Debates of 26 Jul 2005

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Order! Order! Hon. Members, the programme for today and tomorrow will be as follows: We shall have the Meeting in between 10.00 and have a break at 1.30 and resume at 2.30.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Item (2) on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 22nd July, 2005, Page 1. . . 2. . . 3 …15. We have the Official Report of Wednesday, 20th July 2005. If there are any omissions or corrections, kindly bring them to the attention of the Clerk's Table.

AND SPORTS 10:05 a.m.

Minister for Education and Sports (Mr. Yaw osafo-Maafo) 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Education Service
(GES) is currently undertaking over 500 projects countrywide at various stages of completion. It is the policy of the Service to complete a considerable number of them before new projects are started.
The provision of a girls' hostel for Mpohor Secondary School would be considered when new projects are being considered for inclusion in the Service's budget.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Question No. 82?
Mr. A. E. Amoah 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
would crave your indulgence to ask the Question on the hon. Member's behalf.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Leave is granted.
Aburaman Secondary School (Upgrading)
Mr. A. E. Amoah (on behalf of Mr.
A. K. Mensah) asked the Minister for Education and Sports when the Aburaman Secondary School would be upgraded with improved facilities.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is the policy of Government to upgrade at least one senior secondary school in each of the old 110 districts to a model status. The programme is however being implemented in four distinct phases. Under the Phase I, 31 senior secondary schools are currently being upgraded. Selection of consultants for supervision for the Phase II involving 25 schools is in progress and works on them will take off in the third quarter of the year.
Selection of schools for the 3rd and 4th phases of the programme will be done when funding is secured and the 1st phase of the upgrading has been completed. The 1st phase is likely to be completed by the end of January 2006.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to ask the hon. Minister whether the Aburaman Secondary School is under any of these phases.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
Aburaman Secondary School is not part of the 110, to the best of my knowledge. There is one per district and many districts have more than one secondary school, some as many as seven.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister indicated in the second paragraph of his Answer that the selection for the 3rd and 4th phases of the programme would be done when funding is secured. The statement is a bit open ended. Does the hon. Minister have any idea about when?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the first 31 are being funded through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund); the second 25 are being funded through the African Development Bank (ADB). We are seeking funding from Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the World Bank for the next phase, but our surety is that the GETFund is always available to push it. So one would say that when the first is completed, the chances are that funding can be arranged in a composite form to support it.
Mr. c. S. Hodogbey 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the Answer to the Question, the hon. Minister said thirty-one senior secondary schools are currently being upgraded. When specifically did the upgrading start?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
the selection of the one hundred and ten districts were done on the 15th of December 2002. Upgrading of them started in May 2003 after we had gone through the procurement processes. We
expect the first fifteen of these to be completed by December this year, but as I said, by January most of it should be completed.
Mr. S. K. B. Manu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I would like to know from the hon. Minister if he would consider Mankranso Secondary School, which is the only secondary school in the Ahafo Ano South District and happens to be the constituency of the Chairman of the Committee on Education, in the third phase of schools to be chosen when funding is secured.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ahafo
Ano South, I thought you would do the proper thing by asking your own question in the proper way.
Mr. Manu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for
the guidance. Will the Minister consider including Mankranso Secondary School in the third phase of schools to be selected?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, being
the only secondary school in the district, since we are choosing one per district, it is certainly among the one hundred and ten because it is the only one available there. In the third phase, there is a committee working on it and since he is a very powerful member of the Committee on Education the chances are that Mankranso is likely to be in the third phase.
Mr. Manu 10:15 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker,
and thank you, hon. Minister.
Mr. I. Z. Alidu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would
want to know from the Minister whether the third phase that is coming on includes the new districts that have been created.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
trends are that, yes. As I said, the original selection was based on the old one hundred and ten districts but if the basic philosophy is to get a model secondary school in each
district, we have to consider finally the one hundred and thirty-eight districts as defined by law. So that will definitely come but that will be in the fifth phase because the first four phases would be the one hundred and ten. If we want to bring on board the remaining twenty-eight, then that would be something that would come at the fifth phase.
Akontombra Senior Secondary School
Q. 100. Mr. Herod cobbina asked the Minister for Education and Sports what infrastructural plans the Ministry had for Akontombra Senior Secondary School to bring the school to urban senior secondary school level.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Education Service (GES) is currently undertaking, as I have said on several occasions, over 500 projects countrywide at various stages of completion. It is the policy of the Service to complete a considerable number of them before new projects are started.
The provision of facilities to enhance teaching and learning in Akontombra Senior Secondary School would be considered when new projects are being listed for inclusion in the Service's budget.
Mr. cobbina 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister for Education and Sports whether he can look outside his present approach to the school development programme of one best secondary school in each district to constituency level since Akontombra Secondary School is the fourth secondary in Sefwi Wiawso District and going by this rule, it will take over ten years before the school is captured. The situation now at the school is very, very serious that if no immediate attention is

