Debates of 09 March 2018

MR SPEAKER

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 8th March, 2018 and the Official Report of Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, March 8, 2018.]

[No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, February 20, 2018.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, item numbered 3 — Business Statement for the Eighth Week. Hon Chairman of the Business Committee?

Speaker
Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo

Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to ask your leave to present the Business Statement for the ensuing week, for and on behalf of the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Please, proceed.

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its report as follows

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 Sanitation and Water Resources 3 ii. Minister for Lands and Natural Resources 1 iii. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration 2 iv. Minister for Special Development Initiatives 1 v. Minister in charge of Procurement 2 vi. Minister for Business Development 1 vii. Minister for the Interior 1 viii. Minister for Aviation 1 ix. Minister for Communications 2 x. Minister for Trade and Industry 2 xi. Minister for Education 4 Total number of Questions 20 Mr Speaker, eleven (11) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to twenty (20) Questions during the week. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by the Rt. Hon. 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. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Committee of the Whole meeting Mr Speaker, the Committee of the Whole is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, 14th March, 2018 to consider the proposed formula for the Distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2018. All Hon Members are accordingly urged to be in attendance and to participate in the deliberations. Leadership meeting with Westminster Foundation Mr Speaker, Leadership of the House is scheduled to hold a meeting with officials of the Westminster Foundation on Wednesday, 14th March, 2018. In this regard, all Hon Members are informed that Sitting of the House on Wednesday will commence at 11.00 a.m. instead of 10.00 a.m. 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.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its report as follows

Questions Q.290. Alhaji Masawud Mohammed (Pru West): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when the people of Abease Traditional Area will be provided with potable drinking water. Q.291. Alhaji Masawud Mohammed (Pru West): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when the Prang Small Town Water Project will be completed. Q.312. Mr Kwabena Amankwa Asiamah (Fanteakwa North): To ask the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when Begoro Water Supply will be connected to the Afram River to save the District Capital from the perennial water shortages. Statements Presentation of Papers -- (a) Report of the Auditor-General on the Management of Petroleum Funds for the Financial Year Ended 31st December 2016. (b) Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana (Pre-University Educational Institutions) for the Financial Year Ended 31st December 2016. (c) Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development on the monitoring visit to selected Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs). (d) 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. Consideration Stage of Bills — Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017 (continuation). Committee sittings. Committee of the Whole to consider the proposed formula for the distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2018. Questions Q.302. Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah (Buem): To ask the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources what the Ministry is doing to curb the indiscriminate felling of trees in the Buem Constituency, specifically Baika, Ayoma, Kute and Teteman areas, by Volta Forest Resources Company Limited, a sawmill factory in the Hohoe Municipality. Q. 303. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration why the Government of Ghana is yet to honour its obligations to Ghanaian students studying in Hungary under a Ghana-Hungary Bilateral Agreement. Q.321. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration what the Ministry has done about allegations of corruption in the processing of Ghanaian passports at Ghana's Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York. Q.304. Mr Mohammed Abdul-Aziz (Mion): To ask the Minister for Special Development Initiatives when Government will release the cedi equivalent of one million United States dollars (US$1,000,000.00) to the 275 constituencies as captured in the 2017 Budget Statement. Q.305. Mr Ernest Henry Norgbey (Ashaiman): To ask the Minister responsible for Public Procurement whether apart from VOKACOM, any other company has bided for the Ghana Post GPS. Q.322. Mr Ernest Henry Norgbey (Ashaiman): To ask the Minister responsible for Public Procurement what procurement method was used by MASLOC in awarding contracts worth GH¢28.8 million to Dextro Impex to supply 1,800 vehicles. Statements Presentation of Papers — (a) Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the Distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the Year 2018. (b) Report of the Finance Committee on the Ghana Deposit Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2018. Motion — Adoption of the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the Year 2018. Consideration Stage of Bills — Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Questions Q.306. Mr Edward Abambire Bawa (Bongo): To ask the Minister for Business Development how the private sector partner for the National Entrepreneurial and Innovation Plan (NEIP) was procured and how much was involved. Q.307. Mr Andrew Dari Chiwitey (Sawla/Tuna/Kalba): To ask the Minister for the Interior what the Ministry is doing to curb the consistent robberies on the Sawla - Damongo and Sawla - Wa highways. Q. 309. Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (Adaklu): To ask the Minister for Aviation if there are any challenges facing domestic airlines as some of them are laying off their staff. Q.310. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Communications the expenditure breakdown of the Digital Address System which was launched recently by H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its report as follows

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its report as follows

Q.311. Mr Edward Kaale-ewola Dery (Lambussie/Karni): To ask the Minister for Communications what steps are being taken to curb the network interferences from our neighbour, Burkina Faso, which is affecting communication in the entire Lambussie District. Statements Motion — (a) Second Reading of Bills Ghana Deposit Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2018. (b) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development on the monitoring visit to selected Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs). (c) 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. Consideration Stage of Bills Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. (continuation) Committee sittings Questions Q.284. Mr Richard Mawuli Kwaku Quashigah (Keta): To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether there is an implementation plan for the ‘one district, one factory' policy initiative, and if so, whether the Ministry will furnish this august House with a copy. Q.300. Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah (Buem): To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether there is a standardised structural design for the ‘One District, One Factory' initiative and who will be responsible for providing it. Q.313. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Education when construction works on the Apersua Community Day Senior High School ‘E'-Block will be completed. Q.314. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Education when construction works on the 12-Classroom Block being constructed at Klo-Agogo Senior High School will be completed. Q.315. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Education when the un-completed classroom blocks of the Yilo Krobo Senior High School at Somanya would be completed. Q.316. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Education what steps the Ministry is taking to complete the GETFund funded projects that stand un- completed in the Yilo Krobo Constituency, particularly the following Basic School Projects: (i) Brukum Tsretsum (ii) Donguanor- Bisease (iii) Teapuornya (iv) Djopleminia (v) Korboe-Okumka Ahmadiya (vi) Akertebuor R. C. (vii) Tsebi-Teyi (viii) Yinase. Statements Motions — Third Reading of Bills Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) of our Standing Orders, I respectfully submit the Business Statement for the ensuing week.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Any comments? Yes, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa?

Speaker
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa

Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, I beg to commend the Hon Deputy Majority Leader for the presentation of the Business Statement for the Eighth Week ending Friday, 16th March, 2018. Mr Speaker, if we stick to the original schedule, this will be the last but one week before we rise. We will be rising on the 23rd of March as we have been informed.

Speaker
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa

Speaker
Mr Speaker, with your permission, it reads and I quote

“(1) The President shall assign Ministerial responsibility for the Intelligence Agencies to such Minister as the President shall consider appropriate. (2) The Minister assigned responsibility under subsection (1) of this section shall in respect of each year submit a report to Parliament on the Intelligence Agencies”. Since I have been in this House, I do not recall ever seeing a report from the Hon Minister responsible for the National Security Council and this is a time, that, as a House, we are all discussing how we

Speaker
Mr Speaker, with your permission, it reads and I quote

Speaker
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza

Mr Speaker, I want to thank the Hon Deputy Majority Leader for the presentation of the Business Statement. Mr Speaker, once again, the whole week, Hon Members of Parliament did not turn up on time for you to take the Chair for Business to start. We have been late for a minimum of an hour everyday, including today. I requested the last time for Leadership to consider varying the time that we Sit, to extend it further into the afternoon so that it gives enough time for Hon Members to mobilise and come to the Chamber. That day we were told by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader that, the Standing Order is being reviewed and they would consider that but in the interim, I am still urging Leadership to encourage Hon Members of Parliament to come to work on time. Mr Speaker, I give an example. Today, when I turned up at 9.58 a.m., I saw some students from a school who were in the gallery being told that Parliament would start at 10.00 o'clock. Sadly, they had to leave the Chamber before we started Business. I do not think that it is fair to those children who travelled across the country to come to see Parliamentary proceedings only to sit and leave before we come to work. We have disappointed them. Mr Speaker, I am still urging Leadership to do something about what time Parliament Sits in this country. It is not fair to the people of this country, we can do something. We cannot be the people who are leading this country and cannot do things on time. How can we expect other people to abide by laws that we pass and flout in this House openly? Mr Speaker, this is not fair to the rest of the country and I urge my Hon Colleagues that we have no justification for turning up to work perpetually late. It is enough. Mr Speaker, thank you.

