VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 -- correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 22nd February, 2018.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, if you would indulge me, since you are on the corrrection of the Votes and Proceedings, “could we accompanied you to the farewell funeral of Prof. Francis Kofi Ampenyi Allotey, the nuclear physicist and icon scientist”? Mr Speaker, I observed that, for the Professor in the eye of Parliament, there was a mistake in the name of Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh which was wrongly written as Frank Annoh-Prempeh in the tribute. Mr Speaker, this document has gone out and so I am saying that when we get to the business of correcting the Votes and Proceedings, Hon Members must be good editors of our own and we must take particular interest in what we do. So that when Mr Speaker calls for the correction of Votes and Proceedings, it would not be for us to take it as ordinary as I have observed. Mr Speaker, we wish him to rest in peace, and as you have rightly said, parliamentary sources must be authoritative sources. I thought that the Table Office together with all Hon Colleagues should be our own editors and it should not just be for the Votes and Proceedings, but when it comes to the Official Report, if Hon Members cannot read the entire document, they should read their parts of contributions otherwise many of these references -- Mr Speaker, this is just a name, but I am sure that there are many other unacceptable errors even in our official records. Mr Speaker, I thought that you should indulge me, so that I draw our attention to this. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Minority Leader, thank you very much. These are very vital observations which we must collectively adhere to. Hon Members, we have the Official Report for Thursday, 1st February, 2018 for correction. Any corrections?
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 1st February, 2018.]
Hon Members, item numbered 3 -- Business Statement for the Sixth Week. Hon Vice Chairman of the Business Committee and Deputy Majority Leader?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communica- tions 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 Aviation -- 1 ii. Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources -- 1 iii. Minister for Information -- 1 iv. Minister for Employment and Labour Relations -- 1 v. Minister for the Interior -- 1 vi. Minister for Agriculture -- 3 vii. Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection -- 1 viii. Minister for Energy -- 2 ix. Minister for Education -- 4 x. Minister for Roads and Highways -- 6 Total number of Questions -- 21 Mr Speaker, ten Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to 21 Questions during the week. The Questions are of the following types: i. Urgent -- 8; ii. Oral -- 13 Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by Mr Speaker
may be made in the House by Hon Members, in accordance with Order 72. Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House. Referrals of Bills have been made to some Committees. The Business Committee expects such Committees to work on those referrals and submit their reports in order to facilitate consideration of same at plenary. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Debate on the Message on the State of the Nation Mr Speaker, due to the exigencies of the state of business during the Fifth Week which ends today, Friday, 23rd February 2018, the Business Committee proposes that the debate on the Message on the State of the Nation be concluded on Tuesday, 27th 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 considera- tion. Urgent Questions -- (a) Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (Adaklu): To ask the Minister for Aviation what caused the unfortunate crash of a Starbow plane at the Kotoka International Airport on 25/11/2017. (b) Mr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi (Lower Manya Krobo): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources why Lower Manya Krobo Constituency, which has the largest water treatment plant, is still experiencing water shortage, and what the Ministry is doing to end water shortage. Questions -- *282. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Information whether the recent rehabilitation works at the Ministry building went through competitive tender and how much the Ministry spent in the rehabilitation works. *285. Mr Ernest Henry Norgbey (Ashaiman): To ask the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations what steps the Ministry is taking to facilitate the creation of jobs for Ghanaians. Statements Presentation of Papers -- (a) Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the African Development Fund for an amount not exceeding the equivalent of twenty-seven million, eight hundred and sixty- four thousand, seven hundred and fifty Units of Accounts (UA27,864,750) [equivalent to US$39.01 million] to finance the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP). (b) Semi-Annual Report of the Bank of Ghana on the Petroleum Holding Funds and the Ghana Petroleum Funds for the period July 1 - December 31, 2017. Presentation and First Reading of Bills -- Ghana Cocoa Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017. Land Bill, 2018. Motions -- (a) That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February 2018. (Conclusion of Debate) (b) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Concessional Credit Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the EXIM Bank of India for an amount of one hundred and fifty million united states dollars (us$150,000,000.00) to finance the Strengthening of Agricultural Mechanisation Service Centres (AMSECs) Project. Consequential Resolution