MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 17th October, 2017. Page 1…8 --
Mr Speaker, I rise to draw your attention to the last paragraph of page 8: which states and with your permission, I beg to quote: “The Hon First Deputy Speaker, on behalf of the House, wished the delegation a fruitful deliberations…”. So, if we could delete the “a” so that we could have “…fruitful deliberations”. Mr Speaker, on page 9 as well “The Hon Deputy Majority Leader is in the House” -- I noticed that sometimes, her portfolio is presented as “Minister of State at the Presidency in Charge of Public Procurement” and other times, it is “in Charge of Procurements”. So, it is just for consistency to find out exactly what the portfolio is. We want the proper nomenclature. Is it “Minister of State at the Presidency in Charge of Procurement” or “… in Charge of Public Procurement” just for our records?
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, which is your appropriate designation?
Mr Speaker, it is “the Minister of State at the Presidency in Charge of Public Procurement”. Thank you.
Very well. Any more corrections on page 9? Page 10…17 --
Mr Speaker, on page 17, paragraph 3, item numbered (i) -- I am just calling for consistency concerning the delegation from South Africa: Mr N. N. Sibhidla-Sapheha -- Chairperson, Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Legislature led the delegation. On page 8, paragraph 7, he is presented as “the Hon”. So, I assume that he is a Member of the South African Legislature, but on page 17, he is presented as “Mr”. So, I am calling for consistency. I am not too sure who he is. I do not know whether he is an Hon Member of Parliament or a member of the Parliamentary staff of South Africa. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Very well. Page 18? In the absence of any further corrections, the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 17th October, 2017, is adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Mr Speaker, I come again on Standing Order 53, which has to do with Questions. Mr Speaker, with very great respect to your Office and the House —
Hon Minority Chief Whip, we have the Official Report to deal with. I will listen to you after that. Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Tuesday. 10th October, 2017. Any correction?
Mr Speaker, I am grateful. Mr Speaker, column 308, paragraph 3 — The name is “Yushawu”; it is spelt, “Y-U-S-H-A-W-U”.
Hon Member, can you repeat your correction?
Mr Speaker, there is a name there; “Alhassan Yushawu” but the name has been spelt incorrectly. The correct spelling is, “Y-U-S-H-A-W-U”. That was how the deceased person spelt his name.
Very well. You would assist the Hansard Department to insert the appropriate spelling. Hon Members, any more corrections? Hon Members, the Official Report of Tuesday, 10th October, 2017, as corrected represents the true record of proceedings. Hon Minority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, the comments and concerns ably made by the Hon Minority Chief Whip are well taken on board. Mr Speaker, I would want to make this clear to our Hon Colleagues on the other side that Hon Ministers take the work of this House seriously. Mr Speaker, there was a Question scheduled for the Minister for the Interior and it was to be answered this morning. But the Hon Minister is currently out of the jurisdiction and because he is a Member of Parliament and knows the rules of the House and respects the House, he wrote to the House, and the Clerk is very much in the know that he would be here to answer the Question upon his return to the jurisdiction. Mr Speaker, there were Questions also scheduled for the Minister for Energy and the Minister for Communications. But again, in the communication from the House on the Questions that are supposed to reach their various Ministries, I believe, there was a hitch. Mr Speaker, on that note, I would want to refer to Standing Order 60 (3) and I beg to quote with your kind permission: “A Minister shall not take more than three weeks to respond to a Question from the House.” Mr Speaker, because of the administrative hitch here and there, the communication did not get to the various Ministries and the Hon Ministers concerned on time. And they have a period of three weeks within which to prepare and come to the House. Mr Speaker, so, it is only fair that we adress our minds to this provision in the Standing Orders. I cannot completely rule out, however, the concerns raised by the Hon Minority Chief Whip. We take it on board and we would ensure that Hon Ministers are here to answer Questions. Mr Speaker, again, at our pre-Sitting meeting and even before that, we tried to engage the Hon Minority Leader because of the Development Authority Bills that we are doing in this House. We figured that if we want to expedite the Consideration Stage, the passage and the completion of the Bills, we needed to engage them. At the last Meeting, they complained that we had listed Bills and the Bills were not before the House. The Bills are here today, and so, we want to engage them to be able to run through the Bills quickly. We started with the Middle Belt Development Authority Bill yesterday and we are just about completing that. So, we would start the Coastal Belt Development Authority Bill as well today. So, by the time the week ends, we would have been able to advance the Consideration Stage for these Develop- ment Authority Bills. Mr Speaker, at the pre-Siting meeting, we tried to engage the Hon Minority Chief Whip, and so we would ask them to cooperate so that we can finish with these Development Authority Bills. Mr James Klutse Avedzi — rose —
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, what is new?
Mr Speaker, I believe that my Hon Colleague, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader struggled a lot to defend the indefensible. If the Hon Deputy Majority Leader said that the Bill for the Northern Development Authority is in this House, where is the Hon Minister responsible for that Bill? That is the reason we are saying that the Hon Ministers do not take the work of the House seriously. We have 110 Hon Ministers and we cannot find Hon Ministers to come and answer Questions on this floor. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader should not have gone the way she went. She should have just accepted that she has taken them on board and would
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Deputy Minority Leader should also take the work of this House seriously and read the rules of this House. Is it the duty of the Majority side to communicate things of official nature in this House to Hon Ministers? [Uproar.] It is the work of the Clerk-at- the-Table. [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader should read the rules of this House; the official communication to Hon Ministers to answer Questions before this House is supposed to be written by the Clerk to Parliament. I pardon him because I know he is an expert on finance- related matters and these are rules of the House. [Interruption.] But as the Hon Deputy Minority Leader, he should read the rules.
Hon Members, the point is very well made about Hon Ministers not appearing to answer Questions. That is a fact we have observed in the last few days. Some have complained that the Questions do not reach them until the very last minute. If that is so, there is an error we must investigate. This is because I admit the Questions and I know the length of time it takes from the time the Questions are admitted before they are listed. So, we must look at that. Hon Minister, I am not asking you to comment on the rules; I would want to understand in the event where your Colleague Hon Ministers have not been properly summoned, if they continually fail to appear before the House, how would you be useful to the House?
Can the Leaders please stop the engagements? [Interruptions.] Hon Deputy Majority Leader and Hon Deputy Minority Leader; you are disturbing the House, please.
Mr Speaker, our Leadership is supposed to help you guide the work in the House. You called me to speak and the Hon Chief Whip was talking. [Uproar.] Mr Speaker, first of all, there are rules on the issue of Hon Ministers failing to appear. As the Hon Deputy Majority Leader rightly said, it is not up to her to officially communicate these things. The convention, however, is that the Leadership make sure to communicate through informal ways. Mr Speaker, there is an emergency of function in Ejura today and the Hon Minister in charge of Special Development Initiatives and I were called last night to show up there. It was an emergency. What we would do, as the Hon Deputy Majority Leader said, is to communicate with her so that she comes back at the appropriate time. Mr Speaker, when we are working on a Bill, it helps for the particular Hon Minister guiding the Bill to be around. In this case, the House has successfully gone through the Northern Development Authority Bill, 2017. Mr Speaker, I believe that in order to allow the Business of the House to proceed, I would want to urge the Leadership of both Sides to calm down and help Mr Speaker to guide the House so that we can move forward. Thank you.
Very well. Hon Deputy Majority Leader and Hon Majority Chief Whip, I would want that the next time we programme Questions, we ensure that the Hon Ministers appear before the House to amend them. If for any reason they cannot appear, they should communicate that formally to the House as it was the case in the Hon Minister for Aviation yesterday. I read the communication and she said that there was a mishap and so she could not appear. But let us make sure that before we programme the Questions, the Hon Ministers are appropriately informed and they are ready and able to appear before the House. Let us proceed -- Statements. I admitted two Statements yesterday commemorating the End to Poverty. Yes, Hon Member for Atwima Kwanwoma Constituency, you may now read your Statement.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make a Statement to commemorate International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Mr Speaker, just a short correction. I am no more the Chairman of the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy. I am now the Chairman for the Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection. I thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly by Resolution 47/196 designated this day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries. Poverty eradication similarly remains at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which sets
Hon Member for Keta, you may now read your Statement.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I humbly want to state that I am not the Hon Ranking Member for the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy, but the Hon Deputy Ranking Member on the Employment and Social Welfare and State Enterprises Committee.
