Hon Members, we have visitors in the House. It is a visit to Ghana
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 15th March, 2018. Page 1 ….8 --
Mr Speaker, page 8, number 33, I was absent with permission but I have been marked absent.
Page 9….18. Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 15th March, 2018 as corrected is hereby admitted as the true record of proceedings. Item numbered 3 -- Business State- ment. Chairman of the Business Committee?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 15th March, 2018 and arranged Business of the House for the Ninth Week ending Friday, 23rd March, 2018.
Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read commu- nications 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 responsible for Agriculture -- 3 ii. Minister responsible for Special Development Initiatives -- 1 iii. Majority Leader and Leader of the House -- 1 iv. Minister responsible for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation -- 1 v. Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration -- 2 vi. Minister responsible for the Interior -- 1 vii. Minister responsible for Local Government and Rural Development -- 1 viii. Minister responsible Gender, Children and Social Protection -- 1 ix. Minister responsible for Business Development -- 1 x. Minister responsible for Communications -- 2 xi. Minister responsible for Energy -- 6
xii. Minister responsible for Roads and Highways -- 6 xiii. Minister responsible for Aviation -- 1 Total number of Questions 26 Mr Speaker, thirteen (13) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to twenty-six (26) Questions during the week. The Questions are of the following types: i. Urgent -- 1; ii.Oral -- 25 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. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana Mr Speaker, the House would recall that Parliament under the distinguished patronage of your goodself organised a symposium to commemorate twenty-five years of uninterrupted Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana under the theme, “25 Years of Continuous Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana—Challenges and Prospects”, at the Accra International Conference Centre in which the President of the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki graced the occasion as the Special Guest of Honour. The Business Committee wishes to express its gratitude to H.E the President of the Republic, Hon Members and other distinguished dignitaries who parti- cipated in the symposium. Mr Speaker, the Business Committee takes this opportunity to inform all Hon Members that Parliament in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce (Ghana) and Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors is organising a second symposium to commemorate twenty-five years of uninterrupted Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana under the theme, “25 Years of Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana— Improving Current Legal Framework to Enhance the Ease of Doing Business” on Monday, 19th March, 2018 at 4.00 p.m. at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra. To this end, Hon Members are urged to participate in this important activity. Mr Speaker, I was not available at the Business Committee meeting and as you observed, I paused for a while because I know there is a programme that would begin at 4.00 p.m. the same day. So, we may have to look at the time again. Mr Speaker, I suppose we may have to bring it forward. Joint Caucus Meeting Mr Speaker, a joint caucus meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday, 22nd March, 2018, after adjournment. Out- standing pertinent matters would be discussed in this regard, and all Hon Members are therefore encouraged to avail themselves at the meeting. Extended Sittings Mr Speaker, in view of the tall order of parliamentary business pending before the House, the Business Committee recommends that the House undertakes extended Sittings to enable the completion of scheduled business. Mr Speaker, the House is expected to adjourn sine die on Friday, 23rd March, 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 conside- ration. Urgent Question --
To ask the Minister for Agriculture 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. Questions *330. Mr Richard Mawuli Kwaku Quashigah (Keta): To ask the Minister for Agriculture whether the document on the implementation plan for the Government's flagship programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs', is available to be accessed by interested members of the public. *354. Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei (Nsuta- Kwamang Beposo): To ask the Minister for Agriculture the arrangements being put in place by the Ministry to ensure that in the upcoming cropping season, the expected increase in food crop production emanating from ‘Planting for Food and Jobs' programme is marketed effectively with minimum post-harvest losses at the farm gate. *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. *348. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Majority Leader the extent of work on the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. *349. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Environment, Science, Tech Technology and Innovation when the agreement covering the funding
and evacuation of Ghana's highly enriched uranium to China will be brought to Parliament for ratification pursuant to the Constitution. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Proposed Formula for Distributing the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) for the Year 2018. Agreement between the Govern- ment of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America on the Defence Co- operation, the status of the United States Forces, and access to and use of agreed facilities and areas in the Republic of Ghana. National Petroleum Authority (Bulk Road Vehicle and Volume Monitoring) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018. Report of the Joint Committee of Mines and Energy and Lands and Forestry on the Development Agreement Granting Stability Terms to AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited (AGAG). Report of the Joint Committee of Mines and Energy and Finance on the Tax Concession Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited for Obuasi Mine re-development. Report of the Finance Committee on the request by the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the issuance of the 2018 Sovereign Bond and Global Depository Note (GDN) to use: (a) US$1.00 billion to finance the 2018 Budget (b) US$1.50 billion to refinance maturing external bond (i.e. the 2022 and 2023 Eurobond and (c) GH¢500.00 million to refinance expensive domestic cedi deno- minated debt. 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. Report of the Finance Committee on the Protocol between the Republic of Ghana and the Swiss Confedera- tion Amending the Convention of 23rd July 2008 between the Republic of Ghana and the Swiss Confedera- tion for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on Income, on Capital and on Capital Gains and its Protocol Consideration Stage of Bills -- Ghana Deposit Protection (Amend- ment) Bill, 2018. Committee sittings. Questions *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 Agree- ment. *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. *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. *350. Mr Muhammad Bawah Braimah (Ejura-Sekyedumase): To ask the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development what steps the Ministry is taking to facilitate access by Hon Members of their share of the Common Fund from the District Assemblies without any challenge. *352. Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (Asawase): To ask the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection what steps the Ministry is taking to ensure that the WAEC building in Kumasi is disability friendly. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for Distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) for the Year 2018. Report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duties,Import VAT, Import NHIL, and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of sixty-six million, six hundred and eighty-one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eight United States dollars (US$66,681,968.00) [equivalent to GH¢295,114,387.96] on materials and equipment to be imported by the Ministry of Energy and Weldy/Lamont Associates Inc. of Illinois for the implementation of the Turnkey Rural Electrification Project in selected communities under the National Electrification Scheme (NES) and the Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP IV) Report of the Finance Committee on the 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 nine-three thousand, eight hundred and seventy United States dollars (US$52,393,870.00) on the distillate operational fruel, 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) Motion -- Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Protocol between the Republic of Ghana and the Swiss Confederation Amending the Convention of 23rd July 2008 between the Republic of Ghana and the Swiss Confederation for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on Income, on Capital and on Capital Gains and its Protocol. (Consequential Resolution)
Adoption of the Report of the Committee of Mines and Energy on the 2018 Work Programme of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation. (Consequential Resolution) Committee sittings Questions *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. *310. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Commu- nications the expenditure break- down of the digital address system which was launched recently by H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana. *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 neighbor, Burkina Faso, which is affecting communication in the entire Lambussie District. *323. Mr Ras Mubarak (Kumbungu): To ask the Minister for Energy whether the Ministry's plans to generate solar energy as an alternative source of energy is on course, and if so, how much power from solar does the Ministry intend to generate in the next three years. *324 . Mr John Frimpong Osei (Abirem): To ask the Minister for Energy when electricity will be extended to the following communities in the Abirem Constituency: (i) Abenaso (ii) Obuobetwaw (iii) Asoase. *325. Mr John Frimpong Osei (Abirem): To ask the Minister for Energy when the electrification project under the CWE-5 regions will commence in the following communities in the Abirem Consti- tuency: (i) Amanfokrom (ii) Bramkrom (iii) Addokrom (iv) Obohema (v) Bepotuntum (vi) Sakapia (vii) Domeabra (viii) Kontenase (ix) Abuabena (x) Dodoworaso. *334. Mr Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze (Central Tongu): To ask the Minister for Energy when the following communities will be connected to the National Electri- city Grid: (i) Kpevenu-Tsati (ii) Akpakope (iii) Kukudor (iv) Dzendukope (v) Mankukope (vi) Adiekpe-Korfedeke (vii) Mafi- Kpogede (viii) Ayidzoekope (ix) Samkope (x) Tagbadzae (xi) Norviwode (xii) Bekpo/Agorvodza (xiii) Bakpa-Kpogede (xiv) Agorkpoe (xv) Kpewu (xvi) Bakpa- Dokpo (xvii) Temfor (xviii) Tsame- Kpedzeglo. *335. Mr Muhammad Bawah Braimah (Ejura-Sekyedumase): To ask the Minister for Energy when the following communities will be connected to the National Electricity Grid: (i) Samarikrom (ii) Kojokrom (iii) Dukukrom (iv) Moshikuraa (v) Hiawoanwu Newtown (vi) Kasei Newtown (vii) Sunkwae (viii) Nkwanta Newtown (ix) Kabrekura (x) Krampong (xi) J. K. Akuraa (xii) Bayon Newtown (xiii) Nkrama (xiv) Kantakani No. 2 (xv) Nkyansie. *336. Mr Edward Kaale-ewola Dery (Lambussie/Karni): To ask the Minister for Energy when the following communities would be connected to the National Electricity Grid: (i) Cheboggo (ii) Tappuma (iii) Bognuo (iv) Dahile (v) Kpare (vi) Baazu (vii) Karni Danpuo/ Kalsegle (viii) Kokoligu (ix) Chetu (x) Kalegan (xi) Nyubulle (xii) Gyerigan (xiii) Kuutawie. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America on the Defence Co-operation, the Status of the United States Forces, and Access to and use of agreed facilities and areas in the Republic of Ghana. Motions -- Adoption of the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for Distributing the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) for the Year 2018. Adoption of the Report of the Joint Committee of Mines and Energy and Finance on the Tax Concession Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited for Obuasi Mine Re-development. (Consequential Resolution) Adoption of the Report of the Committee of the Joint Committee on Mines and Energy and Lands and Forestry on the Development Agreement Granting Stability Terms to AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited (AGAG) (Consequential Resolution) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the request by the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the issuance of the 2018 Sovereign Bond and Global Depository Note (GDN) to use: (a) US$1.00 billion to finance the 2018 Budget (b) US$1.50 billion to refinance maturing external bond (i.e. the 2022 and 2023 Eurobond and (c) GH¢500.00 million to refinance expensive domestic cedi denominated debt. (Consequential Resolution) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Con- cessional 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) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of sixty-six million, six hundred and eighty-one thousand, nine hundred and sixty- eight United States dollars (US$66,
