MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, we have to move to item numbered 2 -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. Hon Members, we commence with the correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018. Pages 1…10 Sorry, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I tried to catch your eye when you got to page 9.
Hon Member, I believe that with Votes and Proceedings you capture a summary of what is allowed by our rules as the proceedings of the House. This was a plenary session, and I do not think by our rules, service chiefs have the authority to apprise the House. So I believe the Clerk's office has done the right thing by leaving out the service chiefs, because it is only the Ministers who are permitted by our rules to address a plenary session, unless it was a Committee of the Whole or something of a close Sitting, where some people were permitted to come in. But this was a full plenary session, so I think they have done the right thing. Thank you. So we would go back to page 10 -- Hon Members, when we have so many of you on your feet -- I do not know whether you are on your feet on Correction of Votes and Proceedings, so kindly resume your seats so that I can identify who is following the proceedings and who wants to offer some corrections. Page 11, 12 … 16.
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018.]
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, there is a little correction I want to make at columns 93 and 94 where my name has been spelt wrongly. “Okudzeto” is spelt with a “z” and not a “j”. Mr Speaker, I am grateful.
The Table Office should take note of the right rendition of his name. In the absence of any other correction, the Official Report of Friday, 18th May, 2018 as corrected is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Majority Leader, I believe we should take item numbered 4; or you would prefer that we start with item numbered 3, which is Questions?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister is here to hold the fort for the Hon Minister so I believe we could take item numbered 3.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister is one of us but I see that an application has been made to you by the Hon Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, but he owes you and this House an explanation why the Hon Minister is not here himself, even though we are amenable to accept the Hon Deputy Minister to respond to the Question.
Mr Speaker, as you would agree with me, the Hon Minority Leader is always in a hurry. Mr Speaker, you just asked whether we should take item numbered 4 or continue with item numbered 3, but I said that we could continue with item numbered 3. Mr Speaker, so no application has been made yet.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I refuse to be inflicted with this “in a hurry” syndrome, because the Hon Leader said that “the Hon Deputy Minister is here”. Those were his words and I have no difficulty with that. Further to that however, I said that he should offer an explanation why the Hon Minister is not here?
Well, I would not allow the Hon Leaders to take over the floor. Let us go straight to item numbered 3. I would introduce the topic now and then we could go accordingly with the rules. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with being in a hurry, because if His Excellency has called on all of us to be in a hurry then I believe that it is good for the Hon Minority Leader to be in a hurry. The only issue is that we have to tarry slowly or else one could crash and if that happens and one does not land well, we know the consequences. Hon Members, the Hon Minister for Energy has been scheduled to answer Questions, and the first Question stands in the name of the Hon Member for Buem, Hon Daniel Kwasi Ashiamah. Hon Member, you may now ask your Question.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF ENERGY
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, at this juncture I would want to make an application that the Hon Deputy Minister for Energy, Hon Owuraku Aidoo, holds the fort for the Hon Minister who is at the presidency and in a very critical meeting with the President. Mr Speaker, so, you may indulge the Hon Deputy Minister to stand in for the Hon Minister and answer the Questions numbered 351, 371 and 372.
Hon Minority Leader, what is your take on the application?
Mr Speaker, I have no objection. Thank you.
Hon Deputy Minister, you may take the rightful place and answer the Question numbered 351. Deputy Minister for Energy (Mr William O. Aidoo) (MP)(on behalf of the
Mr Speaker, thank you. Atakrom forms part of the ongoing Self- Help Electrification Project (SHEP-4) in the Volta Region. All Low Voltage (LV) poles have been sent to the community and planted. The reason for the delay in completing the project in this community is due to a shortage of some critical materials, namely conductors and pole top accessories. The Ministry is in the process of procuring these materials to allow for the completion of works in the community by the end of 2018. The remaining communities, namely, Woadze, Oseikrom, Nanakor, Kayadan, Odumasi, Asele and Amoako have been captured under the Phase II of the electrification of selected communities in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Volta and Western Regions. China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) is currently executing the phase 1 of the project that was approved by Parliament in March 2016, and is expected to be completed by end of 2018. The national electricity grid will be extended to the communities under the phase II project when funding has been secured.
Yes, Hon Member, your first supplementary Question?
Mr Speaker, it is a fact that the Atakrom project is ongoing. I would, however, want to know from the Hon Minister where they have reached in the process of procuring these critical materials mentioned so that I would be able to inform my constituents whenever they ask me questions about it.
Mr Speaker, as you may be aware, procurement by sole-sourcing has been dispensed with and procurement through competitive tendering takes time. We must also not forget that the rural electrification project is all over the country. So when materials come in, we attend to the communities on the basis of first come first served. I can therefore assure the Hon Member that the procurement process is ongoing, and as and when the materials arrive, his constituency would be attended to.
Hon Member, your second supplementary question.
Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the Hon Deputy Minister again about the specifics. I would want to know whether payment has been made and the materials are being shipped, or they are at the harbour? That is all that I would want him to tell me, so that I could be specific when I talk to my constituents.
Mr Speaker, I would like the Hon Member to know that the procurement process is not geared specifically to his constituency. It is a national process. So if he wants to specifically know about the state of the materials for his constituency, that would be difficult to answer. As I said earlier, when the materials come in, we would handle them on a first come first served basis. So the Hon Member should bear with us; as soon as the materials come in, we would handle his constituency.
Hon Member, your third supplementary question.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Deputy Minister, specifically, whether the procurement process has really started.
Hon Member, I did not get your question.
Mr Speaker, I just wanted to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether the procurement process itself has started? This is because he said that he cannot give me specifics, but I am not talking about only my constituency. This is because, he mentioned critical materials and I know that it is not Buem specific. Has the procurement process started specifically?
Hon Deputy Minister, the question is whether you have started the procurement process.
Mr Speaker, indeed, I can assure the Hon Member that this is a continual process. As I speak, contracts have been awarded and contractors have placed their orders. I cannot stand here and tell him that the goods are at such and such a place on the sea. What I can however, say in all sincerity is that these contracts have been awarded and the procurement process is going through normally. So please, he should bear with me. I cannot tell him the particular part of the ocean the goods are on. I cannot tell.