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah

Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the Hon Majority Leader for the Business Statement. As I was going through the number of Hon Ministers to come and answer Questions, I have noted that five of them will be coming next week to answer Questions and each will be answering one Question. Mr Speaker, I speak for those Hon Ministers and also note that too many of the Hon Members whom I have talked to, have pending Questions. I was trying to reconcile whether there are not outstanding Questions that would have been added to make sure that when these Hon Ministers come here, they could answer a lot of the Questions that have been asked. I think that it is very important, because, firstly, it helps the Hon Ministers in really setting time and working and making sure that we could also basically bring the Questions that Hon Members of Parliament have been waiting for to be answered. Mr Speaker, as we compile these Questions, whatever we can do to make it more efficient to help the Hon Ministers and Hon Members, will be very helpful.

Speaker
Mr Alexander Kwamena Afenyo- Markin

Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to address some concerns on the matter before us. Mr Speaker, I associate myself with the concerns raised by Hon Agbodza, except to say that he generalised the concerns. When this House does not Sit in plenary, it does not mean that Hon Members are not working. There are situations where Committee meetings are programmed in the mornings at 9.00 a.m. sometimes, as early as 8.00 a.m., pre-Siting engagements are necessary to build the needed consensus and all that.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, keep within tangents because we are talking about the time here.

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

Mr Speaker, I was talking about your punctuality, but the other qualities and other wondrous virtues of yours must be added, because they are necessary. Mr Speaker, but I would take a cue and depart from those dangerous waters. I believe my Hon Colleague expects us to start on time, at 10.00 o'clock, but he must understand that there are some other unavoidable engagements and they are not new, since he and I entered this Chamber in 2013. Mr Speaker, so, these must be properly situated and I believe that Leadership would better address this concern. Mr Speaker, thank you.

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity.

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Speaker
Mr Speaker

What about the Hon Ministers who are not Hon Members of this House; does that advice apply to them?

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, it applies to both sides because, as the Hon Majority Whip, once he receives the Business Statement -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the House has a Majority Whip in government and so, once he receives the Business Statement, he must go through it and notify the Hon Ministers that they have Questions to answer next week. Mr Speaker, he even has to make sure that the Hon Ministers are reminded a day before the Questions would be asked so that they appear to answer on the Floor. Mr Speaker, it is also his duty to call the Ministry the morning that the Question would be asked and remind the Hon Minister that he has a Question to answer. Mr Speaker, that is the duty of the Hon Majority Whip who is in government. Mr Speaker, we just came from Mr Speaker's briefing and before we come, we work today as a team because Parliament must work today. However, it is the Hon Leader or the Hon Whip in government who has the duty to make sure that the specific Hon Ministers are called. Mr Speaker, on my side, I am to make sure that the Hon Members who are on this Side and have advertised Questions appear to ask those Questions. Mr Speaker, as I am speaking, I have made sure that all those who are to ask Questions today are in, with the exception of one Hon Member. That was why I was struggling to get access to that Hon Member and I have notified his friends to call him and tell him that he has a Question. So maybe if he cannot come then he must notify me or authorise another Hon Member to ask the Question on his behalf. Mr Speaker, on the issue of attendance, it is our duty to make sure that we comply with the directives from the Chair. A directive was given in this House that leadership of Committees must make sure that they arrange meetings after adjournment. Mr Speaker, the reason was that before the commencement of a Sitting, an issue of quorum could be raised, but because we do not raise it, we sometimes allow the Sitting to proceed. Mr Speaker could be in his Lobby and observing the Chamber to see if there is a quorum before he enters and so it does not mean that he comes here at 11.00 a.m. or 12.00 noon. Mr Speaker comes before 9.00 a.m. and there are times that the bell would have even been rang. Mr Speaker, as we are talking, the Committee on Lands and Forestry is having a meeting at the Forestry Commission, the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development is also having a meeting, and there are other committees that are meeting. Mr Speaker, if four Committees are meeting concurrently then, it means that 80 or 90 Hon Members of this House are not here. Someone would view this and say that Hon Members do not come to the House or they do not Sit on time. Mr Speaker, so, the leadership of the committees must take a cue that before they arrange a committee meeting, it must be after adjournment, so that when we come here and there is the need for a committee to go and have a meeting or discussion they could seek permission from the Leadership or their Hon Whips. Mr Speaker, when we are able to do this, then, we would be able to help you manage the time very well, but we should not portray the information as though Hon Members of Parliament come to work late, like my very good Hon Friend is saying. We do not come late. We come very early, but it is because of some of these issues, that we do not Sit on time. Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.

Speaker
Mr Sampson Ahi

Mr Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, I partially agree with Hon Kwame Agbodza on his call for us to commence Sitting on time, but it is equally dangerous for an impression to be created that --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, is there a report or a Business Statement before the House?

Speaker
Mr Ahi

Mr Speaker, it is on the call on Hon Members to report on time so that we could commence Sitting early. Mr Speaker, I am saying that, it is dangerous for an impression to be created that we come here late, therefore, we commence business late.

