MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, we shall now correct the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 1st February, 2018. Page 1, 2, 3…8 --
Yes, Hon Member for Effutu?
Mr Speaker, my name appears on number one of the list of absentees. I was unavoidably absent. The spelling of my name is K-w- a-m-e-n-a. Mr Speaker, it has been five years of correcting this. Every day, I correct. On this occasion, I plead with you to make the appropriate direction to the appropriate department such that there would not be the need for me to correct this. The second vowel in my name is “e” and not “i”. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Very well, the Table Office should take note and curtail this correction at the close of day today. Page 9, 10, 11…14. Hon Members, subject to the correction, the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 1st February, 2018, is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, January 5, 2018.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, December 7, 2017.]
Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Business Statement for the Third Week by the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee, the Hon Majority Leader, is not with us this morning. He has travelled to Kumasi this morning to attend to an urgent matter and has asked me to present the Business Statement for the Third Week on behalf of the Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 1st February, 2018 and arranged Business of the House for the Third Week ending Friday, 9th February, 2018.
Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communications to the House whenever they are available. Question(s) Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has programmed the following Ministers to respond to Questions asked of them during the week:
No. of Question(s) i. Minister for Transport 1 ii. Minister for Health 1 iii. Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources 1 iv. Minister for Education 2 v. Minister for Roads and Highways 3 Total number of Questions 8 Mr Speaker, five (5) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to eight (8) Questions during the week. 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 Standing 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 of our Standing Orders. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Address by H. E. the President Mr Speaker, H. E. the President of the Republic is expected to deliver a Message on the State of the Nation on Thursday, 8th February, 2018, in accordance with article 67 of the 1992 Constitution. Hon Members are entreated to be punctual for the event. Hon Members are therefore urged to be in the Chamber latest by 9.15 a.m. as it may not be courteous for Hon Members to enter or exit the Chamber after H. E. the President has entered the House to deliver his a Address. Indeed, it is a breach of protocol. Mr Speaker, the Business Committee takes this opportunity to advise Hon Members not to enter the Chamber with their guests. In view of the scheduled Address by H. E. the President, the House is expected to adjourn early on Wednesday, 7th February, 2018, to enable the Planning Committee of the State of the Nation Address get the Chamber ready for the event before Thursday, 8th February, 2018. 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 under consideration. Questions -- *129. Mr Mohammed Abdul-Aziz (Mion): To ask the Minister for Transport if the Ministry is aware of the termination/withdrawal of appointments of some public servants in public institutions including the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the National Service Secretariat contrary to the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651). Statements Presentation of Papers -- (a) Annual Report of the National Labour Commission for the period 1st January, 31st December, 2016. (b) Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDAIF, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts including Inspection Fees as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of two million, two hundred and eighty- seven thousand, ninety-five euros (€2,287,095.00) on project equipment and materials for the implementation of the project agreement between the Ministry of Health and VAMED in respect of the design, construction, equipping and furnishing of five (5) Polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region (Phase IV) to be located in Adentan, Ashaiman, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege. (c) Report of the Finance Committee on the Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America regarding mutual assistance between their Customs Administrations. Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the Special Committee tasked to investigate the levy and collection by the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Ghana cedi equivalent of various sums of money in United States of America dollars, from expatriate businesses and related matters during the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards in Accra. Committee sittings. Question -- *270. Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga (Garu): To ask the Minister for Health when the Garu-Tempane District Hospital Project will be completed. *271. Mr Richard Mawuli Kwaku Quashigah (Keta): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources what plans the Ministry has to extend pipe-borne water from Keta to the following communities:
(i) Beach areas of Dzelukope (ii) Tettekope (iii) Tettevikope (iv) Nukpesekope (v) Lagoonside of Vui (vi) Beach area of Kedzikope. *272. Mr Christian Corletey Otuteye (Sege): To ask the Minister for Education what is the Ministry's programme of work on the community day Senior High School at Goi in the Sege Constituency. *273. Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (Adaklu): To ask the Minister for Education when the Adaklu Senior High Technical School will be absorbed by Government. Statements -- Presentation of Papers -- Motions -- (a) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDAIF, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts including Inspection Fees as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of two million, two hundred and eighty- seven thousand, ninety-five euros (€2,287,095.00) on project equipment and materials for the implementation of the project agreement between the Ministry of Health and VAMED in respect of the design, construction, equipping and furnishing of five (5) Polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region (Phase IV) to be located in Adentan, Ashaiman, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege. Consequential Resolution (b) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America regarding mutual assistance between their Customs Adminis- trations. Consequential Resolution Committee sittings. ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT— Message on the State of the Nation Presentation of Papers -- Committee sittings. Questions *279. Mr Derek Ohene Assifo Bekoe (Upper West Akim): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the construction of the Adeiso town roads will be completed. *280. Mr Christian Corletey Otuteye (Sege): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when work on the following roads will be completed: (i) Nakom Korpe to Koluedor (ii) Anyamam to Wokumagbe. *281. Mr Yaw Afful (Jaman South): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways the current state of the Road Fund in financing the maintenance of the nation's roads. Statements -- Presentation of Papers -- Committee sittings.
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful. I want to find out from the Hon Majority Chief Whip, when the Report on the fire that nearly gutted Parliament House -- When are we going to have that Report and if there is an indication of when Hon Members could be taken through some exercises in the event of any accidents in the House. Mr Speaker, finally, now that His Excellency the President is back in the country, I wonder if the position of acting President comes with any emoluments.