I would admit three contributors from each side of the House. Hon Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development, I will give you the first opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I beg to associate myself with the Statements on the floor. Poverty should not only be seen based on the economic and social status of our people. I believe that it is very important to give recognition and to pay homage to victims of hunger, disease, violence, illiteracy and ignorance. Poverty is not just about money, but the conditions of life that our people live in. In its actual sense, it should be looked at in terms of the jobs and social amenities that we talk about; whether they have good jobs with assured income to have a regular flow of cash, so that they can take care of their families. Good education; today, we find our people -- but gradually, we are coming out of it. One of those social policies like Free Senior High School (SHS) would encourage our people to send our children to school. Mr Speaker, social facilities in our rural areas, in terms of health facilities are very poor. So, instead of people going to the health facilities, they would prefer to go for local treatment, and this also affects our people and their life expectancy. Today, whereas the life expectancy of some countries like Japan and America is about 78 years -- in Ghana it is 56. In Ghana, if one happens to live up to 56 years, then one would count him or herself as very lucky. Mr Speaker, this is what the statistics talk about. The way of living when we look at the conditions of life and the way our people live in terms of accommodation - is very appalling. So, I believe that with this Statement, it is so important that we look at various items that would make somebody to have a healthy living; water for our people -- we are yet to come above a certain level, and this is very important. Mr Speaker, this country needs to givepotable water to its good people, and this is so important. These are some of the basic factors that should be calculated to find out what poverty means. Mr Speaker, it is not about the money in the pockets, but what would make a fellow live good. It is so important that we look at all these things and it is so important that today has been selected to be the international Day for Eradication of Poverty. Mr Speaker, 25 years is not 25 days and I believe that we have a long way to go. At the end of the day, Ghana must come out of poverty. Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this time to contribute.
Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by the two Hon Members. Mr Speaker, as an Hon Member from a rural area, which is Sawla/Tuna/Kalba Constituency, poverty is real. On my rounds, I see people and I wonder whether human beings are all equal. Poverty in my area could only be eradicated if we all team up to continue with the good interventions like the donation of free school uniforms and free sandals to the pupils, as was done by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government led by His Excellency John Dramani Mahama. Mr Speaker, back in my constituency recently, I realised that in the whole year there had not been a single school uniform given out to any of the pupils in my constituency. Mr Speaker, the free sandals and other things that the people used to enjoy no longer exist. If we talk about eradicating poverty but the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that we used to enrol for the poor, vulnerable and the indigenes for free - as I speak, the indigenes registration no longer exists at the National Health Insurance Authority. Mr Speaker, so, if we say that we want to eradicate poverty but the very poor who were kept on the NHIS for free so that they could have access to quality healthcare as Ghanaians - during this time, we have taken that from them. They go and queue and they cannot get GH¢5 to even renew their cards. How could we eradicate poverty if we do not pull such poor people along? Mr Speaker, recently, back in my constituency, about three of my constituents who had their wards posted to schools in the south as day students; some of them were virtually in tears because they needed me to support them to rent accommodation for their wards. The question I asked myself was that are all of my people going to benefit from the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy? Mr Speaker, it is good because majority of my people benefit, but there are the few that suffer because of it. That is why some of us keep applauding the Government for bringing the Free SHS Policy, but sometimes, we believe that it would have been better if we thought through it and planned it so that we do not have people posted from Sawla to be day students in Accra. That is --
Hon Member, has the Free SHS Policy got anything to do with the placement? Hon Member, focus on the Statement -- if you bring politics -- I have admitted two people from the other Side of the House, and one Hon Member would say that my government did that and did not do that. We would not go anywhere. What your people really need is what we want to hear. If they had sources of income, then they would not need the free sandals and free school uniforms. We should not reduce our people to ask for free things, but we should encourage them to earn income. That is what I want us to talk about.
Mr Speaker, thank you but I am only worried because they could not get the money to rent accommodation.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the Statements ably made by my two Hon Colleagues; the Hon Member for Keta and Hon Dr Appiah-Kubi. Mr Speaker, if we take the Statements, we would realise that they were made clear that poverty has many faces. The Hon Members made mention of the monetary part and the non-monetary issues like infant mortality, Ghana Inequality Index (GINI) co-efficient and so on. Mr Speaker, my attention has actually been drawn to paragraph 1 of page 2 where it is mentioned that for the three northern regions; Upper East, Upper West and the North, it seems that the poverty of this country is virtually centred in these regions. I believe that it shows that as a country, we have not done enough to change the paradigm. Mr Speaker, if we take the last Yaa Asantewaa war, which was fought in 1900, that was when Ghana was virtually and totally controlled by the British. They ruled over us from 1900 all the way to 1957, and we have also been able to take care of ourselves for 60 years; but the poverty arrangement is still the same. Mr Speaker, the question we ask ourselves is whether we have been able to change this country after the British left us. We know the economic paradigm that the white men did was to make sure that the country is consistently a raw material exporting country. Mr Speaker, the question we ask ourselves is; Have we been able to change that paradigm? The answer is a complete no. Not until we are able to change that paradigm, it would be very difficult for us to enable the three regions in the northern part of Ghana stand on their two feet. Mr Speaker, it is very important that we recognise one important thing. When we passed the new Local Government Law (Act 936), we were clear in our minds to add, as part of the mandate of the District Assemblies, the need for them to develop local economies. We never had that in the previous Act. These are some of the policies we need to ensure that our District Chief Executives and our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, especially in the three northern regions implement to make sure that, our districts, municipalities and metropolitan areas could quickly grow their individual businesses, so that we could create wealth. We could use Government Instrument to share this wealth. Mr Speaker, if we even take the free uniforms, the free sandals and the free exercise books, they were paid for by the Highly Indebted Poor Country Fund (HIPC) that was created under former President Kufuor. So, it takes visionary leaders to create the sort of wealth that could be shared.
Hon Member, could we cut out this and that and focus on the poverty?
Mr Speaker, I believe that if we need to grow this country, and if we need to make sure poverty is eradicated -- Mr Speaker, the eradication of poverty is the first item on the development goals. If we would want to be able to do that, we need to make sure that a lot of the economic growth that we generate in the economy is very inclusive. Mr Speaker, it also means that, we should look at the areas the poor are usually employed. In our country, agriculture is one area. We know the Planting for Food and Jobs Project is ongoing, and we all need to support it. What I am happy about on this project is that, we know there was an “Operation Feed Yourself”, but one of the difficulties we were not able to tackle was that, we did not provide ready market for our farmers. Mr Speaker, with the Planting for Food and Jobs Project, we are all aware that, warehouses are being built all over the country. [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, this is to ensure that our farmers have market for their produce. If we are able to do that consistently for the next five years, I am sure poverty, especially in the three northern regions, would be eradicated. When we are able to bring down the statistics in the three northern regions, the statistics for the country would also be good. In fact, the first time I was in Parliament in the year 2009 was the time I got those statistics from the Member for Wa Central, Hon Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo. From that time on, I have followed that trend; whether we have been able to do so much for ourselves. Mr Speaker, in concluding, while we are aware that the three northern regions experience a lot of poverty, the coastal districts also experience the same -- ten per cent of our population live along the coast of this country.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member has been misleading the House. There are no “three northern regions”. There are “three regions in the northern part of Ghana”.
Noted. Hon Member, continue.
