VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. We have the Votes and Proceedings dated Tuesday, 20th June, 2017.
Item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Statements. Hon Members, we have a Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Member of Parliament for Nsawam- Adoagyiri on the Black Stars.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry, I have sent for the Statement. I apologise for that, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member for Chereponi?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I rise to make this Statement on the floor of this august House on the recent invasion of fall army worms (FAW) in all the regions of Ghana. Fall army worm is a native of South and North America, but it is rapidly spreading across the African continent. This follows the first report of its arrival on the continent in Nigeria in January, 2016. The FAW is adding to the devastation already caused by the native African army worn, galamsey and the other man made activities. The moth is a severe pest of maize and other grass family crops such as sorghum. The FAW problem has massive implication for people in the country. It poses a serious threat to Ghana's agriculture and food security as well as international trade through quarantine restrictions. Its arrivals in Africa and Ghana, particularly is worrying, taking into account the huge import bill on food importation. These are close to 12 million Ghanaians dependent on maize for food security, as a source of imployment and livelihood. The Hon Minister for Agriculture, speaking at a Press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, said Government had budgeted GH¢16 million towards combating the FAW. He also indicated that half of the GH¢16 million would go into chemical spraying of the worms on farms and the other half used to create public awareness. This Statement seeks to bring to the attention of the House, the potential impact of the worm on food security, recommend solutions to mitigate and combat the spread of the worm in Ghana, and also state that measures are put in place by Government to contain the situation. Mr Speaker, the FAW is notoriously mobile, a fully-developed army worm that flies at 100 kilometres per night, lays about 300 eggs per week and the eggs take five days to hatch and has a life span of 90 days. Research has indicated that spraying does kill only the adult army worm and not the larvae nor the eggs. The potential impact of the fall army worm is particularly high due to the large areas of maize, rice and sorghum growth in Ghana. Mr Speaker, the fall army worm was first reported on maize in the Yilo Krobo Municipality of the Eastern Region in April, 2016, by a plant doctor and has since spread across the entire nation, but more intense from March, 2017. For the 2017 cropping season, it is estimated that some 80,000 hectares of farms with an estimated output of 200,000 metric tonnes could suffer devastation from the army worm invasion. Mr Speaker, understanding how the FAW breed travel and feed, is critical to managing the devastation they can cause. They have a number of characteristics that make them particularly hard to control. This includes the fact that, the moths are strong flyers, the fact that they breed at an astonishingly high rate and that, their larvae can feed on a particularly wide range of host plants. In addition, they tend to develop resistance to pesticides, more particularly the FAW hides in the whorl of the maize plant thereby making it difficult to kill and finally, the eggs laid and the larvae are not affected by the pesticides used. Mr Speaker, it has been suggested that a comprehensive plan and structure to coordinate the deployment and monitoring of the management strategies would be key to efforts to control the invasion, in addition to adopting a three- pronged approach, such as early detection and rapid response, control and restoration together with a multi-sectorial and multi-national systems approach as well as a partnership approach. These measures are not likely to bring about the desired results in the short- term. Mr Speaker, I wish to recommend that farmers and officials of the Ministry of Agriculture adopt the Calendar Spray Approach (CSA). This approach provides a comprehensive lifecycle of the worm to the farmer invasion on the farm, the first spraying is done to kill the adult worm, waits till when the eggs are hatched and the second spraying is carried out, these series of activities are undertaken by the farmer till all the FAWs are destroyed on the farm. Mr Speaker, may I suggest to your goodself to refer this Statement to your Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs to further interrogate this approach and a final recommendation to Government to subsidise and import more of the input, so that our gallant farmers can access the pesticide at affordable prices. Destroying the FAW is not a one- time event.
Thank you very much, Hon Member, for this well written Statement.
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for showing an appreciable level of concern for what our farmers go through when it comes to the army worm infestation. Mr Speaker, as legislators, it is also our duty to ensure that we bring attention on emerging matters no matter the fraternity that they belong to. Mr Speaker, from the history and on talking to the technical people in the agricultural sector, they make it clear that, army worm infestation is not a new phenomenon. What has made this year's infestation a very special one is the kind of army worms that are involved in the attack. Apparently, the army worms flew in from the Caribbean and their mode of operation and physiology and anatomy is not exactly like the other army worms that the country is used to. Mr Speaker, if the change in the type or family of army worms is able to bring panic to the agricultural sector, it speaks a lot about the state of our Pest Control and Research Departments within the Ministry of Agriculture. I am very excited that, the Hon Member who made the Statement suggested that this should be referred to the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs. Mr Speaker, we, as a country, have always not placed a lot of value on research departments, and it is my hope that through this unfortunate situation of dealing with a new kind of army worms, we would take the opportunity to strengthen the research departments, so that we would be able to effectively deal with pests when they invade, no matter the family they belong to. Mr Speaker, I would also want to urge the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that emergency and support measures are put in place to help our farmers to deal with the situation. We should look at innovative ways, whether they would be discount on pesticides or giving pesticides on credit to farmers, so that they pay later. We must be involved in the process and not see it as an issue that is for only farmers. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague raised the issue of compensation and that is very essential. I would want to emphasise on food security because it would grant us the opportunity to take a critical look at how effective our buffer stock systems are. These are the occasions where the buffer stock approach or mechanism can really be put to test and it is important for us to know that, when a farmer is in trouble, it does not affect only him and his family, but the doctor, the Hon Member of Parliament and the teacher are all in trouble. This is because at the end of the day, how vibrant one is, to a larger
Mr Speaker, I would want to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement. Mr Speaker, this is a Statement that touches the very soul of our being because, I am very much convinced that if we woke up in the morning and did not have food on our tables, I am sure we would not have been here to legislate laws for the proper governance of the country. Mr Speaker, we are made to understand very clearly that, the army worm is a very dangerous pest by virtue of the way it can cause havoc, particularly to maize. If we were to look at Ghana generally, from the northern to the southern sector, maize forms a greater part of our diet. Mr Speaker, I also understand that currently, as I speak, farms in the Eastern, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions have been attacked by these pests. Unfortunately for us, I would want to believe that, the response of the Government has not been very adequate in terms of information. In my view, the greatest thing to fight any difficulty or challenge has to do with how the people are conscientised. This is because, at the end of the day, they would have to deal with these particular pests. Mr Speaker, I know that the Ministry of Agriculture has made some moves, particularly within the confines of the project which is “Planting for Food and Jobs” which, luckily enough, was inherited from the former Government. We would want to see this project succeed and the only way is to curtail this particular challenge. I do know that this problem has affected countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and we have been told that Malawi has currently being confronted with this same challenge. We would want to ensure that we curtail the pests and confine them to these particular four regions. This is because, if we would have to expand these difficulties to regions like the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern -- and to a very large extent, if at the end of the day, these people do not have the resources, the knowledge and the capacity to be able to fight this, we would have challenges. Mr Speaker, I would thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and state clearly that, the Government must work and work hard to ensure that, at least, we are able to save our farmers because they have invested so much. As the Hon Ranking Member said, most of them have invested a lot of capital to cultivate this particular crop and it is only fair that, as a country, we find a way to ensure that we support them to feed us and feed us properly. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement which was ably made by my Hon Colleague from Chereponi and to say that as a farmer myself, I also experienced part of the pain of the army worms. My farm is in the Nkawie District or the Nwabiagya District of the Ashanti Region. When the problem started, we made efforts to reach out to the Regional Director for Agriculture in the region. Whereas the officers were very responsive in their zeal to get to the farm, virtually, nothing could be done to assist us. We had to lose large acres of land of maize crops simply because the Government Agency that was supposed to deal with the matter at that time, said that they were waiting for some chemicals from Accra. At a point, we kept following -- but up till date, and as I speak, I do not know about the other farmers in our district. Our farm did not receive any intervention. Mr Speaker, we had to do ‘try and error' from the other farmers who tried lots of chemicals. By 8.30 a.m. that day, one could see a whole chunk of the section of the farm -- as if it were animals such as goats and sheep that had run into the farm. M r S p e a k e r , i t i s s o d i s h e a r t e n i n g , a n d I r e a l l y e m p a t h i s e w i t h t h e v e r y p o o r f a r m e r w h o h a s j u s t o n e a c r e o r t w o h e c t a r e s o r p r o b a b l y e v e n f i v e — I d o u b t w h e t h e r t h e y w o u l d b e a b l e t o s t a n d o n t h e i r f e e t t o c u l t i v a t e t h i s y e a r . I w o u l d w a n t t o a d d m y v o i c e a n d s a y t h a t , t h e G H ¢ 6 0 m i l l i o n t h e g o v e r n m e n t i s d e d i c a t i n g f o r t h i s — I d o n o t k n o w w h e t h e r i t i s a d e q u a t e . Part of it should also go to assist farmers who had their farms destroyed. This is not to compensate them with cash, but they should be given seeds and fertilizers and probably even assist them to replant the land. This is because, if we are not careful, the small holder farmers may lose out completely. Mr Speaker, for those of us who may have larger tracts of over 100 acres, yes, we may manage to get back on our feet, but for the small holder farmer — two, five up to even ten acres — I am afraid, and they are in the majority. If we are not careful, they would not be able to cultivate in the lean season, let alone next year. This is because with the small holder farmers, it is not only coming to them as income as it is with some of us, but it is also what feeds them. They cultivate to feed and they are able to keep some of the seeds, so that they replant the following year. Mr Speaker, I also believe that our research department needs to be resourced. We are lucky that, the rains, all of a sudden, became heavy. So, it helped indirectly in dealing with the problem. If it had delayed further, I believe Ghana would have had to import food, especially maize, to support the ordinary citizens and the poultry industry. Mr Speaker, I believe we need to strengthen the research department, so that when some of these things happen, they would not need to spread to cover all the 10 regions. I do not have the facts, but the Statement stated that it started somewhere in the Eastern Region. I believe that, it should not have gone out of one region into even the second region, let alone to talk of the 10.
