VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 8th February, 2018.
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 8 th February, 2018.]
Hon Members, we have the Official Report for Tuesday, 12th December, 2017, for correction. Any corrections?
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 12th December, 2017.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 13 th December, 2017.]
Hon Members, item numbered 3 -- Business Statement for the Fourth Week. Hon Chairman of the Business Committee?
Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communica- tions to the House whenever they are available. Question(s) Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has programmed the Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to respond to four (4) Questions asked relating to public affairs with which the Minister is officially connected. Mr. Speaker, any other Question of urgent nature may be programmed during the course of the week. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70(2) of our Standing Orders, Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by the Rt. Hon Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members, in accordance with Order 72 of our Standing Orders. Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and Committee Reports may also be presented to the House. Referrals of Bills have been made to some Committees. The Business Committee expects such Committees to work on those referrals and submit their reports in order to facilitate consideration of same at plenary. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Debate on the Message on the State of the Nation Mr Speaker, a Motion to thank H.E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation would be moved on Tuesday, 13th February, 2017. Hon Members are therefore urged to participate actively in the debate after the Motion has been moved. Mr Speaker, having regard to the need to thoroughly debate the Message on the State of the Nation, the Business Committee has decided on time allocations for Hon Members. The Committee recommends the following time allotments for Hon Members to make their contributions: i. Mover of Motion -- 25 minutes ii. Leadership/Ministers -- 15 minutes iii. Chairpersons/Ranking Members/ Dep. Ministers -- 12 minutes iv. Other Hon Members -- 8 minutes v. Winding up by Leadership -- 30 minutes Mr Speaker, the allotment of time is to ensure that as many Hon Members as possible are availed the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Message by H. E. the President. Mr Speaker, the Committee would however urge Hon Members to endeavour to be as brief as possible and also avoid repetitions. The Business Committee accordingly proposes that the House embark on the debate by structuring each day's debate to focus on particular sectors of the state/ economy. Mr Speaker, the debate on the Message on the State of the Nation is proposed to be concluded on Wednesday, 21st February, 2018. Conclusion Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160(2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week under con- sideration. Questions Statements Presentation of Papers Motions -- That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President for the Message
on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February, 2018. (Commencement of debate) Committee sittings. Questions Statements Presentation of Papers Motions -- That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February 2018. (Continuation of debate) Committee sittings. Questions *275. Mr Richard Mawuli Kwaku Quashigah (Keta): To ask the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection what steps are being taken by the Ministry to monitor the quality of food served by caterers in beneficiary schools throughout the country under the School Feeding Programme. *276 Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (Pusiga): To ask the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection what measures the Ministry is putting in place to stop the migration of women and children from the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions to the urban areas to work as head porters (kayayei). *277. Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (Pusiga): To ask the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection how much is charged per an elderly person in the home for the elderly, the mode of payment and the support the State gives. *278. Alhaji Mumuni Alhassan (Salaga North): To ask the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection when the Affirmative Action Bill will be laid in Parliament. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Finance Committee on the Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Motions-- That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February, 2018. (Continuation of Debate) Committee sittings. Questions Minister for Roads and Highways (when admitted Questions are received). Statements Presentation of Papers Motions-- That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February, 2018. (Continuation of debate) Committee sittings.
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Any contributions regarding the Business Statement?
I am very grateful, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, first of all, I wish to thank the Hon Deputy Majority Leader for the Business Statement. Commenting on it, I wish to draw attention on an issue I raised two weeks ago, in respect of grenades in the possession of civilians who were subsequently arrested. The suggestion was that, the Hon Minister for Defence could come and allay the fears of our constituents. Especially, being the representatives of the people, it would be useful to be briefed on exactly what the situation is and whether or not we are safe. Yet, it had been two weeks and nothing has happened on it. Mr Speaker, also, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament would be away from next week to about the 25th day Should we fill a form? All right. Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader has given an indication as to what would happen. So, I would leave that for now, but we would be away for two weeks, and we do not want the situation where our constituents would think we have absented ourselves from the Chamber when, indeed, we are doing parliamentary work.
Majority Leadership, any comment?
