Debates of 18 May 2005

PRAYERS 10:20 a.m.




Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Members, the Votes and Proceedings of yesterday, 17th of May, 2005 - Correction of the Votes and Proceedings. Pages 1, 2…7 - [Pause.]
Correction of the Supplementary, Pages 8, 9…11 - [Pause.] No correction? Hon. Members, that would be a true reflection of the Proceedings of yesterday, that is, Tuesday, 17th May, 2005.
We also have the Official Report for Friday, 13th May, 2005. Any correction of the Official Report of 13th May 2005? [Pause.] No correction for that also. The Official Report for Tuesday, 17th May, 2005, is also ready, any correction? No correction for that also.
We now move on to the official business for today as stated on the Order Paper. There is a short Statement by hon. Lee Ocran of the Jomoro constituency. If you are ready, can you please read your Statement.
STATEMENTS 10:20 a.m.

Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC - Jomoro) 10:20 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make this statement to highlight the deplorable conditions at the
border town of Elubo.
Mr. Speaker, Elubo is a town in the Jomoro district of the Western Region. It is the “Western Gateway” to Ghana for those who use the Trans-ECOWAS Highway. With the huge increase in the traffic of goods from neighbouring countries, especially the Francophone Sahelian ones through Ghana because of the conflict in the Ivory Coast and the expansion and rehabilitation of the Takoradi Port to enable it take bigger vessels, cross-border activities will be further enhanced if neighbouring countries opt to use the Port for import and export. That will make Elubo more important as a “National Gateway”.
Mr. Speaker, the proportion of urban population for the Western Region rose from 24.7 per cent in 1960 to 26.9 per cent in 1970 before declining to 22.6 per cent in 1984. According to the 2000 Population and Housing Census, 36.3 per cent of the region's population now live in urban areas. The most phenomenal urban growth in the region has been in Elubo. Between 1970 and 1984 the town grew from a population of 1,327 to 1,984.
But during the following 16 years, between 1984 and 2000 the population grew to 10,428. The percentage growth over the period of 1970 to 1984 was only 50 per cent while that between 1984 and 2000 was a phenomenal 426 per cent. This fast-growing border town in the Jomoro district has rapidly become urbanized and a bustling commercial centre, with greater human and economic activity than even Half-Assini, the district capital. It is the fastest growing town in the Western Region.
As has been said, the phenomenal growth of Elubo and the corresponding satellite towns and villages is the result of the construction of the Trans-ECOWAS
Highway and the bridge across the Tano River, and the shifting of border activities from Jaway Wharf near Half-Assini to Elubo. But has the growth of Elubo been orderly and well-managed? Sadly not!
Elubo is an over-crowded urban centre with all its attendant implications. Any visitor to the town will not need to be told that it is an overcrowded, unsightly, insanitary urban settlement. If one takes into consideration the number of persons who pass through the town each day either to or from Cote d'Ivoire, or from neighbouring towns and villages to come and trade and go back in the evening, the daytime population of the town must be one of the highest in the entire region.
But the facilities to cope with this daily influx and efflux of people are virtually non-existent. Elubo therefore poses a major planning and management problem and constitutes a serious time-bomb just waiting to explode if nothing is done. And the situation is not helped in the least by a protracted chieftaincy dispute and ethnic differences.
Market and other Commercial Facilities
As a clear example of the poor planning and haphazard growth of Elubo as a border town and commercial centre, it appears as if no provisions were made for the type of social amenities that would cater for the rapid growth of trading in this town. Despite the very high volume of vehicular movement across the town, the town's lorry park is the same as when the town had a population of less than 1,500. The market is also the same. The main street of the town, which branches off from the main Abidjan road to the hotel on the banks of the Tano River, has been completely overtaken by traders, and from
6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., vehicles compete with pedestrians, traders and animals for the right of way. Indeed, the streets of Elubo probably need a decongestion exercise more urgently than some of our big cities.
Solid Waste Disposal
Elubo announces itself to a visitor to the town by the increasingly poor state of the so-called asphalt road and an increasing volume of plastic waste along the road and in the bush. One is greeted at the outskirts of the town by the most unsightly and unhygienic condition one can witness anywhere in Ghana. As one approaches the town from Mpataba junction to the right, there is a huge garbage dump surrounded by houses.
