VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings dated 14th June, 2017. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I am sorry to take us back to page 10 on the item numbered 7. It says: “The Hon Member for North Tongu and Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa made a Statement on terrorism and urged Government to put in place measures to protect our territorial integrity and guaranteeing the safety of the citizenry.” Mr Speaker, I have not seen the caption that he adopted and read to the House, but I thought that it should read as follows: “… made a Statement on terrorism and urged government to put in place measures to protect our territorial integrity and guarantee the safety of the citizenry.” So, the word should be, “guarantee” and not “guaranteeing”.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, may I indulge you to grant permission to the Member for Tamale North, Hon Alhassan Suhuyini Sayibu to ask the Questions on behalf of the Hon Ras Mubarak, who is currently indisposed.
It is granted. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister responsible for Energy would have wished to be here to provide an Answer to the specific Question asked by the Hon Ras Mubarak, the Member for Kumbungu. Unfortunately, a national assignment has taken him outside the jurisdiction. So, in his place, an Hon Deputy Minister for Energy, who is also a Member of Parliament has been asked by the Minister to stand in for him to answer the Question. So, today, subject to the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues, and of course, that of Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister will answer the Questions in the place of the substantive Minister.
The Hon Minority Leader does not seem to have an objection. But Hon Majority Leader, you would impress upon Hon Ministers that the general wish of this Honourable House, which has been expressed a number of times is that, they would want Ministers themselves.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF ENERGY
Mr Speaker, Gupanerigu, Gingani, Kpegu, Dalun- Bihinaayile and Gbugli communities form part of the ongoing Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP) (precisely SHEP 5 Project), currently being implemented by the Ministry. High Voltage (HV) poles have been planted in the above mentioned communities. Low Voltage (LV) poles have been sent to the communities and planting is about to commence. The Project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, 2017. The remaining communities, namely; Bagurugu and Biagu do not form part of any of the ongoing electrification projects. These two communities would be considered in subsequent electrification projects.
Thank you. You may sit. Any follow-up Questions?
Hon Deputy Minister, when in 2017 would the project be completed? Would you be kind to tell us? [Interruption.]
Hon Members, I trust the Hon Deputy Minister is capable of answering his own Questions, so, let us have peace and listen. Yes, Hon Deputy Minister, your Answer?
Mr Speaker, hopefully, the project should be completed by the end of the year 2017.
Hon Member, do you want to traverse to other communities covering the whole Ghana? [Laughter.] That is not acceptable. Please, operate within the parametres of the Question. Any further Questions?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for your guidance. The Hon Deputy Minister mentioned that Bagurugu and Biagu do not form part of any of the ongoing electrification projects. Which projects would these communities benefit from and how soon? He indicated in his Answer that they would be considered in subsequent projects.
Mr Speaker, as I stand here, I cannot Answer precisely which projects the two communities would be included in. But suffice it to say that the communities would be considered in subsequent electrification projects.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in answering the Question, the Hon Deputy Minister indicated that Bagurugu and Biagu do not form part of any of the ongoing electrification projects. Mr Speaker, I recall that during the last Sitting of this House, we approved a facility with Hunan Construction Engineering Group, which was supposed to cover about 556 communities. Notable among them were those in the northern sector of the country. I recall that these two communities were supposed to be part of that project. May I find out from the Hon Deputy Minister, the status of the project? This is because, it was approved by Parliament, it was signed and the project, as far as I am concerned, kicked-in -- [Interruption.] So, if the Hon Deputy Minister may be kind enough to tell us whether these two communities form part of the Hunan project and also tell us the status of the Hunan project. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member, who is the former Deputy Minister for Power, appears to be asking Questions from memory. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would seek your indulgence and consult the relevant documents and revert to the Honourable House.
Thank you very much. Question numbered 22 on the Order Paper which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Kumbungu.
You have been granted the same permission. Please, go ahead. Connection to the national grid *22. Mr Suhuyini Alhassan Sayibu on behalf of Mr Ras Mubarak asked the Minister for Energy when the following communities in the Kumbungu District would be connected to the national grid: (i) Kuli (ii) Satani (iii) Zugu-Kushibo (iv) Tiring (v) Dinyokpalgu (vi) Namdu (vii) Nyerezegu (viii) Bihinaayile (ix) Degu (x) Kpachi (xi) Balinkpeng (xii) Vehekuga (xiii) Garizegu (xiv) Kokpeng.
Mr Speaker, Kuli and Satani communities have been captured to benefit under another upcoming electrification project for selected communities in the Northern, Volta and Eastern Regions to be executed by Hunan Construction Engineering Group Corporation of China. The works are to be carried out in phases. Kuli and Satani form part of the phase 1. The execution of works will commence this year. The remaining communities namely: Zugu-Kushibo, Tiring, Dinyokpalgu, Namdu, Nyerezegu, Bihinaayile, Degu, Kpachi, Balinkpeng, Vehekuga, Garizegu, and Kokpeng do not form part of any of the ongoing electrification projects. The communities would be considered in subsequent electrification projects.
Mr Speaker, I am sure the people of Kuli and Satani would be grateful if there is a calendar for them to know when the project would commence this year.
Mr Speaker, again, if you would permit me, I would have to consult the project calendar and revert to the House. [Interruption.] Incidentally, Mr Speaker, these projects were initiated by the previous Government. There have been some problems with the -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, there are problems with the insurance from Sinosure Company and the Ministry of Finance is pursuing it in order for the contract to be made effective.
Yes, Hon Buah?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister stated that he would have to go back and consult the project director, who was at his disposal at the Ministry when the Question was put to him. So, can the Hon Deputy Minister come again on the point he made?
Hon Member, this does not directly emanate from the obvious Question on the Order Paper. A different Question was asked whether he could give a timetable for all the areas. He said that he needed to go back and consult the Ministry in order to Answer that Question.
Mr Speaker, I stand corrected.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister referred to SHEP-5 twice in his Answer. Mr Speaker, may I find out from the Hon Deputy Minister the number of communities SHEP-5 would cover and the percentage of completion as of now?
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the communities covered today under any SHEP are listed and submitted to this House from the Ministry. Mr Speaker, they exist in official publications. Mr Speaker, may I refer to our Standing Orders -- Order 67 (1) (h), which provides and I quote with your permission: “(h) a Question shall not be asked the answer to which is readily available in official publications;” Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague is shaking his head. The answer does not lie in the shaking of his head. Mr Speaker, let me indicate to him what is meant by official publication. Mr Speaker, by Standing Order 7, and I beg to quote, with your permission: “. . . official publication” means any publication produced by or under the authority or with the sanction of any Ministry, department, organisation, agency, asso- ciation, society or club;” Mr Speaker, fortunately, he was a deputy superintendent of that Ministry. Mr Speaker, that publication exists. Mr Speaker, so, the Hon Colleague would avail himself of the official publication, and he knows this.
Follow-up questions must relate specifically to the mother Question. It is not an occasion for general questions. In fact, this is an area-specific Question. So, let us limit ourselves to that and make progress. If you want broad information, please, ask and we would get the Hon Minister here. Thank you very much. Any other questions?