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, my concern has to do with the debate on the Message on the State of the Nation Address. Having gone through the time allotments for Hon Members, in my view, the eight (8) minutes allotted to other Hon Members is woefully inadequate; eight (8) minutes to make an informed contribution? I would want to appeal to the Hon Leadership to effect some changes by making it 10 minutes.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Hon Majority Leadership; Hon Majority Leader or Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, let me thank my very able Deputy for covering my
Hon Minister, I am afraid this is a very wrong time to be on your feet. The chief, both customarily and in the House, has already concluded and had a good bath with all the other water available. But because of your stature and in fact, you being a former Deputy Speaker of the House, you may make a few remarks of relevant guidance.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, in fact, what the Hon Leader said about your magnanimity, having regard to your pastoral tendencies, has just revealed itself. You have allowed me, in spite of the very strict situation I find myself, to make a few comments. I appreciate the fact that, after the Leader has spoken, we should not speak because Parliamentary discipline does not allow that. But the Hon Leader said something that I just want to draw his mind to so that, perhaps, next time, he would take it on board when he is considering certain things. Mr Speaker, just now, in his interpretation, the strict literalist approach has been confined to history. It has been confined to antiquity and these days, we rather look at the purposive approach. What is the purpose? And so, perhaps, the discussion that when we say “it”, “Parliament and its Committee” refers to Parliament Sitting in Committee as Parliament and cannot include Committees of Parliament, perhaps, when we are looking at our Standing Orders, we can look at that. I say this because, it is all Parliamentary business. I have noticed that even if an Hon Member is in a Committee meeting just on the precincts of Parliament (and it happened to me this year), he would be recorded as being in a Committee but absent in Parliament. Mr Speaker, we all know the question about blanket approval, that when we go to the Committee, we record who is there and who is not there. So, perhaps, when we are looking at our Standing Orders, we would include “Parliament or the Committees of Parliament” if we are so recording. Mr Speaker, with these truly few words, once again, I thank you for your magnanimity.
Thank you very much, Hon Members. The Business Statement as presented is hereby adopted. I trust that we shall all sharpen our punctuality which alone would add time to every opportunity to fully contribute to the Motion. I trust that, Hon Members would take serious note of this accordingly. Hon Members, the item listed 4 on the Order Paper -- Questions.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF ROADS AND
Mr Speaker, Background Adeiso is the district capital of the Upper West Akim District of the Eastern Region. The Adeiso Town Roads form part of the contract for the “Partial Reconstruction of Adoagyiri -Adeiso Road (15.2km), Adeiso Town Roads (5.1km) and Access Road to COCOBOD Warehouse at Nsawam (0.74km)”. The total length of the project is 21.0km. The project is being funded by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD). Current Programme The project commenced on the 8th of April, 2016, and is scheduled for completion on 17th April, 2018. The progress of work is projected at 70 per cent physical completion. The time elapsed is 83 per cent. The Adoagyiri - Adeiso road has been constructed up to primerseal and the work done on Adeiso Town Roads is up to base course. The project was suspended in June, 2017, as part of the directives by COCOBOD to allow for general overview and rationalisation. Future programme The outcome of the field rationalisation will determine whether or not the project will be continued with the original intended works or rescoped.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. Hon Member, is there any follow-up question?
Mr Speaker, with Upper West Akim being a newly created district in 2012, and Adeiso as its capital, and also with Government policy of upgrading facilities in district capitals, is the Hon Minister considering making a special case for Adeiso to allow the intended works to be completed even after the field rationalisation?
Mr Speaker, it is exactly so.
Hon Member, are you done?
Mr Speaker, I am done.
The Question numbered 280 on the Order Paper. Hon Member for Sege? (Works on Nakom Korpe/Koluedor and Anyanam/ Wokumagbe Roads) Q. 280. Mr Christian Corletey Otuteye (Sege) asked the Minister for Roads and Highways when work on the following roads would be completed: (i) Nakom Korpe to Koluedor (ii) Anyamam to Wokumagbe.
Mr Speaker, (i) Nakomkorpe to Korluedor Background The Nakomkorpe to Korluedor road is captured in the Department of Feeder Roads database as Korluedor - Kpotsum - Nakomkorpe feeder road. It is a 9.5km long feeder road in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra Region. The section between km 0.0 and km3.0 is bituminous surfaces in good condition while the remaining 6.5km, (that is, km3.0 - km9.50), section of the road is earth surfaced in poor condition. Current programme A contract for the upgrading of the remaining 6.5km road to bitumen surfacing was awarded on 3rd October 2016, for completion by 23rd October, 2017. The completion date has since elapsed. The contractor has however abandoned site since December, 2016 due to the Employer's undue delay in paying for work done. Warning letters have been issued to the contractor to resume work but the contractor is yet to resume work. Work done to date is still projected at 10 per cent. Future Programme The Department of Feeder Roads (DFR) has initiated the process for termination of the contract. (ii) Anyamam to Wokumagbe. Background The Anyaman - Wokumagbe road is a 9.5km feeder road located in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra Region. It is a partially engineered road in poor condition. Current programme There is no major rehabilitation programme on the road. The Ministry would carry out normal routine maintenance activities to keep the roads in use. Future programme Engineering design studies will be carried out on the road in the third quarter of 2018 for consideration in 2019 Budget.