Any contribution from the Majority side of the House?
Mr Speaker, since you took two in succession from the Minority side of the House, you may perhaps, provide space for the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs to make an input.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, the fall army worm is different from any ordinary army worm. This is not an insect, it is a caterpillar. The fall army worm migrated from America and got to Ghana. In fact, the first point of call was Benin — [Interruption] — It is very difficult to identify the fall army worm. The Government is taking all the necessary measures to control the fall armyworm. Mr Speaker, in fact, what the Government is doing right now, is promoting awareness and identifying the damaged areas. The Government has also imported pesticides into the country to supply to farmers. In fact, it is also in the process of providing farmers with new improved seeds to support the areas where the army worms have invaded the farms. Mr Speaker, people are talking about compensation. There is no way we can compensate individual farmers or establish farms when we do not have the data. The Government has now got the data and is aware of where these army worms are and at the appropriate time, the Government would come out with a Statement on the fall army worms. Mr Speaker, this is not the first time army worms have invaded this country — [Interruption.] This is the first time the army worm from America has invaded Ghana — What happened in 2006 and 2008 was African army worms — [Laughter] — This is American army worm —
Hon Members, order! Mr Richard Acheampong — On a point of order.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on his feet is misleading the House. Initially, he said Government has distributed some chemicals to contain the situation. He later on said there is no data and so, we cannot compensate the farmers. So, based on which data did the Government distribute those chemicals to the farmers? He should just be consistent. He should tell us what he knows and what Government could do to contain the situation. Mr Speaker, even the chemicals are not helping the farmers.
Except that, Hon Member, you cannot impugn motives that are ill. The Hon Member is not deceiving the House. You may say he is misleading the House.
Mr Speaker, I said he is misleading the House.
Mr Speaker, under no circumstance would I mislead this Honourable House. What I have said are statement of facts. Mr Speaker, in consultation with agro input suppliers, government has prepared and communicated a list of recommended pesticides. The pesticides should be available and preferably, already registered for crops in which they are to be used. Mr Speaker, there are other pesticides in the system. But to be frank, they are not effective enough to kill these caterpillars. So, like I said earlier, Government would come out with a comprehensive statement on these army worms. In fact, the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs is meeting tomorrow, specifically on these army worms. And we hope by the time the Government comes out with a Statement, all hullabaloo about these army worms would be closed.
The Statement is referred to the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for further consideration and report to this Honourable House. Hon Members, there is another Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Adoagyiri.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, my constituency is Nsawam-Adoagyiri. I apologise for the initial mishaps.
Mr Speaker, James Kwesi Appiah, a Ghanaian who was born on the 30th of June, 1960, played as a left-back for our local Asante Kotoko Football Club between 1983 and 1993 and later joined our prestigious national team (The Black Stars) in the year 1987 and 1992 not just as a player but the captain of the team for the FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. Mr James Kwesi Appiah received technical training from English clubs Manchester City and Liverpool respectively. He also became the Assistant Coach for the Ghana Black Stars between 2007 and 2012. He won the 2011 All African Games with the Ghana Under- 23, which in my belief, together with his experience, got him to become the Head Coach of the Ghana National Team in April, 2012. He qualified the team for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Mr Speaker, this made him the first black African coach who took his country to the World Cup. He also managed a Sudanese club at Khartoum. Mr Speaker, his performance in the just- ended game between the Black Stars and the Ethiopians was an exercise in self- redemption; I will also use this opportunity to commend our Stars for such performance. This is a clear evidence of what unity can achieve and I will urge that we do everything possible within our means to maintain unity among the players, technical staff and all stakeholders. Mr Speaker, the nation rose to applaud the Black Stars and I believe that singular act showed a clear forgiveness of past disappointments by the team and a
Hon Member, thank you for the brilliant delivery and for doing it all on time. I trust that the Official Report will capture the fullness of the Hon Member's Statement which he has dully tabled.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Hon Member who made the Statement and to state the fact that football is one of the few things in this country that unites us irrespective of our ethnicity, religion or political colouration. The Black Stars have always been a point of rallying around the national colours. I remember very well in the year 2006 in Germany when under His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, the
Black Stars did qualify for the first time to take part in the Mundial of world nations at the World Cup in Germany. We all rallied around the Black Stars, led then by Captain Stephen Appiah, to see how well we could fly high the flag of Ghana. Mr Speaker, during the 2006 World Cup, we saw how Ghanaians irrespective of whether they belonged to New Patriotic Party (NPP) or National Democratic Congress (NDC) rallied round the flag and for once, we had a sense of national unity. Mr Speaker, same can be said when in the year 2010, under the Administration of the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, the Black Stars again flew high not just the flag of Ghana, but the flag of the entire continent in South Africa. The whole of South Africa referred to the Black Stars as ‘Ba-Ghana-Ba-Ghana', carved from the South African team Bafana Bafana when the Black Stars flew high the African flag under the captainship of Asamoah Gyan did us proud until the unfortunate incident with Uruguay and Louis Suarez, which we would never forget. Mr Speaker, when we stand today, we remember the sad incident of Brazil in the year 2014, and how that became a watershed and what had always been a national symbol, the Black Stars actions and inactions led to many people falling out with the Black Stars. The team has since apologised, but one would realise that the euphoria that greeted the Black Stars has not been the same. It is my hope that, under the second coming of Coach James Kwesi Appiah, which is proof that, there is always the chance for a second coming, he would establish the Black Stars as a household name, and once again, make it that symbol of national unity that we can all rally around again. We hope that the performance of the Black Stars, when it came to the match against Ethiopia in Kumasi a few weeks ago, would continue to replicate itself and the Black Stars would qualify for the Mundial in Russia in 2018, so that we can again fly high the national flag. However, I would want to make an appeal to the GFA that the attention to football should not centre only on the Black Stars. Many times, the African champions, the Black Queens even struggle for tickets for their flights. We need to look at the other teams. We saw the beautiful display of the Black Satellites at the recently ended African tournament. It is my hope that the concentration that is given -- we even have the Rolling Rockets. They are the disabled football team of Ghana who are currently African Champions. We need to continue to invest in these other national teams to ensure that sports tourism can become a major earner for Ghana. I thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Hon Member. Yes, Hon Member?