Mr Speaker, may I commend the Hon Majority Chief Whip for presenting the Business Statement for the week ending 9th February, 2018. On the second page and paragraph, the Hon Majority Chief Whip said that: “Mr Speaker, the Business Committee takes this opportunity to advise Hon Members not to enter the Chamber with their guests” I wonder why this Statement is here because on no occasion do we come into the Chamber with guests. So, I thought that, this really could - it is quite needless, with all due respect. So that the impression is not created as though there are some days that Hon Members come into the Chamber with guests, but on the day of the State of the Nation Address, we should not come with our guests. We never come with our guests, so, I do not know if they are referring to Parliament or the Public Gallery -- but the Chamber. I really wonder why this is here because I am not aware that any Hon Member comes into the Chamber with guests. Mr Speaker, the other issue I want to raise has to do with a decision that this House took yesterday, under your Leadership, when the Hon Member for Asawase, (Alhaji) Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, raised the issue that had to do with the Legislative Instrument (L.I.) on the Ghana School Law of admissions. The Hon Majority Leader informed the House that he would confer with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice so that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice would appear before the House and possibly withdraw the L.I. This is because, article 11 (7) (b), it emerged yesterday, as having been breached since the L.I. has not been gazetted and the Hon Chairman of the Subsidiary and Legislation Committee confirmed that. Mr Speaker, we expected that the Business Statement of next week would see the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice featuring and she would come and address that matter. So, I would want to draw the attention of the Hon Majority Chief Whip to see if he could give some indication whether that matter is receiving attention at the Business Committee. Mr Speaker, finally, I would want to draw your attention to the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463). Mr Speaker, I beg to quote section 11: “The President shall within 3 months after the end of each financial year, submit to Parliament an annual report containing the following information -- (a) the number of presidential staff employed at the Office; (b) the rank or grade of such staff; and (c) employees in the other public services assigned to the office.”
Hon Member for Adaklu?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much and I thank the Hon Majority Chief Whip for presenting the Business Statement. Mr Speaker, my comments are specifically about the time of the President's Address. Mr Speaker, as you can see in the House, we still have a problem with attendance. Mr Speaker, day in, day out, I turn up at work at 10.00 o'clock as you directed the previous day. Hardly, do we start work on time and it is not giving me any incentive to come to work as you direct. I am not sure about what we would do to make this improve. Mr Speaker, today is Friday and we are still expected to be at work, but some may be outside for various reasons and someone might even ask if we have the quorum to do business today. Mr Speaker, we do not. Mr Speaker, according to the Business Statement, if we are to be here at 9.15 a.m. then I would encourage Leadership that, when it is time for us to start work and the President arrives, let us lock the gates. We should not let anybody enter this House until it has ended. Mr Speaker, until we begin to implement these things rigidly, it would just be a talk shop where people think that we come to talk and go. Mr Speaker, I would want to encourage Leadership that if we have to come here on time and it is on paper, then let us adhere to it when the President enters on time. But if the President is late, then I am not sure how we could stop anybody else from entering. But if the President comes here on time, then anybody who comes after him should be locked out. I believe that would be appropriate. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity and I believe that the Hon Majority Chief Whip is acting justifiably in the seat of the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee who is the Leader of the House but who is attending to an important family matter. Mr Speaker, but we owe it to come to your defence that the late start of proceedings is not the doing of the Speaker. I am aware that, Prof Oquaye and your good-self have always responded to time. Even today -- I wish I remembered the name of the staff -- before Mr Speaker entered, the staff had to walk in three times to count at his own level. I just hope that I would see the staff around. Mr Speaker, Hon Members must endeavour to be punctual and be in the Chamber. Some Hon Members are waiting in their offices to see Mr Speaker enter the Chamber before they come and that in itself is not respectable and it is a breach of protocol. So, I could understand my Hon Colleague's concern. He is a British trained man so, punctuality and respect for time is very important to him. I share that with him and I think that in many instances, it has not been the Speaker. Sometimes, Leadership must take responsibility because normally there is pre-Sitting meeting which is chaired by the Speaker where we discuss matters of mutual interest, including Government Business, so that we would build some understanding and consensus on how to proceed. Sometimes, the disagreement at that level also takes a toll on the time even before Mr Speaker enters the Chamber. Mr Speaker, so, I appreciate that Hon Members must be responsive, but in this instance, and on many occasions, it is not the Speaker. Prof. Mike Oquaye has warned us a number of times and I beg to quote what he said, “Hon Leaders, I do not want to be embarrassed. We said 10.00 a.m.” He even said that when we agreed on 12.00 noon it seemed to be working for all of us. So, if we have brought it to 10.00 a.m. and we cannot respect that, then maybe, we should look at 12.00 noon again. Mr Speaker, the Standing Orders Committee that you chair must take a critical look at the time, whether or not we would all not build, given how we get here early. Mr Speaker, permit me to now comment on the Business Statement, for the Third Week. More importantly, the President would be here, pursuant to his constitutional duty and obligation to address us on the State of the nation. Mr Speaker, we look forward to that and we would accord him the respect as the first gentleman of the land. So, Hon Members should endeavour be on time and decorous even though we are still working to build consensus on behaviour within the Chamber when we have the President as our guest. Mr Speaker, to the Table Office, I know that at the Business Committee meeting, we said that just one Question for Tuesday was not enough. If we do not have more to do until the State of the Nation Address, then we would miss -- a lot of Questions stand in the name of Hon Ministers so they must be encouraged to come and answer to those Questions. Mr Speaker, I am compelled to support Hon Okudjeto Ablakwa because repeatedly, I have stood here to demand from the Office of the President the full details and list of all employees at the Office of the President and the Office of the National Security and the extension of the Ministry. Mr Speaker, this is pursuant to the Presidential Act. So, we ask for what is lawful. Mr Speaker, where is the transparency that they promised? They should bring the list to us. If they have bloated it and they cannot share the numbers with the public, they should let us know. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation should monitor those numbers and bring it to Parliament. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, he should monitor how many people are at the Flagstaff House and the National Security and report same.