Speaker
Mr Ahi

Speaker
Mr Ahi

Speaker
Mr James K. Avedzi

Mr Speaker, I wish to ask the Hon Deputy Majority Leader about the issue of the other bodies that are supposed to bring their formula for approval. She mentioned that on 14th March, 2018, we would have a Committee of the Whole meeting to consider the proposed formula for the GETFund. So, what about the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) as well as the District Assemblies Common Fund? I just wanted to know from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader if there is any plan. This is because if the House rises on the 23rd of this month, we would not have the opportunity to approve those formulae before we go. So, what is the position on the remaining two funds?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Leader?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa asked for certain information that should be furnished the House mainly consisting of certain annual reports that are legally supposed to be laid in this House, but are not forthcoming. He also mentioned the issue about the list of presidential staffers and how he would want it to be available and my goodself and Leadership to facilitate the laying of such reports in the House. Mr Speaker, I would want to assure the Hon Member that I just interacted with the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation on the list of the staffers. He is working on it seriously. So, as he claimed we should facilitate it, they would take notice of that and make sure that that list, together with other reports like the Annual Report of the Universities and other reports that are supposed to come to this House, appear as legally mandated. Mr Speaker, on the issue of time for commencing Sitting, this matter came up even this morning at the pre-Sitting meeting, and the issue of committee sittings when Parliament has to sit in the Chamber as well, and whether or not there should be a directive that committee sittings should be after adjournment so that we could have Hon Members in there. Mr Speaker, it was at the discussion level at pre-Sitting meeting, but again, Hon Sampson Ahi also rose, that indeed, some committees, including his Committee were here but had to go on a field visit, which is all parliamentary duty. Mr Speaker, so, I believe that just as I said some few weeks ago about the Standing Orders and how we are reviewing it, if the conclusion we come to is that we should stick to our commencement of Sitting at 10.00 a.m., the question then is whether it is workable. Have we been able to sit at exactly 10.00 a.m.? If it is not workable, the suggestion is that we should move it to late afternoon or exactly midday. These are the options available to us. But I agree with Hon Members that it does not put us in a good light that we do not sit on time, but I believe Leadership would have to do a lot to encourage Hon Members to be in the Chamber. Mr Speaker, one thing has also not helped us, and it is a necessary evil, I must say. I remember in the previous Parliament when we had no offices, Hon Members were always in the Chamber, but what we picked from our Whips was that, most of the time it is not that Hon Members are not in Parliament; they are in Parliament but they are not in the Chamber. Most of them would have to go to their offices and see to visitors and constituents. So, in my opinion, we should all endeavour as Hon Members that we manage our times so well that when we are expected to be in the Chamber to work on very important Business, we are all in the House and not in our offices. Mr Speaker, an issue was raised on 11 Ministers who have been scheduled and the fact that we have to ensure that they attend to the House to answer these Questions. Earlier this week, you made this directive, and we, at the Majority Leadership, would ensure the Hon Ministers are in the House to answer Questions. That is not to say that where officially they have communicated well in advance to the Table and your good self of other reasons that would not permit them to be in the House-- I expect that we acknowledge the possibility of those happenings as well. But for the majority of them, we have to encourage them to be in the House. So, they would be here to answer those Questions. So, we would deal with the fears of the Hon Member as it is. Mr Speaker, I beg the Hon Deputy Whip, Hon Ahmed Ibrahim, that he should not predict doom. He is predicting that the 11 Hon Ministers might not appear. I believe that we should stay positive and work as Leadership to ensure that they appear to answer the said Questions. Mr Speaker, again, Hon Members who are scheduled to ask Questions most at times are not also present in the Chamber. Again, this is not too good for us especially now that most of our Sittings are being telecast live on GTV. People are watching us closely, and so, Hon Members should equally be in the Chamber to also ask their Questions themselves. Mr Speaker, I hope the Whips for both sides have taken note of the issue of whipping. We would whip our Hon Members to be present in the Chamber to make Mr Speaker's work easier. Mr Speaker, Hon Armah-Kofi Buah also asked about we bringing Hon Ministers to the House to answer only one or two Questions and how, in his opinion, if they have more Questions, we could schedule them for more for a day. Mr Speaker, I would like to draw his attention to Standing Order 66, which says that Mr Speaker shall be the sole judge of the admissibility of Questions. So, it is as and when Mr Speaker admits Questions that the Clerks would also write to the respective Ministries to bring their Answers. So, it is not as if Leadership

Speaker
Ms Safo

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much. With regard to the time, Hon Members, we must thank the Hon Member for Adaklu for his strong statement in this regard. This is because we cannot operate the way we are doing. If we make the exception the rule in any institution, we would destroy it. Some people may go to sit at a Committee for some reason or the other. It could be Appointments Committee, for example, and they may need to go. It could be Finance Committee. I would want to direct that there is something called plenary, which supersedes everything. So, every Hon Member of this House is enjoined to come to the House first before he or she can seek permission from Hon Members and Leadership to be excused to attend to other issues. Then, of course, we start the work properly. But very often, we are in the pre-Sitting room there and just allow people to come and peep whether there is enough -- [Interruption] -- ring the bell once more, take the bell closer, and so on and so forth until, at least, there is enough to start some business. I would be very glad if this exercise would no more be necessary. With regard to the statement on Hon Ministers, this morning, while we were peeping in and out, it was clear that the Ministers who will answer Questions were already seated. So, at least, I would be glad if in such circumstances, we leave the Hon Ministers out, and I can vouch for it. The Leaders too were there when this was reported to us, that the Hon Ministers were seated to answer Questions. So, we said that if there were enough Hon Members, we could go in and let the Hon Ministers start to answer the Questions. On that, at least, I would appreciate the Hon Ministers for their punctuality this morning. I am not saying forever -- [Laughter] -- but as for this morning, that was what we saw. Hon Members should rather be responsive so that Hon Ministers could answer Questions. Thirdly, for the avoidance of doubt, the Speaker's role with regard to Questions is the formal admissibility of those Questions -- whether they are relevant; whether they satisfy all the conditions that we have over there and so on. The Speaker, having admitted the Question in principle, which we do expeditiously, now, it is for the Table Office and the officials to arrange them. You would see, for example, that they are also arranged in accordance with sector. For example, you cannot have an Hon Minister come to the House three or four or five times in a week. Therefore, you would see that Questions to the Ministry of Agriculture, though asked at different dates and with different numbers, they are put on a particular day. That business is not that of the Speaker. So, I do not determine when a Question would be listed. Listing of Questions is purely administrative and for that matter, Hon Members are entitled to go to the Table Office and ensure that their Questions are listed as soon as possible, and that is also part of the duty of Hon Members. You would see that today, for example, we have only Questions related to railway and roads listed. There are so many other Questions which hang about, but the two Hon Ministers have been asked to come, and it is fit and proper to ask them to come in a certain order as well. These are some of the things that I believe would help us to do the things right and maximise our time. If we follow these rules that we have brought on ourselves, very well, we would see that there would be very little problems and we can do a lot more once we are also on time. Thank you very much. With these few remarks, the Business Statement as presented is hereby admitted. Hon Members, item numbered 4 -- Questions. The first Question stands in the name of the Hon Member for Adaklu.

Speaker
Ms Safo

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to seek your leave under Order 53 to vary the order of Business, so that we could lay a Paper listed as number 6 (a).

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Which Paper, please?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, it is the Paper to be laid by the Hon Majority Leader on the formula for the distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2018, before we go to Questions. I would also ask permission to lay the Paper on behalf of the Majority Leader, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Item numbered 6(a) -- Papers

PAPERS

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader and the Minister of State in charge of Procurement sought your leave to vary the order of Business and to lay the Paper on behalf of the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. Mr Speaker, as soon as you called her, I saw the Minister for Education also on his feet and he bowed. Both of them

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, when somebody rises, he should catch the Speaker's eye.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

And anytime the substantive Leader is not there, the Deputy is deemed to be acting. Referred to the Committee of the Whole Hon Deputy Majority Leader, can we move on to Questions?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, items numbered 6 (b) and 7 are equally ready to laid, and the Hon Minister for --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The First Reading of the Bill?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, respectfully, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance would do so.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The Hon Minister for Finance? And in his absence, if you may please ask for permission for him.

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, respectfully, I seek your permission for the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance to do so on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister, you may lay the Paper accordingly. By the Deputy Minister for Finance (Mr Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng) (on behalf of the Minister for Finance) - Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of fifty-two million, three hundred and ninety- three thousand, eight hundred and seventy United States dollars (US$52,393,870.00) on distillate operational fuel, power equipment and power plant parts for Trojan Power Limited's power plant operations under an Equipment Rental Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Ghana (Ministry of Energy). Referred to the Finance Committee

Speaker
Mr Speaker

It is essentially a tax waiver.

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, item numbered 7, which is the Ghana Deposit Protection Bill, is also ready to be laid.

BILLS -- FIRST READING

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Any more, or we should proceed to Questions?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, we can proceed to Questions.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member for Adaklu, get ready for your Question, and would the Hon Minister for Railways Development take the relevant seat?

