Debates of 1 Feb 2005

PRAYERS 10:20 a.m.


Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Members, I have two communications from His Excellency the President.
The first one is dated January 25, 2005:
“January 25,
Mr. Speaker,
Appointment of a Minister of State
I hereby inform you that, in conformity with Article 78 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic, I have nominated Ms. Christine Churcher as Minister for Environment and Science.
I should be grateful if Parliament would act expeditiously on her nomination. Attached is her curriculum vitae.




ACCRA 10:20 a.m.


STATEMENTS 10:30 a.m.

Mr. I. K. Poku-Adusei (NPP - Bekwai) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the world woke
up on the 26th of December, 2004 to hear of an unprecedented and unimaginable catastrophe that had hit south Asia and soured the atmosphere of joy that the birth of Christ had brought to the world the day before. The most powerful earthquake in the last 40 years struck off the western coast of the Indonesian Island of Sumatra, setting off through the ocean shock waves that were felt more than 5,000 kilometres away on the coast of East Africa where, at least, 200 people died. The shock wave of the quake TSUNAMI devastated the South Asia region - India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and others.
Mr. Speaker, as I speak, per the international media, the death toll as at 8th January, 2005, stood at 150,000 with another 100,000-plus missing. The death toll continues to rise with the discovery of villages and settlements that have been completely wiped out.
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Ghana has already expressed its condolence to the Heads of State, the governments and the people of the affected countries.
The United Nations, as expected, has taken the lead in co-ordinating the global relief and rehabilitation effort that is under way to assist the victims of this tragedy. Other nations, especially the developed ones, have led the way in making generous donations to the affected countries to help them in their hour of profound distress.
Mr. Speaker, the tragedy that befell the people of Asia has huge lessons for us in Ghana because the catastrophe could have happened anywhere in the world.
We in Ghana need no one to warn us to begin to take a serious look at our disaster preparedness. It is a known fact
that parts of Ghana straddle earthquake fault lines, yet no effort is being made to take precautionary measures in these areas to forestall any danger to life and property if and when disaster strikes.
Mr. Speaker, in this connection, I wish to appeal firstly to all Ghanaians and to the disaster relief agencies to draw lessons from the Tsunami catastrophe and to make sure that Ghana is fully prepared to minimize injuries and death when disasters such as earthquakes and floods occur.
Perhaps, the time has come -- no thanks to these cataclysmic events -- to move from the state where powerful nations show their might and strength by the extent of their control and dominance over weapons of mass destruction to the state of setting up institutions that will research into, and come out with technology that will protect human lives when catastrophies of such nature and magnitude occur.
Finally, I would like to appeal to all Ghanaians to respond generously to the call by the UN Secretary-General and the Government of Ghana for funds and donations of all kinds to assist the victims. The UN Resident Co-ordinator's Office in Accra is receiving donations in aid of the Tsunami victims and I am happy that some benevolent people and organizations in the country are already responding to the call.
Mr. Speaker, let us remember all the victims of this disaster, especially the children whose innocent lives have been cut short and who never had the divine opportunity to grow up to realize their full potentials and dreams.
Prof. Al-Hassan Wayo Seini (NDC - Tamale Central) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker. I think the Statement made by the hon. Member is a very important Statement, in the sense
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP - Suame) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who made the Statement said that he was appealing to all Ghanaians and the disaster relief agencies to draw lessons from the Tsunami catastrophe and make sure that Ghana is fully prepared to minimize injuries and deaths when such disasters occur. It is on that suggestion that I want to proceed.

Mr. Speaker, Ghana is blessed with hundreds of kilometres of coastline - about 600 kilometres of coastal line. Mr. Speaker, in terms of geological evidence, mid-portions of the land mass of this country are earthquake prone areas. Since the time of recorded earthquakes and major earth tremors in the country, we have experienced about six major disturbances.

I am told, Mr. Speaker, that in 1615, we recorded the first tremor in the country. In 1635, there was another one that we are told devastated Axim and Aboadze; and we are told that a mining shaft even collapsed at the time. In 1862, Mr. Speaker, we are told that the last serious earthquake happened in this country and that measured up to about 6.5 on the Richter scale. Mr. Speaker, several structures collapsed particularly in the Christiansborg area. I believe the hon. Senior Minister-designate would confirm this.

Mr. Speaker, in 1906, there was another one that we are told measured up to 5.5

on the Richter scale, and the effect of it was felt not only in Accra but even up country. In 1997 in January, February and particularly, I think on March 6, there was one that shook Accra. Mr. Speaker, on that occasion, we were all gearing up to celebrate the Independence Day and it came out of the blue. I was on my bed that day and the experience, Mr. Speaker, was really bad for us. I was there with my kid - [Interrruptions.] Mr. Speaker, hon. Bartels is saying that nobody has asked me anything, but I need to clear the cobwebs in the head or something.

Mr. Speaker, in 2004, there was another one that happened in this country. We are told that seismic activity has been happening in this country between five and fifteen times every year. Mr. Speaker, established earthquake prone areas in this country include the McCarthy Hill area, Nyanyano, the corridor down south from Ho and portions of Tema and many portions along our own coastline.

Mr. Speaker, in the event of an earthquake, how prepared are we as a nation to confront the eventuality? First of all, are we sure that the agencies charged with the responsibility of monitoring the seismic activities do have the requisite recording equipment? Are we sure that our builders have been sensitized enough to be aware of the threat that these local seismic activities have on our structures? How aware are our citizens in case of such eventualities?

Mr. Speaker, we are told that if these things happen and one is in his room, the best thing to do is to try to hide under a table. If you have a table which is high enough or a bed that is high enough, you can go under it. Mr. Speaker, if you are in the building, the thing to do is to come out of the building so that if there should