I am grateful, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, let me also use this opportunity to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement this afternoon. Indeed, Mr Speaker, Ghana is capable of handling its own affairs. The choice of Coach Kwesi Appiah must pave the way for the upcoming coaches to build their capacities to take up future opportunities. Indeed, our training institutions with respect to sporting activities must be equipped. If we go to Winneba, for example, the equipment are not enough to strengthen those who are ready to learn the coaching capabilities to take up future oppor- tunities. Western Region, for example, hosts the Essipong Stadium which was built by H. E. John Agyekum Kufuor. But if we go beyond Essipong, we would not find any sporting training institution there. I use this opportunity to urge the GFA, sporting institutions and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to consider establishing an institution in the Western Region to prop up those who are ready to go into sports. Mr Speaker, I again use this opportunity to contribute to the Statement to encourage our Black Stars to strengthen and deepen the unity that would jell them up to win trophies. Recently, people came up with statements that there is disunity among them in a way. But they, including the captain himself, have proved that indeed, there is unity. I would urge them to move ahead and organise themselves in unity to gather more trophies for this nation. Mr Speaker, I would also say that playing bodies should not rely on bonuses as the yardstick. We must first think about our nation, Ghana to move it forward. This is because when one goes elsewhere and mentions that he or she is a Ghanaian, the only name that comes first is the Black Stars. Soccer as an entity has really sold this nation far and we must all gear up in unity to push our Black Stars forward.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement that has been made on the floor. Mr Speaker, not long ago, we celebrated 60 years of nationhood and we have spent more than half of these years in chasing one trophy called the African Cup of Nations. So, we have put other sporting activities which we termed lesser known sports aside. Therefore, attention is not paid to these lesser known sports. If we have to spend more than 35 years following the Black Stars of Ghana to win us a single trophy, Mr Speaker, I do not think it is a step in the right direction. My advice to the sporting authorities is that, they should give more budgetary allocation to the lesser known sports, so that we can win more laurels for this country. Thirty-five years of chasing a single trophy is too long. [Laughter.] We would not give up, though. We admire what the Black Stars do but let us give more attention to the lesser known sports, so that we can get more trophies for Ghana.
Final contribution, then we come to Leadership. Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in my view, the matter at the heart of this Statement goes beyond Coach Kwesi Appiah as an individual and the Black Stars as a team. It actually goes to the heart of a bigger matter which we advertised to the entire world at the dawn of our Independence that, indeed, the blackman was capable of managing his own affairs. Sixty years on, not only has this habit of always preferring a foreign technical hand to guide us occurred in the area of football, but it has also occurred very heavily even in the management of our economy, basic construction activities and many other aspects of our national life. Often, the reason we are given is that because of capacity and quality of output, and because of sometimes associated financial muscle, it is preferred that a foreign hand guides us through. As we celebrate Coach Kwesi Appiah and encourage the Black Stars to go higher, I believe we should also take it as an opportunity to remind ourselves across various aspects of our national life that, we have already made a commitment to the entire world that we would grow a nation whose people are capable of managing our own affairs, and that as opportunity beckons in many areas, we should have this favourable local content approach not just in football, but in many other areas. Mr Speaker, I would also ask that we use it as an opportunity to remind our own nationals who are given the opportunity in instances like this not to just assume that because we are all applauding, hailing and suggesting that, a blackman is capable of managing his own affairs, we should be given the opportunity, they can take it for granted and do as they please. We would demand of them the very same standards that we would demand of anybody else all over the world. It is time we paid attention to our own but it is time also that our own delivered excellence as we would expect of anybody else. I am grateful for the opportunity, Mr Speaker.
Leadership, are there any contributions? [Interruption.] Otherwise, this would end the contribution on Statements. At the commencement of Public Business item numbered 4 -- Papers. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Item numbered 5 on the Order Paper -- Motion. Hon Members, we may proceed to item numbered 7 on the Order Paper while we stand down item numbered 6 for any corrections. Item numbered 7 on the Order Paper -- Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the composition of the membership of the Management Committee of the Parliamentary Friendship Association comprising: i. Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo -- Chairperson ii. Hon James Klutse Avedzi -- Vice Chairperson iii. Hon Matthew Nyindam -- Member iv. Hon Ahmed Ibrahim -- Member v. Hon Osei Bonsu Amoah -- Member vi. Hon Joseph Yieleh Chiereh -- Member vii. Hon Patrick Yaw Boamah -- Member viii. Hon Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie -- Member ix. Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa -- Member Mr Speaker, we have substituted Hon Alexander Afenyo-Markin, with Hon Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie. Mr Speaker, this is the Committee that is going to be the Management Committee to manage the Parliamentary Friendship Associations that Ghana has with other Parliaments all over the world. Mr Speaker, the Committee is going to manage the Parliamentary Friendship Association with other Parliaments. There are rules that we need to follow and these rules need to be managed adequately by a Committee and by our own rules that we establish as a Parliament. So, the Committee must have nine members to manage this Association. Mr Speaker, we are asking the House to approve this Motion, so that these Hon Members of the Committee constitute the Management Committee to manage the Parliamentary Friendship Associations of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion and also to associate myself with the amendment proposed by the Hon Member who moved the Motion to have the Hon Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie replace the Hon Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin. Mr Speaker, no malice is intended to the Hon Alexander Afenyo-Markin. The
Hon Majority Leader, thank you very much. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion, but I have a few reservations. It is good to have in place a Committee that would manage the various associations, but I have noticed that, out of the nine Hon Members, we have two Hon Ladies and both Hon Ladies come from the Majority side of the House. I am surprised that we do not have any Hon Lady from the Minority side, even though we have Hon Ladies on the Minority side as well. Mr Speaker, so, if Hon Afenyo-Markin would give his position to Hon Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie, then I believe that the Minority side should also do same by giving a position to one of our Hon Ladies. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you are invited to be gender sensitive.
Mr Speaker, it is true that the composition of the Management Committee has two Hon Ladies coming from the Majority side. Mr Speaker, most of the Hon Members are on the Committee by the positions that they hold in the House. For example, by our own rules, the Chairperson of the Management Committee should be the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, I believe that the rules would be distributed to all Hon Members, so that they could clearly read and see the positions that constitute the membership. The only nominations are two from the Majority side and one from the Minority side. These are Hon O. B. Amoah and Hon Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie from the Majority side and the only nomination from the Minority side is Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh. Mr Speaker, it is because of institutional memory that Hon Yieleh Chireh has been nominated; he and Hon O. B. Amoah are the only surviving members who served on the previous Management Committee and for that matter, we would want to maintain that institutional memory. That is why they have been nominated. The rest are actually on the Committee because of the positions that they hold. For example, the Hon Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee is a member and the Hon Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee is also a member. Both the First Deputy Whips of the Majority and Minority sides are members and the Hon Deputy Majority Leader is the Chairperson and the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is the Vice Chairman. So, it is because of the positions that they occupy. Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Member that we do not have an Hon Lady from the Minority side on the Committee, but it is because of the challenges that we have in the nomination of the only option available to the Minority side. Mr Speaker, thank you.
On a point of information. Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. While the Hon Deputy Minority Leader 4was speaking, he referred to some rules; may I know whether they are part of the Standing Orders or there are some rules that were developed recently and which some of us are not aware of? We would just want to know which set of rules he is referring to.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, it is the Rules and Regulations for Parliamentary Friendship Associations. This is a document that is compiled by us in this
Mr Speaker, if they want me to quote the relevant portions, then I would do that in a moment.
Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, I beg to quote: “Parliamentary Friendship Associations Management Committee.” The Management Committee shall comprise the following: i. The Hon Deputy Majority Leader who shall be the Chair- man ii. The Hon Deputy Minority Leader who shall be the Vice Chair- man iii. The First Deputy Majority Whip iv. The First Deputy Minority Whip v. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee vi. The Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee vii.Two members of the Majority Caucus to be appointed by the Hon Majority Leader” viii. A member of the Minority Caucus to be appointed by the Hon Minority Leader.” Mr Speaker, this is the position that prevails. Thank you very much.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I believe that Hon Members may be rest assured that no discrimination is being resorted to. These are rules of the Friendship Associations that this House has adopted. Maybe, to the uninitiated or perhaps, those who were not in the House when they did it, they may have to be told that the House just like -- An Hon Colleague: These are the rules adopted by an earlier Parliament.
Mr Speaker, our Standing Orders are rules of procedure that were adopted at the inception of Parliament in 1993 and they are still with us. So, these are rules that have been adopted by Parliament to guide the running of our Parliamentary Friendship Associations. As I explained early on and as was alluded to by the Hon Deputy Minority Leader, we constituted them on accout that Hon Leaders would have scanty time to deal with this. So, the Hon Deputy Leaders from both the Majority and Minority sides should superintend. Also, because they are welfare matters, the Hon Whips were brought in. The Committee on Foreign Affairs is a key Committee that underpins and indeed, oversees the running of these Friendship Associations. This is because most of the invitations would come through the Committee on Foreign Affairs and that explains why we added the Hon Chairman and Hon Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Leadership is then required to nominate three members: the Majority side would have two nominations and the Minority side would have one nomination. The Majority side nominated Hon Afenyo-Markin who had just been substituted because of the fact that there are a few Hon Women on the Committee. Hon O. B. Amoah and Hon Yieleh Chireh are the only ones who served on the previous Committee, so, they would carry the institutional memory to this new Committee; that is why we have retained them. Mr Speaker, I believe this is very reasonable and I believe that Hon Govers Agbodza has convinced himself that nothing untoward had been done. Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Hon Members, two more contributions.
Hon Member, you may have the last word.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful. Mr Speaker, I acknowledge that the Hon Majority Leader has run us through the rules guiding the Committee. Mr Speaker, going forward, I made an observation. I see some Hon Members who are also part of the Executive nominated as part of the Management Committee. I do not know what the rule says in terms of Hon Members who are part of the Executive, but it would be out of place for an Hon Member to be part of the Executive and also be part of the Committee. I made an initial observation that some respected Hon Members of the House who are already playing leading roles in the affairs of the House, especially Leadership, with all due respect and with no malice against anybody, are part of some very active Committees. I thought that, against the backdrop of the fact that we are masters of our own rules, we could compromise the rules and ensure that Hon Members who are already playing very active roles in this context are excused, for those who are not so active in relative terms to take their place and ensure that there is a smooth performance of the Committee. Mr Speaker, I am grateful. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I would request that it be stood down for a while. The Report is being printed and I am sure it would be here very soon.
I believe by the time we finish the procedural Motion, Hon Members would have copies of the Report. In the interim, could we proceed with the procedural Motion while sufficient copies go round?
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 Thirteenth Report of the Appointments Committee on H E the President's nomination of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo for appointment as Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund may be moved today.
Who seconds the procedural Motion as we buy time?
Mr Speaker, my understanding is that, we shall second this procedural Motion and go to the Committee of the Whole, so that by the time we finish, the Report would have been distributed for the whole House to have copies before we move on to the substantive Motion. Mr Speaker, with this understanding, I second the procedural Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Order! I can see sufficient copies are being distributed. So, even as we debate, others would have them. Item numbered 9 on the Order Paper --Motion. Chairman of the Committee, Hon First Deputy Speaker?
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, because Hon Members are just being served copies of the Report and we have to do a Committee of the Whole sitting, I would entreat that we recline into the Committee of the Whole, and when we are finished with that business, we would come back and deal with this Motion for the rest of the day. Certainly, we would deal with this.
The background noise is a bit too much. Hon Majority Leader, are you giving some indication?
Yes, Mr Speaker. In seconding the Motion, the Hon Minority Chief Whip indicated that Hon Members have not been given copies of the Report. Essentially, I agree that the Report was delayed in coming to the House. I see that the Clerks are distributing them. So, I am appealing that we could now move into a Committee of the Whole to discuss the Formula for the allocation of the National Health Insurance Fund. When we have finished with that, we would return into Plenary and deal with the Thirteenth Report of the Appoint- ments Committee.
Hon Members, we would suspend Sitting and proceed into a Committee of the Whole. 1.40 p. m. -- Sitting suspended. 3.50 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Members, please, resume your seats. The House is called to order. [Pause.] Hon Members, the Rt. Hon Speaker has indicated that he would take the Chair, so, we need to rise for his entry. Hon Members -- rose --
Hon Members, item numbered 9 on the Order Paper -- Motion. Hon First Deputy Speaker?
The procedural Motion first.
Mr Speaker, we dealt with item numbered 8 before we went into the Committee of the Whole.
The item numbered 8 was taken, so, we are moving on to item numbered 9, as I said earlier.
Mr Speaker, the Hon First Deputy Speaker, who is the Chairman of the Committee has sought permission to attend to some very pressing matter, so, in his stead the Hon Vice Chairman of the Committee would take us through the Motion listed as item numbered 9 on the Order Paper.
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 Thirteenth Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo for appointment as Administrator of the District Assemblies' Common Fund may be moved today.
Mr Speaker, my understating was that she would move the Motion numbered 9 on behalf of the Hon Chairman of the Committee, and accordingly submit the Committee's Report. [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Thirteenth Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo for appointment as Administrator of the District Assemblies' Common Fund. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present the Report of the Committee. Introduction In accordance with article 252 (4) of the 1992 Constitution and the Local Governance Act, 2016, (Act 936), H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana, exercising his due prerogative and after prior consultation with the Council of State communicated to Parliament on Tuesday, 6th June, 2017, the nomination of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo for appointment as the new Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund. Consequently, the nomination was referred to the Appointments Committee by the Rt Hon Speaker for consideration and report pursuant to Order 172 of the Standing Orders of the House. Reference documents The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution ii. The Standing Orders of Parlia- ment iii. The Curriculum Vitae of the nominee; and iv. The Local Governance 2016 Act, (Act 936). Consideration of the Referral Pursuant to Order 172 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Committee, in the first instance, caused to be published in newspapers of national circulation, the name of the nominee and notice of the Committee's Public Hearing for the attention of the general public. The publication further requested Memoranda from the general public, if any, on the nominee. The Committee subsequently obtained Confidential Reports on the nominee from the Ghana Police Service and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) as part of its background checks. A Tax Status Report was also obtained from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). A public hearing was thereafter held to consider the nomination. At the commencement of proceedings, the nominee subscribed to the Oath of a Witness and subsequently answered questions relating to her Curriculum Vitae, matters relating to her eligibility, issues pertaining to the office to which she had been nominated and other issues of national concern. The Committee has duly considered the nomination and report as follows: Background Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo was born in Accra on 30th September, 1970. She attended Achimota Primary School from 1976 to 1982 and proceeded to St. Mary's Secondary School from 1982 to 1990, where she obtained both her Ordinary and Advanced Level Certificates. She enrolled in the University of Ghana in 1991 and was awarded an Literally Legum Baccalaureus (LLB) in 1994. She subsequently proceeded to the Ghana School of Law in 1994 and was called to the Ghana Bar in 1996. She holds an Legum Magister (LLM) in Law and Development from the University of Warrick, UK and an Executive Certificate in Leadership in Development from the Harvard Kennedy School, USA. She also holds an Executive Masters in Conflict, Peace and Security from the Kofi Annan International Peace-keeping Centre, Accra. Mrs Addo worked as a Teaching Assistant in Community 5, Tema, No.1&2 for her National Service from 1990 to 1991, then at the Legal Directorate of the Ghana Armed Forces from 1996 to 1997. She joined Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co. Law Firm as an Associate Lawyer from 1996 to 2006. She then proceeded to Zoe, Akyea and Co. Law Firm as a Partner from 2006 to 2012. She was appointed Deputy Head of Mission to the Ghana Embassy, Washington DC, USA, from 2006 to 2008. She became the Member of Parliament in the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic and represented the Tema West Constituency from 2009 to 2017. She is a member of the Ghana Bar Association, FIDA and ZONTA Club. Mrs Addo has held a number of leadership positions including First Deputy Minority Whip in the Sixth Parliament of the Republic of Ghana (2009 - 2017); as a Member of Parliament, she served as Deputy Ranking Member of the Gender and Children Committee (2009 - 2017), a member of the Committee on Roads and Transport (2013 - 2016), Foreign Affairs Committee (2009 - 2013), and the Committee on Lands and Forestry (2009 - 2013). The nominee was also an Executive Board Member of Parliamentarians for Global Action (2012 - 2016), and the Vice President of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2014 - 2016). The nominee is a member of the National Council of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) (2014 till date) and a member of the NPP Manifesto Committee on Governance (2016). From 2005 to 2009, she was a member of the National Finance Committee of the NPP. Response to Questions Sources of Revenue for District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) Responding to a question on the source of funding for the DACF, the nominee informed the Committee that the various sources of funding for the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) are moneys from Government of Ghana coffers, Internally Generated Fund's (IGFs) from the Assemblies, Urban Development Fund, District Development Fund and World Bank Donor support, among others. Distribution of the DACF Formula In response to how the DACF Formula was arrived at, the nominee informed the Committee that there are four criteria in prescribing the Formula for the DACF. She explained that there is the Needs Factor such as health, water and sanitation needs of the Assembly. There is also the Service Pressure Factor which constitutes the Rural-Urban Migration trend of a district, the Quality Factor and the Response Factor, that is,