given to it the area would be deprived of their educational rights.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Hon. Member, what is
your question?
Mr. cobbina 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
question is, can the Minister for Education and Sports not look outside the present approach to the school development programme where one senior secondary school is chosen from one district to a level where a constituency can be considered?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
idea of having a model secondary school per district does not preclude work on other secondary schools; this is a very important point. We must be working and upgrading secondary schools as part of our normal work on improving infrastructure of education. The one hundred and ten are specially selected to have certain basic minimum facilities which we define as model but there would be a lot of other works going on in other secondary schools and we would not wait until a school becomes model, no.
Where some schools are in dire need of repairs and they are not selected, we would certainly move in to repair them. So the normal infrastructural development in the education system will continue. Of course, funding would be the normal constraints in these things but it is part of an ongoing system.
Mr. S. M. E. K. Ackah 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I want to find out from the Minister what plans the Ministry has in the selection of the schools to be upgraded. Since for now, those selected seem to be the very endowed schools to the detriment of the less-endowed in the villages, what plans has he got in the future selection of these schools?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
would like to know from the Minister why some of the projects under the GETFund are moving at a very slow pace.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Okere, this does not arise out of the main Question. You may come properly.
Mr. G. K. Arthur 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it
seems until the five hundred projects are completed, no new project can start but we do not know when it is going to be completed. I want to ask the Minister when the Ministry is supposed to complete the five hundred projects so that new projects can be started.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
never said that “not until”. I said “to complete a considerable number of them”. Therefore, we are not waiting till the completion of the five hundred, we are waiting until in our judgment and view a considerable number of them have been completed; so it is a continuous process.
Mr. Joe Gidisu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to find out from the Minister, what are the sources of funding these projects?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I did answer this question earlier but for the avoidance of doubt, I will repeat. I said that the first phase of 31 is being funded through the GETFund. The second phase of 25 was funded through the African Development Bank (ADB). In the third phase, we are putting together forces of funding and we have not yet concluded it. So the first phase is funded by GETFund, the second phase is by ADB but the third is yet to be concluded.
Teachers in Mpohor Wassa East District (Accommodation)
Q. 119. Mr. A. E. Amoah asked the
Minister for Education and Sports if the Ministry had plans to provide teachers with accommodation for schools in some selected communities especially for schools which have been provided under the GETFund project.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Mpohor Wassa East, could you be kind to ask the question which is on the Order Paper? Your question which is on the Order Paper relates to Mpohor Wassa East District, yes.
Mr. Yaw osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
under Local Government Act, 462, Section 19 (3) (d), District Assemblies are responsible for initiating programmes for the development of basic infrastructure and provide municipal works and services in the districts. Specifically, Local Government (Establishment) 1995, paragraph 3 (2) 41 requires the District Assemblies to build, equip and maintain public school facilities.
Provision of teachers' accommodation in the districts is therefore the direct responsibility of the District Assemblies. However, in co l labora t ion wi th development partners, the Ministry of Education and Sports assists in the provision of basic school facilities including teachers' accommodation when funds become available.
For instance, under the Basic Education Sector Improvement Programme (BESIP) Credit No. 288H GH (Infrastructural Development) of the World Bank which was implemented from 1999 to 2003, teachers' accommodation facilities were constructed in some selected deprived districts including the Mpohor Wassa East District. Under the project, 10 communities benefited from a 4-Unit Teacher Accommodation Block each. The beneficiary communities were:
Ampeasem Anglican Primary
Prato No. 1 D/C Primary
Nsakweso D/C Primary
Ekutuase D/C Primary
Dwenase Catholic Primary
Krofokrom D/C Primary
Adansi D/C Primary
Ebukrom D/C Primary
S/Aboaboso D/C Primary
Akyem Pim D/C Primary With so many deprived communities
under consideration for similar facilities, the Ministry of Education and Sports has no immediate plans to provide the Mpohor