be any collapse you will not be trapped. How aware are our citizens in these matters? Mr. Speaker, I believe that the time is opportune for us as a nation to use this disaster to sensitize our people such that if there should be any threat, if there should be any such catastrophe, lives may not be lost.
Alhaji Seidu Amadu (NDC - Yapei- Kusawgu) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the import of the Statement made by the hon. Member appears to centre on the issue of earthquake and Tsunami is an underwater earthquake that normally disturbs the waves; and we all saw the extent to which human lives and properties were lost.
Mr. Speaker, I share his sentiments and I sympathize with the people and governments of all the countries which lost lives and property as a result of this Tsunami.
But Mr. Speaker, there is one other phenomenon that I wish to draw the attention of this House to, which was of a more frightening proportion than even the earthquake that we are talking about. In my own environment, Mr. Speaker, the Sahara is moving rather dangerously towards the south yet it is a kind of catastrophe that we appear to ignore. Mr. Speaker, it is said that the Sahara is moving downward. Unfortunately, the Sahara has no wheels, it has no legs; but the truth is that practically it is moving. Mr. Speaker, just about three weeks ago or a month or thereabouts we all saw the hazy nature of the weather, making it very difficult for some airlines to land, making visibility very poor leading to accidents and so forth. Mr. Speaker, if you look at this critically, you will realize that it is all the effect of the southward movement of the Sahara, the Sahel. There is so much dust in the atmosphere that up to today, you enter your room and about thirty minutes after you have come out it is as if you have not cleaned your tables
Dr. K. Addo-Kufuor (NPP - Manhyia) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to commend the hon. Member for Bekwai (Mr. I. K. Poku-Adusei) for making this Statement and also to suggest that Tsunami perhaps is a wake-up call for all of us.
But coming back to Ghana, Mr.
Speaker, after the stadium disaster, the Ministry of Defence was given a directive to organize what was called Emergency Response Unit (ERU). The idea of talking about this is to share the experience we have with other hon. Members so that when they go back to their constituencies and districts, they may set up similar units
in anticipation of possible disaster, large- scale or small-scale.
Mr. Speaker, the unit consisted of the following 10:50 a.m.
First, we trained as many as 900 cadets from various second cycle institutions. It was a long time ago and I am sure that even when they assemble these young men and women today, they might not remember the first-aid techniques they learned. Therefore, this thing is ongoing. The resources should be made available so that constant training is given to them.
The second thing we did, Mr. Speaker, was to assemble 13 ambulances with the support of the French Embassy. These ambulances were at the Military Hospital for a long time and then at one stage, because they were not being used, we went on air and appealed to the general public in the Greater Accra Region so that whenever there was a medical emergency, they could pay thirty thousand cedis for the ambulances to be rushed to their homes to pick up pregnant women about to deliver, or accident cases. But we did not get a lot of support from the public and so these ambulances have been distributed to the various garrisons. I think that having seen the Tsunami, maybe, we should recall them and station them in Accra.
The third thing we did was to set aside two helicopters specially trained for emergency relief. These helicopters are still available but again, practice is required constantly.
The fourth thing we did, Mr. Speaker, was to train certain staff at the 37 Military Hospital and certain medical response units in all the garrisons. These people, I am sure, are not training regularly, and in view of what has happened in South-East Asia, maybe, we should be given resources so that they train on regular basis.
Mr. Speaker, the point of talking about this is that, I believe, in view of the fact that Ghana is an earthquake prone area, that the Accra Airport is a busy one with very large planes carrying hundred, two hundred passengers, the fact that the stadium disaster could re-occur and the fact that large-scale accidents can occur on our roads, we should go back to the concept of emergency response unit; not only for Accra but also for the regions and the districts so that, God forbid, if there should be any large-scale or moderately large-scale emergency event in any part of the country, people would be trained at the spot, either at the regional level or at the district level so that these people, working closely with National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the security agencies could bring immediate relief to the affected people.
What we noticed after the stadium disaster was that the country was badly prepared and very few people had been pre-trained to be able to assist victims, when the disaster occurred.
I think the Tsunami is a wake-up call and Government, prompted by Parliament, should make resources available for regular training and acquisition of materials so that, God forbid, if any unwanted emergency or disaster were to occur in this country, the country would be better prepared.
Maj. (Dr.) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (rtd.) (NDC - Ayawaso East): Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement that has been made. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at Legon where there were various experts from the Geology Department and NADMO and other stakeholders and where we discussed disasters, including the Tsunami.
I was surprised to learn that in the 16th Century, there was a Tsunami in
Mr. Speaker, the unit consisted of the following 11 a.m.
this country and therefore, we should not think that it is impossible to have a Tsunami in Ghana. I was also relieved to learn that inasmuch as we all know that the McCarthy Hill area is earthquake prone, the soil and rock formation underneath is such that it would permit easy passage of the forces that are associated with an earthquake or an earth tremor.
Instead, places like the Airport Residential Area, Dzorwulu - where the soil formation is of clay nature would rather delay the passage of the forces and it is possible that more damage could be suffered in such areas. This I believe is a big relief to people who have properties in McCarthy Hill area. I can see the hon. Member for Mpraeso (Dr. Osafo-Mensah) smiling.
Mr. Speaker, I share the view of the maker of the Statement that we should respond to the call for contributions to assist the victims of this disaster, especially our African brethren, who suffered the disaster. I would like to suggest that we begin from this honourable House. There are 230 Members and if we can all start with a $100 each, I believe that we can contribute $230,000 to the effort.
Mr. Speaker, as we talk about disasters in Ghana, I would like to draw attention to the fact that NADMO, which is the organization that is charged with the effort to bring relief to people who suffer disasters in this country, is located within my constituency. Unfortunately, this important organization is located just alongside the Nima-Mamobi-Kawokudi gutter, which has been crying for attention for years.
Now, this big drain, which was constructed with the effort of military personnel during the Second World War, needs to be attended to, to avert any possible disaster. I would like to use the
occasion to appeal to the appropriate authorities that it is about time we paid particular attention to this gutter which needs defence wall so as to avert any disaster in future.
Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd.) (NPP - Berekum): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement. Mr. Speaker, I think the Statement is a little belated but it is good it has come. Maybe, if we look at the fact that we had to go on recess and the holidays that came in, one can understand.

But Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. Member for Manhyia (Dr. Addo-Kufuor) that this Tsunami disaster is indeed a wake-up call to Ghana. We must take a second look at the way we do our things because when a disaster strikes, our ability to respond will be on the basis of how prepared we are in time of peace. Mr. Speaker, it is against this background that I want to recommend that we take our building regulations as seriously as possible.

People build in waterways; they build without building permits, and they build with plans that have not even been approved by the authorities. And then when disaster strikes, it is these illegal structures, these buildings and structures that have not been authorized which create the biggest barriers to recovery efforts. And so Mr. Speaker, I would rather suggest that we should as a body, in fact, as a nation, wake up seriously to this issue of building regulations.

Mr. Speaker, I am also worried about our local government institutions, especially the zonal, urban, town and area councils. We must strengthen them so that wherever they would be, wherever in this country, whether in Nakpanduri or in Asawinso, whether in Gwollu or in Ketu, wherever

any disaster strikes, the first frontliners who would have to respond to some kind of relief measure is the area council or the town council. It is regrettable that most of these institutions are still in the primary stages and I think it will be better for us, as a nation, if we do all that we can to strengthen these local government institutions so that in times of disaster they can help alleviate the suffering.

Again Mr. Speaker, I think that NADMO, our national body set aside to prepare the nation for responses to disaster should be strengthened as much as possible, because as the Tsunami disaster has shown, nobody can predict when a disaster will strike. Tsunami is an earthquake; it could be a May 9 stadium affair; it could also be an accident on the road involving buses; it could be massive rainfall and floods all over. But of whatever nature that the disaster would be, our capacity to respond would depend on our preparedness as at today.

This is why, Mr. Speaker, I agree seriously with the hon. Member for Manhyia that this indeed is a wake-up call to us. I will end by associating myself with the call by the hon. Member who made the Statement and strengthened seriously by my Friend, the hon. Member for Ayawaso East who mentioned dollars. Mr. Speaker, dollar is a foreign currency in this country. I would rather say that we should rather contribute cedis. Maybe, he, as a doctor, an Alhaji, a Major (Rtd.) and as a politician, probably has resources in currencies which we do not know about. [Laughter.] But for those of us who come from the rural areas, I will recommend that we donate cedis and strengthen the kitty so that we can make a handsome widow's mite contribution to the recovery effort.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho (NDC -- Avenor/ Ave) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the
hon. Member who made the Statement and indeed all the comments passed on the Statement.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that one practical way of responding to the issues being raised, and as the hon. Member for Manhyia rightly pointed out, is to make resources available. Mr. Speaker, sooner or later the budget for the Ministry of the Interior will be presented to Parliament because I know that it is the Ministry of the Interior, which is responsible for disasters in this country.
We would have to find out the allocation made to that Ministry to handle disasters, and I believe at that stage this House should be able, if there is the need, to do the necessary adjustments without creating any fundamental damage to the whole purpose of the budget. This House should be able to do it so that we can make sufficient allocation to that Ministry, and indeed to that department for purposes of handling disasters in this country, otherwise we will talk but it will boil down, at the end of the day, to resources.
When the resources are not there, we will come and talk and talk and go away; and that will be the problem. I believe we have made several Statements in this House on disasters and we are still making them.
My second and final point is to suggest that a copy of the Statement and comments be served on the incoming Minister and the outgoing Minister for the Interior so that at the appropriate time, he comes to brief this honourable House on steps being taken by his Ministry to handle disasters. Mr. Speaker, if we do this, then we are giving practical meaning to the issue of disasters and we would have also put it on top priority.
Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. Owusu- Adjapong) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe this Statement should have been made about


two weeks ago for us to have been in the position to send whatever widow's mite that we could send at that time; but unfortunately, we had to adjourn. We still need to congratulate our hon. Colleague for coming back to this topic.

Mr. Speaker, the suggestion made that we should make some contributions, I think, is the right call except that in such cases, it may be appropriate that at our closed meetings we take a decision as to the level of contribution that we should make. But I think we all need to accept that the principle of contributing is the right principle and I suppose we all will endorse it.

Mr. Speaker, a lot has been said about what we need to do in our country here, particularly relating to earthquakes. I therefore endorse the suggestion made by the hon. Deputy Minority Leader that we do not have to let the story end here. I believe that we need to involve even more Ministers other than the Minister for the Interior, as suggested.