681,968.00) [equivalent to GH¢295, 114,387.96] on materials and equipment to be imported by the Ministry of Energy and Weldy/ Lamont Associates Inc. of Illinois for the implementation of the Turnkey Rural Electrification Project in selected communities under the National Electrification Scheme (NES) and the Self Help Elec- trification Programme (SHEP IV) (Consequential Resolution) -Adoption of the Report Report of the Finance Committee on the 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 nine-three thousand, eight hundred and seventy United States dollars (US$52,393,870.00) on the 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) (Consequential Resolution) Committee sittings Questions Q. 337. Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings (Klottey-Korle): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Abuja/CMB Market road will be completed. Q. 338. Mr Mohammed Abdul-Aziz (Mion): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways whether the Ministry has reduced the scope of works on the Sang - Kpabya and Jimle - Chegu roads which were both awarded in 2016. *339. Mr Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery (Lambussie/Karni): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when construction of the following roads will commence: (i) Tanpoe - Piina (ii) Piina - Cheboggo (iii) Kpare - Naawie - Piina (iv) Kanguol - Cheboggo. *340. Mr Kwabena Amankwa Asiamah (Fanteakwa North): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when roads in the following town will be rehabilitated and given bituminous surface: (i) Begoro (the District Capital of Fanteakwa) (ii) Ahomahomasu (iii) Dedesewerako. *341. Ms Felicia Adjei (Kintampo South): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when construction of the Amoma Nkwanta to Agina road will be completed. *342. Ms Felicia Adjei (Kintampo South): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when construction of Jema town roads will be completed. 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. Motions -- Adoption of the Report of Committee on Defence and Interior on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America on the Defence Co-operation, the Status of the United States Forces, and access to and use of agreed facilities and areas in the Republic of Ghana. (Consequential Resolution) Third Reading of Bills -- Ghana Deposit Protection (Amend- ment) Bill, 2018. Committee sittings
HOUSE EXPECTED TO ADJOURN
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, based on the last statement of the Hon Majority Leader, I filed a Question about three weeks ago, which has to do with cocoa insecticide that has not been approved by the Cocoa Research Institute. Given the harm it could cause, I believe that issue must be treated urgently. However, for the past three weeks, I have been monitoring the Business Statement and it has never been advertised, so I wish action could be expedited on it.
Mr Speaker, I would want to draw the House's attention to Standing Order 173 (1) which says that, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “(1) There shall be a Committee on Members Holding Offices of Profit which shall consist of the Second Deputy Speaker as Chairman, and not more than twenty-five other Members.” Mr Speaker, for a Member of Parliament to hold office of profit, he or she needs to seek your permission, and I believe most of us who do other businesses apart from parliamentary work, the Constitution demands that we should seek permission before we practice. We have been to the Committee, and we have submitted all our documents, and till date, none of us has been cleared to practice or to continue to do our work. Mr Speaker, I brought this to your attention because, next week would be the last week and we have still not received our certificate to do our private businesses. I do not know whether we are to continue doing our private businesses illegally because we have not received any instructions from your Office and from the Committee on whether we should stop or continue. Mr Speaker, this is what I have brought to your attention so that you draw the
Mr Speaker, whereas I commend the Business Committee for the Business Statement, I would want to draw the attention of the Business Committee to one item under Presentation of Papers, on page 2 of the Business Statement, “Report of the Joint Committee of Mines and Energy and Lands and Forestry on the Development Agreement Granting Stability Terms to AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited (AGAG).” Mr Speaker, the referral was made to the Joint Committee on Mines Energy and Finance, and not the Lands and Forestry Committee. That is what I would want to draw the attention of the House to.
Mr Speaker, it is in relation to the same matter about the Office of Profit Committee. Apart from those who appeared before the committee who have not received their certificates, many of us who have applied have not even been invited to be heard, so that we can be processed, for which reason I have been living on the paltry sum that your Office has been paying us. I am unable to practice with a law firm because, I have not been cleared. If I go to court, it has to be pro bono, and you know what that means. So, for a year now, I have been unable to practice commercially. Mr Speaker, If you could urge your Committee to quickly expedite and process the rest of us to be able to practice alongside the work that we do here, it would help. Dr (Mrs) Bernice Adiku Heloo — rose
Yes, Madam — Honourable — Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah — Thank you, Mr Speaker —
Honourable, and I added, Madam — [Laughter.] Hon Buah, you want to be called by what you are not.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, my comment is in relation to Questions. In fact, I had filed questions since the last Session, but none of them has been advertised. I followed up and I was promised that the Questions would be advertised. But it looks like my Questions are being blocked. That is the impression I get. Mr Speaker, I would need an explanation on that.
Mr Speaker, I would want to revisit an issue that came up this week where a Question was directed to an Hon Minister and the Hon Minister actually came back on a date of the Answer to simply say that, the Question must be redirected to another Ministry. Mr Speaker, at the time I rose up to indicate that I thought it was important. If we look at the time that elapsed between when the Question was asked and when it was to be answered, I thought that it would have been more effective, for example, if the Hon Minister had communicated to the Hon Minister for Communication or Finance, that this Question is actually meant for him and simply inform the Clerk to Parliament that the Question had been redirected to another Ministry. Mr Speaker, I believe you had ruled that the right Hon Minister would come. But I need a clarity because I thought if we are able to clear this issue, some Ministers would know that if questions are sent to them and it has to go to another Ministry, the effective way, in my view for us to work, is to inform the Clerk to Parliament that the Question has been redirected to the right Ministry so that the right Ministry would then come with the Answer at the opportune time. I want your views and clarity on this matter.
Mr Speaker, on the list of Questions as it appears, it is actually 27 Questions and not 26 — Just to draw the attention of the Hon Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, we have seen instances where Questions have been yanked off the Order Paper without explanation. Since next week is the last week, we need assurances from the Hon Majority Leader that indeed, Questions that have been advertised would be the ones that would appear in the Order Paper. This is because, we do not want a situation where one would come and his or her Question is yanked out without any explanations.
Mr Speaker, I would want to add my voice to the point made by my Hon Colleague, Hon Dr Heloo. During the last sitting, I filed a number of Questions that never found expression in the Order Paper until the end of the Sitting. Then I got an official communication from Mr Speaker's Office said that —
Not from Mr Speaker's Office —
From the Clerk to Parliament's Office —
Please, I have explained this distinction very clearly. The Speaker's work is to determine only, the admissibility of a Question by our rules and regulations, which I need not repeat because it would be otiose to do so. Thereafter, administratively, the Question is listed in accordance with all the circumstances of the case, including, pairing as much as possible, Questions that relate to the same Ministry so as to ensure that when Hon Ministers come, we may have them Answer about two, three or four Questions. And these are matters of the administration. And so, if we get that right, we would see that once the Question is admitted, what you the Hon Member need to do, is to follow-up then with the Table Office or Office of the Clerk and you would then know when the Question would be fixed on the time table.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the education. I would just want to plead with the Table Office that if our Questions are not admitted, we should be informed early enough. This is because, we are left with one week to go on recess and I have filed two Questions but up till now, I have had no communication whether it has been admitted or not, and we are entering into the final week. So, that if that communication is made early enough to Hon Members who have filed their Questions, if there is any need for us to modify the Question or to move on to another thing, we could duly advise ourselves. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much. I did not have the opportunity to listen to the Hon Majority
Yes, Hon Afenyo-Markin after whom I would call the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I followed attentively the Business Statement for the ensuing week. I realised that there is this very important matter which is still outstanding, and this has to do with some assurances we received with regard to an incentive for the printing industry regarding the ban on some 49 drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. Mr Speaker, the background to this is that, somewhere in May last year, the government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, announced that, some 49 drugs were being restricted by way of importation. The essence was to allow local pharmaceutical industries to produce these drugs to create employ- ment and to enable them increase capacity. Mr Speaker, interlocked with this was the logos that they were importing from overseas. The understanding was that the local printing industry would be given the opportunity to print for these phar- maceutical companies, so that the value chain would be complete. It would be sad that the pharmaceutical companies in one breath would get an incentive and the local printing firms who have capacity would not get this incentive. Mr Speaker, all I want is to draw the attention of the Business Committee through the Leader of the House, the able Majority Leader to follow-up on the assurances given by the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry on the steps taken to address the concerns of the local printing firms. This is because, from May 2017 to date -- we are in March 2018 and it has been over 10 months -- We want more people to get jobs, we want the printing firms who have the technology to expand.
