five (5) Questions during the week. Furthermore, Questions of urgent nature duly admitted by Mr Speaker may be scheduled for response by Ministers in the course of the week. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70(2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by Mr Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members, in accordance with Order 72.
Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. 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 consi- deration. Questions Statements Presentation of Papers -- (a) Annual Report of the Lands Commission for the year 2016. (b) Status of the Implementation of the Auditor-General's Recommen- dations in his Reports on the Public Accounts of Ghana for the year ended 31st December, 2014 in respect of the Consolidated Fund and Ministries, Depart- ments and Agencies. (c) Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for the Disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the Year 2017. Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for the Disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2017. Committee sittings. Questions -- *41. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Energy what accounts for the charging of estimated electricity bills to postpaid consumers of electricity in the Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Municipalities. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions Committee sittings. Questions -- *42. Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (Ho West): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources what plans the Ministry has to connect Awudome Tsito and its environs to the Kpeve -Ho water system. *43. Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (Ho West): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when the Spanish Debt Swap Water Project for some communities in the Ho West, Ho Central, Adaklu and Agortime-Ziope Districts will be completed. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions Committee sittings. Questions -- *36. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Agriculture what the steps the Ministry has taken to operationalise the dairy plant at Juapong in the Volta Region. *37. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Agriculture what plans the Government has to revive Prairie Volta Limited, also known as the Aveyime Rice Factory, in the North Tongu Constituency. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions Committee sittings.
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
Yes, Hon Member?
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to raise some issues regarding the Business Statement that has been presented by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, I rise to seek your guidance under Order 60(1) of our Standing Orders. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to read: “Ministers shall, by order of the House, be requested to attend Sittings of the House to answer Questions asked of them.” Mr Speaker, the Business Statement of last week had Questions that you had admitted from me, which were advertised in the Order Paper of Wednesday, 28th June, 2017; I hold a copy in my hands. On Thursday, 29th June, 2017, that was yesterday, the Order Paper did not contain the Questions which had been advertised the previous day and which the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry was expected to attend upon this House to answer from me. The Question was on the future of Juapong Textiles Limited and Volta Star Textiles Limited in my constituency. Mr Speaker, I noticed that a similar thing happened to Hon Magnus Amoatey, with regard to his Question to the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources; and Hon Emmanuel Bedzrah, in respect of his Question to the Ministry of Roads and Highways. None of the Hon Ministers showed up yesterday to answer the Questions as advertised and which were also contained in the Business Statement of last Friday, 23rd June, 2017.
Mr Speaker, if I may indulge you --
Hon Minority Leader -- Leadership?
Mr Speaker, I would take guidance from your direction that Leadership comments on the Business Statement. Ordinarily and ideally, I am a member of the Business Committee and so I am party to its discussions and decisions. There are three important issues I would like to raise, which I believe must engage the attention of the Business Committee and Parliament. Mr Speaker, I am told that an Hon Member has filed a Question in respect of the first issue. I hold here a letter from the Embassy of the United States of America (USA), which purports to state, revoke and deny privileges to ex-Presidents, Members of Parliament and others, relative to travel visits to the USA. While we have a right to respect America's foreign policies, we equally have the right to know what Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is doing in order to avert any potential embarrassment to any high standing political office holder or public office holder of our Republic. So, it would be important that the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs appears before this House on behalf of Government and how she intends to respond to the new foreign directives of the USA and probably brief us more on what reciprocal actions Government should consider. Mr Speaker, while I am still at it, again, in respect of the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs, we are aware that the Supreme Court has given a ruling relative to article 75 of the Constitution justifiably and
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, let me express profound gratitude to the Hon Deputy Majority Leader for holding the fort for the Committee while I was away. I thought in the absence of the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, whom I had to force to come and represent me, the Hon Minority Leader would have been the person to present the Business Statement to the House. Mr Speaker, this question that he has posed, he would be asking himself if I was not in and the Hon Deputy Majority Leader was not in, which is why I find it -- I would not say most inappropriate, but I find it a bit unwelcoming. All the same, I would respond to the issues raised. Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa has raised the issue of outstanding Questions to the Minister for Trade and Industry. It is true that the Questions were programmed to be answered last week. Last week the Hon Minister was not available. He was outside the jurisdiction and because of our insistence that the Ministers themselves come to answer the Questions, he said he would want to personally come and answer those Questions. Mr Speaker, this week I conferred with the Hon Minister. Unfortunately, he is not in town at the moment, but we agreed that we would look for space for him next two weeks, because he is going to be encumbered next week. I related to the Clerks-at-the-Table and we were looking for the Hon Okudzeto to relay the information to him. It is unfortunate that we could not get him, and he is bringing here the same issue which does not offend any rule. We had some conversations with the Hon Minister; unfortunately he is not available now. He is not going to be available next week, so we decided that in
Mr Speaker --
I am not inviting him. I am suggesting to him that his arithmetic is wrong.
There would be no debate, Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member got his bearings wrong on this issue. He was right in saying that by Order 64, he may be forced to resort to Order 66 (3). What he ought to inform himself about is Order 66 (1), and since he quoted the Orders, let me also refer him to Order 66; and with your permission, I quote: “(1) Mr Speaker shall be the sole judge of the admissibility of a Question. (2) When a Question is admitted by Mr Speaker the Clerk shall at once communicate the text to the Minister or Member to whom the Question is addressed.” So, Mr Speaker, for us in the Business Committee, we act on referrals to us; that the Speaker has admitted the Question. If it does not come to us, we would not even know that the Question has been asked and admitted by the Speaker. What is interesting is that a few months ago -- [Interruptions] -- That is why you are now here, so you were on the wrong path. You knew that and never complained. Questions could be on the burner for two years; they were not admitted. Today there is this discovery. Mr Speaker, we are resolved to expand the frontiers of democratic governance, -- so, I would urge -- and I have always urged the Table Office that once the Speaker admits Questions they should relay same to me, so that I would be able to track where we are with the Questions, in order for us to act within the prescribed time. I agree that three weeks should be sufficient for any Minister, if he is available to come and answer the Questions, and if he is not available, given the urgency of the Question and if it is possible, to allow a Deputy Minister to hold the fort for him. Since I do not know and I do not pretend to know, once they do not tell me, it is difficult to relate to them that they have filed the Questions and it is in such a state. I share in his predicament. Going forward, we should define better parameters for ourselves in order for us to be able to ask those relevant Questions, because they are part of our oversight responsibility as Members of Parliament and as representatives of the constituents who have sent us here. So, Mr Speaker, that should be enough to satisfy Hon Okudzeto. Hon Afenyo-Markins raises issues that are outside the confines of the Business Committee's Report. He is an emerging Member of Parliament. I would suggest to him -- [Interruptions] -- emerging in the sense of radiance. I would urge him to resort to the processes as defined by our rules of procedure. Mr Speaker, the issues that he raised are nevertheless very germane to the conduct of business in the House. Leadership would confer and see the appropriate medium to engage the issue that he has related to. Mr Speaker, I started off by saying to the Hon Minority Leader that in my absence and in the absence of the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, he was to be the person to represent the Business Committee, so, his asking those questions would appear as if he himself is asking the questions that he has just asked. Mr Speaker, again, I think it is a very useful matter that he has brought. The matter relating to the Embassy of the United States of America (USA) and the treatment of Hon Members of Parliament, former Presidents and other similar personalities of similar description. Mr Speaker, it is certainly not the best. When he related to the matter, I told him that the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs was taking up the issue with the Ambassador and so we would have to await a response from her and know what to do thereafter. Mr Speaker, it is important to recognise that this is not an event of today or perhaps even yesterday. The date on the text would suggest to us that it was done way back. If the Hon Minority Leader would advert his attention to it, when was it done? It was done in November 2016, and it is like because it did not register on our radar, maybe -- Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Chief Whip has indicated to me that at the time, people were dancing “Onaapo” and so perhaps their vision got blurred, but it is an important matter.