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Mr Speaker, my good Hon Friend is the Hon Minority Leader of this House and he knows the rules. When it is due, it would be brought here. It is
Mr Speaker, it is due. They assumed reigns of government on January 7th 2016, so, for even March, 2017, they were supposed to give a Report which captured the 2016 era. They have not done that and one year has since elapsed. Mr Speaker, they should bring us full details. They promised the people of Ghana an open and transparent government and so, we need full details of every person including party apparatchiks that they are loading here and there in those offices. Mr Speaker, finally, on a matter which is of interest to you; the Legal Profession (Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulations, 2017. Mr Speaker, by virtue of article 11, this House -- and there is a subsequent Supreme Court ruling on this matter and we might be guided by it, in terms of the laying of this Instrument pursuant to the parent Act. Mr Speaker, attention has been drawn to the fact that, we are in breach and if we are in breach, then it would not stand as law. Mr Speaker, young people who aspire to read law and want to be lawyers are much interested in what Parliament does to this particular subsidiary legislation. Therefore, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice must take an appropriate, urgent and timely action so that aspiring law students and young people who are desirous of law would know their fate and they would know what the lawmakers of Ghana are defining for them as their future. Mr Speaker, anything short of it would render the particular Instrument redundant in terms of its legal standards. So what
Mr Speaker, concerning the issue Hon Ras Mubarak raised about the fire outbreak, it would engage the attention of the Business Committee in the ensuing week. So when we are reporting next week Friday, we would give indications. Mr Speaker, Hon Ablakwa raised an issue about an expression in the Business Statement on page 2 which says that Members should not enter the Chamber with their guests. It has happened before. So, we are just emphasising or drawing the attention of Hon Members to that fact. The fact that somebody is a Member of Parliament does not entitle him or her to enter the Chamber with a guest when we have begun business. Sometimes, people think that they are coming with a sitting Member of Parliament so they enter together. Those things do not help. So we are just cautioning ourselves that we do not need to do that. Mr Speaker, with the Legislative Instrument that the Minority Leader also spoke about, I think the Hon Majority Leader undertook to talk to the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice and what is needful would be done. Mr Speaker, with the issue about the President's Office Act, Act 463, the law gives the President three months within which to act. We have done less than half of the period that is given. We have done one month and we are just about the second day into the second month. So my Hon Colleagues should be patient. The President would comply with the provisions of the law. Mr Speaker, I agree that, time is of essence. So as the Hon Minority Leader reiterated, the issue raised by Hon Governs Kwame Agbodza, all of us must be guided that we need to be conscious of our time. This is because, sometimes, we waste a lot of time and it does not help all of us. Mr Speaker, on that note, I believe I have been able to respond to the questions and issues raised by Members. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I also expected that in reading the Business Statement, the Chief Whip would address the very important issue of insecurity raised by the Minority. Mr Speaker, a few days ago, the Minority raised issues regarding recruitments. The Minority expressed concern regarding those who are being recruited to the extent that, specific allegations were made in respect of the background of these recruits to the effect that some may be members of the ‘Invincible Forces and Delta Force'. An Hon Member of this House, my very respected Colleague, Hon Okudjeto Ablakwa, has gone a step further by specifically saying that, a Member of this House from the Odododiodioo Constituency, Hon Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, had alleged or had raised a concern that, about three or four of these persons to be recruited are known members of a supposed group called the Invincible Forces. Mr Speaker, my worry is that, to the extent that an Hon Member has raised this matter, it has to be dealt with by making a full disclosure. If the names could be furnished for the House or the Parliamentary Service Board which has mandated the Clerk to Parliament to do this recruitment to act on it, the better it would be for us as a House. But to throw this out in the public domain without giving specific details is a serious matter. This is because, we are dealing with issues of security and as we speak, the impression out there is that, some members of the Invincible Forces or Delta Force are being recruited or have been recruited and are undergoing training. Mr Speaker, it is a very serious matter and I would beg that the Chief Whip takes the matter on board and the Member who has raised the concern provides us with specific details and in the absence of same -- [Interruption.] The principle is that he who alleges must prove. It is not for them to shift the burden that they have alleged. This is because my very respected Colleague, Hon Ablakwa was very specific and categorical that he is not privy to the information. Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye raised the matter. We are all concerned about security. It is either disclosed or withdrawn. It is important. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
On this one, I think that there has been a discussion between the Leadership and Mr Speaker and I believe that has been brought to the attention of the President, that indeed, the organisation called Assembly Press is actually a property of Parliament. It was called Assembly Press because, at that time, Ghana's Parliament was called the National Assembly. Therefore, they should be working as a department of Parliament. It is because it is now operating under another Ministry and as an independent agency of the Ministry that we are having that disconnect. So, I think that Leadership should pursue it. I recall that the President was very keen when it was brought to his attention. We should pursue it so that the Assembly Press should be seen to be -- This is because by law, they have to do the gazetting and they work on days different from the days that Parliament works. This disconnection would continue to be there. So the point is well noted. Leadership would take the matter up and pursue it to its conclusion.
Mr Speaker, my concern has to do with the fact that, our Hon colleagues on the other Side of the House would want to politicise everything including matters that border on security.
Mr Speaker, we as Parliament -- Mr Speaker, this is a very dangerous statement, that we as Parliament --
What statement? Hold on. I am sorry, I was consulting with the Clerk. What statement did you say is dangerous?
Mr Speaker, what I am saying is, it is a serious matter for our Hon Colleagues on the other Side of the House to have raised a concern that we as Parliament have gone out to recruit a vigilante group to man security here. We must address it once and for all, especially, when they are on radio making lifeless propaganda as if Parliament cannot beef up security internally. So they should provide names, and we are daring them to pinpoint any member --
Hon Member, let your address be to parliamentarians. Your language should be parliamentary. You address Members as Hon Members on the other Side of the House or our Colleagues. “Them “and “they” and so on are unparliamentary. Please use the appropriate parliamentary language.
Respectfully, we would take a cue from what you just said, but the point is, we want them to provide names based on the allegations they have raised.
Hon Member, if you are going to respond to him, I would not give you the opportunity, because I think the issues are being raised for the acting Chairman of the Business Committee to respond, and he would respond appropriately. But if you have another issue then I would recognise you.
But he mentioned my name.
It was not intended to be you. It was intended for the Leader to act.
Mr Speaker, I thought you had taken a decision on this matter, in which you had said that we should avoid discussing these matters in public, and some guidance had been given regarding how we should handle matters like this, so I think we should stick to the admonishment that you gave the other day.
I would let the appropriate Committee respond to the issue, then I would speak to a few issues that have been raised here myself. Hon Member for Bodi?
Mr Speaker, I would like to suggest to the Business Committee to consider inviting the Hon Minister for Local Government and the Hon Minister for Education to come and explain to us why our project Funds for 2017 have still not been released, even though some of us applied several months ago. We are in 2018, and they have not released the Funds. I have not received mine, even though I applied several months ago. It is affecting the way we operate in the Constituency. Would it be possible? Yes, I could file a Question, but another option is for the Business Committee to programme it, so that they would come and explain to us. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Mr Speaker, my good Friend is a senior Member of this House, and he knows how these things are done. There is no relevance to the Business Statement in front of us, but more importantly, the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development is not in charge of funds for project development. Since when did the Hon Minister become in charge? As a senior Member of this House, he should know from where those moneys come, not from Local Government, and he should teach the younger ones so they know, but if he makes such a mistake -- and if he does not know he should see me in chambers, I would tell him.