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion for the adoption of the Thirteenth Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nomination of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo, for appointment as the Administrator of the District Assemblies' Common Fund. Mr Speaker, the President has exercised his power pursuant to article 252 (4) of the Constitution. There have been consultations with the Council of State, and Parliament is now exercising its approval process, having had the nominee go through a public hearing because this Office is now one of article 75 office holders. Mr Speaker, what I find intriguing -- it is important that we recognise and respect the right of the President to appoint and disappoint; but he must do so respecting the laws of Ghana. Mr Speaker, there is an employment law -- if we ask an administrator of a fund to hand over within one day, where he receives a letter from the Presidency asking him to hand over by a certain date -- I have a letter from the Office of the President dated 5th April, 2017, with subheading -- “Notice to Proceed on Indefinite Leave.” Mr Speaker, nobody is questioning the right and power of the President to disappoint, but he must do so in respect of the laws of the country. He cannot tell a public servant that he has only one day to hand over, beginning from Monday, 10th of April, 2017 which was a working day. Mr Speaker, I do not believe that is the best way to do that. We are not in a military Administration, but in a civilian constitutional and democratic regime, where laws and institutions must work. Therefore, in exercising this right, the President must have sensitivity to the Public Service and also to the laws of this country. Mr Speaker, the nominee has been an Hon Member of Parliament and one of our Hon Colleagues at the level of Deputy Whip in Parliament. She would be the first kind of politician to occupy the position of the DACF Administrator. If we look at its inception, we have had Mr Josiah W. Ampiah, Mr Joshua Magnus Nicol, Mr Kojo Fynn. Mr Speaker, we trust that she would live up to the calling; but again, I have read the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Report on decen- tralisation, and you would recall that, even in one of your engagements, I publicly said that one matter that this Government could be sure of is that, we are in harmony with deepening decentralisation. Mr Speaker, there should be no politics or petty partisanship about participatory democracy and getting grassroot participation in our development dialogue. So, decentralisation should not suffer and persons working in the decentralised system should not suffer because of changes. I know that there are some offices which are political. Mr Speaker, my other concern is to refer to page 3 of your Committee's Report, under “Sources of Revenue for District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).” Mr Speaker, so far as I am concerned, there is only one source of revenue, and that revenue is article 252 of the Constitution, providing that “not less than five per cent.” Mr Speaker, again, if we look at page 7 of your Committee's Report, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “ Responding to whether not less than 5 per cent as specified by article 252 (2) of the Constitution and section 126 (2) of Act 936 could mean even 7 per cent or more, the nominee agreed, stating that the provision of not less than 5 per cent in the Constitution could translate to 7 per cent or more.” Mr Speaker, we now have an increased number of District Assemblies in our country. Regrettably, the District Assemblies Common Fund today, suffers from two problems: One, it is suffering from capping, which means that because of the Ministry of Finance and Government's decision to cap revenue, they are not likely to get what is due them; but the number of District Assemblies has increased, and we need to increase budgetary allocations to the District Assemblies. I share the view of the nominee that the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) must be innovative in identifying new ways of raising revenue. Mr Speaker, however, it raises another dichotomy between rural-poor-deprived District Assemblies and the urban-rich Metropolitan Assemblies. We cannot compare Sagnarigu or the Bodi District Assembly to the Tema or the Kumasi Municipal Assemblies; yet they all depend on the envelope of the District Assemblies Common Fund, which distribution formula favours the larger- urban-rich Assemblies to the dis- advantage of the poor ones. Mr Speaker, new District Assemblies were created and they are still in need of some assistance to be on their feet. So, we trust the nominee, who is a graduate of the University of Ghana, and a learned Colleague. Having played some other role at the diplomatic level in the United States and, more particularly served on some Committees of Parliament, we trust that she would deepen the dialogue between Parliament and the District Assemblies Common Fund. Mr Speaker, I also raised the issue that even though this is a formula, it is important that Parliament is apprised of what the new policy priorities of the new Government of President Akufo-Addo are and in relation to his pursuit of his decentralisation policy, and the extent to which the District Assemblies Common Fund would be used to finance the priority projects of the President. Mr Speaker, therefore, it is not just a formula, but it should respond to the priority needs and policies of the new Government. Perhaps, the new Govern- ment would want to spend money to create new regions, and so, if it is provided in this formula that some of the moneys would be available for re-organisation and the creation of districts, then we would understand why that allocation is going in that particular respect. Mr Speaker, social interventions remain very important. As the Government of Ghana engages with the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), we should let them understand that we cannot do many of these things like school feeding and matters of exercise books. There may be interventions that the Ministry of Education cannot make, but the District Assemblies Common Fund can make through the formula by allocating same to support the District Assemblies to do that. Mr Speaker, year in, year out, we get reports from the Public Accounts Committee on misappropriation, em- bezzlement, lack of respect for the rules of internal audit and also the procurements of the Assemblies. I believe that is also something that we should work at. Mr Speaker, the nominee assured us that she would encourage the Assemblies to mobilise more resources. She herself believe that -- I wanted to share some numbers, but in order to allow other Hon Members to also contribute, I believe that I can capture it. Mr Speaker, between 2015 and 2016, if we do a computation of total revenue against tax revenue, whether five or 7.5 per cent as it were, I have always belonged to the school of thought that allocation of DACF should be 7.5 per cent and not five per cent, even though I was defeated on this floor when the Local Governance Act was passed. I still believe that the best thing for us to have done would have been -- When the Constitution says, ‘not less than five per cent', arithmetically, it can mean more than five per cent. Parliament must appreciate that there are increasing numbers of District Assemblies. I am not too sure. In fact, I have encouraged Hon Richard Quarshigah to test this matter in the Supreme Court, for us to see if we cannot examine whether we have satisfied the provisions of the Constitution in ensuring that, at least, five per cent is dedicated. Mr Speaker, the intention is to bring abundance of caution, so that every Minister for Finance, going forward, would be guided by a pronouncement of the Supreme Court. That would be the basis for challenging and determining what five per cent of total revenue should be. I do not say it only started today. If we compare 2015, 2016 and 2017, we would want to be sure whether we have met the minimum requirement of not less than five per cent of total revenue. I concede that total revenue has been defined now in the Local Governance Act, and we need to be able to deal with this issue. So, we support the nomination. What was encouraging, Mr Speaker, was that in the run up to the election, there was a lot of tension in the Tema area when the Hon nominee, together with a colleague -- [Interruption.] We are approving a nominee called Hon Naa Torshie Addo, who had problems with another Hon Member. I said I am encouraged that she assured this House that she would contribute to the management of conflict with her background. Having studied at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, she would know how to manage. This is because, now she would manage DCEs and MPs relative to some of it, and managing us as a policy Minister. Mr Speaker, with these few comments, I trust that we can count on the nominee in ensuring early disbursement and releases of the Fund to the District Assemblies and all of us would ensure accountability. Mr Speaker, there was public interest in this because many District Assemblies kept texting us, and their concern was that moneys are spent at the centralised level and not the local level. That is a matter that the new Administrator should look into. That when the allocations of moneys meant for District Assemblies -- they do not disburse them in Accra. It should get to the real District Assembly. Mr Speaker, it behoves this House to take particular interest in the kind of commitments and contracts our MMDAs sign and the commitments they make against this particular Fund which affect local development. She is a learned Colleague and has been an Hon Member of Parliament. We trust that she would bring her rich experience to bear on the work and administration of the Fund.
