Hon Members, I have the pleasure to introduce to you a distinguished delegation from the German Bundestag Group, a group within the Bundestag for English-speaking West African countries, who are on a four-day official visit to Ghana and have found it necessary to visit Parliament to interact with us. The delegation comprises: Hon Charles M. Huber --Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for the English-speaking West African countries Hon Beate Walter-Rosenheimer (Bundnis 90/Die Grunen) -- Deputy Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Group Hon Prof. Dr Egon Jutter (CDU/ CSU) -- member of Parliamentary Group Hon Ulla Jelpke -- member of Parliamentary Group N N (CDU/CSU) -- member of Parliamentary Group N N -- member of Administration of the German Bundestag
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Item numbered 2 -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.
[No correction was made to the Votes a n d P r o c e e d i n g s o f T h u r s d a y , 1 5 th June, 2017.]
Hon Members, item numbered 3 -- Business Statement for the Fourth Week. Hon Chairman of the Business Committee? The Second Deputy Speaker will take the Chair in the process.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 15th June, 2017 and arranged Business of the House for the Fourth Week ending Friday, 23rd June, 2017.
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. Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs -- 1 ii. Minister for Trade and Industry -- 1 iii. Minister for Education -- 2 iv. Minister for the Interior -- 1 v. Minister for Roads and Highways -- 5 Total number of Questions -- 10 Mr Speaker, five (5) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to ten (10) Questions during 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. Statutory Funds Mr Speaker, the Proposed Formula for the Disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2017 and the Proposed Formula for Distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) for the year 2017 are expected to be presented to the House during the week for consideration and approval. Sitting of the House on Monday Mr Speaker, the Business Committee recommends that the House Sits on Monday, 19th June, 2017. This recom- mendation is expected to facilitate the expeditious consideration by the House of H. E. the President's nomination for appointment of a substantive Chief Justice. 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. Questions -- *39 Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamekpor (South Dayi): To ask the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs when offices shall be provided for the 23 other Members of Parliament who are without offices. Statements Presentation of Papers -- (a) 2015 Annual Progress Report on the Implementation of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II, 2014-2017. (b) Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nomination for appointment as Chief Justice. Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nomination for appointment as Chief Justice. Committee sittings. Questions *38. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry the progress of work on the private participation in the future of Volta Star Textiles Limited at Juapong in the Volta Region. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Proposed Formula for the Dis- bursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2017. Motions -- That this Honourable House approves the composition of the membership of the Management Committee of Parliamentary Friendship Associa- tions. Committee sittings. Questions *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. *25.Mr Philip Basoah (Kumawu): To ask the Minister for Education whether funding from the United Kingdom's Department for Inter- national Development (DFID) in support of the education sector has ceased or the sector still benefits from the funding. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Appointments Com- mittee on H.E. the President's nomination for Appointment as Administrator of the District Assemblies' Common Fund. Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nomination for Appointment as Administrator of the District Assemblies' Common Fund. Committee sittings. Committee of the Whole to consider the Proposed Formula for the Dis- bursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2017. Questions *40. Mr Kwame Govers Agbodza (Adaklu): To ask the Minister for the Interior what plans are in place to establish a full District Police Station at Adaklu. Statements Presentation of Papers -- (a)Proposed Formula for Distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) for the Year 2017. (b) 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 Dis- bursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2017. Committee sittings. Questions *32. Mr Philip Basoah (Kumawu): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Oyoko-Banko Road will be completed. *33. Ms Sophia Karen Ackuaku (Domeabra/Obom): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways how soon the major bridge that links Amasaman to Ashalaja and Kasoa will be constructed to facilitate and ease movement from Accra West to the Central Region and other parts of the country. *34. Mr Yusif Sulemana (Bole/ Bamboi): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the following roads in the Bole/Bamboi Constituency will be completed: (i) Dakrupe - Kabilma (ii) Mandari - Charche (iii) Mankuma - Kenasibi (iv) Bole Town Roads.
*35. Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah (Buem): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways why Rolider, the road contractor who is constructing the road from Jasikan District towards Hohoe is no more on site with equipment and staff. *44. Emmanuel Nii Okai Laryea (Amasaman): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the construction of the following roads in the Amasaman Constituency will be completed: (i) Obeyeyie - Manhean (ii) Manhean - Oduman (iii) Oduman - Nsakina. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for Distributing the District Assem- blies' Common Fund (DACF) for the year 2017. Motions Adoption of the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for Distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) for the year 2017. Committee sittings.
The Hon Majority Leader has presented the Business Statement as Hon Chairman of the Business Committee. Any comments?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, last week, I drew the attention of the Hon Majority Leader to the fact that the Rt Hon Speaker admitted my Question and same was advertised. The Hon Minister for Finance requested for extension of time. So, I was looking forward to seeing the Question in the Business Statement. I have gone through it and it is still not there. I do not know whether the Hon Minister for Finance is still not ready to appear before the House to answer the Question.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful for your kindness. Mr Speaker, I am bringing this matter to the attention of the Business Committee, whether they will find space to accommodate it following the huge public concern regarding the Road-Traffic Regulation, Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 2180 passed somewhere in 2012. The public is showing a huge sensitivity towards this law. When will it be implemented? I would wish to appeal to the Business Committee to find it convenient to programme the sector Minister to come and brief this House. Mr Speaker, the second one is with security. About a fortnight ago, Hon Afenyo-Markin raised issues regarding security of Hon Members of Parliament. We got the impression that something was in the offing. It has been more than two weeks now. I would want to know whether my respected Leader could brief us on what is at stake and what has been done?
Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. This week, we had the unfortunate event of the closure of the University of Education, Winneba, where over 46,000 students have been affected. Mr Speaker, I filed an Urgent Question for the Hon Minister to come and explain to the House the details of what they are doing to resolve the matter? I thought the Business Committee would programme it for next week, so that the Hon Minister would come and answer the Question. Unfortunately, it is not on the Business Statement for next week. Could the Chairman of the Business Committee tell us how soon the Hon Minister would address us? Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I see from the Report that has just been read by the Leader of the House, that what is supposed to be page 3 is rather captured as page 1. You would see Monday, 19th June -- [Interruption] -- captured as a Sitting day. Unless otherwise, from next week, we would start Sitting on Mondays or is it a typographical error which needs clarification?
Mr Speaker, last week, during the presentation of the Business Committee, a question was raised about the reconstitution of the Committees of the House. This is because most of the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen have been
Mr Speaker, secondly, I have seen a question on page one, which is Monday, for Hon Dafeamekpor, asking the Hon Majority Leader when offices are going to be provided for the 23 Members of Parliament who do not have offices? Yes, I am a member of Leadership and I know we have information which we have to give to Hon Members. I cannot do it on my own. There is a Leader of the House, and that is why when the House is in joint caucus, there are other issues that would be explained in addition, so that the whole Leadership would carry the House together. We would want to live together, and that is why I am making this call. Mr Speaker, finally, I have seen the presentation for the Formula for the distribution of the National Health Insurance, and a day has been scheduled for the Committee of the Whole to consider the Formula. But on the District Assemblies Common Fund, there is no date programmed for the Committee of the Whole to consider that Formula. Meanwhile, there is a day scheduled for the presentation of the Report, so, if we could consider that one as well.
Chairman of the Business Committee?
Mr Speaker, the first question relates to an outstanding Question to the Hon Minister responsible for Finance. I now recollect that we had to step it down for the Hon Minister to come back. Unfortunately, I think the attention of the Committee was not drawn to that fact and the Hon Minister is also outside the jurisdiction. So, upon his return, we would liaise with them to know when he would be available. If it is possible, to have him next week, we would programme it for answering by the Hon Minister. Other than that, perhaps, it would go to the ensuing week. Mr Speaker, the other one relates to the Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 2810. The Hon Member wants to know what has been done by way of its implementation. My attention was drawn to it a few days ago that, it has got people agitated. Maybe, it might become necessary to bring the Hon Minister to come and explain to us the status of its implementation. Leadership would consult further on that to know what to do in the circumstance. Mr Speaker, another Hon Member is raising an issue about the security of Hon Members. I do not know where he would want to locate the security discussion in the Business Statement that was read. I guess you would rule him out of order on the basis of relevance. But if he would want to come again through the proper channel, we would respond to it.
Hon Majority Leader, maybe, he is trying to locate it under a joint caucus meeting. He is calling your attention to it for a joint caucus meeting.
Mr Speaker, we intend to have a joint caucus meeting in the course of the week. The Hon Minority Leader and I were discussing it. Unfortunately, we have not discussed it with the entire Leadership. It follows after the Committee of the Whole programmed it for Wednesday or Thursday in the course of the week. We could follow up the Committee of the Whole discussion with a joint caucus meeting, and we would respond using that platform for outstanding issues. Mr Speaker, perhaps, if we find favour with the Hon Member for Nsawam- Adoagyiri, we may use that platform, but he should come properly. He is given to using windows when there is a door for him to access. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for South Dayi, Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamekpor, who has now taken over the title of having the longest name in the House, restates an issue that I really had addressed earlier, that we are going to Sit on Monday, and the Sitting of Monday next week is at 10.00 o'clock a.m. and not Mr Speaker, on the reconstitution of Committees, I thought the Hon Member who is a member of Leadership knows that the activity of the Business Committee on this would be triggered by what happens before the Committee on Selection. So, I thought he would direct his question to the appropriate place first, before the Business Committee comes to consider it. Mr Speaker, the other leg of the issue he raised about the joint caucus, I have already addressed it. We have programmed for the District Assemblies' Common Fund. If it is missing, certainly, it would come after the day of its constitution.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful. Mr Speaker, first of all, I am happy that Leadership is not pushing concerns that relate to the security of Hon Members of Parliament under the carpet. It is refreshing to know, but with your indulgence, I would want your guidance because the Hon Leader of the House told me to come properly, but I have been wondering how that can be done, if I cannot be guided accordingly.