Hon Majority Leader, you are addressing me, so you should continue to address me.
Mr Speaker, sometimes these distractions are very difficult to ignore.
Hon Members, the record book on Questions would be available to Hon Members at all times. [Interruptions.] Hon Minority Leader, I am speaking. Hon Members, the record book on Questions is available at the Table Office at all material times. Hon Members do not need my permission, it is their right to inspect same at any given time. The details include the name of the Hon Member who has filed a Question, the text of the Question, date received, date transmitted to the Rt Hon Speaker for approval and date of approval. These are all done expeditiously, and as of now, there is none on my desk. There is also the date of transmission to Ministers and remarks. This is typical of the book and Hon Members are advised accordingly to follow up as a matter of right, and then follow up on their Questions. Thank you very much. Hon Members, the Business Statement as presented is hereby accordingly admitted. Hon Members, item numbered 4, Questions. Yes, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways is ready.
Mr Speaker, as I indicated earlier, the Hon Minister is engaged elsewhere outside Accra and he has requested his able Hon Deputy Minister, Hon Owusu-Aduomi to stand in for him. With your indulgence and that of the House, he would stand in the stead of the substantive Minister.
Thank you. Yes, Hon Deputy Minister? Hon Deputy Minister, you may take the seat accordingly. Yes, Hon Emmanuel Nii Okai Laryea, Hon Member for Amasaman? Emmanuel Nii Okai Laryea: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would want to correct the spelling and captioning of my Question numbered 45 (i) and (ii) to read: “To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the construction of the following roads in the Amasaman Constituency would be completed: (i) Abehenase Kojo-Ashong- Konkon”.
“Ashong-Kankan” should read: “Kojo- Ashong-Konkon” with the letters: “kon- kon”.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member began by saying that he wants to ask the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways. I would want to know whether he is indeed asking or he wants to ask. Wanting to ask is a mere declaration of intent. -- [Interruption.] Nii Okai Laryea: Mr Speaker, there is a mistake with regard to --
Hon Member, just ask positively. Nii Okai Laryea: Mr Speaker, I need your protection. -- [Laughter] The Hon Majority Leader is heckling and intimidating me. Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways --
It is not ‘want to ask'; I rise to ask.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF ROADS AND
Hon Member, if reference is made to what? Nii Okai Laryea: Mr Speaker, Bitumen surfacing.
Mr Speaker, indeed, it is bituminous surfacing of those feeder roads. Nii Okai Laryea: Mr Speaker, in the Hon Deputy Minister's Answer, under the Current programme, he was silent on the Abehenase-Opa-Sarpeiman road. I would want to find out from him what the status of the project is with regard to that particular stretch of the road?
Mr Speaker, the Question was specific to Abehenase-Kojo Ashong-Konkon feeder road but we at the Ministry have further indicated the other feeder roads that are within the package and that is why we mentioned Abehenase- Opa-Sarpeiman road. The contractor is required to work on all these link roads. I believe when he leaves the Kuntunse-DVLA section, the Abehenase-Kojo Ashong-Konkon stretch of road that he asked about would be the next one. Indeed, the contractor works on all the links; it is not that he finishes with one road before he moves to the other. So, once it is part of the package, definitely, the Abehenase-Opa-Sarpeiman road would also be looked at.
We would move to the next Question as there are no other --
Hon Member, do you want to ask a further question?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I am interested in finding out from the Hon Deputy Minister the total cost of this project and what percentage of work has been completed? It is about a year now.
Hon Deputy Minister, cost.
Mr Speaker, the total cost of this project is GH¢61, 571,535.52 and to date, 50 per cent of the works have been completed.
Question numbered 46 on the Order Paper -- Hon Member for South Dayi. Asikuma-Have Road (Completion) Q. 46. Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamekpor asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the section of the Eastern Corridor Road stretching from Asikuma to Have would be completed.
Mr Speaker, Background The Asikuma - Have road forms part of the Eastern Corridor road. It is 45 km long, paved (tarred) and currently in fair condition. The road, on completion will have an asphaltic concrete surface. The project is financed from the Consolidated Fund (GoG). The road is located in the South Dayi District of the Volta Region. Current programme Contracts have been awarded for the upgrading of the Eastern Corridor Roads to either bituminous surface dressing or asphaltic concrete surface. The projects are in Lots. The Asikuma Junction to Have section (45 km) is Lot 1, awarded on 29th September, 2011. The project commenced on 5th December, 2011 for completion in 24 calendar months, that is by 5th December, 2013. The project has suffered cashflow challenges as a result of delay of the employer in paying for work done. The physical progress of the project has therefore been slow. There was an extension of completion time of 39 calendar months which brought the extended contractual completion date to 5th March, 2017. This has expired. The project is currently at 52 per cent physical completion. The contractor is on site working and has requested for a further 12 calendar months extension of completion time. This request is being reviewed by the employer. The completion of the project will depend largely on how frequent payments are made for works done.
Mr Speaker, could the Hon Deputy Minister inform this House how much has been spent from the Consolidated Fund on that segment of the road in question?
Mr Speaker, I do not have that information on how much has been spent, but what I have is the contract sum and the revised contract sum. I do not have the information he just asked for.
Hon Member, you may ask that by filing a Question at the appropriate time. So, stick to your Question and the answers.
Mr Speaker, in answering the Question, the Hon Deputy Minister stated that the project is currently at about 52 per cent completion. Now, can he tell this House what arrangements there are to ensure that until the segment of the road is completed, the contractor would make the section that is yet to be tarred motorable for road users? Thank you very much.
Hon Member, please, repeat your question.
Mr Speaker, my question is simply that, the portion of the segment of the Eastern Corridor road is yet to be completed. I would want to know whether they can request the contractor to make it motorable for the users of the road until it is completed.
Mr Speaker, contractually, the contractor is supposed to make the existing surface motorable for motorists to use. It is already a paved road, so we would ask the contractor if there are some potholes to patch and side brims to be taken care of so that when it rains, it does not have any overflow on it. Mr Speaker, that can be done. I have been informed that the amount certified to date is GH¢84,567, 296.80.
Thank you very much. Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister in his Answer, indicated that the completion of the project would depend largely on how frequent payments are made for the work done. Mr Speaker, that statement is a bit vague, the way I see it, in the sense that, we can wait for many years without the money coming. So, the question is, when what time frame does the Minister believe that section of the road would be completed? Thank you.
Mr Speaker, the statement that the completion would depend largely on how frequent payments are made is a fact, and should be understood by all. This project was awarded in 2011 and to-date it is only 52 per cent complete. Mr Speaker, the Ministry's position that the completion of the project would depend largely on how frequent payments are made, is a fact. And that is the reason why a whole thirty-nine months of extension was granted on this project. This is because the employer defaulted in paying the contractor for work done since 2011. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, may I find out from the Hon Deputy Minister, recently, we heard many road projects are being reviewed or are being stopped -- [Interruptions.]
Could the Hon Minister confirm that they have reviewed this particular project and there is nothing wrong with the contract that is why they are going ahead?
Hon Member, please ask your question again.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister, in recent times, many road projects have been suspended under the advice that ‘they are reviewing'. May I know whether this particular project has been reviewed and everything is all right with the contract and that is the reason they are proceeding? That is my Question.