Mr Speaker, in concluding, poverty is not only restricted in the three northern regions -- [Interruption]. They are also in the coastal regions. Therefore, I believe that when the Government implements any policy, they should also ensure that the coastal regions, starting from New Town
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this very important Statement made by Hon Appiah-Kubi and Hon Richard Quashigah. Mr Speaker, as we commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we must all accept that poverty is a threat to our democracy. If the people are poor, they cannot have a voice. They cannot participate. Their dignity is taken away from them, and no matter what we gather in this House to deliberate on, if we do not ensure that our deliberations actively eradicate poverty as the Sus- tainable Development Goals enjoin us to do, the quality of our democracy would be questioned by all. Mr Speaker, if we look at the mea- surement of this poverty instrument and the data from the Ghana Statistical Service, we have fought poverty, which was at 51.7 per cent in 1991/92, down to 24.2 per cent in the year 2013. Mr Speaker, the measuring instrument for poverty, as talked about, is GH¢3.60 per day. We say that if one does not live on GH¢3.60 per day, then, one is not poor, but those who are poor spend below GH¢3.60 per day. The measuring yardstick includes spending GH¢3.60 per day on food, transportation, education, rent and health. One wonders really whether with GH¢3.60 per day, which was 2013 exchange rate of US$1.00 -- how many of us here in this House spend GH¢3.60 per day on food, transportation, education, rent and health? So, it tells us that, even this minimum benchmark is too generous, and it is clear that, I have a lot of work to do. Mr Speaker, that is why some of us believe that we must get more radical with the fight against poverty. I believe it is time we took a second look at our budgeting model as a country. Our budgeting model seeks to continue to spend resources everywhere. So, the District Assemblies Common Fund go to every district; use the word “district” generically. It is time that some of our big districts -- the Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies-- are weaned off, so that we could take moneys away from these Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies to take care of the poor districts in the three regions in the northern part of Ghana and the savanna areas. Mr Speaker, we need an aggressive positive discrimination; affirmative action. That is why some of us are of the view that, yes, it is well-intentioned that we have Development Authority Bills. But, if we want to address the inequities in the system, we cannot use an equality system. We need to positively discriminate; we need affirmative action. Mr Speaker, the Savannah Accelerated Development Model was not a bad one; it looked at the savannah areas, the three regions in the north, northern part of Brong Ahafo and northern part of the Volta. This is because the statistics reveal that that is where poverty is more endemic. We could have corrected the anomalies with the challenges that we faced during the implementation. But to have Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern Development Authorities, if we are not careful, we would place the same resources with these development Authorities and the gap will continue to widen. Mr Speaker, as data now reveals, despite all the efforts we have made to breach the poverty gap, it is clear that, the poverty gap is widening. The rich are getting richer, and those who are poor -- one would really come face to face with poverty when one sees it. As Hon Members of Parliament, we all see it every day. Mr Speaker, let us support affirmative action, let us engage in positive discrimination, let us identify the areas that are poor -- Fortunately, the data is available -- and let us cover out agres- sive well-tailored specific measures that will address poverty in these areas. Another example that I can give is incentives to investors. Investors would not go to these poverty endemic areas where infrastructure is a challenge and where they do not have amenities. If incentives for investors are the same in all parts of the country -- Someone investing in Accra gets the same incentives as someone investing in the Upper East, Northern and Upper West Regions. There is no incentive for an investor to look to these poverty endemic areas. So, it is important that we tailor as a House -- We can propose to the Executive to consider special incentives for investors, so that they will be more attracted to invest in these areas to create jobs for the youth, and to lift the people there out of poverty. This is because though the average is 24.2 per cent, if we go into the numbers, we have some regions doing 70 per cent and others doing 80 per cent; it is worrying. It means that out of every 10 people we see in the Upper West Region, for example, seven of them live below GH¢3.60 a day. That must be a blot on our conscience. It is not something that we should live with. Mr Speaker, finally, a major threat to fighting poverty is corruption and loopholes in the system. If we evade taxes, if there are public account Reports revealing the leakages in our system -- politicians, public servants and civil servants -- and we do not protect the little revenue that we generate, and there is corruption, certainly we cannot succeed in the fight against poverty. Mr Speaker, I hope that, as we mark this day, we would all pay attention to all of these significant points that have been made by the Hon Members who made the Statements and the Hon Members who contributed to the Statements, so that we can all rededicate ourselves to champion the eradication of poverty, and our country would be the better for it.
I would want to recognise the Hon Member for Nsuta/Kwamang/Beposo.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, why do we still talk about poverty in the 21st Century? When Ghana attained independence, its Gross Domes- tic Product (GDP) was better than la Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria. But now, we are struggling to be the number one cocoa producing country.
Mr Speaker, this is the reason-- We have not been consistent with our policies and programmes. We refuse to accept the fact that, this country is an agricultural country. The way for the economy to grow is to depend mostly on the agricultural sector, and also to develop the rural areas. Mr Speaker, small-scale farmers in this country are about 1.6 million. Out of this number, the experts say that, 1.2 hectares of land are developed by these small scale farmers. Another 25 per cent between 1.2 hectares that develop the lands are only 15 per cent of the holdings, where 2 per cent of the population, only 15 per cent are involved in cultivating 2 hectares. In other words, most of our farmers in this country, at the ages of 60 years or 70 years, only do 1.2 hectares. That is not enough to bring this country from low- level agriculture to commercial agriculture. Mr Speaker, for us to commercialise agriculture, there is the need for us first to provide improved seeds to our farmers. Secondly, it is also important to upgrade our road networks. Mr Speaker, thirdly, there is the urgent need to look at our storage systems. Last but not least, there is the need to add value to all agricultural produce in the country. Mr Speaker, ending poverty and overcoming hunger, and food security permanently should come first and second. That is the way to end poverty. Mr Speaker, poverty is not natural; it is man-made and it is self-inflicted. That is why it is refreshing to see that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government has Mr Speaker, with this programme, we would be in a position to feed our factories or our rural enterprises -- [Interruption] -- [Laughter] -- with raw materials. That is where we can create jobs for the unemployed youth, reduce poverty and our farmers will have enough money to take care of their families. When we do that, it would be translated into the total economy. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I am most grateful.
Hon Member, you have the bite.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to associate myself with the Statements ably made by my two Hon Colleagues on poverty eradication. Mr Speaker, we can all agree that regardless of our political colours, ideologies, religious creed and sexual orientation, one thing we can all agree upon is that, poverty certainly, has a devastating effect on us as a society. Being a Member of Parliament from a rural community, indeed, I know families and I have met individuals who in a year, cannot even speak about a disposal income of more than GH¢ 100. I can tell you on authority that the situation is much dire than we see in the Report. Mr Speaker, it is clear and obvious that if we are to make progress in fighting the true enemy of the State and to be successful, then certainly, we must increase the support and create the conducive atmosphere to ensure that many in the rural parts of this country who bear the brunt of poverty, have the chance in terms of opportunities in the areas of agriculture, healthcare and industry. Mr Speaker, in all of these, I believe we are forgetting a very important factor which is the natural environment. That is the foundation on which any living organism is able to build its subsistence. It is sad to note that, while we are busily fighting the menace of galamsey and its attendant effects in the southern part of Ghana, we seem to ignore the ongoing pillaging and destruction of the remnant woodland savannah forest in the three regions of the north. In this case, the illegal felling, harvesting and exporting of the rosewood tree species. Mr Speaker, I say this because, the people in the three regions in the northern part of this country largely subsist on agriculture and we all know the value of forest cover in terms of preventing erosion, replenishing soil fertility and even the domestic energy needs of the people. If we are going to sit by and allow greedy businessmen and women and their associates to go there and cut down the trees, all we can expect is to have many more poor people and we should be prepared to welcome more kayayei and many of that kind to the southern part of this country. We have to keep them there, support them while we look at implementing all of these mitigatory measures to ensure that when we say we are fighting poverty, we are not being hypocritical. It is not fair to pretend to give them with one hand and then take away their basic source of livelihood with another hand. On this note, I would want to thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do you want to contribute to the --
Mr Speaker, I would want to yield my position to Hon Hajia Laadi Ayamba.