Hon Minority Leader? You have your lieutenant behind you. I thought that you would give --
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister was emphatic in his answer that sole-sourcing has been dispensed with. Competitive tendering, as he alluded to, are advertised. Could he share with this House the publication of the tender as advertised?
Mr Speaker, sole-sourcing for critical materials for the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP-4) has been dispensed with. We have rather been using the selective tendering process. By the nature of the acquisition or procurement process of these particular materials, we have decided that the selective tendering process is the best way. This is by virtue of the time constraints that we have for these particular materials.
Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister aware that the selective tendering process is not the same as competitive tendering under the procurement law?
Mr Speaker, the actual name, if I were to give it to the Hon Minority Leader, is competitive selective tendering.
Hon Member, you are on your feet. Are you going to ask a supplementary question?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister mentioned competitive selective tendering. Which section of the Procurement Act is that coming from? Which section mentions competitive selective tendering?
Mr Speaker, the phrase I used was “restrictive competitive tendering”. It is just descriptive. That is all. [Hear! Hear!]
Hon Deputy Minister, your first phrase was “competitive restrictive tendering”. Now, you have changed it to “restrictive competitive tendering”. That is what you just said. So he has corrected himself. Both are not in the Act. [Interruptions.] He has corrected himself. He said “restrictive competitive tendering”. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, all that the Hon Deputy Minister sought to imply was that, restrictive tendering is not sole-sourcing. It is competitive, except that it is restricted. [Laughter] That is the truth. There is competition in restrictive tendering; it is not sole-sourcing. Mr Speaker, the application of that phraseology is meant to be descriptive. It is simple as that.
Mr Speaker, thankfully, the Hon Leader of Government Business, Hon Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and coach of phraseology of defining restricted, selective and competitive is seated to his immediate right, and he can benefit from the Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo who is the Hon Minister for Procurement -- He wanted to be assisted with procurement issues. That is why he has an able Hon Deputy Majority Leader to provide his own definition other than what is known in the Procurement Act and further defined it in its interpretation column. The word ‘'competitive'' means ‘'competitive''. The word ‘'restricted'' cannot be ‘'competitive''. It is not sole sourcing. It is restricted. Mr Speaker, to borrow the Hon Majority Leader's own words, ‘'it is descriptive''. That is not in the Act. There cannot be a tender. Indeed, I quoted his words. Competitive tenders are published and advertised. Where is the publication? That is what led him to the answer. With ‘'restricted'' only three are chosen. So what is competitive about it?
Hon Majority Leader, I thought we could move on?
Mr Speaker, we must move on. This is because , restrictive tendering'' implies some condition within some defined confines. That is the import of it. We crafted the Public Procurement Act (PPA) here, and to all intents and purposes, that is what we meant. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader could apprise himself of the rendition. Indeed, in the Act, he should support what he deems with the Hansard and he would get to know what I am talking about. Really, restricted tendering involves some competition, but it is within some defined confines, and so, there is some competition. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I am very happy about this discussion and I believe the country must be interested in these definitions. Mr Speaker, there is nothing like sole sourcing in the Act. It is a single source procurement. The definition which was
Hon Members, this is Question time, so we would move on to the second Question which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Central Tongu; Hon Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze. Connection to the National Electricity Grid (Central Tongu District) *371. Mr Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze asked the Minister for Energy when the remaining forty-two (42) communities in the Central Tongu District would be connected to the National Electricity Grid.
Mr Speaker, two of the communities in the Central Tongu District, namely Avukope and Manklalokope form part of the on-going electrification of selected communities in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Volta and Western Regions (Phase 1), being executed by China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE). Installation works in these communities have been scheduled for completion by the end of 2018. The remaining communities do not form part of any of the on-going projects currently being executed by the Ministry of Energy. These communities have been noted and would be considered in future electrification projects.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister why only two communities have been identified out of the 42 communities?
Mr Speaker, these two communities were indeed selected under the watch of the Hon Member's Government. The Hon Member talked about 42 communities, but the Ministry has currently earmarked 79 communities from his district which would be looked at. Mr Speaker, to answer his question, a few communities were earmarked under the National Democratic Congress, (NDC) Government.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister how soon they would start with the two communities and when they would consider the remaining 77 communities?
Mr Speaker, with the two communities, procurement processes are ongoing and as soon as the materials are in -- I have had the opportunity to meet with the Hon Member and I have gone through this with him. As soon as the materials are in, the two would be considered together with the remaining 77 communities.
Hon Members, we would move to the third Question which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Krachi Nchumuru; Hon John Majisi. Standstill of Self-Help Electrification Projects (Krachi Nchumuru and Krachi West Districts) *372. Mr John Majisi asked the Minister for Energy why the Self-Help Electrification Projects started in the Krachi Nchumuru and Krachi West Districts in 2016 have come to a standstill.
Mr Speaker, There are two ongoing electrification projects in the Krachi Nchumuru and Krachi West Districts under the SHEP-4. The Krachi Nchumuru project consists of Lonkotor, Gyato Chanyo, Kaliako Beposo, Papaye, Bichiro, and Konado communities. The communities under the Krachi West District are Kaparea, Lakeside, Yikei, Wananando No. 1 and Wananando No. 2. The Ministry has sent High Voltage (HV) and Low Voltage (LV) poles to some of the project sites. These poles have been planted and awaiting stringing. The reason for the delays in the execution of the projects is due to a shortage of some critical materials, namely conductors and pole top accessories. The Ministry is in the process of procuring these materials to allow for the completion of works in these communities by the end of 2018.
Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister how soon these materials would be made available for work to start?
Mr Speaker, I do not know if the Hon Member was in the House. I stated this earlier, but for his benefit, I would repeat myself. The critical materials that we are talking about are being procured. We are going through the process; some are on order and we are awaiting their arrival. As soon as they arrive, the good people of Nchumuru District would get their fair share. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, if we look at the work that is being done in the Krachi Nchumuru District, we realise that the high tension line passes through a lot of communities that have not been mentioned here as the beneficiary communities. I would want to find out whether those communities would also benefit from the programme?
Hon Deputy Minister, what is the Ministry's policy on that?