Hon Member, you have a Leader, and so the Leader would not allow you to wonder. You are in good hands. So, just seek his guidance. In the circumstances, the Business Statement as presented is adopted. Hon Members, we may now move to item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Questions. Hon Members, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways is scheduled to respond to Questions. The first Question stands in the name of the Hon Member for Kumbungu. Hon Member for Kumbungu, you may ask your Question.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF ROADS AND
Mr Speaker, I am asking the Question on behalf of Hon Ras Mubarak, my humble Colleague.
Hon Clement Apaak?
Mr Speaker, I do so with your leave.
I do not know the authority under which you are rising to ask the Question on his behalf. You rise to ask the Question on his behalf, so, let us get your authority first.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
He has given you his authority? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, with your leave.
Hon Clement Apaak, may I see the authority he gave you? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, it was verbal.
Since he has given it to you, may I also see it? Hon Member, you may do so. Dr Clement A. Apaak (on behalf of Mr Ras Mubarak) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the contract for the construction of the Zugu to Satani Road in the Kumbungu District, which is in a very deplorable state, would be awarded.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, thank you. Zugu-Satani Road Background Mr Speaker, the Zugu-Satani feeder road is 17.4km long. It is a gravel surfaced road in poor condition and located in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region. Current programme The road has been programmed for grading and other routine maintenance activities as part of the year 2017 maintenance programme which is yet to be advertised for procurement. Future programme Engineering design studies would be conducted on the road during the fourth quarter of this year 2017, for the necessary intervention when funds are available.
Yes, Hon Member, your supplementary questions.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in responding to the Question indicated that it would begin in the fourth quarter. I would want to know if he could be more specific about the period in the fourth quarter when the road construction or the contract being awarded would commence.
Hon Member, I do not know where your supplementary question is coming from. This is because the Hon Minister did not make any statement that the contract would be awarded in the fourth quarter of 2017. I am sure that you are making reference to the future programme. There is no basis for your supplementary question, and so, you could rephrase it.
Mr Speaker, an Hon Colleague would want to ask a question on the construction of the Kumbungu town roads.
Hon Member, this means that you have no further supplementary questions.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
All right. Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in answering the Question, the Hon Minister admitted that the road is in a poor condition. However, under a future programme, the Hon Minister says that engineering design studies would be conducted on the road during the fourth quarter of this year. Mr Speaker, he also goes on to say that the road is programmed to be advertised for contract in this year, 2017. Mr Speaker, looking at the admission that the road is indeed in a very poor state, I would want to know whether the Hon Minister would consider bringing forward the engineering design studies, which would be constructed on the road before the advertisement for the award of contract. This is because if they do so in the fourth quarter, it may turn out to be too late. Mr Speaker, I would therefore want to know whether the Hon Minister would consider bringing the engineering design a bit forward before he could award within the year. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, it is the immediacy of the situation that has called for a routine maintenance to be made, and it addresses the Hon Member's concerns. Routine and periodic maintenance of our roads go on throughout the year, but if we would want to build a road from the stage of formation to that of bituminous, then we would need to design the road. Mr Speaker, that is what I said in my Answer that that particular road is an important road, and it has been scheduled to be developed up to the bituminous level, and it must be preceded by design. It is scheduled for the last quarter of this year, which is between October and December. But until that is done, the routine and periodic maintenance of all roads, including that road is ongoing.
Mr Speaker, I recognise that this is more or less a constituency specific question. But I just want to know from the Hon Minister if the current intervention that he alluded to -- grading and other routine maintenance activities on the road that he recognised to be in a poor state is intended to uplift it to a fair condition. Is that the intention?
Mr Speaker, that is exactly so.
In the absence of any other question, we would move to the next Question that stands in the name of the same Hon Member of Parliament for Kumbungu. Now, you do not need to repeat your authority. You can go on. Construction of Kumbungu township roads Q. 28. Dr Clement A. Apaak (on behalf of Mr Ras Mubarak) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the construction of the Kumbungu township roads will be awarded on contract. Mr Speaker, I would not attempt to pose a follow up question.
Mr Speaker, Background The Kumbungu Township has a road network of about 5.0km. It is a gravel surfaced road in fair to poor condition, located in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region. There is also an 800 metre paved (tarred) trunk road which passes through the town. Current programme There is no current programme on the town roads. However, grading works will be executed under the Zugu-Satani routine maintenance programme to improve the surface condition. Future programme Engineering design studies will be conducted on the road during the fourth quarter of this year, 2017, for the necessary intervention when funds are available.
No supplementary question?
All right, Hon Member, you may ask your question.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer under the “Current Programme”, the Hon Minister indicated that routine maintenance would be done under the Zugu-Satani routine mainte- nance programme. Mr Speaker, we would want to know when that programme would start and how soon it would be? This is because he described the condition of the road as fair, but honestly, it is very poor. So, if we may know when that routine maintenance would be done?
Mr Speaker, that has already been indicated because it falls within the same district. So, I have indicated that it would be carried out during the year 2017 maintenance programme. We are in the year; it is in currency and it is going on. That is why it is titled “routine” and routine maintenance is an ongoing event, so, it is taking place.