Consideration Stage of Bills -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Urgent Questions -- (a) Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for the Interior when the Comptroller-General of the Ghana Immigration Service will restore the work and residence permits of Ashok Sivaram, an Indian businessman, as directed by an Accra High Court. (b) Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei (Nsuta/ Kwamang/Beposo): To ask the Minister for Food and Agricul- ture what steps the Government is taking to maintain the price of cocoa in the current 2017/2018 season at the level of 2016/2017 (GH¢475/bag) when the producer-price in neighbouring countries have been reduced as a result of downward swing in the world price of cocoa. (c) Mr Eric Afful (Amenfi West): To ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture if he is aware that the
dried cocoa beans bought by the licensed cocoa buying companies cannot be evacuated to the district depot at Samreboi as a result of the nature of the roads in the communities. Questions -- *283. Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga (Garu): To ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture when the Tampe Irrigation Dam Project will be completed. *289. Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (Pusiga): To ask the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection whether the Minister is aware of the rape of a four-year old girl at Asin Adadietem, and if so, what support has been given for medical treatment and what steps has the Minister taken for the victim to get justice. Statements Consideration Stage of Bills -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Urgent Questions -- (a) Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings (Klottey-Korle): To ask the Minister for Energy what safety measures are in place for the transportation of petroleum products via the Volta River. (b) Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije (Ablekuma South): To ask the Minister for Education what the Ministry is doing to ensure the provision of toilet facilities in basic and Senior High Schools in view of recent concerns over the absence of descent places of convenience in some schools resulting in ill-health of some pupils and students. Questions -- *288. Mr Mohammed Abdul-Aziz (Mion): To ask the Minister for Energy when the Ministry will extend the national electricity grid to Tuwa, Kpemali, Kpakpalfu, Yankaziya, Dombini, Tinsung, Tambabu, Joblajo, Kayan, Buli and Tagnimo, all in the Mion Constituency. *292. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Education how much Government spent on course fees, travel expenses and per diem for officials who took part in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Programme on Leadership, Governance and Entrepreneurship in Boston in October 2017. *293. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Education what steps the Ministry has taken to ensure that Vocational and Technical education receive equal attention as Senior High School education. *294. Dr Clement A. Apaak (Builsa South): To ask the Minister for Education what plans the Ministry has to address the following challenges facing Kanjarga Senior High School: (a) lack of teaching and learning materials (b) lack of residential accommodation for students and staff (c) lack of administrative and clerical staff. Statements Consideration Stage of Bills -- Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Urgent Question --
To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways what steps the Ministry is taking to address the perennial siltation of the section of the Malam - Kasoa road before the toll booth. Questions -- *295. Mr Martin Oti Gyarko (Techiman North): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Offuman - Amoma road will be constructed. *296. Mr Ernest Henry Norgbey (Ashaiman): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when construction of the Ashaiman main road will be completed. *297. Mr Ernest Henry Norgbey (Ashaiman): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when works on the Sakumono to Lashibi through Klagon to Ashaiman road will be competed. *298. Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (Adaklu): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways to provide update on road maintenance works carried out so far in 2017. *299. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Government will construct the road linking Tibung, Kule and Ganuilga. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Loan and Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), Frankfurt am Main for a loan amount of thirteen million euros (€13,000,000.00) and a financial contribution of an amount of one million euros (€1,000,000.00) to co-finance the Establishment of a Deposit Protection Scheme in Ghana. Motions -- Third Reading of Bills -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Consideration Stage of Bills -- Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Committee sittings.
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Hon Members, Communications from the President, absence from Ghana.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I am so grateful to you. Mr Speaker, you are not only the Speaker of this Honourable House, but you were a professor at the University of Ghana, a lawyer and a Reverend Minister; all these inherent in you. Mr Speaker, last week, this country was confronted with a very serious development. I thought that development would have made it to the Business Committee. And it is the issue of the Ghana School of Law. The Ghana School of Law presented 474 students for the final examination. You would have read or heard that only 91 of these students presented passed the examination.