Hon Member, what happened in May 2017?
Mr Speaker, in May 2017, the announcement -- I read for you, Rt Hon Speaker.
From where? Did it appear in this Hon House?
Mr Speaker, with the announcement, the Executive Instrument came before us. Mr Speaker, I read Business News for Tuesday, 23rd May --
Hon Member, that is the reason I asked the question. Once the matter came before this House and it is a matter that relates to the House's performance or assurance, if nothing is happening about it and it is a business that appeared before us, we are interested in knowing whether it would ever come on our Order Paper and why it is not coming. That was why I asked that question. Hon Member, you would please continue. Those Hon Members who have something else to say should please wait.
Mr Speaker, may your days be long. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, you have used veritable words to address my concerns and I am forever grateful. Mr Speaker, so, basically, all I am saying is that the value chain must be complete. Mr President tells us that he wants “Ghana Beyond Aid”; these are some of the steps that when taken and followed up properly, would get us out of the situation we find ourselves in. Therefore, I urge this House to follow-up on the assurances given by the Hon Minister for Trades and Industry when the Executive Instrument came before this House, so that we would ensure a complete value chain. Mr Speaker, I said that the gap -- if the pharmaceutical companies had received this relief, including tax rebate and all that, the other side of the chain must not suffer. And that other side of the chain is the printing industry which includes the Graphic Communication Group. They have the equipment and the technology so why should the pharmaceutical companies now manufacture these drugs and then the labels that would be used
Hon Member, do you have any difficulty?
Mr Speaker, I thank you. Mr Speaker, I want to raise a matter of relevance. We are asking questions related to the Business Statement for the ensuing week --
Hon Member, I have already given direction.
Mr Speaker, I know.
Hon Member, please listen. [Laughter.] Something was done in this Honourable House. There was a justification by the Hon Minister-- In fact, we are entitled to follow this by way of Government Assurances Committee (GAC). It is a duty of this House. We are coming to the end of the Session and the Hon Member is drawing the attention of this Honourable House that something is woefully lacking.
Mr Speaker, may your days continue to be long. I am grateful. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, so, basically, when this is well addressed, I am quite sure that the local printing industry would be able to increase capacity they would engage more Ghanaians who are unemployed, expand their businesses, introduce innovative ways of also printing labels and other packaging materials to support the pharmaceutical industry. I am quite sure that if we receive a positive response, it would be to the benefit of the Ghanaian economy. Mr Speaker, indeed, I am exceedingly grateful to you for the opportunity.
Thank you very much.
Hon Member, do you rise on a special point?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
-- rose --
Hon Majority Leader, I have allowed him. So, please, let him raise his point because he may give a point that you may need to educate the House on.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. May I seek your indulgence to speak from the seat of Hon Ahiafor because once again my consul cannot function? Mr Speaker, I would want to comment on two issues; we are in the second year of the life of this Parliament. We have been told that, Parliament would recruit Research Assistants for Hon Members. As we sit here, that process has not been completed. Many of us to pay our Research Assistants privately. Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Majority Leader should be able to address this issue and let Hon Members know why this is still so and if we may get a refund of the moneys we have advanced to our Research Assistants. Secondly, Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the Hon Majority Leader for signalling that, next week, we may be having extended Sittings. This would not be the first, as it is normal. But what would be quite unfair is when we fail to come on time and rather Sit beyond certain times. This would not be helpful. Mr Speaker, you are always here ahead of many of us. Indeed, I have always said that, our inability to Sit on time has nothing to do with you. We are the ones who always fail to come. So, I would urge Hon Members that once the Hon Majority Leader has said so, if we would have extended Sittings, please, let us come on time so that the extension does not go beyond a certain period. Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the Hon Minority Leader as well. For the life of this Parliament, when we have extended Sittings, the support systems have not been very supportive. So, we urge the Hon Majority Leader to work on that. We would be here to work on time. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, let me commend the Hon Governs Agbodza for urging all of us to be very timeous with our times of Sittings, except to observe that, three days ago, before we sat, he was involved in a very relevant meeting that compelled Parliament not to Sit at 10.00 a.m. He was part of it but did not complain that Parliament was not Sitting at the appropriate time. When some people are not involved in matters relating to the conduct of Business, they presume that at 10.00 a.m. we should be Sitting when some other relevant Business could be going on behind the curtains. So, it is for him to enquire about what is holding us and not to come and complain as if nothing is being done, I believe that would be most unfair to the leaders who are responsible for the conduct of Business in the House. Mr Speaker, on the other matter relating to the recruitment of research officers, we have almost completed the arrangements and I would want to believe that into the next Meeting, certainly, they would be with us. Except to observe that, really, it has no relevance with the Business Statement that we have presented. It has no relevance at all. He does know that he could apply himself to the relevant vehicle to address the matter that he has raised. It has nothing to do with the Business Statement. Mr Speaker, I do know that, in times past, or should I say, according to a Bible story, in a war that involved the people of Israel, a prophet caused the sun to stand still and thereby succeeded in elongating the day. I do not believe that you, as the Hon Speaker, requires any day to be elongated. It would not be good for your health. So, those of them who wish that your day should be long, I believe that you do not need that at all. [Uproar] -- Mr Speaker, that is an evil wish because sitting down for more than 24 hours in this House would be at your peril. So, the Hon Afenyo-Markin cannot wish that the Hon Speaker's days should be long. [Uproar.]
Hon Afenyo-Markin, I would normally have allowed you but the Hon Majority Leader is standing at a certain position which does not allow him to be interrupted.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member drew attention to Hon Members holding officers of profit. That article in the Constitution relates even to Hon Ministers of State and that they should apply themselves to that vehicle. I believe they should be reminded to seek the relevant approval from the House before they engage in such practices. Oftentimes, attention of the Ministers is not drawn to this. It is a constitutional imperative. So, it does not involve only non-Minister Members of Parliament. It refers also to Hon Ministers who are outside this Chamber. If they would want to pursue any enterprise that would yield them profit, they should touch base with us and seek the necessary approval. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Juaboso said he had asked a Question which has not appeared on the Order Paper. Again, as I say, that would not have any relevance to the Statement that we have submitted. Hon Members know the cause that they could apply themselves to if their Questions are not advertised. I keep saying that the Business Committee does not have the authority to go behind the Hon Speaker to programme Questions. So, if one's Question does not appear on the Business Statement, one should use the usual channel to see where one's Question is. The Hon Speaker, as I said, is the person clothed with the authority to admit Questions. So, we should use the usual channels to see whether the Question has been admitted or not, or maybe, it has been admitted and transmitted to the Minister or Ministry before issues could be raised. But respectfully, Mr Speaker, because this has become the order of the day, any time the Business Statement comes to be read, Hon Members raise issues about the location of their Questions. I cannot answer the Question; the Business Committee cannot answer that Question. It is for them to avail themselves to the relevant processes to locate their Questions. Mr Speaker, my Hon dear sister asked whether her Question has been blocked. She said to us that she filed a Question in the last Session. Last Session means, last year 2017 and I do not know whether we can force the migration of requesting from the previous Session to this Session. The Business Committee cannot force any migration on that. So, I will plead with him, as I have said, to use the usual channel to pursue the location of the Question. Mr Speaker, the Hon Buah is urging that Questions that are misdirected should be redirected by the Hon Minister receiving that Question. I think that will be most irregular. The Hon Member asking the Question should know which Hon Minister to ask the Question of. You do not direct a Question relating to Finance to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and then you tell the Hon Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to appropriately direct your Question to the relevant Hon Minister. It will mean that you do not know the Standing Orders of this House. So, apply yourself to the Standing Orders, know which Hon Minister is in- charge of which sector and which sector should be responsible for the Question that you are filing. It is as simple as that. The Hon Minority Leader, who is an Hon Member of the Business Committee, and indeed, the Hon Ranking Member, has this tendency of always causing internal bleeding. He is an Hon Member of the Committee and he will not raise these issues at the Committee level but after we have agreed, he comes and wants to inject some needle to cause internal bleeding. I do not know why he does that except to say that I recognise the issue that he raised that extended Sittings should bear sufficient recompense. That will be done and the officers with the Committee would ensure that the Clerk gets the message, and that the Clerk causes sufficient - [Pause] -- Mr Speaker, he provides sufficient cover for the extended Sittings. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader read to us the Act relating to the President's obligations to provide us with a number of staff that operate at the Presidency. I agree with him that the time has not yet expired. Last year July -- the President took over on 7 th January, 2017 and he is supposed to -- he cannot report on the previous administration. I am wondering why people will want to litigate where there is no litigation. The President is supposed to report on his tenure, his staff -- Mr Speaker, a President cannot report on the staff of the previous Administration when he will not even have met them. How does he report on them? He will not even have met and somebody is saying no behind the curtain. Let him step forward and say no. [Interruption] -- So, the President is within the law, he has to report within three months after the expiry of a financial year, and the year ended in December and the third month is March and we are not yet through with March. So, the President is within time. In any event, I believe that maybe, this document is hanging somewhere and I know for a fact that it has been prepared long ago, and if it is not here yet, it will have to be here -- certainly because Parliament will not go beyond the 23rd of March and that submission is for the information of Parliament. Mr Speaker, the issue relating to the pharmaceutical industry, I guess if the Hon Member wants to follow-up, again, he knows what to do. If he wants relevant answers to what he is not clear about, he knows what to do; to bring a Question, a Motion, a Statement, you know the normal vehicles. Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader. It is important to make a few comments, particularly on the Hon Member's comments on extended Sittings. We must be duly remunerated but I agree with the Hon Member for Adaklu,