Hon Member, do you rise to ask the Hon Minister a question? [Interruptions.] Is the wave an indication? Hon Deputy Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House to Answer our Questions. The next Question which is to the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, stands in the name of the Hon Member for Ashaiman.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister entered the Chamber and was here with us. His phones are even here. I guess he may have exited to engage in some private matter. So, he is certainly -- [Interruptions] -- He is here; he is re- entering.
The Hon Minister has appeared. Hon Minister, please, take the appropriate seat. Hon Member for Ashaiman, your Question.
MINISTRY OF SANITATION AND
Mr Speaker, the refuse site under Question is not an authorised nor engineered refuse dumping site. It is an unauthorised site which the municipality has been trying to manage and eventually decommission. Mr Speaker, the refuse heap piled up due to lack of funds to speed up the required evacuation in a timely manner. As we speak, the evacuation of the waste at the Presby Basic School at Ashaiman has commenced with the release of the District Assemblies Common Fund (GETFund). And the Ministry in collaboration with the Municipal Assembly has sped up the process to eventually decommission the site and reclaim the land.
Mr Speaker, I would like to know if the Hon Minister is aware of the circumstances that led to the seizure of that dumping site after the declaration of the 2016 election results?
Mr Speaker, I am not aware.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister would have to inquire. Mr Speaker, how can he assure the people of Ashaiman that the dumping site would be relocated by the timeline?
Hon Member, are you asking, “Can you assure…” or you want to say, “How can you assure…” It is not clear?
Mr Speaker, how can the Hon Minister assure --
Is it the method or the assurance -- whether he would assure them? Are you talking about radio or letter assurance, or the principle of an assurance? Please, make it clear.
Mr Speaker, could he assure the people of Ashaiman when the dumping site would be relocated?
Mr Speaker, as I indicated, the process of evacuation is ongoing. The waste is being conveyed to a site further away from there -- at Kpong. Plans are afoot, and it is in the Ministry's programme to ensure that we have distributed treatment plants all over in the country and not just in Ashaiman. Mr Speaker, within the next two months, he would get the assurance on the specific date when we would do that. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Speaker, in the Answer given by the Hon Minister, he stated that the site was not authorised nor engineered. What corrective step is the Ministry taking to ensure that such unauthorised sites -- after the Common Fund payment has come in and it has been cleared, would not be created? What punitive measures would be brought up by the Ministry to address such unauthorised sites in the future?
Mr Speaker, we did not hear him.
Please, repeat the Question.
Mr Speaker, in the Answer of the Hon Minister, he stated that the dumping site was not authorised nor engineered. He also stated that it had taken long and piled up because there were no funds. Once the funds are available and the site is cleared, what corrective step is the Hon Minister and the Ministry taking to ensure that such unauthorised sites would not crop up and be operated in Ashaiman and any other part of the country?
Mr Speaker, under the strategic programme of the Ministry, we are embarking on the construction of mini-transfer stations as well as major transfer stations throughout the whole country. There would be major waste treatment plants that would be constructed all over the country. Ashaiman would have its share of the mini-transfer stations. Mr Speaker, we are accessing funds, and it is our hope that it would not be too long for us to construct one at Ashaiman.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister said they are accessing funds. May I know when the funds would be available and when and where the constructions would be done?
Mr Speaker, we do have a programme with our development partners who have offered to support. In addition, the private sector has also offered to construct some of these sites. These negotiations are ongoing and I cannot give the Hon Member a definite date when the construction would take place. It all depends on the negotiations and it is what the Hon Minister for Finance approves that would enable us construct this. Mr Speaker, but who is providing the funds; a cross-section of our development partners, including the World Bank, the Dutch Government, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and many others. The Chinese Eximbank is also another potential supporter of this programme.
Hon Minister, thank you very much. Hon Sayibu, the last one --
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. The Hon Minister in his Answer to a Question said he did not know how the site was taken over. Mr Speaker, in a Joy FM news report, the general manager of Zoomlion Ghana Limited said that the site was taken over from them in January by the “Invisible Forces”. Hon Minister --
Hon Member, what is your source and do you have it here?
Mr Speaker, yes, indeed, I have it right here.
Tell me your source.
Mr Speaker, the JoyFm news report.
Mr Speaker, the source is the Joy FM news report which was filed on their website: myjoyonline on February, 26th --
Mr Speaker, on February, 26th, 2017.
Have you since verified this from the Police?
Mr Speaker, indeed, I listened to the report and I also read online but I have not --
You are absolutely relying on some radio reports. That is not acceptable in this House and you know it. Thank you. Hon Sayibu, you have had your bite. Hon Minister, you abide with us awhile for Question number 24 -- Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, while I respect your authority and power as the person to administer Questions, I do have a problem with reference to Joy FM; it is a very credible news network of our country. But verification with the Police as a condition, Mr Speaker, if that is the way we would proceed, it would make matters difficult for our work in Parliament. Given the standing and credibility of Joy FM, you could ask the Hon Member to, maybe, tender it in but to want clarification from the Police, then it would mean that every other news item they carry, which is relative, we may be required to subject it to that test. Mr Speaker, so, while I respect your authority, I believe the rule to clarify with the Police would be problematic, going forward in the future.
Mr Speaker, you have given some directions as far as the matter that was raised by the Hon Colleague is concerned. We all may not be satisfied with the ruling that the Speaker would give, but if the Hon Member, and indeed, the Hon Minority Leader does not agree with the Speaker, he knows what to do per our Standing Orders.
Hon Members, people listen to the radio and they hear wrongly all the time. Or they may hear something that was later withdrawn on that same radio and that person may not have heard the withdrawn part. If every Hon Member were simply to rely on what they think they heard sometime or the other, hearsay would abound, and it would not be healthy for serious debate in this Honourable House. Question number 24 on the Order Paper. Extension of Akim Oda-Akwatia Water Project to the Akim Swedru Constituency *24. Mr Kennedy Nyarko Osei asked the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when the Ministry would extend the Akim Oda-Akwatia Water Project to the Akim Swedru Constituency.
Mr Speaker, the Akim Swedru Constituency receives its water supply from the Akim Swedru Water Supply System, which is based on the abstraction of ground water from four (4) mechanised boreholes. Mr Speaker, Akim Swedru and its surrounding communities are not direct beneficiaries of the ongoing Akim Oda- Akwatia Water Supply Project, which will deliver about 33,000m3/day (7.3MGD) of potable water to serve the people of Akim Oda, Aboabo, Asene, Batabi, Akim Manso, Amantem, Atiankama Nkwanta and riparian communities.
Mr Speaker, from the Hon Minister's response, he stated that the Ghana Water Company Limited would construct two more mechanised boreholes to produce a projected additional 400m3 of water per day for the area. I would want to find out from the Hon Minister, when they intend to commence this project?
Mr Speaker, the Ghana Water Company Limited is evaluating the bids to award the contract. It is my estimation that this would be done next month.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister, in his response, also said that the Ministry had programmed to extend the water from Akim Oda-Akwatia Water Supply Project to Akim Swedru Constituency. I would want to find out from him when he thinks this project would commence.