Wassa East District with more teachers' accommodation facilities until other deprived areas who have not benefited from the provision of any facility have also been provided with some teachers' accommodation.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will however not deny the district a fair share of teachers' accommodation when it is able to secure enough funding for such a purpose.
Mr. A. E. Amoah 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to know from the hon. Minister whether he would consider adding teachers' quarters to the construction of classroom blocks under the GETFund project. The reason is that under the project, there have been some communities that have been provided with very nice classroom blocks in my constituency but they do not have accommodation, and because they do not have accommodation, the buildings are there.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
most of the GETFund projects, what we called BS16 classroom blocks did not have teachers' accommodation as part of the original design. I would however, concede that in designing these schools, there are certain basic factors which should be considered as part and parcel of the schools and one is teachers' accommodation. Therefore, future designs should incorporate teachers' accommodation.
Also, most of these schools even in areas where there is electricity, they have no electrical wiring which is going to make it very difficult for us to extend Information and Technology Communication (ICT) education to these schools. Therefore, in future, in putting up these schools, the design of the schools would include wiring of all such schools as the basic so that the school would be indeed complete.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in
the hon. Minister's answer, he indicated that many of the schools have not been wired so in future, he would see to it that that is done. Will the hon. Minister consider making some provision for the wiring of the schools which have not as yet been wired?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
indeed, we consider this a major exercise that the Ministry should undertake. All schools which have not been wired would have to be wired now and therefore a major construction works would have to start in all major basic schools because if we are not able to wire them then our idea of introducing ICT in junior secondary schools (JSS) would not work. Therefore, it is going to be something that we should be able to start sometime next year. We did not take it into consideration in this year's budget, but having unearthed the problem, we must do it as a matter of course.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
some of us have been doing it at our level from the District Assemblies Common Fund and it is difficult. Will the hon. Minister consider or recommend that some allocations are made specifically to Members of Parliament to pursue such projects instead of waiting for the Ministry at its own level to deal with the issue?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, each one of us, as Members of Parliament, has two possible sources of his/her own funds -- We have part of the District Assemblies Common Fund Member of Parliament (MP) component. We also have agreed through the district office of education to provide part of the GETFund for the Member of Parliament to use. If any Member of Parliament feels that a particular school is of urgency, I would surely advise that he uses one of these possible funding to do it. It would enhance education in our respective constituencies.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
The last bite.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it
is about the paucity of the allocation. I say so because when one talks about wiring of schools, sometimes the schools are far away from the main town where the poles are, so one is compelled to buy electric poles. Currently, I have been involved in that and I have to buy the electric poles, meanwhile funds are not available. So I am asking that if the hon. Minister would consider seeing the GETFund Administrators so that they make specific and reasonable allocations for this purpose.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
as I said earlier on in an answer to a question, the Local Government Act makes the districts primarily responsible for the provision of infrastructure to basic schools, and therefore, we as members of the various District Assemblies should make sure that the district takes this as a matter of priority and provide them. So if the hon. Member's is not enough, he should ask the district to put greater part of its Common Fund into it because I consider it to be an important part of infrastructure provision. Therefore, we should put pressure on the district to take wiring as a very important thing.
Salaries of Teachers Recruited in 2003/2004 Academic Year
Q. 234. Mr. Yaw Effah-Baafi asked the Minister for Education and Sports what steps the Ministry is taking to ensure that the salaries of teachers recruited in 2003/2004 academic year are paid in full without further delay.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, all
teachers (graduate and pupil teachers) who were recruited within the year in 2003/2004 and had submitted inputs,