Mr. Speaker, we need to involve whichever Ministry is responsible for planning in this country because when it comes to these matters, planning becomes very crucial. Day in, day out, we are told of possible earthquake zones in Accra and some other parts of the country, but if you look at what we have developed so far, it looks like we are not taking that into account. There may be expensive buildings there and therefore we are worried about compensation, but it may be safer for us, as a country, to identify these flash points so far as earthquakes are concerned, and if even we do not have money today, plan towards it.

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the House that immediately we get our Ministers in position, the Leadership will quickly hold

a meeting with the appropriate Ministers so that either they get one of them to lead us in further discussion on the matter, or we get the Chairman of the Assurance Committee to follow it up and submit an appropriate report before we rise at the end of this Meeting.
Dr. D. K. Ampofo (NDC -- South Dayi) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the Statement on the floor and in doing so, to take the position of other Members that the Tsunami incident should be seen as a wake-up call for us in Ghana to take steps towards preparing ourselves to be able to manage disasters, be they natural or man-made.
In Ghana, several disasters occur not only in the form of tremors and quakes but we also have bush fires on very massive scales. We have urban fires in markets and in domestic dwelling places. We also have several floods, particularly the area where I live in Ayawaso Central whenever there is rainfall. During the rainy season, we are all very nervous as to whether the water will engulf our homes and, indeed, several homes are affected in Ayawaso Central area.

What I want to say by way of contribution is that I think we ought to take this matter seriously and look at it in two dimensions. First of all, we have to look at the preventive aspect of the issue; and this is where early warning systems and the scientific approach to disaster management comes to the fore. Secondly we need to look at how to manage the disaster after it has unfortunately happened.

I think there is the need for us to look at our land-use policy carefully as has been mentioned in some other ways; that the building plans and the building regulations ought to be strictly adhered to. But I think another hon. Member talked about open spaces; that we have to have a holistic

approach to planning our dwelling areas; and that must be included in the land-use policy.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I think that there must be a national master-plan of some sort and this is what other hon. Members have alluded to, that is referring the matter to the Ministry of the Interior to come out with this strategic plan.

I think the matter is so crucial that it may do us good if your goodself will appoint a committee to collate all the views that we have expressed here, put them in an appropriate form and direct it to the Executive; so that the Executive can look at it as a strategic issue where several departments and agencies of Government and experts will be put on the committee to come out with a national master-plan for disaster management that will also include the early warning strategies on what to do about disasters.

I think one problem also is that the populace is not well educated as to what to do should any form of disaster occur. Sadly, I have personally witnessed people trying to assist victims of accidents, but in doing so they handle the victims so unprofessionally that actually they rather kill them. Because some of the victims that I have seen in accidents have spinal cord injuries and in that case you do not just carry them by the arms and legs. Automatically, when you do that, the person is off; he is killed automatically. People are not aware of this.

I know that in many countries when accidents of this sort occur, they ask you not to touch the body, or if you will, they have taught everybody how to do it. When I was in the United States of America, for example, school children were taught what to do and they rehearsed it in case of a nuclear attack. That was during the cold war time. I have seen the same exercise in

the Soviet Union where school children are also taught should there be a nuclear attack.

They taught them the signs, how they would know that there was a nuclear attack and if they should notice it what they should do. They build bunkers where people should run to and so many exercises are done. In most of the high-rise buildings in the United States of America where I studied, periodically or on monthly basis there were exercises where the siren or the alarm of the building would start and everybody was to run out of the building for the fire fighters to do their rehearsals.

So everybody is accustomed or acclimatized to the possibility of disasters at any time. So it becomes part of your culture and psyche, and you walk with this knowledge not really to fear living but to be aware that these things exist and therefore to prepare for them.

So Mr. Speaker, my recommendation will be that we take this matter more seriously and perhaps send it to the Executive. It could be taken as one of the President's Special Initiatives and be given all the seriousness that I think it deserves.
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang (NPP -- New Juaben North) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to apologise for my voice today. But I would like to assure hon. Colleagues that it would have been folly on the part of any institution not to begin to prepare, not to begin to keep on the front burner measures designed to reduce the effect of disasters after the 11th September incident in New York. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, we have a national contingency plan which is being reviewed on a regular basis. Out of this is the standing operations procedures, which are also being constantly reviewed.
Disasters whether natural or man-made, Mr. Speaker, have to be acknowledged; and
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang (NPP -- New Juaben North) 11:20 a.m.
NADMO for example, is being reorganised into a National Relief Emergency Service which will deal with the situation. As I speak now, we have 550 volunteer groups in most of the districts that are trained by the district coordinators of NADMO on how to handle emergencies, whether man-made or natural. A whole lot of measures are taking place -- education of the populace as to what to do in times of emergency.
But the bottom line, as has been underscored by Major (Dr.) (Alhaji) Ahmed (Rtd.), is the fact of the indiscipline in the system which sometimes compounds the difficulties that we have. Right now there is so much difficulty and sometimes the Ghana Fire Service finds it very difficult to access fire hydrants when they have to attend to emergency situations. But we have taken measures; for example, now we are active players in the World Council of Rescue Organisations which have come to assist with a lot of equipment. And now we are trying to get some equipment which will also move boulders and things like that in times of emergency and in times of earthquake and what have you.
In fact, until two years ago, the Ghana Fire Service did not have a single cutting equipment even to free an accident victim let alone respond to an emergency. But all these things are being addressed. As the hon. Deputy Minority Leader said, it boils down to resources. We have only now been able to give hundred vehicles to NADMO for the volunteer groups to be able to move. So I think that we have not been sleeping, but we need to do a lot more to sensitise the public as to what to do in times of emergency.
The Tsunami, as was said, is a wake-up call. The National Emergency Service is being put together by the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Health also is in operation and slowly, we will be sharpening our response preparedness to all these things.
We have been in close touch with the World Disaster Relief Organisation which is also assisting us and, indeed, the just- ended conference in Kobe in Japan also gave some guidelines as to what to do. The developed countries have also undertaken to assist us and I just want to assure hon. Colleagues that it is in order that this Statement is made. Efforts are being made but they are just not enough. Unfortunately, there is no country that can be hundred per cent disaster-prepared; there is no country that is utopian. But that notwithstanding, we have to do the best to help our people in times of emergency.
So I assure hon. Colleagues that in the handing-over notes, the incoming Minister for the Interior has been briefed as to what is being done in the reorganisation and what needs to be done. I am happy that the Deputy Minority Leader has suggested that this House should give more resources to NADMO. It is not only NADMO; I know they are competing for resources, but in the past NADMO had been neglected and I think that we should now be able to respond to their needs.

So the assurance that I give here is -- even last week the Standing Operations Procedures Committee was meeting to review the situation as time goes on. We are not oblivious of the difficulty that may arise. We have also checked with the Geological Services Department as to the signals they are getting, whether there is an imminent danger or not. But sometimes this is blown out of proportion and then it gets the populace on edge. I would just like to say that in all situations, we have to be calm and assess the situation and then react to it accordingly.

I thank the maker of the Statement for drawing the nation's attention to this difficulty and to say that the Government is doing what it can. We need to do a lot more and we shall continue to be abreast with the latest measures and operational

measures for handling disasters, should they occur.
PAPERS 11:20 a.m.

Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
need some guidance or clarification from you with regard to the Paper that has just been laid by the hon. Majority Leader. Mr. Speaker, when you look at the document it appears it is coming from Members of Parliament, Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliament; but if you look at the Constitution it is quite clear that these things should be done -- either the President should cause it to be done and it is then that it is ratified. So I just need your guidance as to whether it is proper to lay it before this House before it even goes to the Committee.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
believe there exists an ACP institution and Ghana attends its meetings. Mr. Speaker, under their own rules, if they want to make any internal re-engineering they are supposed to consult member Parliaments. In any case, the idea of referring this document to the Committee is for the Committee to take pains and find out, among other things, whether what my hon. Colleague, the Deputy Minority Leader is postulating is the right approach or not.
For us to start debating the matter now will be a little bit out of order; but if we refer it to the Committee and he has any other brilliant ideas -- I think he has the right to attend all committee meetings
of this honourable House; we can take advantage of any additional knowledge he has on this matter.
So his direction is appropriate except that I was thinking that in such matters if one was also to involve the Committee on Foreign Affairs it may be the right thing. I rather thought he was going to draw attention to the fact that it should be a Joint Committee on Constitutional and Foreign Affairs so that we move forward.
By the Chairman of the Committee --
First Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nominat ions for minis ter ia l appointments.
MOTIONS 11:20 a.m.