Hon Member, this cannot arise from the main Question, it is overruled. You want to take advantage of this to push through yours. You would have to file a substantive Question on this matter. In the absence of any further question, we would move to the next Question on the Order Paper which is Question numbered 29, standing in the name of Hon Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere, Hon Member of Parliament for Atwima-Nwabiagya South. Sepaase-Ntensere-Sunyani Road (Completion) *29. Mr Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the road connecting Sepaase, Ahodwo, Hiawu Besease through Ntensere to Sunyani will be completed.
Mr Speaker, Background The Sepaase-Ahodwo-Hiawu Besease- Ntensere road is located on the Kumasi- Sunyani trunk road. It is captured in the Department of Feeder Road's (DFR) road database as Ntensere-Besease-Sepaase feeder road. It is an 8.8 km gravel surfaced road in poor condition, located in the Atwima Nwabiagya District of the Ashanti Region. There is no ongoing project on this road. Current programme The road has been programmed for routine maintenance as part of the year, 2017 maintenance programme which is yet to be advertised for procurement. Future programme Engineering design studies will be conducted on the road during the fourth quarter of this year, 2017 for the necessary intervention when funds are available.
Hon Member, any supplementary question?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I am aware that during the second term of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Govern- ment, the road was contracted out to Messrs Knatto Company. They did the first phase with gravel and the project was truncated. I would like to know its state. The Hon Minister was silent on that. I know that the road was contracted out to Messrs Knatto Company.
Hon Member, your question gave the impression that there was an ongoing project on the road. The Hon Minister said there was nothing like that. Do you want to say there is an ongoing project on the road?
Respectfully, Mr Speaker, what I said was that there was a contractor on the road in the name of Messrs Knatto Company, if my memory serves me right, between 2007 and 2008. However, the project got stalled. I would like to know its state, whether the contractor would come to complete the project or otherwise.
Hon Minister, the Hon Member still insists that there is an ongoing project on the road. He asked when the contractor would come back to complete the project?
Mr Speaker, as I clearly indicated in my Answer, based on the information that is available to me from the database of the agency, there is no such information. However, my attention has been drawn to that effect by the Hon Member. I would do well to investigate it. As at now, there is nothing ongoing on that road and that is the information I have.
Hon Member, still on supplementary ques- tions.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister stated that engineering design studies would be conducted on the road during the fourth quarter of this year, 2017, for the necessary intervention when funds are available. The road is in a deplorable state. During recess, I intended paying a community visit to the areas. I was physically prevented from entering those communities along that stretch. May I know when exactly the engineering programme would be done?
Mr Speaker, clearly, I admitted in my Answer that the current condition of the road is poor. Road conditions are always categorised in one of three conditions. It is good, fair or poor. I indicated clearly that the current condition of the road is poor. Currently, that road is being considered for routine maintenance by the agency with the intention of improving the status and condition of the road until it is properly designed, engineered and worked on to bituminous level. The Ministry, as well as its agencies, follow a defined programme. So, while the engineering project would be undertaken during the last quarter of the year, which is between October and December, the road would not be left alone. That is why it has been captured under the regular and routine maintenance exercises. So, it is recieving attention.
Hon Member, are you satisfied with the Answer?
Certainly, Mr Speaker, I am all right.
No more supplementary questions?
No, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, in answering the Questions, the Hon Minister indicated that there were three categories of any road condition: “fair, poor and good.” He also said that when the road was poor, what they undertook was routine maintenance in order to enable motorability of the roads until contracts were awarded. However, with this Question, he said that the road had been programmed for routine maintenance as part of this schedule. He proceeded to say that engineering design studies would be conducted on the road during the fourth quarter for the necessary intervention. Mr Speaker, what I would want to find out from the Hon Minister is, why this specific isolation? This is because the understanding we got was that before the road would be awarded on contract, routine maintenance would be carried out to enable vehicles ply it. However, with this very road, admitting that it is a poor road, the Hon Minister told us that in the fourth quarter, engineering works would be done for routine maintenance to be carried out. My question is, is it the case that there is no routine maintenance going on to enable this poor road become motorable? If so, why is this road isolated on that basis?
I think this question is similar to the earlier ones. However, if the Hon Minister has something to add --
Mr Speaker, yes, it is similar to the ones I answered previously. For the benefit of the Hon Colleague, the routine maintenance exercise and the design of roads are mutually exclusive. So, one could take place while the other would happen at a later stage. It does not mean that the two could be taken up simultaneously. It does not work that way. While we wait for the total and proper designing of a road, the routine and periodic maintenance of that road should be ongoing.
Mr Speaker, listening to the Hon Minister on the future programme of the road, he said engineering design studies would be conducted on the road during the fourth quarter of 2017 for the necessary intervention when funds are available. I have seen this Answer for future programmes for all three Questions that he has answered so far. I know there cannot be one straight jacket for all sizes. The question is about the availability of funds that the Hon Minister anticipated. Has it been budgeted for in the 2017 Budget Statement that was approved by this House?
