VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. Pages 1, 2 … 8 --
Mr Speaker, my name is Acheampong Richard, Hon Member for Bia East. Mr Speaker, yesterday, I was physically present but my name has been listed -- [Laughter] -- among those who were absent.
Mr Speaker, my name is Daniel Okyem Aboagye, Hon Member for Bantama. I was here yesterday but my name has been added to the list of absentees.
Page 9 --
Mr Speaker, my name is on page 8, number 13. I was present but my name is among the absentees. I am the Hon Member for Binduri. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 2nd February, 2017 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Thursday, 26th January, 2017. Any correction?
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, column 391, last paragraph, the paragraph reads: “Mr Speaker, for instance, the Minister-designate for Justice and the Attorney-General, Hon Gloria Akuffo informed the Committee that after so much work on the Constitution Review Committee, an implementation committee had been put in place…” Mr Speaker, the word is not “Committee”. It is “Commission”.
Thank you. Is there any other, just in case? The Official Report of Thursday, 26th January, 2017 as corrected is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Business Statement for the Fourth Week. Hon Majority Leader?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 2nd February, 2017 and arranged Business of the House for the Fourth Week ending Friday, 10th February, 2017.
Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communica- tions to the House whenever they are available. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by Mr Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members, in accordance with Order 72. Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and Committee Reports may also be presented to the House. The Business Committee takes this opportunity to urge the Appointments Committee to expedite work on the consideration of nominees of H. E. the President and subsequently submit Reports on same to the House for consideration. This is to enable the President constitute his Government as early as possible, especially against the backdrop of dependency of both the Message and State of the Nation and the Budget. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Conclusion Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the Week Formal Communication by the Speaker. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Motions Committee sittings. Formal Communication by the Speaker. Statements Presentation of Papers Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Committee sittings. Formal Communication by the Speaker. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's
nominations for Ministerial appointments. Motions Committee sittings. Formal Communication by the Speaker Statements Presentation of Papers-- Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Committee sittings.
Thank you, Hon Majority Leader. Any comment and issue on the Business Statement as presented? Hon Members, the Business Statement as presented is hereby adopted. Hon Members, item numbered 5 on the Order Paper. There is a Statement which stands in the name of the Hon George Nenyi Kojo Andah, Member for Awutu-Senya West.
None Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we may appeal to you, subject to the discussions that we had at the pre-Sitting meeting, to vary the order of Business to take the Motion listed as item numbered 6 on the Order Paper. Mr Speaker, we had some backroom consultation with the Leadership of the Appointments Committee and it is envisaged that the Fourth Report of the Appointments Committee could be taken today. However, because we are going to deal with the Third Report, there might be interregnum and if there should be an interregnum, then we use a Statement to occupy that period. On account of that, I would want to plead that we vary the Business of the day and allow for the item listed as number 6 on the Order Paper to be taken. That is the Motion in respect of the Third Report of the Appointments Committee to be taken now.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I believe that at the pre-Sitting meeting, subject to your guidance, the under- standing was that the primary business for today, after considering the Business Statement, would be to consider what Government itself must consider urgent; the approval of the President's nominations for Ministerial appoint- ments. So, I share the position that pursuant to Standing Order 53, you vary the order of business so that we can take the Motion on the Third Report of the Appointments Committee. Our Colleague, Hon Andah can hold himself in abeyance momentarily, as the House considers this. At Mr Speaker's pleasure, you may invite him to do that. Mr Speaker, if we could focus on the Third Report of the Appointments Committee, mindful that, today is Friday and Hon Members would have to get back to their constituencies and also mindful of those who would be travelling, and those who may want to be part of social activities which are normally tabled for the weekend. Thank you.
Hon Members, the order of business is varied accordingly to promote efficacy of business for the day. Item numbered 6 -- Hon First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Third Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. Mr Speaker, before I talk to the Report, may I seek your leave to make some amendments to the Report which is already before you. Mr Speaker, I would start from page 3, paragraph 2, line 4. Line 4 starts with December, 1978. After 1978, I propose that we delete all the words and punctuations there up to “attended”, and in its place substitute “but left after one semester and entered”. Mr Speaker, the sentence would now read “he also attended the George Washington University in Washington DC from August, 1978 to December, 1978 but left after one semester and entered the American University, Washington DC, from January 1979 to December 1980”. Mr Speaker, after 1980, the “and” there should also be deleted, and in its place we substitute “where he”. Where he obtained a Masters Degree in Applied Economics. Mr Speaker, again, on page 11, the last paragraph, the heading, “Proposed hostels for Kayayei”, it came out as “hotels”, so please, substitute “hotels” for “hostels”. Mr Speaker, again, on page 25, 8.0, Minister-designate for Agriculture is wrong. The Minister-designate, we are reporting on, is the Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations. So, “Agriculture” should be substituted for “Employment and Labour Relations”. Mr Speaker, the next page is 26, paragraph 4, the last sentence, substitute “Constitution” for “Constituency”. Introduction On 11th January, 2017, H.E. the President communicated to Parliament the nomination of twelve persons, including the six underlisted persons for Ministerial appointments in accordance with article 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and same were referred to the Appointments Committee by Mr Speaker for consideration and report. The six nominations are:
i. Hon (Dr) Anthony Akoto Osei -- Minister-designate for Monitoring and Evaluation. ii. Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba -- Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection. iii. Hon Dan Kwaku Botwe -- Minister-designate for Regional Reorganisation and Development. iv. Mr John Peter Amewu -- Minister-designate for Lands and Natural Resources. v. Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah -- Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations. vi. Hon Samuel Atta Akyea -- Minister-designate for Works and Housing. Reference documents In the course of its deliberations, the Committee made reference to the following: i. The 1992 Constitution ii. The Standing Orders of the Parliament; and iii. The Curricula Vitae of the nominees. Consideration of the referral Pursuant to Order 172 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Committee caused to be published in the newspapers, the names of the nominees and notice of the Committee's public hearing for the attention of the general public. The Committee also requested Memoranda from the general public in respect of the nominees. Subsequent to this and as part of its due diligence procedures, the Committee obtained confidential reports in respect of the nominees from the Ghana Police Service and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI). The Committee also obtained Tax Status Reports on the nominees from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). The Committee thereafter held public hearings and considered the nominations. Prior to the commencement of proceedings, the nominees subscribed to the Oath of a Witness and proceeded to answer questions relating to their Curricula Vitae, matters relating to their eligibility, issues pertaining to the offices to which they have been nominated and other issues of national concern. The Committee has duly considered the six nominations and reports as follows: Hon (Dr) Anthony Akoto Osei -- Minister-designate for Monitoring and Evaluation Background Hon (Dr) Anthony Akoto Osei was born on 18th April, 1953 in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region. He had his primary education at the Saint Joseph's Primary School, Kumasi (1958-1963) and the Saint Joseph's Middle School, Kumasi (1963-1965). He progressed to the Achimota Secondary School, Accra for his Ordinary Level and Advanced Level education from 1965 and 1972. He attended Oberlin College, Ohio, where he was awarded Bachelor of Arts in Economics from August, 1974 and May 1978. He also attended the George Washington University, Washington DC from August, 1978 to December, 1978 but left after one semester and entered the American University, Washington DC from January, 1979 to December, 1980, where he obtained Masters in Applied Economics. Between August, 1981 and May, 1987, Hon Akoto Osei further attended the Howard University, Washington DC and was awarded Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D, Economics). Hon Akoto Osei was appointed the Research Assistant at the Health Policy Division of the Urban Institute, Washington DC from November, 1978 and August, 1980 and later as the Graduate Assistant at the Department of Economics, Howard University, Washington DC (August, 1981-May, 1982). He was again appointed Special Research Affiliate at the Office of Economic Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington DC (September, 1983-December, 1984) and as Instructor at the Department of Maths and Natural Sciences, Morgan State University, Maryland (August-December, 1984), as Research Assistant at the Department of Economics of the Howard University, Washington DC (August, 1982 - May, 1985). The nominee is the Member of Parliament for Old Tafo Constituency in the Ashanti Region and has occupied that seat since 2005. Responses to Questions Alternative Financing for Higher Education On his view on alternative financing for higher education in Ghana as he had espoused in a presentation he made at the Akosombo Forum on Funding Higher Education, Dr Akoto Osei stated that he holds strong views on education from his background as a teacher. He disclosed that his party has taken a decision to expand Ghana's basic education to include Senior High School (SHS) and that the Government would ensure that every Ghanaian completes, at least, senior high school (SHS). According to him, we ought to look at different ways of funding tertiary education as pertains globally. He cited the example of USA where University Presidents (equivalent of a Vice Chancellor in Ghana) are appointed based on their capacity to bring in resources to their universities. He also stated that most universities across the world look for an endowment which is made up of substantial amount of money received from corporations to run their activities. He, however, noted that Ghana's case is different because everybody believes that education must be fully funded by Government but emphasised that this is not possible. To buttress his point, the nominee revealed that though he completed his undergraduate education so many years ago, he continues to contribute to his undergraduate university as an alumnus and suggested that we do same and take up our alumni contributions more seriously, because Government cannot do it all by itself.