Hon Member, do you stand on a point of order?
Mr Speaker, I wonder on what order my Hon Colleague was trying to introduce an agenda or item on the Business Statement. Mr Speaker, the Minority side is well represented on the Business Committee, and if they deem it appropriate that this is an issue and it is not for propaganda purposes, they should have gone to the Business Committee to convince the Committee on the need to put this item on the agenda. This item he is introducing is not known to this House. Mr Speaker, I beg that if the Hon Member is not able to tell us on which point of order he rises against the Business Statement or he is trying to introduce an item, he should be made to sit, so that your good work could be done in the interest of the public.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, because of the seriousness of the issue and the fact that -- In fact, it has raised an uproar in this country. Mr Speaker, from now --
So, an Urgent Question or a Statement --
Mr Speaker,I thought -- Deputy Majority Leader Fuseini: Mr Speaker, I thought --
I admit Statements even in the morning of the making of the Statement. So, if it is of that much importance, please, use our procedures accordingly. Hon Members, shall we concentrate on our Business Statement, please?
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Yes, Hon Members, I am told you are on the Business Statement. Yes, are you almost done? [Interruptions] Yes, Hon Kpodo? Do not forget today is Friday.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, on 11th December, 2017, I filed three Questions related to the economy. I followed them up through the Minority Chief Whip's Office and to the Clerk's Office but they have not found expression in the Business Statements that have been presented since December, 2017. I want to find out from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader what is happening to those Questions, because they are still very relevant. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I am scheduled to ask a Question numbered 298 on Friday. Order 67(1)(h) says and with your indulgence, Mr Speaker, I read: “a Question shall not be asked the answer to which is readily available in official publications;” Mr Speaker, the answers to this Question have been provided by the Minister during the Budget season. So, I want to stand down this particular Question because it is no longer relevant. It is in an official document. Mr Speaker, secondly, very soon we would enter the rainy season. I was hoping that the Business Committee could schedule one of the Ministers responsible for the city of Accra to assure us that they are taking the necessary steps to mitigate any flooding. So that we do not come to this House and read tributes; they could tell us what serious steps they are taking. Mr Speaker, I thought of filing a Question, but with the proliferation of Ministries, I do not know which particular Ministry to file the Question to ask what they are going to do to ensure that the city of Accra and other cities are protected from flooding.
from Tuesday, 6th February, 2018 till yesterday, I could give you the statistics. On Tuesday, we started Sitting at 11.55 a.m. On Wednesday, 7th February, 11.20 a.m. except for Thursday that we started at 10.00 o'clock. Every other day, we start after 11.00 o'clock. Mr Speaker, would it be a good idea for this House to change the Sitting time to maybe 11.00 o'clock or 12.00 noon to benefit people? This is because anytime you say that Sitting starts at 10.00 o'clock, unfortunately, I end up being here all by myself and it is not funny anymore. Mr Speaker, I am urging Leadership to find out whether we need to change the Sitting time from 10.00 o'clock to maybe 12.00 noon, so that we could save ourselves some time. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I hope you are noting down the points.