The most abundant waste disposed at this site is plastic bags containing solid and human waste. It does not appear as if the town has any sanitary authority responsible for garbage collection and treatment, and everybody disposes of garbage anyhow. Liquid waste is either dumped in the Tano River or onto the untarred drainless streets of the town.
Toilet Facilities
The availability of toilet facilities seems to be a major problem in the Western Region as about 40 per cent of dwellings in the region have either no toilet facility or use a public toilet, and Jomoro, including Elubo, is no exception. Indeed, in Ahanta West and Jomoro districts, over 40 per cent of households have absolutely no toilet facilities, and the beaches and outlying bushes normally serve for such purposes. This is a most disturbing situation indeed, especially considering that these are two districts with a great tourist potential.
Elubo, the gateway to Ghana from the western neighbours of Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone, has hardly any
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Members, there is a Statement on the floor. Are there any contributions?
Deputy Minister for the Interior (Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd)): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement?
Mr. Speaker, I have had the privilege of going to Elubo on two occasions, first, as Deputy Minister for Local Government on an official visit to the Jomoro district, and just about three weeks ago with my boss, the Minister for the Interior, when we visited the Elubo Border Post. Mr. Speaker, indeed, the scene that greets you when you enter Elubo is one of bewilderment. You see human beings competing with vehicles and bicycles and animals for the streets. The road which was built, the highway from Noi which is the Ivorian border town across the bridge as you enter Ghana, is narrowed by human activities, kiosks and makeshift shops on both sides; and Elubo indeed is a challenge to planning.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi 10:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is saying that this situation he is describing took
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
He said from the Statement that was read on the floor - that is what he said.
Mr. Agbesi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am saying that he is making a categorical statement that what has been described as a deplorable condition took place at a certain time, and I am saying that he has no evidence to prove that statement; if he has then he should be able to specifically tell this House that what he is describing actually took place at that time.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Yes, continue.
Mr. Joe Gidisu 10:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order that the period which the hon. Colleague referred to - He is trying to be politically dishonest because he himself was part of that Administration at one time or the other - [Uproar.]
Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd): So Mr. Speaker, the problem at Elubo is indeed a planning problem. When I first went there, the question that came to my mind was, what is the local authority there doing? What is the District Assembly doing about the problem? The local area council, what are they doing about the problem?
Mr. Speaker, there is only one major hotel in Elubo and the access road from the main road to the hotel is an eyesore. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, one tragedy that may occur anytime at Elubo, which we are perhaps not aware of, is that almost all over the country, wherever you see huge electricity pylons, buildings are not put under the pylons, but in Elubo that is not a rule at all; people have built everywhere and they are all makeshift structures. So Mr. Speaker, the problem, once again, is a local planning problem. The last time I had the opportunity to talk to the District
Chief Executive for Jomoro, hon. Martin Ackah, he lamented seriously that the revenue from Elubo is nothing to write home about.
Mr. Lee Ocran 10:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is saying that revenue from Elubo is nothing to write home about. Elubo, according to the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) provides ¢27 billion a month so he cannot say that revenue from Elubo is nothing to write home about.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Grace Coleman, are you on a point of order? [Uproar.] The floor is for hon. Grace Coleman. I wanted to find out from her whether she was on a point of order.
Some hon. Members - rose -
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Members, would you take your seats! The three of you are up; I have given her the floor.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is a serious breach of the rules of this House. Under the rules we have the right to bring to order any hon. Member who