Chairman of the Appointments Committee (Mr. F. W. A. Blay) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the motion is given and the date on which the motion is moved, the motion for the adoption of the First Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nomination for ministerial appointments may be moved today.
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg
to second the motion.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
this is a motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders. We are not against the motion but the information I received from the hon. Minority Leader was that he had agreed with his hon. Colleague opposite that we should suspend Sitting for hon. Members to go and read the report since
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I would have liked my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader to be here so that perhaps he could confirm the subsequent consensus that we came to. Mr. Speaker, when we came in the morning we had a problem as to what time the printing would be completed and we suggested all manner of alternative ways of solving the problem.
One was that we were going to ensure that the first 30 copies were given to the Members of the Committee so that they could move on whilst we went on with the discussion on the Statement that would be made. Then later on we met and he said he had talked to his hon. Colleagues and there was consensus on what was being presented and therefore the important thing was the time we were going to have the document ready.
But the idea of the suspension of Sitting was more in relation to when the printed version would be ready. Mr. Speaker, I believe we have confidence in the Committee that sat on this matter.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, unless he still wants to go by the original consensus, I am saying that, yes, it is true because the whole idea was in relation to when it would be printed. When the report has been printed and we are now asking for further suspension, I think that may not be right. But I would have wished we could have our hon. Colleague around for him to repeat what was said, as to whether in the light of the current situation we still need to suspend Sitting. I think it is not necessary now, from what I have seen. They have also had the benefit of having the advance copy. Mr. Speaker, it was the consensus but if it is still the wish of this honourable House that they want some 30 minutes to look at it -- it is because some of us have high value for time, that is why I am being careful.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minority Leader, I thought there was consensus.
Mr. Adjaho 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, with the greatest of respect, I am not party to that arrangement between them, but that is the brief I have received from the hon. Minority Leader, that there should be suspension of Sitting; and I am happy he is in. Mr. Speaker, I am not a member of the Committee; I am a Member for Avenor/Ave constituency. I am speaking as a Member for Avenor/Ave constituency. This is a 26-page report, which was just distributed to some of us.
We may virtually end up agreeing to what is in this report but is it not fair for us to read it so that we can come and take the debate? Mr. Speaker, to all intents and purposes, I do not know how many hon. Members have read the 26-page report. Mr. Speaker, the response from both sides of the House shows that we have not read the report.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
The hon. Minority
Leader is here; may we hear from him on this motion to suspend the provisions of
Standing Order 80 (1)?
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think we discussed this issue and agreed that the report should be laid and then we give one hour to hon. Members to go through the report. In other words, it means that the House will have to be suspended for one hour for hon. Members to go through the report and then come back to debate it. That is my understanding of the discussion we held and that is the position we still hold. I think that we can lay the report and suspend the House for one hour.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that is all right. We can suspend the Sitting; with the time being 11.30 a.m. we will come back at 12.30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon. Members, may we suspend Sitting for about an hour and then come back at about 12.15 p.m. if possible.
The Sitting was suspended at 11.31 a.m.

Sitting resumed.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Order! Hon. Chairman of the Appointments Committee?
Chairman of the Appointments Committee (Mr. F. W. A. Blay) 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, before you suspended the Sitting of the House, I had moved for the suspension of the relevant Standing Orders. So the matter is before you; it has been seconded. So I will plead with you, Mr. Speaker, that the Question be put.
Question put and motion agreed to.
First Report of the Appointments Committee on Ministerial
Mr. F. W. A. Blay 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the first Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nominations for ministerial appointments.
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Pursuant to article 78 (1) of the Constitution, His Excellency the President communicated to Parliament for prior approval, his nomination of the following persons for appointment as Ministers as follows:
i. Hon. J. H. Mensah -- Senior Minister
i i . Hon . Kwadwo Baah- Wiredu -- Minister for Finance and Economic Planning
ii i . Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo -- Minister of Education and Sports
iv. Hon. Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor -- Minister of Defence
v. Hon. Maj. Courage Quashigah (rtd.) -- Minister of Health
vi. Hon. Papa Owusu-Ankomah -- Minister of the Interior
v i i . H o n . N a n a A d d o Dankwah Akufo-Addo -- Minister for Foreign Affairs
viii. Mr. Ayikoi Otoo -- Attorney - General
ix . Mr. Alan Kyeremateng -- Minister of Trade and Industry
x. Hon. Mrs. Gladys Asmah
Mr. F. W. A. Blay 12:30 p.m.

-- Minister of Fisheries

xi. Hon. Prof. Mike Oquaye -- Minister of Energy

xii . Hon. Charles B. Bintin - - M i n i s t e r o f L o c a l G o v e r n m e n t a n d R u r a l Development

xiii . Hon. Prof. Dominic K. Fobih -- Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines

xiv. Hon. Ernest A. Debrah - - M i n i s t e r o f F o o d and Agriculture

xv. Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama - - M i n i s t e r o f Wo m e n and Children's Affairs

x v i . H o n . H a c k m a n Owusu- Agyemang -- Minister of Works and Housing

xvii. Mr. Dan. Botwe -- Minister of Information

x v i i i . M r. J a k e O b e t s e b i - Lamptey -- Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City

x i x . H o n . A l b e r t K a n - Dapaah -- Minister of Communications

x x . H o n . F e l i x O w u s u - Adjapong -- Minister of Parliamentary Affairs

xxi . Hon. Kwamena Bartels -- Min is te r o f P r iva te Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives

xxii. Prof. C. Ameyaw Akumfi -- Minister of Harbours and Railways

xxiii. Hon. Dr. Richard Anane - - M i n i s t e r o f R o a d and Transport

xxiv. Hon. Joseph Kofi Adda -- Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment

x x v . H o n . Ya w B a r i m a h -- Regional Minister -- Eastern

xxvi . Hon. S . K. Boafo -- Regional Minister -- Ashanti

xxvii . Hon. Isaac Edumadze -- Regional Minis ter -- Central

xxviii. Hon. Joseph B. Aidoo -- Regional Minis ter -- Western

xxix. Mr. Boniface Gambilla -- Regional Minister -- Upper East

xxx. M r . A m b r o s e D e r y -- Regional Minister -- Upper West

x x x i . M r. K o f i D z a m e s i -- Regional Minister -- Volta

xxxii. Hon. Sheikh I. C. Quaye -- Regional Minis ter -- Greater Accra

xxxiii. Nana Kwadwo Se in t i -- Regional Minister -- Brong Ahafo

xxxiv. H o n . B . S a d d i q u e Abu- Bakar -- Regional Minister -- Northern

1.2 In accordance with Order 172 (2) of
N O W T H E R E F O R E I T I S 12:30 p.m.

Ministers of State. They are 12:30 p.m.
i. Hon. Felix Owusu-Adjapong - - M i n i s t e r - d e s i g n a t e f o r Parlia- mentary Affairs
i i . H o n . J . H . M e n s a h - - Senior Minister-designate
i i i . H o n . Ya w O s a f o - M a a f o -- Minister-designate for Education and Sports
iv. Hon. Dr. Kwame Addo- Kufuor -- Minister-designate for Defence
v. Hon . Nana Akufo -Addo -- Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs
vi. Hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu -- Minister-designate for Finance and Economic Planning
vii. Hon. Papa Owusu-Ankomah -- Minis ter-designate for the Interior
viii. Hon. H. Owusu-Agyemang -- Minister-designate for Works and Housing
ix. Maj. Courage Quashigah (rtd.) --Minister-designate for Health
x . H o n . K w a m e n a B a r t e l s -- Minis ter-designate for Private Sector Development and P res iden t 's Spec ia l Initiatives
xi. Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey -- Min i s t e r-des igna te fo r Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City
x i i . M r . Ay i k o i O t o o - - Attorney- General-designate
x i i i . M r. A l a n K y e r e m a t e n g -- Minister-designate for Trade and Industry
xiv. Hon. Mrs. Gladys Asmah -- Minister-designate for Fisheries
xv. Hon . P ro f . Mike Oquaye -- Minister-designate for Energy
xv i . Hon . Cha r l e s B . B in t i n -- Minis ter-des ignate for Local Government and Rural Deve- lopment
xvii. Hon. Prof. Dominic Fobih -- Minis ter-des ignate for Lands, Forestry and Mines
xvi i i . Hon. Ernes t A. Debrah
-- Minister-designate for Food and Agriculture
xix. Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama - - Minister-designate for Women and Childlren's Affairs
xx. Mr. Dan Botwe -- Minister - designate for Information
xxi . Hon. Alber t Kan-Dapaah -- Minis ter-des ignate for Com- munications
xxii. Prof. C. Ameyaw Akumfi -- Minis ter-des ignate for Harbours and Railways
xxi i i . Hon. Joseph Kofi Adda - - M i n i s t e r - d e s i g n a t e for Man- power, Youth and Employment
xxiv. Hon. Yaw Barimah - - Regional Minister-designate, Eastern
xxv. Hon. S. K. Boafo - - Regional Minister-designate, Ashanti
xxv i . Hon . Jo seph B . A idoo - - R e g i o n a l M i n i s t e r - designate, Western
xxvii. Hon. Boniface Gambilla -- Regional Minis ter- designate, Upper East
xxvi i i . Mr. Ambrose Dery -- Regional Minister-designate, Upper West
xxiv. Mr. Kofi Dzamesi - - Regional Minister-designate, Volta
xxx. Nana Kwadwo Seint i -- Regional Minister-designate, Brong Ahafo
xxxi . Hon. B. Saddique Abu- Bakar -- Regional Minister-
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion and reserve my right to comment now till later on during the course of the debate.
Question proposed.
Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd.)
(NPP -- Berekum): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this interesting motion, Mr. Speaker, I was privileged to be a member of the Committee and I sat through all the sessions of the Committee.
Mr. Speaker, what I observed as the
honourable nominees appeared before us, one by one, was that if you want to enter into public office, then you must be extra careful about whatever you do. And I was struck by the candour that was displayed by the nominees. Mr. Speaker, as the hon. Chairman rightly pointed out, when you look at the way the transitional calendar of our nation is structured, it puts a lot of pressure on the Committee to work at a faster pace.
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note that on Monday after our first session, when we closed, which was quite close to around 6 o'clock or thereafter, I went to some office and the people greeted me and said: “Look, Captain, it took Condolezza Rice two days to appear before a committee and you took one day to approve seven Ministers.”
Then I said: “No, Ghana is different from the jurisdiction you are talking about.” But in a sense it goes to emphasise what the Chairman of the Appointments Committee has said, that we should take a second look at our national calendar of transition of power from one President to
another, so that we can have enough time for the Legislature to exercise its right of looking at the nominees. But Mr. Speaker, I crave your indulgence to comment on two of the nominees.

The first person I want to talk about is the

hon. Majority Leader who was nominated to be Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. Mr. Speaker, when the nominee appeared before us we asked him a lot of questions and one issue that kept on coming up was how to stress the independence of the institution of Parliament. And Mr. Speaker, I think that we should do all that we can to project this institution of Parliament and emphasise its independence.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member, are you raising a point of order?
Mr. Ofosu 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. Member seems to be misleading the House by making deceptive statements.
Mr. Speaker, he started by saying
that Monday was the first session of the Committee, which is wrong; it was the second. We started on Friday.
Secondly, he said he went to an office, and he was greeted with the fact that we had approved seven (7) Ministers in one day whilst in actual fact, for Condolezza Rice it took two days. Mr. Speaker, the Committee does not approve; we vet them.
Thirdly, he has gone on to say that Members of Parliament were taking higher revenues than the Ministers. Mr. Speaker, we do not sit here to take revenues; we take salaries at the end of the month. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is a Member of Parliament and a Deputy Minister and he knows that Members of Parliament do not have chauffeur-driven cars, fuelled and maintained by the state and all others whilst he as a Deputy Minister has that privilege. So what does he mean by comparing salaries, when we pay our drivers and so on? Mr. Speaker, he must be called to order before he continues misleading the House.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member, are you also raising a point of order?
Mr. hammond 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, he is completely out of order. Mr. Speaker, we want the hon. Member for Berekum -- [Interruption.]
Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am raising a point of order. He also made a statement that he sat through all the committee meetings but when you look at one of the newspapers he slept during some of the meetings -- [Laughter.] So that too, he has to take note. He did not sit throughout.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Order! Hon. Member
for Berekum, would you kindly be brief.
Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, I beg your pardon and with all respect, my hon. Colleague from Kade has made a very interesting intervention. Apparently, he was not listening to what I was saying. With all respect, I did not say that the first time that the Committee sat was on Monday; I did not say so. I said on Monday after the sitting, when we closed after 6.00 p.m. -- Mr. Speaker, I was at the meeting on Monday.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is making reference to the fact that I said we take revenue. My hon. Colleague is a lawyer like me; he knows that revenue means income.
Some hon. Members: No!
Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, as for my hon. Colleague who wants to use a newspaper as his basis of authority to make a contribution in Parliament, I think I want to suggest to him that in this House we use facts and data.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member, are you winding up?
Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, I did say that I wanted to talk about two of the nominees. My first point was on hon. Owusu-Adjapong.
Mr. Speaker, permit me to talk about hon. Alan Kyeremateng who also appeared before us. He is designated for Trade and Industry. My concern is the need to have constant trade fairs which would enhance both local trade and international trade. I think that there is the need for us to get our people together as much as possible to enhance production and movement of goods and services in this country.
Mr. Speaker, I would end by saying
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.

that if you look at the quality of nominees who appeared before us in the Committee, if you look at the way they gave answers, I think that we have the right calibre of persons for ministerial positions.

Before I sit down, one thing that has come to mind which I must mention is that I was privileged to be sitting next to the hon. Minority Leader at the committee meeting and I noticed that when it was his turn to ask questions he used petitions that had been brought to him. In fact, he himself acknowledged that some of them were so superficial that one did not need to bother a nominee by asking him a question.

So our people must accept the fact that before one sends a petition about a nominee, one must be absolutely sure that what one is writing is the truth, and one must base one's petition on facts. But some of our people dream up half-truths and inventions and they parade them in the form of petitions, trying to tarnish the image or hard-won reputations of nominees. That would not take us very far.

On this note, Mr. Speaker, I would urge my hon. Colleagues on both sides of the House to fully endorse this report which we, as you can see, have taken a lot of time, energy and effort to prepare for your consideration.

Prof. Al-Hassan W. Seini (NDC

-- Tamale Central): Mr. Speaker, I would first of all want to commend the Appointments Committee for doing a very good job within a very short time. But I just want to make one general comment which is of concern to some members of the public, and then also to comment on two of the nominees.

First of all, there are many people who are concerned about the fact that some of

the members of the Committee were also nominees of the President. The general opinion is that like in football, you cannot be a player and a referee at the same time. If you do not favour yourself, you might end up favouring a Colleague.

Then I would like to comment on hon.

Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor. Reading what we have before us, I believe that he as a Minister for Defence did a very good job in that period. We all know that our military is very much respected in the international community -- respected because for every peace mission that they have carried out, they have done it very well since the 1960s. They have built a very good name for this country. But coming home, it looks as if they behave differently with regard to their relationship with civilians. Therefore, I would urge the hon. Minister to pay a little attention to what happens with the relationship between the military and the civilian population in this country.

He should particularly pay attention to the towns and regions where there are military barracks far away from Accra because there are numerous instances where probably based on misinformation, the military have been misused to harass civilians. They have our respect; they are professional people and everybody knows that when you are in trouble it is the military that one runs to for protection. So they can further do a lot of good to their image by improving their relationship with the civilian population.