Mr Speaker, I would like to know whom the contractor for this first road is, and also, whether there are any immediate interventions, since the road is a very important economic road for salt commodities which we export to other places in the country.
Mr Speaker, I would want to provide my Hon Colleague the information he is asking for. The contractor is Messrs F.N.B.I.N.B. Limited. Work commenced on 24th October, 2016. The expected date of completion is 23rd October, 2017. The contract sum is GH¢8,086,271.12. There is an Interim Payment Certificate (IPC) which was produced by the contractor for the consideration of the employer, and the value was GH¢353,327.70. The source of funding is the Ghana Road Fund. I think that is concerning the programme for both stretches of the road. The information was contained in my Answer, as I have already read.
Any further question?
Mr Speaker, I was asking for any special intervention, but he has told me what we have for the meantime.
Mr Speaker, going through termination is a process, and it has to be followed rigidly. We have to give the first warning letter, and wait for a period to get a response. Necessarily, there must be a follow- up second letter, so the process would be followed closely. I cannot give the exact date, but I can assure the Hon Member and this Honourable House that, we shall keep to the process dates as closely as possible.
Hon Members, the Question numbered 218 -- Hon Member for Jaman South? Current State of the Road Fund Q. 281. Mr Yaw Afful asked the Minister for Roads and Highways the current state of the Ghana Road Fund in financing the maintenance of the nation's roads.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. As usual, I would want to begin with the background to the Question. Background Mr Speaker, the Road Fund was established in 1985 under an Administrative Order and restructured by the Road Fund Act, Act 536 (1997) to provide and secure source of funding for Routine and Periodic maintenance for the preservation of the nation's road network and Upgrading and Rehabilitation of public roads, that is, Trunk, Feeder and Urban roads. The priority charge on the Fund is routine and periodic maintenance.
a. Levy on Fuel (diesel and petrol), b. Road, Bridge and Ferry tolls, c. Vehicle License and Inspection Fees, d. International Transit Fees, and e. Moneys raised from banks and other financial Institutions in consultation with the Ministry of Finance. The annual accruals to the Fund since year 2000 to 2017 are as shown below: Mr Speaker, since its establishment, the contribution of the fuel levy has been dominant, about 91 per cent of the total amount realised in 2016. The sharp increase in revenue accrued to the Fund in 2016 was as a result of the increase in fuel levy from 7.3 Ghana Pesewas per litre to 40.0 Ghana Pesewas per litre. The increase projected the accruals to the Fund to about GH¢1.200 billion annually. This amount could have been enough to pay for the Fund's indebtedness from 2015 to 2016 fiscal years which was in the sum of GH¢ 336.14 million and cost of work to be done in 2016 if the volume of work awarded had been in line with that of 2015.
a. Awarding very many road projects under “Enhanced Road Fund” during the last half of 2016 whose total contract sum was about five times (5x) the projected annual accrual to the Fund. The total reviewed commitment to the Fund as at the end of December 2016 was GH¢5,250,731,010.96. Therefore the Fund would have taken 5 years to pay for those projects only without awarding new projects and paying for routine and periodic mainte- nance works such as pothole patching, grading gravel surface, grass cutting, desilting of drains, resealing, partial reconstruction among others which are priority charge on the Fund. b. The government (Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Roads and Highways) on 13th June 2016 collateralized the Road Fund for a loan of GH¢ 1.20 billion from the United Bank of Africa (UBA), a Nigerian Bank resident in Ghana at an interest rate of 30.82 per cent. An amount equal to the total annual accruals to the Fund. Mr Speaker, this facility is being serviced from the accruals of the fuel levy. Bank charges and fees cost the nation GH¢38.19 million and repayment of GH¢ 206.49 million every quarter, until August 2018. Mr Speaker, besides the GH¢1.20 billion loan facility, an additional loan facility of GH¢ 100.0 million was signed for payment over the 3 month period at a monthly repayment of GH¢ 35.0 million. The total quarterly accruals to the Fund was approximately GH¢ 240.0 million (that is GH¢ 80.0 million per month) therefore very little amount of about GH¢ 30.0 million is left quarterly in the Fund to pay to contractors for work done. Mr Speaker, the Road Fund being a statutory Fund is also affected by the Earmarked Funds Capping and Re- Alignment Act, Act 947 and it further reduces the monthly accrual to about GH¢ 60.0 million (that is, GH¢ 180.0 million per quarter). Consequently, quarterly payment to UBA for the servicing of the loan had been a challenge, let alone pay contractors for work done. The loan facility from UBA therefore severely paralysed the funding capacity of the Fund. Road Contractors are therefore not paid for work done for several months, even some in years. SPACE FOR TABLE - PAGE 1 - 11.40 A.M.