Role as Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation When asked about what role he would play when appointed as a Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, the nominee stated that the President promised Ghanaians that he was going to deliver results and that promise required that we change the way we do things. He explained that the role of the Minister would be to help the Government to deliver public service in an effective, efficient and timely manner. He explained that this would be achieved by getting sector Ministers to set their own Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which, when approved by Cabinet would be monitored. He said that when this is done, it would then be the duty of the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation to ensure that the sector Ministers perform to achieve the targets as approved by Cabinet. He hinted that, if he is given the nod, he would set up a technical team to assist him in executing that task. Regarding the framework that would govern the setting up of KPIs, the nominee stated that the NPP's 2016 Manifesto would inform the setting up of the Indicators because, the Manifesto has incorporated all local and international commitments of the country. Concerns over possible conflict of roles The nominee stated that he did not envisage any conflict between the role of the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation with that of the Chief of Staff and the Senior Minister. He explained that whilst his role would be to ensure that the machinery of Government functions in an effective, efficient and timely manner, the Chief of Staff would be in charge of activities at the Presidency and that of the Senior Minister would be to co- ordinate the activities of the economic Ministries. To that extent, he said that he would “police” his colleague Ministers to ensure that they perform to meet the targets as approved by Cabinet. The nominee disclosed that, he would be made a Cabinet Minister if given the nod to facilitate the performance of his functions. He said that the President conveyed that information to him on Wednesday, 25th January, 2017. Expected relationship with M&E Departments in MDAs According to him, it would not be the job of the Ministry responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation to direct sector Ministers on the units they should use in the Ministries to carry out monitoring and evaluation activities. He also said that it would not be his role to supervise those units. On the contrary, he stated that, he would be looking for information from sector Ministers as political heads and not civil servants. He however stated that, he would assist Sector Ministers to organise to develop their KPIs but stressed that that would be their primary responsibility. He further promised that he would co- ordinate with NDPC, M&E Departments in the Ministries and that they will complement each other. Experience of the nominee at the Ministry of Finance On how he would apply the enormous knowledge and experience he has acquired as Member of Parliament and former Minister at the Ministry of Finance, the nominee stated that his experience puts him in a good stead to deliver at his new position. He explained that his experience at the Ministry of Finance exposed him to the workings of all the other sector Ministries and that would significantly assist him in his new role. He also stated that he would bring his knowledge of financial matters to bear on the work of the President's Economic Management Team (EMT). Position on zero per cent financing from the Bank of Ghana On his position on the International Monetary Fund programme that stipulates zero per cent financing from the Bank of Ghana, the nominee stated emphatically that as a legislator, he would always want to go by the laws of Ghana and the law currently stipulates 5 per cent. He continued that it is a problem when someone chooses to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that specifies zero per cent financing from the Bank of Ghana. Establishment of the proposed Fiscal Responsibility Council The nominee accepted the suggestion that the Public Finance Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) could be amended to incorporate the establishment of the proposed Fiscal Responsibility Council instead of passing a new legislation. He was of the view that the Act provides a good foundation but the main issue missing in that Act is the provision for the establishment of the Council which needed to be filled. He said that the Council as envisaged under the NPP's Manifesto would be an independent body to oversee the activities of the Minister for Finance and to raise red flags whenever he goes wrong. He disclosed that the Ministry of Finance has already started work on a legislation to address that. Ensuring Value for Money (VFM) in public procurements The nominee assured the Committee that he would ensure the conduct of value for money audits in all public procurements but stressed that he would not do that directly because the Sector Ministers would have that primary responsibility. Housing financing for public servants The nominee stated that his personal view on how to address the funding challenges that public workers face in accessing funding to build their own houses lies in providing a long term mortgage which he believed would help most public servants to access the needed funding. He said we should find long-term financing like pension funds which have tenures between 10 years and 15 years. He was of the view that if public servants are given more years to repay housing loans, it will be very helpful. Enhancing Fiscal Consolidation The nominee indicated that, as a Member of the President's Economic Management Team, he was aware that the Minister for Finance had been charged to undertake fiscal consolidation. He stated that the issue of fiscal consolidation does not only relate to expenditure but rather both revenue and expenditure. He believed that revenue mobilisation has reached an optimal level and that position has been confirmed by the Finance Minister. He believed that options are available to the country but insisted that we needed to know the information before the appropriate decision can be taken. He noted that leakages were huge on the revenue side but despite the establishment of the GRA, the Authority
was yet to be fully integrated to deal with such challenges. He suggested that we tighten administration at the Customs Division of the Authority as one of the measures to address the challenge. Recommendation The Committee recommends that the House approves the nomination of Hon. (Dr) Anthony Akoto Osei by consensus for appointment as the Minister responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation. Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba -- Minister- designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection Background Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba was born on 21st January, 1962 in Bole in the Northern Region. She hails from Somanya in the Eastern Region. She began her primary education at the Sakasaka Primary School, Tamale and later Bagabaga Demonstration Primary School, Tamale. She progressed to the Tamale Secondary School, Tamale from 1973 to 1978. The nominee attended the Queens Secretarial School, UK from 1980 to 1981 and obtained Diploma in Secretaryship. She further attended the Institute of Marketing /Freight Forwarding, UK from 1981 to 1983 and later Grimsby College, UK from 1994 to 1996 and obtained Diploma in Information Systems Manage- ment. While in the UK, Ms Afisah Djaba worked in several capacities, including Secretary and Tele Sales Clerk from 1981 to 1983. On her return to Ghana, she joined the Bank for Housing and Construction, Tamale (1985-1992) before setting up her own business called the Young Uns Enterprise in Tamale from 1986 to 1992. She was also the Writer, Producer and Director for the Miidan Productions TV Programme dubbed “Kokrokoo What's Up? Let's Talk!/Movers and Shapers”. The nominee served as the National Facilitator for the “Campaign for Greater Discipline” under the Office of the then Vice President (2004 to 2005). She also worked for the Miidan Educational Trust/ Plan Ghana as the Executive Director and Consultant from 2003 to 2010. The nominee contested the 2008 Elections as the Parliamentary Candidate for NPP in the Bole/Bamboi Constituency. She is currently the National Women's Organiser for the New Patriotic Party and has held this position since 2010. As the National Women's Organiser, she implemented a number of initiatives to promote the cause of the vulnerable and excluded in society including the Kayayei project, Widows Club, Disabled Club and Influential Women and Market Women's Clubs. Responses to questions National Service Status On whether she has done National Service, the nominee responded that she did not do National Service because she was not in Ghana at that time. Interventions for Kayayei/Vulnerable in society On how she would empower Ghanaian women, the nominee stated she would pursue the Social Protection Policy being implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to enhance the wellbeing of deprived children and the vulnerable in society. She indicated that she had been instrumental in the development of initiatives to help women in the North and that would offer her opportunity to bring such initiatives to the national level. She said her interventions would not cover only the Kayayei but all deprived persons in our society both young and old. She further noted the ongoing projects by the previous administration to compile a data base of people engaged in the trade to ensure that they were included in the initiative for the alleviation of poverty. She also suggested that she would facilitate the training of such persons to ensure that they take part in national development. Measures to address Child Labour/ Child Trafficking Regarding how she would deal with Child Labour in the country, the nominee stated that the menace had to do with poverty and assured the Committee that all children affected by the practice would be captured under the database to be provided with the needed assistance. She lamented that, children in certain areas are used as labour and some of those children are bread winners for their families but were susceptible to accidents and alluded to some instances where the fingers of some children had been chopped off and some drowned in the process of working for their masters. On the way forward, she hinted that she would put in place regulations and pursue advocacy programmes to impress on parents to send their children to school. She further promised to deal with existing cases of child labour and get affected children to go school. Implementation of the LEAP The nominee noted that the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) involves cash transfers to the poor and the vulnerable in society. She alluded to the current proxy measures and the use of questionnaire to identify beneficiaries as part of the measures to improve the management of the Programme. She also noted that the LEAP had so far captured 3,018 people who are paid every two weeks through the use of the E-zwich platform. She described the LEAP as the flagship programme of the Ministry in terms of meeting the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. She also alluded to the strides made by the country towards achieving the target of halving poverty which she disclosed Ghana now ranks 18 out of 66 countries. She explained that she would work to reduce poverty levels of the vulnerable in society and give them training so that, they can be weaned off the programme to allow more people to be enrolled. Response to her comments on the “Sex for Job” Statements She said that, she would be the last person to denigrate women as she had suffered such treatment herself and that she has been misconstrued. She explained that, at the time that Hon Kennedy Ohene Agyapong made the “Sex for Job” statement about the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, she felt there was the need to investigate the matter to clear her name of such allegation. According to her, she only called for investigation by BNI, the National Security and other security agencies to investigate the matter. She also indicated that her comments on the matter were made in the public and could be found on the
access to brail, white cane for the blind and intimated that it was not their fault that they are blind. She again indicated that there was an opportunity to work with the relevant MDAs and particularly ensure that the 3 per cent of DACF meant for people with disability be ring-fenced and used to support them.She further disclosed that she has had discussions with the Chairman of the Disability Commission to help get disabled persons to sit on all public boards to make their voices heard. Policy for orphanages She noted that though there are 66 orphanages in the country, only 23 are currently functioning and indicated that the remaining ones are suffering and some have closed down. She revealed that, whilst the Osu Orphanage has been operating well those in the Ashanti and the Northern Regions have not been working well. She therefore promised to get them renovated and assist them to employ the requisite staff to take care of the children. Regarding the challenges being encountered in the implementation of the National Social Protection Policy, the nominee noted that Ghana has signed a number of protocols to ensure sustainable development and must work to achieve their objectives. She said that one of the key challenges had to do with funding, and appealed for adequate budgetary allocation to the Ministry to undertake some of these activities.She also promised to seek assistance from development partners to finance the policies towards facilitating capacity building of operators of Orphanages and to beef up their staffing. On reforms, she said she would work on existing facilities, including the shelter at Madina and to put in place regulations to guide those who take care of children in these homes. Contract quota for women Commenting on the promise by the Government to offer 30 per cent public contracts to companies owned by Ghanaian women, the nominee described the promise as a good step towards alleviating poverty in Ghana as women are mostly afflicted by poverty. She believed that the contract quota would go a long way to help improve the wellbeing of women and accordingly, promised to advocate strongly for women in line with Government's vision to make women an engine of growth. Addressing rural-urban migration She noted that young girls who are the future mothers mostly migrate from the north to the south to seek better opportunities and that their wellbeing and protection must be taken seriously. She promised to help them in that respect. She believed that the implementation of one district/one factory, one village/one dam and the US$1million per constituency promises by the NPP Administration would help to get some of them go back home. She said they would be given the opportunity to indicate whether to go back home or to stay and was confident that they would be supported under their short, medium to long term plans. Export of women to the Arab Gulf The nominee indicated that she was not aware that Ghana had been downgraded, but that she had rather been informed that the country had been graded under Tier 2. She disclosed that a report on the conditions given to Ghana was delivered to the American Embassy on 13 th January, 2017, and that she supervised to ensure that it was done. She indicated that she also met with the Ambassador on that matter and that contrary to the alleged downgrading, he confirmed that Ghana had met the conditions. She, however, emphasised that the conditions were not met before the 2016 deadline but was met in January, 2017. She further promised to set up an inter- ministerial task force to discuss the way forward. She urged those who travel to Kuwait to work to report at the Ghana Embassy there so that they could be traced and helped when the need arises. Using her membership on ECOSOC to promote women issues On how she would use her membership on the Economic and Social Commission of the UN if appointed as the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, the nominee stated that she would offer better representation for women and champion their course. She indicated that, she would organise talent identification to discover women with potentials and provide them with the needed support. She also said she would institute mentorship programmes using women with demonstrable capacity in certain areas and also use men as ambassadors to advocate women issues. On funding for women to participate effectively in politics, she indicated that she would provide funding to support their campaigns and put in place measures to eliminate the abuses they suffer in electioneering processes. She again said she would identify groups and organisations and galvanise support for women and sensitise men to accept women in politics, which she indicated remains a problem. Nominee's policy direction for the Ministry Commenting on her policy for the Ministry and whether she would continue the existing 5-year Policy introduced by the previous administration, the nominee acknowledged that governance is a continuum and that she would look at the existing strategic plan and incorporate some of the ideas from the NPP's 2016 Manifesto to cover areas which are not captured by the existing policy when it becomes necessary. Bridging the Gender Inequality Gap The nominee indicated that she sees herself as a grassroot woman and for that matter, she appreciated the developmental challenges of grassroots, women. She intimated that if we do not bridge the gender gap, the sons and daughters of grassroot women will continue to be left behind. She, therefore, promised to elevate their capabilities and enhance their sense of pride to achieve better life. She further indicated that she would ensure that the 50 per cent of MASLOC loans commitment of the NPP gets to rural women and expressed optimism that the Government will empower women. On whether the gender gap arises from social or legal constraints, the nominee responded that both factors account for the current state of affairs. She noted that the Ghanaian society is dominated by men and that our culture and traditions have not favoured women. She recounted that the male child at sixteen years is given the opportunity to participate in decision making at the family level but his female counterparts are left behind. She accordingly called for equal opportunities for both men and women and hoped that we will soon get to the point where both sexes would be treated equally.