I also would like to add that it is

interesting reading what my hon. Colleague from the University, Professor Mike Oquaye has here. It is good he is going to pay attention to alternative sources of energy, particularly for agricultural purposes. If you look at a lot of the irrigation projects in this country -- Dawhenya, Vea

and others, particularly Tono -- in the face of privatization, governments in the past had been gradually trying to shift the responsibility of maintaining irrigation facilities to the farmers themselves.

But if one goes round, one would see that the cost of energy is extremely high to these farmers. It is actually whittling down their profits. In fact, if you ask them, in most cases, it does not pay to produce certain crops under irrigation. So it is excellent; to me it is good he intends to pay attention to alternative sources of energy.

But I also hope that the hon. Minister- designate, when he is approved, will pay attention to the regional project, that is, the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project. It is a project which is going to benefit us a lot; I do not need to go to the benefits, but I do hope that he will pay particular attention to the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project which he did not talk about.

I will end my comments on my hon. Colleague by saying that I have listened to some radio programmes and they keep on referring to him as a Professor of Law. I am not too sure about that. To the best of my knowledge, he is a Professor of Political Science. I hope he would correct the media on that.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu (NPP -- Okere) 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to lend my support to the Appointments Committee's Report. Mr. Speaker, I want to comment on two of the nominees. The first is hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, on the statement he made on housing. He hit the nail right on the head because housing today is a great need for the nation.
Mr. Speaker, the fact that hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang has really realized the great importance of housing delivery in the country is wonderful. My prayer is
that he will really work hard and then help Government, or bring to bear on Government the need to provide sufficient funds for housing delivery in the country. Mr. Speaker, often we have looked out for maybe foreign investment in local housing delivery. Mr. Speaker, I do not believe much in this. I think we should be able to raise local funds to deliver enough houses for the country.
When we come to housing delivery, it is not a matter of building houses but here we are talking of affordable houses and I pray that the hon. Minister will use his influence so that many affordable houses would be built.
On the second nominee who is Professor Mike Oquaye, I have known Professor Mike Oquaye awhile. I know that whatever he touches turns to be gold -- [Hear! Hear!] -- My prayer is that he being in the Ministry of Energy, will do all he can, his best, to help the nation progress in our energy sector.
Mr. Speaker, w i th these f ew contributions, I thank you for allowing me to make a contribution.
Alhaji Collins Dauda (NDC -- Asutifi South) 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to support the motion. Mr. Speaker, I want to make a few observations about one of the nominees; and that is hon. Professor Dominic K. Fobih, the Minister-designate for Lands, Forestry and Mines. Mr. Speaker, I believe the President would want to nominate or appoint a Minister who will show respect to Parliament and also uphold decisions of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, in the year 2000, the Government of Ghana entered into 42 timber utilization contracts and got Parliament to debate the contracts on the 31st of October, 2000. Mr. Speaker, a Resolution of Parliament was passed on 2nd November, 2000 to ratify the contracts.
-- 12:50 p.m.

Mr. hammond 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, he said that, “I hear”; that is, he hears. What does that mean? What is the factual basis or evidential basis for that allegation?
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member, is it a
point of order?
Mr. hammond 1 p.m.
He said that “I hear”. That he cancelled it. He chronicled his statement by saying that he expected the President to nominate for approval by Parliament, Ministers who obey or follow certain ethics. Now, he gets up and makes an allegation as serious as that - “I hear”. Are we here relying on hearsay - second- rated or third-rated evidence?
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member, please let him continue.
Alhaji Dauda 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. Friend for pushing me to make an emphatic statement. Mr. Speaker, indeed I know for a fact that 42 Timber Utilisation Contracts (TUCs) have been cancelled without recourse to Parliament, and the basis for the cancellation of the TUCs is that it was done in a manner that in the opinion of the Minister - [Interruption.]
Ms. Theresa A. Tagoe 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, he said he knows as a fact. In Parliament, when you say you know as a fact, you should prove it. So either he proves it now or he withdraws and proves it later.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member, do you have the evidence now or you would bring it later?
Alhaji Dauda 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I said I know this for a fact and I can cite an example. Mr. Speaker, Asukese Forest Reserve was approved by this House for - [Interruption]
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member for Berekum, are you raising a point or order?
Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, I do not understand what my hon. Colleague is doing because when the name of hon. Fobih was announced by the President as Minister-designate, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee went on air, in the newspapers and the media, that anybody who had any matter whatsoever could bring it to the notice of the Appointments Committee.
Apart from that, Mr. Speaker, I stand to correction, but all Members of this House - 230 - each one of us has the right to attend sittings of the Committee and with the permission of the Chairman can put questions to the nominee. The hearings of the Committee provide opportunities for issues of this nature to be raised and cleared, so that the Committee would make up its mind as to whether or not to endorse and recommend the nominee.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague for Asutifi South is raising something which other hon. Members and I do not know anything about. And it is as if he is now putting the nominee on trial in this House. And Mr. Speaker, I want your guidance as the Speaker and the one in charge of proceedings, whether my hon. Colleague
is not completely out of order.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member, with the
greatest respect, speak to the motion.
Alhaji Dauda 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am doing exactly that; I am speaking to the motion; but I thought that my hon. Colleague opposite had the opportunity. Even though he is a member of the Appoint-ments Committee, he got up and was given the opportunity to comment on his own Report. I do not see anything wrong with me making a comment on this one -
Mr. Kwamena Bartels 1 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Colleague is misleading this very honourable House. In 2001, the Minister for Lands and Forestry was not Prof. Dominic Fobih; it was Dr. Kwaku Afriyie. When there was a reshuffle, the next Minister for Lands and Forestry was Prof. Kasim Kasanga. The cancellation was not done during Prof. Fobih's tenure. He is honestly misleading this House to postulate at the time we are looking at a report involving Prof. Fobih that he was the one during whose time these cancellations were done.
I think the hon. Member should withdraw and apologise to Prof. Dominic Fobih, because the charge is totally misleading.
Alhaji Dauda 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, Prof. Fobih was reshuffled to the Ministry of Lands and Forestry and it was during the time that Prof. Fobih was in the Ministry that these allocations were made. I am saying that the TUCs that were made - [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Order! Hon. Majority Leader, are you raising a point of order?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I thought that, the words “allocations made” and “cancelled” are not the same. I thought it has been raised that he has accused Prof. Fobih of cancelling an allocation, which is not the truth. So it is better he does what is honourable and then go ahead.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member, if what you are talking about was not done when Prof. Fobih was in charge, then you might consider withdrawing.
Alhaji Dauda 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, Prof. Fobih was a Minister in the Ministry of Lands and Forestry and he did the cancellation - [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, we can look at a later time for me to prove - [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Order! I may suggest that at this stage you may come properly. Withdraw and let us go on and then you can come properly.
Alhaji Dauda 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I withdraw.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Proceed and wind up.
Alhaji Dauda 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, all that I was seeking to do was to point out the fact that -
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Please, let us forget about the past. Proceed and wind up.
Alhaji Dauda 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am saying that Ministers who are nominated must show respect for decisions of the House; and therefore I am pleading with hon. Prof. Fobih that this matter be looked at even if indeed he was not the Minister who cancelled it. I have facts, as I said, that -
Mr. Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon. Member, I thought you had accepted the ruling in good faith.
Alhaji Dauda 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am advising that hon. Prof. Fobih takes a look at the cancellation of the Timber Utilization Contracts (TUCs) that was done by Ministers who took up the Ministry after hon. Christine Amoako- Nuamah, so that the right thing would be done and decisions of Parliament upheld.
Mrs. Gifty E. Kusi (NPP - Tarkwa Nsuaem) 1:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion.
Mr. Speaker, I must say that the work of the Appointments Committee is commendable. Mr. Speaker, when I look at the work it gives me the impression that we have able-bodied men, we have competent people to man the Ministries of Ghana.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to associate myself with the Minister-designate for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development who said that he was going to ensure that Members of Parliament took part in tender board meetings. I just want to say that we are looking forward to that because most of the time, we got letters when those meetings had already been held. I would be very, very happy if this is done.
Alhaji Sumani Abukari (NDC - Tamale North) 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think I will add my voice to those who have commended the Committee for the wonderful job they have done despite all the comments, some of them very negative, from the public, many of whom do not seem to appreciate that the Committee members are doing a national duty and all they have to do is vet the nominees and report to this House for final approval.