Mr Speaker, indeed, those communities that the Hon Member is talking about would be connected in due course. Those that have been selected were done under the previous Government. The President's vision is to have universal access to electricity by the year 2020. We can be rest assured that indeed those communities would be connected to the grid by the end of 2018. Thank you.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister, if you have the list --
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would go through the list of towns that have benefitted from these high voltage and low voltage poles. The first community is Lonkotor; we supplied 14 high voltage poles and 30 low voltage poles. We have some balances to make up, that is a balance of 40 poles to be supplied for Lonkotor and 90 LV poles to be supplied. Mr Speaker, the next one is Gyato Chanyo; we have supplied 30 low voltage poles and then with Kaliako Beposo we have supplied 74 low voltage poles which have been planted. We have not supplied Papaye yet but we have supplied Bichiro with three high voltage poles and 29 low voltage poles. Mr Speaker, finally, with Konando, we have supplied them with 20 high voltage poles and 56 low voltage poles; these are the figures that I have readily available now. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Hon Members, I would have to discharge the Hon Deputy Minister. We thank him very much for being an able representative of the Hon Minister for Energy. Hon Deputy Minister, thank you for attending upon the House. We move on to item numbered 4 on the Order Paper. Hon Members, Statements. There is a Statement which stands in the name of Hon Benjamin Kpodo, we would start with that. But in view of what happened yesterday when the Hon Ministers appeared to brief the House on some of these issues, I would advise that Hon Members who make contributions on the Statement should take that on board and that we should also limit the contributions to a few people to support the Statement. Hon Member, you may now proceed with the Statement.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for offering me this big platform to once more cry out to Ghanaians against atrocities which continue to be meted out by Ghanaians to their fellow Ghanaians under inexcusable circumstances. Mr Speaker, I am not reading a tribute, but it is with a heavy heart that I recount the passing away of a young man, Mr Johnson Kodzo Adzato, and the events that took him to the Volta Regional Hospital (Trafalgar) mortuary on May 16, 2018. Mr Kwame Asante owns a drinking bar in Somey-Down, a suburb of Ho, curiously named “Virgin Spot”. The spot attracts area residents who patronise the place to cool off after the day's activities. Kodzo paid a visit on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 for the usual relaxation and met other hangers-on. He chanced on a glass of Star beer on one of the tables and decided to take liberties with the contents. In a moment, Police Constable Bright Afrifa (Registered No. 54270) of the Ghana Police Service, Volta Regional Command - Visibility Unit - came up to claim ownership of the beer. Over-angered by the attempt by Kodzo to wrongfully appropriate his beer, Police officer Bright Afrifa pounced on the late Mr Kodzo Adzato and delivered unto him hefty blows which caused him to fall down and he stamped him, rendering him unconscious. This he did against all forms of intervention by fellows at the scene. Finally, he dumped the victim outside the spot, leaving him helpless and gasping for breath. A resident of the area, simply referred to as Patrick, who arrived at the scene later on mounted pressure on Constable Bright Afrifa to send the late Mr Johnson Kodzo Adzato to the near-by health facility, Royal Hospital, which he then agreed to do. At the hospital, he was requested to pay GH¢40.00 to open a folder for the victim. But Constable Afrifa went back with the victim claiming that he could not afford that amount. The victim was taken to Trafalgar Hospital for treatment the following day but could not survive as he passed away on May 16, 2018. The family and hospital authorities reported the case to the Police who later picked up Constable Bright Afrifa into custody at the Ho Municipal Police Station. My contacts with the Police in Ho confirmed that the suspect has been processed for court this morning. He has also been interdicted on the orders of the Inspector General of Police. Mr Speaker, this is one more case of Police brutality on a civilian. The Police are trained to protect the lives of our people. But in this particular case and in many similar instances, the men in uniform have rather become the source of brutalisation of the very people they are trained and resourced to protect, and on this occasion, leading to the death of this 39-year old man. We do not attribute to the Police any deliberate agenda to constantly eliminate civilians at the slightest provocation. But the security forces require to inculcate into their character and calling, a very high sense of humaneness, tolerance, respect for our laws and self control. This is because with their physical strength, training and access to weapons, they can become dangerous to society if they cannot conduct themselves professionally and with self control. We commend the Police authorities in Ho for swiftly arresting the culprit, Police Constable Bright Afrifa. We want to believe that they will treat this case as they normally do when the victim is one of their own or a big man or woman in society. That will definitely serve as deterrent and a lesson to our law enforcement officers and others who may harbour any such criminal intent. Justice must be obtained and seen to have been truly secured for the family of the late Mr Johnson Kodzo Adzato. Regrettably, Johnson Kodzo Adjato will not come back to life. But that is the way to appease those that Mr Johnson Kodzo Adzato was unfortunately forced to leave behind.