In view of the time and the Business ahead of us, I direct that Business be extended beyond the normal hours.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice to the Motion asking this House to approve the Thirteenth Report of the Appointments Committee on His Excellency the President's nomination of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo for appointment as the Administrator of the DACF. Mr Speaker, I would like to touch on page 3, paragraph 3 of the Committee's Report. And with you permission, I beg to read: “The nominee in response to how the DACF formula was arrived at, informed the Committee that there are four criteria in prescribing the formula for the DACF. She explained that, there is the Needs Factor such as health, water and sanitation needs of the Assembly. There is also the Service Pressure Factor which constitutes the Rural-Urban Migration trend of a district. The Quality Factor and the Response Factor, that is, the internally generated funds. District generates. . .” Mr Speaker, the Hon nominee was an Hon Member of this House and we know her very well. We know her capabilities and we know she is a good choice. Mr Speaker, I can describe her as a round peg in a round hole. Mr Speaker, she is perfect for the job and moreover, she is a woman. So far as she is a woman, I know she is going to deliver to our satisfaction. Mr Speaker, Mrs Addo understands the job very well. This is because she has been an Hon Member of this House, she knows how to work with Members of Parliament and DCEs to run the administration very smoothly for all of us. Mr Speaker, as a former Leader of this House, I would urge all my Hon Colleagues, especially the women -- as my Hon Colleague said, it is a week of celebration. This is because yesterday, there was another gargantuan one and today too, another one has come on. So, we thank His Excellency the President for appointing the women -- he should bring more because with women, Ghana would move forward. I urge my Hon Colleagues to support the Motion for her approval for her to go and do her work. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Hon O. B. Amoah?
Mr Speaker. I rise to support the Motion on the floor of the House and to say that, the nominee, before the Committee, impressed everybody with her knowledge, delivery, and the zeal to work as the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF). Mr Speaker, indeed, for the records, she would be the first female to head the DACF, the first former Member of Parliament and probably, the first lawyer to be in charge of the DACF. Mr Speaker, she answered all the questions put to her and, indeed, made reference to the fact that she was appointed to act as the Administrator of the DACF and she has been playing that role in accordance with article 295 (2) of the 1992 Constitution. Mr Speaker, before I proceed, I believe a correction should be made to a response she made as captured on page 3 of the Report -- “Sources of Revenue for District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).” The nominee referred to the Act, but the Act does not say that the Internally Generated Fund (IGF) or the Urban Development Fund (UDF) and District Development Fund (DDF) are part of sources of the DACF. That is not what the nominee said and I think that this correction should be made for the records. Mr Speaker, the sources, as provided under the Local Governance Act, do not include the DDF and UDF as has been provided in the Report. Mr Speaker, another issue which came up, which I believe, for the records, should be cleared very well, is with regard to the power of the President to appoint an Administrator of the DACF. Indeed, under the Constitution and Local Governance Act, the power to appoint the Administrator is vested in the President and the power to remove the Adminis- trator is also vested in the President in consultation with the Council of State for a just cause. I believe that the former Administrator performed very creditably and we should give him that respect. The only issue which I believe should be placed on record is the fact that, as at 28th September, 2016, Mr Fynn had reached the age of sixty (60).
Mr Speaker, there is no record under article 199 (4) in the 1992 Constitution. That should be on record because, the issue came up at the Committee level that Mr Fynn had two terms of four years and he had served the first term and that he had served only two years out of the four years, so, Mr Fynn should still have been in office. Mr Speaker, but if we go by the 1992 Constitution, article 199 (4), because the DACF is a public office, it means that any Administrator who heads the DACF, has up to sixty years as age of retirement. If by any reason, the appointing authority, being the President, wants to extend the administration of the person in office beyond the retirement age, that person should be given a contract under article 199 (4) of the Constitution. And I am saying that this was not done, so, whatever has been carried out by the President to replace Mr Fynn, is constitutional. So, it must be put on record. Mr Speaker, beyond that, the Administrator is coming to operate under a new Local Governance Act. That Act spells out certain functions which are different from the old Act. For instance, the Administrator is required to report to Parliament on the allocation of funds and how they are managed at the constituency level. This
Thank you very much, Hon Member for this good contribution.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to comment on the nomination of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo on her appointment as the Administrator of the DACF. Mr Speaker, I have only two words to describe this particular issue on floor. I once again would congratulate the President for such a wonderful nomination. Hon Naa Torshie is a great motivation to the women of this nation. She is politically exposed. So, we do not have to go through her Curriculum Vitae (CV) to know the type of person she is. I am also happy that she is a lawyer. Her legal issues with regard to Common Fund Administration, would be properly administered. Once again, we say ayekoo to Hon Naa Torshie. We know that she is going to be an example to the youth, especially the girl-child who is coming up. We thank the President again and know, as my Hon Colleague said, that more would come and we expect more. We once again congratulate her and know that she would deliver. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Hon Member for your contribution.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the nomination of Hon Naa Torshie for the position of the Administrator of the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF). While congratulating her, I wish to refer to her response on page 6 of the Report on the inadequate allocation of the DACF. This is a very serious issue. It is serious because, looking round, we would confirm that all the District Assemblies, except the big metropolitan areas, depend heavily on funds that come from the DACF. Over the years, the amounts that have been budgeted as due to the Assemblies have actually not been released. Apart from the capping which has become problematic, even what has been capped and approved does not go down to the Assemblies. This has happened because of lack of information. The Bible says that ‘for lack of knowledge, my people perish'. The Assemblies have been perishing because the Common Fund Administrator does not give full facts about what has been released to him for onward transfer to the Assemblies. Mr Speaker, I have a document here which shows that even the seven and a half per cent which was approved -- [Interruption.] My Hon Ranking Member is trying to distract me. The seven and a half per cent which was approved in the Budget, never got released. This has been happening from time immemorial. When we look at the figures, we would realise that, the DACF has been shortchanged by about GH¢1.2 billion over a number of years. I want to advise the new DACF Administrator, that, she should liaise with the Local Government Committee very closely, so that they could assist in ensuring that the figures which appear in the Budget Statement are those released when it is time for the release of the funds. Mr Speaker, if there are going to be arrears, they should let us know that there are arrears. They should not just take what has been given to them, distribute it and keep quiet. This is because this hurts the MMDAs severely. Even when approval was given for seven and a half per cent, what has been released has not at any point in time reached six per cent. That is what the document I have in my possession says. While congratulating her on her appointment, I urge her strongly to ensure that she does not keep the information to herself, but open up, so that those who are stakeholders in the DACF manage- ment would assist, to get real value for what we do.