Mr Speaker --
Hon Ahi, kindly resume your seat for the time being. Hon Members, can we finish dealing with the Business Committee's work? If there are outstanding matters that people would want to bring, I would give them the opportunity, but we should not use the Business Committee to introduce every other matter we want. Hon Sampson Ahi, yes?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague who just spoke is also a senior Member, and he should learn to respect and know how to talk to senior Members in this Parliament, not to just stand up and insult anybody. What I said was that -- and it is done, it is possible. The Business Committee could programme to invite the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to come and explain why the third quarter of 2017 Common Fund has not been released, as well as the fourth quarter, and for the Hon Education Minister to come and explain to us why our share of the GETFund has not been released for 2017. I urge that the Business Committee programmes the Minister to come next week. This is not out of place.
Hon Member, please.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. The issue Hon Sampson Ahi raised could have been taken on board when the House had a Joint Caucus Meeting some two or three days ago, so I believe some of these matters can be dealt with when we have a Committee of the Whole or when we have a Joint Caucus Meeting, and one was held not too long ago. He should have taken advantage of that. He also has the opportunity to ask a Question. Now we are presenting a Business Statement for next week. The Committee met yesterday, so what he is asking for cannot be factored into the presentation that has been done. So, he can talk to the Chairman of the Business Committee, not necessarily here. Mr Speaker, so far we have exhausted discussions on the Business Statement, and we look up to you.
Hon Member for Effutu, we are done. I was going to respond to the issue you raised. First, that matter had been discussed here at Plenary. The appropriate information has been given. Those who raised it have realised that, they took the wrong step. We have been advised not to discuss matters like this on air. I think everybody is abiding by it, so we should let that matter lie. Who was on air today?
Mr Speaker, I was watching Metro Television and I saw Hon Afenyo-Markin and Hon Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwah discuss this matter. In fact, to quote him, he said he does not know the names, but the Member from Odododiodioo is the one who knows the names. Mr Speaker, if I am wrong, let him deny it.
Yes, Hon Member for North Tongu?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation is right. I did not know that he monitors television programmes as well -- [Laughter.] I thought that he would be too busy monitoring matters of State that he would not be monitoring Metro Television's “Good Morning Ghana”, but he is very right. Mr Speaker, the matter arose when my Hon Colleague Afenyo-Markin sought to say that the Hon Second Deputy Speaker had disowned the Minority, and that we were up to a lot of mischief. He even asked the moderator of the programme to give him the permission to ask me directly to mention the names of the people who we say belong to the ‘Invisible Forces'. The recording is available, all those who watched it. And I am happy Dr Akoto Osei watched it. So, we both discussed it. In fact, I was invited to a treat, and I could not resist the temptation. So, we both treated the matter. Mr Speaker, I am willing to abide by, and subject myself to your further direction, especially if the Hon Afenyo- Markin would stop leading me into temptation. He led me into temptation. 11: 50 a.m.
Hon Afenyo-Markin, I would not recognise you again, so, kindly resume your seat. The important thing is that, the matter was discussed on air again by two Hon Members of Parliament. [Interruption.] --
Mr Speaker, with respect, I only cautioned him. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I knew he was walking on a slippery ice, so I cautioned him, and he took a cue, and navigated gently out of that trouble. Mr Speaker, so, if the Hon Ablakwa has considered that he erred, then I join other Hon Colleagues in pleading for mercy on his behalf, hoping that, if I had also indirectly slipped, I would be forgiven. Mr Speaker, another important matter that got me on my feet, is the point raised by the Hon Majority Chief Whip, regarding Business Statements. Mr Speaker, in this House, the tradition has been that when the Business Statement is read, Hon Members get the opportunity to raise issues. I recall that in the last Parliament, there was an occasion where there were compelling reasons to amend the Business Statement for the ensuing week. Mr Speaker, therefore, the Hon Member is my senior at the Bar, and I respect him a
Mr Speaker, I believe that the Hon Afenyo-Markin used an expression which is of paramount importance. He said: “relevant related matters.” Therefore, it means that it is not any matter at all. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Members, I believe it is important that on matters that relate to the House, we seek information and be sure of what we talk of outside of this premise. If the issues are raised here and one is wrong, he would be corrected, but when it is outside, what is done is that the matter is thrown outside, and people who are not informed and do not even understand how we work here feed on it, and disparage Parliament, the institution and its members for nothing. So, we would encourage Hon Members that when they have issues, they should raise it here for us to discuss it here, and avoid discussing matters on air, which relates to the workings here. Hon Members, I believe that the other time, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker explained that the Parliamentary Service does all the recruitments of people that serve here. If anybody has any specific issue that relates to any particular person, that in the case of that particular person, an Hon Member may know him or her to be a, b, c, or d, then if the Hon Member tells the Chief Executive Officer, who is the Clerk to Parliament, then he would take the appropriate steps. Hon Members, we should not throw that also into the discussion. This is because as soon as we categorise them as this or that, they lose their neutrality to work for us here. Everybody votes, but they are supposed to serve us, irrespective of whichever way they vote. So, we should not introduce our own partisanship into the work of the Parliamentary Service, because it makes it uncomfortable for them. Hon Members, if one insists that he heard that for a particular man, he used to work for, or he belonged to a particular party, and so one would not allow the person to be on his Committee, then what happens? We would then have to rearrange, and then another person would also say that he does not also like a particular person. I therefore encourage Hon Members that when they have issues here, they should deal with the Hon Leaders, Committees of the Whole, or Joint Caucus meetings, so that we could discuss and resolve them here. The Hon Member for Adaklu made a statement that related to punctuality. I believe that everybody who has been keen would observe that the Rt Hon Speaker is very keen on starting the day's Business at 10.00 a. m. There are times that he had come to sit in when the Hon Leaders were not here. This is because the practice is to wait for the Hon Leaders, but sometimes, he decides not to wait for them. He tells us that it is time, and so he is going. Hon Members, therefore, if we have any verdict, it should be a verdict on the Rt Hon Speaker's promptness being excellent. Anytime that we are late, it is because he would be waiting for something, Hon Leaders would be working on something, or we ourselves would not be ready. I believe we should take a cue, and not make the Rt. Hon Speaker to come and wait for us. All the time, by 10.00 a. m., he is ready. Hon Members, that is the end of the Business Statement. Hon Sampson Ahi, did you rise on an issue that regards the Business Statement?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
All right, then let me hear you.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the Hon Afenyo-Markin raised an important point, which you would have to consider. The Business Statement, as presented by the Hon acting Chairman, is not final. It is for the consideration of this House, and therefore, Hon Members can propose amendments. We can add or subtract. That is why it is presented to the plenary for our consideration. Mr Speaker, so, when the Business Committee meets and agree on the various agenda, it does not mean that they should come and impose them on us. Therefore, if I have a conviction that something is wrong with regards to the release of the Common Funds and I would want an urgent attention to be paid to it, I can raise it. It should be considered to be incorporated in the Business Statement. Mr Speaker, I believe that you should give directives on this, and allow the Business Committee members to be aware that whatever they present to us is not final. It can be amended. Mr Speaker, thank you for your audience.