Yes, Hon Kwame Agbodza?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Member for Ho Central, Benjamin Komla Kpodo. Mr Speaker, indeed, the security agencies have the mandate and the needed training to do their job and we must all support them to do that which gives us all the liberty to live in peace and harmony. It is worrying, sometimes, when some of their activities rather lead to the demise of citizens. Mr Speaker, I had my own experience somewhere in 2017. I was out of the country when I was told that 12 armed policemen were in my hometown on the instructions of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC). That a tricycle which belongs to the Government was seen in Adaklu-Kordiabe. The Police went there on two occasions. In fact, my hometown is on the mountain and there is no way out. It is a cul de sac and the road is very bad. At a point in time, the youth thought that it was a sinister agenda because some of the policemen held guns although they were not in uniform. On the second day, it took the intervention of one of the chiefs to approach the policemen and ask them of their mission. Indeed, that intervention probably deflated a potential problem. When I returned, I approached the then Regional Police Commander and his words to me were frightening: that if they had attempted to do anything stupid, there would have been bloodshed and in his words, “what would happen? There would be a committee of enquiry”. I left his office and never returned till today. But I thank God that the wise chief took a decision to avert a possible bloodshed. Mr Speaker, I love the Police and I believe majority of them do a good job, but when some of them misbehave, as per what the Hon Minister for the Interior told us yesterday, we expect them to be identified and punished so that we do not use a broad brush to paint the entire place in this country. Indeed, I believe that I am safer today because of what they do. Mr Adzato lost his life needlessly, as a matter of fact, and indeed the maker of the Statement also mentioned the attitude of health workers. Mr Speaker, majority of the health workers do their job appro- priately. Indeed, once again, if some of them refuse to do what they ought to do, we should identify and sanction them but not to allow ourselves to imagine that all health workers are heartless. Mr Speaker, I would support the maker of the Statement by asking the Police to do a thorough investigation, and also the hospital administrators to do a good job. Indeed, when somebody who cannot help himself or herself arrives at an emergency unit, I wonder if our laws allow health workers to demand payment before such life is saved. Indeed, the person is helpless and at accident and emergency units, I doubt how many people would arrive there and be in a position to even tell whether they have moneys to pay. Indeed, we would need to do more as a Parliament to see how we can craft our laws, such that when a patient arrives unconscious or incapable of making a decision, one does not demand any payment but would just go ahead to give at least lifesaving treatment and let the person be in the position to take decision before payment is demanded. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to thank the maker of the Statement and also encourage the security agencies. We would want them to do their work and we would support them, but then we would want them to reduce the excesses as well because, this country needs all of us. I thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
(NDC-- Asawase): Mr Speaker, I rise to make a few comments on the Statement ably read by my Hon Colleague, the Member for Ho Central and to say that I equally send my condolences to the family. It is heart-warming to hear that the Police themselves have decided to deal with their own colleague using the laws of our country by arraigning him before the court today. Mr Speaker, I would be grateful if you could give a directive so that the Hon Minister for the Interior would come after this investigations are completed, to at least, tell the House what exactly happened and what the Police Administration is doing, even though we are told that the Constable is to be brought before the court this morning. I think that whereas many have examples of Police and other security agency brutalities, we would largely admit that they have improved on their job. This is because the Police are very visible across our cities, and they are doing their very best to keep us all safe, except that, as it is said in Akan: “every house has a Mensah”. This means that in every group, we could have some bad nuts. The few that tarnish the image of the good ones need to be dealt with in accordance with the law. I am happy that --
Hon Minority Chief Whip, one of your Hon Colleagues is on his feet.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the man from Dagbon and Asawase provided a proverb that “every house has a Mensah”. That is not the proverb; it is every house has a mensem. It is not “Mensah” like my name. It is “mensem”. He should get it right.
It is every house; efie biara.
I know efie; but “efie” here does not refer to the building.
It is the family.
It talks about the family.
It is “mensem”; it is not “Mensah”.
Mr Speaker, I thank him for the correction; but the crux of it is that, in every group, one would find some bad nuts. Mr Speaker, we hope that the Police would continue to up their game and do the best they can. It is not only the Police because there are other security agencies. Sometimes, in their private activities, they forget that they are not supposed to use their offices to do the things they do. So, sometimes these things happen. Mr Speaker, I would be grateful if the Hon Minister for the Interior would be given the opportunity, at the right time, to update the House on what happened, especially, where the gentleman lost his life. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Hon Members, we have a second Statement, which is a tribute. It stands in the name of the Hon Member for Suame, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of the House. Hon Majority Leader, you may now make your Statement. Tribute in Memory of Mr Akenten Appiah Menka
Mr Speaker, I rise to make this tribute in memory of Mr Akenten Appiah Menka, the warrior, conqueror and the grassroots man. Mr Akenten Appiah Menka (Apino) is still looking over the next generation of politicians in Asante. In the lead up to the Presidential and General Elections of 2016, when the New Patriotic Party needed to put together a team to reinvigorate the patch-up enterprise of the New Patriotic Party, he emerged as the natural leader. On his sick bed, a couple of months back, when we discussed the necessity to form a group to plan the socio- economic revival of his roots, he held my hand and rustled: “Osei, count me in, I guess I should be alright the next few days. I believe I still have a few ideas to share…” To share, he could not; those ideas, perhaps, would be interred with him. To some of us, his guidance will never be forgotten. In those days, the founder of Apino Soap and King Soap (“a, ahendwa da so”) would be gone to work at 8.00 a.m. and stay late. We knew when to catch up with him though. Exhausted on return, he still had time and patience for everybody. He went out of his way to engage everybody. Baafuor Akoto, a senior linquist at the palace of Otumfuo Asantehene and the father of the former Hon Member for Kwadaso Constituency, knew the person he was to bequeath us to when on a visit to him at the dusk of his own life, he said to us in his rusty guttural weather-beaten voice: “I will soon be gone but I leave you in the hands of Appiah Menkah, I trust him and you can trust him”. The influence Apino had, none of us grasped it until it was too late. He was an icon of complexity in simplicity; an icon of truth, a flower of freedom that blossomed in the face of the rampaging forces of darkness in a regime that was purposed to create equality among Ghanaians, but which unfortunately, consciously or unconsciously sowed the seeds of hatred -- The people against the citizens; sons and daughters against parents; and the youth against the elderly. It is why his trial by the regime for an alleged crime, for which many lawyers, including chiefs have been cited but which turned out to zero in on him alone, attracted so many sympathisers and well-wishers to what is now the Conference Hall of the Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament. He was incarcerated for a long time, but he kept his focus, his vision, and was not broken. He survived through the power of hope and resilience. He was a man of integrity and a man of truth; the truth of the value of justice with safe soul and noble goal. A warrior who conquered the poverty of Aboabugya, his home village, to rub shoulders with the icons of society in the late sixties. The adventures of hunting for rats and grass cutters; catapulting birds, picking snails and cola nuts and harvesting mushrooms; and the easy joy of eating ampesi with kontomire and nyaadoa ground with eta in earthen wares; the fufu with palm nut soup and the cozy belches from rapid consumption in the leafy and raw environment could not hold him down. He left the cocoa farms to Abuakwa State College, Kibi thence to United Kingdom returning as an Advocate. That was how come he got counted among the 140 Members of the Progress Party dominated Parliament of the 1969 when the country's population was 8.5 million. He represented Afigya Kwabre even though in the primaries he lost out to Mr J. C. Yeboah, a building contractor from Nkukua Buoho. Mr J. C. Yeboah died before the elections, and Professor Busia, the leader of the Progress Party, pleaded with the constituency party members to allow Mr Appiah Menka to fill in, having noticed a great potential in the latter. It is instructive to observe that, in the primaries that were conducted, Appiah Menka was not the second best. He placed fourth among seven contestants, yet, having realised the potential in him, the leader of the party pleaded with the constituents to allow him to fill-in. In the blood and thunder days of the past, Generals Afrifa and Acheampong, two former Heads of State had been tied to the stakes and shot. So too had Air Marshal Yaw Boakye, whose village, Aduman, is adjacent to Aboabugya. There was panic and fear and Asante Youth were looking for leadership. We identified one: Appiah Menka. He did not disappoint. He proved the reality of our dreams: the intellectual who did not shed his grassroot connect.... a resonance of peace and hope. That is why we clung to him. He had been there for all since then, until he conquered death with an embrace, the warrior that he was.