Very well. Hon Hajia Laadi Ayamba?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, and Hon Leader. Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statements ably made by my two Hon Colleagues on the commemoration of World Poverty Eradication Day. Mr Speaker, the issue of poverty is something that needs to be looked at properly and I would want to state that, poverty is not only in the three northern regions of Upper East, Upper West and the Northern, but in the northern part of the Central Region, Brong Ahafo Region and some parts of the Western Region. Mr Speaker, I can even assure you that in the urban areas, we have certain communities that are poverty ridden. Mr Speaker, it would be noted that, policies that are many at times, put up do not go far in helping. I would not say “eradicate” but “reduce”. This is because we would only be able to reduce the level of poverty. To eradicate it is another issue. Mr Speaker, I say so because in this country, the three northern regions, as we have always referred to, have certain peculiar issues that need to be looked at critically. For instance, the agriculture sector, which is what most of the people from the three northern regions depend and live on for everything that they need, is not properly catered for. Mr Speaker, the three northern regions, unfortunately, naturally have got only one season of rainfall. Sometimes, we do not have enough rains. Mr Speaker, to help and revamp the agriculture sector in these northern regions, it is important that we put a measure in place to make sure that we support dry season farmers. Mr Speaker, a lot of the water that comes to the southern sector, either to the Lake Volta or to the sea, comes right down from the northern sector. But what do we see? Most of the water eventually drains into the ground and goes waste. We are not able to make good use of this water by trapping it in large quantities to enable its use for agricultural purposes. Mr Speaker, we have the Bagre Dam that is situated in Burkina Faso. From time to time, when it is flooded, the Burkinabes simply open it, the water drains down through the White Volta, causes flooding, we carry that problem and at the end of the day, the water leaves us with nothing. What are we doing? If this can be done in Burkina Faso for the farmers there are to make good use of it, why can we not trap this water at the White Volta to make sure that farmers also use it and that we benefit? Mr Speaker, most of our rice fields, especially in the Northern Region, lie fallow because of lack of rain, lack of inputs and many at times, support to make sure that those who do large scale farming are able to work well. Mr Speaker, in the good old days, young as I might have been at that time, we realised that even people from the Upper East and Upper West Regions also went to the Northern Region to participate in rice farming. Most of the women and girls and for that matter, even the young men never travelled down south as it happens today to come and look for jobs that never exist. Some of them are those who have just stopped schooling simply because they believe that they can make it in the urban areas. If the area of agriculture is revamped properly, Mr Speaker, it would go a long way to stop the girls and women from leaving their homes and running down to the urban areas. Mr Speaker, we need support for the few farmers who are able to remain and do the little that they are doing. We give loans to farmers and at the end of the day, there is no consideration for them when there are post-harvest losses. We compel them to pay as expected with interest. Where would they get those moneys from? At the end of the day, some farmers are afraid to go for loans because they fear that if they are unable to make it after sales, they would be compelled to pay or be arrested. There is the need for measures to supplement and make sure that if there is proper monitoring, we would be able to tell whether the farmer has made it or not. For instance, in my village Pusiga, at this time, a big basin of tomatoes goes for GH¢20.00 and onions go for GH¢25.00. I would not talk about the labour, but imagine the fertilizer and seeds. How would such a person make it if he or she has gone to purchase fertilizers at high prices or with a loan? Do we have a ready market for these vegetables and other products that come up at the end of the day? There is the need for ready market to support the farmer. There is the need for ready market to make sure that the farmer does not feel that his or her work is just for gratis. Mr Speaker, education is very key. In the past administration, we had support given to the girl child. Many a time, we looked at it as something not relevant. To the girl child, especially those in Junior High School (JHS) -- today it has come back to haunt most of these girls. Some of the girls have stopped school and do not want to go to school, simply because we have stopped supplying them with sanitary pads. This is very important. You could look at it in any way. When you get back to the schools in the villages, because of the poverty levels, they are not able to get moneys to buy. We should be able to support them to be in school and learn. In the future, their education would help them and their parents so that they get out of poverty. Mr Speaker, I could go on but there is no need. This is because the kayayei in Accra, Kumasi, Kintampo, Techiman, Cape Coast and others need our support to make sure that they get out of poverty. This would enable them go back to their various communities to work and have the children they produce be in school, so that the poverty cycle does not continue. I believe that if we implement policies very well and they are supported, it would go a long way to help us. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would yield to the Hon Member for Bantama.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would want to commend the Hon Members who made the Statements with respect to poverty. I think that we have all agreed to the fact that poverty is not only financial. I had an experience in 1999 when I went to Zimbabwe. I had the opportunity to attend a programme there and during a break, we visited the beach. We saw a white man lying on the beach enjoying himself. He asked us what we were there for. We said we were there to learn about how to do away with poverty. Then he said he was poor. From where we came from as young Ghanaian students, fresh from school, we did not understand why that man said he was poor. When we approached him, what he said was that he was poor because he did not have friends. What it means is that poverty is not only financial and cannot be limited by geographical circumstances. For all of us, in one way or the other, are poor.
This is the end of Statements. At the Commencement of Public Business, item numbered 5 on the Order Paper. Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
BILLS -- FIRST READING
Hon Members, item numbered 6 on the Order Paper-- Hon Deputy Majority Leader, are we ready to take the Third Reading of the Northern Development Authority Bill?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, we could skip items numbered 6 and 7 on the Order Paper and proceed to item numbered 8.
Should we proceed to item numbered 8?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Very well Hon Members, item numbered 8 on the Order Paper. We would continue with the Consideration Stage of the Middle Belt Development Authority Bill, 2017.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
Mr Speaker, instead of what has been advertised on the Order Paper, I beg to move, clause 22, subclause (2), line 1, insert the words, “in consultation with the Minister and after the word “may”. So, the new rendition would be: “The Authority may, in consultation with the Minister and with the approval of the Minister responsible for Finance borrow, by way of overdraft or otherwise, sums that it may require to meet its current obligations or to perform its functions.” Mr Speaker, in that way, I believe it would cure the defect that we discussed yesterday.
Hon Members, the amendment has been proposed and it is for the consideration of the House.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, if we look at line 3 of clause 22 (1), there are two words; “credit facilities”, and if we look at line 2 in clause 22 (2), there are the words “borrow, by way of overdraft and otherwise”. Mr Speaker, what would the Authority borrow? Whatever is contained in clause 22 (2) has been covered by clause 21 (1). So, clause 22 (2) is superfluous. Clause 22 (1) says, “Subject to article 181 of the Constitution and section 76 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), the Authority may obtain loan and credit facilities...” which is covered in clause 22 (2). Mr Speaker, I propose that we completely delete clause 22(2) and maintain clause 22 (1) and (3). I believe that would suffice.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I agree with the proposed amendment which was proffered by the Hon Chairman of the Committee. Mr Speaker, with clause 22(1), in drafting, the general rule is drafted and when it comes to the subclauses, either more light is thrown on the definition or what the description is, then what goes into specificities in the subclauses.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, there is nothing that clause 22 (2) would give that clause 22 (1) cannot give. I believe the clause 22 (1) is sufficient.
I would listen to the Hon Member for Old Tafo.
Mr Speaker, I totally disagree with the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Subject to article 181 and the Public Financial Management (PFMA), is sufficient. The Hon Minister for Finance's approval is needed and credit facilities include overdraft, so, I believe that clause 22 (2) is redundant. Once there is the word “subject to”, we are covered.
Yes, Hon Member for Bantama?
Mr Speaker, if we go back to what the Hon Chairman of the Committee just read, clause 22 (2) basically talks about overdraft and others, and the second part of it talks about the process getting these loan which allow, it to be consistent with the Constitution as we have discussed. So, it is more of the how than it is on credit facilities.
Mr Speaker, with respect, with a loan credit facility, the how is irrelevant. I refer to the words “by way of overdraft” in clause 22 (2) -- An overdraft is a credit facility so, once we have the words “credit facilities” in clause 22 (1), it is fully covered and the approval is implied in the PFMA which is already in clause 22 (1). So we do not need to repeat clause 22 (2).
Hon Chairman of the Committee, would you take a cue so that we would move on?
Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, the finance people seem to have convinced you. [Laughter.]
Hon Chairman of the Committee, well, the decision is not mine.
Mr Speaker, I would have thought that being superfluous, it would not cause any mischief. We should have left it, especially, since some of us are of the view that it talks about the how of achieving the details of the credit facilities that had been mentioned under clause 22 (1).
Hon Member for Pru East?
Mr Speaker, my only worry is in line with good corporate governance for a semi-commercial organisation. Would the Board need ministerial approval for an overdraft? That is my only worry. If the new trend is that even for an overdraft of GH¢10,000.00, the Development Authority requires Ministerial approval. What would you need an overdraft for? Normally, companies take overdraft to flatten the gaps in their cash flow and if for this, an Authority such as this would need ministerial approval, then clause 22 (1) suffices. But I wonder whether we would want to cage our organisations in such a way that even for a GH¢20,000.00 or GH¢50, 000.00, overdraft they would need to have ministerial approval while there is a Board.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, the previous Parliament knows the experience of Savanah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and other places. Even GH¢1.00 liability of Government is serious money. It is the principle that one cannot just get up and go and pick money. It may be an overdraft, but it could be used for something else. It takes a phone call to consult the Hon Minister for Finance. We need to make sure that people are held responsible. So, we are guided by what has happened in the past to make sure of this. Mr Speaker, I do not want to cite all the instances of what has happened in the past. The Hon Minister is part of the Government and Ghana says that we would need the Hon Minister's consultation, and consultation could be by phone call. Mr Speaker, we would have to be sure.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, from the deliberations we have had, may I propose a new amendment to clause 22 subclause (2) that the entire clause 22 subclause (2) be deleted.