Preservation of rights of children On how she would ensure that the rights of children were respected, she was of the view that sensitisation was the key to change the mindset of the people and to also discard the notion that children are the possessions of their parents. She alluded to ongoing processes to review the Children's Act, 1993 (Act 560) to offer enhanced protection of children's rights. She said that she would organise focus groups and sensitise them about the rights of children so as to help them develop their full potential. Recommendation The Committee recommends that the House approves the nomination of Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba by a majority decision for appointment as the Minister responsible for Gender, Children and Social Protection. Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe -- Minister- designate for Regional Reorganisation and Development Background Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe was born on 26th February, 1958 at Mabang in the Ahafo-Ano North District in the Ashanti Region. He hails from Abiriw/Anum-Boso in the Eastern Region. He had his primary and middle School education at Maaban Presbyterian Basic School between 1962 and 1971. The nominee attended Kumasi Academy for his GCE Ordinary Level and proceeded to Achimota School between 1977 and 1979 for his Advance Level Certificate. Between 1979 and 1980, he was enrolled at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and obtained a Certificate in Data Processing. He then continued his education at the same institution and was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science in 1984. Hon Botwe rendered his national service at the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of KNUST between 1984 and 1985 and at the Ghana COCOBOD between 1985 and 1986. He commenced his professional career as a Computer Programmer at the Ghana COCOBOD in 1986 and later joined PALB Pharma- ceuticals, Danmaud Limited as a Director of the Company between 1993 and 1995. He later became the Director of Operations and Research at the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from 1996 to 1998 and the General Secretary of the NPP from 1998 to 2005. He was appointed as the Minister for Information in the erstwhile Kufuor Administration from 2005 to 2006. He was the Managing Director of DM Farms Limited from 2006 to 2008. The nominee is the current Member of Parliament for Okere Constituency and has occupied the seat since 2009. While in Parliament, he was the Minority Chief Whip (2012 - 2016) and a member of the Public Accounts Committee. He was the National Coordinating Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) from 1983 to 1984 and later the National Secretary of the Union from 1982 to 1983. Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe is a recipient of the Companion of the Order of the Volta Award of the Republic of Ghana. Responses to questions Reasons for going into exile In response to a question on whether he has ever been in exile and what necessitated his going into exile, the nominee confirmed he went into exile in 1983 after the 31st December Revolution. The nominee explained that after the 31st December Revolution led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, he was part of a student movement that organised series of demonstrations across the country calling for the return of the country to constitutional rule. He said the demonstrations gained grounds and were supported by many labour unions. Unfortunately, there was an attempt to overthrow the military regime in the midst of the demonstrations. The military regime suspected the leaders and organisers of the demonstrations, including himself to be involved in the coup plot. In order to secure their safety, many of the leaders including himself, went into exile. Creation of new administrative regions Responding to a question on whether the Government would keep its campaign promise to create a new region in the northern part of the Western Region, the nominee responded in the affirmative. He explained that the proposal is not only a campaign promise but it is part of the NPP's 2016 Manifesto. He disclosed that the NPP Administration would create four (4) new administrative regions. He also confirmed that the NDC proposed to create five (5) new regions. According to him, H. E. the President has identified the need to reorganise the regions in the country for effective administration, poverty reduction and accelerated development. To this end, H.E. the President intends to realign existing regions to create four additional administrative regions with focus on the Northern, Western, Brong Ahafo and the Volta Regions. The nominee assured the Committee that the procedures outlined in article 5 of the 1992 Constitution would commence soon alongside extensive consultations to ensure the new regions are created as soon as possible. Rationale for the proposed division of the Volta Region On the rationale for the proposed division of the Volta Region, the nominee stated that the Government intends to create a new region, The Oti Region out of the Volta Region and explained that the proposed realignment is to ensure ease of administration and accelerated development. He explained that the Volta Region, though relatively small, is the only Region that cuts across the three ecological zones of the country. The region stretches from the coastal region in Keta, to the Savana zone, sharing boundary with the Northern Region. This makes coordination of development programmes very difficult for the Regional Coordinating Council located in the southern zone. Also, there are several instances of poverty scattered across the Volta Region. The realignment therefore, seeks to improve government administration and accelerate poverty reduction. Cost of creating new regions On the cost of creating the new regions, the nominee acknowledged that the creation of the new regions would come with the replication of government functions and structures in the new regions which would lead to an increase in administrative cost and expenditure on infrastructure. But he explained further that, though the initial expenditure would be high, the country would ultimately derive the desired benefits in the long- term.
Views on relationship between regional demarcation and poverty reduction In a response to a question on the relationship between the creation of new regions and poverty reduction, the nominee indicated that the creation of a new region by itself would not necessarily reduce poverty. The nominee explained, however, that such efforts must be complemented with affirmative action policies to channel more resources to support the development agenda of the new regions. He admitted that the creation of the Upper West Region did not necessarily result in poverty reduction in the region. He explained that with the exception of Wa Municipality, there is pervasive and widespread poverty across the Upper West Region since its creation thirty years ago. The nominee advocated special interventions to assist the new regions to come out of poverty. He further explained that the regional coordinating units have planning and coordinating roles in the implementation of district level programmes. The creation of new regions would therefore ensure proper monitoring and supervision at the district level and poverty reduction. Further, the creation of the new regions will lead to the establishment of regional bodies such as regional hospitals, regional fire stations, police commands, among others which will create opportunities and lead to development across the new territory. Citizen agitations on the siting of regional capitals The nominee shared the view that the siting of regional capitals during the reorganisation exercise could pose a challenge given past experiences in the creation of new districts across the country. He promised to hold adequate consultations with all stakeholders including the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs and youth groups to ensure that decisions on the siting of the regional capitals are well informed and acceptable to all interest groups. He also hinted of relying on the past experiences of the Ghana Statistical Service, the Ghana Surveys Authority, experts and other relevant institutions engaged in similar exercises to guide the process. Procedure and period for Regional Reorganisation Exercise Relating to the procedures and period for undertaking the regional reorga- nisation exercise, the nominee assured the Committee of adhering religiously to the procedures outlined in the Chapter 2 of the 1992 Constitution. Alluding to the relevant provisions in the Constitution, the nominee indicated that H.E. the President is empowered to create new regions upon the advice of the Council of State and not only upon the receipt of a petition. He also informed the Committee of H.E. the President's intention to hold a referendum on the creation of the regions at the time that the Electoral Commission would be conducting the 2018 District Level Elections. He was optimistic that, with the goodwill and thorough consultations, he would meet the deadline as set by H.E. the President. Concerns about political gerry- mandering On concerns that re-demarcation of regional and district boundaries would be carried out to the advantage of the ruling NPP Government, the nominee pledged to ensure that the national interest would supersede other interests during the exercise and entreated Ghanaians to view the regional reorganisation exercise as a national exercise. He indicated that people with such concerns should have a consolation in the recent experiences where the creation of new constituencies by the two major political parties in the country never inured to their benefits. Recommendation The Committee recommends that the House approves by consensus the nomination of Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe for appointment as Minister responsible for Regional Reorganisation and Development. Hon Samuel Atta Akyea -- Minister- designate for Works And Housing Background Hon Samuel Atta Akyea was born on 20th August, 1962, at Kyebi in the Eastern Region. He had his primary education at the Methodist Primary School, Kyebi, between 1968 and 1974 and middle school education at the Presbyterian Boarding School, Salem, Akropong Akwapim between 1974 and 1976. The nominee attended Adisadel College, Cape Coast, for his GCE Ordinary Level Certificate from 1976 to 1981 as well as his GCE Advanced Level Certificate between 1981 and 1983. He later enrolled at the University of Ghana between 1986 and 1989 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law and Philosophy. He proceeded to the Ghana School of Law in 1991 for his Solicitor and Barrister at Law Certificate and was called to the Ghana Bar in 1993. Hon Atta Akyea performed his national service obligation as English Literature tutor at the Abuakwa State College, Kyebi, in 1983 and later at the Attorney-General's Department between 1993 and 1994. He commenced his career as a private legal practitioner in the Chambers of Akufo- Addo, Prempeh and Co., Accra from 1994 until he exited in 2002 to found his own legal firm, Zoe, Akyea and Co. in 2003. The nominee is the current Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South Constituency and has occupied the seat since 2009. He served on a number of parliamentary committees including Finance, Appointments and Foreign Affairs. The nominee participated in a number of conferences and capacity building programmes which dwelt on the role of Parliament in public financial management, parliamentary practice and procedures, extractive industry governance and operations of the International Criminal Court. He is a member of the Ghana Bar Association. Responses to questions Measures to address the housing deficit On how he would address the huge housing deficit, the nominee noted that the housing deficit of the country, which stood at 1.7 million housing units was a shared concern. He admitted that, indeed, difficulties in land acquisition and high cost of building materials are the bane of the housing sector, but added that the inability of investors to make good returns on their investment in the real estate sector has been a major disincentive to private sector investors even though most of them have the capital to invest.