Hon Member, you are talking about many road projects and so on. Please I want us to be very mindful of Standing Order 69 of our Standing Orders so that we do not introduce matters which are not included in the original Question. Yes, the next Question?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister, in answering the Question, said parts of the entire Eastern Corridor Roads would be bitumen surfaced while others would be asphaltic. I would like to know from him whether the forty-five kilometre section, that is from the Asikuma Junction to Have would be asphaltic or bitumen surfaced? Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is provided in the Answer that Asikuma Junction to Have is going to have asphaltic concrete surface.
Mr Speaker, I do not have details on the procedure they used in procuring this project. So, I would not be able to talk about it, unless you ask me to come again with it.
We would move on to the next Question which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Adaklu. Adaklu - Abuadi - Keyime/Waya-Mafi Kumasi Road (Commencement) Q. 47. Mr Kwame Govers Agbodza asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when construction works on the Adaklu Abuadi to Keyime, and from Waya to Mafi Kumasi roads would commence.
Mr Speaker, (i) Adaklu Abuadi - Keyime Background The Adaklu Abuadi-Keyime road is captured in the DFR database as two distinct road links: 1. Adaklu Abuadi- Adaklu Waya (17 km). 2. Adaklu Waya - Keyime (16km) Both roads are gravel surfaced and are in fair condition located in the Adaklu Anyigbe District of the Volta Region. Current programme There is no construction programme on the Adaklu Abuadi-Adaklu Waya- Keyime road. The Adaklu Waya - Keyime section (16km) has however been scheduled for grading and other activities as part of the year 2017 routine maintenance programme. Future programme Engineering design studies have been undertaken on the 17 km Adaklu Abuadi - Adaklu Waya road for upgrading from gravel to bituminous surfacing when funds are available. Again, engineering design studies will be conducted on the Adaklu Waya - Keyime section during the fourth quarter of this year 2017, for the necessary intervention when funds are available. (ii) Adaklu Waya - Mafi Kumasi Background The Adaklu Waya - Mafi Kumasi road is a 22.3 km gravel surfaced road in the Adaklu District of the Volta Region. It is currently in fair condition. Current programme The road is scheduled for grading and other activities as part of the year 2017 routine maintenance programme. Future programme Engineering design studies have been undertaken on the road for upgrading to bituminous surfacing under DFR periodic maintenance programme when funds are available.
Mr Speaker, I have found myself, for some time now in this House, pleading with agencies that there is nothing like Adaklu-Anyigbe District. Every single Government agency keeps making the same mistake. May I use your high office to plead with these agencies? The districts are Adaklu District and Agotime-Ziope District. Adaklu-Anyigbe District does not exist but every agency keeps capturing Adaklu-Anyigbe District. I hope this would be the last time we would have that. The question is --
Hon Member, we are not talking about various agencies here. [Interruptions.] Order! Order!
My simple plea is to the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways --
Hon Member, proceed with the Questions.
I am aware that the road project that the Hon Deputy Minister talked about was duly approved by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) in 2016. May I know whether the Answer he gave was to say that the procurement process done in 2016 has been nullified and they would start over? This is because, I am aware and have a document, that this road went through the necessary procurement processes, the contract was supposed to be signed and work started. I would like to know its current status from the Hon Deputy Minister. Would they cancel the previous procurement and start a new one?
Mr Speaker, I am not aware of any project that has been approved by PPA for construction on any of the roads. What I know is that, sections of that road as indicated in the Answer have been studied, engineering studies have been done for future construction and it is also subject to the availability of funds. So, I am not aware of that.
Thank you very much. Any further questions?
Mr Speaker, I would like to seek your clarification on this. Assuming I have letters from -- [Interruptions] The level of --
Hon member, do you stand on a point of order?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Our rules frown upon the posing of hypothetical questions and that is precisely what the Hon Member proceeded to do. He preceded his statement with a phrase which suggested that he was postulating a question based on a hypothesis and that cannot be allowed. Standing Order 67 is very clear on that.
Hon Member, the process of giving the contract is not the issue here. It does not come from the Question nor is it evident in the Answer. If you want to ask any other question, you may proceed.
Mr Speaker, I am the Member of Parliament for the people of Adaklu. [Interruptions.] I have -- [Interruptions] Hon Colleagues, this is serious business and Parliament is not a place to joke.
Mr Speaker, I have a soft copy of a scanned letter, telling me that on 29th April, 2016, an approval was given to the project. Since the Hon Deputy Minister is here, I would like to find out from him --
Hon Member, the availability of a Minister does not allow us to spring up any question at this time. That is why I went ahead and read Standing Order 69 of our Standing Orders which we all know so well, to you. Please, ask a specific Question based on what you asked at first and as published and read by all Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, my challenge is that, I am surprised that the Hon Minister did not acknowledge the fact that there is an existing procurement process. I am not trying to bring in something new. This particular section of the road I am talking about has gone through some processes.
No, Mr Speaker. I made it clear that I am not aware of such procurement. If PPA gave approval for the contract to be awarded and the actual Agreement has not been signed, it would not reflect in the books of the Department of Feeder Roads. We need to sign the Agreement first. Yes, we sent it to PPA because maybe, the amount exceeded what the Hon Minister could approve for this contract. So, it might have been sent to PPA for concurrent approval. Unless the Agreement is signed, we would not see it as an ongoing project which one would need to answer a question on. No, I am not aware of that.
Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister, if the Agreement has not been signed yet but the processes have been started and has got to a point, would the Ministry consider continuing the process or start afresh?
Mr Speaker, the Ministry would look at the processes and if it is true that PPA has given approval, the Ministry would look at the processes of procurement and decide.
Hon Member, do not address anyone and continue. You may ask one other question.
I would like to know from the Hon Minister what remedial steps would be taken to make those roads accessible? This is because as I speak, some of the communities have been cut off because of the nature of the road. What remedial steps would be taken in the interim to make those roads accessible, while we wait for the commencement of work?
Mr Speaker, I indicated in my Answer to the Question that there would be routine maintenance works. It is a gravel road, so, grading would be done and the drains would be cleaned out so that the road becomes motorable. This is until the funds are available for us to do surfacing of those roads.
Hon Members, we would take the Question numbered 48 on the Order Paper which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Ho West.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I would want to crave your indulgence to ask this Question on behalf of Hon Emmanuel Bedzra who has been called out of the House.
Hon Member, you may proceed. Bame - Dzolokpuita - Kpedze Road (Completion) Mr Kwame Govers Agbodza (on behalf of Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Bame - Dzolokpuita - Kpedze road would be completed.
Mr Speaker, Background The Bame - Dzolokpuita - Kpedze road is 28.8 km long. It is a trunk road with both gravel and bituminous surfaces. It is located in the Ho West District of the Volta Region. Current programme The Bame - Dzolokpuita section (17.2 km) is gravel surfaced and in poor condition. It is currently being upgraded to a double surface dressed road. The contractor has slowed down the works due to cashflow challenges. This project is being funded by COCOBOD. The contract for the upgrading of the road was awarded on 18th April, 2016. The project commenced on 29th June, 2016 for completion in 24 calendar months, that is by 29th June, 2018. The physical progress is currently projected at 80 per cent completion as against a scheduled progress of 67 per cent. Nine (9) km of the 11.6 km Dzolokpuita- Kpedze section has already been resealed under an earlier contract. The remaining 2.6 km paved road to Kpedze town would be maintained under the GHA 2017 routine maintenance programme.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Deputy Minister's Answer, he said that the contract was ahead of schedule because 80 per cent of the work had been done instead of 67 per cent. Mr Speaker, I would want to know whether the current contractor has any work left to be done on the sections the Hon Deputy Minister said had been previously sealed.
Mr Speaker, the section that has been sealed is the work that is supposed to be done. But while the project is within the contract period, if there is any work that has to be done by the contractor, it would be done, but that section has been re-sealed and is in good condition.