Hon Members, again, this is a Statement made under Standing Order 71 so, we should be guided in our contributions by that Standing Order. Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I will be very brief. It is really a big shock for those of us from Kumasi. As a little boy with the struggles of living in a slum in Kumasi, precisely, Aboabo and growing up, I was very familiar with Apino Soap Industries and I had to hawk Apino soap to support my parents to take care of me as I was growing. Little did I know that later in life, I would meet this great icon from Kumasi. Mr Speaker, when I first became an Hon Member of Parliament in the year 2005, my first encounter with Wofa Appiah Menka was at an airport, where I accosted him, and he ask me in the Twi language if I knew him. I was taken aback and said he should forgive me, for I really did not know him, but he said no, I knew him. Then I begged him to kindly refresh my memory and he said that he was Mr Appiah Menka and I told him how much I had heard about him but I had not had the privilege of getting so close to him. He gave his number to me and took mine and encouraged me to visit him in the house. About a month and half later, I visited him in the house and I learnt a lot from our discussion that first day. He told me that he really wished I was one of them; that is, from the New Patriotic Party (NPP). But he cherished the diversity and he gave me the assurance that whatever it took to protect any Hon Member of Parliament in Kumasi, including me, even though we do not come from the same tradition, if he ever got the opportunity, he would do. He encouraged me to build bridges and not to keep the mentality of “we” and “them” while I am in Kumasi because we have the same destiny, and whatever we should do even in our diversity, we should see each other as each other's keeper. Mr Speaker, he taught me a lot and said much about the history of our country, Kumasi and I also learnt a lot from him. Since then, hardly a year passes by without me visiting him at least and sometimes also calling him. The last time we met was at the coronation of the Hon Majority Leader. When I saw him in the wheelchair, honestly, I felt very sad because since the 2016 elections and its aftermath, I have not had the time to visit him and did not know he was really ill. So when we met there, he said; “you”? I said, “uncle, me pa wo kyew” to wit, uncle, I beg you. I will come, promising him that I was going to visit him at home, which I did but not too long after, I heard his health had really deteriorated. Mr Speaker, why did I give this background? When I came to Parliament in the 2005, I only thought that when one was a member of either the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or the NPP, in fact, they were not supposed to have a handshake because they had to keep the hardcore kind of life. But when I came to Parliament and saw the relationship between friends across board who talked and shared views, and having in mind the advice he gave me, today, I can say, and I am sure that most of my Hon Colleagues in the Chamber would attest to the fact that most of my colleagues in Kumasi and I do not just meet in this Chamber. We knew one another even back at home in Kumasi. We exchange calls, we visit one another and we talk. Sometimes, we share our common problems. I learned to link-up with others from him. I would want to take this opportunity to urge all of us, that at all times, we should be thinking about our country just as this great compatriot of ours has done. He advised others to water down, sometimes the bickering and the hot exchanges that exist among us. We have lost an illustrious son of Kumasi and the country. Mr Speaker, I must admit, looking at his age, he has really paid his dues to our Motherland, and in particular, Kumasi, he has really done very well; he has made the mark looking at his background and how he rose through the ranks to be where he was before his demise.
Yes, Hon Minister for Agriculture?
Mr Speaker, first of all, let me thank you very much for giving me this august platform to pay tribute to one of the greatest politicians of our time. The timing is just right in the sense that, tomorrow, he would be laid to rest in Kumasi. On behalf of the family, we very much appreciate Parliament giving a slot for us to say something positive, and make a tribute to Mr Appiah Menka. Mr Speaker, Mr Appiah Menka was one of us in this House. He was an Hon Member of Parliament for Afigya Sekyere from 1969 to 1972 till the overthrow of Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia's regime. At that time, he quickly established himself as almost an institution here in this Parliament. Mr Speaker, before then, he had qualified as a lawyer and came back from the United Kingdom (U.K.) to learn at the feet of some of the great legal luminaries of the time, including Mr Victor Owusu, Mr Joe Appiah and the others.
Sorry, I can see the Hon Minority Chief Whip on his feet. Yes, Hon Member?
Sorry, Mr Speaker, I have been up for a while but I could not catch your eye. My Hon Colleague, the Hon Minister for Agriculture started with a statement that it is a great opportunity you have given him to pay tribute. I thought we need to correct that, so that it does not seem he is also making a Statement of his own. He is contributing to the Statement made by the Hon Majority Leader. I thought we needed to draw his attention to that. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Nevertheless, I really appreciate this opportunity. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, as I was saying, Mr Appiah Menka's life transcended a whole lot of professions and all kinds of compa- nionships. To start with, as a lawyer and a politician, he was very successful. But even more so, as a farmer. This is because, before he came into politics, he had established a one mile square plantation of palm trees in Adansi, and he had helped outgrowers to develop palm oil production around his estate which he eventually turned into the manufacturing of soap, which he called Apino soap. In fact, Apino soap was so successful that it threatened multinationals like Unilever Company Limited, which tried to bring him down. The case is still in court as I speak today. We are talking about 40 years or 50 years ago. Mr Speaker, for those of us who are in agriculture 50 years ago, the idea of value addition and so on were nowhere to be found. He was the man who had that vision to say that he would establish a plantation and use industry to add value, to promote the living standard of the poor around his estate. Through that the import substitution of soap was reduced for Ghana to save enough foreign exchange, create jobs and all that. So his life was one which really goes beyond just one activity, but it is multifaceted. Mr Speaker, so was his dealings in politics. We just heard from the Hon Minority Chief Whip about how he was able to transcend parochial politics to lend a hand to an opposition Hon Member of Parliament in Kumasi to advise and guide him. So was his relation with former President Professor John Evans Atta Mills, who invited him to join the Constitutional Review Committee. If it was anybody, normally, he would say, no, because it was the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party and he would not give his talent. But he gave it and throughout the period the Committee worked, he travelled around the country east and west. Even at that age, he was a very active participant. Mr Speaker, so all of us need to take lessons out of the life of Mr Appiah Menka, that parochial thinking and attitude do not help in nation building. The legacy that he has left should guide us in whatever we do as a nation, politicians, industrialists and as players in any field that we choose to be. Mr Speaker, the comments made by the Hon Leader of Parliament, Hon Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu are very appropriate and we thank you very much for the space.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, there are other Hon Members and I believe given his stature, if you could accommodate more, then--
From your side, you are the only one who stood up and that was why I allowed you. That other half belongs to the Majority side. So, if you may graciously allow them?