Mr. Speaker, having said this, I want to comment on one or two of the nominees. And my first comment is on Hajia Alima Mahama. Mr. Speaker, I have known Hajia Alima Mahama for a number of years. I have known that wherever she found herself, she had performed creditably, especially with her legal background. I know she is a very efficient woman and she delved into poverty alleviation in many other portfolios before this. So I think that she is bringing some new approaches to the alleviation of poverty in this country. I think that her choice by the President was very right and I wish her well.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to go on a bit more but I will take us back to the nominee for Defence, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, a perfect gentleman we all know in this House, a true Minister for Defence who keeps to himself and keeps the military running efficiently. And I would want to encourage him to continue with the good works he has done over the last four years.

However, like a Colleague said, I would like him to fish out the bad nuts in the military who are determined to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the Ghana Army out there in the Middle East and several other places. I discussed it once with our distinguished United Nations Secretary-General about the reputation of the Ghana Army wherever they have performed. We have a distinguished Army and we must congratulate them all the time for keeping the flag of Ghana high.

There are however a few bad nuts in the system who succumb to political pressure or who succumb to sectional pressure and use the military to harass, to maim and indeed to murder innocent civilians. The latest incident was in Tamale when we were treated to a revolutionary type of treatment resulting in the death of one very enterprising young man who

should have been made a more successful businessman by the Ministry for Private Sector Development. This man handed over himself to the police because he heard he was being sought for; he went to the police like the good citizen that he was, made a statement and then gave himself up to the police.

The military went to the police, took him from the police, which itself was illegal -- and I will come to that because I want the Ministerdesignate for the Interior to take note of that. The police had no right to hand him over to the military. The military went there, the next day his corpse was in the morgue in pieces. This man was battered to death. I am sure you all read in some of the newspapers the pathologist's report. I do not need to repeat that gruesome murder of an otherwise very healthy human being -- Alhaji Issah Mobila. Let us not forget that experience. Each and every one of us -- it can happen to anybody.
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo 1:10 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think this is quite a friendly point of order. The latest of the atrocities he is referring to by the military is not in Tamale but in Wa where a young man was shot and killed.
Mr. Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon. Member, kindly move on and wind up.
Alhaji Abukari 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will just continue and say that I want the respectable Minster for Defence to let the military take a hard look at this and bring to justice the perpetrators of that murder so that we can maintain the very impressive record of the Army.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to say a few words to my hon. Friend, the incoming Minister for the Interior, my very good Friend, Papa Owusu-Ankomah.
The incoming Minister for the Interior may have to take note of the delicate situation in Yendi. I notice that it is mentioned in the Report. It is a very delicate situation and, in fact, I think this advice will go to him as well as the incoming Northern Regional Minister, my junior Brother sitting there. It is a very delicate situation but I think it is a situation that can be resolved. I think both sides are now determined that this problem should be solved so that we can push it behind us and go on. So with the right approach by both of them, I know that the situation in Dagbon will be laid to rest within the tenure of office of both Ministers - the Interior and the Northern Region Ministers.
With that Mr. Speaker, I will say that the choices, most of them are wonderful choices. Some of them are people who have gone through the mill for four years. We know how well and creditably they have performed. We know that there are some incoming ones who are also really good and we are waiting for their names to be mentioned. I have looked through the crystal ball and I have seen the names but I will not mention them for now. They can keep their hearts beating; I will not tell them who they are.
Once more, Mr. Speaker, before I take my seat, I want to congratulate the former Northern Regional Minister (Mr. Ernest A. Debrah) who performed a very matured, brilliant service in the North and who is now the Minister-designate for Food and Agriculture. I hope that when he takes the portfolio he would not forget that he knows the problems of the North and tackle them accordingly.
Mr. Joe Kwashie Gidisu (NDC -- Central Tongu) 1:20 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to get associated with the motion on the floor.
Mr. Joe Kwashie Gidisu (NDC -- Central Tongu) 1:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, in doing so, I would be very brief. I congratulate hon. Courage Quashigah, the representative of the Volta Region, the only Cabinet Minister who has been able to maintain a Cabinet position, being shifted from one Cabinet Ministry to the other. He is one of the very few people who have distinguished themselves in that capacity. In doing so, I would equally want to correct a few misconceptions created by him at the Appointments Committee with regard to the Aveyime Rice Project.
The Quality Grain Project is one of the most outstanding rice projects in the country -- a prospective rice project in the country. It had been our anticipation that during his term of office as Minister for Food and Agriculture, much would be done to propel the project into higher gear than it has been within the last four years. And in handing over to the incoming Minister, the impression that had been created, referring to page 11 of the Report, is that the equipment at the factory were in good condition and were being regularly serviced by the agricultural engineers of the Ministry.
Mr. Speaker, this is most unfortunate. If one looks at the state of the machinery at the project site -- we have had occasion to organize Members of Parliament of the Volta caucus to visit the site and to expose the deteriorating nature of the equipment at that project site. Unfortunately, not much has been done in the four years, for reasons not explained to us. And in handing over to a new Minister, we thought a proper situation report would have been given to give the new Minister the impetus to lift the project from the present doldrums.

In doing so, Mr. Speaker, we would want to bring into focus the deteriorating state of equipment at the Aveyime Rice Project. At the appropriate time, we would make a Statement on the floor of this House to draw attention to the situation which is greatly affecting even the employment of the youth in the area and the running down of the rice project, which could easily go to reduce the importation of rice into the country.

Mr. Speaker, on this note, I would want to appeal to the incoming Minister for Food and Agriculture to passionately revisit the situation of disaggregating the various project units as maintained by the outgoing Minister for lease to people who are interested in the project. We feel that will not be the best way of going about revamping the project and we would want to assure him that we are ready to support the Government in its efforts to lift the project from its present state of neglect, so that our youth would get employment in the area.

Mr. Speaker, I would equally want to welcome the new Minister for Education and Sports and assure him that the outgoing Minister (Mr. Kwadwo Baah- Wiredu) was very practical in going about the activities within that Ministry. And it is our hope that coming from a Ministry which was virtually sedentary in terms of work -- not travelling out of the office most of the time -- the education sector is a different area altogether. And we are hoping that he would take a cue from the outgoing Minister's practical ways of going about the situation by visiting the educational institutions and seeing how best the problems could be identified and addressed.

We assure him of the support of those of us who would be with him in reshaping the education industry and sports as a

whole in the country. Mr. Speaker, I wish the hon. Member would be given approval by consensus.
Mr. James Klutse Avedzi (NDC -- Ketu North) 1:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the motion on the floor and thank the Appointments Committee for a good work done. I want to make a comment on one of the nominees -- that is my own regional Minister, hon. Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, the one who contested and lost to me. Just yesterday, there was a demonstration by the chiefs and people of Adaklu on the statement that he made during the vetting -- that the people who were against the siting of the capital of the new district at Kpetoe were in the minority. So there was a demonstration and there was even a petition. I want to remind him or caution him that after he has been appointed or approved, he should take steps to correct that error, so that he brings peace to the people of Adaklu and Kpetoe.
I also want to talk about what the hon. Member said about working with all the 22 Members of Parliament in the Region, which was not captured in this Report, but I believe it would be captured in the Hansard. What he said is something that is commendable and I hope that he is going to work with us -- all the Members of Parliament from the Region -- to bring development to the Region and to move the Region forward.
I also want to commend the hon. Minister for Energy-designate (Prof. Mike Oquaye) for identifying areas where he can enhance rural energy. We are from rural areas and we hope that he is going to work with us so that villages and communities in our areas can be connected to the national electricity grid or any other alternative source from where the people can enjoy electricity.
I wish to implore all Members of this august House to approve the Report of the Committee. Once again, I thank the Committee for an excellent work done.
Mr. Alfred Kwame Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion on the floor. My first observation is the number of allegations and petitions that were received by the Committee which they took into consideration in arriving at this Report.
Mr. Speaker, I noticed that the nominees, most of them if not all of them, denied the allegations that were levelled against them in the petitions.