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity. Once again, I would like to join my Hon Colleagues in congratulating Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo on her appointment as the Administrator of the DACF. I believe we all appreciate the fact that the essence of the DACF is to ensure that development is decentralised as much as possible. I was very excited when the question was posed to the nominee on whether the “One Million Dollars, one Constituency” would have any effect on the disbursement of the DACF. Mrs Naa Torshie Addo made it very clear that, the two are distinct funds and both would be made available to the districts and constituencies respectively. Mr Speaker, I believe that this policy by government to make US$1 million available to the constituencies coupled with the disbursement we would have from the DACF, would ensure that develop- ment occurs at the local level. We know that the nominee is a former Member of Parliament. This particular House is a very respectable one and those who pass through it get certain experiences and training that are supposed to have an effect on their capacity and ability to deliver. Since she is not just an ordinary woman but a fine lawyer, we believe she would help make sure that the District Assemblies carry out development projects at the local level.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to support the Motion before the House and to say that, if we look at page 5 of the Committee's Report which is headed “Acting as Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF)”, the Hon nominee was sent to the office on the 10th of April, 2017, to act and if we take account between the 10th of April, 2017, and today, the Hon Nominee has stayed in that office for over two months. Mr Speaker, this is the first time we have had this kind of arrangement and I sincerely believe that, it undermines the authority of Parliament. This is because, it is not for no reason that it was decided that, whoever has to occupy that office has to be vetted, and since 1993, nobody has walked into that office without being vetted. This is the first time. I believe the presidency should do well to encourage and support this House to be stronger. Mr Speaker, to put someone in an acting position when the person should have been vetted -- the Hon nominee herself said she signs cheques -- and a person who just carries out the functions of the Administrator when he or she has not been vetted by Parliament, puts Parliament in a very difficult positIon because when the person appears before Parliament would we now say that the person does not qualify? That is problematic. Mr Speaker, on the Committee's Report, it was stated that a question was asked whether the immediate past Administrator finished his term. It was not a question. I made comments and even at the Committee, I concluded that obviously, the Hon nominee did not nominate herself, so she could not comment on the statement that preluded the questions I asked her. But Hon O.B. Amoah said that the gentleman, Mr Kojo Fynn had reached the age of 60 years therefore, it was as a constitutional provision and that he had no contract. Mr Speaker, I would want to give reference and I would lay it, so that Hon O. B. Amoah would get a copy of the letter. This letter was written and given to Mr Kojo Fynn on the 2nd of March, 2015, from the Office of the President.
“Pursuant to section 5 (1) and (2) of the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, 1993 (Act 455), I am pleased to inform you that, His Excellency the President has re- appointed you Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund. Your appointment will take effect from 1st of April, 2015 and expire 30th of April, 2019”. Mr Speaker, clearly, this gentleman had a contract -- [Interruption.] He was to end his contract on the 30th of April, 2019. It was stated in the letter. So, the argument that he did not have a contract is very unfortunate. Mr Speaker, I would want to say that, when one is on the Majority side, one tends to support anything that comes from the presidency. But the challenge we should know is that, as a country, we would do ourselves a lot of disservice. This is because, there are some offices that, as a country or as people, we must distinguish and make sure that we protect those offices and take politics out of them, and the DACF is one and that was why there was the need to vet. Mr Speaker, in 1993 when the Administrator was appointed -- his tenure after the two terms ended when former President John Agyekum Kufuor was the President. He respected the contract and allowed the gentleman to finish his term. When former President John Agyekum Kufuor appointed the next Administrator -- and by the time the Administrator finished his two terms, it was the late President John Evans Atta Mills who was the President and he respected that term and allowed the Administrator to complete his term. Why this rush? Mr Speaker, the sad thing is that, they are politicising that Office. What they have done is that they have set a precedent -- [Hear! Hear!] -- that tomorrow, when a new President is elected -- they would want to tie the hands of that President to equally do what has been done today, and that is something that as a country we should all be worried about. This is because, if we take section 128 of the new Local Government Act, it clearly states -- the heading is “Vacancy and Removal of Administrator”.
(1) “the office of the Administrator becomes” --
Yes, Hon Dr Akoto Osei?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Chief Whip has in his hand the “Local Governance Act” and not the “Local Government Act”. There is nothing like the “Local Government Act”. He should quote properly. [Inter- ruption.]
Hon Members, Order!
(1) The office of the Administrator becomes vacant where the Administrator (a) resigns from office in writing addressed to the President
Mr Speaker, article 199.
Hon Members, Order! If anyone would want to refer to article 199, that person may refer to it in due course. Let us allow the Hon Minority Chief Whip to continue.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, when you refer to the word “fair”, and such adjectives, you must give some indication that would constitute the conclusion that you have come to. You just read it and gave us the conclusion. If you continue to give some indication on how you arrived at the word “fairness” or otherwise, it would be useful.
Hon O. B. Amoah, do you stand on a point of order or correction?
Mr Speaker, both. Mr Speaker, in the first place, the Administrator we are talking about did not serve for eight years — [Interruption.] He came into office in 2011 and that cannot be eight years.
Mr Speaker, I am saying that as at the time that the Administrator was asked to go on leave, he had reached his retirement age in September, 2016, and that is on record. That cannot be said to be unfair to the Administrator. If he wants to provide the records of the Administrator, he should bring all the records here and not be selective.
Hon Members, to shout down debates is anathema to me. If you have a point, you would definitely have an opportunity. I would please ask that we do these things accordingly. We refer to material, chronology of events, et cetera — then we are arguing. Hon Muntaka, you may proceed.
That he had gained the retirement age? It is good to answer to these things — [Laughter.]
The lawyers would say; at all material times, had he reached the age of retirement as demanded by law?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, with all due respect, our Hon Colleague is misleading this House. Indeed, if he cares to read article 199 as amended — Under article 199 (4), when a person reaches the age of retirement, we can give the person a contract for two years, after which we can give him another two years after which he may have one more year. In total, it should not be more than five years. So, the fact that we have given somebody a letter and the person is supposed to retire at the age of sixty (60), and indeed, he reached his retirement age in September, 2016, does not mean that if we gave him a letter in 2015, then it would run for four years. That is not what the Constitution says. Mr Speaker, if the appointing authority knew that on 28th September, he would retire at sixty (60), by the time he reached his retirement age, the appointing authority should have given him a contract for two years, which was not done, and that is against this Constitution. Mr Speaker, with all due respect, he is misleading this House and he should not go on to create the impression that what he is saying is better than what has been provided in the Constitution.
Hon Members, when a person has reached the retirement age, that is, he or she has already attained it, then for good reason, whoever has power of extension may do so. Nevertheless, one cannot, in the face of the Constitutional provision as to the mandatory age of retirement, circumvent, break or offend the Constitution by a letter of appointment that extends beyond that which is mandated by law. It cannot happen. Hon Muntaka, you may avoid that angle and proceed.
Hon Muntaka, you would conclude; and in conclusion.
Mr Speaker, I also beg to support the Report from the Appointments Committee and to urge Hon Colleagues to approve of the nomination of Hon Irene Naa Torshie Addo. Mr Speaker, but before I proceed, I guess it is important that we correct some errors in the Committee's Report. Mr Speaker, first of all, in the third paragraph on page 2 of the Report, we are told that, and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I read: “Ms Irene Addo worked as a Teaching Assistant in Community 5, Tema No. 1 & 2 for her national service ....”
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I can understand the Hon Majority Leader, but specific to this question, we asked the Hon nominee what this record was and she stood by the record. We asked her whether she was a Teaching Assistant at that elementary level. So, to correct it here, whether that would sit in tandem with the record as reported in the Hansard may be problematic. Mr Speaker, it was in her Curriculum Vitae (CV) and the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation would remember I came to that page and referred her to it. So, even though the Hon Majority Leader can change it when the Hon nominee was asked about it, she kept it in her CV and stood by it. So, I do not know how we would want to deal with this. Thank you.