that if we are supposed to Sit from 10.00 o'clock to 2.00 o'clock and then we come and start working at 12:30 p.m., then immediately it is past 2.00 o'clock, we start claiming moneys for overtime. So, Hon Members, because we deserve to be remunerated for overtime, then we must also properly start on time. In fact, matters relating to how Hon Members of Parliament are treated; well, if you ask the Hon Leaders, we discussed it, led by my good self at the last Board meeting. We want to, not just give Hon Members pastries and things they cannot -- but a proper meal soon after Sitting. This is because when they close at 2.00 o'clock, they have not even finished and they are going to start again at the Committee level and they deserve it and must be given to them. Very soon, we are working out the modalities where Hon Members will be served proper meals so that they can also continue to do proper work for the people of Ghana. But let us also show that we are worthy of our hire. That is one thing that I believe the Hon Member has come out with which we must practice. With regard to matters on Members Holding Office of Profit, I think they can follow-up immediately after this, with the Hon First Deputy Speaker and they will get their appropriate certificates through his good office. This is because I know that he has done relevant work on those matters. Just for our guidance and for the future; Questions wrongly put, placed or directed which must be directed to the appropriate Hon Minister, the Hon Member who has been an Hon Minister before knows that Hon Ministers do not direct fellow Hon Ministers but Questions in Parliament is a serious direction from Parliament. In fact, if an Hon Minister persistently refuses to come, he or she will be subject to contempt of Parliament and dealt with. It is like serving a document without a bailiff; if you ask a relative to serve a court document for you, mind you, it will have no effect at the appropriate time. So, the validity of a Question given to an Hon Minister by a fellow Hon Minister, is very dubious and must be given only by Parliament. So, once the Question has been re-directed, it is only Parliament which will direct the Hon Minister. In fact, we do not suggest to the Hon Minister to come but we direct him to come; we order him to come as per the Constitution and powers conferred on Parliament. So, please, Parliament itself with its institutional power would do that work and the Hon Minister would come not by wanting to or not, but by the authority of Parliament. With these few remarks, the Business Statement as presented is duly admitted. Hon Members, thank you very much. Hon Members, item numbered 4 -- Statements. We have two Statements and one is on the death of Hon Nii Nortey Dua, the former Hon Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku. The Statement is by Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, Hon Member for Odododiodioo Constituency. Hon Member, you have the floor.
Hon Members, who are seated with their backs to the Mace must sit properly. It is contempt of Parliament. Any contributions? Hon Pelpuo?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, may the soul of Hon Nii Nortey Dua rest in perfect peace. He worked with me as the Hon Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports at the Ministry of Youth and Sports when I was the Hon Minister. I could testify of his commitment to national duty and I could testify that he was a man who was willing to go the extra mile in the support of national development in areas that he found himself. And this was a man who kept advising freely in whatever area we had to take decisions. Mr Speaker, even though he was a little older than me, I enjoyed his sub- missiveness, willingness to defer to authority and everything that allowed me to work as his boss. At the tail end of our relation together when I had to leave the Ministry, he sat me down, we had a chat and he gave me a very good brotherly advice. He said: “God does everything. Wherever you are going, just do what you have been doing while you were at the Ministry”. Mr Speaker, this man a man who was admired, and we need to emulate what he has left behind; that character of commitment, the character of willingness to do duty, his ability to absorb pressure and to do everything to satisfy his constituents. At one point, I realised that he was competing with me with the number of people who came to wait at the reception and I asked him whether in Accra they also have those challenges as we had in the North. And he said they were the same if not the fact that there were worse. Mr Speaker, I interacted with him well. And on this day when a tribute for him has been read, I just feel that I should say something short about paying tribute to him and praying to God that he forgives him whatever sins he might have committed on this earth and may he be found at the right hand side of God. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Hon Pelpuo.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, I stand to pay tribute and respect also to the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Ledzokuku Consti- tuency, Hon Nii Nortey Dua. Mr Speaker, this was a gentleman who had remarkable knowledge about the dynamics of politics in Ledzokuku. He was a very long serving Assembly Member in the Municipal Assembly, and that gave him a lot of experience and the appreciation also of the needs of the community. That is how come he was able to engage in a successful campaign and won to enter Parliament in January, 2009. Mr Speaker, he also had a lot of passion for developing and improving upon the level education in the community. In fact, the only Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre we have in Ledzokuku which is just about to be completed was started by the Hon Nii Nortey Dua. Just a few days ago, I was an interaction with the staff of the community clinic we have at the beach town, and they gladly told me that he gave them solar panels to help them operate even when there had power outage. They were actually shocked to hear the news, that he had passed away. This gives some manifestation to the commitment that he made while he was in office. Mr Speaker, he made a lot of efforts also to improve and develop the talents of the footballers in the community.
Ledzokuku is a community that has produced a lot of footballers playing at the national level, and being a sports journalist, he used his experience to help unearth more talents. All that I have said, notwithstanding, he unfortunately lost the primaries within the National Democratic Congress (NDC) just before the 2012 elections, and this reminds me of one of my favourite quotation from a Greek philosopher that, “The greatest fear of a captain of a ship should not be the pirate at high seas but he sailor on board with ambitions”. And there was a sailor on board in the NDC ship who had a lot of ambition and Hon Sena Okiti Dua, entered Parliament in January, 2013. Mr Speaker, tomorrow, we would be playing soccer in honour of Hon Nii Nortey Dua, and this is the tradition that happens in the community anytime an old footballer or a sports enthusiast passes away. I am happy to mention that it would be a game between Teshie Old Stars and Liberty Old Stars. Interestingly, the striker for Teshie Old Stars is my goodself. Mr Speaker, I would want to take the opportunity to make a recommendation to Parliament. This is a House that makes laws, but one thing I have observed is that with most outgone MPs, when you discuss their life after Parliament, one of the critical areas where they suffer is health. When it comes to their health, you would hear that there is this former MP who needs some support to medical pay health bills and all that. Mr Speaker, I am not saying that is what happened in his case, but I would want to suggest to this House so that we look at ways of developing a law that would make sure that, at least, if nothing is given to a former MP, there should be a way the State would support him or her with healthcare because the fellow has committed all his energy to serving this country. I believe it is quite a shame that we make the laws -- I can say confidently that there are agencies and departments in this country whose workers enjoy good healthcare till they exit. But in Parliament, I believe apart from the ex-gratia, everything is on our neck. So, Mr Speaker, once again, may his sole rest in perfect peace, and we wish the family well.
I thank you very much.
Leadership? Sorry, Hon Buah?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on the dead of Hon Reuben Nii Nortey Dua. Mr Speaker, we entered Parliament in the same year, 2009. Indeed, it is correct that the Hon Nii Nortey Dua was a very humble, calm and friendly MP. As a first timer MP, he was easy to approach and he easily mixed with all of us. Obviously, you could see that as first timers, we were meeting for the first time, we had all come from different regions, and those were the times to interact. Having been an Accra boy, it was easy for us to interact with Hon Nii Nortey Dua. Mr Speaker, he was very active in the work of Parliament. And as has been stated, he was a member of different committees and he performed creditably. More importantly, as we remember him today, I recall on the eve of the African Cup of Nations in South Africa. At the time, there was no Minister at the Ministry of Sports. He was the Deputy Minister who had been confronted with a lot of challenges. There were a lot of very angry passenger fans who were waiting for their flight to go to South Africa and he had to deal with this issue. It was a public affair, and he had to answer very difficult questions because the press was all over him but he exhibited maturity and all his leadership qualities in terms of how he explained the effort that was being made to make sure all the fans could go to South Africa. Mr Speaker, he single handedly with the support of his Ministry diffused the tension and ensured that those fans went to South Africa for the tournament and came back without any major incident. So, Mr Speaker, on a day like this, we pay tribute to our Hon Colleague. Mr Speaker, more importantly, I would want to add my voice what my Hon Colleague has just stated. A lot must be done for MPs in and outside Parliament. Often, you see former MPs, and immediately what comes to mind is what we are doing for the healthcare of our former MPs; people who have served. I believe this is the time for us to revisit those issues for Members of Parliament. Mr Speaker, on that note, let me add my voice to it and ask the Almighty God to keep his soul. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much Hon Member. Yes Leadership.