Mr Speaker, I want to add my voice to the issue of the time we start our plenary Sittings. Mr Speaker, although the general position is that we start at 10.00 o'clock, we do not often start at 10.00 o'clock. However, if Leadership is able to give explanation anytime there is delay, I think it would help address the concerns being raised by Hon Colleague. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, on the Business Statement, point (b), Questions, where we have a list of Ministers to appear before this House, I can see a new Ministry coming up. I do not know whether Government wants to add more Ministries or maybe, it is a typographical error that needs to be corrected. We have Minister for Children, Gender and Social Protection. I believe the right rendition would be Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Mr Speaker, I should thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Business Statement and to appreciate or respond to the Minister for Education. Once the Committee presents its report, it is open for Members to raise legitimate issues that may be of concern ranging from Questions to Statements. Therefore, it is not out of place and it is not out of our Standing Orders for Members to raise the particular issues that they have doing. They had raised an objection when the Hon Inusah Fuseini raised the issue about legal education. Mr Speaker, relative to that matter is a referral to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament on legal education. We have seen instances where the report does not come, yet the mandatory 21 days will pass naturally, pursuance to article 11 of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, on the matter of legal education, there is prime public national interest. So, we would urge the Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, Hon Mahama Ayariga, that this matter should not be one for which we should wait until the last day. The students studying and desirous of studying law today into the future, this affects their future and he must bring his report for us to interrogate and look at the Regulations as laid. I know that we have gone back and forward on this matter. Mr Speaker, my second issue is for the Deputy Majority Leader to take note. On page 3 of the Report, I have seen Consideration Stage of the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. When are we taking it through the Second Reading Stage? I have not seen it, but I see a Consideration Stage. Yesterday, I brought it to the Leader's attention and he said Tuesday. So, it has to be properly captured before we go to the Consideration Stage. [Interruption.] We are done with the first one. The second one has to go through the Second Reading Stage before Consideration Stage. I have seen the Taxation for Use of Fiscal Electronic Device. That has gone through the Second Reading Stage. I am saying the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017 has to go through that. Mr Speaker, there is a matter which I believe Leadership is addressing pertaining to the matter of Research Assistants. Yesterday, it came up that the Leader of Government Business or Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, without prejudice to his answer -- Mr Speaker, all Members of Parliament must make sure that before the close of work today -- I am sure the Leader would speak to it -- must submit lists of their Research Assistants, so that effectively by 1st March, they should be able to start work subsequent to the approval of the Parliamentary Service Board. We no longer have an opportunity to go back and forth. The minimal requirement has been defined and MPs must meet it and let us have it take off. It
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for coming to my rescue. The man does not even know what I am going to say. We should watch the temperament of the Hon Minority Leader and save him from himself. Mr Speaker, concerning the issue raised by the Hon Minority Leader relating to legal education, I have had some discussions with the Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee that they should engage the sponsoring authority, the Attorney-General, the General Legal Council and even the students who are raising some of the issues so that they factor whatever comes out in the report. Mr Speaker, that would inform the House on the way forward. Everybody is concerned, that is why I am wondering what exercise some Hon Colleagues are resorting to. A matter is before Parliament. I do not know whether it is for reasons of satisfying public demand, but then some people undertake to gather signatures. For what? Mr Speaker, this House must be taken seriously. A matter is in this House; if any Hon Member has any concern, he or she should approach the Committee. But then, they go outside Parliament, outside the Committee, to gather signatures. To do what? Mr Speaker, we should be taken seriously; and we should take ourselves seriously. I have discussed the matter with the Hon Chairman. I have asked him to deal with the matter as he deems fit, in particular, engaging the Attorney-General, the leadership of the students and also the General Legal Council. If there are any matters that go beyond that, they can do that and report to us, and based on the report, the House can then take a decision. I believe that is how to go as a House. Mr Speaker, Hon Inusah Fuseini is saying that he is one person who has already submitted his signature. He must be arrested; that signature must be arrested. Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Deputy Majority Leader can respond to the others appropriately, but I heard, and indeed, I saw the Hon Kpodo ask a question. Mr Speaker, behind the curtains, we have had some engagements on this, and so, for him to come back to plenary to raise the issue that we have discussed behind plenary, as if he has no confidence in the assurance that was given, and the route that was defined for him, let him be assured that Mr Speaker is the person vested with the authority to admit Questions, nobody else. So, he should rather use the usual channels in this pursuit and not make it appear as if the Speaker has admitted the Question and it has not been transmitted to the relevant Ministries. That would not be good enough. So, my dear Colleague, please, when we engage, let the engagement be an article of faith and trust. Thank you.