Mr Speaker, in the Answer, I mentioned two things. I said that the engineering design would be undertaken this year when funds are made available; carrying out the proper execution of the road construction which I referred to as the intervention would depend on the availability of funds. That is why the engineering design would take place in the last quarter of this year. The 2018 Budget Statement would be presented to this Honourable House in November and if it is approved and the Appropriation Bill is passed, it would take effect in 2018 and by that time the engineering design would have been prepared and would have put the Ministry, and for that matter, the agency would be in a position to go into execution. Mr Speaker, again, it has been programmed because we have a duty to continue all road projects which were started by the previous Government. What was left and passed on to us was huge in terms of funding and it is only proper that we programme it properly, so that while we would want to execute more projects, the ongoing ones we inherited should also not suffer. Mr Speaker, we are on a very careful course.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, as the Hon Deputy Minority Whip referred to, in the Minister's Answer, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways indicated to us that, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Engineering design studies will be conducted on the road during the 4th Quarter of this year 2017, for the necessary intervention when funds are available.” Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways assured us that funds were available for the engineering design which was what they were currently undertaking. As regards the real construction, however, it would depend on when funds would be available, and perhaps, that would be in 2018 or 2019. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways repeated the Answer to the Question numbered 27 and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Engineering design studies will be conducted on the road during the 4th Quarter of this year 2017, for the necessary intervention when funds are available.” Mr Speaker, again, in answer to Question 28 on the Kumbungu township roads, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways repeated the Answer and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Engineering design studies will be conducted on the road during the 4th Quarter of this year 2017, for the necessary intervention when funds are available.” Mr Speaker, even in 2017, work that would be done depended on the availability of funds. That being the case, why did his Ministry make any commitment for the construction of roads to the tune of GH¢11.7 billion in 2016?
Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, the Hon Majority Leader has asked why the Ministry would do that?
Mr Speaker, I must admit that the number of road contracts to be given out should not be done in isolation of making reference to the funding source and the quantum of money that is available or expected to be received. Mr Speaker, if we take the Road Fund, which is a dedicated fund meant to finance routine and periodic maintenance of our roads, it is projected to give an amount of GH¢1.2 billion every year. The projection is quite accurate because in 2016, the actual was close to GH¢1.2 billion, but it
was in the region of GH¢1.17 billion. What this means is that, if we would want to award contracts under the Road Fund Programme, there is no way the total contract sum should outrun the expected figure of GH¢1.2 billion. Mr Speaker, I totally agree with the Hon Majority Leader that the two should run parallel to each other. Unfortunately, that was not the case in my Ministry for 2016, and we would take a cue from that. It has saddled us with a lot of problems and under the leadership of the current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I do not believe we would ever travel that route again since it has given us a lot of food for thought. Mr Speaker, what we have done in the Ministry is to match all contract awards with the expected or available funds. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Yes, Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Mr Speaker, I intently listened to the Hon Majority Leader and the question he posed and I wonder if the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways has answered the question. Mr Speaker, the issue is simple. The Road Fund is estimated to receive GH¢1.2 billion -- Someone gave a contract to the tune of GH¢11.7 billion against the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA). So, if the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways said he was saddled with the problem, my question to him is: is he aware of this illegality or alleged illegality and what he would do about it?
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, your question has been overruled . [Laughter.] It cannot be a supplementary of the substantive Question. The Hon Speaker is not permitted to descend into the arena of conflict; but where there is no conflict on the arena, he can descend. Hon Members, we would take Question numbered 31 which stands in the name of Mr Philip Basoah, the Hon Member for Kumawu Constituency.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, Hon Philip Basoah is out of the jurisdiction on an official assignment and he has asked me to ask the Question on his behalf. Mr Speaker, I would want to ask your leave before I do so.
Hon Member, you may do so. Commencement of construction works (Oyoko-Sekyere and Bodomasi- Ntaretare Roads) Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei (on behalf of Mr Philip Basoah) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when construction work on the Oyoko-Sekyere and Bodomasi -Ntaretare roads awarded on contract in 2015 would commence.
Mr Speaker, we seem to have jumped over the Question numbered 30, which stands in the name of Hon Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere.
Sorry. Let us deal with the Question numbered 31 and we would listen to the Hon Member after that. So, Hon Minister, please, answer the Question numbered 31. We will go back to Question 30. Hon Member, you did not draw my attention.
Mr Speaker, Oyoko-Sekyere road is captured in the Department of Feeder Roads (DFR) road database as Oyoko-Sekyere-Banko feeder road. It is an 8.6 km bitumen surfaced road in fair condition. The Bodomasi-Ntaretare feeder road is 12.2 km long. It is a gravel road which is in fair to poor condition. Both roads are located in the Sekyere Kumawu District of the Ashanti Region. Current programme The Oyoko-Sekyere-Banko road was awarded for resealing, while the Bodomasi to Ntaretare was to be upgraded to bituminous surfacing both on 30th December, 2015. Both works are yet to commence. The Department of Feeder Roads (DFR) has written two warning letters to the contractor to commence the works. A final warning letter will be issued after which the contract will be terminated if the contractor fails to move to site.