Hon Member, are you satisfied?
Mr Speaker, we all know that before anybody considers to get a loan from the bank, the first consideration is the interest rate. I would like to ask the Hon Minister whether this loan was open to competition or whether other offers from other banks were entertained before settling to take the loan from UBA.
Mr Speaker, available records clearly indicate that, some other banks were consulted. To be specific, about six banks were consulted. The six banks were Fidelity Bank, Cal Bank, GCB Bank, Barclays Bank, Ecobank and UBA. These six banks were consulted and from their terms sheet, almost all the terms were quite similar, except the interest rate. The lowest interest rate came from Cal Bank, which was 28.5 per cent. UBA initially quoted 31.9 per cent and brought it to 30.8 per cent but UBA was, for whatever reason selected. The interesting aspect of UBA's interest offer was that, the 30.8 per cent interest rate was on the entire amount, the principal, while for the others, the interest rate would have been on reducing balance basis. That is, we were paying GH¢67 million on monthly basis to service both the principal and the interest because, the interest was on the entire amount. So, by extrapolation, the payment was on pro rata basis.
Hon Member, any further questions?
Mr Speaker, I have two more. Mr Speaker, after the GH¢1.2 billion had been disbursed along with the GH¢100 million, could the Hon Minister tell us, as of December 2016, the amount owed to our contractors that should have been paid from the Road Fund?
Mr Speaker, at the close of 2016, the amount owed as represented by certified interim payment certificates, stood at GH¢506 million but there was a commitment charge on the Road Fund which stood at over GH¢5 billion and this was mainly due to the many contracts that were awarded during the second half of 2016, between July and December, under what was at that time called “Enhanced Road Projects”.
The last question.
Mr Speaker, we all know why the Government wants to refinance the existing loan. This is because firstly, I believe the interest rate is too high and secondly, we would want to be able to pay our contractors and also fix and maintain our roads. That said, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister if he can give us any assurance that by the date given, 15th February, 2018, he can close the deal to free the funds and pay our road contractors.
Hon Minister, the Hon Member wants an assurance.
Mr Speaker, that assurance is hereby given.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister was very elaborate in giving us the background of this arrangement. I would like to find out from the Hon Minister, what were the benefits to be derived from taking this GH¢1.2 billion from UBA? If one takes a loan, there must be a reason for taking it. So, what were the proposed benefits that we were to get in doing this? Did he find out from the records?
Mr Speaker, the benefits at that time were two fold. First and foremost, in terms of priority, it was to pay for the huge outstanding road arrears and secondly, to pay for the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) loan as at the time.
Hon Member, the last question on the Floor then we shall go to the Hon Leaders.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in his response to the Question, the Hon Minister underscored the importance of the Fuel Levy to the Road Fund as a source of revenue. In 2016 for instance, the Hon Minister reiterated that, the Fuel Levy alone contributed about 91 per cent as a source of revenue to the Fund. In the recent past, there has been calls for levies, especially, other taxes on fuel to be scrapped so as to reduce the prices of fuel. Given the importance of this dominant source of revenue to the Fund, what would be the position of the Hon Minister on this demand for scrapping of taxes on fuel especially, the Fuel Levy?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, it would not be wise and prudent on the part of Government to scrap it. It has to be maintained and even if possible, we should have greater consultation of increasing it in order to increase the revenue into the Fund. This is because road construction requires huge sums of money because it is capital intensive. So Mr Speaker, Government does not intend scrapping it. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in his Answer indicated that, one of the benefits of the loan was to pay off the SNNIT Loan. I wonder when the loan was taken and how long it has been in the books?
Mr Speaker, I have provided the answer as to when the loan was taken and it is to finish by -- [Pause] -- Mr Speaker, I believe that the answer my Hon Colleague seeks, we have provided it in the Answer and it is already known to this House.
Majority Leadership, any question?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. In answering one of the Questions, the Hon Minister said the purpose of taking the loan was to pay off outstanding bills and also to pay off the SNNIT Loan. I just want to ask the Hon Minister whether the intended purposes were achieved.
Hon Minister, mission accomplished or not?
Mr Speaker, the SNNIT Loan was paid off but the pending arrears of GH¢506 million as afore- mentioned was not paid and carried on onto the ensuing year. So that was not achieved.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister, in his Answer said that the Fund was ‘mismanaged by: “a. Awarding vey many road projects under ‘Enhanced Road Fund' during the last half of 2016 whose total contract sum was about five times (5x) the projected annual accrual to the Fund”. Mr Speaker, was it projected that all those contracts would be completed within the annum? Was it projected that all the contracts awarded in the second half of 2016 would be concluded and paid for within that annum for it to constitute mismanagement to award the contracts?