Hon Members, we would take Question numbered 49 on the Order Paper. Abutia - Kloe - Juapong Road (Completion) Mr Kwame Govers Agbodza (on behalf of Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Abutia - Kloe - Juapong road would be completed.
Mr Speaker, Background The Abutia-Kloe-Juapong gravel surfaced road is 35 km long and in poor condition. The road is located in the Ho West District of the Volta Region. Current programme The contract for the upgrading of Abutia-Juapong road (0-35) km was awarded on 11th November, 2015. The project commenced on 14th March, 2016 for completion in 24 calendar months, that is by 13th March, 2018. The project is currently estimated at 25 per cent physical completion. The contractor is currently on site. However, progress of work is slow due to cashflow challenges as a result of delay of the employer in paying for work done.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Deputy Minister's Answer, he referred to the word “upgrading” and I would want to find out from him what that meant in this particular situation. Would the road be sealed?
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for this opportunity to ask a follow up question. Mr Speaker, I would just want to draw the attention of the Hon Deputy Minister that the Abutia - Kloe - Juapong road is in both the Ho West District and the North Tongu District of the Volta Region. “Juapong” is in the North Tongu District in my beloved constituency, so, that should be corrected. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would want to quote the last paragraph of the Answer the Hon Deputy Minister gave. “The contractor is currently on site. However, progress of work is slow due to cashflow challenges as a result of delay of the employer in paying for work done”. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister did not tell us what they would do to address this particular challenge. I would want him to kindly tell the House what they would do to address the delay in paying the contractor?
Mr Speaker, this project is funded from the Road Fund and the Road Fund is indeed in serious financial situation. Mr Speaker, if you would give me the time, I would explain the situation which the Road Fund is in. Mr Speaker, in 2015, with the total work done by the Ministry, the Consolidated Fund and Road Fund all amounted to GH¢1.3 billion, so, when there was a proposal for fuel levy that would bring accruals to the Fund to the tune of GH¢1.2 billion, we were all happy and supported it because that would end the huge arrears that was always carried to the following year. Mr Speaker, however, the number of projects that were awarded in the last half of 2016 amounted to GH¢11.1billion. Mr Speaker, in addition, a loan of GH¢1.2 billion was sought from the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and the payment terms were that, for a quarter, accruals from the fuel levy would go to the bank and the total amount per quarter is about GH¢240 million. Mr Speaker, because of the loan that was taken, the bank takes GH¢ 206 million out of the GH¢240 million and we are left with a paltry sum. Mr Speaker, the Road Fund is actually in financial distress and that was why I said that “when funds become available”. These agreements would end in August, 2018. Because of this, not until after 2018, funding from the Road Fund would be a problem. Mr Speaker, I would want Hon Members to understand why I said that “when funds become available”. It is not that we do not want to do it, but the last six months of 2016 was the predicament of the Ghana Road Fund.
Hon Members, Order! Hon Members, Question numbered 50 on the Order Paper. In the process, the Hon First Deputy Speaker will take the Chair. 1.50 p.m. —
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Yes, Hon Member, ask your Question. Dzolo Gbogame to Kpedze Sreme Junction Road (Completion) Mr Kwame Govers Agbodza (on behalf of Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Dzolo Gbogame to Kpedze Sreme Junction road would be completed.
Mr Speaker, Background The Dzolo Gbogame-Kpedze Sreme junction road is a 9.1km gravel surfaced road in the Ho West District of the Volta Region. It is currently in good condition. It is captured in the Department of Feeder Roads (DFR) database as Dzolo - Kpedze feeder road. Current programme The Dzolo-Kpedze feeder road forms part of the bitumen surfacing of the Dzolo - Kpedze - Ashanti Kpoeta project (12.2 km). This is under phase V of the COCOBOD funded projects in the Volta Region. It commenced on 16th September, 2016 and is projected for completion by 15th September, 2017, a period of 12 calendar months. The scope of works comprise: a) Clearing of road side vegetation b) Construction of culverts and concrete drains c) Filling of culvert approaches and low lying areas d) Laying of sub-base and base courses; and e) Bituminous surfacing. The 9.1km stretch from Dzolo Gbogame -Kpedze has been provided with base course. Physical progress to date is estimated at 62 per cent and is slightly ahead of schedule. The contractor is on site preparing to commence bitumen works.
Has the Hon Member who asked the Question finished? You should announce that before anybody takes over. Are you satisfied with the Answer?
Mr Speaker, yes.
Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether he is aware that the stalemate we are experiencing on all of these roads is because the contractors have not been paid?
Hon Member, he did not talk about stalemate in this one. His Answer was that work is ongoing. So, if you want a general question on stalemates, then it should not be related to this one.
Mr Speaker, I know for a fact that the contractors have piled up chippings and bitumen on the roads but they have left the sites because they have not been paid. The contractors have actually piled up materials for work to be done on even the Bame-Dzolokpuita-Kpedze road and the
Hon Deputy Minister, has the contractor on this road left the site?
Mr Speaker, the contractor is on site working. Indeed, of all the projects, this is one that its progress is commendable. This is because the 12.2 km, 9 km of the base course has been provided by the contractor. So, it is time for the contractor to apply the bitumen and chippings on the surface. It is a project that the contractor is working very well on. Mr Speaker, I believe if there has been a slow down, then it may be due to the weather. This is because we are now in the rainy season, so, if he has seen the contractor not putting the bitumen on, then it may be because of the rainy season.
Mr Speaker, in the Answer to the Question, we realised that in the previous Questions, the Hon Deputy Minister mentioned issues of cash flow and that was one major reason why some of the contractors abandoned work. But in this particular case, like he reiterated, the contractor is still on site. But my interest is in the fact that, at the time that the contracts were awarded, the Hon Deputy Minister mentioned that there were cash flow issues with the employer and this has been consistent in some of the Answers. Mr Speaker, luckily, this one is ongoing. But the question is that this apparent cashflow or solvency issues with Mr Speaker, I got the impression that the employer was very solvent — [Interruption] — Does the solvency issues of the employer still exist?
Hon Member, do you mean to ask whether the employer has money to pay in respect of this project?
Mr Speaker, exactly so — [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, this is one of the COCOBOD funded projects and to date, I can confidently say COCOBOD does not have the money to pay for all the numerous projects that were awarded. Mr Speaker, the outstanding bill of COCOBOD is now GH¢3.5 billion. [Uproar.] That is work that has been done and certified by the supervisors. So, COCOBOD is also in a precarious situation just like the Road Fund or the Ministry of Roads and Highways. Mr Speaker, I cannot say confidently that COCOBOD has money to pay for this. But it is a contractual requirement, and so, as and when moneys are available, I am sure COCOBOD would pay contractors for work done.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister, in his Answer, said that there has been some sort of delay in the execution of these projects because of cash flow challenges. I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister if he would propose to the House for an upward adjustment of the Road Fund Levy, so that they can get more cash flow to deal with these challenges.
Mr Speaker, I cannot say there should be upward review of rates. That would be done in consultation with other Ministries and the Presidency. So I cannot, with respect, say yes or no to that question. But the fact is that, the Road Fund is stressed up with funds to finance these projects.
Mr Speaker, I would like to know from the Hon Deputy Minister — with respect to the 2016 Budget, GH¢1.2 million was budgeted for cocoa roads. Mr Speaker, by the close of 2016, a whopping sum of GH¢5.8 million - may I know from the Hon Deputy Minister whether due process was followed and whether it was budgeted for?
Hon Member, kindly file your own Question and the Hon Deputy Minister would answer that. This is not an admissible supplementary question. Hon Inusah Fuseini?
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Deputy Minister's answer, he said that there was nothing in the Road Fund. Is he aware that at the time that the NDC Government was exiting office, GH¢600 million of the Road Fund money was still lodged with the UBA Bank?