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I am sure you can take on the other issues.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Adaklu, Hon Agbodza said that he intends to file a Question but does not really know which of the Ministries to direct same to, and it is on sanitation. Mr Speaker, respectfully, that is not the mandate of the Business Committee. If an Hon Member wants to ask a Question of a relevant Ministry, I am sure finding out which Ministry is mandated to do what, is already public knowledge, and I believe that the Hon Member -- I cannot help him on that one. He would have to find out, and when the Question is filed, it is the Speaker, as has already been said under Standing Order 66 (1), Mr Speaker, I beg to quote; ‘‘Mr Speaker shall be the sole judge of the admissibility of a Question...'' Mr Speaker, this is not the first time. There have been a number of occasions where Hon Members of Parliament direct Questions and when they go to the ministries, the Ministries would respond that they are not in charge, and for that matter it is not within their remit. So, I believe the Hon Member can do so to help us progress. Mr Speaker, on the issue of the time for Sitting, I believe that we have experienced Sitting in the afternoons, and we have experienced Sitting at 10.00 a.m. When this Chamber was under rehabilitation we were made to Sit in the afternoon, so we have had a feel of both. Considering the fact that the Standing Orders Committee is still working on revising the Standing Orders, and even this weekend we are supposed to meet -- Mr Speaker is part of it, the Hon Minority Leader is part of it, to finalise the revision of the Standing Orders. So, it would be one of the things that would be considered at that Committee for the necessary proposals to be made. I believe that it is a very necessary and sound concern by Hon Members. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority leader raised an issue about the Second Reading of the Bill that has been advertised, and you can see that it has moved from the Consideration Stage. There has not been any provision in the Business Statement for Second Reading. Mr Speaker, the simple explanation is that it has been advertised on today's Order Paper, so ordinarily, if we are not able to exhaust what is on the Order Paper for today, we would carry on it on Tuesday when we Sit. That is why it was not captured in the Business Statement. Mr Speaker, I believe the other issues of the Ghana School of Law have been answered by the Hon Majority Leader. Being a lawyer myself, I think it is of great concern to all of us in this country, but as he has already said, the matter has been referred by the Chair to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, and the Chairperson of this Committee is Hon Ayariga. He is a lawyer himself, and I know that the matter is in good hands. We can all follow it up until a Report is brought to this House, then we would know how to proceed on the matter. It is all over the airwaves. I have had students come over to my office this whole week expressing their worry, concern and frustration, so, we would urge the Hon Chairman of the Committee to also expedite his work at the Committee
Mr Speaker, I have heard the response to my earlier question by the Hon Majority Leader. I would like to confirm that yes, I had discussions with him and he assured me he was going to deal with the matter, but at the time of the presentation of the Business Statement, I did not see him, so, I thought that the Answer was not going to be forthcoming, that is why I raised it, in case he had done something about it. I would like it to be placed on record that I have absolute confidence in him. It is even fruitful that I raised the issue, because soon after I raised the issue, right now on the Floor, I have received a communication from the Clerk regarding the questions that I asked. So, even though I placed it before the Hon Majority Leader and raised the question on the discussion of the Business Statement, I still got some positive results from it, because soon after that I got a response to one of the questions that I asked. So, let him not be worried that I do not have confidence in him; I do, and in fact, he knows. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, on this all important issue of the L.I. on Legal Education, at the risk of being repetitive, I would want to plead that having regard to Order 77 (c), we demand some certainty from the Committee; certainty in terms of when their report would come before this House. As has already been mentioned, the Business Committee has not programmed that to be considered in the ensuing week. If we sit unconcerned, or if we do not take very proactive steps, we may be caught by time. Mr Speaker, we have seen this before in the matter of inter-connect clearing house amendment in the National Communication Bill, whereupon we had done all the needful, and later on in the Legislative Instrument there were provisions that were really at variance with the parent Act. We could not do much, because we were caught by time. Mr Speaker, I feel extremely intimidated by the senior Hon Colleague and Hon Deputy Minister. [Laughter.] He should allow me to -- Mr Speaker, this invitation is to the Hon Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee to ensure certainty, so that if there are matters to be dealt with, we could deal with them ahead of time. This is because legal education is key, looking at the failure which was published recently, and the fact that there is a publication that Ghanaians are studying in Rwanda to qualify to the Bar to practise as lawyers. As the first country --
Hon Afenyo-Markin, we are dealing with the Business Statement.