Mr. Speaker, I looked particularly at pages 12 and 22, on Mr. Jake Obetsebi- Lamptey and hon. Joseph Aidoo, that they denied the allegations that were levelled against them.
Mr. Speaker, at page 12, item (b), it is stated 1:30 p.m.
“Assistance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in the building of a Temple along the Independence Avenue in exchange for scholarship for his daughter's education in the
USA …”
Mr. Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Order! Hon. Member, are you referring us to this Report?
Mr. Agbesi 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the nominee admitted that he did travel and that he did have some relationship with that church, and as a matter of fact, that his daughter

is in the university over there -- Mormon University.

Mr. Speaker, my point is that, even though the nominees have denied these allegations, the number of allegations that came up before the Committee tells me that a lot of things --
Mr. Kwamena Bartels 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The hon. Member is misleading the House.
Mr. Speaker, he referred to page 12 (b). Now Mr. Speaker, if you read 12(b), it says:
“Assistance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in the building of a Temple along the Independence Avenue in exchange for scholarship for his daughter's education in the
USA . . .”
That is what he denied. Now, for the hon. Member to say that there were all these denials but that he has heard and he also believes --
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member, at the committee made it clear that the appearance for the allocation of the land was done before the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government came to power. So it is not possible for him to have facilitated the transfer of the land in exchange for his daughter's education in the USA. Therefore, I think he must withdraw that part of his statement because it is misleading this House.
Mr. Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon. Member, what was the point you were making?
Mr. Agbesi 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe sincerely that the learned Colleague was not paying attention to what I was

saying and if he was listening, he did not understand what I was saying.

Mr. Speaker, my point is that the allegation was made against him; he denied it but he agreed before the Committee that his daughter was in the Mormons University; and this is exactly what I am saying.

Mr. Speaker, I am making this point to show that our Ministers, our people in authority are bound to have allegations levelled against them --
Dr. A. A. Osei 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, having schooled a bit in the United States, I am not aware of any school called Mormon University. So if he can correct it for us. There is nothing like Mormon University.
Mr. Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon. Member, kindly go on. Speak to the motion and kindly refer to the points and wind up.
Mr. Agbesi 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the nominee admitted that his daughter is in a school being run by the Mormon Church.
Mr. Speaker, what I would want to say is that, if you go to page 22, on the nominee for Western Region, over there, you will see allegations made against him on the issue of chieftaincy.
Mr. Speaker, if you put all these things together, my point is that our Ministers, our people in authority are bound to have allegations made against them.
Mr. K. T. hammond 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member made a very serious point and then when pressed to argue it to a logical conclusion I see him seeking solace in another page, that is page 22 or so, and now talking about the hon. Minister- designate for the Western Region. Mr. Speaker, he has not articulated the point
he was making. We need to know.
Mr. Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon. Member, I cannot see your point of order.
Mr. Agbesi 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the point I am making is on the issue of allegations of abuse of office, and I am linking what is said about hon. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey to what is said about the Minister-designate for the Western Region. This is exactly what I am doing.
I am saying that even though allegations are bound to be made against them, but when they become numerous, as we have captured in this Report, then it is my view that whilst approving or accepting this Report, the House should make it known to our nominees who are going to be our Ministers and going to be in authority that, the Ghanaian populace would want to see these things minimized, if not eliminated altogether.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to welcome into office, if this Report is accepted, the Minister for the Interior. He should take particular note of recent fire outbreaks in the country, particularly what is happening in my constituency, Ashaiman. Mr. Speaker, almost everyday there is a fire outbreak in the town. It is my hope that with the coming into office of our new Minister for the Interior these things would cease.
Mr. Speaker, my next issue is that the Ghana National Fire Service should be resourced enough. As at now, we do not have fire tenders at various places, including Ashaiman; and where we have, there are no hydrants located at places which can easily be reached. Mr. Speaker, I would want the Minister for the Interior, whilst welcoming him, to take note of this sentiment.
Mr. Speaker, one of my hon. Colleagues has spoken about the Aveyime Rice Project. That project is very vital to us. We are aware the Dawhenya Rice Project has broken down. And we would not want the fate of Aveyime Rice Project to be the same as the Dawhenya Rice Project.
Mr. Speaker, we know that because of that project good men have gone to prison for causing financial loss to the State.
Mr. Speaker, the point is that the machines are lying idle; they are being oiled everyday by the Ministry and this is money. State money is being used for this project. Mr. Speaker, the more the machines lie idle the more money is used on them. We would not want it said in future that financial loss is being caused again; we do not want that kind of situation.
Mr. Speaker, on this note I want to urge my hon. Colleagues to accept this Report.
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 1:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, let me start by admitting that it was really a herculean task for the members of the Committee. We did our best in the circumstances and presented this report, I believe, on time.
Mr. Speaker, I want to particularly commend the media. The media performed very well by ensuring that the hearings of the committee were actually public hearings. In that respect, Mr. Speaker, let me urge the media to continue to assist Parliament to make sure that we get to our constituents to understand the role and functions of Parliament and Members of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, we were guided in the performance of our duty by very skeletal legislations -- the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House, apart from the experience that we have gathered so
Majority Leader/Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (Mr. F. K. Owusu-Adjapong) 1:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe we all owe a duty to the Members of the Appointments Committee, if for
nothing at all to congratulate them for the great sacrifice they have made to enhance the business of this House.
I believe that the people of Ghana have got to recognise the major sacrifice they have made. We were supposed to have been on recess but they agreed to serve the country, starting early in the morning and closing very late. Even after they had finished a public hearing, they would sit for two, three hours to consider issues that were raised before them. I think we need to congratulate them once again and encourage them to continue to work very hard for the country.
I believe Ghanaians who had the opportunity of viewing and listening to the proceedings will begin to appreciate what we keep on saying everyday that the job of the parliamentarian is not only on the floor of the House but also at committee meetings. Therefore, when you come one day and see that there are a few Members here, the first thing is to enquire about where else they are working.
Mr. Speaker, a very high standard has been set by the Committee and by Parliament. They could have taken the cheaper way of saying that they had come with a resolution that these are continuing Members, but they themselves decided to make rules so that we improve on what had been done previously. It means that parliamentarians from 1993 to the present have always been anxious in improving what had been done in the past; and we should be given credit for doing all this so that this country can advance.

There is an issue that was raised and has been going on; and this is the issue of whether nominees can sit on the Committee. I believe, at the appropriate time this House, as maker of its own rules, will look at it. But why do we want to have different standards when it comes
Mr. Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon. Chairman of the Committee, would you kindly and briefly wind up.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. F. W. A. Blay) 1:50 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, almost everything has been said by hon. Members and the Leadership and I would also associate myself with the expression of gratitude to the media. I feel happy that hon. Members have commended us. Definitely, there is still room for improvement in our work. I would say that we will continue to rely on you.
With regard to the three names that have not yet been submitted for approval, definitely, sooner or later, this Committee will bring the Report for your consideration.
Once again, Mr. Speaker, I thank all hon. Members.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon. Members, in accordance, therefore, with article 78 (1) of the Constitution, this House has given approval to the appointments of the persons listed in this First Report. They are 34 in number - 1 to 34.
Hon. Majority Leader, any indication at this stage?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 1:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I will take the opportunity to remind hon. Members that tomorrow we shall commence the induction workshop or course. I am told that the course will take place at GIMPA, starting at 8.30 in the morning. I urge all hon. Members to be
punctual. The course is non-residential.
Again, on Thursday we will come back here to listen to the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President. But the Business Committee will meet at 9.00 a.m. as usual to deliberate on the business for the following week.
With this information, I move that this
House do now adjourn till 3rd February, 2005 at 10.00 o'clock in the morning.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 1:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.56 p.m. till 3rd February, 2005 at 10.00 a.m.