Hon Members, taking a cue from the discussion, the Hon Chairman proposes to delete clause 22 subclause (2) — [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, I was just trying to do some cross- referencing to see what we did for the Northern Development Authority Bill 2017, and in that regard, we may have to perhaps, pass them through a Second Consideration Stage to do the reconciliation of that particular provision. Otherwise, it would be most incongruous to have it in one Bill and attempt a deletion in another. So, once we are able to reconcile, then perhaps, we have to do a Second Consideration in respect of the Northern Development Authority Bill.
So we can take our decision on this one and let that decision guide us in the Second Consideration of the other one.
Mr Speaker that is so. This is because when we started, we were even cleaning up what we did for the Northern Development Authority Bill, 2017. So, if this makes it better, we would be guided accordingly.
Very well. Clause 22, subclause (2) accordingly deleted. Clause 22 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Hon Members, item numbered 8 (ii) — Clause 28. Clause 28 — Public consultation and notice.
Mr Speaker, we would proceed. The Question has been put on clauses 24 to 26 already. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 28, subclause (1), line 1, delete “may” and insert “shall” and also after “consultations”, insert “in all relevant regional capitals”.
“The Authority shall hold public…”
Hon Chairman of the Committee, please, hold on. Delete “may” in which line?
Mr Speaker, in line 1, after “Authority” —
And insert “shall”. Mr Speaker, after consultations, insert —
In line 1 — Mr Speaker, after “consultations” insert “in all relevant regional capitals”.
“The Authority shall hold public consultations in all relevant regional capitals within the Middle Belt Development Zone relating to a major project that the Authority plans to implement and may take into account comments received from the consultations in making the final implementation decision.” Mr Speaker, I propose, “in all relevant regional capitals” because, if a project is to be taken within a particular region and that project is not going to affect those regions within the Middle Belt, then they do not need to do the public consultations probably in those regions, but in the relevant regional capitals.
Mr Speaker, I would want to add a further amendment to the amendment, which is include “the relevant communities”. Mr Speaker, if the project is being undertaken in Yeji in Pru East and the consultation is only done in Sunyani, which is farther away from Yeji than Kumasi, how would the local people have the opportunity to express their opinion on the project? Mr Speaker, whereas it is important for consultations to be done at regional levels, that should not be done at the expense of consultations at the local community level who would directly be impacted by the project. So I further move, that “relevant communities” be added to the amendment.
Mr Speaker, I support what Hon Dr Kwabena Donkor has proposed. It is very key. This is because most at times, the consultation is done outside and the relevant communities themselves do not even understand what goes on. When the projects start, one realises that there are difficulties in implementation. Mr Speaker, in fact, we have seen that because they were not consulted, ownership of those projects become a difficulty. I therefore strongly support what Hon Dr Kwabena Donkor proposed, to add “relevant communities”, so that the consultations would be done at the grassroots level. Mr Speaker, that would help to move this country forward.
Mr Speaker, I would associate myself with the amendment proposed by the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee, but we would rather do a further amendment that, the “communities” should rather replace the “regional capitals”, so that the new rendition would read: “The Authority shall hold public consultations in all relevant communities within the Middle Belt Development Zone relating to a major project that the Authority plans to implement and may take into account comments received from the consultations in making the final implementation decision.”
So, you would delete “regional capitals” and insert “communities”?
Mr Speaker, that is so — “relevant communities within the Middle Belt Development Zone…” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I believe in considering the Northern Development Authority Bill, 2017, there was a further amendment in respect of the word “may” in line 3. It was decided to delete the “may” in line 3 and substitute it with “shall”.
Mr Speaker, indeed, what the Hon Majority Leader has stated was what happened with the Northern Development Zone. But we were of the view, after a careful consideration, that when we do consultations, whatever we do should not be binding on us. Therefore, we thought that after the consultations, they may take into account the comments that they received instead of the phrase “shall take into account the comments”. If that is agreed by the House, then we may have to consider that at the Second Consideration Stage so that it would be consistent with what we have already done.
Mr Speaker, why the need for consultation? We want to factor into our decision whatever the local communities may tell us. It does not necessarily mean that whatever they tell us should be taken on board. But we are guided accordingly by that. So, we would take it into account but we are not necessarily bound by that decision.
Mr Speaker, so, I still stand by the amendment that, the first “shall” should be there and the second “may” should also translate into a “shall”.
Mr Speaker, I am persuaded. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 28, subclause (1), line 3, after end, delete “may” and insert “shall”.
“The Authority shall hold public consultations in relevant communi- ities within the Middle Belt Development Zone relating to a major project that the Authority plans to implement and shall take into account comments received from the consultations in making the final implementation decision.” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 28, subclause (2), line 2, delete “shall” and insert “shall, not less than seven days”.
“Before the Authority holds public consultations, the Authority shall not less than seven days publish in the Gazette and at least one daily newspaper of national circulation a notice containing the details of the project and the assessment by the Authority of the social and economic benefits of the project.” Rockson-Nelson E. K. Dafeamekpor: Mr Speaker, I associate myself with the amendment presently proposed by the Hon Chairman of the Committee, save to further propose an amendment in respect of the word “in”. Mr Speaker, I further propose that there should be the word “in” between “shall” and “not”. So that it shall read: “shall in not less than seven days” before the date of the public consultation. Thank you.
In that case, Hon Chairman of the Committee, the proposal would require that it should be “in not less than”; what he proposed here is “not later that”.
Mr Speaker, save to remind my Hon Colleague that this proposal was made earlier when we were considering the Northern Development Authority Bill. It was proposed by the drafters that, with the drafting style, we may not need the “in” and we abandoned that. Therefore, he may go by what I am proposing simpliciter.
Mr Speaker, I would want to raise a fundamental programme. If you take the rendition of clause 28 (2), I get the inclination that the Authority cannot do programmes. If we limit clause 28 (2) to just “projects” -- So, can we say “projects” or “programmes”. This is where I believe that we would need policy direction from the Hon Minister. Is the Authority authorised to do programmes? If so, then we should not restrict this to just “projects”. We can say “projects or programmes” so that it covers a broader ambit. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, the clause 28 (2) flows directly from clause 28 (1) where it talks about the introduction of major projects on which public consultations must be done. Mr Speaker, having said so, I have a problem with the construction in clause 28 (2). I believe we need a better construction; the draftspersons should be told to rearrange it as this is inaccurate: “Before the Authority holds public consultations, the Authority shall publish ...”
“The Authority shall, before holding public consultations ...” -- that should be the construction. What is here is untidy.
Go ahead if you are proposing a new construction so we take a decision on it.
Mr Speaker, I am not sure whether I can think clearly but it can be put this way: “The Authority shall, not less than seven days before holding public consultations publish…” I believe that is a better form.
The draftspersons will take note and do the appropriate corrections.
Mr Speaker, you did not put the Question on clause 28(2).
Sorry, I did not hear you.
Mr Speaker, I requested that, subject to your directive that the draftspersons should look at the construction, you should put the Question on clause 28(2). This is because, an amendment had been proposed already to insert the words, “not less than seven days”.
But Hon Member, I have directed that the draftspersons --
Mr Speaker, you had already directed that the draftspersons should look at the construction.
Very well. So, why do we put the Question when we have not seen the construction? I believe we would defer that, get the new draft and then take a decision on that. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, you earlier directed that, clause 28(2) be reorganised. This is just to indicate that, we have earlier passed this clause in the Northern Development Authority Bill. So, if that is being done, for purposes of consistency, they should take a look at that as well.
Very well. Take note and remind the House when we get to the Second Consideration Stage. Item numbered iv -- clause 30, Hon Chairman of the Committee? Clause 30 -- Guidelines
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 30, subclause (1), paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), delete -- [Interruption.]