He advocated for improvement in income levels of Ghanaians so that they could purchase houses at prices that would enable investors to make good returns on their investment. As part of his strategy to deal with the housing deficit, the nominee intimated he would encourage multiple streams of mortgage financing schemes to provide long-term financing to the buyers. Establishment of National Housing Fund On his views on the need to establish a national housing Fund as proposed under the National Housing Policy of the country which was launched in 2015, the nominee said he endorsed the establishment of fund and added that such a fund could be leveraged to provide long-term financing for both investors in the sector and home buyers. He bemoaned the lack of a dedicated bank in the country to support the housing needs of the people. He assured the Committee of implementing the policy on the establishment of a Fund, if approved by the House and also hinted of the possibility of leveraging the seed money of the National Housing Fund to establish a Bank for the Housing sector which he believed would inject professionalism into the administration of the Fund. Completion of the Affordable Housing Projects The nominee lauded the previous Government's efforts at completing some of the affordable housing projects commenced under the erstwhile Kufuor Administration. He averred that discontinuing projects when ruling Government transited often leads to cost overruns which becomes a burden on the State. In this respect, he intimated that if approved by the House, he would make a case before Cabinet for the completion of the remaining affordable housing projects before initiating any new housing projects. He cited current fiscal constraint as a challenge to the completion of the remaining projects but assured the Committee of using the private sector as a vehicle to achieve his objectives for the sector. Addressing the perennial flooding in Accra On how he would address the perennial flooding in Accra which often results in loss of lives and property, the nominee blamed the lax in the regulation regime of the construction sector and bad sanitation practices in the country as the cause of the situation. He stated that his briefing on the situation revealed that major engineering works on storm drainages in the city had been completed and if approved by the House, he would pursue critical storm drainage projects not only in Accra but other parts of the country, to alleviate the plight of residents living in the catchment areas. He further called on Ghanaians to improve upon their sanitation practices. While commending the previous Government for undertaking drainage projects such as the Accra Sewer and Storm Drainage Project, he assured the Committee of revisiting the Conti Project initiated by the previous Government. On whether he would consider other integrated components of the Conti Project including building of recreational facilities and restaurants, the nominee responded in the negative and emphasised that he would pay more attention to the flood control component of the Project, given the fiscal challenges facing the Government. Addressing sea erosion along the coastal belt of the country The nominee admitted that sea erosion along the coastal belt of the country remains a major threat to communities along the coast. He said the situation was depriving the communities of their livelihoods and that there was an urgent need to tackle it. He assured the Committee of ensuring that the needed resources for the completion of ongoing sea defence projects to bring relief to the communities. Revamping the operations of the Public Works Department The nominee acknowledged that the state of the Public Works Department was not the best, a situation which is affecting the realisation of objectives for establishing the Department. He revealed that the Department had been underfunded over the years and indicated that the most recent budget allocations made to the Department was in 2013. He said the Department has the potential to grow to become an avenue for job creation and training grounds for the teeming youth. He advocated for retention of portions of internally generated funds of the Department to support its activities. He further assured the Committee of putting in place measures to attract private sector participation in the activities of the Department. Challenges confronting the implemen- tation of the Conti Project On strategies he would adopt to kick start the implementation of the Conti Project meant for the construction of a massive drainage system for national capital, Accra, the nominee indicated that he was aware of the previous Go- vernment's difficulty in securing a credit facility from the US Exim Bank and Standard Chartered Bank to finance the Project due to the rising debt portfolio of the country. He was optimistic that the proposed renegotiation of Agreement between the State and the International Monetary Fund as indicated by the Government would create the necessary fiscal space to enable his Ministry to pursue the credit facility. He pledged to pursue the credit facility to implement the project and also uphold the tenets of value for money in the execution of the Project if given the nod. National Asset Protection Project The nominee noted that the National Asset Protection Project outlined in the 2016 Manifesto of the NPP would be executed by the Ministry of Works and Housing. He explained that the Project would document all landed assets of the State which would be securitised as a special purpose vehicle and values placed on them for sourcing of funds to undertake developmental projects. Review of the Rent Act Answering a question on whether the Rent Act which had been under review for several years now would be treated as one of the emergency Bills that would be brought to Parliament, the nominee assured the Committee that it is about time we look at the Rent Law again because of the debate about rent advance payment. He said that it will be for the peoples' representatives to decide whether we should give some space in terms of rent advance.
inventory of all lands which have been acquired by the State across the country. He informed the Committee that, while the Government of Ghana has acquired large tracks of land in various parts of the country, compensation for some of these lands has not been paid. According to him, an inventory of all State lands would enable the Government ascertain the lands for which compensation had been paid and those outstanding, compensation pay- ments. The nominee further indicated he intends to raise funds from the private sector through land for infrastructure schemes, to settle all compensation issues to enable the Government take ownership of such lands fully. Regarding measures to streamline the land administration process, the nominee indicated that he intends to work towards reducing the period for land title registration to thirty (30) days, if approved. Land Administration Project (LAP) On how the nominee would implement a third Phase of LAP, he indicated that the second Phase of the Land Administration Project (LAP) which was funded by the World Bank with an amount of about US$55 million would end in 2017. He stated LAP is supposed to run for about 25-30 years. He informed the Committee that he would look for both internal and external sources of funding to support the third phase of the project. He indicated that although a lot had been achieved in digitisation of the Land Title Registry as part of shortening the registration process, there are many issues lingering which he believes would be tackled in the third phase. He stated that the third phase would tackle the challenges faced by the Land Commission and its agencies such as lack of requisite staff and remuneration. Sale of State lands Whether he would ensure transparency in the sale of Government lands, the nominee informed the Committee that the sale of Government lands over the years has generated a lot of public controversy because the processes and procedures had not been transparent. He stated that to ensure transparency and build public confidence in the process, he would consider public auction of such lands when the need arose. As an alternative, the nominee maintained that he would develop an innovative scheme to trade such lands for infrastructural projects, such as rental residential accommodation, offices and stores to be able to mobilise resources to deal with the outstanding compensation issues regarding the lands acquired by the Government. Granting of mining licenses The granting of mining licenses for prospecting and exploration purposes are a very important issue that has generated a lot of public debate. The nominee stated that he would ensure that the procedure for the granting of these mining licenses/ leases would be carried out in a transparent manner. He assured the Committee that he would introduce competition through auction of mining licenses to ensure value for money as well as protect the national interest. Forest cover of Ghana and reclamation efforts Asked about the total forest cover of Ghana and what the nominee would do to reclaim depleted forest reserves, he informed the Committee that the total forest cover of Ghana is about 228,000 hectors of which about 11,000 hectors consist of water. The nominee stated that about fifty per cent of the remaining 227,000 hectors have been depleted. The nominee assured the Committee that he would collaborate with the chiefs and Stakeholders to plant trees to reclaim depleted forest reserve when he is approved. Further, the nominee indicated that he intends to review the policy of converting foreign reserves for mining purposes as part of the measures he hoped to undertake to reclaim the depleted forest cover. According to the nominee, allowing foreign reserves which serves as a protection for endangered species and wildlife to be used for mining purposes, defeats the reclamation efforts that have been carried out. The nominee stated that he would advise Government to review the current regime where two per cent of foreign reserves can be leased on a concession basis for mining purposes and that he would abolish the entire scheme when he is given the nod. Measures to address illegal small scale mining The nominee noted that the small-scale mining sector employs about one million Ghanaians, and contributes about a quarter to the country's total gold output. This notwithstanding, he noted that, illegal small-scale mining operations continue to pose serious challenges to the country and must be addressed. In that regard, he said he would address the issue through policy, law, technology and strengthen enforcement measures. He also commended the previous Administration for reviewing the Minerals and Mining Act to provide stiffer punishment to deal with the issue and promised to ensure that the law is applied irrespective of party affiliation of offenders. He further stated that he would collaborate with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and other relevant agencies to deal with the matter. On support for small-scale mining operators, the nominee stated that, he would embark on an exercise to regularize all illegal mining operations in the country. He explained that, such a measure would help to properly regulate their activities and protect the environment. He hinted that the Government should support persons engaged in small-scale mining through training and technology. Nominee's apology to former President H.E. John Jerry Rawlings When his attention was drawn to a statement he earlier made alleging that former President John Jerry Rawlings supported the NPP during the 2016 General Elections, the nominee rendered an unqualified apology to the former President. Ramseyer site at Sakumono As to what the nominee would do to protect the Sakumono Ramseyer Site which is currently under stress from private developers, he indicated that, he would work with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and the Tema Development Corporation to ensure that the site is protected. Stability agreements On what the nominee would do to secure the interest of Ghana in the Stability Agreements signed between the Government of Ghana and mining companies, the nominee stated he was
aware of work that had been done by Prof. Akilagkpa Sawyerr in this matter. The nominee explained that stability agreements are meant to secure the interest of mining companies and their investments in unstable countries. The nominee maintained that since Ghana is one of the most stable countries in Africa, these Stability Agreements should no longer be allowed. Regarding existing Agreements, investments and contracts, the nominee stated that he intends to discuss the terms with all the stakeholders and if practicable he would renegotiate them. Recommendation The Committee recommends that the House approves by consensus the nomination of Mr. John Peter Amewu for appointment as the Minister responsible for Lands and Forestry. Conclusion and general recommendation The Committee has duly considered the nominations of His Excellency the President for Ministerial appointments in line with the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House and finds that all the nominees meet the qualification criteria as set out in Articles 78 (1) and 94 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. At the Public Hearing to consider their nominations, all the nominees demonstrated that they have the intellectual capacities, skill experiences and the requisite training to occupy the offices to which they had been nominated. This notwithstanding, the Minority Members of the Committee have indicated that they would not support the nomination of Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba, Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection. Hence, the Committee's recommendation that her nomination be approved by a majority decision. Consequently, the Committee recommends to the House to approve the nomination of Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba, Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection by a majority decision. In respect of the five other nominees, the Committee recommends to the House to approve their nominations by consensus. They are: i. Hon (Dr) Anthony Akoto Osei -- Minister-designate for Monitoring and Evaluation ii. Hon Dan Kwaku Botwe -- Minister-designate for Regional Reorganisation and Development iii. Hon Samuel Atta Akyea -- Minister-designate for Works and Housing iv. Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah -- Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations v. Mr John Peter Amewu -- Minister-designate for Lands and Natural Resources.