Mr Speaker, it would be in the near future, but I cannot give a specific date. The team from the Turkish Eximbank who were here, have returned but they are in consultation with the Ministry of Finance. I do not know when this would be concluded.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister if he is aware that Akim Swedru was originally part of this water project?
Which is not indicated in the Question. It is not clear on the face of the Question whether Akim Swedru is part.
Mr Speaker, originally, it was part of the water project because Akim Swedru was --
You have not asked the Hon Minister the present status quo as against the status quo -- it does not arise directly from it. If that is what you want, then you would ask a Question like that.
Mr Speaker, I take a cue.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister's plans for addressing the water challenges of Akim Swedru -- he is of the hope that the Turkish Eximbank would come in to support the project. Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Minister, what are the other alternative funding plans or arrangements put in place by the Government of Ghana, if that fails?
Hon Minister, do you get the Question? Hon Buah, I did not get the question myself.
Mr Speaker, I thought that the Hon Minister got it.
Hon Member, please, be clear.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in his Answer to the Question indicated that he was working on a Turkish Eximbank facility to address future projects in the Akim Swedru area. Mr Speaker, my Question was, what are the other alternative funding arrange- ments that have been put in place, in case the Turkish Eximbank funding arrangement fails?
Hon Minister, what are the alternative plans for funding, if any?
Please, let the Hon Minister answer if there are any alternative plans and if necessary, Hon Member, please, school us.
Mr Speaker, at best, this Question is hypothetical. This is because I do know whether the Ministry of Finance had gone through the whole process of evaluating what funding they could access for this project. As I speak, the team that came from the Turkish Eximbank has concluded negotiations with the Turkish Eximbank. So, I do not think that there is the need for an alternative funding arrangement, since they are committed to doing it.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful. I would want to ask the Hon Minister that, in his estimation, when would these consultations with the Turkish Eximbank be concluded for this House to consider a facility for approval?
Mr Speaker, in my estimation, it would be during this Meeting of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, reading the Hon Minister's Answer on page 8 of the Order Paper, I have one follow up question. Mr Speaker, for the purpose of my question, I beg to quote from the first paragraph: “… abstraction of ground water from four (4) mechanised boreholes” for the Akim Swedru Constituency.
“….Ghana Water Company Limited will construct two (2) more mechanised boreholes to produce a projected additional …” Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister suggesting that Akim Swedru would get six mechanised boreholes? If so, then when?
Mr Speaker, the Question was not clear. So, if he may repeat it.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister is here on his own volition, he is not listening and he wants a repetition -- Mr Speaker, in his Answer, he said that “… abstraction of ground water from four (4) mechanised boreholes. . ..” and he assures the Hon Member that the Akim Swedru Constituency would get two more mechanised boreholes that would bring the number to six. So, I wanted to find out from him when these two
additional boreholes would be added to the existing four. Mr Speaker, also, he kept saying that the Ministry of Finance is negotiating with the Turkish Eximbank -- is he not part of the negotiation process as the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources?
Mr Speaker, it is indeed true that by the time the additional two boreholes are drilled, Akim Swedru would have six boreholes. This is necessary because, the extension would take a longer period of time and we would need to augment the supply for the area. Mr Speaker, as for the negotiation process, I mentioned the Ministry of Finance because they are the lead Ministry in the financial arrangements of this nation. We are a back-up Ministry and we present the engineering requirements and they do the financing. So, the terms would be what they would have to accept. That is why I said that the Ministry of Finance is negotiating. Mr Speaker, we are part of them.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Question time. Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending upon the House and answering our Questions. Hon Members, item numbered 4 -- Statements. I have a Statement by the Hon Naana Ayiah on Fathers' Day.
Thank you very much, Hon Member -- [Interruptions] -- Order! Hon Members, may I take the opportunity to remind you that your contributions should be as brief as possible. It also has an influence on admissibility, so that we could have as many as possible at any given time. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement. Mr Speaker, men are indeed --
Hon Member, we do not normally speak ill of the celebrant. [Laughter.] So, if you would allow the men to celebrate for once. Please, continue.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw. Mr Speaker, I take this opportunity to tell the men to continue to appreciate us women. We continue to appreciate them because, we know in every home, the man is the head, and men are the backbone of every home. We continue to say that they should keep on doing what they have been doing for our children, and continue to reprimand them when the need arises, so that we get good children in our society. Mr Speaker, men have always been our fathers. [Interruption.] They say I should continue. It is because they are hearing good things always. We take this opportunity to celebrate all the men in this world, and we say we appreciate them. May God richly bless you for always being with us.
Mr Speaker, on this day, once again, I congratulate all fathers and wish them a happy Fathers' Day.
Mr Speaker, I would like to add my voice to the Statement on Fathers' Day. Mr Speaker, this is a memorable day for all fathers. On this day, I would remember my father, even though he is no more alive. Every Fathers' Day, I celebrate my father because he was the best man in the world. He was so good. He used to cook very well, and look after us. Even when my mother was not there, my father took care of us, kept us and raised us. And I believe that all men have the capacity to be as good as women.
Mr Speaker, I just like to wish all the men in this Chamber and all the men in the world a happy Fathers' Day. They should please continue to love their wives and cherish them because a good man --
It appears the presentation is from one side-- Let the Hon Member finish.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to add my voice to the Statement.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. As a young father myself -- [Uproar.] -- I would like to thank the women and the Hon Member who made the Statement for recognising the importance of Fathers' Day. Even though it is Fathers' Day, we still get requests from the women to buy them gifts on Fathers' Day, but we would continue to be fathers.
Order! Hon Member, speak for yourself -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, in wrapping up, I would remember the young sons of Maj. Mahama, who would not have a father on this day. My son is called Jeremiah, just like one of the sons of Maj. Mahama, and I hope that every father figure in their life would make them appreciate the role of a father on Fathers' Day this year and every other day. Tina Gifty Naa Ayeley Mensah (NPP- -Weija/Gbawe): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by my Hon Colleague. I would like to wish all the men in this august House and the whole of Ghana, a happy Fathers' Day in advance. Mr Speaker, without the men, there would not be any creation. Our men truly need to be commended on this day. There are some fathers who double as mothers. We have single fathers who father our children, so, today we need to commend them and appreciate them. We ask them to take up those who have shirked their responsibilities, we ask them to take up their responsibilities, so that we may have responsible fathers all over the world.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice to the Fathers' Day celebration. Mr Speaker, as a young practitioner, when I occasionally went around the courts, I knew that even in matrimonial matters, the courts would seldom order a woman to maintain the children. It was always the men who bore the brunt of judicial orders. Mr Speaker, today, we have the opportunity to hail fathers, to congratulate them. Indeed, we bear the single most natural instinct for procreation. Without us, humanity would be in danger, and so it is a very important natural -- [Interruption] -- no, it is a --
Order! Please, Hon Members, let us avoid talking across. Please, pay attention. Let the Hon Member on the floor speak.