Thank you, Hon Member. I believe the Hon Acting Chairman of the Business Committee conceded that if there was anything relevant that was left out, then they are open to including any such thing. Thank you very much. [Pause] --
Hon Members, the Business Statement for week -- Hon Member, would you want to say something on the Business Statement? All right go ahead.
Mr Speaker, I believe that you have not said anything about the issue regards the Legislative Instruments (L.Is). The Hon Minister himself has admitted the necessity to withdraw the one that he laid, and we also gave indications yesterday regarding the anomalies that relates to the ones that the Attorney-General and Hon Minister for Justice laid.
Hon Members, I do not believe it lies in my mouth to order that the Hon Minister should withdraw an LI. If we find out that it has not been gazetted, they know the appropriate thing to be done, or the Committee then would advise us that it is not gazetted therefore, it cannot stand. So, as for now, we have information but either the Hon Minister will come and withdraw it himself or the Committee to which those things have been referred will advise the House. I do not think I should make any pronouncement at this time. Hon Members, the Business Statement for the week ensuing is hereby adopted. Question time. Hon Minister for Roads and Highways? The first Question, Question 265, is in the name of the Hon Member for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF ROADS AND
Mr Speaker, Background The Government secured Yen Loan for the development of a 54m cable stayed bridge over the Volta River from Volivo to Dofor Adidome in 2017. This bridge is a critical part of the Eastern Corridor Development which is envisaged to become the main south-north corridor (because it is the shorter route to the northern sector compared to the central corridor). The bridge will serve as an alternative crossing point on the Volta River in the event of any unforeseen circumstance, resulting in the closure of the Adomi bridge as happened recently when the Adomi Bridge was closed for rehabilitation. It is in this vein that the alternative crossing at Volivo and the by- pass road is vital. The loan was effective in July 2017 with the payment of the frontend fees. The detailed designs for the bridges and implementation plans have been duly completed. However, the works cannot start because of the decision of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to delay the construction works on the bridge pending the confirmation of the allocation of funds for the road component. Discussions held with the JICA indicates that they would stand by the agreement we signed with them to develop the Asutuare Junction -- Asikuma road concurrently with the bridge, therefore they expect a firm commitment from GoG to undertake the road works before the bridge works will commence. Although the African Development Bank had expressed interest in supporting the Government to develop the road, the funds available to the Country at the moment are insufficient for the works. The sector has presented various funding scenarios to the Ministry of Finance to consider in financing the road works. Current programme The procurement of consultant is on- going but has suffered some delays due to the on-going discussion on the commitment for the road works. Originally, the construction was expected to commence in the October 2018, but the process has suffered about three months delay.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to draw the attention of the Hon Minister that it is “Dofor Adidome”, not “Dafor Adidome”, so that we do not lose the facility because I know that there are other places called “Dafor” but this is “Dofor”. Mr Speaker, in the last paragraph, I believe that the Hon Minister intended to say “2017” instead of “2018”: Mr Speaker, I beg to quote him: “… the construction was expected to commence in October, 2017 but the process has suffered about 3 months”. Is it that I am reading it wrongly? It is not clear to me, but I just raised those so that the Hon Minister could address his mind to it. Mr Speaker, my first question is, is there a new start date since the original schedule has been derailed because of the decision to get GoG to show commitment for the road works? Do we have a new start date that they are working with?
Mr Speaker, first, I would want to thank my Hon Colleague for the correction of “Dofor”. I have taken note of that. Secondly, let me reemphasise that the commencement date as stated is corrected according the schedule of work in my Ministry for this Project, even though we are trying to bring it forward. I wish to assure you and this honourable House that my Ministry and for that matter the Government is expediting work on this bridge. This is because if you read from the Answer I gave, the importance of having that bridge in place cannot be overemphasised because it serves and is going to serve as an alternative the Adomi Bridge. I made reference to it, that last year, we know the difficulty people, particularly in the Volta Region, went through when Adomi Bridge came under rehabilitation. So, even though it is scheduled to start in October this year, we are working hard to secure the funding for the arterial roads. It is critical to JICA because where the bridge is situated, without the arterial roads, if they release the money for its construction, it would not be operational. We need the arterial roads. So, it is a condition precedent and I can assure you Hon Member and this honourable House that the Government is working very hard at it to find the funds to initiate the construction of all the arterial roads so that JICA's funds would be released. I believe that even though we scheduled for October this year, we are trying to work hard to bring it forward.
Mr Speaker, the third paragraph of the Hon Minister's Answer reads: “The sector has presented various funding scenarios to the Ministry of Finance to consider in financing the road works.”
The Hon Minister did not indicate what the outcome is. Has there been any response from the Ministry of Finance? I would want to find out.
Mr Speaker, yes, as I foresaid, the African Development Bank (Af DB) has expressed keen interest to support us and they have demonstrated it by releasing a certain amount to us. I can confirm that we have almost US$20 million with us towards the financing of the arterial roads but obviously, we need more money than that to support it. That is why from GoG sources, from the Consolidated Fund, we try to make up the difference. So, we are working hard and in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, I believe the difference would be sorted out and as soon as that is done, the Project would be pushed forward and it would take off since JICA is waiting for us to release the funds.
Mr Speaker, that is very re-assuring coming from the Hon Minister, and I am glad that my good sister, Hon Abena Osei-Asare is in the House. I hope that she would help at the Ministry of Finance so that matters could be facilitated for a good brother's sake.