-- rose --
Yes, we could end up with you, but I would want to hear a female voice. So the gentlemen should resume their seats. Yes, Hon Patricia Appiagyei?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is with a heavy heart that I would like to contribute to the tribute of our stalwart member, Nana Akenten Appiah
I thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, I commend our Hon Majority Leader for paying such a glorious tribute to a patriotic citizen of this country. Thank you very much. He was my constituent. In fact we lived in the vicinity, and he was from my hometown. Mr Speaker, growing up, I quite remember I used to use the road in front of his house to school. And sometimes, when I was going to the golf course, I used to use the same route in front of his house. If one knocks at his door to pluck mango during our childhood days and use the right procedure or ask for permission, he would open his doors for the person and allow the person to pluck any number of mangoes one wanted. However, if a person refused to take permission from him and pluck just a single mango, if one was caught by lawyer Appiah Menka, the person could run to wherever one wanted to run to, this man would chase him, take the mango from the person, advise the person and also give the person the direction on the next thing to do anytime the person would want to come and take something from his house. He was so generous to the extent that, after schooling the person, he would give him the mango back and add more to it. Mr Speaker, when I was elected to become a constituency officer for Bantama Constituency, that was when I had an encounter with Lawyer Akenten Appiah Menka. Although most of the time I was at variance with some of the decisions that he took in terms of the national and regional elections, this never spoilt the relationship between the two of us. Mr Speaker, his contribution to Ghana, West Africa and in some cases to Africa has been captured by all the Hon Members who have spoken, especially the Hon Majority Leader of Parliament. Mr Speaker, when I was growing up, the only soap we knew was the Apino soap. I knew from his soap to his palm plantation up to other businesses that he established. It is just some things that we can make mention of as far as his contribution towards Ghana is concerned. I quite remember when Lawyer Akenten Appiah-Menka wanted to contest as the national Council of State member during the regime of His Excellency, the late Professor John Evans Atta-Mills. At that time, as the regional youth organiser of my party, I did not understand why he was going to contest as the national Council of State member in Prof. Mill's regime, because I was so biased as far as political organisation is concerned. So I approached him at that time and asked him why he would want to contest for that position in that regime, and I quite remember the answer he gave to me,
Hon Minister for Works and Housing?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to pay homage and tribute to a great man of this land. Mr Speaker, as tradition demands, I should have been in mourning cloth, but I just chanced upon this Statement, and I thank you for giving me a little space to say a few things by way of an eulogy to this great man. Mr Speaker, two things are permanently etched in my memory when I reflect on this man who has left us. First is that, this man was not a Kyebi man as I am, but by the sheer fact that he went to Abuakwa State College, and from Abuakwa State College he graduated to become a lawyer, Abuakwa State College and Kyebi was his second home, and at every turn, you could see that he was so committed to Abuakwa State College more than the Akyems themselves, and the record of him in terms of his contribution to the development of the school is something that we can never finish talking about. He became the Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) chairman and personally resourced his alma mater. I am impressed by that arrangement. It also tells me that sometimes in Ghana, they want to talk about the ivory schools, that if you did not attend an ivory school you might probably not amount to anything. I believe he defied that. There is nothing like an ivory school. You might go to an ivory school, but if you do not have the content of character and the propensity to study hard, you would come back to square one. So it is how you utilise your resources. Another issue of significance that I remember about the late and senior practitioner, Lawyer Akenten Appiah- Menka was his peaceful disposition. There were tensions in my constituency. In this whole undertaking called politics, there would be tensions and pressures, where people would take sides. I did not believe that one day he drove all the way from Kumasi, in advanced old age to Kyebi and met with me, that he was there to make sure that we patch up our differences. I said well, I was even humbled. Who was I to say no? That if he thought so well about the peace in my backyard, why should I not make peace? So through his instrumentality, I met those who were -- I would not call them troublemakers -- but the dissenting folks. I remember there were dissidents, so I do not know whether -- [Interruption.]-- Hon Leader, is it a good word to use in this House? The dissidents who were disturbing me, we made peace, and I was very grateful to him, that he came to Kyebi and did this for us. Another issue of significance that I would never forget about this great man is that sometimes, we lawyers think in pigeon holes. All that a lawyer can do is to go to court, make arguments, make some money, and then he would retire. But this man had versatility, in the sense that he was a lawyer, he had industrial sense for him to even come out with a soap which became a household name. That is one of the things I admire about him, that I wish I could have these tendencies as well. That it is not only the mind that can go to court and argue, but you can also be an entrepreneur. For that also, I would remember him for good. My heart goes out to Auntie Rose, the surviving spouse. I am of the view that the Bible talks about the fact that 70 years is a good age to live, and if the distinguished Lawyer Appiah-Menka was 84 years, I consider it as a bonus, 14 more years. I think the wife is rest- assured that he lived a full life. Mr Speaker, I cannot end this short eulogy without quoting the scriptures, and with your kind permission, I would quote a few scriptures, and then I would sit down. I am quoting from Job 14: 1, and this is what the Bible says; “Man that is born of a woman is of a few days, and full of troubles” This scripture is underlying what I call the principle of inevitability, come to think about the fact that in Prime Minister Busia's time, he was a legislator, a Member of Parliament, and is no more. This is the lot of all of us, that whatever we do, no matter what we do and try not to do and the rest, death is an eventual inevitability, and that should humble us so that we give our best within the time allotment that God gives us. The second scripture of significance, which is my last contribution and then I would sit down, is Isaiah 57:1; “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart. The devout are taken away and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil”. One of the evils that are sometimes associated with old age are some diseases that would become a burden for your family. So sometimes, God in his wisdom would let a man leave to be spared very challenging ailments which would become a pain to the living. So may his soul rest in peace, and Mr Speaker, I thank you sincerely, that although I am not properly attired, you gave me the space to say a few things to the memory of this great man. I am most grateful to you.