Mr Speaker, I insist that it is only men who carry the seed of procreation. It is our seed that is stored in any scientific incubator for purposes of future procreation. Without us -- we carry it, and so on this day --
And they need an egg -- [Laughter.] Hon Member, do not speak part of the story. It would be scientifically inaccurate.
Mr Speaker, very well. I take a cue, but we are saying that without us, the egg cannot be fertilised, so, we are saying that it is a special day for fathers. There are a lot of fathers who face difficulties, but often, it is the difficulties faced by the women that are brought to bare on national discourse. The men also go through difficulties. I take the opportunity to congratulate all men who work their knuckles to the bone every day to ensure that their respective families make a living in this country and the world at large.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the Statement made by my Hon Colleague, Naana Eyiah of Gomoa Central Constituency. Mr Speaker, quite recently, mothers were honoured across the length and breadth of the globe, and this Sunday, it is the turn of our fathers. So, I would use this opportunity to say thank you and kudos to all the men in the House, to our fathers, especially the fathers in my constituency, and to my father, Hon Anthony Bright Boadi Mensah, as well as all the men across the length and breadth of the globe. We say kudos and ayekoo. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by my Hon Colleague. I would like to appreciate her for remembering men today. Mr Speaker, men are very important when it comes to the family set up, and God, in His own wisdom, decided to place the man above the woman. That is why the man was created first and the woman created out of the man. So, that tells us how important the man is. Mr Speaker, Mothers' Day has always been widely spoken about, but I got to know about the Fathers' Day coming on this week from the Hon Member -- [Laughter.] So, I would use this opportunity to say that as men, we should begin to let our women realise the important role that we play in the house, so that every year, we do not need to push
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. The role of men, as we have all heard, cannot be underestimated by any standards. So, we would use this opportunity to wish fathers a happy Fathers' Day in advance. Mr Speaker, as we do so, we should not forget that there are many fatherless children in Ghana. A father is not necessarily biological; you could father anybody on the street regardless of whether you gave birth to them. So, as we do so, I would like us as fathers to look at ways to father the widows among us, the fatherless, to father our constituents, as well as father mother Ghana, as we journey on to develop Ghana. Mr Speaker, happy Fathers' Day to us. Let me end by extending a great thank you to all the fathers who have sponsored their children to visit us from Bantama Constituency; the students from St Anthony's Roman Catholic Junior High School, who are here with us in this House. They are welcome, and I hope they are enjoying proceedings. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement on Father's Day. I was pleasantly surprised when the Statement was in the name of a lady, and I must commend her for the kind words used to celebrate fathers, as we approach Fathers' Day, which is this coming Sunday. Mr Speaker, I however, understood why. Statistically, fathers are said to die earlier before mothers, when I started listening to other contributions coming from ladies. Mr Speaker, it is also not surprising that usually on Fathers' Day, or the day set aside to celebrate fathers, mothers still demand presents from the fathers. Mr Speaker, I hope that this year, and moving on, things would change, and especially our media would also begin to highlight and celebrate the good values of men in our society. This is because it is said, even in our good books, that the father is the head of the family, and we can imagine what would happen to the rest of the body when the head is not appreciated. Mr Speaker, it is also known to us in religion, that even God himself says that when we appreciate the little that He does, then He would give us more. If we are just but His creation, then it should tell us that as men who are destined to be heads of the families, if we get appreciation from our families, our wives and our children, it would encourage us to do more, but it would demoralise us when we make the effort and it seems not to be appreciated. Mr Speaker, on this note, I would like to congratulate all men around the world, who are playing fatherly roles, not just for their children, but for the children of the world, inspiring them to take over and contribute to the development of various nations. In Ghana in particular, I would want to salute all men in my constituency and in our country, and I wish us all a happy Fathers' Day. Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would like to also commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for the important notice that she has given to the House. Mr Speaker, many of my Hon Colleagues have talked about fathers being responsible. Usually, when we talk about responsibility, we tend to think about material care that parents are expected to give to their children. I would like to remind all fathers that we also have a divine duty to provide spiritual care for our children. Mr Speaker, I read the Bible quite often, and I find that in many instances, fathers were asked to bless their children. It looks like today, we are running away from that duty. So, as we celebrate Fathers' Day, I would like to remind fathers nationwide, that in addition to providing material care for their children -- taking them to good schools and making sure that they feed them well, they also have a duty to provide spiritual protection for them. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Yes, Hon Member? Hon Members, this would be the last contribution.
I am very grateful, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, fathers on an occasion as Fathers' Day are not -- when we compare the activities that we see during Mothers' Day to that of Fathers' Day, we realise that ours is very low key. Mr Speaker, I believe it is only fair, that just as men invest significantly into Mothers' Day and make sure that they enjoy the day, they should also not -- It is my prayer that it would not only be verbal confessions about how wonderful we are. We are hoping and praying that -- like the Bible says, where your heart is, that is where your treasure would also be, and so, we would like to see some evidence of the degree of appreciation that they have for us. Mr Speaker, last time when I was talking to my son, he was wearing a nice shoe and so I asked him who got it for him, and he answered and said it was his mother.
Mr Speaker, fathers have a lot of challenges. Most of the time, because of work, we are not there to explain matters and make our case. That is why we use the expression “mother tongue” for the language that one speaks, because most of the time, the physical connection and the proximity is on the side of the woman. Mr Speaker, I would use such an opportunity, to let the world know that going to work and bringing bread home, and being in the house all the time are mutually exclusive. One cannot choose one and let go of the other. We would have to manage. So, it is very important for all of us to understand that, to be a responsible man, there is some degree of sacrifice that we would have to make. It is my prayer that our mothers who are at home would explain to the children, so that during occasions like this, the children would also speak well of the fathers and make sure that, at least, we also get some applause for all the work we do. Mr Speaker, before I conclude, let me also state that it is very important that this country does not paint all fathers black because of the sins of a few fathers. The Bible says that all have sinned. So, we should appreciate the fact that in every house, we have isolated cases, and we men are committed to making sure that our mothers and children are happy. Mr Speaker, there are a lot of factors that determine our output, and we appreciate the difficulties that we go through. We also appreciate the difficulties of mothers, but the most important point is that it is not all men who are fathers. What it takes to be a father is the love, care and compassion. So, when we exhibit it, we would need some applause, so that we continue to do more. Mr Speaker, once again, we appreciate the women for reminding us of such a day, and there should be more evidence so that we would be settled in our hearts. Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity.
Yes, Leadership? Are there any contributions from the Leaders?
Mr Speaker, I am told that we have other Statements and so, we should move on, but I would like to conclude, if you insist that the Leaders should say something. Mr Speaker, what I would like to say is that, we wish all fathers a Happy Fathers' Day, come this weekend and we hope that we would continue to be responsible, and continue to find time for our children. Mr Speaker, we should also know that it is not only providing the material aspect of a home that makes a good home. As much as we are busy, fathers should continue to have it at the back of their minds that we need to try to spend quality time with the children. It is very important because we cannot leave the respon- sibility of the upbringing of the children to only the mothers. Mr Speaker, let me end with a short story told by someone. A certain man's wife was pregnant and when she was in the ninth month and was complaining about everything, the man told the wife that she was only keeping the baby for only nine months, yet she was complaining, but he had been keeping it for all his life. Mr Speaker, I thank fathers for all the opportunities that they have given their children, and we wish fathers a happy Fathers' Day.