I would want to find out from the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways whether it is possible to re-engage JICA so that at least they can start with the bridge while Government finalises the funding for the roads. Have you considered that option? I am grateful, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I believe that is the wish of every Ghanaian and we keep on doing that. But this issue came up during my visit to Japan in November last year. They do not have any problem at all releasing the money but like I said, they do not want the bridge to become a white elephant after it has been constructed. So, we keep on talking to them and negotiating with them but they are concerned that at least we show commitment and convince them that something has started and we have taken it up. That is our side of the obligation and it must be discharged. So, I can assure you and this honourable House that very soon we shall take this matter up and at least show some initiative to convince them to release the funds. So that kind of negotiation is going on. I thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member for Adaklu?
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minister for elaborating on the start of the Volivo Bridge. Mr Speaker, I am glad he also said that ADB is interested in providing extra funding for the arterial roads. I am delighted to hear that government is committed to the rest of the funding. But would the Hon Minister agree with me that, it would have been a better priority to provide GoG funding to start the arterial roads rather than build a tunnel between Flower Pot and East Legon? Would you agree with me that it would have been a better priority to send that money to Volivo since the grant is ready to be used rather than digging a tunnel between Flower Pot and East Legon?
Mr Speaker, it is true, that in life because resources are limited, it is always proper to do prioritisation. But in this respect, I can tell you that the construction of the tunnel is as important as the building of the Volivo Bridge. They are equally important so whether one is started before the other, that is immaterial. They are both important. Thank you.
Hon Member for Adaklu, where do you live in Accra?
Mr Speaker, at the moment, I am in Parliament. But I live -- [Laughter.]
I know you are in Parliament. How long does it take you to go under the tunnel?
Mr Speaker, I do not use it at all.
That is why you do not understand the importance of that road.. Very well, the next Question is in the name of the Hon Member for Bongo, Mr Edward Abambire Bawa.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Bongo is unavoidably absent and I seek your leave to ask the Question on his behalf.
Very well, you may go ahead. Q.266. Mr Shaibu Mahama (on behalf of Mr Edward Abambire Bawa) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Bongo -- Namoo road would be constructed.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, Background: The underlisted roads: i. Bongo - Namoo road (30.0 km) is being undertaken by Ghana Highway Authority ( GHA). ii. Bongo-Balungu-Namoo border feeder road (14km) is being undertaken by Department of Feeder Roads (DFR). The roads are located in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region. Both are gravel surfaced in poor condition. Bongo - Namoo road Current programme The first 2.0 km of the trunk road from Bongo has been packaged together with the 5.0 km Yorogo Junction - Vea Dam road, for upgrading to bituminous surfacing. The package is being reviewed by the Employer, and will be executed when funds are available. Two (2) contracts have also been awarded for the re-gravelling of Bongo- Namoo trunk road from (km 2.0 - km 7.0) and (km 7.0 - km12.0). a) Regravelling of Bongo - Namoo road km (2.0-7.0). This project commenced on 10th August, 2016 and was scheduled for completion on 9th August, 2017. The completion date has since elapsed. The progress of work is projected at 20.0 per cent physical completion. GHA has initiated the process to terminate the
Mr Speaker, I read from paragraph (b) of the Hon Minister's Answer: and I quote with your permission “the completion date has since elapsed. The progress of work is projected at 5.0 % physical completion. GHA has initiated the process to terminate the contract in view of this low performance achieved compared with 142% of completion time utilised.” May I know from the Hon Minister whether there has been an assessment of the possible implications of termination; that is cost and possible judgement debt and also delays in projects that have effects on the citizens.
Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, the question was not clear to me. Could he repeat it?
He asked whether you have taken into consideration, the cost implication of re- awarding the contract.
Mr Speaker, that is always taken into consideration. It is true that anytime the Ministry is compelled to go through the process of terminating a contract, it becomes a little more than the original contract sum. That is why the Ministry is careful when awarding contracts. The last thing that the Ministry or any Agency would want to do is to terminate a contract. This is because it would go through a long procedure to start with, before a contract is terminated. This is because all contracts are regulated by law. So we need to go strictly by the terms and conditions of the contract. We must have good reasons for abrogating any contract legally. Apart from that, we need to give, at least, two warning letters at reasonable intervals to the Contractor before that decision could be taken. If that decision is taken in accordance with law, we would need to repackage the job. We might even have to re-scope the works to be done and do further estimation of the project. We have taken all that into consideration. As difficult and as painful as it might be, it is a lesser evil and there is no option. This is because if a contractor is not performing, the people must have the use of the road, because they are the eventual beneficiaries. So we are compelled to abrogate a contract and re-award it. This is so that the people and country as a whole would benefit. It is true that the cost is slightly higher but we have no alternative.
Mr Speaker, the final Question has to do with possible timelines of re-awarding and start of work. This is so that the inconvenience caused to pedestrians would be minimised.
Hon Minister, are you capable of giving us timelines?
Mr Speaker, I can only assure my Hon Colleagues in this honourable House that I wish this work had been completed even yesterday. We are working with speed and shall expedite action. While I do not want to give any specific timeline, I can assure the Hon Member and this House that we are working with speed to address this issue.
Hon Members, the next Question is in the name of the Hon Member for Garu, Albert Akuka Alalzuuga. Construction of Garu - Bawku Road Q. 268. Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Garu township roads would be constructed.
Mr Speaker, Background The Bawku - Missiga - Garu road is 30km long. The Bawku - Missiga section is 5.0km and paved whilst the Missiga - Garu section is 25.0km and has both bituminous and gravel surfaces. The road traverses Bawku in the Bawku Municipality to Garu in the Garu-Tempane District of the Upper East Region. Current programme There are currently three contracts awarded on the Missiga-Garu section of the Bawku - Garu trunk road: Contract A: Partial Reconstruction of Missiga - Garu road (km 0.0-5.0) and Upgrading of Missiga - Kulungugu road (km 0.0-10.0). The works commenced on 16th January, 2013 for contractual completion on 15th April, 2016. The completion date has since elapsed. The Contractor has requested for an extension of the completion time due to the Employer's delay in paying for work done. The progress of works is projected at 46 per cent physical completion. When completed, the road will have a bituminous surface. Contract B: Regravelling of Missiga - Garu road (km 5.0-10.0) The project commenced on 19th September, 2016 for contractual
Mr Speaker, in the last line of the fifth paragraph, the Hon Minister indicated that the progress of work is projected at 46 per cent physical completion and he also added that when completed the road would have a bituminous surface. Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether the bituminous surface would be on the entire stretch of the road?