Hon Member, any supplementary question?
Mr Speaker, yes. I would like to ask the Hon Minister; since two letters have already been written to the contractor, why does he want to write another letter? Why does he not go ahead and terminate the contract?
Mr Speaker, that is a contractual requirement. Any defaulting contractor must be given a final warning letter before that contract can be terminated. So two warning letters have been given already. And if it becomes necessary, the third and final warning letters would be given. Thereafter, depending upon the situation, we would not hesitate at all to terminate the contract. But we must give respect to contractual obligations.
Mr Speaker, there is supposed to be a third warning letter which is eminent from the Answer the Hon Minister gave. Looking beyond the face value of that answer, I wish to know if there are possible measures in place to avoid the situation where warning letters would be given, which ultimately would lead to termination of the engagement of the contractor and they are dealt with even before it gets to the level of issuance of the warning letters.
Mr Speaker, every road contract which has been awarded is regulated by a formal contract. As I have already indicated, the terms and conditions spelt out therein must be respected. Mr Speaker, of course, with every ongoing project, there is a resident engineer monitoring the progress of work. Measures are taken to ensure that the
Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister when the first two warning letters were issued, and when the final one would be issued?
Hon Minister, did you get his question?
Mr Speaker, the first letter was written on 17th August, 2016 and the second was written on 15 th December, 2016. Mr Speaker, so any moment from now, the third letter would be issued which would lead to the termination of the contract.
You will understand that this is as a result of the transition in Government. So there is a wide gap.
Mr Speaker, I presume that the first and second letters pointed out who was at fault. I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether the Government complied with every term stipulated in the contract and it now becomes the fault of the contractor whom they are warning.
Mr Speaker, I am wondering whether our distinguished Colleague wants to change the rules in this House. He makes a presumption, and based on that proceeds to ask a question. I do not know whether a question based on presumption may be acceptable in this House. [Interruption.] I thought the former Minister himself was in the House to - [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I will not provide him with any name. I believe what he has done is not acceptable in this House.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
Mr Speaker, I believe this question is a very legitimate one. This is because the Hon Minister stated that he had sent two warning letters and based on these, the Hon Member asked whether the letter stated who was at fault before the final letter which would go for termination of the contract would be written to him in order to avoid issues like judgement debts and other things.
Hon Members, I thought this was a very simple matter. This is because we were told those were just warning letters which were written to the contractor to move to site or be sanctioned. So, it is clear who is in default. The Government could not be in default and then issue letters of warning to the other party to move to site with a threat of maybe sanctioning the contractor. So, I thought that was clear enough. Maybe, I did not get the import of the question from the Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh.
Mr Speaker, if you allow the Hon Majority Leader to direct how Hon Members should ask questions, that is where you would have difficulties. [Interruption.] This is because my question is to seek for an information. Are we sure, because in this whole business between contractors and Government, Government is much stronger, sometimes it does not give mobilisation funds and all the things that it should do? So, the question is; is he sure that all that Government needed to do has been done? That is what I am asking. He cannot redirect me that - But if he says I should not ask the question, it is all right.
Hon Member, the Speaker is in control and cannot be directed by any Hon Member on how a question should be asked. Our Standing Orders are very clear on admissibility of questions and the Speaker is guided by that. So, that is what we are trying to do. Hon Member, nobody, including the Hon Majority Leader can prevent you from asking questions. So, you have an unfettered right to represent your people effectively in this House. So, if you could rephrase your question, we would listen to you.
Mr Speaker, in this contract, did the Government provide mobilisation funds for the contractor?
Hon Member, are you talking about mobilisation or compensation?
Mr Speaker, I am talking about mobilisation; money that would enable the contractor move to site and do all the things that are necessary. Mr Speaker, was it provided?
Well, Hon Minister, this is direct and clear. I believe that you can answer -- [Interruption] -- That would be part of the answers.
Mr Speaker, even though in contract management payment of mobilisation fund is not compulsory - it depends on the relationship between the contractor and the wishes of the employer. The employer which is always the Government. In this specific instance, however, I would say that, yes, mobilisation fund was paid.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways has given the indication that the Oyoko-Sekyere-Bodomasi- Ntaretare road was awarded for upgrade on 20th December, 2015. For one-and-a-half years now, the contractor has not moved to site. Is the Hon Minister able to tell whether sufficient budgetary allocation was made in the 2017 budget in respect of that project?
Hon Minister, I did not get the import of his question, but if you got it, please, you can answer.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister has given indication that, that project was awarded on contract in December, 2015 and between that time and now, the contractor has not yet mobilised to site. I would want to find out, now that we are writing to him to start work, whether sufficient budgetary allocations were catered for in the 2017 Budget?
Hon Member, the issue that has been raised is not one of availability or sufficiency of money. The contractor has not moved to site and that is what is in issue. [Pause.] Hon Minister, he may want to know whether in the 2017 Budget you made provision for the construction of that road?