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion for the approval of the Third Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appointments. In doing so, Mr Speaker, permit me to proceed with some comments on the nominees. Mr Speaker, as I have indicated earlier, in the appointment letter which is usually referred to you by the President, the President uses “for the approval of Parliament”. I have done some examination from former President Kufuor through former President J . E. A. Mills to former President Mahama and it has always been “for Parliament's consideration”. If you proceed with “for the approval of Parliament”, that is definitive. Pursuant to article 78 (1), prior approval has been defined as a term of art by the Constitution. So, my first advice would be that, let the President be guided by precedent that when he makes referral to this House, he refers it for the consideration of the House. When he uses “for the approval of Parliament”, Parliament may in its wisdom, approve or disapprove of the person. Mr Speaker, let me refer to the Hon Dr Anthony Akoto Osei. Mr Speaker, he is one of our Hon Colleagues. He has distinguished himself as a Member of Parliament on this floor. When it comes to debate on matters of economic policy, one cannot doubt his depth and richness in appreciating how we can work towards fiscal consolidation and improve the overall performance of the economy. He has a very rich intellectual background. My first encounter with him was in my very early days as a student leader when I met him at the 1997 Akosombo Forum on Tertiary Education. He delivered a Paper on Higher Education for the Public Good. Interestingly, he has not departed from that. He still remained a socialist, working for a capitalist political party -- [Laughter.] He has not departed from that principle. Mr Speaker, what was intriguing was his position on zero per cent financing from the Bank of Ghana which is part of our target for fiscal consolidation under the three-year external credit with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I am sure he would bring his expertise to bear on the issues, so that when the Ghanaian team negotiates with the IMF, they would appreciate that the IMF would deal with us as a country and that whether we like it or not, this Administration will take ownership of the targets that were agreed to by the previous Government in terms of what to do to achieve fiscal consolidation, and not by the mere fact that they would go back to ask for fiscal space. Mr Speaker, we still believe that the portfolio and office of Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation is above his standing and status. What would he monitor and evaluate when we know that every Ministry has a policy Monitoring and Evaluation department? It would also engender conflict with the Hon Minister who would be supervising economic Ministries. We believe that the President would not make the best use of his competence and his standing. Nonetheless, since that is the role the President has defined for him, we can wish him well. Therefore, he has our support by unanimity to be the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation.
Mr Speaker, in respect of the Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe, I always describe him as “unlucky Dan” and I am sure when I say “unlucky Dan”, the Minister- designate for Youth and Sports would understand. In our days when we worked variously for the political parties -- When Dan Botwe was General-Secretary of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), he was the Youth Organiser of the NPP who worked very closely with him. But Mr Speaker, to many teachers, they say their reward is in heaven. I believe, for politicians like Dan Botwe, his reward is in Government. And if his reward is to play the role of reorganisation of regions, that is very interesting and exciting for our purpose. Mr Speaker, what was significant was that, by his understanding of his role from the President as a Minister responsible for reorganisation, he would lead the President's way for deeper decentralisa- tion, centring on the creation of new districts. He assured us that President Akufo- Addo intends to create four new administrative regions subject to the amendment on theTerritories of Ghana under article 4 of the Constitution of Ghana. We expect that whether petitions have been received or not, he would take action to initiate the process for an amendment to the Constitution under article 4, which should be subject to a national referendum, the decision which will guide whether or not we can create new or additional districts or not. He indicated that we should expect that the 2018 district assembly elections will see this happen. The Ghanaian people will monitor his progress and wish him well. Mr Speaker, he indicated the relation- ship between the creation of these regions and poverty. We believe that this administrative decentralisation when done and done well -- [Interruption.] but we advise that he should be interested in better economic opportunities in those areas. Mr Speaker, one of the far-reaching decisions that President Rawlings took as President of Ghana was PNDC Law 208, which deepened the decentralisation regime of this country and many were those who were critical of him when he created the Upper West Region. Therefore, in principle, it sits with the NDC Manifesto of five, four. Former President Mahama anticipated the creation of five administrative regions. Now, President Nana Akufo-Addo is looking at four, but I am sure the petitions and public interests in this matter would guide that particular process. Again, Mr Speaker, we believe that Hon Dan Botwe, undoubtedly, is a fine gentleman. He is not a type of politician who can hurt a fly. Therefore, by consensus, we support him. We believe that he would bring more to bear. Mr Speaker, our difficulty is that, after creating the regions, what would he do with that Ministry for Reorganisation? After creating the regions, we would be at a loss what that Ministry would be doing. Just to create four regions, you create a whole Ministerial portfolio for that purpose and say you are seeking to protect the public purse. Yet you are going to incur public expenditure by creating that portfolio. Mr Speaker, there are sensitive ethnic and social issues that may hinder the progress and vision of President Akufo- Addo in terms of the demarcation. You may not be able to put this paramountcy or this ethnic group because of traditional sentiments that are attached to it. However, Mr Speaker, since it is in harmony with our beliefs on this side, he has our utmost support.We look forward to him following due process in realising that particular dream. Mr Speaker, the next nominee is for my purpose of this commentary, Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations. I just left that very exciting Ministry. Mr Speaker, again, a very humble young man and gentleman. He speaks less. Mr Speaker, my assurance to him is that, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations -- I was teasing him with the wife, that he would be sleeping on the bed of thorns. Therefore, many of the industrial disputes, inevitable, and many of the industrial conflict strike actions, demonstrations would emanate from the performance of the economy. Therefore, many of the issues that would confront him would not be his creations. It would be the inability of the Economy to absorb them. But I trust that, if for nothing at all, he would leave the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations with a disciplined temperament. That is my experience. By the time he leaves the Ministry, he would be a better person with a disciplined temperament. Mr Speaker, he can rely on the Trades Union Congress (TUC) as an ally while seeking the good of the country, but they would insist on him respecting the rights of workers. I reminded him of President Mahama's pledge and promise to the TUC at their last Congress in Kumasi, to support them to renovate the TUC building and give them other supports. Mr Speaker, a matter he must pay attention to, is unresolved and unfinished business which can trigger some conflict which may probably deny him peace and rest. First, the Second Tier pension regime where custodians bonds' are expecting immediate disbursement of the about GH¢3 billion sitting at the Temporary Pension Fund Account with the Bank of Ghana and to let it work. Mr Speaker, in the last five years since the passage of the National Pensions Act, we have had to defer many of these issues because of the conflict that existed between government and the twelve workers unions. I reminded him that I have attached a concluded understanding with the twelve workers unions in my handing over notes. Mr Speaker, permit me again to comment on what would be his nemesis and a national crisis. In my handing over notes, I hinted quietly that the growing unemployment in this country remains a national security crisis which requires urgent attention and the collaboration of the Government to address it.
Among all the social ills we have in our society -- we have young university graduates and polytechnic graduates. And Mr Speaker, when you have an Administration which promises to end suffering, we can only look forward to him ending the suffering of unemployed graduates, be they nurses or teachers. I also drew his attention to some concluded matters including that of the Ghana Medical Association, concluded conditions of service of other workers, matters pertaining to Judiciary and the Judiciary Service pertaining to their conditions of service and then dealing head-on with those issues in order to keep the industrial atmosphere peaceful. Mr Speaker, he has our strong support. May I also remind him that there were some efforts to re-tool the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI). I visited our Hon Colleague, Irene's Constituency, the Yamfo in the Brong Ahafo Region and if he wants to succeed in dealing with skills mismatch, in order to address the employability problem of many Ghanaian young people, it would be to take opportunity of that facility to re-tool it. But Mr Speaker, certainly, he has our unanimous support to become the present Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. Mr Speaker, that leads me to Mr John Peter Amewu, Minister-designate for Lands and Natural Resources who our Committee is also recommending for approval. Mr Speaker, in his case, we reminded him of the Stability Agreement and the promise of this Administration again to reduce withholding tax for mining companies. Will that sit in tandem with our pro-Stability Agreement? That raises Mr Speaker, the nominee assured us of his commitment to deal with illegal small- scale mining, popularly called galamsey and to ensure that Ghanaians within the small-scale industry were protected to be able to do their job. He was reported to have made some comments which were untrue about former President Jerry John Rawlings. He was humble enough to accept it and render an apology. He assured us that he would work to improve efficient forest resource management of our country and allow for more openness and transparency in the granting of mining licences. But in particular, this is of public interest; the wanton sale of public lands must stop. And we expect that he would bring more transparency. I also reminded him again of some request by the Judiciary to have dedicated lands. We have had instances where Superior Court Judges as high as High Court Judges, could not even boast of a right of abode in terms of accommodation. We expect that, he working with Hon Minister for Works and Housing, our Superior Court Judges would be decently accommodated, and that there would be fairness in doing that. With that, Mr Speaker, we recommend him by consensus for the approval of the House. Mr Speaker, my final comment would be in respect of the nominee who is being recommended for a Majority decision. The Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba. She indicated to us her commitment to promote women and children's rights. Mr Speaker, our search has established and she has confirmed that she did not do national service, pursuant to the existing legislation on that matter, which is a mandatory legal requirement. Mr Speaker, we have heard that the public questions the Appointments Committee, that we take so long with our questions sometimes. Mr Speaker, the longer it takes, the better we know the temperament of the nominee. We are not just looking at their understanding of policy or subject matter. We are interested in the temperament too. Mr Speaker, her mother is one of the most respected educationists of northern Ghana. She is an inspiration and mentor to many. In fact, we do keep-fit at the stadium and sometimes, she joins us. That is not the issue. Her attitude,
Hon Member, do you stand on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, I was referring to Act 426, section 7 in particular. He may want to read the National Redemption Council Decree (NRCD) of 1974 in addition, which was further amended by the Act that I have referred to. Whatever it is, it is a national obligation. In her answer, she was forthright and candid with the Committee and said she had not done national service. Therefore, can she work within the public service of Ghana and for that matter, hold a high office of a Minister of State? Mr Speaker, our difficulty on this side approving the nominee, has to do with her temperament and attitude.