Mr Speaker, if there is any such money at all in the UBA Bank account, it is as a result of the loan that he and others procured from the UBA Bank --
Hon Member, do not personalise it please. [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, what I know of is that, before the NDC Government exited, there were payments that took more than GH¢200 million out of the UBA Bank account. Indeed, the money that I know is in the UBA Bank currently is GH¢266 million. This is because the GH¢600 million that he said was in the bank -- before they exited, they made arrangement for payments to contractors and that took a chunk of that amount. So, what was left for the NPP Administration to handle is GH¢266 million and that is all. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister; is it the case that as a Ministry, they just keep on awarding contracts without taking into consi- deration their cash-flows and the budgetary concerns, to the extent that last year, within the last six months, outrageous contracts were awarded to the tune of GH¢11 billion? Is the Hon Deputy Minister able to tell whether they have that standard?
Hon Deputy Minister, is it the case that the Ministry awards contracts without reference to its cash-flow?
Mr Speaker, that should not be in the management of resources in any Ministry or organisation. We all knew and those at the Ministry at that time knew that the maximum accruals to the Road Fund were to be GH¢1.2 billion annually. So, if for the last six months of the year 2016, we can award projects under the term “Enhanced Road Fund Projects” to the
tune of GH¢11.1 billion, I would say that it was mismanagement of our resources. That is the reason the Road Fund is now distressed in getting money to pay for all that. It is because all these projects are ongoing and even if the Ministry decides not to do any new project at all, it would take the Ministry about 10 years to pay for the projects that were awarded at that time. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, in the Answer submitted to this House by the Hon Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways, he indicated that this is a COCOBOD funded project and assures us that this project would be completed on schedule. Only this week, specifically on Monday, 26th of June, 2017, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD issued a statement which I have a copy here, which sort to announce to the general public that all cocoa roads have been suspended for what they called a rationalisation and review exercise. The question is --
Hon Member, if you would listen to me, your question is based on a statement which I do not find in the Answer.
Mr Speaker, it is in the Answer.
If you would listen to me. Hon Member, your Answer says that “... is slightly ahead of schedule. The contractor is on site preparing to commence bitumen works.” It is not stated anywhere that it would be completed ahead of schedule. But your question is based on the assurance that it would be completed. So, I would want to be sure where that assurance is coming from; it is not in the Hon Deputy Minister's Answer.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, if I could read the last paragraph? It says: “The 9.1km stretch from Dzolo Gbogame-Kpedze has been provided with base course. Physical progress to date is estimated at 62 per cent and is slightly ahead of schedule. The contractor is on site preparing to commence bitumen works.” So, this is where I took my question from, please. The first paragraph on page 11 indicates that this is a COCOBOD funded project and this week, I saw a statement from COCOBOD that all these projects have been suspended. It was signed by the C.E.O. Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo. I have a copy here. The statement was also captured on myjoyonline.com. So, I would want to find out what the different categorisations are, because we have been told here that all is well but there is a COCOBOD statement which says that these projects have been suspended. It is just for clarity, Mr Speaker. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, progress achieved at site at times also depends on the strength and the solvency of the contractor. Probably, the contractor on this project has all the resources to complete the works. Mr Speaker, if COCOBOD has an outstanding bill of GH¢3.5 billion to pay, definitely, it would call for rationalisation of the projects. Maybe, that is the reason the CEO said the project should be suspended. I would not be able to give reasons for why he said that. But indeed, if they have such an amount to pay -- GH¢3.5 billion to pay for work done and all the projects are also ongoing, then definitely, they should be alarmed and maybe, would like to apply their brakes and see how they could go ahead with the project. Mr Speaker, but with this particular project, the contractor is on site working. Probably, the contractor has got resources to continue with it. This is because the stage that it has reached, if a contractor puts the base course and allows water to soak in too much, then he would have to come back, scarify and re-compact it and that would give him more work. So, maybe, the contractor wants to put the prima seal, protect the work that has been done and wait for payment or direction in future.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Deputy Minister's answer to a supplementary question, he said that it would take over ten years to pay for road maintenance contracts so far awarded. I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister, whether the source of funding for road maintenance comes only from the Road Fund?
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member is referring to routine maintenance, yes, it comes from the Ghana Road Fund. Even minor upgrading and rehabilitation works that we term as “periodic maintenance works” are also funded from the Ghana Road Fund. It is the development projects and major rehabilitation works that are funded from the Consolidated Fund. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
I am very grateful, Mr Speaker. I would want to ask the Hon Deputy Minister whether he is in approval of this policy where COCOBOD as a body which has been set up to help regulate cocoa production and to earn lots of foreign exchange in this country is now venturing into the arena of road constructions and rehabilitation? [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, it is very relevant.
Hon Members, order! Have you finished?
No, Mr Speaker. I thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member, I believe that you may want to file a Question specifically to elicit this answer. This is the end of the time for Questions. Hon Richard M. Quashigah -- rose --
Hon Members, I have brought the gavel down on Question time. Thank you, Hon Deputy Minister for attending upon the House to answer our Questions. [Pause] Hon Member, do you have anything to say?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. I have been on my feet for so long to ask of the Hon Deputy Minister a question. The fact is that the Hon Deputy Minister has consistently mentioned cocoa roads outstanding debt of GH¢ 3.5 billion. But variously, his substantive Minister has also indicated in and outside this House that it is GH¢3 billion. So, which is which? That was a very relevant question I had wanted to put to the Hon Deputy Minister.
Hon Member, you are patently out of order. I have brought down the gavel on Questions and this is inadmissible. You are out of order. Even your Leader accepted that Question time is over and he sat down. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
All right, item numbered 6 (b) -- Presentation of Papers by the Chairman of the Committee.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, are we ready to take any of the Motions?
Rightly so. Mr Speaker, we could take Motions numbered 11 and 12. I thank you.
Very well. Motion numbered 11 -- Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Treaty on the Establishment of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of la Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Togolese Republic may be moved today.
Any seconder? Hon James K. Avedzi -- rose --
Mr Speaker, I am not sure whether my Leader wanted to usurp my position as the Ranking Member -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
This is a procedural Motion. So, I will put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Now, item numbered 12 -- [Interruption.] Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the reason I stood up earlier was for the mover of the Motion to make an application for the suspension in order to move the substantive Motion this is because the Report has just been laid. He must give reasons -- [Interruption.] It has been seconded. That was the reason I wanted him to give an explanation why he believes that we should move this Motion today. There must be a reason why we should suspend the Standing Orders of the House to move the Motion. He may have a good reason. That is why I would want him to explain to us. So, if the mover of the Motion to suspend the Standing Orders to take this Motion can explain to the House why he believes that we cannot wait for 24 hours but rather suspend the Standing Orders and take it today?
Mr Speaker, I thank you. You have already put the Question to the House and the Motion has been adopted by the House. That notwith- standing, I very much appreciate the concern raised by the Hon Deputy Minority Leader. But Mr Speaker, I believe if the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee had done a little bit more of communication to his Leader, they would have been on the same page. Mr Speaker, the ratification of this Treaty which we have to do as a Parliament, pursuant to article 75 of the Constitution is time bound.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader knows that I am on my feet. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, so, we are time bound; and for that matter, if that Motion is not taken today, the essence of ratification would have been lost. Mr Speaker, this is a very important treaty that involves five countries. The agreement between these countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region, where member-States have their Heads of State and five Hon Ministers of the Infrastructural Ministries of these five countries, of which Ghana, la Cote d'Ivoire, Benin and Nigeria are part. Mr Speaker, if we are not able to ratify same today, it would mean that the essence of the agreement reached by our Heads of State at the ECOWAS sub-region, that there should be a road constructed from Abidjan through Accra to Lagos, for which we are --
Hon Member, you have finished the most valid point. If you would bring your statement to a conclusion.