Mr Speaker, this is supposed to be an ongoing project which has been budgeted for. So, if the contractor works, then he would be paid periodically. If one examines payments to contractors, we have what we call “Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs).” We pay contractors as they go along and if no work is done -- [Interruptions.]
Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, from the Answer given by the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, the Oyoko -Sekyere-Bodomasi-Ntaretare road is under the Department of Feeder Roads. The Answer tells us that they are just waiting to issue the third and final warning letter. Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister assure this House that his Ministry would consider reviewing the terms of some of these contracts to tighten up the screws on some of these contractors, in order to limit the number of warning letters that they issue? This is a feeder road; I do not know what would happen to an urban road or a highway. This gives the contractors room to misbehave. So, if the number of warning letters are limited within the terms of the contract, then we would have some of these roads expeditiously constructed. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I appreciate the concern of the Hon Member. But under contracts, particularly in the road sector, there are some international conditions that no one can vary and they come under International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) conditions. So, we would have to comply and abide by them, except that we do close monitoring to ensure that the employer, and for that matter, the people of this country get value for money and that contractors work well. In every contract, both the contractor's interest and that of the employer are carefully protected and that is why the contracts are so crafted accordingly.
May we now take the Question numbered 30? Komfo Anokye Hospital Roundabout to Abuakwa Road (Completion) Q.30. Mr Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the contractor working on the dual carriage road from Komfo Anokye Hospital roundabout through Sofoline to Abuakwa would complete the project.
Hon Minister, what about the current pro- gramme? You have left it out.
Mr Speaker, sorry and thank you. Current programme There has been intermittent suspension of works by the contractor since the start of the project due to cashflow challenges. The latest suspension was in November 2015 and the contractor has since not moved to site. The section of the road between Apatrapa and Bekwai roundabout is about 90 per cent complete. The contractor is expected back on site to complete the following outstanding works: Construction of interchange at the Komfo Anokye Hospital Round- about. Completion of the pedestrian underpass at Sofoline Interchange. Section of road between the Komfo Anokye Hospital and Bekwai roundabout and Abuakwa to Apatrapa. Asphaltic surfacing of sections of the bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkway; Provision of street lighting Installation of traffic signals Installation of road signs Provision of roadline markings.
Hon Member, any supplementary question?
Hon Minister, the Hon Member wants to know when the compensation would be paid?
Mr Speaker, this is a situation which has contributed in no small way to the delay in this project. Apart from the regular payments that should have gone to the contractor -- and normally in all contracts, payment of compensation to the affected persons should even precede the commencement of the project. But this was not done in 2010 and even as at the end of 31 st December, 2016, it had not been done. It is being pursued rigorously and I believe that sooner than later, this problem would be resolved.
Mr Speaker, with respect to cash challenges, I would like to know from the Hon Minister when the contractor would move to site?
Hon Member, your question is not clear. Did you ask when the contractor would move to site upon payment of compensation?
Mr Speaker, not compensation. The Hon Minister indicated that in respect of the current programme; “There has been intermittent suspension works by the contractor since the start of the project due to cash flow challenges.” Mr Speaker, I would like to know when this issue would be sorted out so that the contractor could move to site?
Hon Minister, when would the cash flow problem be solved to enable the contractor move to site?
Mr Speaker, I believe it is only fair that the contractor is paid some amount to enable him work. So we are currently working out something to be paid in bulk to the contractor. I believe that in the next few months, if not weeks, some payments would be effected to enable the contractor resume work on this all important road project.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, as part of my respected Hon Minister's Answer, compensation is being computed. I am sure that the Hon Minister would realise that it is an area which could be a potential conflict, and as computation of compensation is stalling -- to put it in that context -- is the Hon Minister adverting his mind to the possibility of engaging the affected persons, so that we would forestall possible conflicts which could arise among the communities and also between the communities and the Ministry?
Mr Speaker, I have taken keen note of the Hon Member's concern.
Mr Speaker, in respect of the current programme, I would like to know from the Hon Minister if it would not be appropriate to extend the dual carriage way beyond Abuakwa -- that is from Abuakwa to Nkawie? This is in view of the flagship Military Hospital that is being constructed at Afari which would create a ghastly traffic congestion on the road. Mr Speaker, so I would like to know if they would capture it in the current programme to extend the dual carriage way beyond Abuakwa to Nkawie in respect of the Military Hospital at Afari.
Hon Member, maybe, you would have to rephrase the question or else you would be caught under Standing Order 67.
Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Minister whether taking into cognisance the construction of the Military Hospital at Afari, would it not be appropriate to extend the dual carriage way beyond Abuakwa to Nkawie?
Hon Minister, you may attempt an answer. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, once more, I appreciate the concern of the Hon Member, but what he is referring to is outside the scope of this project. Once a project is defined and started, we cannot bring in anything outside its scope. So, I would assure him that at the appropriate time, that portion of the road would be captured and dealt with on its own.