Hon Minority Leader?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make brief comments on the tribute eulogising Nana Akenten Appiah Menka, ably presented by the Leader of the House. The revered elder statesman is gone, the lawyer, politician, royal business colossus is gone. We need to pick the cudgel from where he left. The present and
Hon Minority Leader, just a few seconds. To create some more space for contributions and the last Statement, I direct that business of the House be conducted beyond the prescribed period. Hon Minority Leader, you may continue.
Mr Speaker, he was among the few people whose political colour and background was known. But when he saw what was worth in the opposition, where it was necessary, he did not hesitate to acknowledge it. He is among the few people who should be buried when the sun is highest and the shadows are shortest. This is because we would, as a country, honour success. Mr Speaker, I would conclude on that note. In this country, we do not reward success, particularly success within the private sector of Ghana. We should let his death inspire us to identify within the private sector of Ghana, those who are doing well, regardless of the political party they support. They are creating employment, Government would get revenue, and incomes would improve. We would need to support them, but when we go everyday with the dichotomy of ‘'we'' and ‘'they'' -- the private sector belonging to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the private sector of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or the previous -- Mr Speaker, finally, he was a courageous warrior. Notwithstanding the tribulations, he stood his grounds and not even the excesses of the revolution spurred him from moving on and making his contribution both to his business development and the development of our country and to our political development. Mr Speaker, to Aunty Rose and the children, they should accept our profound and deepest sympathy and condolences. It is therefore not surprising that he would be honoured with a state burial. Indeed, when the family called on the Leadership
Hon Member, I may allow you few minutes because it is beyond my guidance, but I realised that you have been on your feet. So, to do justice I believe it is appropriate I give you some time. I hope you would not repeat what other Hon Members have said.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for this unique opportunity to contribute to the tribute of the late Hon Nana Akenten Appiah Minkah, as delivered by the venerable Hon Majority Leader who is also the Hon Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. Mr Speaker, I would want to seize this opportunity to express my utmost sadness over his demise which occurred on the 13th February, 2018. Mr Speaker, death, even as it seems inevitable, comes in moments one scarcely gets mind off or unprepared for. I must say that the death of the late Hon Nana Akenten Appiah Minka, a man I call my god father and a mentor is still a great shock to me. I deeply sympathise and share the sentiments of the bereaved family. Mr Speaker, the nation stands with him. Even as I grieve over his death, I know that many like-minded patriots in the NPP as well as in my own family share same grief, knowing that my late grandfather hailed from Adoman, a town next to Abuobu where the late Hon Nana Akenten Appiah Minka hailed from. Mr Speaker, as I stand here, as fate would determine, I can only say that the wisdom and intelligence the late Hon Nana Akenten Appiah Minka displayed has rubber on my person as an individual, and this however, did not come easy as I recollect when I was a dynamic polling station organiser in New Tafo, Krofrom courtesy then Hon Minister for Defence and also the Hon Member of Parliament for Manhyia in the person of Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, who officially introduced me to the late Hon Nana Akenten Appiah Minka. Mr Speaker, I must say that he counselled me. What he said on that fateful day was that: ‘'young man, be focused and be resilient in your political journey''. This is a man who was a true nationalist. One day, I vividly remembered we had some discussion on radio and after the programme, he called me to his house and said that much as he listened to me in my submissions, I must be mindful of the fact that we are one people with a clear sense of direction, irrespective of our political persuasion or religious standing, we are one people with a common destiny. I must say that I was really touched by such wise counsel by the Late Hon Nana Akenten Appiah Minka. Mr Speaker, even as we all admit that the country has lost a great statesman, we are also thankful for his gift of life which had a blessing for many people who had the opportunity to learn from him and also enjoyed his life while he was alive. Mr Speaker, indeed, his demise is seen as a deep loss to this nation, a loss that cannot be repaired, replaced or brought back. An encounter with the Late Hon Nana Akenten Appiah-Minka would enable one to tap into his free world of knowledge, expertise, wisdom and advice. Mr Speaker, on this occasion, I, on behalf of the good people of the Manhyia North Constituency and the entire NPP would want to express our deepest sympathy to the family, wife, children and former associates, including colleague patriots and statesmen. I wish God would give my political mentor and a renowned industrialist, party man and a peacemaker a good rest. Mr Speaker, may the soul of our beloved stalwart rest in the bosom of the Almighty God and may his family be fortitude to bear this great loss. Demrifa due, demrifa due Nana Akenten Appiah-Minkah. Mr Speaker, with these few words I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Members, I believe it is appropriate we observe a minute silence in honour of such a great son of our land. An entrepreneur, an accomplished lawyer, politician and a great leader of our time; the late Hon Nana Akenten Appiah Menka, popularly referred to as ‘'Lawyer Apino''. Hon Members, a minute of silence please.