Mr Speaker, the answer is simple and straightforward. Mr Speaker, I have stated facts that the expected accruals into the Fund is in the region of GH¢1.2 billion a year. A loan of equal or same amount was taken. It means that, from the very word go, the loan and the Fund, particularly, the Fund has been paralysed. There were a lot of road contract awards during the second half of 2016 amounting to over GH¢5 billion. And Mr Speaker, if you consider all the road contracts that were awarded at the time and their duration or expected time of completion, they were within the twenty- four months' period. Majority of them within a twelve-month period. And this loan was to last for two years; from November, 2016, to sometime October, 2018. So we are talking about a period that all the road contracts that have been awarded, if they had been carried out successfully from their commencement date they to their completion date, would have been due for payment. And it is obvious that, a lot of pressure was put on the Road Fund and it was not prudent to have done that. And it amounted to a very wrong project management. And that is what is provided in the Answer.
Hon Ayariga, you are aware I obliged you because the Minority Leadership had given that chance. Hon Majority Chief Whip, you may ask only one question.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister just told the House that, it was not prudent to have gone into the arrangement that the government did at the time. I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether a cost benefit analysis was done before this arrangement was secured? If you compare the cost and benefits, does the country stand to gain or lose in the process?
Mr Speaker, cost benefit analysis is not what my Ministry is known for. I would not say that this arrangement was in the interest of the nation. This is because, it has put a lot of pressure on the Fund and has affected the routine and periodic maintenance of roads as expected to be carried. So I would not say that in the long run, it benefited the nation.
Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House and answering our Questions. You are discharged. Item numbered 5, on the Order Paper, Statements. We have a Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Minister for Works and Housing and Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, on the occasion of the 53rd Anniversary of the death of Joseph Boakye Danquah.
Mr Speaker, on the 4th day of February, 1965, that is, some 53 years ago, the man who had been aptly described by the Watson Commission of Enquiry into the 1948 Accra riot, as the (Doyen of Gold Coast Politics), the inimitable, Dr Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah died at the condemned section in cell number 9 measuring approximately 9ft x 6ft in area and fortified by an iron door with a small opening at its top in Nsawam Medium Security Prison. Mr Speaker, the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Danquah is a gargantuan national irony. On the 6th day of March 1957, the Gold Coasters roundly repudiated colonial white rule and opted for black freedom and self-rule. President Kwame Nkrumah outdoored this new arrangement. Just one year into Ghana's indepen- dence, the Preventive Detention Act (1958) (The PDA) became one of the oppressive laws in infant Ghana. The law, which virtually banished individual liberty, was so pernicious that on the mere say so of President Nkrumah, a citizen of Ghana could be imprisoned without the accused being heard and without a trial by a court of competent jurisdiction. The PDA, with respect, consolidated one-man rule and constitutional absolutism which in turn paved the way for a one party State. The truth of the matter is that, the PDA was mercilessly unleashed on Dr Danquah twice, the last being the
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, this commemorative Statement on the occasion of the 53rd Anniversary of the death of Dr Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah by Hon Samuel Atta Akyea could not have come at a better time. Mr Speaker, clearly, these are matters that preceded the birth of many of us. But once upon a time, as law students, we had the occasion to read about this great legal luminary --
Hon Members, in the process, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker would take the Chair. Please, continue.