Mr Speaker, it is at large.
Is the Business Statement at large?
Mr Speaker, in the matter of Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who made an application on the matter before the House in the Business Statement, whereupon the Hon Majority Leader had drawn the attention of the Chair to the fact that in considering the Business Statement, we have to look at the specific issues he raised an issue of relevance. Mr Speaker's ruling was that yes, he agreed, but the Business Statement was at large in the sense that consideration of issues must be open for Hon Members to debate.
Hon Member, no. You are only debating the issue. That is why --
Mr Speaker, if it is so, then I take a cue; but the point is well made.
Let us end it here. I think the Subsidiary Legislation Committee should take note.
Yes, Hon Mahama Ayariga?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, If we would recall, because of the practice of this House and the difficulties in amending Legislative Instruments (L.Is) when they come, we had a pre-laying meeting, which span over a period of about three different Meetings to consider the same matter. Then the L.I. was laid, but we realised that there was a technical problem because the gazetting date was not consistent with the day the L. I. was laid. So, it had to be withdrawn and re-laid. After that we started receiving petitions and complaints, which were formally referred to the Committee. We have met twice on the matter. We have also met the students, the General Legal Council and different stakeholders. Even yesterday the students requested for audience with the Committee to present a petition. We gave them 2.00 o'clock to present their petition, but they did not come at that time, so many of the Hon Members of Parliament dispersed. They finally arrived at 4.00 o'clock; I was the only person who still waited for them at the office. I took in the petition. Mr Speaker, as the Hon Majority Leader indicated, yesterday he advised that we should invite the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and the General Legal Council again to discuss the petition and the concerns that have been raised. Mr Speaker, as I speak, we already have the draft Report, but because of the further request to hear other parties, we would want to hear them before we can put together a comprehensive Report. I am very confident that somewhere next week, on Tuesday or Wednesday, the Report should be ready. The meeting with the Hon Minister would be on Tuesday; so by Wednesday, the Report should be ready for us to lay. After that, the House could decide on when to take the matter. That is just to give an indication that as soon as the Report is ready by Wednesday, we would lay it and then the House would take the matter up. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I believe that it is in good taste for the debate on the State of the Nation Address to continue. We agreed to have one from each side. Mr Speaker, there is an Urgent Question that is to be answered by the Hon Minister for Education. So, respectfully, could we take that Question and then we could take one contribution from each side subject to the consensus from the Hon Minority Leader? Mr Speaker, since you have other engagements, I know the Hon Majority Leader is on that same engagement with you as well as Mr Speaker, so I believe the Hon Minority Leader is also in the know.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we have an Urgent Question from Hon Betty Nana Efua Krobi Mensah for the Hon Minister for Education. Mr Speaker, I would indulge you that, for the contribution on the State of the Nation Address, we could take two Hon Members from each side. You may persuade our Hon Colleague to keep the supplementary questions brief, so that we take advantage of the time. This is because we would want to close contributions of Hon Members on the State of the Nation Address, so that Leadership could conclude on Tuesday. I am not too happy of the way the SONA has been debated. On every other day, it has been loss of time and opportunity for an Hon Member. Mr Speaker, we may hear the Hon Minister and take two contributions as a compromise, so that we could adjourn early. Mr Speaker, but it is at your guidance. Thank you.
I think we would proceed to take the Urgent Question, but we would not even be able to take one contribution jon the SONA from each side, looking at the time. This is because I am due to depart at 1.00 o'clock, but I may add 10 more minutes. I would have to be punctual at where I am going. Hon Members, Question Time -- There is an Urgent Question standing in the name of Hon Ms Betty Nana Efua Krosbi Mensah.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, according to section 3 of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development Act, 2015, (Act 898), “the University shall be established in Somanya with campuses in Donkorkrom and any other places as the Council may determine”. The Somanya campus is expected to concentrate on Natural and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural and Agro- Entrepreneurship Development and Sustainable Development. Contracts have been awarded, and the contractors have started with their preliminary works at the site. Mr Speaker, once infrastructure facilities are provided and academic work starts at the Somanya campus, the University Council may proceed to establish other campuses in Donkokrom and other areas as funds may allow.