Mr Speaker, the entire road is scheduled to be bituminous surface, but from my Answer, I indicated that the entire road has been broken down into three lots which are handled by three different contractors. So, the work is scheduled to be carried out in phases and we would deal with the first five kilometres and that is why I gave a specific account on that. It would be developed from gravel stage and upgraded to a bituminous stage and by the time the entire stretch is completed the entire surface would have received bitumen.
Mr Speaker, in paragraph five of the Hon Minister's Answer, he indicated that the remaining 10 per cent section has been scheduled for the 2018 routine maintenance and that would be grading to keep the gravel surface motorable. Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Minister when construction on that portion would commence?
Mr Speaker, in paragraph (5) of my Answer, I said that ‘'the remaining ten kilometres'' and not the ‘'the remaining 10 per cent''. Mr Speaker, as I have already said, the entire stretch of the road is being worked on and is being taken as one project from the beginning to the end, but because work is being done in stages, we have realised that the last 10.0 km is not in good shape at all. That is why as a measure, we would want to make sure that, until we get there, we would put it in our routine maintenance programme -- it is at the gravel stage -- to put it in good shape to give riding comfort to motorist and to make that section passable at all times. Mr Speaker, by the time we finish working on the entire stretch as programmed and by the time we put bitumen in it, at least, the people living within that vicinity would not be cut off.
Mr Speaker, as I speak now, there are two culverts that are under construction and the contractor has diverted the road, but the way the diversion has been done, it is creating a lot of accidents around that area. Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister if they would do some interim work to ensure some safety for road users for that portion of the road.
Hon Minister, I believe this is just to urge you to consider road safety in the diversion.
Mr Speaker, one cardinal point in road construction is to ensure maximum safety to motorists and indeed, people who are travelling. Mr Speaker, I have taken key note of that concern. It has not come to my attention so I would liaise with my technical people, particularly, our Regional Director in the Upper East Region and ask for an explanation in this concern. If that is confirmed, I can assure my Hon Colleague that we shall take immediate action to avoid further fatal occurrences on this road.
Yes, Hon available Leader?
Mr Speaker, it would be noted from the Question that it is Garu- Bawku. So I am starting from the Bawku angle going to Garu. Mr Speaker, when the contract for the Bolga- Bawku - Pulmakon road was awarded, I lobbied for the Bawku-Garu stretch to be added to that project and I was told by staff of the Ministry that the Bawku-Garu stretch is part of the Eastern Corridor road and so that belonged to a completely different project. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister's presentation today does not seemed to confirm that it is part of the Eastern Corridor Project and so I would want him to provide some clarification to that.
Mr Speaker, what my Hon Colleague said is true and I could confirm that. Perhaps it was not added to Bolga-Bawku-Pulmakon road because they fall within two separate entities. From Bolga to Bawku to Pulmakon near the border is a long stretch. Mr Speaker, that stretch is about 109 kilometres and it was awarded separately to one contractor with this huge contract sum. I believe the Hon Member knows it since it is his Constituency. The contract sum is about 622.9 million Ghana cedis. So it was treated as a separate road project and a separate entity. It was a major rehabilitation on that stretch of the road. Mr Speaker, yes, the Garu to Bawku Road, at the end of the day would form part of the Eastern Corridor Road which starts from Tema, through Volta Region to join the Northern Region. But we had to deal with that section because of the nature of that road; it is so deteriorated. A greater portion of that road is at the gravel stage and anytime there is a rainfall, the road becomes so bad that something had to be done. So as much as we are working on the entire Eastern Corridor Road, we had to give an attention to it. So what the Hon Member said is true, and we are treating the two roads separately. They are both aligned, so that is what is happening.
Very well. Question number 268 -- Hon Member for Garu again? Construction of Garu Town Roads Q. 268. Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Garu township roads would be constructed.
Hon Minister, why is it that we do not have an Answer in the Order Paper?
Mr Speaker, there is an Answer on page 10 of the Order Paper.
I thank you, Mr Speaker. Background Garu is the capital of the Garu-Tempane District of the Upper East Region. Current programme Currently, there is no major programme to rehabilitate the Garu township roads. However, routine maintenance activities such as pothole patching on the paved sections and grading of the gravel sections have been awarded for execution in 2018.
Mr Speaker, in the second paragraph of the Hon Minister's Answer, he indicated and I quote with your permission, that: “However, routine maintenance activities such as pothole patching on the paved sections and grading of the gravel sections have been awarded for execution in 2018.” I would like to know from the Hon Minister when in 2018? This is because, we are in the first quarter of 2018, and I do not know whether it is going to start in the first, second or last quarter of 2018. So, could the Hon Minister be specific?
Mr Speaker, routine and periodic maintenance are always ongoing. We do routine and periodic maintenance on our roads at all times. So that is an ongoing process because roads must always be maintained to keep them in good shape and to make them vehicle worthy as much as possible. That is the essence of the Road Fund which is in existence. Mr Speaker, we use the resources from the Road Fund to maintain the roads. So, there is no specific time to carry it out. Once it is scheduled for 2018, because of the seriousness of some of the potholes within the town, we are giving it special attention in 2018 under our general broad ongoing maintenance programme. So, I would want to assure the Hon Member and the House that we are going to keep our eyes on Garu town roads and he would see action on it from now onwards. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr Speaker, this is more of an appeal. There is a certain portion stretching from the town towards where the District Assembly is. There is a portion there that is very dangerous and a lot of accidents occur there, especially on market days. I would want to appeal to the Hon Minister to use his good office to ensure that this portion is fixed. Thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Member, that is noted. The last Question stands in the name of the Hon Member for Daboya-Mankarigu -- Mr Shaibu Mahama.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. This is my substantive Question now.
This one is your Question. Progress of construction works on the Daboya to Busunu / Daboya to Mankarigu roads Q. 269. Mr Shaibu Mahama asked the Minister for Roads and Highways the progress of construction works on the Daboya to Busunu and Daboya to Mankarigu roads.
Mr Speaker, Background The Daboya - Busunu and Daboya - Mankarigu roads are 53km and 30km long respectively with gravel surfaces. The roads are located in the North Gonja District of the Northern Region. Current programme Two contracts have been awarded for the upgrading of Busunu - Daboya road (km 0-53) and rehabilitation of Daboya - Mankarigu - Wiase (km 0-30). The two projects when completed will upgrade the roads to a bituminous surface. a. Upgrading of Busunu - Daboya road (km 0-53) This project commenced on 1st January, 2015 for completion on 1st June, 2017 which has since elapsed. It is currently at 65 per cent physical completion. Activity at site has been suspended because of delay in payment for the works done. The project is being financed from the Ghana Road Fund. b. Rehabilitation of Daboya -- Mankarigu -- Wiase (km 0-30) This project commenced on 7th November, 2016 for completion on 8th November, 2018. It is currently at 18 per cent physical completion. Activity at the site has been suspended because of delay in payment for the works done. The project is being financed from the Ghana Road Fund.