Thank you very much.
The next Statement stands in the name of the Hon Minister responsible for Gender, Children and Social Protection and it is to be read by the Hon Deputy Minister. The Hon First Deputy Speaker will take the Chair.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Deputy Minister, continue. Mr Speaker, in memory of those killed, every year, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child chooses a theme. Mr Speaker, this year's theme: “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empower- ment and equal opportunity” has been decided by the committee to highlight and give attention to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to reconfirm the importance of linking the Agenda with child rights. These actions expect State parties to be committed to the implementation of child rights, by increasing investment in all children, preventing inequitable outcomes, increasing accountability, and strengthening coherence and alignment, among various stakeholders. Mr Speaker, in Ghana, the activities lined up to commemorate this day include a press conference on the 13th of June, 2017, this Statement in Parliament and a national durbar which will be held in Accra at the Children's Park on 16th June, 2017. There will also be regional durbars. Mr Speaker, there are a number of sustainable development goals that are directly provided for in children's rights, such as the one on Free and Compulsory Basic Universal Education, the reporting requirements under Child Rights Instruments as well as the SDGs framework, which are mainly intended for the purpose of holding governments accountable. Ghana has strengthened its legislative environment by adopting new legislation such as the Human Trafficking Act of 2005 (Act 694), the Domestic Violence Act of 2007 (Act 732) and Persons with Disability Act of 2006 (Act 715), among others. Ghana has further demonstrated its commitment to international obligations by ratifying the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking persons, especially women and children, supple- menting the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. There are 17 main goals with 169 targets which altogether make up the SDGs. The committee affirms that all the 17 SDGs are relevant for children, and not just those containing specific references to children, as they all reinforce one another, with the aim of progressively facilitating the proper development of children from childhood to adulthood. States are, therefore, enjoined to adopt this holistic approach when dealing with the SDGs in relation to children. The Committee is, however, mindful of the fact that, some of the goals are more urgent or immediate for securing the rights of Children now in preparation for more responsibilities in adulthood. Thus, particular attention is hereby paid to eight SDGs with clear linkages to the Charter. SDG 1 (End Poverty) Generally, there has been a reduction in poverty in Ghana and a reduction at the household level which has direct effect on childhood poverty. This significant reduction has been possible as a result of policy and programme interventions by government such as LEAP, MASLOC, et cetera. The MoGCSP, through the LEAP programme continues to provide cash grants to some vulnerable people in the country. So far, a total of 213,048 households have benefited in the programme across the country, of which 131,348 are children. SDG 2 and SDG 3 (Eradicate Hunger and Promote Health) Mr Speaker, with the intervention of SDG 1, families are able to give, at least, one good nutritional meal a day to children to enhance their growth and development. SDG 4 (Secure Education) The Ministry will still continue to expand the School Feeding Programme (SFP) to encourage enrolment of children in school at early stages. Programmes like free mass transit ride for school children, free uniforms and free exercise books will continue to ensure that no child is left out of the educational drive. Obviously, free SHS will further boost education for children. SDG 5 (Effect Gender Equality) Mr Speaker, parents are being sensitised to begin inculcating the values of equality in their children at early stages of their lives, so that they grow up to become responsible adults who will support each other. SDG 6 (Access to water and Sanitation) In collaboration with the WASH campaign, schools and communities are being sensitised on hand washing campaign. SDG 16 (Peace/Justice/Strong Institutions) Mr Speaker, in pursuant to this, the Ministry is implementing the child and family welfare policy and the justice for children policy to protect the rights of the children in the country. Most especially those children who come into contact with the law. SDG 17 (Partnerships/Participation) MoGCSP is collaborating with development partners and civil society organisations to promote children's issues in the country, so that with partnership and participation, we can achieve the SDGs. Mr Speaker, Members of Parliament as part of activities to mark this year's Day of the African Child, the Ministry will have a national durbar that seeks to create the platform for all children and stakeholders, to interact with policy makers, professionals and social workers to forge a lasting collaboration. This will assist to overcome challenges children in Ghana face, as well as achieving the SDGs. We assure everyone that government will continue to demonstrate its lead role in ensuring that the rights and welfare of its young ones are promoted and guaranteed. Mr Speaker, I will end by calling on all Colleagues, Ministers, Members of Parliament, stakeholders, parents and caretakers to continue to support the
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection on behalf of the Minister Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minister because I saw an elaborate policy that has been put in place for our children. Equally important are some minor issues that also affect the African child, especially here in Ghana. I would like to make a special reference to the actions and inactions of us the adults which impinge on the future of our children, sometimes. Recently, they wrote the Basic Education Certificate Examina- tions (BECE) and we were told that because of the location of some of the examination centres, 200 students were prevented from writing the BECE. That was something that could have been prevented. So, while commemorating the Day of the African Child, some of these things must be brought to the fore, for the attention of the stakeholders. Apart from that, because of the rights of the child, sometimes, we the adults give them unbridled access to the internet. Children visit websites without control. These have some impacts on them in social terms, especially on their studies. Mr Speaker, if we look at our way of training the African child, as compared to our friends in the European countries and elsewhere, there is a vast difference. Unlike elsewhere, where children are given the latitude to express themselves
Hon Members, there is another Statement that is related to the same subject, “Abuse of Ghanaian domestic workers in the Gulf States” I would call the Hon Member to make the Statement and then you would put together the contributions. So, I would call on Dr Kojo Appiah- Kubi to read the Statement now. Abuse of Ghanaian domestic workers in the Gulf States
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, after we have been commended and congratulated by our better halves and women in this House, there cannot be an opportune time better than now to talk about abuse of females by the same men. Mr Speaker, I make this Statement against the backdrop of the increasing cases of human rights violations of Ghanaians, particularly female domestic workers in the Gulf States. The violations have become so alarming that, it should be deemed necessary for us to make a commitment to change the situation, if not to end the suffering and flight of our unsuspecting young females to the Gulf States. Hardly a week passes by without sordid tales of inhuman treatments and even murder of Ghanaians working as domestic servants in the Gulf States in the news and on social media. This Statement thus focuses on abuse of Ghanaian female domestic workers in the Gulf States, since they appear to be among the highly vulnerable and most exploited and the exploitations are numerous and wide ranging in nature. Mr Speaker, in Saudi Arabia, for example, a young Ghanaian female domestic worker was reportedly hanged to death recently, apparently by the employer because a house door had hurt the fingers of the employer's child who had been left in the care of the maid. The former Ghana Ambassador to Kuwait, Alhaji Said Sinare, narrated in a radio interview how a 19-year-old Ghanaian girl had her whole body burnt and then abandoned by her employer. He described the experiences that Ghanaian domestic workers go through in Kuwait and in the other Middle Eastern countries as “very bad, terrible and dangerous”. In the Gulf States, domestic servants are molested and maltreated even for requesting for payment of wages, food, et cetera, from their employers. Some trafficked ladies even end up spending months in deportation centres for agitating for better working conditions. Mr Speaker, these