Hon Member, any follow-up questions?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker. I would want to know from the Hon Minister if the Ministry would abide with section 3 of the Act to establish the Donkorkrom campus, before going ahead to consult with the Council and then extend it to other campuses or communities.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, as a legislator, I would abide by the Act -- 100 per cent. Mr Speaker, I would want to emphasise that, the Act says that it is the Council that shall establish it at Donkorkrom and the other campuses, not the Ministry.
Mr Speaker, allow me to read exactly what the section says. It says that the University shall be established in Somanya with campuses in Donkorkrom and any other place as the Council may determine. This means that, Donkorkrom and Somanya have already been determined without waiting for the Council. So, I would just want to plead with the Hon Minister that this provision is not waiting for the Council's determination.
Hon Member, what is the question?
Mr Speaker, the question is for him to comply with the law to ensure that the Donkorkrom campus -
The question is for the Hon Minister to comply with the law. Really? Is that the question?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister when we would start with the establishment of the Donkorkrom Campus.
Mr Speaker, I believe I would have to give enough information to my Hon Colleague. Mr Speaker, the extract from the handing over notes, under “establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development” says, and with your indulgence, I quote: “Following the enactment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development Act, 2015 (Act 898), Parliament has approved a loan facility of Forty-Five Million Five Hundred and Seventy-Five thousand Euros (£45,575,000.00) for the establishment of the proposed University at Somanya in the Eastern Region.” Mr Speaker, I would follow the Act, and I would also follow what Parliament has approved. Thank you.
Yes, Hon Mahama Ayariga?
Mr Speaker, the Act says: “Somanya and Donkorkrom, and such other places as the Council may determine.” Mr Speaker, with the £45 million, even if it is only for Somanya, the question to the Hon Minister would be the steps he would take to ensure that the campus at Donkorkrom is also established.
Hon Member, are you the one now asking this question? The question the Hon Member asked was when the campus in Donkorkrom would be established. However, you now ask of the efforts that the Hon Minister would make to make sure that it is established. Hon Member, is that not the case? Yes, Hon Mahama Ayariga?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister, in his response, initially created the impression that it is the Council that is to determine the establishment of a campus in Donkorkrom; but upon further probing, it has been shown that the Act specifically mentions Donkorkrom. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister now tells us that the handing over notes that he received mentions that the money that was secured was for Somanya, and I said that, that does not still absolve him of the responsibility. Since he says that he would comply with the Act, it does not above him of the responsibility of taking steps to ensure that the campus in Donkorkrom is also established. Mr Speaker, we are therefore asking him about the steps he would take to ensure that the campus in Donkorkrom is also established.
All right, so you ended by saying that it is you, and not the Hon Member, who asked the question. You have now asked the question. Yes, Hon Minister?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Bawku Central is quoting his own law. The law I read did not say “Somanya and Donkorkrom”. I would therefore repeat it. It says that the University shall be Mr Speaker, this is pure English. It says that, the campus shall be established in Somanya, with campuses in Donkorkrom as may be determined by the Council. It did not depict it as the Hon Member would want to purport it to mean. That is the law. Mr Speaker, therefore, once the University's Council is established, the other campuses would be put up. The Hon Member said that it is Somanya and Donkorkrom, but it did not say so. That is what I would want to bring to his attention. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Augustine Tawiah?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Education engaged the chiefs and people of Donkorkrom, and a land was allocated with a sign stating, “the University of Natural Resources”, as captured in the Act, which is also proposed for that site. Mr Speaker, therefore, my question is that, to this extent, why would we want to say that the Ministry would not go ahead with Donkorkrom as stated, but instead wait for the Council, when the Ministry has already mobilised the initial processes for it to start?