We had the opportunity to read about this great legal luminary, and indeed, in my few years as a student of Political Science — Not very long — And I never had the benefit of being your student, but in my few years as a student of Political Science, we were told about the role that this great son of our soil played in the struggle for a decolonisation of Ghana and the creation of the new State of Ghana. It is indeed sad in a travesty of history that a man of that stature and standing, a man who played such a crucial role in the establishment of our nation would pass away in a maximum security prison approximately, nine feet by six feet under the well-known oppressive Preventive Detection Act of those days. Mr Speaker, this is sad, and there is no gainsaying that we should be guided by these critical junctures in our political history, and to collectively work to ensure that never again, in our political history, should anybody with the kind of commitment that the late Dr J. B. Danquah had to the development of the new Ghanaian state be made to suffer such a fate. Mr Speaker, today, that freedom blossoms in our country, today, that fundamental human right is the abiding creed of our country, today, that individual liberty is the promise that we hold high for every individual in our country, is a product of the struggles of people like the late Dr J. B. Danquah. Mr Speaker, however, in all this, let us not forget the turbulent times that intimidated and frightened those who took the fore steps in enacting legislations such as the Preventive Detention Act (PDA). Mr Speaker, we should never take democracy for granted. We should never take the liberties that we enjoy for granted. But at all times, we would continue to enjoy law and order without the system suffering any deterioration. We must appreciate that, we have an unending responsibility to keep the system functioning in such a way that the values of human rights and fundamental liberties remain high on the agenda. That is why certain tendencies which are reoccurring in our politics must be guarded against. These days, we hear of vigilantism and all sorts of forces generated around elections to play the role of intimidating political adversaries and to stifle the process of campaigning and elec- tioneering. Mr Speaker, these are the breeding grounds of the tendencies that sometimes can drive tumorous souls into seeking refuge in very bad legislations such as the Preventive Detention Act. So, on such an auspicious day, when we remember the great son of this country, let us also use the occasion to advise ourselves to refrain from mobilising, arming, encouraging, tolerating and from giving opportunity to these developments that could become a major setback to the development of our democracy and the
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Dr Afriyie, you have the floor.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity. Indeed, today is a very solemn day, especially those of us who the late Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah has bequeathed to us a very powerful legacy which makes the party New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its forebears proud. Indeed, the late Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah had always been associated with many quotes, but of all the quotes, the most important one, perhaps, is this one, which I am happy to quote with your permission; “To liberate the energies of the people for the growth of property owning democracy in this land with the right to life, freedom and justice as the principles to which the governing of the laws of the land should be dedicated in order, specifically, to enrich life, property of each and every citizen.” Mr Speaker, this is a very powerful quotation, in the sense that in the past, when it was so incorrect — the tendency was for people to believe in the command and control economy. Mr Speaker, the late Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah put the individual development and freedom at the centre of his philosophy and that is what development is all about. When we trace the history of this country, one would realise that after making very tenuous and circuitous journeys in history, I am happy to announce that the ideas of the late Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah have triumphed. The 1-- It is perhaps, those ideas of his that have flown into the 992 Constitution that we are using today. Those ideas could not have come from any other person than the late Dr J. B. Danquah, even though they were largely commandeered by a political philosophy which was outside of his. Mr Speaker, before I take my seat, I would want to believe that Ghana should pay good homage to this man because he did so much for this country. Our whole economy is predicated on the fact that we are moving into the arena of a private- sector-led economy -- At least, we are operating from that angle considering where I come from. I believe that, if we take the philosophy of the late Dr J. B. Duanquah seriously, this country would be better for it. This is because at the end of the day, it is individual freedom, individual progress and the progress of families which make the nation. I believe, on this day, it is very apt that the Hon Minister for Works and Housing and the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South has drawn the attention of this House for the late Dr J. B. Danquah to be commemorated. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to, first of all, thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for this commemorative event. Mr Speaker, I would want to say that, it is a very disturbing circumstance to think about what happened in our history. To think about the irony of the tragic end of this great man who rose and committed his life to the defence of our people and to fight for independence, and in the end, he fell and died in a most unacceptable manner. Mr Speaker, this is a lesson to us, and this should define the guiding principle for all of us throughout our history and political lives. But in the course of struggle to achieve an aim, the object of struggle must be properly defined. That, we do not turn the spears of war against ourselves when the object of attention or the common enemy is outside of us. Mr Speaker, at one time in the struggle for our independence, the founding fathers found it necessary to unite, but they also found it necessary in the end to personalise the politics they engaged in. That was the point of departure from the decency of politics to the crude political life we are reading and regretting about today. Mr Speaker, but I do want to agree with Hon Ayariga when he talked about the way we conduct our politics. It is important that we identify that politics is not about people being hurt but it should be about people being helped out of situations. Politics is about opinions and it is about investing our energies and resources to make the people of our country better. In any struggle where the politician becomes the object of attack, then there must be something wrong with it. I do agree that our democracy must move away from the point where we are compelled by circumstances to make laws targeting individuals and targeting the same democracy that has given us the edge in society over others. Mr Speaker, the late Dr J. B. Danquah whose 53rd death Anniversary we are celebrating today, was a giant, an intellectual, a politician, a lawyer and a father. Let us not ever celebrate another such person in the manner we are celebrating him today. Let us recognise what they do for a living, let us recognise how much they have contributed to society and let us recognise how that can be harnessed for a generation that is yet to be born. We are all told about the circumstances that led to the Preventive Detention Act (PDA). We cannot completely absorb those who defined it and made it what it was, but we can sympathise with them for the situation they found themselves. That can only be done as a guide into a future that we are all yet to define. Mr Speaker, I would want to say that this commemorative event, should not be the end but should always be a guiding line to all of us. That, as we conduct our lives, we should guard against anything that can abuse the lives of human beings, the freedoms that we define in our Constitution, and to ensure that we are guided by the past. If we cannot learn from history, history would always repeat itself and that happens only in the animal kingdom. Thank God we are humans and committed to free play, free choice and understanding of each other. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank the Hon Member who made the