Mr Speaker, I am also up to pay a tribute to a former Colleague and former Deputy at the Ministry of Youth and Sports and to say that his demise came as a shock to many of us. Mr Speaker, he was a very humble figure even though he was older in terms of age to many of us. Working together as a subordinate was a very interesting time because he always revered superiors and he gave a brotherly advice when issues that are critical came before us. Mr Speaker, as a Member of Parliament he would be remembered as a very humble figure in this Chamber and in many instances, one would see him trying to intervene when there was misunderstanding between Colleagues. Mr Speaker, it is said that we do not have to talk about the painful past of the dead but we keep talking and we do very little about the plight of former Members of Parliament (MPs). Let me acknowledge that when you assumed the Office of Speakership, when Leadership brought the matter of former MPs and accessing our clinic, you graciously approved that former MPs and their spouses could visit our clinic.
Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to associate myself with the tribute that has been made in memory of our late Colleague. Mr Speaker, if there is any trait that anybody could point to in respect of our departed Hon Colleague, it is the fact that he was a man who was very humble, a man of peace; he was at peace with himself. He was very unassuming and very laid back. If you got to him, you could see that he was indeed a repository of intelligence. He was a brilliant person, yet not very outspoken. He kept a lot to himself. I remember on one occasion, when some heat had been generated, after the event, I met him in the corridors and he said to me that, after listening to me, he realised that I was right, but then he told me, ‘young man, a young person is never right in any issue that involves him and his
Hon Members, we shall have a minute's silence in honour of our departed Hon Colleague.
May his soul and those of all the faithful departed rest in perfect peace, amen.
The next Statement stands in the name of the Hon Member for Gomoa East. In the process, the Hon First Deputy Speaker would take the Chair. Hon Member, please go on.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Member, you have the floor. Recent remarks of the President of Ghana in Dakar at the Global Partnership for Education Conference
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to comment and share my thoughts on the recent Global Partnership for Education Conference held in Dakar, Senegal, which prominently featured our President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. I am delighted to mention the remarks of the President on the 2nd February 2018 during this international gathering. In matters of education, we had all the expectation that the President would speak to the world about the country's vision for education, especially from basic to senior high school. This expectation was realised in a manner, not only consistent with our Government's desire for free education, but also for Africa to utilise its abundant resources to ensure full control, financing and management of the continent's education system.
Yes, Hon Member for Nsawam Adoagyiri?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I would begin my congratulating the Hon Member who made the Statement. I was privileged to have witnessed that event. I felt much fulfilled as a Ghanaian and as an Hon Member of Parliament, particularly, as a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Mr Speaker, I think it is fair for us to admit that previous governments that have come and gone in one way or the other contributed to where we are today in terms of financing education, particularly, the free SHS Education. For want of a better word, mistakes of previous governments also solidified and made our position on free SHS education stronger. Today, we are all proud. I dare say that the debate on whether free SHS education is possible or not can be put to rest at this stage. Mr Speaker, as a country -- Majority or Minority -- we are coming to a certain conclusion that indeed free SHS can be done. It is a question of priority. Mr Speaker, we would need to continuously borrow into the lessons of countries and regimes like Norway, where they do not have so much resources -- in relative terms -- and yet they have distinguished themselves across the globe when it comes to financing education. If the relevance of education is not lost on us, then we must all begin to chart a new course. Not too far away, the examples of Uganda and Kenya can be cited. So, we have to continue to strengthen our pursuit for free SHS education. Mr Speaker, I would want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Executive, particularly, His Excellency, the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, who from 2007 has been very consistent in his call and advocacy for Free SHS Education. Against all odds and all criticisms, the man kept faith. It is one admirable feature of his that we cannot gloss over. Today, free SHS education has seen the light of day and it is refreshing to declare that even those who opposed it strongly are also benefitting. Across the country, everybody is benefitting without any discrimination. It is something that I find worthy of emulation. Mr Speaker, I find a correlation between the fight against corruption and the financing of education in our country -- I stand to be corrected though. Unless we get our priorities right and unless we are able to fight corruption and ultimately open doors for us to access funding, the need and the effort towards free education would be challenged. So, the establishment of the free SHS education and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (SP) is so key. Mr Speaker, I am privileged to chair your Committee on Foreign Affairs. It is increasingly becoming clear from our interactions across the globe that even beyond the frontiers of Africa, Ghana is becoming very popular for these two initiatives: the Free SHS Education and the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor. The OSP would ultimately ensure that we would not save the necessary oxygen, which is the funding to prosecute the Free SHS Education agenda, but it would also send a clear signal out there to every tom, dick and harry -- anybody who occupies any public office -- that public office is indeed public office and nothing beyond that. We would then be able to save enough to prosecute the agenda of the Free SHS Education. Mr Speaker, I heard our former President H. E, John Dramani Mahama making suggestions that we should not close doors to suggestions to improving and augmenting the free SHS education. I doff my cap to him and I believe that the discussions should be allowed. Let us continue to talk about it, but all discussions should be focussed on sustenance because we have gone beyond whether it is possible or not and now the discussion should be how we can sustain the flow of funding to prosecute the free SHS policy. I would expect the Minority to also come up with better alternatives in terms of the source of funding and other variables that are inherent in our pursuit of the free SHS policy. Mr Speaker, the prosecution of the free SHS policy is not just a fulfilment of a political promise. It is indeed a clarion call to uplift the needs and attend to the needs of the generality of the people of this country. We are all aware, making cursory reference to history, the good works of our first President, Dr Nkrumah. What he did, and various Presidents have also attempted to ensure that we get these attempts at institutionalising the need for a free SHS. Mr Speaker, one thing must be told. It is only this Government -- Mr Speaker, I am not being political -- It is only the NPP Administration which has had the boldness and the political will to push this agenda to this dizzy height against all the criticisms. And so, that conference again has emboldened my belief and my support for the free SHS dream. Mr Speaker, I would want to urge my Hon Colleagues, especially those in the Minority, that they should forget about the impossibility. Let us pursue a path for possibility and let us find a long lasting source of funding for the free SHS policy because just as has begun, it is not the Majority alone that is benefitting. They are also benefitting. And so, the benefit would trickle down to all constituencies, notwithstanding one's political persuasion. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to support the Hon Member who made the Statement, and also particularly urge our Brothers in Minority, especially Hon Muntaka, to come up with sustainable alternatives in ensuring that the free SHS policy becomes sustainable.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to also contribute to the Statement made by my Hon Colleague on the other side. It is a Statement which is very apt and appropriate. Mr Speaker, I must say that having listened to the Statement that was made by our President at that conference, one cannot help but to commend him for being very passionate about it and he aid it in a manner that one can consider as sincere. It was in a manner that actually created some sensation across that conference among African leaders. Indeed, the free SHS policy that has been established here in Ghana, obviously, the way the President talked about it came across as a motivation for other African countries to emulate. For instance, the President said: “We cannot depend on other people to finance the education on our continent. I am saying that not to turn my back to be ungrateful to these important and noble people who have committed themselves to help. No, but if we make our policy dependent on other people, when their policy changes, we will suffer. But if we make the policy for ourselves, then it means that at all times, we would be in control of our own destiny.” This obviously rhymes with what the founder of our nation, Dr Kwame Nkrumah said, that the African must indeed be in charge of his own affairs. Mr Speaker, we have started the free SHS policy here and other countries are looking up to us as role models and therefore, it would be necessary to ensure that we put in place all the mechanisms to ensure that it succeeds. Mr Speaker, having said that, I believe we cannot only commend him ourselves, that this Government has started the free SHS policy and therefore, they should be commended alone. No! Obviously, there was a foundation that was laid. Without the infrastructure, we cannot build on it. Therefore, while we laud Nana Akufo- Addo for this policy that has been initiated, we should also commend those who started and put in place certain mechanisms. After all, the previous regime also talked about progressively free education, and if you talk about something being progressive, it means that moving from one stage to a higher one. So, there is the need to commend former President John Dramani Mahama's Government also for laying the foundation. I believe strongly that any international stage that Nana Akufo-Addo finds himself, he must also commend the one who planted before he watered. Mr Speaker, even though we are talking of the free SHS policy and people are looking up to us as a role model, are we indeed doing what it takes to ensure that it succeeds fully? We talk about not depending on donors, which hitherto was always the case. We talk about weaning ourselves from international support et cetera because what our President, Nana Akufo-Addo, said at that forum is very apt, that when