May his soul rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Almighty God forever and ever. Amen. Hon Members, we have one last Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Mfansteman Constituency; Hon Ekow Hayford. If the Hon Member is available, he may now make his Statement. Enhancing the Activities of MASLOC Towards Development
Mr Speaker, I rise to make a Statement on enhancing the activities of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) towards the development of the nation. Mr Speaker, microfinance and small loans centre popularly known as MASLOC was established in 2006 by the then NPP Government to provide micro and small loans for start-ups and small businesses with fast, easy and accessible microcredit and small loans for the Ghanaian citizens to grow and expand their businesses as well as to enhance job and wealth creation. Mr Speaker, the vision of the Government was to grow and develop small and micro businesses through the provision of sustainable microfinance, small loans and business services to Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by my Hon Colleague. Mr Speaker, the introduction of MASLOC brought in the financial inclusion of which the non-banking society got the appetite to also make some small savings and got access to financial intervention in order to also do their businesses. Traditionally, if one goes to the banks, he or she is asked for collateral security. The trader in question here does not have any initial capital; how then can he or she get the collateral security to back the facility that they want to access? So the MASLOC intervention gave opportunity to many people to access loans as the interest rate was also a bit lower. So they could access the support and expand their businesses. Mr Speaker, but the critical issue is the overly politicised aspect of it giving credence to what the Hon Colleague just mentioned. The leadership of the scheme are by political appointments and a change of regime brings a change of leadership. So if I am a party supporter, the kind of patronage that we would give to the political party and a friend who has been appointed as a CEO of MASLOC Agency -- Mr Speaker, the kind of appraisal the credit officers do, allow people to also default in the loan repayment. It is because I am a party member and I have been given a facility, I think my patronage has given me the opportunity to access the facility hence the default. So we need to do away with the overly politicised aspect of it so that people will know that they are taking a credit facility from the bank or a financial institution, and they have an obligation to repay the loan; that it becomes a revolving fund for others to also access. Mr Speaker, people take loans at the rate of five per cent a month, meaning by the end of the year, the individual is paying 60 per cent. How on earth can one repay such a loan? Some are taking loans at the rate of four per cent a month which means by the end of the year, one would have paid 48 per cent. Some are even taking six per cent per month. So at the end of the year, one would have paid 72 per cent. What kind of business would one use this money to do in order to pay the principal and the interest? These are some of the critical challenges that people face and we would need to deal with them.
Hon Members, I would give opportunity to one from each side of the divide and if the front benches would want to comment on it, they may do so. Apart from that, one each and that would be all.
Well, I could see one of our fairer side. It is important we listened to a lady. [Uproar.]
I thank you, Mr Speaker. I am back with you again and I am grateful for this opportunity. Honestly, my Hon Colleague from the other side has said it all. I must commend the maker of the Statement, especially at this time that he is delivering it. It would be a lesson to all of us, especially those women out there who do businesses on small scale levels. Mr Speaker, the maker of the Statement made mention that MASLOC was established in 2006 by the NPP government to provide microfinance and small loans for start-ups. It is good and I am glad he mentioned start-ups. Mr Speaker, this initiative established by the NPP government is a fantastic one, and I am glad my Hon Colleague said that we should not politicise it. Many people have benefited from MASLOC from both sides, and that shows that we should ignore the politicisation of this initiative. Mr Speaker, most of the women, especially the market women, were yearning to have the opportunity to access this facility, but they did not get it because during that time many people said they should not pay because if they moved them out of power and they come, they would not do that. That is where politicisation comes in, and indeed, today, it must be scrapped off. Mr Speaker, because of the inability of women to access these things, they rush to other microfinance organisations and take loans with huge interests. Businesses of some of these women have collapsed. They cannot sell and do anything again because they have been chasing them for their moneys. But this was a wonderful opportunity with small interests and when one is able to pay, he or she could continue to access loans until he or she grows their businesses. So Mr Speaker, the Hon Member gave some things that we needed to do. Probably when we adopt them, it would help all of us as Ghanaians. One thing that we should all adhere to is that, he said Members of Parliament who usually become guarantors to their constituents should help educate them. Education is very important. Most of them would come to us, the Members of Parliament (MPs), that they would want to go to MASLOC to access loans and that they would want us to guarantee for them. If we do not do it, at the end of the day, we would be the bad ones. When we educate them on how to get it and pay, I believe most people would benefit.
Yes, Hon Member?
I thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement that has been made so well. Mr Speaker, the role of microfinance or small business lending remains very important. Microfinance in itself is not cheap for a number of reasons, because micro- finance operators and practitioners borrow at the commercial lending rate. When they give loans, they have to go there many times to recover them. They pay corporate tax rates at about 25 per cent when rural banks that compete with some of the microfinance companies in the villages pay eight per cent. Microfinances target people who are unbanked. In Ghana, as we know, many of our people -- the Ghanaian economy is dominated by small businesses. For that reason, the role of microfinance would continue to be with us and be relevant. MASLOC was a great intervention to reduce the interest rates charged to those who needed microfinance services. MASLOC would charge about two per cent, while most of the microfinance operators would charge about five or six per cent. Mr Speaker, but as my Hon Colleagues have said, because of the way MASLOC is played as a political football from time to time, when people access loans from MASLOC, they think it is the government which gives this intervention; Government loans do not get paid. So unless we educate, guarantee the loans and ensure that people understand that MASLOC loans are not for free, but they are just interventions that are meant to ensure that people could also have alternative sources of getting money -- All of us need to educate our people, as some of my Hon Colleagues have already said. The people who go to MASLOC should be properly assessed for credit. It should be based on merit and not based on who one knows or political affiliations. I believe that MASLOC must also begin to be quite innovative, so that they can stay and operate to the benefit of the people. MASLOC can also do wholesale lending. They can on-lend to good microfinance institutions, probably at two per cent or 1.5 per cent, and then give those who would on-lend it to the customers (retail lenders) at a ceiling. They cannot on-lend their money for more than three per cent. So in that way, those good microfinance organisations could also provide guarantees and send the services down to those who need to benefit. I believe that if we all join the call for proper operation of MASLOC, we would achieve the purposes for which it was set up. Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Hon Members, Statement time has ended. We would now proceed to the Commencement of Public Business -- Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I guess we could deal with item numbered 5.
Item numbered 5 on the Order Paper -- Presentation of Papers; Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Item numbered 6 on the Order Paper -- Motion.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee is not available. He has to deal with items registered as 6, 7 and 8. So, respectfully, I would want to plead that we stand them down. If he is here tomorrow, we could deal with that. So, items numbered 6, 7 and 8 would be stood down. Unfortunately, since the return of the Hon Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, we have not had time to engage on items listed 9 and 10. We need to engage the Hon Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee on those matters that are still outstanding. My attention has been drawn to the fact that the Public Accounts Committee has a public hearing now. So again, we would stand those ones down; items listed 9 and 10. Mr Speaker, that being the case, we are in your hands.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader has noted that the Public Accounts Committee is currently sitting, and that is why we are unable to take the Motions. They are still conducting their public hearing.
The House was adjourned at 2.39 p.m. till Thursday, 24th May, 2018 at 10.00 a.m.