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Member who made the Statement eulogising the late Dr J. B. Danquah. Mr Speaker, I rise to say a few words to also support his Statement. Essentially, this is a sad occasion. However, the memory that the late Dr J. B. Danquah left us is not only because of the circumstances of his passing but his contribution to our thoughts as people of this country. Like Karl Marx, claims by sociologists, political scientists and many other sections of humanity, the late Dr J. B. Danquah contributed immensely towards the intellectual thinking in this country. Mr Speaker, essentially, although he may be acclaimed by our sociologists, political scientists and also by political tradition, maybe, I need to add a word about the significance of his contribution given the theology of the people of Africa. His work, The Akan Doctrine of God, which emphasised the ethics and principles held by the Akan people of Ghana as a representative of the thinking and the high moral fibre that is expected of people of this continent, was significant contribution to the point that, all Africans who study the theology of Africa would not remise in looking at the philosophical underpinnings he proposed concerning monotheism, concerning even the beliefs of Africans towards the fact that there were values and ethics before the introduction of Judeo-Christian principles in our part of the world. So, when the freedom fighters of our country emphasised the African personality, they anchored it within the traditional beliefs of Africans, and this made the point that, before the Europeans came to Africa, we were a distinct community with beliefs and practices anchored in values that were critical to even move us forward to enable us to live together as people within the same continent. So, his contribution may not have be stopped at the political or partisan level, but he contributed significantly towards our understanding as a people of this country. These things have implications for us who live and work within the political atmosphere today. It shows that, we can be well-rounded people from any field based on his legal, political and sociological ideas, as well as his theological understanding of society. Mr Speaker, it also challenges us today to reduce our thinking and contribution to society to writing. The late Danquah is effectively remembered as a result of the written works that he left behind. He is also emembered of the fact that, he took pride in his heritage as an Akan, and by extension, as an African. His writings continue to dominate. A good beat of analysis were provided by Edwin Smith, Prof. Kwame Dickson and many other African theologians. So, while his passing is a sad commentary of some of the political events in this country, we celebrate him for his contribution to our thinking as a people. Mr Speaker, with these few words, may we remember the late Danquah for what he stood for and resolve to never again enact laws that would be inimical to our progress and development as a country. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.
I thank you very much, Mr Speaker for the opportunity to say a few words about the commemoration of the transition of the nationalist, patriot, intellectual and the native man, the late J. B. Danquah whose light was extinguished in a very inglorious circumstance. Mr Speaker, today, we remember what the late J.B. Danquah did as one of the pioneers of the struggle that culminated in the liberation of Ghana. Today, as a people, we can speak with one voice that the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) was oppressive, as the Hon Ayariga has said, and it was set out to subjugate the citizens of this country, who had fought as a collective for the attainment of independence. Mr Speaker, today, this nation can take glory in the provisions of our Constitution, relating in particular to the Charter on the freedoms of individuals and of citizens of this country. Mr Speaker, today, our Fourth Republican Constitution can speak loudly about the protection of the right to life as captured in article 13 (1) which ensued directly from what happened to the late J. B. Danquah. The protection of personal liberty as captured in article 14 of our Constitution and with your permission, I quote: “Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of his personal liberty except in the following cases and in accordance with procedure permitted by law”. Mr Speaker, these experiences in our life as a nation -- many of the fundamental human rights and freedoms directly ensued from happenings to astute citizens such as the late J. B. Danquah. In
particular, article 14 (2) which says and I beg to quote: “A person who is arrested, restricted or detained shall be informed immediately; in a language that he understands, of the reasons for his arrest, restriction or detention and of his right to a lawyer of his choice.” Those people who were detained under the PDA including the late J. B. Danquah were not even told what offence they had committed. Mr Speaker, respect for human dignity -- Today, our Constitution provides in article 15 (1) and I beg to quote: “The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.” Mr Speaker, this ensues from the shambolic and stone age treatment that was accorded the late J. B. Danquah. Here was a man who had joined ranks to bring to Ghana, a person who would stoke the embers of our liberation struggle. How ironic and tragic that, that same person would turn round and mete out such cruelty to the person who sponsored his homecoming. Mr Speaker, today, this nation can adopt a Constitution that provides in article 18(1) that and with your permission I quote: “Every person has the right to own property either alone or in association with others” Mr Speaker, when the late J. B. Danquah extoled property-owning democracy, he became a subject of ridicule. As a nation, today, we find it worthy to incorporate that into our national Constitution, and by a Referendum, we have all approved of this cradle that, indeed, every person has the right to own property either alone or in association with others. Mr Speaker, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief which shall include academic freedom is enshrined in article 21 (1) (b) of our Constitution. Mr Speaker, gone are the days when university lecturers were picked up from lecture rooms and humiliated. Today, the nation has learnt and people could sing in this Chamber that God should help us to resist the oppressors' rule. Mr Speaker, the nation has learnt.