Hon Members, we may need to move on but I see that you are all trying to have a bite on this Question. Let me give the opportunity to those who have not spoken today.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
“The contractual completion date was 31st July, 2010 and this has been revised to December 31, 2016. The current progress to date is projected at 75 per cent.” Mr Speaker, first of all, my question is that I thought it would be nice for him to provide us with the contract award date to enable us put things in perspective. Secondly, since December 31, 2016 has already expired, are we expecting to have a new revised completion date?
Hon Member, one question at a time. So, which question would you prefer to be the first?
Mr Speaker, the question on a new revised completion date.
Mr Speaker, depending on the conditions that apply during dependency of any project, its completion period could be extended. Mr Speaker, but that could only be done based on application to the sector Minister by the contractor for the extension of time, and if cogent reasons are given in almost all cases, such extensions are granted. It is important that the contractor applies for the extension because of the implications contained in the contractual agreement. This is because if the delay is at the instance of the employer, the contractor would have the right for two things; to claim interest and to even vary the rate. Mr Speaker, but if the delay is at the instance of the contractor or the company executing the project itself, then the employer would not be obliged to vary the rate. So, once the contractor applies for extension, it is always granted.
Mr Speaker, look at the Answer in the second paragraph of page 8: “The stretch between Bekwai roundabout and Apatrapa Junction has been completed including the Sofoline Interchange.” Mr Speaker, but when we come down and immediately after the “Current Programme” -- “The section of the road between Apatrapa and Bekwai roundabout is about 90 per cent complete.” So, from Bekwai Roundabout to Apatrapa is completed but from Apatrapa to Bekwai roundabout is 90 per cent completed. I would want to know from the Hon Minister which is which?
Mr Speaker, the works to be undertaken under this project are many and complex and so I catalogued them in the Answer. It covers the road, the pedestrian walkway, the cycle lanes, road markings, underpasses and so on. So, all these come together to form one composite project. Mr Speaker, what he is referring to is between Bekwai Roundabout and Apatrapa Junction. We are talking about the main road, but if we come to the second portion of it, we are saying that 75 per cent is done. Here, it means that the work is being assessed based on the evaluation, perhaps, by including the walkways and the cycle lanes. Mr Speaker, so, we are comparing two things. But I would agree with him that we could have been specific to say that the 73 per cent covers say “A”, “B” and “C”. So, we are talking about two issues.
Hon Minister, I think the Hon Deputy Minority Chief Whip is drawing your attention to a conflict between paragraph 2 of page 8 of your Answer and paragraph 6 of the same page. While one is talking about it being completed, another is saying is it 90 per cent complete. That is the question. It is the same stretch of the road. Paragraph 2 says it is completed and paragraph 6 says is it 90 per cent complete. That is the issue he is raising.
Mr Speaker, that is what I was trying to explain, that the 75 per cent refers to the --
The 75 per cent is talking about the whole Project, but that is not the issue he is raising. He is raising the issues on the specific stretch that you said is completed; that specific stretch between Apatrapa Junction and Bekwai Roundabout. Paragraph 2 says it is completed, but paragraph 6 says it is 90 per cent complete. The same stretch could be completed but 90 per cent complete.
Mr Speaker, that is why I am saying that perhaps there should have been a little more clarification on that point because it is referring to various sections. So, I agree that what constitutes 90 per cent completion should have been defined and what constitute the road in addition to its accessories like the walkways and the bicycle lanes. So I agree with that.
Hon Minister, on behalf of the House, I take this opportunity to thank you very much for attending upon the House to respond to Questions. Hon Minister, you are discharged. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I think we have dealt with all other Businesses up to the Commencement of Public Business. There are two Motions that are slated to be moved, but given the time and today being Friday, I would want to urge that we bring the curtain down on the transaction of Business for today. The Business Committee would look to reprogramme the items listed as 6 and 7 for next week. And if that is acceptable, we might adjourn proceedings until Monday at 10.00 o' clock in the forenoon.
Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Mr Speaker, in reality, I did not move the Motion. I made a comment and I left it to you. No Motion was moved. But to emphasise the point again, on Monday, we would be Sitting at 10.00 a.m. prompt. And I would want to believe that my Colleague -- I do not know whether his name is “Tse” or “Etse”. This is because I know “Etse” is a junior twin as distinguished from “Atsu”. It is Tse and not Etse. His name is Tse. Mr Speaker, so, we would meet at 10.00 a.m. prompt on Monday.
Hon Members are accordingly reminded that the House would Sit on Monday. That is the programme we approved this morning. It was proposed by the Business Committee and you approved it this morning that we would meet on Monday at 10.00 a.m. So, Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded for the adjournment of the House. It is for the consideration of the House.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Leader of the House did not move a Motion; he just made an application that we are Sitting on Monday at 10.00 a.m. So, I know he is now going to move for the adjournment, but I do not know whether he wants to leave it to you.
The essence of his earlier submission was in substance, a Motion. He ended up by a statement which gave a clear impression that he was moving the Motion. I wanted your comment on it, and you got up and seconded it. [Laughter.] So, he only wanted to formally move it, but in essence, he had moved it earlier. So, I am just leaving it for the consideration of the House. If you disagree with them, say so. If not, I would put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to.