is departing from the rules of this House.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minority Leader, I am in charge.
Mr. Adjaho 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know that you are in charge. Mr. Speaker, there is a point of order.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
I am saying that I have given her the floor. You have not even heard her and you are saying that there is a breach of the rules. Hon. Grace Coleman, are you on a point of order?
Mrs. Grace Coleman 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, revenue from the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) is not the kind of revenue we are talking about here. If hon. Ocran is talking about revenue to develop the area, he should not be referring to revenue from CEPS - [Interruption.]
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Grace Coleman, that is not a point of order.
Mrs. Coleman 10:40 a.m.
It is, sir - [Laughter.]
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
That is not a point of order.
Mrs. Coleman 10:40 a.m.
Sir, I am not challenging you; I am just - [Interrup- tion.]
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, hon. Effah-Dartey, continue.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Doe

Adjaho, are you raising a point of order against hon. Effah-Dartey? He has not even said anything.
Mr. Adjaho 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the rule of this House is that a Member who wants to speak must stand at his or her place and catch Mr. Speaker's eye. But Mr. Speaker, in this instance, the hon. Grace Coleman walked to and ordered the hon. Member for Berekum to sit down - [Laughter.]
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, hon. Effah-Dartey to continue.
Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, the issue about the development of Elubo is indeed a local problem. The people of Elubo, those who do the local trading there, those who have hotels and who have petrol filling stations, those who do businesses there, those who trade in the market must pay something to the local Assembly. And when they do that that money can be sourced back into the area for the building of public toilets and schools, and for expansion of market facilities.
Apart from that, Mr. Speaker, it is important and at least the maker of the Statement ought to have announced that since the coming into power of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration, at least, we have done some intervention in Elubo in the provision of public toilets for the people to improve upon their quality of life.
Mr. Speaker, having said this, I think it is also important to say that when my boss and I went to the police station on a visit and we saw that it was about 80 per cent complete, we did make a promise that we would do all that we could to ensure that the police station was completed and occupied.
Apart from that, Mr. Speaker, I think that we are trying to do all that we can to make life better for the people of the area.
With these few words I also want to associate myself with my good Friend, hon. Ocran's Statement.
Mr. A. K. Obbin (NPP - Prestea/ Huni Valley) 10:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity also to contribute to the Statement made by the hon. Member for Jomoro, who is also the Ranking Member for the Committee on Science and Environment.
Mr. Speaker, Elubo, as the maker of the Statement said, grew very rapidly when the western corridor to la Cote d'Ivoire was opened. Mr. Speaker, urbanization in Ghana has been very rapid resulting in population explosion with its attendant environmental problems. Urban towns in Ghana are confronted with the problems of slums, plastic waste and choked gutters, among others. Mr. Speaker, when you go to most urban towns in Ghana you would see that the old sites are well-planned, streets are well made, buildings are put at the right places; but you come to the new development areas and you see that houses are built indiscriminately.
The reasons, Mr. Speaker, are that in modern times indiscipline has crept into our society. People build houses without due regard to the laid-down regulations and rules. You come to most cities, for example Accra, and you see people building in lanes, on gutters, drains and many others without fear of authority. Landowners also allocate plots to people or sell plots to people at any place that they could find without due regard to whether the area is a street, a lane or a drain.
Mr. Speaker, this brings to light the Town and Country Planning Department in Ghana. The Town and Country Planning Department in Ghana, Mr. Speaker, is tasked with the statutory responsibility

[CAPT. EFFAH-DARTEY (RTD.)] for human settlement, planning and land use management and to ensure efficient development of cities, towns and villages in the country. Mr. Speaker, when you go to most of the District Assemblies, in fact, you would hardly see the office of the Town and Country Planning Department.

The department is under-resourced and lacks staff, adequate maps for plan- making, financial resource and many others. Mr. Speaker, I believe if we are to have a new settlement or a new development area, it is the duty of the Town and Country Planning Department to plan the area, make maps, get the streets ready and have all the utilities also come in and provide the various utilities before the actual settlement takes place.

But Mr. Speaker, we do not see this thing in Ghana. They start the new settlement without any street, without the proper planning, without the proper mapping for those areas and at the end of the period we see the new settlement becoming a slum with no streets, no utilities, no areas for disposal of waste, among others; and people have to dispose the waste anyhow. I believe the Town and Country Planning Department should be well-resourced. Government should also encourage them to live up to their statutory responsibility.

Let us come to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are also responsible for the environmental development of this country. They should concentrate not only on industrial pollution and environmental problems, as a result of industrial development, but also on the environmental development of our urban cities.

In the olden days we had the town council men, popularly known as “Tankass” or saman saman. In fact, they were doing their work very well. These days we do not see them; we are not getting enough men to do that. I think the

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must also concentrate on that and help us to get rid of the filth in our urban towns.

Mr. Speaker, I believe the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development should also step up their waste management and environmental development. If you go to most of these District Assemblies, you hardly see a Town and Country Planning office there; and if there is any, it is without any vehicle and adequate staff.