Mr. Effah-Baafi 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to find out from the hon. Minister when the last tranche of the arrears was released for payment to the affected teachers.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Member, would
you be kind to repeat your question.
Mr. Effah-Baafi 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
wanted to find out from the hon. Minister when the last tranche of arrears was released for payment to the affected teachers.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, to the
best of my knowledge, to date, graduate and diploma teachers numbering eight hundred and fifty have all been paid by end of May. Pupils teachers, three thousand had all been paid by end of May, those who were affected in Techiman were about seventy and they would be paid end of July. The number of newly- trained teachers who have also been upgraded and paid with their back pay amounted to four thousand, six hundred and thirteen were all paid by the end of May. Therefore we have no arrears further except Techiman which would be done at the end of July.
Mr. Effah-Baafi 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I further
want to find out from the hon. Minister what factors accounted for the delay in the payment of the arrears aside of delayed submission of inputs.
Mr. Simons Addai 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
hon. Minister has just indicated that with the exception of Techiman district all other salaries were paid. I would like to know what factors led to the delay of inputs from Techiman district and the steps being taken to avoid future occurrences.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what
was contained in my Answer, I said that except Techiman district where we did not received the inputs on the teachers, all others have been paid. If we do not receive the names and certain information from the district directorate, it is not possible to feed that information onto the payroll. Therefore, it was the delay in sending to us the inputs on the teachers that caused the delay. But they have sent them and by the end of July, it should be all right.
Mr. S. A. Kwao 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, may I know from the hon. Minister what action was taken against those who delayed the sending of the inputs in the Techiman district.
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am
not aware of any action taken against them but that there would be pressure on them from the teachers that everybody else received his or her salary except those who delayed the input. But certainly, the Director-General would not take kindly to it.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
hon. Minister indicated correctly that the delay has been a perennial problem and Ministers after Ministers over the years have given us promises that they were doing something about it. Does he have any timeframe in mind when this issue would be finally dealt with?
Mr. osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we
carry out a major Integrated Personnel Payroll Department II (IPPD II) under the Public Financial Management Reform Programme (PUFMARP) and under the PUFMARP, Ministries of Education and Sports and Health are to decentralize completely their payroll system. I strongly believe that by end of this year the IPPD II, which captures education and health, would have been completed. We had some delay on the implementation of the PUFMARP and that was the cause but it is something that is going on and we are working very fast at them.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Minister for
Education and Sports, thank you very much for appearing to respond to these questions. You are hereby discharged.
Hon. Members, item 4, Statements.
Hon. Members, we have two Statements,
one by hon. Member for Hohoe South (Mr. J. Z. Amenowode).
STATEMENTS 10:35 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, I will identify some of these shadows 10:45 a.m.
Some two years back, there was a newspaper war between some highly- placed Gas and Asantes on the question of ethnic supremacy. Over the past few years, there have been complaints from the Gas principally and some other ethnic areas of the tendency to send important dignitaries to Kumasi to meet the Asantehene to the neglect of the other Chiefs including the President of the National House of Chiefs.
Mr. Speaker, about two years ago, there was intense debate over ethnic inferences
in the Asantehene/World Bank Loan/Grant Saga. The debate was so intense that one contributor to a newspaper identifying himself as “the sword bearer of the Asantehene” stated among other things that the Ashantis were not benefiting from the Union called Ghana and would gladly opt out of it.
The naming of state facilities such as stadia, an otherwise routine thing has become the subject of ethnic disagreement and debate. Some few months ago, there was a report in a national newspaper to the effect that Gas were not in favour of a Fanti Archbishop for Accra.
In April, Ga-Adangmes took to the street in protest at their continuous marginalization and the annexation of their lands by Government.
Football which is the passion of the nation is not spared either in this ethnic sentimentality. An official of Accra Hearts of Oak allegedly said the team would not recruit Ashanti players in the future and an Asante Kotoko official was alleged to have warned Ewe Referees from officiating a Kotoko/Hearts match.