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS

DEVELOPMENT

Speaker
Minister for Railways Development (Mr Joe Ghartey)(MP)

Mr Speaker, the Central Spine stretch of the rail line from Kumasi to Paga, also known in the Ghana Railways Master Plan as the “Central Spine Expansion”, forms part of the development of the railway network expansion programme in the country. Mr Speaker, the overall objective of this project is to develop a railway corridor between Kumasi and Paga to improve rail and logistics infrastructure, as part of an integrated transport network in Ghana. The project also seeks to improve rail transport services for passenger and freight thus reducing the cost of transportation, especially, in trade to and from the hinterland and the northern regions of Ghana, as well as, to Burkina Faso and other Sahelian countries. Mr Speaker, the Central Spine, running from Kumasi, through Tamale to Paga is a 595km green-field project. Being a green- field project, the development requires feasibility studies to determine the financial, economic, environmental and social viability of the project. It also includes surveying and mapping-out of the right-of way (RoW) for the railway line before the procurement of an EPC Contractor to undertake the construction works. Mr Speaker, the Ministry went through a competitive tendering process to select a consortium of firms led by Messrs Vision Consult Limited of Ghana, in partnership with Messrs Gauff Ingenieure of Germany and Messrs ILF Consulting Engineers also of Germany. The process of selection was in line with the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended by the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 914), and after approvals by the Central Tender Review Committee and the Entity Tender Committee of the Ministry. A contract was accordingly signed on 22nd December, 2017 and the assignment officially commenced with a Kick-Off meeting on 25th January, 2018. Mr Speaker, the Feasibility Studies are currently on-going and expected to be completed within a six calendar month period commencing January, 2018. Mr Speaker, a concurrent procurement process has also been initiated to engage a Transaction Advisor to procure a private sector investor(s) to develop the railway line from Kumasi to Paga (Central Spine) after the Feasibility Studies is completed. Mr Speaker, in this regard, the Ministry has gone through the first phase of the procurement process, that is, the Expression of Interest phase and has shortlisted nine (9) firms who are to be issued with Request for Proposal documents to submit detailed Technical and Financial Proposals by the end of March, 2018, for further evaluation. Mr Speaker, I want to conclude with assurances to this august House that the Ministry and its implementing Agencies

Speaker
Minister for Railways Development (Mr Joe Ghartey)(MP)

Speaker
Mr Agbodza

Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minister for providing these Answers. My first supplementary question to the Hon Minister is, based on the 2018 Budget, he indeed provided a breakdown of some expenditure here - capital expenditure. Unfortunately, I did not see any expenditure in terms of the activity he talked about here. The question is, does he have a budget line for this first phase of work that he has commissioned?

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

Mr Speaker, as was said in the Answer, the contract was signed in December, 2017, so it was budgeted for in the 2017 Budget. I would want to assure you that the Ministry of Finance has released the necessary funds for us to undertake the work. So, it was not budgeted for in the 2018 Budget, but rather in the 2017 Budget. The contract was signed in 2017. Indeed, Section 33 of the Public Financial Management Act does not allow us as a Ministry to sign contracts for over one year. So, we could not have signed the contract in -- [Interruption] -- If it was 2017 contract, it must be budgeted for in the 2017 Budget, not in the 2018 Budget.

Speaker
Mr Agbodza

Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister said that they procured the Transaction Advisors concurrently as the feasibility studies were going on. Could he assure this House that the outcome of the feasibility studies would not affect the work of the Transaction Advisors because their work is completly different. In the Answer he provided, we do not know whether it is the government which would build it or a private company. So, could he assure this House that the concurrent nature of the two projects would not affect the development of the project?

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

Mr Speaker, it would not. Because of the exigencies of the time, a lot of processes would be handled concurrently. The feasibility studies would do specific things and we stated them in the Answer. We can look at the financial feasibility, the social and environmental impacts and so on and so forth. Based on that information, the Transaction Advisors would then take the process to the market or see whether they could take the process to the market. So, there are two different but complementary roles. If we wait for them to finish the feasibility studies before we procure the Transaction Advisor, that process alone would take us about a year. Feasibility studies alone would take about six months, the procurement of the Transaction Advisor would take us about the same time. Now, we have procured the Transaction Advisor. In fact, this Answer was given at the time the request for proposal had not gone out. But I can assure the Hon Member that it has gone out and by the time we finish that process, we would have finished the feasibility studies as well, and we would be prepared to go forward. Mr Speaker, because of our procurement laws, it took us about six months to procure people to do the feasibility studies. The process of procurement in Ghana is a little laborious. But it is important that we go through it. So, there is no conflict; it is complementary and we are on course.

Speaker
Mr Agbodza

Mr Speaker, may I ask the Hon Minister, whether the studies that would take place would include an environmental impact study? This is because, he mentioned in his Answer that, they would build a railway through green- field, which is a virgin area, which is a habitat for wildlife, farms and other things. Could the Hon Minister assure this House that the study would include an environmental impact study?

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

Mr Speaker, in the third paragraph of the Answer, I said that: “Being a green-field project, the development requires feasibility studies to determine the financial, economic, environmental and social viability of the project.” So, it is part of what we are doing. Our laws in Ghana would not allow us to do such a project without environmental impact assessment. I assure the Hon Member that it is being done. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings? Plans for Abuja/CMA Market Land Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings asked the Minister for Railways Development what the Ministry's plans were for the land on which the Abuja/CMB Market is situated.

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

Mr Speaker, it was reported in the Press that squatters occupying this portion of Railway Land near the Abuja/CMB Market were evicted on Sunday, 4th February, 2018 after the expiration of due notice. Mr Speaker, the facts of the matter are that, in 2003, the Ghana Railways Company Limited (GRCL) granted a lease to Geofort Limited covering the railways staff quarters at CMB, Accra. These quarters were in a state of total disrepair and uninhabited as a result. When Geofort Limited presented its developmental plans to give the area a much needed face-lift and open up a business/shopping facility, the Management of the Ghana Railway Company Limited viewed it as a welcome engagement and agreed to the lease. Mr Speaker, in addition to granting the lease to Geofort Limited to give a facelift to the run-down area, Ghana Railway Company Limited demanded that Geofort Limited build a new railway staff quarters at a site. This represented a win-win outcome for the railways sector. Mr Speaker, it is noteworthy that moves to evict squatters, demolish the dilapidated structures and rebuild have taken place long before the actual demolition exercise on Sunday, 4th February, 2018. Mr Speaker, in 2015, the developer/ Geofort Limited, initiated legal action to evict the squatters in order to commence work on the site. When the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) who became the vested owners of all railway lands and assets under the Railways Act, Act 779, heard about the suit, the Authority joined the suit. This was to ensure that Geofort Ltd honoured the terms of their agreement with Ghana Railway Company Limited, to rebuild staff quarters elsewhere.

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

Speaker
Dr Agyeman-Rawlings

Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister kindly confirm, whether the facelift that is intended for the area would include the improvement of infrastructure for the market women who currently trade within the premises? I ask this because, there are about one thousand (1000) of the market women and whether the facelift would include Day Care Centres and places of convenience as well as a health post for the huge number of traders within the premises is my concern.

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

Mr Speaker, I would want to assure this House and the Hon Member that it would include all the matters she talked about. We are very much aware of the large number of traders, not just in that part of the railway lines, but also in the Kantamanto section. So, any redevelopment would take into account all these people who earn their daily bread and ensure that they continue to operate within the new development. The development would be for their benefit. So, it would take them into account and it would take care of their needs.

Speaker
Dr Agyeman-Rawlings

Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister confirm that when the market is completed, it would be linked to the rest of the railway network since there is a huge number of traffic of products that come in from the hinterland to that market?

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

Mr Speaker, the Ministry has a programme that it calls “From Station to Cities” that takes into account the economic activity around every station. It is trite knowledge that, when economic activity is created around the station, then we could get the freight that we need to fund the railway. So, I assure the Hon Member that, what she talks about is exactly what we are going to do.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Finally?

Speaker
Dr Agyeman-Rawlings

Mr Speaker, given the level of angst that a lot of the traders on the site feel at the moment, is there a chance that the Hon Minister can make available a site plan regarding the exact delineation of the staff quarters that are to be constructed, so that it can set the minds of those who are not within that space at ease, and has there been any stakeholder engagement in the meantime?