ladies are held in desert prisons for so long, apparently, for their own protection until they receive an air ticket either from their families or reluctant agents. Those who cannot bear the inhuman treatments are reportedly developing mental problems. Mr Speaker, these young women travel to the Gulf States after having been recruited by licensed and unlicensed agencies, mostly with fraudulent offers of jobs in the domestic service or hospitality industry, only to be subjected to forced labour. Forced labour often means unpaid wages, excessively long working hours without rest days in sub-standard or unsafe conditions, confiscation of passports, little freedom of movement, deception, intimidation and physical abuse, as well as sexual violence. Eyewitnesses describe the situation of some of the ladies as equivalent to ‘modern day slavery' disguised as international migration, because some of these ladies are sold like slaves in a slave market in an American movie. Even though exact official statistics about the population of Ghanaian domestic workers in the Gulf States are not available, the Ghana Immigration Service, according to the Ghanaian Times, is said to have observed an unusually increasing high number of young Ghanaian women travelling to the Gulf States in recent times. An investigation by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) as reported in the Ghanaian Times of 3rd March, 2015, also revealed that over 2,000 young women who were trafficked to the Gulf States over a five-month period in 2015 by fake recruitment agencies, under the pretext of securing them job opportunities, were left stranded. In fact, the number of young female Ghanaians leaving for the Gulf region has even shot up tremendously, as previous source countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Kenya have banned or suspended the trafficking of its people into these States following a
series of reported abuse cases of its citizens working in these countries. Mr Speaker, as the number of Ghanaian women being trafficked increases, so are complaints of inhuman treatments and cries for help from exploitation, becoming plentiful and louder. Not only are these individual experiences tragic, but these cases cast a slur on the image of the country as a whole. There is also a potential security threat to Ghana should migrant youth fall into the hands of terrorists and religious fundamentalists. It must be mentioned, however, that Ghana Government over the years has done its bit to prevent human trafficking and to better the conditions of trafficked women working as domestic workers in other countries. For example, the Government has passed the Human Trafficking Act 2005, which was amended in 2009; issued a Legislative Instrument to implement the Human Trafficking Act; signed several international Conventions on domestic workers; established the Human Trafficking Management Board (HTMB) and an Anti-HumanTrafficking Unit (AHTU) in the Ghana Police Service. These measures, however, appear insufficient, given that complaints about human rights violations of domestic workers in the Gulf States seem to be increasing. It is for this reason that I call on my fellow Members of Parliament to assist in mobilising State and non-State actors, for a joint action against human trafficking along the lines of the demands of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UNGIFT) aimed at prevention of trafficking in persons, protection of victims of human trafficking, and prosecution of trafficking offenders. Mr Speaker, in order to prevent trafficking in unsuspecting persons to the Gulf States and protect those already working there, it is important to educate our people and raise awareness about fraudulent recruitment agencies and the dangers of such travels. This would also require establishing proper structures to educate and document all citizens before they leave abroad for work. In this connection, the Government and all other stakeholders should join forces with our media houses to provide public awareness campaigns to save lives. Mr Speaker, in the wake of numerous reports of deplorable working conditions, human rights violations, exploitation and abuse at the workplace of Ghanaian domestic workers, it would not be far- fetched to demand a total ban on the export of domestic workers or prevent trafficking in domestic workers, even if temporary, so as to allow space for other permanent sanguine measures to be explored. Several other countries have already tried this measure before, and their citizens seem to have benefited somehow from it. This can also be enforced with the need for exit permits, for example, from the labour department and police reports, as a pre-requisite for visa acquisition, especially for those travelling to work in the domestic and hospitality industry in the Gulf States. We also recommend effective management of labour migration to weed out unscrupulous agents through fresh vetting and accreditation of all recruitment and employment agents hiring workers for jobs in these countries. Parliament should also help to develop a policy document which will outline the standard measures required to safeguard Ghanaian migrant workers before they leave the country and while abroad. Mr Speaker, violations of human rights of domestic workers in the Middle East are not isolated cases limited to Ghanaians alone. Citizens of other countries, including Mexico, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Sudan, Kenya, et cetera, working as domestic workers in the Gulf States have also had cause to complain about maltreat-ment. Consequently, it is time for the Government of Ghana to liaise with these countries for a concerted approach, and by raising it at international fora, for example, at the International Human Rights Council. This is to achieve the object of getting the Gulf States to commit themselves to a genuine political will to protect in law and practice, the most vulnerable workers, that is migrant domestic workers, in their societies. In addition, the Ghanaian Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration should be prevailed upon to engage her counterparts in the Gulf States in bilateral agreements and negotiations in addressing complaints about the poor working conditions and abuse of the human rights of Ghanaian domestic workers. We also want to call on the Government to open up labour attaches in key receiving countries with re-occurring issues in need of regular monitoring and assurance. Mr Speaker, for an effective response to the increasing numbers of trafficking of female domestic workers to the Gulf States by unscrupulous agents, it is important for the State to complement its prevention efforts with measures aimed at prosecuting trafficking offenders with stiff punishments to deter other potential offenders. There is also the need on the part of the government to put in place measures to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked victims, as well as provide decent jobs for all. This Statement also calls on the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to develop action plans for the operationalisation of the various laws concerning human trafficking and domestic service, as well as Conventions that Ghana has signed and ratified. Mr Speaker, there is indeed a dire urgency for serious action against human trafficking in this country. Mr Speaker, as the saying goes, a country that is committed to its citizens inspires patriotism and sacrifices on their part. The female domestic workers suffering from abuses in the Gulf States are Ghanaians who deserve not only our sympathies, but our readiness to defend forever, the cause of their freedom and of rights. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minister, you will hold on. I will give you the opportunity to conclude. Let me start with the former Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Hon Member, as you know, the late Justice Apaloo said that no court is contaminated by profanity. This Chamber will not be contaminated if you give a graphic explanation of what you want to put across. [Laughter.]
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I have no intention to crack the kernel, except to say that what the Hon Colleague is saying cannot be true -- two or three people saying that they would want to do it at the same time? If he says to us that they intended to do it in rapid succession, that may be allowed. [Laughter.] But to say that they are doing it at the same time -- Mr Speaker, it can never be done by two or three people at the same time. [Laughter.]
Hon Majority Leader, I assume that you do not know what is meant by ‘wanting to do it'. But since you appear to understand it and even to explain that it is not possible, you probably would explain to us what they do at the same time and how it is impossible. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, we are all walking in the alleys of darkness. [Laughter.]
Yes, Hon Member for Pusiga?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the two Statements that have been made by my two Hon Colleagues. Mr Speaker, today is the day of the African child and I wish to first of all say good afternoon and congratulate all the children of Africa, more specifically, the Ghanaian child.