their policy changes, it obviously can affect our policy here in Ghana if we depend on them in order for our policy to thrive. Mr Speaker, the question is, are we coming out with very innovative ways of mobilising and generating resources from within to really support those programmes that we hold dear? Mr Speaker, today, the debt level of our nation keeps rising. We do not seem to have actually come up with effective strategic approaches to generate resources from within. And so, if we are not careful, it would only appear to be rhetoric. Even today, when we look at the free SHS policy, what is happening? It has been devilled with so many challenges. What are the alternative mechanisms that we are adopting or thinking through, as it were, to really arrest the situation and keep the programme on course? Mr Speaker, I wonder sometimes if indeed this excellent policy has a future. If the usual way of doing things is the norm, would it have a future? This is the question that we need to address. Mr Speaker, a lot hinges on the Ministry of Finance because they must give us the direction on to how we can generate resources to sustain programmes like this. There are so many social intervention programmes that we have embarked on that are good, but at the end of the day, if we do not get the resources, then we can only talk about weaning ourselves from international donor support and we would still find ourselves in the same situation. Mr Speaker, it is said that one cannot get anywhere standing still, but as much effort you make of getting somewhere, you would dash your feet against stone. Indeed, we are making efforts of getting somewhere, but in mobilising resources, what new thing are we doing? That is the fulcrum for the success of the Free SHS policy. This is because if the Free SHS policy is very successful and it becomes a lifelong programme of this nation, obviously, we would be able to reduce a number of social vices like violence
Hon Deputy Minister for Information? Deputy Minister for Information (Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah)(MP): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I beg to contribute to the Statement on the floor. Mr Speaker, in discussing this Statement, my good Hon Brother on the other side talked about the fact that ideas such as this, promulgated on international platforms, should not be “fantastic and excellent statements only” and that there should be evidence backing the fact that we are operationalising it here in Ghana. I believe that is the truth. The truth also is that today in Ghana, there is evidence that these are not just fantastic and excellent statements made by the President, but he has demonstrated that in reality, he is putting it into practice right here in Ghana. I would take time to put a few examples out for our mutual edification. Mr Speaker, in the year 2017 just gone by, the Government of Ghana, under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo challenged itself to grow domestic revenue by as ambitious a target as 33 per cent. I am not aware, and I stand educated on the last time the Government of Ghana targeted a 33 per cent growth in revenue. When the President talks about Ghana Beyond Aid, and the fact that we should gird our loins and raise our resources to fund the important things like free SHS, et ceterra, that was the beginning of the hard evidence. In reality, the GRA tells us that we did not miss that target by more than even five per cent at the end of the year 2017. That is evidence of a country that is targeting to grow beyond aid and is not just saying it in rhetorical terms, but is actually in practice living up to it. Mr Speaker, this year as well, the GRA were here in this Chamber, through the Ministry of Finance and we have passed a number of Instruments that are assisting the GRA to raise revenues that they desire. All of us here passed the Tax Amnesty Bill into law. It was here that we did work on the Tax Stamp Regime. It was also here that we worked on the Tax Identification Number (TIN) regime to encourage every Ghanaian, natural or artificial, to have and demonstrate a TIN number. This is the beginning of efforts to ensure that everybody is paying his or her quota. So, if the President talks at an international platform about the fact that we must and can find the resources, evidence abounds that right here in Ghana, he is putting in place the steps to ensure that we would live up to that. Mr Speaker, it is not just about raising revenues, it is also ensuring that every single cedi that Ghana gets is spent prudently. In the year just gone by, when the Auditor-General, as invited by the Ministry of Finance to audit expenditure requests, was done with his work, we all saw how much potential losses would have been incurred but for that exercise. That is part of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda. It is part of the agenda to ensure that every single cedi achieves the kind of results that we are looking for. That is evidence that the claim that we can fund our activities is being lived up to. Mr Speaker, in this year 2018, yes, we have funding of about GH¢400 million in the previous year, and over GH¢1 billion in this current year for education --
Hon Deputy Minister, hold on. Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. I think my Hon Colleague is pushing us into the realm of debate. I am a bit uncomfortable because where he is going, he is debating this Statement. I just want to draw your attention to the fact that he said a lot of controversial things. For instance, in this House, we know that when the Hon Minister for Finance brought the Budget Statement, he brought us a coordinated programme of social and economic development. He did not bring us Ghana Beyond Aid. So, if suddenly, the President has an afterthought to bring us a second programme for Ghana Beyond Aid, he should do so. However, in this House, what we have on record is a coordinated programme of social and economic policies. We do not have --
How is the reference to Ghana Beyond Aid generating a debate? We are not discussing the Budget Statement today, are we?
Mr Speaker, there are several --
Hon Member, you are out of order. Just leave it there. Hon Member, please continue.
Mr Speaker, I was actually just wrapping up my submission on this subject. The point I was making was that in the year 2017 and this year 2018, we have programmed and started spending in the
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I also want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and all other contributors for the wealth of information that have been put into the discussion. Mr Speaker, Ghana Beyond Aid has become a very powerful instrument in our national development, and we are all looking forward to that. When we relate this to the area of education, especially free SHS education, I think that something has gone missing along the way. I would like to draw an analogy here. I want to talk about a young man who has seen a very beautiful woman and decides to marry her without knowing where they would sleep, what they would eat, what they would do and what the future would be when children are born into the family. This is what is happening to our educational sector. When some proponents of Free SHS education were asked a simple question of how much it would cost for the first four years, they were unable to give the answer. This means that planning was not properly done. We have rushed into something, just like this young man who married a young lady before looking for where they would sit, sleep or what to eat. Mr Speaker, it would have been very prudent to cost the free SHS and know what is involved. If we had done that, then we would have known what we have, what we do not have, and then get the full component of our funding sources even before we begin. Today, look at the difficulties we have pushed our children into. Our children are sleeping on verandas and bitten by mosquitoes. [Interruption.] Some are very sick. The reports are all there for us to -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, what I am trying to say is that the idea may be very laudable, but it needs proper planning, forecasting and getting funds ready even before we start. We would have to go back to the drawing board, have the strategies again, look for the funding sources and make sure that our children are not subjected to the hardship that they face today. Mr Speaker, financing education is so important that it must not be left to chance. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Member for Bantama?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement that was made by the Hon Member for Gomoa East. Mr Speaker, I would want to comment on the Statement that the President is pushing the agenda, which some of our Hon Friends who may be described as ‘'doubting Thomases'' may doubt the possibility of building a country beyond aid. Mr Speaker, I sometimes do not get it why providing for ourselves and not depending on anybody, which has been captured in a simple vision called ‘'Ghana Beyond Aid'', cannot be understood, especially, by some of our Hon Friends on the other side of the aisle. Mr Speaker, all the President is saying is that when it comes to managing our affairs and doing things that matter to us as a people, we should not beg and depend on others. He is basically saying that we should learn to fish for ourselves and not allow people to fish for us. Mr Speaker, ‘'Ghana Beyond Aid'' does not mean that we do not need aid, except if one chooses not to understand it. It is a vision -- a long term vision that we have started by trying to build and to get to that point. Visions may not even be achieved by those who may actually conceive them. He is doing it, and I would want to connect the doors for those who have difficulties in understanding it. Mr Speaker, it is just like a family; all the President is saying is that our house management money must not come from begging other from people. It is as simple as that. Families should not depend on subsidies and aids, which come with strings, to manage their home affairs. Mr Speaker, what it means is that if we are able to deal with corruption, money could be saved to fund the Budget Statement. If we drink water and we do not litter the sachet, we would not need to go and clean up with money — money would be saved to take care of the Budget Statement. It means that if we all brighten the corner where we are, and educate our people to be productive citizens, we would produce so much to add to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and take care of our business. Mr Speaker, if we deal with the situation where loans are borrowed into schemes called “create, loot and share”, we would hurt Ghana Beyond Aid. Rather, if we borrow money prudently and use these funds in areas where we generate more than necessary to add to the income of this country, Ghana would go beyond aid. Mr Speaker, ‘'aid'' does not come free. We borrowed or got aid - the Millennium Challenge Account; Compact 1, Compact 2 -- what happened? Eventually, even if we did not like the GITMO 2, we did not have any option because there is nothing like free lunch. Mr Speaker, the statement that the President made on the international platform, that if they would want to help us, we would not want to be dependant - we would want to be free so that we would provide for ourselves. Mr Speaker, the President is saying that when it comes to education, the Free SHS, which people are talking about, may have
As the available Hon Leader, you would speak last.