In our higher institutions, ethnic- based associations such as Volta Students Association, Nzema Students Union, Akuapem Students Union and Asante Students Union, has taken over from the school-based Old Students Associations that used to exist on the campuses.

These are serious developments and I am calling on Government and Parliament to take immediate steps to improve ethnic relations in Ghana. On my part, I would suggest the following steps to be taken as

the beginning of cementing the building blocks of national unity:

1. Government must lay emphasis on mul t i -e thn ic s tud ies / activities in our schools and communities. The United States of America has had an experience of attempting to integrate the various cultures and so we could use them as our model of national integration.

2. Textbooks that sow the seeds of ethnic bias or accentuate military prowess of one group over the other must be de- emphasised or withdrawn from the system.

3. Region and tribe must be removed from all application fo rms in Ghana and no employment or recruitment must be ethnic-based.

Mr. Speaker, I would want to end my Statement with a quote from K. B. Asante in an article, “Tribalism in Strange Places” published in the Daily Graphic of 4th April 2005; and Mr. Speaker, with your permission I quote:

“Petty tribalism would destroy many institutions and eventually destroy the fabric of society itself.”

The examples are many: Rwanda, la Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria are there for us to learn from.

Mr. Speaker, I do not make this Statement with any motive political or ethnic. I am just asking Parliament to take a critical look at this and let us look forward as a nation.

Mr. Speaker, I would want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to make this Statement.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
The other Statement is by the hon. Member of Parliament for Asuogyamam. It is also on the same matter.
Ethnicity and National Integration
Mr. Kofi osei-Ameyaw (NPP - Asuogyaman) 10:45 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for admitting this Statement pursuant to Order 72 of the Standing Orders of this honourable House.
Mr. Speaker, as a young boy growing up, I came face-to-face with a sweet incident that would forever stick in my memory. A pastor had come to town to bless the marriage of a man and a woman from two distinct ethnic groups; one from the south and the other from the north. The sermon that followed the brief ceremony brought out emotion and nationalism in the celebrants. He said,
“I am happy to be presiding over this holy matrimony. I have been blessed to put together what men would struggle to separate. I thank God for this day.”
Mr. Speaker, just last week, I got glued to a spectacle that I normally would take for granted. In my constituency, Asuogyaman, children as young as five years are capable of switching tongues at will. On a typical day, around the Atimpoku roundabout, a young food vendor would reply you in any language you speak with a gleeful smile. That beauty of linguistic plurality and sense of oneness among these hawkers could make Ghana, our dear nation, a better place.
Mr. Speaker, the nation called Ghana is made up of numerous ethnic groups who had no say in what brought them together. Some had their relations cut off while others had to coexist with their bitter
Mr. Kofi osei-Ameyaw (NPP - Asuogyaman) 10:55 a.m.
neighbours during the partitioning. The balkanization of Africa and its attendant problems is history and we should focus on what unites us and ignore what divides us.
Mr. Speaker, we are normally blinded by prejudice born out of some unfounded fear and contempt. Prejudice corrupts the honest, and it can drive the most sensible person to commit unimaginable evil to his fellow man. But the fact that one does not share the same features, language or culture with someone does not make one superior or inferior. It may be a fact that the person looks different but he or she is human and “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the Creator.
Mr. Speaker, the negative exploitation of ethnicity or its rather unfashionable derivative, tribalism has wreaked havoc on the African continent. I dare say that it has cast a shadow of fear, mistrust, poverty, ignorance and superstition on majority of our people. Many countries have suffered this misfortune on the African continent but let me chip in a few points of reference lest we forget this spectre at our own peril.
More than 200,000 people have died in ethnic clashes.
The Sudan, the theatre of Africa's longest civil war has failed to bridge its ethnic and racial divide recording more horrors and deaths in the process. More than 180,000 people have died in the Darfur Region alone. The number of people forced into eternity in clashes between the Government and the SPLA runs into millions.
Mr. Speaker, in Rwanda, the notorious privately run Radio Tele Libre Mille Collines (RTLM) served as a vehicle for virulent anti-Tutsi propaganda. Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred in 100 days. It is unthinkable and no doubt the worst form of genocide
in recent human history after the”Jewish Hell” in Hitler's Germany.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has become a beggar when it has everything that makes a nation a donor. This paradox was constructed by wars and political instability brewed in negative exploitation of ethnicity.