Mr Speaker, very well. So, I would want to urge and plead with the Hon Deputy Minority Leader that we have to take this Motion timeously. I so submit. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Speaker, I appreciate the explanation given by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. The rules of the House do not permit a different person to explain the reason for the suspension of a Standing Order, while another person moved the Motion. That is not what we do in this House; unless we would want to change the rules here. That is exactly what I wanted the Hon Member who moved the Motion to do, but not the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. [Interruptions.] She did not move the Motion. Mr Speaker, rules govern our conduct here. Shall we be guided by the rules of the House or should we change it as and when it suits us? It is a precedent we are setting. Would we continue to do the same thing tomorrow and nobody would complain?
Hon Members, I do not want to prolong this debate. At least, I have been in this House long enough to know that it is not the practice to offer reasons. I recall an Hon Deputy Majority Leader on the other side, who practically moved such Motions about four to five times a week, and asked for the Standing Orders to be suspended because there was some work to be done. In any case, if the Minority side felt strongly about that, they may have declined to second the Motion. They have already seconded the Motion and the vote has been taken. So, we would proceed to the next item which is item numbered 12 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that, this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Com- mittee on Roads and Transport on the Treaty on the Establishment of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of la Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Togolese Republic. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present your Committee's Report. Introduction On Tuesday, 27th June 2017, the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu on behalf of the Minister for Roads and Highways, laid before the House the Treaty on the Establishment of the Abidjan -Lagos Corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of la Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Togolese Republic for ratification. The Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 189 and article 75 (2) (b) of the 1992 Constitution, subsequently referred it to the Committee on Roads and Transport for consideration and report. Reference documents In considering the Treaty, the Committee referred to the following documents: 1. The 1992 Constitution 2. Standing Orders of the House 3. Cabinet Memorandum on the Treaty 4. The Treaty on the establishment of the Abidjan - Lagos Corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of la Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Togolese Republic. Deliberations The Committee is grateful to the Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways, Hon Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi and officials of the Ministry for their invaluable assistance to the Committee. The Committee met on Friday, 30th June 2017, to consider the referral. The Committee noted that participating countries are enjoined to ratify the Treaty by 30th June 2017. Objectives of the Treaty The Treaty sets out to: i. Transform the Corridor into a development corridor that would offer a competitive transport and transit services that would secure regional trade, stimulate investment, encourage sustain- able development and guarantee security along the corridor. ii. Facilitate the safe and efficient movement of persons and goods through an improved road infrastructure that ensures the simplification and harmonisation of the requirement and controls that govern movements of goods
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to second the Motion numbered 12 on today's Order Paper. Mr Speaker, as said by my Hon Colleague, this road project has become necessary to promote intra-regional relationships in the ECOWAS region. This idea came up, I am told, in 2011. Indeed, the high level Treaty has been signed already among the Presidents of the various Governments. Mr Speaker, why do we need this road? Indeed, this road is over 1000 kilometres, which would expand between Lagos and Abidjan. If we check, we would notice that a significant portion of this road is within Ghana. So, we would build a coastal road from the eastern to the western side of Ghana, which is very important. Mr Speaker, road projects cost money. Not too long, Hon Members of this House argued among ourselves why roads were approved and their costs. Mr Speaker, indeed, this project would be funded not necessarily from taxpayers or would we have to borrow money or something. Mr Speaker, is it necessary? Yes; this is because projects are huge capital investments. Which Hon Member of Parliament has ever gone to the Ministry of Roads and Highways to ask that a road in his constituency be constructed? As of the time that we go to the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways to lobby for roads to be constructed, do we find out from the Hon Minister for Finance whether there is money to pay for the roads? No, we do not. Like myself, we just need roads. I do not want to know how the Government funds it because the roads of some other people are being constructed. So, I believe this project is very important. What would this road project do? Mr Speaker, we are told that this could increase the level of trading among our neighbouring countries to about 75 per cent. Indeed, probably, the largest trading partner in the sub-region would be Nigeria. Mr Speaker, would it not be a good idea to have a motorable road among ourselves through Togo, Benin and Nigeria? Of course, it would be necessary. Indeed, our country plays host to a port like the Tema Port, that is crucial for the people in Burkina Faso and so on. So, the improvement on this road would indeed enhance the economic wellbeing of this country. Mr Speaker, we are being told by this Report that feasibility studies and other things are required to the tune of over US$22 million and as we speak, the Ministry is going through the process of recruiting the eligible consultants to do this. I hope some Ghanaian civil engineering firms are involved in this, because that would also bring some expertise -- Mr Speaker is smiling and I do not know why.
Mr Speaker, no. Not in this one. Mr Speaker, I would want to urge my Hon Colleagues in this House to see this project as one of the projects that would improve on not only the road infrastructure but the trade that we all aspire to do. Many-a-time, the President tells us that we should believe in trading among ourselves and so on. I think this is a very important jigsaw puzzle which could help us do that. Mr Speaker, I would want to support this Motion by saying that indeed, all Hon Members of Parliament should take interest in this particular project. I suspect that part of the Agreement would come to this House for us to have a look at it and this Treaty is not about starting the construction of a road project yet. It is just to have an understanding. If we fail to pass this Treaty today, what it would mean is that we would have been a disgrace to this country. This is because all other countries who form part of this Treaty, have already signed and we are the last people -- and today is the last day. If we fail to do this, that would be an international disgrace. So, I would urge all my Hon Colleagues to look at this and see the need for us to pass this Treaty without any delay so that this project could go on and enhance trade and investment in the sub-region. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity and urge Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, thank you. I beg to support the Motion and in so doing, to make a few comments. I believe that a number of Treaties have been ratified by the Parliament of Ghana, but this very Treaty is one of great importance, not just merely the benefits that would accrue to this country but other neighbouring countries in the sub-region. Mr Speaker, a few regrets though. Let me congratulate the Government for continuing a process that was initiated by the previous Government way back in the year 2013. It is a bit regrettable that there have been some unhealthy delay in processing and ratifying this Treaty. Mr Speaker, be it as it may, I would still want to agree with the Hon Ranking Member that the Treaty is time bound and we have only today and it is important that this Treaty is ratified as soon as practicable. I also on that wavelength, want to congratulate neighbouring countries for their wonderful negotiation prowess to have been able to convince the African Development Bank (AfDB) to release an amount of US$22 million as part of support to facilitate and enhance feasibility studies on this project. This is a wonderful project which is coming to boost and expand trade and other matters in the sub-region. Ghana stands tall to benefit because over 50 per cent of the road cover is found in our jurisdiction, so to speak. Hence, we have every reason and motivation to sign this Treaty. It is from the Report that I read and from correspondence that have gone on, we are the only country left to assent to this Treaty. It is also important to recognise that we have done some basic works already. For instance, Mr Speaker, the Akatsi- Denu section of road network in our country is relevant to this West African road span. Ghana has contributed immensely in completing that section of the road. The Denu-Aflao section is also seriously under construction and I think that we need to pat our shoulders and urge ourselves on. Mr Speaker, the AfDB had advanced a loan amounting to the tune of US$1 million to Ghana. Let me urge the Ministry that the processes that are required to ensure that we assess the facility is facilitated and done with. We do not want to come back to this House and talk about regrets any longer. This is one important project that I am so proud of. This is because the span is linking about five neighbouring countries and it is something that we all need to support. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to thank the Leadership of this country for continuously supporting a good initiative began by the previous administration. This is the kind of leadership skills that we would want to support in this country. [Hear! Hear!] That is why the Constitution in its wisdom talks about the Directive Principles of State Policy and I am urging Hon Members of this House to support and ratify this Treaty. Mr Speaker, we are not just ratifying it for it to lie down and get dusty on our shelves. We would ratify it and ensure that the thrust of it is implemented to the letter to the benefit of the five countries that are involved. Mr Speaker, I thank you and I am most grateful for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate in this House and to call on Hon Members to approve the Report and ratify the Treaty establishing the Abidjan-Lagos corridor. Indeed, it is a very important corridor. The road linking Lagos-Abidjan is a very important road and it carries a lot of goods and it would facilitate the free movement of people across the borders. Indeed, about 90 per cent of goods in the sub- region are carried by road. When the road is bad, transportation of the goods and services by road becomes expensive. This is because the cost of operation of the vehicles goes high and they pass it on to the traders. So, goods and services become expensive. Where a road is good, goods and services become cheaper because the cost of maintenance or operation of vehicles goes down. That is why the Heads of States saw that it was important for the countries named in the Treaty; Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Ghana and la Cote d'Ivoire come together to develop the corridor. We are already trading seriously among ourselves and the development of the corridor would further enhance trade, reduce poverty and mitigate the hardships that traders go through in using roads riddled with potholes, causing the cost of transportation to be passed unto the consumer.