Yes, Hon Member? 12. 55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague on the other side of the aisle spoke ably about “Ghana Beyond Aid'' and alluded to educational issues, especially the free SHS as a critical achievement. Mr Speaker, indeed, the President has spoken to the global world, and his voice is heard everywhere loud and clear on what Ghana is sticking out to do in terms of improving our educational system through the free SHS. Mr Speaker, our Presidents had made us proud throughout the 61years of our existence as a country. Dr Kwame Nkrumah went to the United Nations (UN) and spoke; and everyone listened. Beyond the Presidents themselves, colonialism only alluded to our education as the three R's' — reading, writing and arithmetic. However, Ghanaians excelled wherever they were. A Ghanaian police man, who had his training at the Ghana Police Depot, spoke at the UN.His analysis was so succinct that somebody asked him which university he attended, and he said he attended the “University of Alajo'';he went to the Police Training Academy. So, when his level of analysis was appreciated, he alluded to the “University of Alajo'' where he had his training. Mr Speaker, the free SHS that has come is something to open up the system. Over and again, we have all seen the ease with which Hon Members of this House have not been not bothered by our constituents over school fees for the first year students who are in secondary schools, because it is free. Mr Speaker, Ghana has always initiated policies of such magnitude. The Ghana Education Trust was initiated in the early 1960's, and gave some of us the opportunity to go to school. The Akrokerri Training College, Labone Secondary School and Fosu Training College were all built from the Ghana Education Trust Fund at the time, and that gave rural children access to school. Mr Speaker, however, when we talk of “Ghana Beyond Aid'' -- as it stands now, our educational system is anchored on the aid that we get. All the reforms that are taking place are based on aid. The Government of the United States of America has ongoing support for the education system in the tune of US$75 million. The office is by the Accra Sports Stadium. The Government of the United Kingdom is giving Ghana £18 million, and is supporting the transforming teacher education and learning. It is a signature issue the President and the Hon Minister for Education talk about day in and day out. Mr Speaker, we are all thrilled that others can support us; but consequently, we would have to stand on our own. We have to be able to lace our own boots; but when we speak of the free SHS, as if it is the one and only solution, we may be missing the mark. This is because education is a value chain, in which, we have all kinds of things that take place. We have books that are critical for the children to have, and uniforms in certain rural areas where they need those. In certain places, they need food. So, we have free food. In certain places, they need sandals, so we provide them with sandals. It is not because we have generated over and above funds that we are doing free SHS. It is the same money that we are suckling around. That is the reason a few days ago, this House approved the allocations of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund). Was it a rise or a shortfall? I believe somebody on the other side should answer. It is a rise or a shortfall in the amount of allocations to the GETFund. It is the same money we are capping somewhere and shifting. So, if we have free SHS, what is the consequence on infrastructure, or on the laboratories that are needed? Physics, Chemistry and Biology need laboratories. We should go to the rural schools to see what happens. Do they have the laboratories in quality and quantity for them to also do the work? We are talking about teachers. We have rural schools, where there one untrained teacher is responsible for the school. We have a trained teacher who goes to the school and immediately becomes the headmaster because there are two untrained teachers at that location. Mr Speaker, since we started early childhood education in this country, about ten years ago, how many teachers have we trained in quantity and quality to man these schools? So, when we speak of free SHS, it has the potential to give access to a significant number of students to come to our schools; but what about the other parts of the value chain? We are talking about laboratories and libraries where the kids could go and take books to read. Are they available? We are talking about places where the teachers could live and deliver. They go to a rural school where the gate to the chief's house is made with a mat. If that is so, then where would the teacher stay? So, the teachers go there, and it is a form of punishment. In three years, everybody asks for a transfer. So, consequently, we rejoice that we have free senior high school. The foundations were laid as all the arguments were presented back and forth; but the
bottom line is, that free senior high school is one of the pieces of the missing puzzle that we still have. It is not a panacea for the problems we have in education. Mr Speaker, let me illustrate that. The Junior High School system we have here, if we would be sincere as educators, we would find out that it is fraught with a lot of weaknesses. It is already predetermined how many kids would get grades A1, 2, 3, all the way to 9. What is the basis? The Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), is already predetermined. So, even if a person scores 60 per cent, that person could get grade one 1this year, but next year the highest could be 90 and it would still be grade one. As a result, we are unable to compare the results from one year to another. That means that even if the kids are not doing well in the Junior High School, they would still get all the 1s and they would still be able to go to the good schools, so we call them. They would still be able to go to the advanced schools. The bottom line is that there are too many weaknesses there. Most Headmasters do not have the training that is supposed to equip them. So the financial services, the students' personnel services and the report cards that they are supposed to generate are all missing. Mr Speaker, to conclude, we have made a significant leap with the free Senior High School. However, it does not solve all the problems that we have. The biggest challenge to it is that, we are shifting the same money, which could go to other areas, to take one initiative and splash it as if it is the only solution to all the issues we have in education. Until we get teachers in quality and quantity, until we get headmasters in quantity and quality, and until labora- tories, libraries, ICT centres that are critical for the smooth functioning of our schools are made available, we still stand not to increase the quality of our education.
Mr Speaker, I rise in terms of Standing Order 72 of our rules. Mr Speaker, let me commend my respected Hon Colleague, Hon Kojo Asemanyi, for a Statement well made on this floor. I shall rely on paragraph 6 of the first page of the Statement, where he quotes the President in these veritable words, and I beg read: “We cannot depend on other people to finance the education of our continent.” Mr Speaker, these other people that we depend on to support our education and other social needs, how do they get these moneys? They get these moneys through hard work, taxation and prudent management of their resources, and they give these to us on conditions. So, if the President says that the time must come for us to take steps to do it ourselves, my view is that it is apt and all must support. Mr Speaker, our own Constitution itself is clear on what is expected of our Government, and with your leave, I refer to article 25 of the 1992 Constitution, and I beg to quote article 25(1): “(1) All persons shall have the right to equal educational oppor- tunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realisation of that right — (a) basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all; (b) secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education;” Mr Speaker, we have practiced this democracy for over 25 years. At what point would we get to this point? It takes a bold initiative to get this started, and that is where I believe, with the greatest respect that, the President's initiative of getting the free SHS rolled out must be embraced by all. I do so with Outmost respect to those who agree with Mr President. It is all right to say that yes, we need all the facilities in place before, but when would we get there? Could we ever get all the facilities in place? Even in those advanced countries, they continue to talk about improved facilities. So, at what point would we want to achieve that optimum? Are these people making these arguments out of idealist views or they are realists, with the greatest respect? We need to get something started. Mr Speaker, when Dr Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory, our first President, gave limited free education to our brothers and sisters in the northern part of the country, he did so on purpose. Given the level of illiteracy and the level of poverty, he felt there was the need for the country to support that sector. Did we have all the facilities there? No. Did we have all the quality teachers? No. Did we have the quantities that are being ascribed to, No. But Dr Kwame Nkrumah was bold and he initiated it. It worked. Today, in this House, we have people who benefited from this whether at the first, second or third generation levels. They are here. Mr Speaker, so it is not enough to criticise and say that the time is not right. It is important to now embrace it and say what support systems are to be put in place to make this a reality. That is the reason I have come out to say, that like former President Kufuor did; when he introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), he quickly interlocked the success of it with the levy for which reason we have the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL). Mr Speaker, yes, the President says let us tap into the resources we have; the Vice President says we have the resources already -- I agree. I think to make it more robust, we can introduce a specific tax system, which would not be a nuisance tax. This is because if people know that a tax is being introduced to fund education, and the means of utilising this tax is to educate ourselves and make sure that our human resource capacity is developed, how would this become a nuisance tax? No, it would not. Mr Speaker, were we not here when the the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regionaol Integration made a Statement about how Ghanaians are suffering in Libya? If these people had education or a skill, they would not go to Libya.
Mr Speaker, what saved me was Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom. He came to St. Augustine's College around the same time and said that in his days, he was the best student for Government, History and Literature-In-English. So, he set up a fund that anybody who could break that record -- and this is not to praise myself -- would get that scholarship. As a poor man from Effutu and Anlo, I had no choice. I had to learn, and that was the scholarship I got -- I managed to beat my other colleagues. Thanks be to God. That money was what I used to register for my final examinations. Mr Speaker, so, if I had not gotten that opportunity, I would have been sent home. I would not have written my Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE); Parliament would have lost me.
Mr Speaker, how would I have been in this middle- backbench? How would I be causing trouble? I would not be causing trouble here. Mr Speaker, so, the truth of the matter is that education is something that we must not play politics with at all -- we must not. In the year 2012, I campaigned at a small village in Akroful in Effutu. I asked them to list the youth there and I saw a very beautiful handwriting. I asked the old man, ‘who among you has this nice handwriting? He pointed to a young man and said, “that young man”. I asked the young man if he had finished Senior High School. He said no, he had only Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). I asked him to go and bring his results. I was astonished, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, so, this young man had stayed at home for over seven years -- see the future we have lost. So, with the greatest of respect, the issue of education is something that we cannot subject to a partisan debate in nature. We should not. It is not negotiable. It should be one of the points where all of us would agree and rather push for a quality system. Mr Speaker, who told them that in Europe where education is free, that at the time they made it free, everything was perfect -- who said that? No, it was not. The step must first be taken, and that is why I believe the President was not just being rhetorical -- he was not. He was being real and he told the world that look, as a country, we are willing. As a continent, we must be willing, and we must take that bold step. Mr Speaker, when sometimes one has gone for a loan, some of these conditions are just too many. As a business man, I have seen it. One goes for a facility, and the kind of questions and conditions; sometimes if one calculate everything, one's very profit would go to another person. We are aware that when the China Development Bank (CDB) Facility was procured, the conditions were such that for the three years that we could not put our house in order to access the facility, we paid $300 million in penalties alone. Mr Speaker, it took my respected senior Hon Colleague, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, to raise on alarm on the floor of the House that this cannot be. We must not continue. That was when the then Minister for Finance, Hon Seth Terkper, who I respect so much came to meet the Finance Committee, where I was privileged to be a member to introduce a capping that they were no more going to do that. But we lost that US$300 million to the Chinese -- the tax payers' money. It is because they were going to give us a loan. The loan had not come, but they had given them US$300 million as pre- disbursement penalties alone. Mr Quashigah — rose --
Hon Member, hold on. Yes, Hon Member for Keta?