Mr. Speaker, our dearest neighbour, Nigeria has had its share of ethnic clashes and death. In 1962, a typical Nigerian census fuelled ethnic clashes that left several people lifeless. Again, in 1967 a bitter civil war with ethnic underpinning engulfed that nation, resulting in its worst nightmare.

The hitherto peaceful la Cote d'Ivoire broke into two as a result of this curse. The exclusion of a popular politician who some wanted to be seen as foreigner laid the foundation for that country's implosion. Reports of ethnic violence- related deaths run through the news wires and on television everyday, making la Cote d'Ivoire, an otherwise African success story, a non-fiction dracula tale.

Ghana has had its share of ethnic- inspired senseless wars and clashes.

Mr. Speaker, Ghanaians are blessed to have had Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as our first leader. He did not bother about what people thought he was. He only wanted to be seen as “an African domiciled in Ghana”. He erased ethnicity to the root and championed national unity, cohesion and development; any form of disunity was a recipe for national disaster.

Successive leaders including President J. A. Kufuor have equally blazed the trail. From the Avoidance of Discrimination Act, 1958 through various national policies to the 1992 Constitution, Ghana has tried to avoid a large scale war and
Alhaji M. M. Mubarak (NDc - Asawase) 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think this Statement has to be taken very seriously by all well-meaning Ghanaians. What we are saying is very, very true. It has to be implemented by almost all of us. How many of us sincerely, let us just ask ourselves, would want to consider someone without finding out whether he belongs to one's tribe or religion or region? Many times almost every one of us sitting here would find himself guilty of one thing
Alhaji M. M. Mubarak (NDc - Asawase) 11:05 a.m.
or the other because we deliberately or sometimes unconsciously try to find the background of whoever we meet on the streets.
Some of us have a multicultural background. I was born in Kumasi, bred in Kumasi; I speak Twi better than my mother tongue. I am a Dagomba by tribe. In Tamale Secondary School sometimes I got shocked that my colleague Dagombas would say, “Oh, this is a Kumasi boy”. At the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), a course mate would tell me “go to a university in your hometown”. These are the realities and there is no way we can run away from this unless we all stop immediately asking people the first time we meet them, “Oh what tribe are you? Which religion do you belong to?” These are the beginning of most of the things that we are talking of.
We would have to be able to fight together to create a voice for the voiceless as Ghanaians, create opportunity for our people, and create security for all Ghanaians regardless of colour, religion, tribe or party. It is only when we do this that this country would move forward.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for allowing me to contribute to this Statement.
Deputy Minister for Tourism and Modernisation of the capital city (Mr. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng): Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to this Statement by my hon. Colleague from Asuogyaman. It is a very powerful and important Statement for us to take account of.
Mr. Speaker, division in this country would not take us anywhere. Mr. Speaker,
we have a country that we can all be proud of and we need to maintain that unity amongst us. We may be having political differences and opinions but this country belongs to all of us, and as much as we can, we must strive to avoid ethnicity, and division that do not augur well for all of us.
Mr. Speaker, I myself was born a Fante by mother and an Ashanti by father. I have lived in almost every part of this country. I had a step-father who was a police officer and was transferred to almost every part of this country and I learnt different cultures, different tribal leanings; and there are beautiful things that we can learn from each one of us.
Diversity must bring us together so that we can learn from each other rather than letting it divide us. The beauty of it is that we all learn and progress together and we pick the goodness of one another's tribe and make it advantageous and beneficial to all of us.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is nice for us to talk about this, not necessarily to sweep under the carpet the strong division that sometimes rears its head when it comes to political activities. On both sides of the House, I will urge that we try and sink that kind of urge which comes up sometimes to win votes. But after winning the votes, we need to go back to the same people and work with them.