Mr Speaker, I noted from the Hon Minister's response that activities at the site have been suspended because of delay in payment for the work done. Respectfully, may I know from the Hon Minister whether the delay in payment is as a result of a technical or financial problem and, if so, when possibly could we get contractors back to the two roads? I thank you.
Mr Speaker, my Answer has given a clear and unambiguous reason for the delay. It is delay in payment. Payment has not been effected --
Hon Minister, the answer he wants is the reason the payment has delayed. Is it because there is no money or there is something wrong with the certificates? Which one is it?
Mr Speaker, there is nothing wrong with the certificates. The certificates were presented and the contractors initiated the payments by raising their invoices. The engineers duly prepared their certificates and were duly presented to the appropriate agency and were processed. But from 2015 to December, 2016, payments were not effected as expected. That is why the contractors abandoned the site. Steps are being taken to pay the contractors and to regularise the contracts so that they could go back. So essentially, the delay was financial. It had nothing to do with technical consideration.
Mr Speaker, at the intersection of these two roads is the White Volta River at Daboya. I know this is very dear to your heart because, when the bridge is constructed, it will serves as an alternative to Yapei and Buipe. I also know you have made provisions for it in the 2018 Budget Statement. When would work commence on the bridge over the White Volta River in Daboya?
Hon Member, that is a separate question which does not arise out of the Minister's Answer. If you want to ask another follow- up question, I would admit it, but this is disallowed.
Very well. Mr Speaker, there is an intersection of the two roads that I mentioned and I believe the Hon Minister knows exactly what I am talking about, and I am confident that he would provide just some little clarification on that question. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Member, the road has been designed and approved for construction. The only reason it has delayed is that, they have not been able to pay the contractors. So, I am sure the intersection has already taken care of the design. So, I take it that you do not have any follow-up question. Hon Member for “overseas”?
Mr Speaker, to the best of my knowledge, the contractor on the Daboya-Mankarigu- Wiase stretch has constructed culverts from 1km -- 18km. From 18km to 22km stretch which is a low land area. It is actually valley and the approaches of the culverts are not filled. When it rains around August, Mankarigu, Kumbugu and further would be cut off from the rest of the villages between Kubori to Wiase. Could the Hon Minister assure us that between now and August, he would do all he could, to get the contractor back to site so that he would be able to fill the approaches to allow for easy passage? I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, that assurance is hereby given -- [Laughter.]
Very well, that is the last of the Questions. Hon Minister, we thank you for attending upon the House to answer Questions. You are discharged.
Yes, Hon available Leader on the Minority side of the House, what is it? I am not yet on the next item. A Matter of Urgent Public Concern
Mr Speaker, before my Hon Leader exited the Chamber, he gave indications that, he had given notice pursuant to Standing Order 72 to raise a matter of urgent public concern. So, with your permission, may I do so on his behalf. [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, it relates to an announcement which went out yesterday that the Hon Upper West Regional Minister has been suspended from office pending some investigations regarding some matters involving the National Disaster Management Organisation's (NADMO's) office in the region. Mr Speaker, the concern of my Hon Leader, as he authorised me to raise, has to do with the very legality of the act of suspending a Minister of State. If you look at article 81 of our Constitution which deals with the ways that a Minister could be dealt with, clearly, we can see that a Minister may exit office by; resignation, termination of appointment by the President in the unfortunate event of death. The other way in which a Minister could be dealt with, is by vote of censure by this House. So, Mr Speaker, those are the known mechanisms that we can use to deal with a Minister. Mr Speaker, the exercise of the function of suspending a Minister and then investigating to find out what the facts really are, is a strange phenomenon. It is not known to our Constitution. Mr Speaker, if we go to article 297 (a), it deals with the powers that a President has over people that he appoints. With your permission, it states and I beg to quote: “…the power to appoint a person to hold or to act in an office in the public service shall include the power to confirm appointments, to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in any such office and to remove the persons from officeS” Mr Speaker, I hear people contend that this enables the President to suspend a Minister because it amounts to exercising disciplinary control. The Constitution interprets Public Service. If we go to Public Service, it says that it includes service in any civil office of government. A Ministerial portfolio is not a civil office of Government. The civil service constitutes the civil office of Government. So, we cannot use this provision of the Constitution to further the exercise of this power, especially when the Constitution itself is very express in the way that we can deal with a Minister of State. Mr Speaker, so, I think that whereas the President may reprimand an Hon Minister and show his disapproval of the conduct of the Hon Minister, if, indeed, he wants to discipline, the mechanisms open to him include dismissal, and if he is not dismissing, this Parliament may propose a vote of censure against the Hon Minister but a suspension is unknown to the Constitution. I am waiting to hear arguments pointing to the basis of the exercise of that power, and that is the concern that my Hon Leader raised. The second concern that he raised is the practice of asking the Hon Deputy Minister to act in the stead of the Hon
Hon Member, do you want to speak to that? If you want to speak to that, I will allow you. Very well. My view is that, the power to appoint includes the power to suspend and dismiss. So, the President is within his power and if anybody thinks that he or she is dissatisfied that the President has acted out of the Constitution, the person knows the appropriate rules to use. Otherwise, it is within his power to suspend any appointee of his. Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business -- Item numbered 6 on the Order Paper. Hon Chairman of the Special Committee, are you ready with the presentation of your Report? Very well.
Hon Members, items numbered 7 and 8; Hon Leaders, are you ready? The Hon Chairman of the Committee is still out of the jurisdiction.
Mr Speaker, that is so. The Hon Chairman is not available, so, it can be taken next week.
Very well. We will skip them. So, Hon Majority Chief Whip, what is your pleasure?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that in the absence of any further Business, especially so when we cannot take items numbered 7 and 8, the House should stand adjourned till Tuesday, 6th February, 2018 at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr Speaker, in the light of your ruling today, the elaborate reasoning of which we will be waiting for, I will second the Motion. [Laughter.] Question put and Motion agreed to.