Hon Members, before we go to clause 30, I believe there was no decision taken on clause 29. So, I will put the Question on it, then we return to clause 30. Clause 29 ordered to stand part of the Bill Clause 30 -- Guidelines
Hon Chairman of the Committee, we are waiting on you.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 30, subclause (1), paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), delete. To the extent that they expand on the guidelines, it was considered here at plenary when we were considering the Northern Development Authority Bill, 2017, that it was superfluous and we did not need them. So, the proposed amendment is to delete paragraphs (a), (b) and (c).
Mr Speaker, my understanding was that, for clause 30(1), we were to delete the entirety of subclause (2) but allow subclause (1) (a), (b) and (c) to stand. That was what was done previously. So, with respect to the Hon Chairman of the Committee, what we are doing now is totally wrong.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to know the rationale behind the scrapping of the whole clause. What would be the resultant effect if it is maintained?
Mr Speaker, I now noticed that, for clause 30 (1) (a), (b) and (c), the Hon O. B. Amoah proposed an amendment and when it was held, it stood and the entirety of subclause 2 came to be deleted. So, what the Hon Chairman of the Committee tried to do is not explanatory enough. In its place, after the deletion, the amendment that was moved by the Hon O. B. Amoah should then be inserted and then we delete the entirety of subclause (2).
Mr Speaker, may I refer you to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 12th October, 2017, paragraph 72 of page 26. This was what was recorded: “Clause 30 -- subclause (1), after line 3, delete.” This was proposed by Hon Osei Bonsu Amoah. After the debate, the Question was put and the amendment was agreed to. That is why I propose similarly that, after line 3 of clause 30, we delete everything including subclause (2). That was what we did to the Northern Development Authority Bill.
Are we satisfied now? I have seen the record and it appears that the proposed amendment is in line with what was agreed to on clause 30.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the amendment the Hon Chairman proposed for deletion was in respect of clause 30 (1) (a), (b), (c) which means that clause 30 (2) would survive.
Mr Speaker, I made a further amendment to the earlier amendment which I made earlier that, after line 3, the clause be deleted.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Members, just for clarity -- what we are deleting is subclauses (a), (b) and (c) which are after “necessary”. We would move to subclause (2).
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 30, subclause (2), delete. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 30 as variously amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 31 -- Regulations.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 31, subclause (1), delete and insert the following: (4) “The Minister shall on the advice of the Board and within one year after the coming into force of this Act by Legislative Instrument, make Regulations to prescribe generally for the effective implementation of this Act”.
Mr Speaker, I think a little arrangement of the proposal by Hon O. B. Amoah that the Hon Minister does so “ … within one year on the advice …” and not “… on the advice within one year …”. So, we should rather do some re- engineering of that construction. “The Minister shall within one year after the coming into force of this Act and on the advice of the Board by Legislative Instrument …”. Mr Speaker, just a little re-engineering.
The Minister shall --
Mr Speaker, “The Minister shall within one year after the coming into force of this Act and on the advice of the Board by a Legislative Instrument, …”.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader agrees with me that it is grammatically correct, I did not read English Language at the University. So, I would want to go by the first one. Mr Speaker, I would propose that the new clause 31 (1) should read: “The Minister shall on the advice of the Board and within one year after the coming into force of this Act by Legislative Instrument, make Regulations to prescribe generally for the effective implementation of this Act.”
The Hon Minister could make a Regulation by Constitutional Instrument.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Chief Whip has been in this House for God knows how many years. He is a Mugabe in this House. This phrase is a standard phrase for all the Acts that we have made that a Minister may by Legislative Instrument make Regulations. That is all that we say. So, I do not know why he is saying “to ensure”. Where does the “ensure” come in? Mr Speaker, I believe that we should stick to what has been put here for us to make progress. If he has a new rendition, then he should probably write to the Attorney-General and the drafting division of the Attorney-General's office for them to reconsider how such provisions are phrased. Mr Speaker, until then I believe that we should stick to this. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 31, subclause (2), delete. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 31 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 32 -- Interpretation
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, Interpretation of “annual allocation”, line 3, delete “Central Government” and insert “Parliament”.
“'annual allocation' means the amount of money allocated to each constituency in the Middle Belt Development Zone as approved by Parliament;” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, Interpretation of “Central Government”, delete. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, Interpretation of “donors”, line 2, delete “which have development as their core function” and insert “and any other development partners”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, Interpretation of “Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Project”, line 1, delete “Project” and insert “Programme”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, Interpretation of “Minister” delete “Minister assigned responsibility” and insert “the Minister responsible”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, Interpretation of “National Development Planning Commission”, delete Question put and amendment agreed to.
Did I see the Hon Second Deputy Speaker wanting to make a contribution on this?
Mr Speaker, he did not tell us why he wanted to delete it.
Hon Member, so, what were you doing?
Mr Speaker, I did not assign the reasons because I know the two Hon Members were here when we earlier agreed that it is an existing institution, therefore, we do not need to define it. We already know; it is created by law, and we do not need to put it here. That is why we are deleting it. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, Interpretation of “public resources”, delete. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, Interpretation of “risk finance instrument”, line 1, delete “means” and insert “includes”.
“risk finance instrument' includes an instrument in the nature of shares, bonds or derivatives;”
Mr Speaker, just a further minor amendment. The Hon Chairman read it well when he said “risk finance instrument includes an instrument …” not “risk finance instrument includes instruments …” as captured here. He read it correctly except that he did not proffer any amendment. It should be “… it includes an instrument …” not “it includes instruments…”
Hon Majority Leader, my document says “an instrument”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Minority Chief Whip?
Hon Member, can you stop the dialogue and address the Chair, please?
Mr Speaker, the programme will be borne out of the vision that we have. The vision or policy is the accelerated development that we want. What are the mechanisms to achieve this? Those are the programmes. [Interruption] -- They are not projects, please. If we decide to pursue an economic programme or a social programme, we would talk about some “projects”. So, projects ensue from programmes. We cannot define projects to include programmes; it cannot be done. Mr Speaker, I think that if we are saying that, even for programmes, we would have to consult in the communities, certainly, it would be a long haul. No development could take place. For projects, yes. If we decide to build a dam, we would want to see the physical impact of that dam on the communities. Even though it will be for the overall good, we would have to dialogue with them. That is the project, but not a programme or policy.
Yes, Hon Member for Pru East?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Chief Whip tried to cure a problem that we have to address. Mr Speaker, if we look at clause 28 on Consultation, for example, each of the development Authorities should not be discouraged from carrying out a programme. It could be a programme for gender equality, and then various projects would be -- Are we saying that when it comes to programmes. We would not make room for public consultation? Since public consultation is restricted to projects, once it is a programme, then the consultation may be at a higher level -- [Interruption] -- Once it is a programme, it emanates from the Authority, then the Regional Coordinating Councils and the District Assemblies for example, could be consulted.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, programmes still fall within the remit of the Authority. They are captured in the object of the Authority. Mr Speaker, in section 2, on Functions, what they are required to do are stated there. But general government programmes are captured in the manifesto of any Government and they find expression in the budget of the government. So, for the Hon Member to say that on every project they should go consult, it is not possible. For projects, we would want to access the impact on the communities, but not on programmes.
Mr Speaker, after this deliberation, I am tempted to believe that the Hon Minority Chief Whip may want to withdraw the proposal that he has made. Mr Speaker, the proposal that we made was for “project” to be changed to ‘programme'. That is the infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme, and that has been changed. I did not see what the Hon Member wants to -- Mr Speaker, I may have to refer my Hon Colleague to the memorandum; on paragraph 3, Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to read: “In line with Government's agenda to ensure inclusive and accelerated bottom-up socio-economic develop- ment in the country, Government aims to establish the Middle Belt Development Authority to spear- head this agenda. The Middle Belt Development Authority, in addition to enhancing the inclusive development of the Ashanti Region, the Brong Ahafo Region and the Eastern Region of the country, will be the primary agency for implementing the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme.” Then the programme would have projects to be carried under it. I think we are on the right course via the Authority. So, the Hon Member may consider withdrawing the -- I did not see why the Hon Minority Chief Whip would want to amend, or where he would want to do a Second Consideration with his method.
He wanted us to define “programmes” as different from “projects”.
Hon Chief Whip, look also at clause 3 (g).