The hon . Min i s t e r fo r Loca l Government and Rural Development and for that matter the District Assembly must also try as much as possible to assist, by allocating part of their Common Fund to the Department of Town and Country Planning so that they will be able to do good work to beautify our urban centres.
Mr. E. T. Mensah (NDC - Ningo/ Prampram) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement on the floor. I wish to stress that the concerns raised by the hon. Member for Jomoro, Mr. Lee Ocran, is not peculiar to Elubo. As my hon. Colleague was just lamenting, the system of local governance is very important; it is something we have been talking about all along.
Mr. Speaker, if need be, we have to refer this to the appropriate committee to look at, because when the former hon. Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development was making his intervention, he indicated that when you go to Elubo, you would realize that people build under and around high tension lines. It is happening even in Accra, under the high tension lines - People have no respect for planning rules and regulations and quite often we tend to blame those who enforce these laws.
Mr. Andrew K. Mensah (NPP - Abura/Asebu/Kwamankese) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Statement on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, I am very particular about the effect that improper planning brings about and I share the views of hon. E. T. Mensah that the Assemblies must be well resourced to fight that canker. In fact, it is only when this improper planning, especially the buildings in particular
Mr. K. A. Okerchiri (NPP - Nkawkaw) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think I agree with hon. E. T. Mensah when he emphasized that the situation in Jomoro is not peculiar to Jomoro. If you come to Nkawkaw, you will certainly witness such a scenario; I suspect that if you go to many other settlements, you would meet the same.
Mr. Speaker, my worry is that if you make a law or a policy and you do not take into consideration the sociology of the people, that policy or law falls into destitude.
Mr. Speaker, the point I am trying to arrive at is this, in this country I believe that most of the District Assemblies are not proactive at all. Some of these problems that we are talking about, the planning
problem, Mr. Speaker, it does not call for someone from Mars to come and solve this problem. Some people in other developed communities have solved this problem, not so much with money.

Let me give you an example. There are sprawling communities in virtually every town. These sprawling communities do not even have what we call layouts. Here in Accra people want to build; those who own the land want their money. What the District Assemblies need to do - it would not take them so much - is to identify those places that are sprawling. Let them do the layouts. All that they need to do is to spend some ¢200 million or ¢100 million District Assemblies' money for a grader or a bulldozer to go and do the roads.

Anyone who is coming to buy this property, if he sees that there is a well laid- out road he will not go and build on this road. But when the land is fallow, they are deceived by these unscrupulous surveyors, sometimes these land-guards; and the innocent buyer, he wants somewhere to lay his head. Well, one can argue that let the buyer beware; he needs to go and check at the Lands Commission and find out whether the place is an appropriate place or not. But the sociology of the people is such that the man wants to build and he believes in what the surveyor tells him. So for me, I think that the District Assemblies should be very proactive.

What they need to do is that if there is a sprawling community, they go there, get the demarcation done, at least, send bulldozers or graders there and demarcate the roads; obviously anyone who goes and sees the roads demarcated or - what is the appropriate word to use - graded - If it is graded he obviously would not put any building on that. This simple thing
Mr. Dan K. Abodakpi (NDC - Keta) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement by hon. Lee Ocran and to say that I am very conversant with the situation at Elubo. A visit to Elubo by anybody tells a story of a town that is generating a looming disaster, unless something urgently is done about it.
Mr. Speaker, we need, as a country, to consciously do something about our entry/exit towns - the important exit/ entry towns. I do not believe that giving special treatment to these gateway towns or entry/exit towns should be something that we should be leaving to the District Assemblies because by the very nature of the influx and efflux situation that arises there, the capacity of District Assemblies tends to be overstretched.
Mr. Speaker, this problem of Elubo, as said on the floor, is not peculiar to this town. If you go to Hamile, you see a threatening situation emerging. Something invariably is happening as you try to make Paga the gateway to Burkina Faso. The Aflao situation was dealt with not by the Ketu District Assembly but by the National Government because of the huge numbers that are emerging. I do not think that, Mr. Speaker, it is right all the time to be seeing the District Assemblies as whipping horses.
Mr. Speaker, yes, it is true, we are giving the District Assembles 5 per cent of the total national revenue by way of the Common Fund, but the question that we should be asking is, what is the status of the decentralization of the process?
How decentralized is the decentralization arrangement? What are the capacities of the District Assemblies, the planning outfits, the environmental and health departments of the District Assemblies?
Until we are able to develop the full component of the capacities of the District Assemblies it will be too much to be expecting them to be the ones to be confronting these matters head-on. But especially in the case of the exit or the entry points, Elubo's dramatic population increase over the short period of ten years has virtually taken everybody by surprise; and given the fact that the increase has been so dramatic it will require some external assistance, given the limitations and capacities that the District Assemblies have.
It is in this respect that I think that this Statement must not be treated only as a local problem. Local problem, yes, to the extent that we would be drawing attention to the need to develop the capacities of all the District Assemblies in consonance with the decentralization programme. But because it is an important exit/entry point the Central Government must pay attention because the first impression any visitor from the western corridor gets about Ghana is what he sees in Elubo. The same applies to Aflao, the same applies to Hamile, the same applies to Paga or Kojokrom for that matter; and these are things that must be treated as national issues than leaving them to the District Assemblies.
It is recalled that in the year 2000, as the maker of the Statement rightly said, Central Government appointed a consultancy to come out with a proposal that would address the problem of Elubo. The question we should be asking is what has happened to that proposal from the
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Members, that brings us to the end of Statements. We have spent about an hour over that. We move on to Public Business.
MOTIONS 11 a.m.