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

Mr Speaker, in the budget of the Ministry for this year, we put in a certain amount for “community relations”. What we meant by “community relations” is exactly what the Hon Member talked about - stakeholder engagement. Quite a number of the traders around that area have had meetings with me in my office. Yesterday, the Kantamanto traders were there. There is a plan in place to have extensive stakeholder engagement, not just in that area, but along the railway line, and I would go with her as the Hon Member of Parliament for that area. I give her that assurance.

Speaker
Mr Ablakwa

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, this Question is also one area specific. [Laughter.] Hon Members, I would want us to have our established practices right and not always appear to be people who are confused or that someone is being partial. Six Questions were admitted and we know they are constituency or area specificity. It is a factor. This is because, if we are going to allow three Questions, for example, then they can be general and many more questions can be asked. But now, as we know, certain Questions are constituency-specific, then the idea is administratively and commonsensically to admit more Questions from Hon Members to ask their Questions. But we cannot have our cake and eat it. Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House and answering our Questions. Question listed number 326 addressed to the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways.

Speaker
Mr Ebenezer O. Terlabi

-- rose--

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member for Yilo Krobo?

Speaker
Mr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi

Mr Speaker, with your leave, I have the authority of my Hon Colleague to ask the Question on his behalf.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Please, proceed.

MINISTRY OF ROADS AND

HIGHWAYS

Speaker
Minister for Roads and Highways (Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah)(MP)

Mr Speaker, the road from Somanya through Mount Mary junction to Mount Mary College of Education is within the Yilo Krobo municipality. The section from Somanya to Mount Mary Junction is asphaltic concrete surfaced in good condition. However, the 1.5km section between Mount Mary Junction and Mount Mary College of Education is in a poor surface condition. Current programme There is no major rehabilitation programme on the road. Future programme Engineering studies will be conducted on the road in the third quarter of 2018 and thereafter, the road will be programmed for the appropriate intervention when funds are available.

Speaker
Mr Terlabi

Mr Speaker, apart from that road which serves the College of Education, it also serves the main hospital that serves Yilo and Manya Krobo. As the rain is about to set in, can the Hon Minister, at least, in the meantime, do something about it to avoid a situation where pregnant women, who would want to visit the hospital would not have miscarriage, and those who are sick may not have their conditions exacerbated?

Speaker
Mr Amoako-Attah

Mr Speaker, the importance of that road cannot be overemphasised. It is well-known, and I would want to assure the Hon Member that that road is part of the entire road in that municipality which is receiving attention under our routine maintenance programme.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, any further question?

Speaker
Mr Terlabi

Mr Speaker, the answers that he has provided do not really give us any indication because they say as and when money is available. He should assure us and my people.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Minister, assurance.

Speaker
Mr Amoako-Attah

Mr Speaker, the assurance is within the availability. [Laughter.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Minister, the Parliamentary Service Board has set up a new Committee on Parliamentary Assurances and very soon, we shall demand more assurances, and we shall ensure that the assurances are kept. It is just for your information. Hon Member, any further question?

Speaker
Mr Terlabi

Mr Speaker, I am done. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Question starred 327 -- Hon Member for Fanteakwa North? [Pause.] Question starred 328 -- Hon Member for Upper West Akim?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, I would like to ask for your leave to allow the Hon Collins Amankwah to ask the Question which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Fanteakwa North.

Speaker
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah

Mr Speaker, we should move away from doing Business in the House this way. An Hon Member filed a Question, it is advertised in the Business Statement in the preceding week and he does not show up to ask the Question. Henceforth, I would -- [Interruption.] Yes, whether it is my Hon Vice Chairman or the Chairman, if he has a Question, he must be prepared to come and ask it in the House. So that if he is not ready to attend Business here, we should skip the Question and move on.

Speaker
Mr James K. Avedzi

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Especially when Hon Members are so quick to condemn Hon Ministers who delegate or are absent. Anyway, Hon Deputy Minority Leader, I saw you.

Speaker
Mr Avedzi

Mr Speaker, I just want to draw the attention of the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee to Standing Order 68 (3) which says: “In the absence of the Member asking the Question any Member so authorised may, with Mr Speaker's prior permission, ask the question on behalf of the absent Member.”

Speaker
Mr Speaker

So, authorised by who?

Speaker
Mr Avedzi

Mr Speaker, it is your duty to --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, I was going to be very liberal but if you are going to talk about ‘authority', then I would say that the only person who can authorise another Hon Member to ask his or her Question is the Hon Member in whose name the Question stands, otherwise described as the owner of the Question. So, with all due regard, an Hon Member who wants to ask someone else's Question must stand on the floor of the House and say truthfully and authoritatively, that the owner of the Question— yes, honestly. You are drawing me rather to that area so, let me rule properly because the ruling would be in my name and not in any other person's name. And that is the law. But I can also be flexible and oblige the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. But that would be a flexibility supported by the Hon Deputy Minority Leader. When the two Leaders are ad idem, well, we may oblige. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, when I rose, I made the application that the Hon Collins Amankwa was going to do so; ask the Question for and on behalf of the Hon Member. And he had indicated to me that he has the permission of the Hon Member for Fanteakwa North. Mr Speaker, he is the Vice to the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee, so, he could crack the whip closer. He is closer to him. So, he should have actually ensured that he was in the House. That is just on a lighter note. But the Hon Member who is to ask the Question on his behalf has his permission as rightly said and the Minority is also a bit flexible like you are this morning. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The Minority and Majority Leadership agree that another Hon Member should ask the Question and I am inclined to oblige. Hon Member, please, ask the Question. Rehabilitation of Miaso to Aboabo, Amokrom No. 2 to Paparamantan, Asrebuso to Agyenemene and Mpaem to Adakope Roads Mr Collins Owusu Amankwa (on behalf of Mr Kwabena Amankwa Asiamah) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the following roads would be rehabilitated: (i) Miaso to Aboabo (ii) Amokrom No. 2 to Papramantan (iii) Asrebuso to Agyenemene (iv) Mpaem to Adakope.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, you are totally a stranger -- [Laughter.]

Speaker
Mr Amankwa

Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, let me take it again. -- [Laughter.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

No, Hon Member, we have got you. Hon Minister, you may please answer the Question so that we save any further — you know what.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you Hon Minister. Any follow up question?

Speaker
Mr Amankwa

Mr Speaker, when you say there is no major rehabilitation programme on the road, however, the engineered section that is 0.0 kilometres to 4.5 kilometres is programmed for routine maintenance (reshaping) in 2018 and I would want to know exactly when the programme would be run because you said 2018. I want a specific time.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Minister?

Speaker
Mr Amoako-Attah

Mr Speaker, what it means is that, the contract has been awarded and if that is done, it would require the contractors to mobilise to site to begin work. All programmes are on annual basis. We have a programme as a Ministry for 2018 and it is part of it. So, once it has been awarded and the contractor mobilises to site, the exact timing would depend on when the Contractor actually moves to site. However, I can assure the Hon Member that we would follow these processes meticulously and it would be done on schedule.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The next Question numbered 328. Any authorisation for asking the Question? It stands in the name of the Hon Member for Upper West Akim. Mepom-Canaan-Kwadwo Armah Feeder Road Mr Derek Ohene Assifo Bekoe asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Mepom - Canaan - Kwadwo Armah feeder road would be upgraded to a gravel-surfaced road.

Speaker
Minister for Roads and Highways (Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah)

Mr Speaker, the Mepom-Canaan-Kwadwo Armah feeder road is 17.5km long. It is located in the Upper West Akim District of the Eastern Region. It is gravel surfaced in poor condition. Current programme There is no major upgrading programme on the road. However, the road is programmed for routine maintenance in 2018. Future programme Engineering design studies will be carried out on the road during the third quarter of 2018 to determine the appropriate intervention.