Hon Minority Leader, for the sake of clarity and records, could you read the relevant --
Act 426, section 7.
“(1) A person who has not commenced and completed his period of national service shall not— (a) obtain employment outside the Scheme; or (b) be employed by any other person outside the Scheme; or (c) be engaged in any employment outside the Scheme, whether self-employed or otherwise…”.
Hon Member, are you satisfied?
Mr Speaker, interestingly, intentions are not on the forehead of a man. Therefore, I wonder how he would know what my intention is. It is not on my forehead. I said that the nominee, in her own words, stated that “I have not done national service”. Having done that, does that qualify her for public office or for employment within the public sector? We are convinced it does not.
Our Hon Colleague knows that -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I stand on a point of elucidation. [Interruption.] I would like the Hon Minority Leader to just explain to me; if one does not attend any type of school in this country, is that person bound to do national service? [Interruptions.]
In conclusion --
Hon Member, there cannot be two points of order. Two Hon Members cannot rise on two points of order.
Mr Speaker, my point of order is directed --
Hon Member, please, take your seat. Hon Haruna Iddrisu?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the protection from these intimidating forces -- [Laughter] -- who are determined to jettison the law and provisions on the national service.
Now that the Hon Member on his feet has made further statements, there can be further points of order. Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I just want to reassure the Hon Minority Leader that, he does not need to feel intimidated at all. The Hon Minority Leader alluded to the fact that the nominee, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, agreed that she had not done her national service, therefore, he and his people are of the view that she cannot hold public office; specifically, to be a Minister of State. If you look at article 78, which gives the qualification of who the President can appoint as a Minister of State, it refers to those qualifications as being equal to that of a Member of Parliament which is contained in article 94. Mr Speaker, the Constitution is the supreme law of this land and any other law, be it an Act of Parliament, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I.), or Legislative Instrument (L.I.), is inferior to the Constitution. Mr Speaker, all of us here should say which of us submitted the status of their national service execution to the Electoral Commission (EC), before we went for the election? [Interruption.] None of us did. What moral right do we have to sit in this Chamber and ask a nominee whose only qualification requirement is the same as that which qualified us to be in this Chamber, to tell us whether she has done her national service? Mr Speaker, it is not a question that should have arisen at the Committee, let alone be brought into the Chamber to mislead this House.
Mr Speaker, I am sure if I were to live in the Hon Member's constitutional world, then this Parliament should not pass any law again. We should just be dancing with the Constitutions that this is the law of Ghana, therefore, it should be operational.
Hon Minority Leader, the House would still continue to pass laws; both governmental and private. The Hon Member on the other side merely drew our attention to the trite knowledge that, everything must be in tandem with the Constitution before it can derive validity. That was the only matter -- [Hear! Hear!]
Mr Speaker, you know, I respect you and your office. But this Hon Member's understanding -- [Interruption] -- the Hon Opare-Ansah who is the Member of Parliament for Suhum -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I withdraw what I said.
Yes, Hon Dery?
Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Minority Leader who I respect would withdraw the word “this”.
Mr Speaker, I am a strong adherent of constitutional principles and its spirit. My Hon Colleague invoked article 11 on the hierarchy of the laws just as Acts are. Mr Speaker, it is also a known Constitutional limitation, that is why in many chapters of the Constitution, it begins with the words “subject to this Constitution and the laws of Ghana”. [Interruption.] I do not intend to engage in a debate. Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would want to remind the Hon Minister for Health that, section 4 (3) of Act 426 on the National Service Scheme, Act 1980 reads, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Where a person studies or continues his education outside Ghana he shall be liable to do his national service on his return to Ghana after such studies or education.” Mr Speaker, we are convinced but those who would want to know the law, there is a remedy, but not until they explore that remedy, they cannot come here. They should go and get the National Service Board to be able to do what is right as a remedy. But whatever it is, we strongly object to her approval as the Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection. This is because, her temperament and attitude cannot assure us that Ghanaian women, children and the aged would be managed and managed better with better policies. She needs that motherliness and we do not see that in her temperament. Mr Speaker, with these comments, we, by consensus support the approval of Hon Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Hon Samuel Atta Akyea, Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah and Mr John Peter Amewu. But in respect of the Hon Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, they may as well walk her through a majority decision. We are unable to build consensus on this matter. Mr Speaker, with these comments, I beg to second the Motion. Question proposed
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion. Mr Speaker, this is a House of records and for that reason, I would wish to put on record that the law as quoted by the Hon Member is not the complete chapter as quoted. Mr Speaker, section 8 of the same Act has its exception. Under the exceptions, somebody of 40 years of age and above is not obliged to participate in the National Service Scheme -- [Interruption] -- Also, a person who otherwise qualifies under the same section 8 of the National Service Scheme with the leave of the Board can abstain from participating in the National Service Scheme.
Hon Members, whenever an Hon Member reads from an Act or any other authoritative material, he or she should make that very clear and separate it from the comments. It is very important.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member said categorically that, under the National Service Scheme Act, Act 426, a person above the age of 40 years is not obliged to do national service.
Order! Hon Members, it is just proper for the Hon Member to respond for the sake of the records, because this is a House of records. Hon Member, please, make the appropriate reference.
Mr Speaker, I would refer to section 8 of the National Service Scheme Act, Act 1980, and with your kind permission, I beg to quote: “The Board may exempt any person to whom the Scheme applies from compliance with the provisions of this Act, or postpone the date on which any person shall be first engaged under the Scheme.” [Interruption] --
Mr Speaker, there is a supporting Legislative Instrument (L.I.) —
Hon Member, do you want an answer?
Mr Speaker, there is a supporting legislative instrument that explains the conditions under which one
Order! Hon Member, I believe we have had enough of that for now.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Motion that this Honourable House adopts the Third Report of the Appointments Committee. Mr Speaker, once again, I applaud the efforts of H.E. the President to nominate women to be part of his government. I am glad that the National Women's Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba has been nominated as the Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection. Mr Speaker, she has been instrumental in a lot of initiatives in helping women in the North. So, I am confident that she would be able to put in place interventions for “Kayayei” and the vulnerable in the society. I would therefore, urge Hon Members to strongly support her nomination — [Hear! Hear!]. Mr Speaker, I am also excited on the nomination of Hon Daniel Botwe as Minister-designate for Regional Reorganisation and Development. This is a nominee who knows the geographical terrain of Ghana very well. He showed the Committee that he has an in-depth knowledge of the geography of Ghana and the expectations of the people. His nomination is very much welcome. This is because, he indicated that the promise to create administrative regions would be done as it is captured on page 18 of the Manifesto of the NPP.
Mr Speaker, I urge Hon Members to support him and the work he would eventually carry out. Mr Speaker, one more nominee I would like to urge the House to support, is Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah. He is affable, humble and hardworking. He has been Deputy Regional Minister, Regional Minister, Member of Parliament and Deputy Chief Whip. His various experiences and calm demeanour, makes him most suitable for the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations. Mr Speaker, I am excited that he has promised to get the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on maternity protection ratified by Parliament by the end of this quarter.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Third Report of the Appointments Committee. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I would like to narrow my contribution on Mr John Peter Amewu; Minister-designate for Lands and Natural Resources. Mr Speaker, during the vetting of this Hon nominee, I had the opportunity to watch it from the beginning to the end. In my view, he proved beyond reasonable doubt that, he has an in-depth knowledge in natural resource management, therefore, qualifies to be approved by this House. Mr Speaker, I was also not surprised that the Appointments Committee agreed by consensus on his approval. However, I would want to add some few words to his submissions. Mr Speaker, in his submission, he made it clear that, he would follow the procedure for the granting of mining leases; that, it would be in a transparent manner. Mr Speaker, we had been in this House whereby, article 268 of the (1992) Constitution had been contravened. Most mining leases which were entered into in 2003 to 2008 came to this House for ratification in 2016, which is a clear contravention of the Constitution. So, I would want to urge him that once he takes over and when given the approval by this House, he would ensure that, before any lease takes effect, it comes to Parliament for ratification. Mr Speaker, I would also want to urge him to look closely at the recom- mendation of the Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr Committee that was set up to review all mining leases. The “recommendations” were such that, when followed critically, Ghana would tend to benefit more from our mining than before. So, I would want to urge him to look at it closely. This has helped us, especially when we approved the extension of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, that Government got almost US$27 million in advance. Mr Speaker, this is because, in most of the mining leases carried, interest is only earned when the company makes profit. It has come to our knowledge that, most of the mining companies do not make profit, therefore, the carried interest owned by Government is of no benefit to the country. One of the recommendation was that, the company would pay in advance. So, that gives some money in advance, such that, anytime they make profit, then they could deduct it. That had been very helpful to us. Therefore, when we were approving the extension of the mining lease for Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, it was quite interesting for the Committee on Mines and Energy. Mr Speaker, I would also want to look at the issue of illegal mining or unlicensed mining. In the Report, he indicated that he would follow strictly, the law. In 2016, this House passed the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act. Mr Speaker, I believe that it has spelt out clearly, punitive measures in respect of illegal mining. If he is to actually go by it, it would be of great benefit to mother Ghana.
Hon Members, I am afraid but I have a list for the Majority side. Hon Anthony Karbo?