Minister for ParliamentaryAffairs/ Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. Owusu- Adjapong) 11 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 Third Report of the Committee of Selection on the Composition of membership of committees may be moved today.
I beg to move.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Third Report of the Committee of Selection on the Composition of
Membership of Committees
Mr. F. K. Owusu-Adjapong 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, before I move the motion there are a few corrections I wanted done with your indulgence. At Appendix 1, page 1, the Ranking Member for the Committee on Privileges is hon. John K. Gyapong. And then page 16 of the same document, Subsidiary Legislation, the Deputy Ranking Member is hon. Kojo Armah and not hon. Owusu-Ansah Emmanuel. Then, on page 18, No. 21, the name should be hon. Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak. Then, at the Selection Committee area, page 13, the name at No. 16 should be Ernest Kofi Yakah.

1.0 Introduction

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Orders 151 and 152, the Committee of Selection was on Tuesday, 11th January 2005 appointed and mandated to consider the composition of Standing and Select Committees of the House.

1.1 Accordingly, the Committee

met on Tuesday, 11th January 2005 and discussed the composition of the Business and Appointments Committees based on the ratio of 59.1:40.9 as approved by the House.

1.2 Mr. Speaker, the Committee subsequently met on Tuesday, 1st February 2005 and composed the Select Committees and the remaining Standing Committees of the House as spelt out in Orders 151(2) and 152 of the House.

1.3 Following the appointment of some Chairmen as Ministers and Deputy Ministers and by our convention, the Committee met on Wednesday, 11th May 2005 and reviewed the membership of committees.
Mr. F. K. Owusu-Adjapong 11:10 a.m.
However, the Committee decided to expand its membership to twenty (20) instead of thirteen (13) in the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
1. 5 Mr. Speaker, in line with the
convention of the House the Majority and Minority Caucuses presented their proposed lists of membership for the Standing and Select Committees in accordance with the approved ratio, to the Committee of Selection and these were approved.

2.0 Conclusion

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, the Committee recommends the adoption of this report by the House.

Respectfully submitted.




MEMBER 11:10 a.m.

GOVERNMENT 11:10 a.m.




JUDICIARY 11:10 a.m.








PRIVILEGES 11:10 a.m.




CHAIRMAN 11:10 a.m.

MEMBER 11:10 a.m.


CHAIRMAN 11:10 a.m.

CHAIRPERSON 11:10 a.m.

MEMBER 11:10 a.m.

MEMBER 11:10 a.m.



BENJAMIN 11:10 a.m.

YAANI 11:10 a.m.

KWAKU 11:10 a.m.

KWAME OWUSU 11:10 a.m.

KWABENA ADUSA 11:10 a.m.

BENITO 11:10 a.m.

KWABENA 11:10 a.m.

EDWARD 11:10 a.m.

YAW 11:10 a.m.

KWAME 11:10 a.m.


AYARIGA 11:10 a.m.

ENTERPRISES 11:10 a.m.


EDUCATION 11:10 a.m.









Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho (NDC -- Avenor/Ave 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Mr. Speaker, I think that the time has come for us to put in place a Poverty Reduction Committee. I think that in the course of the year, we would come with the proper amendment to the Standing Orders so that we can move it from that of a special or ad hoc committee and make it a standing committee of this honourable House.
Mr. Speaker, my second observation is that our attention has just been drawn to a very fundamental omission on the part of the Committee of Selection, which is chaired by Mr. Speaker, with the Majority Leader as the spokesperson. I think there is an hon. Member of this House who is not a member of any of the Standing Committees. My attention has just been drawn to it and that is in conflict with article 103, clause 4 of the Constitution, which says that every Member of this House must belong to at least one Standing Committee.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
So hon. Member for Avenor, what are you really
Mr. Adjaho 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am supporting it, subject to the necessary corrections first thing tomorrow morning, so that we would fulfil the constitutional provision.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Of course, that is obviously improper. You can do that now.
Mr. Adjaho 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we cannot do it now because we do not know whether it is an omission. The Chief Whip who prepared the list would have to go back and make reference. We cannot do it now. Meanwhile, it is important to put these committees in place. Our attention has just been drawn to it; we have gone through the list and it is a very fundamental mistake.
But we do not know whether the name had been there and disappeared somewhere along the line. And as you know, in trying to readjust this, you have to be very careful, otherwise, we will mess up the whole list. That is what we are saying. We are supporting it, we are seconding it, and we would want the motion to be taken, subject to that small correction first thing tomorrow morning.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
I am still at sea with you, hon. Member for Avenor.
Mr. Adjaho 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I agree, in fact, with the hon. Majority Leader's suggestion that the mistake can be corrected administratively. We will therefore submit the name to the Clerk immediately the House adjourns and that problem will be cured. In fact, that is the - [Interruption.]
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
If that is the argument between the two of you then that is fair enough. You wanted an administrative correction of this motion so that the Table Office will make an insertion. With that, I might not have a problem with it. But definitely if you say you are supporting it subject to later on

making a change, then that will not be very appropriate. In any case, as it has been moved and seconded, it is for your consideration, hon. Members.

Question proposed.
Mr. S. Sallas-Mensah (NDC - Uppper West Akim) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the Committee of Selection has finally brought this Report to the House for approval.
Mr. Speaker, now that we are certain that each hon. Member belongs to either of the committees, the Standing and Selection Committees, it is up to the Leadership to, at least, provide committee rooms for our work to be done very smoothly.
Mr. Speaker, why am I saying this? I am saying this because since we started, some of us have been finding it very difficult for our committees to meet, especially the Public Accounts Committee. This is because the only committee room available now is the Speaker's Conference Room, and you can bear with me that for the whole of the last Meeting, it was occupied by the Appointments Committee and no Committee had the chance to meet there.
Now that we are back, the same problem is continuing yet the Public Accounts Committee has over ten reports laid before this House and up till now, we have not been able to take even one of them. So I would want to appeal to the Leadership of the House to really look into this matter and resolve it as early as possible.
Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori (NPP - Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the Committee for a good job done. But I would like to draw the Committee's attention to the chairmanship of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development.
Mr. Speaker, Local Government is
the cradle of governance in Ghana. It is the foundation on which the Central Government is built. The Committee therefore has onerous tasks to undertake.
Under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), Local Government falls under “Good Governance”, which is the fifth thematic area of the programme. Therefore, if you are talking about decentralization, then you are talking about Local Government. So the Committee has a duty even to monitor the activities of all District Assemblies throughout the country. It owes a duty even to monitor the District Assemblies Common Fund Secretariat. It owes a duty to monitor even the Local Government Service Council recently set up.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague seems to be making a statement which may be dangerous when it comes to our relationship with our disabled friends, and I would wish that they do not encourage this statement. Any Member of Parliament here has been elected by his people believing that he can perform all duties required of him or her on this floor. I will therefore plead that we try not to encourage further discussion on the disability, if any, of the Chairman of the Committee.
Mr. D. K. Abodakpi 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wanted to draw my Leader's attention to the fact that the new phraseology is not
“disability” but “physically challenged”.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
I am grateful for that, but whatever it is I think it would not be right for us to encourage discussion which would send signals that we are beginning to categorise hon. Members of Parliament. That is why I am pleading that our hon Colleague be called to order.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Appiah-Ofori, my attention has been drawn to that; do not really say anything on this floor to discriminate against the physically challenged.
Mr. Appiah-Ofori 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not saying so because he is physically challenged; I am not saying that. What I am saying here is that the work of that Local Government Committee is onerous and in my opinion if somebody with much, much experience in that area is made the chairman, it would be in the interest of Ghana and Parliament; this is all that I am saying. I am not saying that somebody is physically challenged; if what I said is bad, I withdraw it.
Mr. D. K. Abodakpi (NDC -- Keta) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to make a few comments. Looking at the Report, something just struck me; something that as a House we have not adverted our minds to before. Since globalisation became a reality, multilateral issues have gained such momentum and in fact are driving decisions all over the world. In some jurisdictions, Parliaments have committees for multilateral issues. I want to use this opportunity to draw the House's attention, especially the Leadership, that perhaps we should think about this and see whether we should not give the multilateral issues the right of place in our scheme of things.
For example, when our hon. Colleague to the IPA Meeting the last time was reporting on the floor, you could see