Hon Member, I listened to you hoping that you would point at a specific reference to “project” or “programme” that would require definition. When you use “programme” or “project”, it is so generic that it is not defined. The only place where we talk about “project” and “public hearing” is where your request for definition comes in, that it should not be only when they implement a project that they may do a public hearing; but when they implement programmes, they may do a public hearing. That is at clause 28, but it flows directly from the previous clause that gives a meaning and intendment of clause 28 -- “Public consultation and notice”; Clause 28 (1) and (2). It is confined to when they do public projects. So, I do not think we need to provide definitions for “programmes” and “projects”. Indeed, no definitions have been provided for “projects”, which would generate any confusion as to a difference between “project” and “programme”. So, I believe what we have should be sufficient.
Mr Speaker, a minor amendment. Mr Speaker, I do not know whether they did that because I was not here yesterday; but with the definition of “international organisation”, I guess we would rather say, “it includes a non-profit or charitable organisation”. So, delete “and” and substitute with “or”.
Very well. Hon Members, the proposal is that, clause 32, definition of “international organisation”, line 1, delete “and” after “non-profit”, and insert “or”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, again, to the Hon Chairman, since I was not here yesterday: ‘“non-governmental organisation” means a civil society group or non- profit body formed to pursue purposes that are lawful that are non-profit but oriented towards public interest;” Mr Speaker, I guess we can do without “of persons”. “non-governmental organisation” means a civil society group or non- profit body formed to pursue purposes that are lawful.” If the Hon Chairman would agree with me.
There can be an NGO that is formed by a group other than persons -- “non-governmental organisations”, second line.
“'non-governmental organisation” means a civil society group or non- profit body formed to pursue purposes that are lawful and that are non-profit but oriented towards public interest”.
Mr Speaker, if I could crave your indulgence, “vulnerable group” --
Can we finish with the proposed amendment to “non-governmental organisation”? Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Chairman should consider the definition of “vulnerable group” “vulnerable group” includes persons with disability, women, children and persons who are disadvantaged.” What about the aged? If the Hon Chairman can consider including “the aged” generally.
If we say “otherwise disadvantaged”, that may cover “the aged”.
Not every aged person is disadvantaged.
Every disabled person is vulnerable.
Not every elderly person is disabled as well, but most of the times, aged people come with -- So, if the Hon Chairman can consider that.
Hon Members, the proposal is that, we should amend the definition of “vulnerable group” to include “aged persons”. So, it is proposed that: “vulnerable groups” include persons with disability, women, children, the aged and persons who are disadvantaged.” I think that “disadvantaged” there should be “persons otherwise disadvantaged” because we have already covered some persons. So, otherwise means that persons who are disadvantaged in ways other than those that have been listed. Hon Chairman, did you get it?
Mr Speaker, you are right. We considered all these and we thought that “persons that are disadvantaged” would take care of all those.
Well, a disabled person is disadvantaged; a child is ordinarily disadvantaged, and in our socio-cultural system, we think that women are disadvantaged; but because there are others you may not have thought of, that was why we used “otherwise disadvantaged”. Hon Majority Leader, what do you think? I said that if we inserted “otherwise” in front of “disadvantaged”, it would cover all other persons we may not have had in mind or may have overlooked.
Mr Speaker, “otherwise disadvantaged” or “and such other persons who are disadvantaged”. It is the same import.
I think “otherwise” makes it easier.
Of course, since it comes from the Chair, I agree. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I think that the sense of the House is to go with “otherwise disadvantaged”.
Very well. Hon Members, the proposal is that we insert “otherwise” between “are” and “disadvantaged” on the last line. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 32 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, delete clause 28 (2) and insert the following: “The Authority shall not less than seven days before the public consultations, publish in the Gazette and at least one daily newspaper of national circulation, a notice containing the details of the project and the assessment by the Authority of the social and economic benefits of the project.”
Hon Chairman, would the evaluation of a project lead to only showing of social benefits? Rather than “social benefits”, I would propose “social impact”, which would be benefits. Could you change that to “impact”?
The Hon Majority Leader has asked me to consider that, and I associate with that amendment.
Mr Speaker, the amendment proposed by the Hon Chairman if I understood it well is looking at the assessment by the Authority. Is it only the Authority that can conduct an assessment on projects, or could other agencies conduct an assessment on projects? For instance, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could conduct an assessment on a project. So, my suggestion is that we leave it as “assessment” and delete “by the Authority”. This would make room for any other agency that could conduct an assessment.
Mr Chairman, were you following the suggestion made?
Yes Mr Speaker, but I did not understand what the Hon Member suggested.
Mr Speaker, if I recall, your amendment proposed orally is also contained here in the third line of the old clause 28 (2) which says; with your permission: “…project and the assessment by the Authority” My view is that, it could be that an assessment would be conducted by an agency other than the Authority. We could take out “the Authority”, so that “the assessment” would stand and make room for any other agency to conduct an assessment.
If it is “by the Authority and or” --
We are talking about the responsibilities of the Authority. The Authority may use the service of any other agency, but here, it is the Authority that must publish it. So, I think that it should stay as it is. No other agency could go behind them to do an assessment/ and come and put it before the public hearing. So, whatever you do, it must go through the Authority and then the public would be informed of the impact. So I think that it should be as it is. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 28 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, now we would consider the Long Title.
Mr Speaker, I would like to propose a minor amendment to clause 32, if I may be allowed. I beg to move, on the interpretation of Non-Governmental Organisation, insert the word “making” after “non-profit”. The new rendition would read: “non-governmental organisation means a civil society group or non- profit making body of persons formed to pursue purposes that are lawful and that are non-profit but oriented towards public interest”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Shall I proceed to the Long Title now? Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Middle Belt Development Authority Bill, 2017. Hon Majority Leader, it is quarter to 4' o'clock, and we have brought work on one of the Bills to a close. We would be guided by your directions.
Mr Speaker, if we could start with the Coastal Development Authority Bill, 2017, except that the Hon Chairman of the Committee would urge for a suspension for about 30 minutes or perhaps, we could start in earnest and see where we would get to.
Hon Majority Leader, I would suggest that if we suspend for 30 minutes, we would have gone beyond the statutory Sitting hours and we would not be here for me to extend the Sitting time.
Mr Speaker, our Standing Orders provide for us to suspend to a designated time; so, we can do that.
Hon Majority Leader, you suggested 30 minutes.
Mr Speaker, but I am pleading that we could continue. Let us begin in earnest, the clause by clause consideration of the Coastal Development Authority Bill 2017. Wherever we get to and we would need to adjourn, we could take the adjournment.
Very well. I would start, but I would cede the seat to the Hon Second Deputy Speaker as we proceed. Hon Members, item numbered 9, Coastal Development Authority Bill, 2017 at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
[Resumption of debates from 11/10/ 17]
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee, clause 1? Clause 1 -- Establishment of the Authority.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, subclause (2), line 1, delete “its functions” and insert “the functions of the Authority”
“The Authority may, for the performance of the functions of the Authority acquire and hold movable and immovable property, dispose of property and enter into any contract or any other transaction relating to the object of the Authority”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, subclause (3), line 1, before “hindrance” insert “a”.
“Where there is a hindrance to the acquisition of property, the property may be acquired for the Authority under the State Lands Act, 1962 (Act 125) and the cost shall be borne by the Authority”.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity. On clause 1 (3), we realised that property would include those movable and those immovable. Therefore, if we say that where there is hindrance the State may come in to acquire the property under the State Lands Act of 1962 (Act 125), it would mean that if the property is immovable, it would be difficult for the State to acquire it under the State Lands Act. Mr Speaker, with your leave, I would want to propose an amendment to add; “the State Properties Contract Act C.A 6” so that the new rendition would read: “Where there is a hindrance--”
Hon Member, let us first do this proposed amendment, and then you can do further amendment.
Yes, Mr Speaker. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Ahiafor, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, as I indicated, I would want to propose a further amendment so that we could introduce the words “acquisition under States Property and Contract Act C. A 6”. We did the same thing for the Northern Development Authority Bill, 2017.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, if Hon Ahiafor would recollect, we have drawn the attention of the House to the fact that we stood it down and checked. The State Land's Act section 9 had amended sections 4 to 18 of the Act that he has proposed, and therefore, it would not be applicable. Mr Speaker, the Act that Hon Ahiafor referred to, has been repealed, so, we do not need to consider it.
Very well. Hon Members, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker, would take the Chair.
[MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR.]
Yes, Hon Majority Leader? [Pause] -- Hon Majority Leader, I am told that you just finished clause 1, and it is left with putting the Question.