Hon Yaw Boamah?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on the floor. I have read the Report on this trunk road and it runs through the Okaikoi Central Constituency and I have seen that the N1 Highway has been mentioned in the Report. Mr Speaker, but my contribution would be on other ECOWAS Protocols and Treaties that we have signed. It is a laudable idea that we are expanding the road network within the West African sub-region; which goes through Togo, Nigeria, la Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. Mr Speaker, what about our aviation hub or the air routes? It is a step that the leaders have taken but it must be extended to the aviation sector. I was just speaking to the Hon Member for Mpraeso who just returned from Burkina Faso. I asked him how he got to Ghana and he told me that he flew from Accra to Ouagadougou and came through Abidjan and vice versa. Mr Speaker, it adds a lot of cost to our movements within the sub-region. West African leaders always talk about having a big market -- 350 million people but what are we doing to this market in the area of aviation. Mr Speaker, secondly, once this road network has been adhered to and member States have agreed to construct this road, we must also take a critical look at the security on this road. How are we going to collaborate in the area of immigration, the police network, sharing of intelligence, collaborating in various areas that would ensure the sustenance and the peaceful use of this road network? I believe it is a good programme that the West African leaders have undertaken to embark on, but why must we wait till the last day to ratify this Agreement? We must be conscious with the kind of things we do and the priorities we attach to some important treaties. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would sit down. Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to say a few words about this Treaty. Mr Speaker, although we are different countries in West Africa, we find a lot of similarities in the way we do things and so on. Some of us lived in Nigeria for some time and it was at a time when the road network in Ghana was relatively bad and it was a big problem when you wanted to come home. Mr Speaker, as for the goods and services, it was a problem. Mr Speaker, of late, the roads have become a bit better but it is still not good for the transportation of goods. At the moment, Ghana has one of the best roads in the sub-region but this new road we are talking about is a six-lane dual carriageway which would greatly enhance the movement of goods and provision of services. Mr Speaker, the movement of about 75 per cent of goods within the corridor; Lagos to Abidjan -- goes along this route. Also, other roads spin off from this road. Therefore, when this spine of road is good, it would even help greatly with movement inland. Maybe somebody moving from Aflao to Kumasi does not need to actually come to Accra in order to get there. This is because Accra would only be a form of bypass which would help spin off and it would help greatly. Mr Speaker, the other issue is that, Ghana has the longest length of the stretch on this road. Mr Speaker, out of the 1,028 kilometres, Ghana has 578 kilometres and so Ghana stands to gain a lot from this road. Mr Speaker, I would say that a six-lane dual carriage way all the way from Aflao to Elubo would also greatly reduce the travel time that one would need to commute between the eastern part of the country and the western part of the country. Therefore, I would say that Ghana stands to benefit most from the construction of this road. So far, I know that all Hon Members who have spoken are for the ratification of the Treaty, therefore, they support the construction of this road. So, it is a good idea. Mr Speaker, I would like to add my voice to this and say that it is good for the country, our trade and it would enhance and improve trade within the country. Mr Speaker, as one Hon Member said, we have about 350 million citizens within these five countries but the trade among these countries is not good enough. We stand to gain a lot if we could trade more and within ourselves make money. Therefore, there would be no need to always rely on others to come and take our goods and sometimes, pay a pittance for what they take away. Mr Speaker, with these words, I would like to support the ratification of this Treaty. Mr Speaker, thank you.
This is not controversial and so I would admit one contribution each and then I would -- Hon Member for Bantama, you have not spoken today.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I just wish to support the Motion that seeks to build a corridor between Abidjan and Lagos. Mr Speaker, as a member of the Committee on Roads and Transport, I just want to consider the economic
implications of opening up the sub-region. I sincerely believe that if this road is constructed, it would open up the market for goods and services in the sub-region. In some ways, it would also help the government to actually pursue its policy of Planting for Food and Jobs. This is in the sense that after we have been able to plant for food and gathered so much for ourselves, the leftovers could be traded within the sub-region. Mr Speaker, in basic economics, we know that if you look at the national income, consumption creates employment and income, So, if we are able to encourage and expand the markets that we have in the sub-region, we would end up creating a lot of jobs for ourselves. The implication is that we would probably end up reducing our import bills because the jobs would be created where we manufacture the products. Mr Speaker, another aspect is that as we buy goods and services, and as we trade more among ourselves in the sub- region, we would end up creating more employment for the youth who are looking for jobs. Mr Speaker, I also want to say that sometime ago, I met an investor in the United States of America and I was trying to get him to come and invest in Ghana. He asked me how many people we have in this country, what the size of the population is. Mr Speaker, I said that we are about 27 million. Mr Speaker, he said that the market is too small and that we could use about US$200 million. I told him that he should not worry about that and if he comes to Ghana and the market is too small, then Nigeria is just one hour flight away. Mr Speaker, what it means is that, if we are able to open up, not only could we facilitate trade among ourselves but even attract foreign businesses that are looking for bigger markets. I believe this road construction would facilitate trade within the sub-region and also, probably become a source of attraction for foreign investors. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
One last person. Hon Member for Keta?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity, but I would have loved to cede that position to the Hon Ranking Member for the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Mr Speaker, I think that largely, this Treaty is very much in place. It is one that we all need to support. After all, as has been mentioned by earlier speakers, it would expand the business scope within the region. What it means therefore is that, a lot of job opportunities would be created, especially for the teeming unemployed young men and women in Ghana, who have been promised jobs within a hundred days and three months, yet six months on, they have not got any job, except that some people would have to be forcefully removed from their positions and others put in those positions. Mr Speaker, I would want to take us to paragraph 6.3 of the Report --
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, we are looking at a very important Report that needs to be ratified today. And the Hon Member is talking about somebody having made a promise to create jobs within a hundred days. Could he provide evidence to that effect? Otherwise, he must withdraw that statement.
Hon Member, restrict yourself to the text of the Report.
Thank you so much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, it is obvious that creating jobs is one of the benefits that we would derive from this whole project. So, if we are talking about creating jobs and we have been given assurances that people would get jobs, alluding to that must not create any angst. Therefore, I do not see the essence of the point of order. But Mr Speaker, taking us to paragraph 6.4; Financing the Abidjan - Lagos Corridor Project, I have some slight challenge with the text in that if you read it, it says and with your permission, I beg to quote: “The Committee noted that the total of twenty-two million, seven hundred and twenty thousand United States dollars (US$22,720,- 000.00) equivalent to sixteen million, two hundred and eighty thousand Units of Accounts. (UA 16,280,000 …”
Units of Accounts.