“Where a person is restricted or detained by virtue of a law made pursuant to a declaration of a state of emergency, the following provisions shall apply -- (a) he shall as soon as practicable, and in any case not later than twenty-four hours after the commencement of the restriction or detention, be furnished with a statement in writing specifying in details the grounds upon which he is restricted or detained and the statement shall be read or interpreted to the person restricted or detained.” Mr Speaker, these things did not happen to the late J. B. Danquah, but today lessons have incorporated the experience, which led to the death of this famous citizen of Ghana, into our national Constitution. Ghana is still learning and Ghana has indeed learnt useful lessons. Mr Speaker, one other person, the late Obetsebi-Lamptey was arrested and detained under the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) for living under suspicious circumstances. Mr Speaker, could anybody imagine this in modern day Ghana? The man was living at Kanda and went on to live at Bawleshie, but he was arrested for living under suspicious circumstances. This nation has lived under oppression, subjugation and pulverisation before. The nation has learnt. Protection of the rights by the Courts -- the Court would make a ruling and it would be overturned by the Executive the next day. Today, our Constitution provides that, Parliament cannot make any law that would affect the judgment of the Court. It ensues from what happened to the late J. B. Danquah, yet, in those days, nobody could raise a voice that what had happened at the time was unconscionable. Today, Parliament, by article 107 (a) and (b), cannot make retrospective laws, and this ensues from our days in the past. Mr Speaker, one would want to believe, as Hon Ayariga said, that those events should mark a watershed in our national life, never again shall we return to such stone age practices. Mr Speaker, unfortunately, we have had to go back in all the coup regimes that had followed after the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah's era. We have been made to live in circumstances that could be described simply as inhumane; yet when it mattered, people lost their voices. Mr Speaker, I am happy with the conclusion of Dr Kwabena Donkor when he said that, we should bind ourselves with our collective resolve to develop this country. Happily, today, the Directive Principles of State Policy puts all of us in one plane. Today, there are no extreme political parties in this country - In fact, we are all centrist parties as proposed by the Directive Principle of State Policy. The New Patriotic Party (NPP), which is the ruling party of today, is just a little to the right of the centre, just like the National Democratic Congress (NDC), it is just a little to the left of the centre. We are all centrist parties so why can we not just come together to develop? We resort to haranguing, attacking personalities and not being truthful to ourselves. Mr Speaker, propaganda would not take this nation anywhere whereas truthfulness would ferry this nation to its cherished destination. After all, as the late Acheampong used to say, “we are one people in one nation with a common destiny”. Mr Speaker, may we continue to learn useful lessons from what happened to the late J. B. Danquah and move our nation forward, ever prepare to indeed resist the oppressors'' rule. God bless our homeland Ghana. Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Hon Members, I cannot resist the temptation of saying a few words. I know you all know that the late J. B. Danquah was born on the 21st of December, 1895 and we all know that he left the shores of Ghana in 1917 and stayed in the United Kingdom for 10 years. He returned in 1927 after earning a PhD in Law -- he was the first African to have achieved that feat. [Hear! Hear!] I would want to urge Hon Members to try and do more research and make such Statements on the floor of the House. They enrich not only Hon Members of Parliament but the country as a whole.
Mr Speaker, the Motions listed as items numbered 6 and 7 cannot be taken because Leadership is yet to meet the leadership of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to take a decision on the way forward. Mr Speaker, so, on that account, having dealt with the other programmed items, I guess we could take an adjournment, especially given the fact that some of our Hon Colleagues may have to travel to the Western, Ashanti and Northern regions to undertake some parliamentary assign- ments. Mr Speaker, before I move the Motion for adjournment, I announce that copies of the Message on the State of the Nation delivered yesterday by the President, are in the Mails Room and in the pigeon holes of Hon Members. We would request them to pick them up and study them over the weekend in order for us to start the debate in earnest on Tuesday. I hope that, Leadership could have some further consultations to better structure the debates, so, we know how to deal with it. Often times, we have not managed it very well; the contributors crisscross and the debate is not well structured. So, Mr Speaker, that is by way of announcement. Mr Speaker, I now beg to move that this House takes an adjournment until Tuesday of next week at 10.00 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment. Question put and Motion agreed to.