Speaker
Mr Bekoe

Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways aware that this is one of the major roads on which food is carried to serve the markets in Adeisu, Asamankese, Nsawam and Bawjiase? Does he also know there is about one kilometre hilly stretch which periodically, especially, during the rainy seasons, becomes so bad that motorists are not able to ply the road? As such, women commuters carting their wares to these markets are not able to ply these roads.

Speaker
Mr Amoako-Attah

Mr Speaker, I would want to assure my Hon Colleague that I am perfectly aware of that road and its current condition. That is why in the third paragraph of my Answer, under “Future Programme” and even in the second paragraph, under “Current

Speaker
Mr Amoako-Attah

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, are you done?

Speaker
Mr Bekoe

Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the Hon Minister for the measures that have been taken to solve the problem on the road. However, with the rains setting in and with a problem spot of about only one kilometre, would the Hon Minister consider an interim measure to improve on that one kilometre stretch before the rains set in to the detriment of our mothers who ply that road?

Speaker
Mr Amoako-Attah

Mr Speaker, that was why I said in my Answer that, we would carry out spot improvements. I would want to assure the Hon Member that the regional directorate would be firmly instructed to keep an eye on that road during the impending rainy season. This is to ensure that travelling on that stretch of road would become smooth and motorable until the third quarter where proper and long lasting or permanent improvement or rehabilitation would be done on it. I can give that assurance.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much Hon Minister for attending on the House and answering our Questions. You are discharged. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, there is a last one.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

I see. Thank you very much. Question numbered 329. Nyanoa-Abamkrom-Esaaso Feeder Road Mr Derek Ohene Assifo Bekoe asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Nyanoa - Abamkrom - Esaaso feeder road would be upgraded to a gravel- surfaced road.

Speaker
Minister for Roads and Highways (Mr Amoako-Attah)

Mr Speaker, the Nyanoa- Abamkom-Esaaso feeder road is 15.5km long located in the Upper West Akim District of the Eastern Region. It is an engineered road in poor condition. Current programme There is no major upgrading programme on the road. However, the road is programmed for routine maintenance in 2018. Future programme Engineering design studies will be carried out on the road during the third quarter of 2018 to determine the appropriate intervention.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, any further Question?

Speaker
Mr Bekoe

Mr Speaker, the problems are the same as the earlier road mentioned. The Abamkrom stretch has the Abamkrom Hill which during the rainy season, becomes so clayey that vehicles are not able to ply it. As a major road serving the Central Region, specifically the Agona East Constituency and Aproso, through to Awutu Senya East, could the Hon Minister assure us that the Abamkrom Hill stretch would also be maintained appropriately? This is to ensure that pedestrians or commuters would not suffer flooding of rain during the coming season.

Speaker
Mr Amoako-Attah

Mr Speaker, I am perfectly aware of that road and I equally share the concern of my Hon Colleague. The condition of the slope is clayey and that is the nature of the soil. It therefore becomes dangerous and slippery during the rainy season. Steps are being taken for the contractor to move in to do that spot maintenance to make the road motorable. Mr Speaker, I would want to assure the Hon Member that we should work together and that would be done. Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, thank you for coming to the House to answer our Questions. You are respectfully discharged. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, where do we go now?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, respectfully, we could take Motion numbered 8. The indication is that it is time bound and if we are not able to take it today, by next week, time would have elapsed, so respectfully, we could take it instead of the Statements.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business -- Motion numbered 8. Hon Chairman of the Committee?

MOTIONS

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the 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). Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the African Development Fund (ADF) for an amount not exceeding the equivalent of twenty-seven million, eight hundred and sixty-four thousand, seven hundred and fifty units of account (UA 27,864,750) [equivalent to US$39.01 million] to finance the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) was laid in the House on Tuesday 27th February, 2018.

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

increase incomes of actors along selected value chains on a sustainable basis. Terms and Conditions of the Loan The terms and conditions of the Loan are as follows: Loan Amount -- UA 27,864,750 (equivalent to US$39.01 million) Interest rate -- 1.0 per cent per annum Service Charge -- 75 per cent per annum Commitment Charge -- 0.5 per cent per annum Grace Period -- 5 years Re-payment Period -- 25 years (exclusive of grace period) Grant Element (Concessionality) -- 35.97 per cent Observations Project Components, Cost and Description The Committee noted that the Project is divided into the following components: Component 1 -- Crop Productivity Improvement (UA 28.63 million) [US$40.37 million]: This Component will seek to increase crop productivity through; Development of an efficient system of production, storage and distribution of breeder, foundation and certified seeds; Rehabilitation of four seed centres with state of the art equipment; Support to research institutions for breeder and foundation seeds production; Build capacity of agriculture extension officers in seeds inspection and certification; Input support (subsidy in line with PFJ); Improved mechanisation services; Soil fertility management; Establish demonstrations under Transformation of Africa Savannah Initiative -- TASI; Linkage of small holder farmers to the School Feeding Programme, nutrition and hygiene education and support in schools through the Regional School Health Education Programme in the Upper East and Northern Regions. Component 2 -- Value Chains & Agribusiness Development (UA 3.00 million) [US$4.23 million]: The objective of this component is to set up sustainable agribusinesses along the rice, maize, soya and vegetables value chains. This component will: Support e-registration of farmers and other value chain actors; Build the capacities of value chain actors; Create and strengthen innovation platforms amongst value chain actors; Create linkages to other programmes such as ENABLE Youth and GIRSAL; Provide incentives to bring in private investments in the project area to harness the business opportunities enabled through the public investments in the area through this and other projects including innovative financing (e.g. GIRSAL) infrastructural develop- ment (roads, power, irrigation etc) land tenure reforms and others. Component 3 -- Infrastructure Development (UA 7.33 million) [US$10.34 million]: This component will provide: Development of transport infrastructure (feeder roads, farm tracks); Rehabilitation of irrigation schemes; Improvement of water harvesting and distribution for lowland rice; Rehabilitation of warehouses Component 4 -- Project Coordination, Management, Monitoring and Evaluation (UA 1.43 million) [US$2.02 million]: The Project Co-ordination and Management Unit (PCMU) will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the project including Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), gender equality and women's empowerment as well as the implementation of the Project's Environmental Social Management Plan (ESMP). Sources of finance for the Project The Committee was informed that the project will cost a total estimated amount of US$ 56.69 million. Out of this, the ADF's contribution is US$39.01 million, representing 68.9 per cent whilst the Government of Ghana and the beneficiaries are expected to contribute the remaining 31.1 per cent mainly in kind. Details of the funding sources are as follows: It was explained to the Committee that the ADF will cover the foreign exchange costs and part of the local costs. Due to the lack of fiscal space, government is said to be unable to finance all the local costs of the project. Part of the local cost has therefore been factored into the ADF financing in order not to delay the implementation of the project. Government will therefore finance local costs within the main project management such as GOG support to the PCMU (seconded staff, office space, logistic support, tax exemption etc). Thus, government's contribution to the project is specified to be mainly in kind. Monitoring and Evaluation The overall monitoring and evaluation of the project falls under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA). The Project Coordination and Management Unit (PCMU) will monitor and evaluate the impact of the project including performance as well as environmental and social compliance and compile the project's quarterly and annual reports for dissemination to the ADF, MoFA, other line Ministries and the Development Authority responsible for the Savannah Zone. Procurement under the Project The Committee noted that procurement of goods, works and services to be financed by the Bank for the Project will be carried out in accordance with the “Procurement Policy and Methodology for Bank Group Funded Operations (BPM)”. Also, procurement through Open Competitive Bidding National (OCBN) procedures will be carried out using the Government of Ghana (Borrower's) procurement systems comprising its laws and regulations (Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) as amended and the national Standard Solicitation Documents (SSDs) agreed during project negotiations. Per Article VIII (Section 8.01) of the Loan Agreement, each contract for civil works valued at UA 2 million or below and each contract for goods valued at UA 1.5 million or below will be carried out using Open Competitive Bidding (OCB-National) under the Government of Ghana's procurement systems. Above these thresholds, procurement would be done through Open Competitive Bidding (OCB- International) under the Bank's Procurement Methods and Procedures (BPM) and relevant Standard Solicitation Documents (SSDs). Expected project outcomes The project is expected to achieve the following indicators: i.Reduce the prevalence rate and numbers of children stunting from 33 per cent to 20 per cent (i.e. a 40 per cent reduction) whilst percentage of children aged 6- 23 months consuming more than 4 food groups will be increased from 33.3 per cent to 50 per cent by the end of the project. ii. Increase productivity of rice from 2mt/ha to 6mt/ha, maize from 2.5mt/ha to 6mt/ha, soya from 1.65mt/ha to 3mt/ha by year five. iii. 26,400mt of fertilizers (various) and 4,285mt of seed supplied to farmers by end of year one. iv. Quantity of key crops produced increased: rice from 283,109mt to 350,000mt; maize from 85,000mt to 150,000mt; Soyabean from 80,000mt to 140,000mt; and vegetables from 30,000mt to 60,000mt by year five.