that he was hanging because we do not have a committee that is looking at these matters on a very consistent basis. Our economic relations, trade relations are all being driven by the multilateral agenda. So to enable this Parliament to develop the capacities to be able to understand the issues that are emerging, and which issues are driving the destinies of the nation, perhaps, we should consider the possibility of having a committee for this important issue that is currently driving the world agenda.
Mr. John A. Tia (NDC -- Talensi) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in line with the suggestion by the hon. Abodakpi, I just want to draw the House's attention to a document that this House had prepared over some time - the Standing Orders.
In fact, the practice has been that before a new Parliament is sworn in, the Standing Orders are reviewed and they are applied when the new Parliament is sworn in. I remember I was part of a committee that deliberated on the Standing Orders at Elmina and Akosombo. There is a draft of this one and I think that we should give meaning to it. We should speed up and bring it to the floor of the House because in that draft we have proposed several other committees to take care of issues like what hon. Abodakpi has said.
My other concern is that , the membership of committees at certain places is 20. These were fixed as against the numerical strength of the House, 200 at the time. Now we are 230 and we are still holding on to those old numbers, and it is creating a problem such as the one where a member is allegedly not on a Standing Committee, against the rules of the House.
It is because of the limitation, I believe, that we could not get every Member on to a committee - because of the expansion of the number in the House as against the restriction of the old number that we had. So if we take up that issue within this Meeting and resolve matters we would be helping this House a great deal. So I
Mr. K. A. Okerchiri (NPP -- Nkawkaw) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to associate with the proposition by hon. Daniel Abodakpi, about setting up a committee on multilateralism.
Mr. Speaker, it can come in the nature of an ad hoc committee, just like the Committee on Population. I think it is very important now. As he has enumerated, matters about WTO, the World Bank, multilateralism and how it is really driving the world's relation - I would want to associate with it.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to wind up by thanking hon. Colleagues and to say that as regards the suggestion made by hon. Daniel Abodakpi, I believe Leadership would take this seriously. But we would need the co-operation of at least some specified committees, because it may end up making some jobs which should have been theirs but which are not being looked at seriously by them - trade, finance, foreign, constitutional and legal affairs, et cetera. I believe we may need to do it so that for WTO and things like that we would see how we can carve them out. We would be doing the appropriate consultations with the leadership of this committee so that we carve something out for the consideration of the House.
As regards the Standing Orders, yes, I have advised the current Speaker on the need for him to go through the documents that have been put together and the comments that were once made by CDD, et cetera. I have also asked the Director of Research to do some further work on that. I take the advice that there is the need for us to speed up on such matters so that at a point we must be able even to maintain uniform membership. Why do we have 18 members on some Select Committees and others have 20, and things like that?
We may need to revisit this. So it is a good advice and happily coming from one of the powerful personalities in this House, the Chief Whip, I believe that it is something that we would not find difficult in getting support for when we bring it back.
Once again, I thank all hon. Members for their co-operation.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we thought we could finish the Ghana Education Trust (GET) Fund Report and get it presented, but there are some few details which need to be worked out, especially in line with some of the recommendations we made to the Committee. So it has not been possible for us to make the Report available; we have reprogrammed it.
There are, at least, two important committees that have been listed here - the Trade Committee which is supposed to meet the Ministry - and we all know what is happening at the trade front now and the Appointments Committee which is also supposed to meet. Therefore, it is appropriate now for us to adjourn to at least let these committees do their work. I therefore beg to move that this House do now adjourn till tomorrow 10.00 o'clock in the morning. Mr. Speaker, I so move.
Mr. Doe Adjaho 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion hoping that when the Trade Committee meets, they would try and increase the tariff on rice and poultry. [Laughter.]
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:30 a.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 11.31 a.m. till 19th May, 2005 at 10.00 a.m.