In future, Committee meetings will be Hansardised and we will have records as at the plenary. It may go a long way to help us without prejudice to what is being said now. Hon Majority Leader?
But if I am being told that she was specifically asked that question and she repeated that answer, then maybe, we would have to leave it. But I thought that it was odd for somebody to say that she was a teaching assistant in an elementary school. Mr Speaker, the other correction I would want us to make is in paragraph 4 of the same page 2 of the Committee Report, that she was the First Deputy Minority Whip from 2009 to 2017. It was from 2013 to 2017 and not 2009. Mr Speaker, having said that, I believe Hon Colleagues who have spoken ahead of me have alluded to the qualification of the Hon Member to assume the position of Administrator of the District Assemblies' Common Fund. From her background as a lawyer holding a Master's degree in Law and Development from the University of Warwick (UK) and also holding an Executive Masters in Conflict, Peace and Security from Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre as well as being a two-term Member of Parliament, I guess we can come to the agreement that, the former Hon Member of Parliament more than qualifies to assume the position that the President has nominated her to. Mr Speaker, some issues have been raised about the level of amounts that are disbursed to the DACF. I am talking about whether it should be seven and a half per cent or five per cent. As a House, I guess we should take a position on what quantum should go to the District Assemblies. This is because, it is for purposes of developing the various Assemblies and ensuring that, there is balance and equitable development in the country; in the regions and the districts and even within the districts. Mr Speaker, it is a position that Parliament as a whole must determine. What is not satisfactory is that, we are not consistent ourselves. In the previous years, allocation that had gone to the Assemblies over the past six years, if one does the netting out, we would not even get four per cent, especially, when after the allocation of those amounts, deductions are made at the centre -- Social Investment Fund (SIF), fumigation exercises, and purchasing of materials that the Assemblies have not requested for. Mr Speaker, ultimately, on the average, if we do the calculation, the Assemblies were receiving about four and a half per cent over eight years -- that cannot be countenanced. So we should come to that determination that, when we talk about allocating amounts to the District Assemblies, we should ensure for purposes of tracing and tracking that, the amounts are allocated. If for any reason, they cannot be given to the Assemblies, they should report to us the difficulties and challenges that they are facing. That is the critical thing that we should all agree on. Mr Speaker, let nobody, however, say that this is the first time this has happened. No! Continuously and consistently, we have been living with this and we pretend that what has been happening is normal; it is most abnormal and we should question same. Mr Speaker, even the little that is transmitted goes late, and from the Auditor-General's Reports to Parliament, that is where as a nation we have the greatest rot. The little that is sent there, instead of applying it to develop the Districts, a few people sit there and squander the money. Mr Speaker, we have living examples of people who had not bought bicycles before. Four years after having been made District Chief Executives, they build storey buildings. Let us not pretend that what is happening there is normal; it is not normal. As a country and as Parliament, maybe, the relevant Committee should be tasked to go into this. Mr Speaker, I have always insisted that every year, when we allow the Auditor- General to report on all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), they could be missing out. Let us challenge them to apply critical lenses at the Assemblies and we would see what will come out. So, I believe the time has come for us as a nation and as a Parliament, to bond together and ensure that what is right goes on at the level of the Assemblies, to ensure that the allocations that are made are applied for the purposes for which they are sent to the Assemblies. Mr Speaker, it is sad that in this discourse, when we thought that we were arriving at some unanimity in the approval of the former Hon Colleague, some issues are coming up that tend to mar the discourse. But let us be straight to ourselves. In the year 2009, when the NDC Government assumed the administration of this country -- let us not pretend that we have forgotten, indeed, two weeks into the Administration of the late Prof. Mills, he mentioned the name of one Mr David Adom to take over from Mr Joshua Magnus Nicol. Then, information got to this House that the man was over sixty years. So, so it was this House that ferried this to the late Prof. Mills and he withdrew the nomination of Mr Adom. Mr Speaker, so, let us be straight and be truthful to ourselves. At the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the person who was there had attained 60 years -- Sir Peter Fosuaba Banahene. He had been given a contract; he was not made to serve because it was said that the contract was irregular. What can be more irregular about the contract that was given to Mr Fynn? But, Mr Speaker, it does not derogate from the performance of that person. He is a fine gentleman that we all liked and he did very well there. Let it not appear as if anybody is or was against Mr Fynn. Mr Speaker, the Constitution is clear that upon attainment of the age 60, the appointing authority could grant extension and give the person a contract to work. But the amended Constitution provides that, at no time should it go beyond two years. It must be two years first, and if, maybe, he serves and there is nobody to replace him and we want him to continue, then another two years and then one year. That is it. So, the fact that former President Mahama granted him four years in one stretch in itself was unconstitutional and that made it illegal. Mr Speaker, that is it. So, for anybody to stand on that illegality to argue that the person was hurried out is most unfortunate. It is a most unfortunate argument that was rendered by the Hon Minority Chief Whip.
What would the courts have to decide? Then proceed to court with all alacrity. Mr Speaker, Hon Govers Agbodza should proceed to court with all alacrity. Mr Fynn, as I said, is a fine gentleman, and let us not make it appear that a section of the House is for him and the other section is against him. Let it not play out that way at all. But an illegality is an illegality. Mr Speaker, the language of the Constitution says that, if one attains 60 years or over 60 years, one can be appointed. That is the language of the Constitution. Except that, if one is appointed, he cannot go beyond two years. So, even at 70 years, if a person feels strong, because he or she has attained 60 years, he or she can still be appointed. That is the language of the Constitution. People seem to think that, it means, it is one day after 60 years. It is not. Mr Speaker, so, let those who know advise those who do not know -- [Laughter.] And I guess we can move forward on this. So, Mr Speaker, I guess that we are all ad idem on this that, the appointment of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo is well earned, meritorious and the House can be together to give approval to the nomination of H. E. the President of the Republic.
Hon Members, [Interruption.] Yes, Hon Bagbin?
Mr Speaker, my Hon Senior Colleague was going on the path of the legal, and I was enjoying it until he swerved a bit to the financial -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, in our language, facility and fund are the same thing. [Uproar] Mr Speaker, it is District Development Fund but ‘fund' in financial terms -- fund and facility are the same. Those who do not know should be advised.
Order! Order! Let us depart from the shouting, it does not help. Hon Bagbin, have you finished?
Mr Speaker, no. My very good Friend is struggling to confuse us by saying that ‘facility' is the same as fund. He knows -- [Interruption] -- Even in financial language, they are not the same.
Hon Bagbin, you have the Floor.
Mr Speaker, I believe that we all agree that our former Hon Colleague is quite qualified to occupy that position and I believe that, we would all vote for her. But we would need to support her to perform. We have got a lot of experience in this area, met a lot of challenges and I believe it is high time we worked together to improve on the generation and utilisation of the Fund. It is true that the supervision and monitoring of the utilisation of the Fund is very weak, and I believe that our Committee on Local Government and Rural Development would have to take a second look at this work. That is why in the formula, facility is being made available to resource the Committee to do its work.
Thank you very much, save that it would be very interesting to distinguish between wrongfulness and unconstitutionality in this matter. [Laughter.] The words of the Constitution are very clear as to the mandatory retiring age and that which appears to be wrongful here, emanates from the unconstitutionality of that Act. Therefore, constitutionality and lawfulness here are coterminous -- the action was both unlawful and unconsti- tutional. Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House has accor- dingly approved the nomination of Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo for appointment as Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund in accordance with article 252 (4) of the Constitution. May I take the opportunity to congra- tulate her on your behalf? Thank you very much. Hon Majority Leader, any --?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, we have exhausted the Business for the day. So, I guess we could take adjournment until tomorrow at
Mr Speaker, we have no objection.
The House was adjourned at 5.25 p.m. till Thursday, 22nd June, 2017 at 12.00 noon.