On a point of Order. Mr Speaker, I thank you so much for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I would just want to remind the House of Standing Order 70 (2). It appears my Hon Colleague and junior Brother, Hon Afenyo-Markin, is actually generating debate on these matters and making allusions to figures that he cannot substantiate outright with documentary evidence. So, I would crave your indulgence to put him back on track. Thank you.
Hon Member, you would conclude.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful. Mr Speaker, but in the least, I have a reputation in my public discourse --
Hon Member, do not respond to that. Please, conclude your debate.
Mr Speaker, I would, with all gladness. That is why Mr Speaker would live long. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, you have ruled him out, and I am grateful. Mr Speaker, so, as thank you for ruling him out for obstructing me, I would conclude by submitting rather forcefully that, our Hon Colleagues on the other side of the House, who doubted Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's vision for a free Senior High School, must begin to look in a positive direction. I invite them to accept this call for “Ghana Beyond Aid”. “Ghana Beyond Aid” is not a mere statement; it does not mean that we would not keep a relationship with our partners. It does not mean so. It means that, in the least, we would want to be self-
sufficient so that depending on somebody would become a matter of necessity. On this note, Mr Speaker --
Hon Member, once we are so keen on explaining what “Ghana Beyond Aid” means, would it not serve all of us better if we put something together as a document to guide all of us, that this is the vision; your role as an a Member of Parliament (MP), ordinary floor Member, and as a teacher? So, let us stop touting it here and concretise it for the country.
Mr Speaker, we would always take a cue from you, but the Hon Deputy Minister for Information whispers to me and not into the records that some effort is being made in that direction. So, Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you most sincerely for accommodating my views. I would also want to thank my other Hon Colleagues, especially the available Leaders for listening to me uninterruptedly and for the indulgence on this side of the House.
Hon Member, I thought you would give the Leadership to him because I am coming to the Leadership. [Interruptions.] In that case, I am now at Leadership, so, one of you must speak.
Hon Adongo, speak! [Laughter.]
Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Statement made by Hon Member for Gomoa East, Hon Kojo Asemanyi, through which he brought to our attention and that of the nation at large, a speech made by the President at the Global Partnership For Education Conference held in Dakar some few weeks ago. The climax of that speech was when the President talked about education as a means of reducing poverty and illiteracy in Africa. Mr Speaker, of course, I want to agree with the President that if we think education is expensive, we should try ignorance. As I read from a novel by Ngugi wa Thiong'o some years back in his Weep Not Child, he was asking what the future would be, if there was no education or if people were not educated. This means that education is very key and fundamental to whatever we do. Therefore, any Government or group of people must make it a special objective to ensure that its people are better educated, and I think that is what the President and the current Government have set out to do by implementing a campaign promise to offer free SHS to our students. I agree with Hon (Alhaji) Inusah A. B. Fuseini when he said that we must do whatever we must for the free SHS to succeed. This is because the imple- mentation of the free SHS has not discriminated against anybody. If you choose to put your daughter or son in a special school, that is your cup of tea. Government schools are there and we have started with year one, and it will be implemented gradually in about two to three years, we will have a full cycle of all students in our SHS benefiting from the free SHS. Mr Speaker, if we are talking about second and third year students, then all of us must go back to school to benefit. We can also go back -- I did not benefit from free education and my children may not be benefiting. We should not blame the Government; we should blame yourself. Maybe, your child went to school too early -- [Interruption.] Yes, if that is what you are saying, then we would have to reverse them.
Hon Leader, please hold on. Hon Member for Ho Central?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, thank you. The Hon Majority Chief Whip is telling us that if we want to benefit from free SHS education, then we should go back to school, and if we sent our children to school last three years, then we should bring them back to Form 1. Mr Speaker, I believe he should do us good by admitting that the policy, as was told Ghanaians, is not what is being implemented, instead of chiding us and telling us to do the impossible. Mr Speaker, thank you.
I am not sure, but you wanted to make your own contribution because this is not a point of order. Hon Member, you are out of order.
Mr Speaker, my good Hon Friend, Hon Kpodo, wanted to be on record. I can see that. He has not spoken today. so he has added himself to the record. Mr Speaker, Hon Inusah Fuseini was saying that the implementation of free SHS education has occasioned inequity because some baseline survey ought to have been done to ascertain which parents are capable of affording or paying and which ones are not capable, so that we could target those who could not pay. Mr Speaker, Parliament is for everybody, provided you are 21 years and of sound mind. We do not question whether someone is poor or rich before we enter here. So, in this Parliament, we have a mixed of the highly educated and maybe, less educated; highly rich and maybe, very poor people. Mr Speaker, everybody, including farmers, teachers and lawyers -- it is mixed. So, when we have our own Constitution that frowns upon discrimi- nation -- article 17 of our Constitution says that all persons shall be equal. Mr Speaker, article 17 (2) says that: “A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.” So, we do not discriminate against somebody because he has money to pay. Mr Speaker, then we should say that for all social interventions that we have in this country; whether it is the National Health Insurance Scheme or whatever it is, the rich must pay. Mr Speaker, I believe that the Hon Member got it wrong by saying that some inequity has been created, but we have rather opened --
Hon Leader, there is another interpretation that when non-equals are treated equally then there is inequity. But in this matter, I will argue like the Hon Member did. Somebody drew my attention that it is the taxpayer's money, so why should I be discriminated against because I probably pay more tax than somebody els?
Hon Member, I do not intend to recognise you because it would become a constitutional debate between the two of you as lawyers. Hon Member, so let him finish and then -- [Interruption.] He has the Constitution and he just needs to use it to -- Hon Majority Chief Whip, please continue.
Mr Speaker, the implementation of the free SHS education is a bold initiative by the government and we must applaud the them instead of constituting ourselves into naysayers. I believe that when the President appeared before us and delivered the Message on the State of the Nation, he said that we should not be naysayers but we should be positive thinkers and we must all do what is within us to help the free SHS education policy to succeed. Mr Speaker, the President said at the global conference that we cannot depend on other people to finance the education of our continent. So, what the President is suggesting to us is that we cannot rely all the time on outsiders to do what we think is a priority for ourselves as Africans. We must begin to rethink how we mobilise our own resources to finance most of our priorities. I believe that education is a priority for Ghana and Africa. If we begin to say that we want to finance our education, then I do not think that there is anything wrong with it. The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) was set up to promote and finance education and free SHS is a critical aspect of education. If we redirect portions of the GETFund to finance free SHS, I do not see anything wrong with it. If we cap it to finance or direct a portion of GETFund to be committed to free SHS education, there is nothing wrong with it. There may be other deliverables within education that are not immediately receiving attention, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. We have had Governments, and if the previous Government had done every- thing in education, there would be nothing for this Government to do. If the previous Government had implemented free education, raised and determined all the resources that could be used to finance education, this Government would be free and not think about how to do new things. Mr Speaker, but they did not and the new Government came and has started it. Tomorrow, there could be another Government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that would have to continue. Mr Speaker, by and large, the President and the Government are walking the talk, and I would urge all of us as a people to give the government and the President maximum cooperation to ensure that free SHS succeeds because it would be for all of us. Mr Speaker, I am most grateful.
Hon Members, that is the end of private business. At the commencement of Public Business -- Order Paper Addendum.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance is required to lay the Paper but he is not with us in the Chamber. So, I beg to seek your leave, and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues who are on the other side house to allow the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation to lay the Paper on his behalf.
Very well. Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, you may do so.
Mr Speaker, we would move to item numbered 5 (a) (ii). It is a Report to be laid by the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee.
Very well. Hon Member of the Committee, you may lay the Report. By Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee)
Mr Speaker, item numbered 5 (a) (iii).
Are you making the same application for the --
Yes, Mr Speaker, the same application is for the Hon Member to lay the Paper.
Hon Member, I am in the process of admitting an application. Kindly wait; after that, I would recognise you. Yes, Hon Oppong-Nkrumah? By Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee)
Hon Majority Chief Whip? [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, you called me and not the Hon Member. Mr Speaker, all the other Businesses we have not taken today, there is an agreement between Leadership that we take them on Tuesday on probably, beyond Tuesday. In view of that, I move that the Honourable House stands adjourned to Tuesday at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Yes, Hon Minority Leadership?
Mr Speaker, I second the Motion for the House to adjourn.
Very well. Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.49 p.m. till Tuesday, 20th March, 2018 at 10.00 a.m.