Mr Speaker, we know children range in age up to not less than eighteen years before we can think of calling them adults. We have a whole lot of issues that affect the African child, and a whole lot of reasons why the African child has those problems, which leads the African child to struggle so much in life and to suffer in his or her lifetime. This is very bad for our continent and for Ghana. Mr Speaker, the African child needs the support of all world leaders. I make these statements in addition to whatever decisions we believe we would take, that African leaders need to take upon themselves, that the African child and for that matter, the Ghanaian child, to be given the opportunity and be freely, fairly and well supported to grow as expected, especially in education. Mr Speaker, I say this because there are laws. Especially in Ghana, we have all the laws to support our children, to prevent trafficking, abuse and what have you. Yet, these laws are not being implemented. Mr Speaker, if our President, Ministers, other leaders and officers who are supposed to make sure that these laws are implemented judiciously, I believe we would go a long way. It is unfortunate that in our own country Ghana, the abuse of children is such that we cannot close our eyes to it. We have the issue of trafficking which mostly affects children. These children who are trafficked in Ghana or are taken away from their various villages or towns to other places by those who know them and their parents. The other aspect of it is that, most of these children are left to their fate when they are taken away. They do not even know where they are going; they do not know those whom they are left with. Some of them are put in homes as domestic workers, others take care of children even in our own country, Ghana. They are maltreated. One can easily see some of them selling sachet water on our streets. Edwin NiiLantey Vanderpuye -- rose
Hon Member for Odododiodioo, do you rise on a point of order? Nii Lantey Vanderpuye: Yes, Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I just heard the Hon Member mention Agbogbloshie which is in my constituency. I would want to ask whether the Hon Member is referring to Old Fadama or Agbogbloshie. Agbo-gbloshie is a community different from Old Fadama.
Hon Member, I would give you the opportunity to contribute after she has finished, but she would take note of the error if any and correct same.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, children as young as six years are found running around the whole place with pans on their heads, carrying things for people who they do not even know, and going to houses that they have never seen and we are not able to stop them. They do not go to school. They learn no skill. Some of them end up with a whole lot of diseases. Even the girls whom we might be thinking are a bit grown have a whole lot of issues. This is because the problems they have range from rape, theft of the little they get, sicknesses and sometimes death. Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that this House got a Report from the Gender and Children Committee in 2015 and they told us everything that needed to be done. In their recommendations they told us of the issues at stake, but most of them have not been undertaken, especially on the girls. Mr Speaker, it is horrible when it rains and one goes around where these people who undertake kayayei activities are. Some of them pick black polythene bags and wear them. Some use the head pans to cover their heads and at night sleep on the verandas. It is very unfortunate. Mr Speaker, going on to the Gulf issue and the problem that comes with it, I just wonder how the young ones, especially those who are not up to 18 years get visas to leave the shores of this country without detection. This simply tells us that there are people underground who know these children, their parents and where they come from and can easily convince the poor parent -- Those parents who believe that when their children travel, they would be able to make money and come back, they convince them and take these children away. Some of them even deceive parents by telling them that the children are going to stay or live with them. When parents give them their children, they in turn go and simply give them out to people who easily traffic the children to other countries or communities where they do not know. Mr Speaker, we know very well that there are a lot of issues to be resolved. As we continue saying these things, the question is: what do we do to make sure that we curb this particular problem? It is very important for continuous education to be given. We need to continuously sound these words of not allowing our children to travel outside this country to places that we may not even know. We need to let parents understand that it is their responsibility to take care of their children. We need to talk to teachers. Many a time, most of these children would be in schools and are simply convinced that they are being taken to, just for example, Kumasi to school there. They then pick them from say Pusiga, for example. The parents should note that if they keep an eye on their children in the schools, that is in Pusiga, that child would grow to become whatever he or she is supposed to be if given the needed opportunity. Mr Speaker, the pupils themselves learn from each other in the classrooms. They should be made to understand that they should not allow anybody to deceive them and take them away to other places. Many more children have struggled and they have become people of high repute. So it is very important that we educate all parents, stakeholders and others. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Wireku-Brobbey, you have the floor. After that the Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye and then, I will come to Leadership.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity and thanks to the Hon Members who made these Statements and bringing up issues that have attracted global attention in recent times. Mr Speaker, we have seen a lot of videos on social media, mainly from the Gulf States which depict some of these vices which are unwarranted and very much not dignified to be happening to the human race. One question is clear, why would people want to leave the Ghanaian shores to seek greener pastures in the Gulf? Mr Speaker, I have asked this question, but I did not get the right answers. Somebody told me that the orientation of the Ghanaian youth, particularly women, to jobs is something that as a country, we should work on. For example, in Ghana, the technical and vocational jobs such as cleaning jobs are not so much cherished. Therefore, when people are even asked to do one job or the other, they tend to see them as second, third or fourth class jobs that are not respected in society. I think we must take it up and let the orientation of the Ghanaian youth change. Mr Speaker, I worked in Germany for about one year when I was a student. I did a cleaning job. I did that two hours every day. I remember when I went to do the job, I met a lot of people; but nobody asked me what job I did. The questions is, “are you going to work” or “have you closed from work?” So, I was not worried and ashamed of what I did for a living. Mr Speaker, but here in Ghana, people question what one does. What is the nature of the job? This is why if even under the “One District, One Factory” project that is coming, it is not all the jobs that would be white collar. Ghanaians must understand that they could be put to use to do things that would benefit and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. Mr Speaker, we should take it up, so that when people have hope that they can do something in Ghana, travelling to the Gulf would no longer be attractive. Mr Speaker, it is also good that I mention that in the last two weeks or so, my Hon Minister made a very strong appeal to the Labour Department to halt the licenses of all those who have even been issued licenses to recruit people to the Gulf. This is in the right direction. We are looking and studying this carefully, so that everybody who is given the license, henceforth, would comply with certain measures to ensure that our citizens who travel to the Gulf are not treated anyhow. Mr Speaker, I would also call on the international community. In fact, the International Labour Conference (ILC) is currently underway in Geneva. I would call on them -- it is about two or three days more to the end of the conference. If this issue has not been brought to their attention -- the way workers, especially those from Africa, are treated in the Gulf -- it still should be a matter of international concern, so that we put pressure on the Gulf States to do what is befitting to our people who travel to seek greener pastures there. Mr Speaker, Hon Members of Parliament also have a role. We are very close to our constituents. Let us carry the message and let them know that it is not all that rosy in the Gulf. If we speak, they listen. So, Members of Parliament must take advantage. When we mount any platform, be it durbars and open days in the schools, I urge my Hon Colleagues to, as it were, mention that it is good to make a living here than to go to the Gulf and suffer as well. We also call on all our security agencies to tighten whatever they do, so that people who traffick these innocent lives to the Gulf Region would also be maintained here at home. Mr Speaker, lastly, I urge all the youth to refocus their minds and know that Ghana could be a place for them to live. Mr Speaker, on this note, I associate myself with the Statement that was made. Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye (NDC- - Odododiodioo): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to also contribute to these Statements that have been made by our Hon Colleagues. I would begin by commending all those that have preceded me, in addressing these issues that have turned out in the Statements. Mr Speaker, I believe it is not by accident that the Hon Deputy Majority Leader started with a commendation of fathers, and these Statements also came in. As we sit here, most of us are fathers, and I believe that it is incumbent on us, that as we celebrate this day, we also bear in mind that it is not only our biological children that we have responsibility of. If we fail to also help in addressing issues affecting other children, we may nurture monsters who would devour us in the future. It is important that as we celebrate the Africa Day of the Child, we take a critical look at these issues that have been mentioned in the various Statements. Mr Speaker, as an Hon MP for the difficult area in our country where these issues play on the screen every day, I feel it is an obligation to mention one or two things. One of the most critical issues that have come up in the development of our children today in our capital towns is their exposure to dangers. The Hon Member of Parliament for Pusiga talked about those who sell on the streets and where they sleep. Mr Speaker, in this rainy season, it is a pity to see where these children are left to sleep in the evening, especially when it rains - by the roadsides, in the medians of our streets, the corners of shops and on tables. What do they use for a bed? Cardboards, plastics -- it is horrible. As a society, we are creating the impression on these children that we do not care about them. So, when they become used to the sort of things they see, they would also not care about us. They would attack us when they want to. Some of these children are exposed to very dangerous lives -- drug abuse, smoking and alcoholism, just to mention a few. They grow up seeing the environment in which they are left -- people smoking, getting high on drugs, drinking alcohol and getting drunk, and all those things. They grow with it and think that it is a normal part of their lives. So, tomorrow, if these boys become abusers of marijuana and other cracks, whose fault would it be? It is because we failed to check which people do those things in front of children. I believe when we were growing up, some of us were not even permitted to see our fathers drink or smoke. Mr Speaker, but today, people wantonly smoke in front of their children, drink and do everything. People even take children to beer bars and drinking spots even though there is a law that debars children under 18 years from entering those spots. When we go on the Teshie-Nungua Road this evening, we would see the number of children at the various drinking spots there. It is alarming.