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Third Report of the Appointments Committee on His Excellency the President's nominations for Ministerial Appointments. Mr Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to make some few comments on three of the nominees, particularly the Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection. I have worked with Ms Afisah Otiko Djaba as the National Women's Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and to know the passion and care she has for children and her compassion for the progress of women. This is very indicative even in the responses she gave to the Appointments Committee, when she appeared before us -- The fact that she would see to the implementation of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP); the fact that she would address issues of child labour and child trafficking; the fact that she was more particular about the involvement of women in agriculture. These are signs of a Minister who is prepared to move the agenda of women forward. [Hear! Hear!] For this reason, we disagree with the Minority side but rather encourage them to come along with us. This is a Minister who is particular about women in agriculture. Women, we all know, contribute a lot to the development of our country for which reason we expect them to join us consensually so that, together, we approve the said Minister. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, I would like to make comments with regard to the Minister- designate for Works and Housing, Hon Samuel Atta Akyea, a very fine distinguished lawyer. Indeed, one of the best in our time; a God-fearing personality, an honourable man who has shown that given the opportunity any day, he would excel. I believe that, it is for his competence, humility, and frugality that His Excellency the President nominated him for this position. It is clear that even in this House, Hon Members on the other side attest to his competence and capacity to deliver on the job any day. I would like to encourage the House that, we support this particular Minister and support his approval, so that he can work assiduously to see to the housing deficit in this country, to reduce to the barest minimum.
Mr Speaker, I would like to make comments in respect of Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe. Just like the Minority Leader has indicated, Mr Daniel Kwaku Botwe, the former General Secretary of the NPP, is a man who has shown, as he appeared before the Appointments Committee his in-depth knowledge in the geography of our country. The fact that he travelled the length and breadth of this country; the fact that he understands the importance of the job at hand and the sensitive issue of demarcating and re-demarcating, creating and reorganising paramountcies, District Assemblies, tribes and communities to come together in an administrative manner to form a region, is important. This wealth of experience cannot be thrown away. So, together, all of us, as Hon Members of this House, must support the work of this Minister and approve him with consensus. Mr Speaker, I would like to make comments in respect of one very experienced person who also bears my name, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei. It is clear that, the Ghanaian public is very much aware of his exploits as far as the economy is concerned. His contribution to the national discourse on economic issues is well documented. Mr Speaker, at the vetting, he indicated and I think it is worth mentioning, his fundamental role is to see Ministers draw Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and because the President wants his Ministers to perform, these key performance indicators would guide Ministers in respect of set targets and the fact that, it is his responsibility to ensure that these targets are met. It is a very important office, and all of us as Hon Members of this House must support his approval and appointment and not just that, but also give him the support to see to the President's agenda to transform Ghana, create jobs and give us a Ghana that we all deserve. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, because she did not reflect the kind of person who should occupy that position, I would want to propose that, we suspend her approval and bring it up at a later time. [Uproar.] Mr Speaker, she would no longer be allowed to come before the Committee but she should go to the same Media she used to insult the former President and tell the people of Ghana that the position she is occupying does not merit the utterances she made. It is important for her to have a deep soul-searching reflection about the position she would occupy and redeem her image and herself. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to support the other six Hon Ministers-designate. But if the suspension of the approval of Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba is not done, I am prepared to vote along with my Hon Colleagues in the Minority on a majority decision. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Order! Hon Members, as I did indicated, I have a list on the Majority side. In view of the length of the discussion, any Hon Member who would want to contribute may concentrate on an area so that we make progress. Hon Members have a contribution of two minutes. Order! Order! Hon Member, go straight to your main point. You have two minutes. Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover (NPP--Tema East): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion for the adoption of the Third Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for Ministerial appoint- ments. Mr Speaker, I would like to touch on the appointment of the nominee for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah. There are some concerns that he expressed during the vetting, and I felt it is very important for us to share them at this plenary. It is to the fact that, he is going to the Ministry to see the Trades Union and their rank and file as partners. I believe that, as social partnership between employers and Trades Unions for the Hon Minister- designate to make that striking statement -- Sometimes, we try to demean workers; we do not want to give them hearing; but for him to go to that Ministry, to ensure that he would treat them as social partners to ensure their development, I believe that is very important and we need to encourage him. Mr Speaker, the issue about casualisation of workers -- We are in a modern slavery. Under the Labour Act, 2003 Act 651, employers of this country completely abuse the law. Workers would have been working for six years or more. All they do is that, every six months or one year, they would come back to renew their contract and continue to be casual workers. We do not believe that that is the best for this country. So, for him to assure the Committee that it is something that he would want to address, I believe that it is very encouraging. Again, Mr Speaker, about health and safety, the working environment must be very clean at all times. One works in certain enterprise and realises that, health and safety in these environments are so serious. He has also assured us that, when he is approved at this plenary, he would make sure that the safety of workers and non-workers in these environments are taken very seriously.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, in conclusion -- [Interruption.] I am concluding --
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I would want to speak on the Hon Minister- designate for Works and Housing, and touch on the need for him to seriously focus on sea defence projects in the country. In my constituency, Ningo-Prampram, we would realise that, the Old Ningo township is being washed away by the sea. I would want him to focus on a sea defence project for us. We would also want to see some proactive work to continue where the old Administration ended.
Hon Members, let there be order.
Mr Speaker, it is important to note that given the fact that as the Hon Minister-designate -- and she would be the Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, if approved by this House, the posture of the Hon nominee was unfortunate when she met the honourable Committee of Parliament. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, in the interest of the children of this country, whom we
represent, I would want to urge this House that we ensure that this country has the best representation in terms of an Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.
Hon Member, you may continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, once again, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on this Report.
Hon Members, let us skip the introduction; make a simple point.
Mr Speaker, very well. Mr Speaker, I would like to quickly go to page 1 of the Report presented by the Committee. In paragraph 1.0 on page 1, it says and with your permission, I beg to quote: “… H.E. the President commu- nicated to Parliament the nominations of twelve persons including the six under-listed persons for Ministerial Appoint- ments in accordance with article 78 (1) of the 1992 Constitution…” Mr Speaker, it is clear that the exercise of considering the Hon nominees of the President is not based on my desires or that of my Hon Friends on the other side. Mr Speaker, but it is an exercise that is based on the Constitutional provisions in article 78 (1), which spell out the qualification of who can become an Hon Minister of State. That person must be an Hon Member of Parliament, or a person who is qualified to be an Hon Member of Parliament. Mr Speaker, article 94 (1), (2) and (3) spell out who qualifies and who does not. Mr Speaker, it is, therefore, my understanding that in coming to a decision on whether a person should be approved, these are the rules that govern us and our exercise. Indeed, in reading the Report, there is nothing untoward that has been said of any of the persons, including Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba. In some of the contributions that have gone on, there are now introductions of other matters that are not based on the laws that we use to conduct this exercise. Mr Speaker, my fear is that, as this House is one of records and sets precedents, if we begin to use --
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, yes. [Inter- ruption.] Mr Speaker, the Hon Member talked about the Constitution and said that, this is the only law governing appointments. Mr Speaker, that is grossly misleading. This is because, in terms of article 11 of the 1992 Constitution, the National Service Act is part of the laws of Ghana. Any statutory requirement under that Act must be complied with before an appointment can be considered. Mr Speaker, if we consider article 94 (2) (g) of the 1992 Constitution --
Hon Member, you may conclude. We have had enough about National Service activities.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Dominic Ayine, a good Hon Senior Colleague of mine, says I said that these are the only laws. I did not say that. I said that the exercise under which we are operating is governed by these articles. Mr Speaker, my prayer is that we stick within boundaries and do the exercise before us.
The last contribution before the Hon Leaders.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion. Mr Speaker, there is a saying that when one knows somebody in the day time, one does not need to light a torch in the night to identify him. So, I do not intend to waste a lot of time on the other Hon nominees on which consensus has been reached; especially Hon Members of this House who have distinguished themselves. These include Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Hon Samuel Atta Akyea and the distinguished Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe. Especially in the case of the Hon Daniel Botwe, I believe his appointment could be likened to an accomplished Olympic weight lifter -- [Laughter ] -- In a higher category to lift only a bundle of firewood. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, Hon Daniel Botwe is mightier than the position he has been given; but that is the prerogative of His Excellency the President. Mr Speaker, the Hon nominee on whom there is no consensus, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba -- Mr Speaker, this is because why is consensus given to all the other Hon nominees, but on her score, the House cannot find consensus?
Hon Members, Order! Order!
Mr Speaker, if one is given the opportunity to become an Hon Minister of State -- It is very important for us to make that distinction. This is not a position of a political party. This is a national position. One must not put up a countenance that makes one look like he or she is on a political platform.
Mr Speaker, I looked at two aspects of the Hon nominee, which had made her unfit for the consensus of this House. Mr Speaker, the Hon nominee who claims to be an advocate of women's rights is reported to have made a statement that is self-indicting and questions the dignity of womanhood. This is because I would expect that such an advocate of women's rights -- If a woman is appointed to any position of authority, and somebody makes an allegation that that woman traded sexual favours and that person is unable to proffer an iota of evidence to substantiate the allegation, the last thing such an advocate would do, would be to lend support to that accusation. Mr Speaker, so, for somebody who is heading for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection that would deal mainly with women and children's issues, I find her unworthy. Secondly, there is a distinction between criticisms --
Hon Member, you have exhausted your time.
Mr Speaker, just a second to conclude.