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

SPACE FOR TABLE

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Who seconds the Motion?

Speaker
Mr Alex Adomako-Mensah (NDC -- Sekyere Afram Plains)

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in doing so, I would want to make few comments. Mr Speaker, this is African Development Fund Loan Facility which is supposed to provide support to address the situation in the Savannah Zone. Mr Speaker, this project began in 2015 and it was initiated by Hon Franklin Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, to lift the farmers from the low productivity to higher productivity activity. Mr Speaker, government is seeking to borrow another loan again to transform agriculture value chain, food and nutrition security to create jobs and alleviate poverty. Mr Speaker, we cannot say no to this important loan, but if the government itself is not able to fully finance its own flagship programme like “Planting for Food and Jobs” and is looking elsewhere for a loan to support it, we would support it so that the government would get it to help the farmers in our rural areas. Mr Speaker, the commitment fee of 0.5 per cent is charged on the undisbursed portion of the loan facility and I am not very comfortable with it.

Speaker
Mr Alex Adomako-Mensah (NDC -- Sekyere Afram Plains)

Mr Speaker, it is important to intensify the education of agricultural extension services as a way of helping the rural scale farmers to change their attitudes and adopt improved technology. Mr Speaker, the project is programmed to be implemented over five years and expected to be effective from January 2018 and completed in December 2023. Mr Speaker, but here is the case that we are now approving the loan, and so the project itself is three months behind schedule. When we look at the components and the cost description, component IV talks about the Project Coordination, Management, Monitoring and Evaluation which has a higher amount of UA 1.43 million as compared to other components where the farmers would enjoy it better, are given smaller figures. And so I believe that we are going to waste most of the money on coordination, management and evaluation. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I second the Motion and urge Hon Members to support it. Question proposed. In such unanimity, I will take one from each side and conclude this matter.

Speaker
Dr (Nana) Ayew Afriye (NPP — Effiduase/Asokore)

Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity and I beg to associate myself with the Report of the

Speaker
Dr (Nana) Ayew Afriye (NPP — Effiduase/Asokore)

Committee. And in doing so, I would first of all want to draw the attention of my Hon Colleague on the other side of the House who said that it is the project of Hon Fifi Kwetey. Mr Speaker, the document here says it is a loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the African Development Fund. I do not know where Hon Fifi Kwetey comes in in this point. But in any case, it is a people- centred project, and where people matter, politics do not matter. And that is the objective of governance, and continuity. And so when there is poverty in the North — [Interruption] -- As this Report also touches on projects which are feeding on the flagship project of government: The ‘‘Planting for Food and Jobs'', the One District One Factory, it also touches on issues of irrigation, where villages would have the opportunity to have the constructions of dams. So, this issue is one of a national character. It is one of a kind that touches on poverty eradication. And as a country, inasmuch as we have a very sensitive President who believes in the fact that with issues to do with the people — where people matter, politics do not matter. It is clear that I would have to rise to associate myself with it and call for the House to support it. This is because farming activities there — looking at the diversity; soya, rice, and all of them which would come in would increase income, create employment opportunity and it is even addressing the issue of road construction, where people would be able to locate their industries for agro-processing, which is a concept in economic policy where it is supported by the Atta Lewis' theory — [Hear! Hear!] — that you can only develop through backward integration, you have to send the industry closer to your material — Atta Lewis' theory. And that was what the Ancient tigers dwelt on and they moved. So, we have a sensitive President who knows that one can only make progress based upon what has happened elsewhere and based upon economic policy theory. And he has adopted this and some other persons intend to politicise it. It is actually unfortunate. But we have the able direction of the Rt Hon Speaker who is sensitive and understands that there should be progress. Mr Ahmed Ibrahim — rose --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Leader, can I come to you after one from here?

Speaker
Mr Isaac Adongo (NDC — Bolgatanga Central)

Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion numbered 8, and to thank H. E. the President for his effort at developing this country without aid. In fact, the first thing I saw when I got this was that, I immediately thought that — Dr A. A. Osei — rose --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, do you stand on a point of order?

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

Mr Speaker, my good Friend said he is supporting the Motion numbered 8. I do not know any Motion numbered 8 here. We are considering a Report. It is item numbered 8 and not Motion 8, so that we can follow him properly.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

If I heard the Hon Member right, he did not say Motion numbered 8 —

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

Mr Speaker I am quite clear in my mind. He said Motion 8, and so I was looking for Motion 8.