Mr Speaker, that is so.
Mr Speaker, I had an issue with clause 1 (3), having been given an explanation that the appropriate sections have been amended by the State Lands Act. Mr Speaker, the issue therefore is that, we have used the word “property”, and property can be movable or immovable. Could immovable property be acquired by the State under the State Lands Act of 1962 (Act 125), or are we using “property” to restrict it to immovable property, since the State Lands Act deals with landed property?
Well, I believe we earlier deliberated over this issue and took a decision. Are we going to review our earlier position? Hon Majority Leader, you have listened to the submission of the Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, yes. The Hon Colleague tried to make the distinction between the acquisition of movable property and immovable property, which explains why he introduced the State Property and Contracts Act, 1960 (CA 6). Mr Speaker, upon further probing, it came to the fore that the relevant section has been repealed, so, it is of no effect. But he still makes a point about how to acquire immovable property. Is there any legislation that relates to that? If there is none, how do we capture the process of acquisition of immovable property? I believe that is the issue he has raised. We can further interrogate it.
Mr Speaker, I am just wondering if the clause 1 (3) restricts the acquisition to only the immovable property. If that is the case, then we can propose an amendment to limit that to only the immovable property -- “where there is a hindrance to the acquisition of an immovable property, the property may be acquired for the State under the State Lands Act.” That is what I think but we can interrogate it. If the State Lands Act relates to only the immovable property or landed property, then acquisition here should be limited to only that. It should not go beyond that to movable property. Mr Ahiafor — rose --
Hon Member, do you want to clarify your situation?
Mr Speaker, the suggestion being made by the Hon Deputy Minority Leader to clause 1 (2) would mean that if we restrict it to immovable property, then the Authority would be denied the opportunity to have movables. So, we cannot do anything about clause 1(2). We could limit the acquisition by the State to immovable property, so that we can leave the clause 1(2) as it is.
Mr Speaker, the Long Title of the State Lands Act states, and I beg to quote: “An Act to provide for the acquisition of land in the national interest and for related matters.”
If per clause 1, we do not anticipate the acquisition of immovable property, so be it. We would have to be silent on that. It means that we have not legislated on that. If it is immovable property, then the law anticipates that this is the procedure to be used, and that is to go under (Act 125). If it is not something that can come under (Act 125), then we are not legislating on that, and we do not need to import that and add it to clause 1. I believe in that case we would be going beyond the principles set out for us to consider.
Hon Member, the clause definitely deals with immovable property. It has nothing to do with movable property. And I believe that movable property is adequately covered by clause 1(2); and clause 1(3) talks about hindrances to the acquisition of immovable property. I do not anticipate any hindrance to the acquisition of movable property which would entitle the Government to go beyond the State Lands Act. I recall when we dealt with the Northern Development Authority Bill, 2017, we encountered this issue and I sent for the Act; but the section that dealt with the acquisition of movable property in that Act had been amended. So, it was not applicable again, and that is why we decided to leave it as it was and to rather talk about movable properties under clause 1(2), where the Authority could enter into any contract. It is there under clause 1(2), so it is covered.
Mr Speaker, then I would simply propose that we introduce “immovable” into clause 1(3) so that the new rendition would be: “Where there is a hindrance to the acquisition of immovable property, the property may be acquired for the Authority under the States Lands Act, 1962 (Act 125) and the cost shall be borne by the Authority.”
Hon Chairman, what do you say to that?
Mr Speaker, indeed, I am not aware that the Government could acquire a movable property compulsorily under any circumstance. I am aware of landed property that could be acquired under Act 125. But if it is movable property, one either purchases it or goes by any other contract, and not compulsory acquisition. That is why we do not have to go beyond what is proposed in the Act. Mr Speaker, this is because we could imagine if it were a car that the Government wanted, what would we do? We would buy it. We cannot say that Government is going to acquire it because Government has the power to do that.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, flowing from clause 1 (2), where clearly the clause spoke about “movable and immovable property”, that distinction has been stated. So, when we come to clause 1(3) which talks about “immovable property”, is there anything wrong with clarifying the situation and just stating “immovable property”? This is because that is the issue the Hon Member has just raised.
Mr Speaker, when it comes to “immovable property”, Act 125 grants any Government Agency the right to acquire property. The Agency gives notice, acquires it and pays compensation among others. One can own immovable property and dispose immovable property under the normal way that every other person can do it. It is not under any other Act because it is a Government acquisition. One cannot do that. I am not, at least, aware of any such law.
As a lawyer, the Hon Chairman of the Committee is right. Hon Members, but it is not all those who are going to read the Bill, Law or Act who will know that it deals with only “immovable property”. That is the only issue; if not the State Lands Act, 1962 deals with only immovable property. Hon Ahiafor, are you satisfied with the explanation?
Very well, Mr Speaker. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 1 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 2 -- Objects of the Authority
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2, paragraph (c), sub- paragraph (ii), delete and insert the following: (ii) private sector investments achieve maximum development impacts to reduce poverty and deprivation in every part of the zone. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 3 -- Functions of the Authority
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 3, opening phrase, line 1, delete “short-term and long-term plans” and insert “object of the Authority”.
“For the realisation of the objects of the Authority, the Authority shall a) design a comprehensive strategy;” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 3, paragraph (b), line 1, delete “and institutions”.
“establish structures for the effective implementation of the comprehensive development strategy;” Dr Francis B. Dakura — rose --
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I am really concerned about this very important Bill and the lack of quorum in the House. I feel that we could be challenged if we consider the amendment when we have less than one-third of Members in the House. Article 102 of the Constitution and Standing Order 48 actually talk about one- third of our Members being present to form a quorum. Order 48 (1) reads: “The presence of at least one-third of all the Members of Parliament besides the person presiding shall be necessary to constitute a quorum of the House.”
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who read Order 48(1) to us should have read Order 48 (2) -- we require at least ten minutes after his own observation. Mr Speaker, but I notice that fatigue is setting in, and I believe the Hon Member who just walked in did so already fatigued. [Laughter.] So, Mr Speaker, I guess we can give ourselves some 10 minutes, and if in his own estimation, especially when he has not given us the numbers --
Hon Members, my position on this Order is different. I was in the House of Commons where they have over 600 Members of Parliament. They were debating a very critical foreign policy. Members of Parliament who were present were only 11, but no issue of quorum was raised. So, my experience has influenced my understanding of this Standing Order. My understanding of Order 48(2), particularly is that, if it is at the time of Sitting and not during the course of Sitting. If at the time of Sitting and not any other time -- It is very clear. It says:
It should be at the time of Sitting and not at any other time. Do not insert the word, “any”. [Uproar.] Please, Hon Members, Order 48 (2) reads: “If at the time of Sitting…” Yes, Hon Kpodo?
Mr Speaker, I believe that I am reading something different from what you also have there. My console tells me, “If at any time of Sitting…”
Where is that?
What has been displayed
Please, Hon Members, this is a copy of the Standing Orders -- [Uproar.] You are reading the edition of the Information Technology (IT) persons -- [Laughter] -- Clearly, this is the authority; the Standing Orders. It is here. So, the IT persons might have erred by amending our Standing Orders without authority. The Standing Orders are clear here and you have copies of it. It says, “If at the time of Sitting…” and not, “If at any time of Sitting…” So, even if what you are saying is true, you still have to go to the end of that Standing Order 48 (2) where it states: “…after an interval of ten minutes a quorum is not present, the person presiding shall adjourn the House without Question put until the next sitting day.” Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, in all these, I get the impression that those of them who are advocating strongly about the quorate number -- Indeed, if we have to even further litigate, if we have the quorate number of one-third, to take a decision we would require half. So, I even thought the Hon Member was going to raise the issue of how decisions should be taken in the House. I would want to remind Hon Members, Mr Speaker, as you said that whenever we have come to transacting Business on Bills, we have relaxed the rules by our own convention such that on occasions when we have less than even 20 Hon Members, we move on, unless some Hon Members want to reinvent the wheel. Mr Speaker, I know people are fatigued; so on that note, I would plead that we take an adjournment and come to continue tomorrow. Next time, Hon Members should peruse the Standing Orders better than they purport to know.
Well, the sense of the House is that we should take a rest, and I believe that the Hon Majority Leader is sensitive to the feelings of Hon Members. So, I will proceed to adjourn the House.