Hon Member, your question is overruled. Yes, Hon Ranking for the Committee on Education?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I wish to find out from the Hon Minister if the Council for that University has been constituted.
Sorry, Hon Member, I did not hear you.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know whether the Council for the University has been constituted.
Yes, Hon Minister for Education?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the University is being built. It is under construction. As soon as construction is completed and lecturers and other supporting staff are recruited, a Council would be appropriately given to the University.
Hon Minister, you talked about infrastructure. The University is being built, but has the University been established? That is the word that is used because we do not need buildings to establish a university.
Mr Speaker, that is not the question. Mr Speaker, the University was established once Parliament passed this Act and the President assented to it. So, in law, it has been established. We are not now going to establish it. It has already been established. Mr Speaker, but to give effect to the establishment, there are certain things that go with it. People should congregate
Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, may I find out from the Hon Minister for Education whether within the terms of section 3 of the University of Environ-ental and Sustainable Development Act 2015, (Act 898), the Ministry has drafted the Executive Instrument (EI) necessary for acquiring the land in Donkorkrom for purposes of establishing the campus in Donkorkrom? Thank you very much.
Hon Member, I overrule your question. It does not arise at all from the main Question. It is not a supplementary question. If you want to ask about the acquisition of the land, you would have to address a substantive Question to the proper Hon Minister, not the Hon Minister for Education.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether in the course of putting in place the necessary structures and procedures towards the realisation of the university, he has uncovered certain things that require him to modify or review certain things that took place before he took over as the Hon Minister.
Definitely, your question is overruled. [Laughter.] You may need to go through the Standing Orders properly. You would realise that when I intervened, I had to hold up because even my intervention was about to offend Standing Order 68 (5). That was why I did not proceed. So, Hon Members, I believe we have come to the end of Question time, and I accordingly discharge the Hon Minister for Education. We thank you very much for coming to respond to the Question before the House. As indicated earlier, I am due to attend a very important assignment, so Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what do you say?
Mr Speaker, we are totally in agreement. Today being Friday as well, Hon Members would travel to their various constituencies. It is in that light and the fact that yourself, Mr Speaker and our two Hon Leaders would be engaged elsewhere -- I would want to urge Hon Members that on Tuesday, 27th February, 2018, the debate on the State of the Nation Address would continue, and it would be closed by the two Hon Leaders. The Hon Majority Leader and Hon Minority Leader would also make their final debates on the floor, and we would bring closure to the debate on the State of the Nation Address. Other Businesses would then follow. So, we entreat Hon Members to be here on Tuesday. Mr Speaker, to the extent that there is nothing on the Order Paper to continue with, I humbly move that, this House be adjourned till Tuesday, 27th February, 2018 at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, as a Whip, I have been so much challenged by most of the activities that have confronted the debate on the State of the Nation Address for 2018. The Hon Minority Leader stated earlier that he was not happy with the way the debate on the State of the Nation Address has gone. Always, we push Hon Members to the following day. Hon Members keep complaining, and it appears it is we, the Whips who collate the names, who do not give them the opportunity. So, I am happy that the Hon Deputy Majority Leader said that on Tuesday, those who were due to speak today -- they were six in number. We agreed in the morning that the number be reduced to three, but even with that, the three now are not getting the opportunity. So, if on Tuesday we would come very early so that we would start at 10.00 a.m. the three would get the opportunity before the Majority and Minority Leaders wind up, I would have no problem with that. I say so because I do not want the Hon Members to lose interest in the debate. This is because an Hon Member prepares for one week, he comes here, but he loses the opportunity to contribute. I do not think it is a good practice. So, Mr Speaker, with these few words, I second the Motion.
In the absence of any consideration, I take it that the House is ready to take an adjournment, and I accordingly adjourn the House to Tuesday, 27th February, 2018, at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr Speaker, you have not put the Question.
Hon Member, you are right. I have to put the Question. In spite of the fact that I could see it is by consensus, I still have to put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to.