Speaker
Mr I. Adongo

Mr Speaker, I believe the item numbered 8 is so important that the Hon Chairman of the Committee and the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation are both on their feet addressing a very simple matter. But thank you very much. Mr Speaker, the first thing I thought about when I saw this was that, just a few days at Independence Celebration, H. E. the President talked about Ghana beyond aid. And I believe that this is actually a clear sign of Ghana beyond aid in motion, that we are seeking to borrow an amount of money to fund Agriculture — ‘‘Planting for Food and Jobs'' and to ensure that this helps us get the raw materials that are required to feed our factories under the ‘‘One District One Factory'' initiative. Mr Speaker, I am very pleased that the President has seen wisdom in the work done by the Savanah Agricultural Development Authority (SADA). This is because we were told that this document is emanating from the SADA master plan and I think that that is a good step that would make sure that the work that was done to map out the areas that are required for development in the SADA area continue to receive attention. Mr Speaker, I have looked at the project proposal itself and I am worried that this project is looking at using the private sector as one of the critical tools for accelerating commercial agriculture. And I say this because the Hon Minister may be aware that that concept is being applied by the Ghana Commercial Agriculture, funded by the World Bank. And all efforts at finding private businessmen who have the capital to invest and become aggregators for that project is facing a lot of difficulties. And that is the reason the disbursement of the fund is not moving as much as possible. Inspite of the fact that there is a lot of money sitting there, we are struggling to unlock the potential to take those moneys. And I would want the implementers of this project to bear that in mind and find innovative ways to avoid similar bottlenecks that occasioned the implementation of the Ghana Commercial Agriculture. Mr Speaker, but I have looked at the sources of funding, and it gives me a bit of worry. The Government of Ghana, together with beneficiaries are expected to fund USD 17.6 million of this project. Out of this expected amount, almost USD12.6 million of it is supposed to be funded for external services. Now, under normal circumstances, when we are implementing a demand-driven approach, where one wants the beneficiaries to contribute something little in order to own the project, we have to also consider that it would be difficult for them to find it when we are looking for money itself. Now, once we consider that beneficiaries are to find an amount of US$6,253,980 of external funding, that would create a major difficulty for this project. Mr Speaker would agree that this project targets very poor farmers of the savannah region, and they may find it difficult to raise the foreign component of US$6.2 million for this project to be properly implemented. In addition, these same beneficiaries are supposed to raise US$2,221,620 of local findings -- together, we are looking at the beneficiaries funding of US$ 8.7 million. These are very staggering figures for the very poor people that we would want to support to improve agriculture. I believe that the framers of this project need to take a closer look at this financing arrangement because it may delay the implementation of the project if these poor farmers are unable to come up with this funding arrangement. Mr Speaker, the quest to increase agricultural productivity and output is much more urgent today than it has ever been. Only recently, ISOKO Ghana Limited, which is a marketing company that deploys technology to help marketers find and match the produce to the market, reported that Ghana is in serious difficulty. The prices of agricultural produce in the last couple of months have increased between 25 per cent and 150 per cent. They paint a gloomy picture that in the next four months, Ghana would run out of stock to feed our people. That puts this project in critical perspective. Mr Speaker, if agricultural output under the “Planting for Food and Jobs” Programme is beginning to have these challenges of not feeding the people of Ghana in such a short period, then all efforts should be made to ensure that these bottlenecks, which we have identified in the financing and implementation of this project, is properly addressed. This is to ensure that we truly have “Planting for Food and Jobs” Programme that delivers food and would not increase prices and last more than four months. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon First Deputy Minority Whip?

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda)

Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity given to me to contribute to this Motion. Mr Speaker, honestly, if there is a Motion that this House must come together to support, this is strongly one of such. We are approving a facility that would support the good farmers of this country. If we check the occupational distribution of people in Ghana, farmers constitute the greater majority. Mr Speaker, I have gone through the Report very well, and the loan that we are approving of has been divided into components (1), (2) and (3). Before I get to that portion, I would begin with the background, which I crave your indulgence to read: “The Project is aimed at consolidating the gains made through the ADF's previous investments such as the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), the Fufulso-Sawla and Techiman- Kintampo Road Projects, optimise the usage of the infrastructure that were constructed in those …”

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Dr A. A. Osei?

Speaker
Dr A. A. Osei

Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague and I are holding the same Report, he sees only three components - but I see four components. So I wonder if he is holding the same Report. This is because the Report talks about four components, but he is talking about three components. I would therefore, want to know if we are holding the same Report?

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, I thought the interest of the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation was on the percentage for monitoring and evaluation, but I have not come to that one. Mr Speaker; with your permission, I quote: “The Project is aimed at consolidating the gains made through the ADF's previous investments such as the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), the Fufulso-Sawla and Techiman- Kintampo Road Projects, optimise the usage of the infrastructure that were constructed in those interventions and leverage on private sector investment to establish large commercial farming for domestic and export markets.” Mr Speaker, this is a very interesting portion. As a country, certain facilities are taken and invested very well because of our commitment to develop upon certain sectors. Based on that, we would consolidate the gains that we would derive from that area. If there is a facility that is given to this country, this underscores the fact that both Sides of the House must come together and approve of it. Mr Speaker, on component 1, “Crop Productivity Improvement (UA 28.63 million)” -- “This Component will seek to increase crop productivity through …” the following. I cannot mention all for want of time, so, I would centre on just about two or three of the bullets underlisted -- “soil fertility management”. Mr Speaker, using this facility to improve on soil fertility management is not enough. Overgrazing is one of the factors that causes soil infertility. As we would use this facility to check soil fertility and those things, we must entreat the Ministry of Agriculture to take a critical look at certain human activities that cause soil infertility in our agricultural lands, a few of which are overgrazing, illegal chainsaw operation, excessive bush burning, charcoal burning, among others. We must check those aspects very well because we have the capacity to do that. This is to ensure so that this facility would be put to very good use like providing inputs, building the capacity of extension officers and those things that are written here. Mr Speaker, component 2 talks about “Value Chains & Agribusiness Development (UA 3.00 million) [US$4.23 million]”. This is a very good area. It is very good that we entreat the private sector to perceive agriculture as a lucrative business activity. It is on that note that we could augment government's efforts of making sure that we produce what we eat, and export more to the export market. Mr Speaker, in the Report they talked of linking the School Feeding Programme to small holder farmers. It is true that a lot of farm produce in the rural areas get rotten because of the nature of the roads that they have. A portion of the money is to be used to construct roads. I would entreat the Hon Minister for Agriculture and the Hon Minister for Finance to make sure that they link up with the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways to give special care to our agricultural roads.

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Speaker
Mr Speaker

I am advised that Hon Dr Sagre Bambangi would conclude. Deputy Minister for Agriculture (Dr Sagre Bambangi)(MP): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion and to thank --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister, you would be very brief. Please go straight to the point.

Speaker
Dr Bambangi

Mr Speaker, I would want to seek your leave to correct an impression of US$2.2 million allocation to project coordination, management, monitoring and evaluation, and it is said that it is meant to allocate most of the US$39.01 million to only that component. I believe US$2.02 million out of US$39.01 million cannot be most. So, I would want that wrong impression corrected. Mr Speaker, I also would want to make a comment on the issue of Ghana Beyond Aid and the fact that we are going for this loan. I believe that from the assessment, we are capable of managing this loan and paying back without any problems, and it is not a hang out debt. Mr Speaker, the other factor is that if we are to work to achieve a Ghana beyond aid, then we would have to build our foundation now to ensure that at the appropriate time, we could wean ourselves off the donors. On the sources of funding that one of my Hon Colleagues on the opposite Side of the House raised, we expect that for the first year of this project, some part of these funds would support the “Planting for Food and Jobs Programme”. In that programme, we subsidised seed and fertilizer, and that is the component that the private actors are supposed to contribute, because they are supposed to pay for half of the price of the inputs while the Government pays for the other half. On the issue of rising food prices, we are not oblivious of the fact that there are some slight increases in prices of food, but that is based on our policy because we do not expect our farmers to produce and get a pittance so that they are not motivated to go on to produce. So we are observing the prices and working closely with our buffer stock system to ensure that food prices do not go beyond the affordability of the citizens of this country. I can assure you that we have enough food stock in this country to ensure food security. We are actually building on some of the gains that we have made in the past. I believe it is a constitutional obligation that when a new Government comes, it has to build on the investments of past Governments. We would take the recommendation of the Committee as well as Hon Members who have spoken on the Floor on the issue, that we have to liaise closely with the Ministry of Roads and Highways to ensure that whatever feeder roads and farms that are to be constructed are done well. I thank you very much, Mr Speaker and all Hon Members, for contributing to the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.

RESOLUTIONS

THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE

HEREBY RESOLVES AS

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, we agreed that there would be further winnowing, and then we would continue with the issues of the Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017 at the Consideration Stage. It is not 2.00 p. m. yet, so, I would ask for a Motion for adjournment.

Speaker
Mr Patrick Y. Boamah

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this House adjourns till Tuesday at 10.00 a.m.

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, as you rightly said, we are adjourning because we would want the Committee to continue with the winnowing so that we can speed up when we meet next week Tuesday. For that reason, Hon Members must take that seriously and join the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee on that course. On that note, Mr Speaker, I support the Motion for adjournment.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Very well. Question put and Motion agreed to.

ADJOURNMENT