Leadership would now bring their -- Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to speak to the Motion before us and to say that the Hon Colleagues that are being approved today with the exception of Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba are very distinguished gentlemen. Mr Speaker, there has been this challenge in the public that when our own Hon Colleagues come before us, we seem not to treat them in the same manner that we treat others. Like many Hon Colleagues rightly said, these are Hon Colleagues that have already gone through election, have been elected, are known to us and we have worked together with many of them for a number of years. So, in trying to vet them, they have satisfied articles 78 and 94. In trying to know their temperament, they are people we already know. So, naturally, we cannot treat them like people we do not know and we first of all want to be sure whether they qualify to be Hon Members of Parliament, whether we know their temperament, trying to judge their temperament and so on. Mr Speaker, so, the public should understand the dichotomy between those who come before us and are Hon Members of Parliament and those who are not. Mr Speaker, let me help point some facts to some of my Hon Colleagues who made reference to article 78. If it only had to do with article 78, why do we vet those who are Hon Members of Parliament? This is because, per article 78, they are already Hon Members. So, if it was only because of article 78, we would not vet those who are Hon Members of Parliament. For those who made that argument, they should advert their minds that there has been a recent ruling by the Supreme Court that; the Appointments Committee of Parliament and the work that we do is part of the approval process. Mr Speaker, so, it is not just qualifying to be an Hon Member of Parliament, other than that, we would not vet any Hon Member of Parliament who comes before the Committee. It is not for fun that when we look at --
Hon Ambrose Dery, please, do you stand on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Chief Whip has made an allusion to a Supreme Court ruling as though the Supreme Court ruling has deviated from the Constitutional requirement of articles 78 and 94 and additionally introducing national service. Mr Speaker, let me put it in context that the national service argument as rightly put by the Hon Minority Leader, makes the situation voidable but not void. This is because, assuming without conceding, that it is a requirement, he admits that, there is a legal remedy. So, it is voidable. Beyond that, I would want to emphasise that the laws that must be met strictly are articles 78 and 94. Why do I say this? Mr Speaker, if one goes to file one's nomination papers, one is not required to produce National Service Certificate and indeed, for those who do not know, the Hon Otiko Afisa Djaba, in my view, has also stood for elections, therefore, we cannot say that when the law which is directly affecting the situation -- She qualifies, we should not do that. I do not say that there are no other considerations, but on the law, in articles 78 and 94 and please, let me quote article 35 (9) and to say that, we are enjoined to have political tolerance, we might not like the mannerisms of somebody but that is not the basis for us to go against the express provisions of the Constitution.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, shall we conclude? I will plead with Hon Leaders to just make concluding remarks at this stage.
It has been long enough and it applies to both sides.
Order! Order! Hon Minority Chief Whip, I do not actually like to interrupt Hon Leaders but I believe that Leadership would reciprocate with me.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader raised certain issues that I guess should engage the attention of this House. The Hon Minority Leader said to us that -- To the extent that the Communication from the Presidency did not include the words “prior approval” and that the President only said that he was -- [Interruption.]
Hon Minority Leader, do you rise on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, it is the most unusual thing that I should do; I respect the seat of the Hon Majority Leader. I never premised my words with “prior approval” -- I said that the Communication from the President to this House ends with the words “for the approval of Parliament” and I compared it to former Presidents: Kufuor, Mills and Mahama, which ends with “for Parliament's consideration”. Mr Speaker, these were my words. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, the approval process involves consideration which really starts from the referral to the Committee and what the Committee does is part of the consideration and approval process. When it comes to Parliament, the debate that we engage in is part of the consideration and I thought that the Hon Minority Leader would appreciate this. He started from the “prior approval” issue but I did not know that he had now departed from that issue. Mr Speaker, but I just wanted him to understand and appreciate that what we are doing is part of the consideration. Mr Speaker, the issue about qualification and eligibility of Hon Ministers find expression under article 94 and my Hon Colleagues have spoken to that. So, when we come to consider the Hon Ministers-designate, first, we probe into the qualifications as set out in article 94 and then the eligibility which is also set out in article 94 (3). We look at the qualification and eligibility and we do not stop there -- I agree with the Hon Minority Chief Whip -- This is because the Constitution provides for Hon Ministers to assist the President in running the State efficiently. So, we probe into their own efficiency levels; what value addition they could bring to the administration of the State. Mr Speaker, it is one of the reasons we would want to test their competence. Mr Speaker, for Cabinet Ministers -- they are to assist the President in evolving policies for the Government. So, again, we are raising the bar and we delve into their own qualifications, competence, experiences and so on. That is what we do. Mr Speaker, beyond that if the person comes before us and misconducts himself and falls foul under Standing Order 30, then we could invoke that and bring that to bear in the course of our consideration and approval or disapproval. We have not been told that the lady in question, Otiko Afisah Djaba, falls foul of any of the provisions under article 94 -- Qualification and eligibility. We have not been told that she was contemptuous of the Committee. Mr Speaker, so, the reference to the demeanour, countenance, temperament, hairstyle, size of the nose, walking style -- I do not know where these feature. The Hon Minority Chief Whip really helped this House by defining what “evil” means and he said among other things that it may mean “unpleasant” -- [Interruption] - - Please, do not mislead us. Mr Speaker, he said that “evil” could mean “unpleasant”. If in the consideration of the lady, the words that the President used or the conduct of the President -- [Interruption] -- No, the word she used is “evil”, so, what you should have asked -- [Interruption.]
Order! The Hon Member would not sit and speak in this Honourable House.
So, what he should have asked is that, in the context, what she meant by the word “evil”.
Hon Majority Leader, you would address the Chair.
Mr Speaker, I am addressing you and I am saying that if they wanted to probe further, then they should have put the question to her that; what did she mean by the use of the word “evil”?
Hon Majority Leader, you would not use the word “you”. It means you are addressing the other Hon Member and not me. Please, proceed.
Order! Order! Hon Members.
If at the Committee level, a Minority number of Members of Parliament indicate that they are not for consensus and the Majority decides that there should be consensus or the approval of same, what should we do? Should we subject ourselves to the dictates of the Minority and say because -- It could be one. One person is saying, I do not believe that it should be by consensus; there should be voting. What should be the rule at the Committee level? Mr Speaker, my believe that, at the Committee level, the Majority should hold sway. In that regard, if one or two people insist that they do not want the opinion as expressed by the Majority of the Committee, the Majority of the Committee should not be intimidated by the Minority opinion and subject the entire House to the opinion of the Minority on the Committee. I believe it is something that we should inquire further into. I rest my case.
Hon Members, we have the first Motion on the approval of the five nominees by consensus. That is the Question we shall put first, just for the avoidance of doubt. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
The House accordingly approves by consensus the following nominees for appointment as Ministers in accordance with article 78 (1) of the Constitution. i. Hon Dr Anthony Akoto Osei -- Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation ii. Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe -- Minister for Regional Reorga- nisation and Development iii. Hon Samuel Atta Akyea -- Minister for Works and Housing iv. Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah -- Minister for Employment and Labour Relations v. Mr John Peter Amewu -- Minister for Lands and Natural Resources. Hon Members, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the Ministers who have received parliamentary approval for appointments as Ministers of State. Hon Majority Leader, I am advised there is an indication.
Mr Speaker, we believe at the very outset that the Fourth Report would be coming to the House. Unfortunately, the Hon Minority Leader who is the Ranking Member of the Committee tells me that, he does not even have a draft copy of the Report. That would mean that we cannot consider the Fourth Report at all.
Mr Speaker, as part of our pre-Sitting briefing, it was your wish as part of your desire to get Parliament facilitate the constitution of Government that we consider the Fourth Report of the Appointments Committee today. It appears that, myself and I am sure I could speak for the Hon Chairman, that I have not seen the draft copy of the Fourth Report. It is important that we interrogate it to avoid mistakes in it like the mistakes of relating to Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, which the Hon Chairman corrected today. Therefore, be as it may, I would have thought that the Hon Majority Leader, with his weight and very romantic about rules, would have known that the appropriate thing is to go through the letter and spirit of Standing Order 109 and subject the outstanding nominee to the rules of voting. If they so wish, by majoritarian rule, which itself as you taught us could encourage “mobocracy”, which is “mob rule”. We have the majority. I wish to say that the rules of this House are known. We are unable to build consensus. There is only one irresistible conclusion which is for them to subject the Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection to vote now. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, we want it now.
Mr Speaker, that is why co-operation is good. That is why building consensus could be productive. If the Hon Member is convinced -- But I know him. In fact, Mr Speaker, I have had cause to say that if Parliament in its rules were a woman, he would break his vows on monogamy to insist that the right thing is done. This is because he is committed to the institutional building of Parliament. He knows the rule on this matter. It is to subject the Minister-designate, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba to Order 109. We are asking of our Hon Members that we are very convinced that we have articulated it publicly that she does not have our support. She would not have our support until she behaves in the manner which is patriotic and in the manner which is respectable. She does not, and Mr Speaker -- 2. 30 p. m.
On a point of Order. Mr Speaker, much as I admit and accept the argument made by the Hon Minority Leader that the rules of the game is that, when we do not get consensus, we vote, the surprising thing is that, he is requesting for vote now yet, he is a coach without players. So, how can we even play the match? Mr Speaker, if the Hon Minority Leader wants us to vote now, he should bring his players to the field, then we can vote. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minority Leader, if you would please, wind-up and let us -- Order! Order!
Hon Member, if you may please --
The referee would have declared a winner. Therefore, subject it to the rules, subject it to the process of voting. That is what our Standing Orders require. Or he must be seen working to build consensus. [Interruption.] So, Mr Speaker, since we do not have the other Report and our Hon Colleagues have been approved, let me specially congratulate Hon Samuel Atta Akyea and wish him well. He is ready to work. Mr Speaker, our rules say we vote by consensus or by majority, you only put the Question on the five by consensus. We want to know the position of the other nominee. Thank you very, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader has insisted that the entirety of the membership on his side are against approving Ms Afisah Otiko Djaba. Mr Speaker, now, the team that he is carrying; the benches that would reinforce his argument are entirely vacant. That is why when Hon Benjamin Komla Kpodo got up and said, “we are here” even though he is a single person -- Mr Speaker, just after you put the Question on the five nominees, everybody in this House saw the backbenches of the Minority sprinting away from the House. I would want us to give ourselves a good fight. I do not want the Hon Minority Leader to leave here to say that, knowing the depletion of numbers on their side of the House, we descended on them. Mr Speaker, that is why I want to subject myself to your initial appeal. Exactly a minute to 2.00 o'clock, you appealed to us that, you wanted to extend Sitting beyond 2.00 o'clock to allow you to take the vote. Mr Speaker, if you have to do the secret voting, it is going to take us not less than two hours to do that. Mr Speaker, before we came to Sit, Hon Muntaka said to me that I should be mindful that today is Friday --
Hon Members, I have a ruling, the House stands adjourned -- Order! Thank you very much.