Units of Accounts. [Uproar.] All right, I have been corrected. Mr Speaker, I am not a technical person in that area. So, if I get it wrong, it is not strange.
You did not listen to me.
Mr Speaker, when you read further, it says that, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “… has been secured for the feasibility studies of the project.”
“Ghana has secured a loan of UA1million from the African Development Fund (ADF) under this programme.” Mr Speaker, if Ghana has secured it, it means that we have the money, but the next line says, and again, I beg to quote: “However, she is yet to execute the loan agreement with the ADF for the study, ratification of the Treaty would advance the cause of securing the loan.” Mr Speaker, I think the Committee would need to help us with some clarity in that particular paragraph because, in one breath, we are saying that we have secured the loan and in the next breath, we are saying that we are yet to execute the loan agreement. It does not sound clear to me and probably, I would need some explanation. If that is how it is couched technically, it must be brought down to the understanding of the layman. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Hon Member, he has concluded his contribution. At this stage, I would come to Leadership and close the debate.
Mr Speaker, I believe the importance of this road corridor has been well articulated by Hon Members, that it is very important that these five countries signed this Agreement. Mr Speaker, on 29th March, 2014, four Presidents, that is, President of the Republic of Benin, Yayi Boni; President Alassane Ouatarra of the Republic of la Cote d'Ivoire ; President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana; President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigerian and then one Mr Robert Dussey, who was the Minister in charge of Regional Cooperation, representing President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo -- These four Presidents and one Hon Minister signed this Treaty for the construction and development of the corridor. So, Mr Speaker, it is very important that Ghana, which is even the highest beneficiary -- Because out of a 1,028 km of road, about 578km are from Ghana's portion. Today being the last day and deadline for the adoption of this Treaty, before Ghana joins -- The other four countries have already done their portion. It is important that we all support this Treaty and adopt it today so that we could have the benefit of the regional cooperation and integration and trade facilitation. So that we could have trade among the five countries. Mr Speaker, we should also be mindful of other issues that could come out of this. As we are encouraging or anticipating that we would benefit from trade among these countries, we should all also be mindful that --
Yes, Hon Member for Effutu, are you on a point of order?
A point of information is not to be used to intervene. If he is misleading the House or making a wrong statement, I would allow it, but for a point of information, if he allows it, I would allow. Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do you want to yield for the information?
Mr Speaker, if it is about correction of a certain portion of the Report, I would allow him to do that.
Hon Member, we have been given copies this week.
Mr Speaker, then I have not, but I take note of your information. I am exceedingly grateful.
Hon Member, continue. We would come to the issue of the signature after your debate.
Mr Speaker, to conclude my contribution, as we are anticipating that we would benefit from trade, movement of people as well as goods and services, we should also be mindful that there is the tendency of the bad ones also trying to enter our jurisdiction to cause challenges and difficulties to the people of this country. The security agencies would also definitely be on guard to ensure that the movement of people would not lead to import of the bad nuts coming to cause any problem for us as a country.
Hon Member, please, hold on. Hon Member for Adansi Asokwa?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, a very serious point of order which I feel the Hon Leader should take up and explain. When Hon Quashigah was going on and on, we did not appreciate the fact that -- indeed, if he did not know what UA was, it was already here, stated “Unit of
Wo nnye dinn ma me mmoa wo na wongyae ntoatoa na wo ye wo ho no, to wit, would you not keep quiet for me to help you?
Hon Member for Adansi Asokwa, you are out of order.
Mr Speaker, which one? [Laughter.]
On the exclamation “wo nnye dinn ma me mmoa…” You are totally out of order.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw that one.
I see that the Hon Chairman, who is now also the Minister, is in the House. So, after the Leader, I would give him the opportunity to clarify any issues that are outstanding. So, Hon Leader, please continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Under article 75 of the 1992 Constitution, this House is mandated to ratify international treaties, and this is exactly what we are urging Hon Members in the House to do. Mr Speaker, indeed, this Treaty was signed by five Heads of State. There was a Ministerial Committee that comprised Ministers of these five countries, all heading their infrastructure Ministries, and they also signed an Agreement to that effect. Mr Speaker, within the ECOWAS sub- region, the protocols are clear that it is intended to promote free movement of goods and persons, and if such a road construction should be executed -- going through Accra, Abidjan, Lagos, Lome -- this very core intention of these Heads of State at the ECOWAS sub-region would be effected because we cannot underestimate the fact that the inflow and outflow of trade among ourselves within the sub-region is very crucial to our economic growth and development. We can talk of as many of our women who go to Togo and Nigeria to bring stuff to Ghana to sell. So, if the road network between these five- member States is in good condition -- and we are told that it is going to be a three-lane road, so that it is not a matter of a single lane where there would be traffic or anything -- people can then move and come in at any given time. If Ghana is a member of the ECOWAS and has acceded to this Treaty and it is intended for the development of our people, I do not see why we should not ratify it. It is for a good cause and even the continuity -- the Constitution talks about continuity in government. In the Report, it is so clear that this Treaty was actually signed by the previous President, John Mahama. It is for a good cause, so, if His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, as the President now seeks to continue the good intention and to facilitate this international relation with other countries in the sub-region, that is why we have brought it before this House for ratification. We should not play the politics of it; who started it and who is ending it. It is for a good cause. It is going to help Ghanaians who trade among our neighbouring countries; those who go to Togo and Nigeria. There would be free movement of goods, and the benefits to our country would be enormous. Mr Speaker, on this note, I pray that Hon Members would support fully the ratification of this Treaty. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member for Ejisu, I would like to hear you on this matter with reference to the issues that have been raised.
Mr Speaker, I would first want to thank Hon Members for the numerous contributions that they have made on the essence of this Treaty. Mr Speaker, the whole amount of US$22.7 million is for feasibility studies; it is supposed to be for 1,028km of roads linking Abidjan through Accra to Lagos. It is supposed to be three lanes on either side, which is a total of six lanes. Mr Speaker, the busy cities and towns are also to be by-passed, so that we can ensure traffic flow and avoid traffic congestions within such cities. The one million Unit of Accounts, which I am told is equivalent to US$1.3 million, is the contribution from the Ghana Government, and all member States are also contributing the same amount, no matter the length of the part of the road that passes through their country. Mr Speaker, the European Union (EU) also contributed an amount and the African Development Bank also supported this contribution. So, all together, the contributions from member States would be about US$22.7 million and that is for the feasibility studies of the Abidjan- Lagos corridor. Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon Members for their contributions. Thank you. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, we would take the Resolution now; item numbered 13 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, before that, I would want to indicate and put on record that the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, as earlier indicated in our proceedings, is held up elsewhere in performing functions on behalf of the State.
Very well. Hon Deputy Minister, who is also the Chairman of the Committee, let me hear you.
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion.
Yes, Hon Member for Keta?
Hon Members, please, Mr Speaker has recognised me.
Hon Member, I would want to understand why you were on your feet.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, this is a very important Treaty and for that matter, the House must have a quorum to pass it. As much as I support it, we must do things in the right spirit and appropriately. Mr Speaker, looking round, we have less than 70 Hon Members in the Chamber, but Standing Order 48 clearly spells out how such Businesses should progress. So, I would just want to bring that to your notice on this particular occasion. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Members, our rules are that when our attention is drawn to such a thing, we ring the bell. So, the Clerks would do this while Business proceeds. They should therefore ring the bell, we shall proceed. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly. Hon Members, the House has accordingly ratified the Treaty on the establishment of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of la Cote d'ivore, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Togolese Republic. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, any indication?
Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion for the House to adjourn. However, I am wondering why the bell is still being rung. [Laughter.] When are the Hon Members going to enter the Chamber? Question put and Motion agreed to.