people talk about exploitation and trafficking of children, especially our young girls. Mr Speaker, but our young boys are also becoming endangered. Today, people are trafficking young boys into other parts of the world in the name of seeking opportunities in professional football circles for them. Thousands of our young boys are in Asia; especially in Indonesia and other places like South Africa, et cetera, and as soon as these boys get there, they are dumped and left to their fate to struggle, ending up doing menial jobs and they are abused. So, it is not only girls who are going through these things, our young boys are also going through that. It is imperative that we try as much as possible to tighten the available legal regimes, so that those who engage in these activities are properly dealt with. Mr Speaker, I would also want to say that lack of recreational facilities in our various communities and towns also contribute to this. This is because we develop towns and communities and we do not create recreational facilities for children to play, know each other, network and give opportunities for parents to interact with their children and to teach them the right ways of life. So, the children are left to find their own means of survival and recreation. If recreation means to join peers to smoke and to do ‘mami k3 papa', (to wit “mother and father”) somewhere, who knows? It is important that we encourage our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to, as a matter of urgency, try to develop recreational grounds that would afford not only the young ones, but the elderly the opportunity to exercise by walking around to wear off their tiredness. Mr Speaker, the other issue has to do with enforcing our laws. We know that under the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) policy, parents who intentionally keep their children at home without allowing them to go to school are supposed to be punished. Are we enforcing this? If we do, and use some people as examples, it would make other parents cautious. This is because when we were growing up, woe betides you if you said you would not go to school. Your father would pull you by your nose, ear, neck or collar and drag you to the school. Today, people do not care whether their children go to school or not. People are ready to use their moneys to buy funeral clothes, and enjoy bottles of beer instead of paying their children's school fees. So, it is important that we also, as a society put pressure on parents to make sure that the rights of the child are respected. This is because education is a right today. Mr Speaker, finally, I would plead that we, Hon Members of Parliament, when we make these Statements, we should also make sure that in our constituencies, we try to infuse that knowledge into our people. This is because we are seen as advocates and opinion leaders in our communities. Any opportunity that comes our way, we must address these issues in our communities, in the churches, mosques and family gatherings. Mr Speaker, we must make sure to use ourselves as role models and try to infuse that knowledge into the people we are addressing, for them to know the importance of what we are talking about. Our churches and social organisations must also be encouraged to, at least, escalate the advocacy for the respect of the rights of children, to minimise the incidents of abuses that our children suffer. I also share the sentiments of my sister, the Hon Member for Pusiga. Abuse of children, and especially workers, is not only international. In our homes here in Ghana, we do same. It is time we understood that if somebody willfully enters our house to help us manage our house, that person is not someone to be abused, if for anything at all, we should respect that person for doing what we are unable to do. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity to add to the Statement made by our Hon Colleagues today.
Hon Member, your Hon Colleagues do not think that these were few words. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the Statement made by the Hon Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to commemorate the 2017 Day of the African Child. Mr Speaker, the theme is, “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa -- Accelerating Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunity”. Mr Speaker, I would like to focus on the African child in the village. These children do not get the needed attention. Equity is not there and when it comes to education, they are left out. Mr Speaker, the environment determines their future and the worst part of it is, we have a lot of talented children in the villages. When we talk of talented children, we have some of them who are footballers, some have qualified to enter the Police Service and other security services, but because of the environment and where they find themselves, it makes it difficult for them to get access to such professions. When one comes to the Ada Constituency, a place like Dogobom, that is where our footballer, Christian Atsu comes from and it took a lot for him to get into the national team. We have a lot of these children. When one comes to Asigbekope, we have good football players. In Afliver, which is an island community, we have a lot of them there. Mr Speaker, when it comes to enlistments, and things are published in the newspapers and announced on radio, by the time these children would hear the news, it is over. Can we change the way we do our things so that these children in the deprived communities could also get access to the things that children in the cities get?
Hon Majority Leader, do you wish to contribute to any of the Statements? Very well. That is the end of the comments on the Statements, and I do not think that there is the need to make any orders here. Hon Deputy Minister, I am sure you would take all the challenges that you have assumed seriously and make sure that a year from now, we would be talking about progress in the children of Africa. Thank you very much. Hon Majority Leader, is there anything?
Mr Speaker, we have Public Business -- thus far, the Business that we have transacted has been Private Business. We have Public Business in the form of Committee sittings. Committees have been pro- grammed to sit, and indeed, the Business Committee sat this morning. There are other Committees that have been listed to Sit after we close Business. Mr Speaker, I wish also to remind the House, and particularly the Hon Members of the Appointments Committee, that they have given an indication that the Appointments Committee would sit tomorrow to screen or vet the Hon nominee for the position of Chief Justice. So, Hon Members who are interested but are not members of the Appointments Committee may want to be part of the arrangement. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Very well. That brings us to the close of proceedings for today. This House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 12.00 noon.
The House was adjourned at 3.12 p.m. till Friday, 16th June, 2017 at 12.00 noon