So as my hon. Colleagues have contributed, I do not want to dwell too much on it but to lend my support to the fact that we should all stand together and fight divisionism and ethnicity that do not augur well for all of us. On this note, I lend my support to that Statement.
Prof. A. Wayo Seini (NDc -- Tamale central) 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the two Statements on the floor. Mr.
Speaker, I think both Statements have been very well written; they are excellent and have touched on a very important issue, that is ethnicity. Mr. Speaker, even in the Quran, it is stated that, “We made you into different tribes and colours, so that you can identify each other”.
Identifying each other means that we are people from different tribes, but it does not mean that we cannot live together under one roof. Mr. Speaker, in his book, “Africa and the Nation State”, Basil Davidson argued that Africa was at the stage of nation formation when somebody put a pencil and divided us into different countries.
Mr. Speaker, I remember at one stage, I met some two Nigerians way back in August 1971 who were just returning from England, from Stanhurst or so. I was then returning from Wales. They were very happy that their civil war was over and I told them that the civil war was over but there was still one more civil war to be fought, that is the war to unite the whole of West Africa. Mr. Speaker, I say so because West Africa is blessed with different tribes. Different tribes because we have variety, and if we can bring that variety together, it is something which will aid our developmental efforts, not to divide us.
Mr. Speaker, variety is something which is required in the developmental process, and I was particularly happy when the hon. Member for Asuogyaman said that in his area people speak so many languages. It is also true that in Europe or the continent, there are people who speak so many languages. Language is a unifying factor and that is why in our educational system we should encourage the learning of languages as much as possible.
Mr. S. K. Manu (NPP -- Ahafo Ano South) 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement on the floor of the House and in doing so I want to underscore the fact that the phenomenon of ethnicity in itself is not a bad thing. Mr. Speaker, God, who created us, knew why he created the Basari man, the Ashanti man, the Anlo man and the White man. So in itself, ethnicity is not bad, it is what we men on earth make of
Mr. Manu 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we have lived harmoniously; and I stand here as an example. I am from the North, everybody knows, but I hold my seat in Ashanti Region -- [Hear! Hear!] -- in the heart of Ashanti. They have not discriminated against me. The ethnic tendencies that are leading us to chaos are of recent development. Mr. Speaker, it is of recent development when some politicians tried to whip up ethnic sentiments to achieve political gains, which unfortunately did not work. And they have not stopped; they continue to whip up ethnic sentiments and that is where as Ghanaians we must all come out and condemn.
Mr. Speaker, I was glad when I went to Elmina and I saw a suburb in Elmina called Bantama. The hon. Member for Elimina is here, he can bear me witness. If one goes to Kumasi, there are areas called Moshie-Zongo, Anloga, and Fante Newtown; they are all in the heart of Kumasi -- [Hear! Hear!] These people have lived harmoniously without any problem.
The Baba Yara Stadium is in Kumasi -- [Hear! Hear!] The Ohene Djan Stadium is in Accra -- [Hear! Hear!] What problems have these caused? It is we,
the politicians, the unscrupulous ones, of course -- [Laughter] -- who have tried, vainly though, to use ethnicity to achieve their selfish political ends. And it is these people that we must tell to move away from the question of ethnicity.
Mr. John D. Mahama (NDc -- Bole/Bamboi) 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to start by commending the courage of the makers of these two Statements. As the last hon. Member who contributed said, ethnicity in itself is not the problem; it is ethnocentrism that creates the problem. Ethnocentrism, stereotyping and ethnic prejudice create the problem; ethnicity by itself is God-given. [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Mahama 11:15 a.m.
We were all born into various cultural environments and that is what makes up our ethnicity. Mr. Speaker, ethnocentrism is a sensitive subject that often people are very reluctant to discuss it. And that is why I say I commend the makers of the Statements for having the courage to bring this subject onto the floor of this House; for what better place is there to discuss the issue of ethnocentrism than the Parliament of Ghana?
Mr. Speaker, I do not agree that Ghana is in danger of descending into ethnic strife. I do think that Ghana has very good social support mechanisms that intervene whenever we have a danger on the horizon. And once these early warning systems trigger in, one finds religious leaders, traditional rulers, and civil society groups all coming into the fray and we are able to resolve whatever problems are
likely to arise.

So I do not believe that we are in danger of descending into ethnics trife, but it does not mean that we should let down our guard. We have the example of our neighbour, la Cote d'Ivoire to guide us. La Cote d'Ivoire, I am sure, twenty years ago could never have envisaged that today the country would be so divided. And so even though we are not in immediate danger of ethnic strife in this country, we must still make sure that we do not let down our guard and continue to do the things that will prevent this from happening.

Mr. Speaker, we must think of ourselves as Ghanaians first and after that we can look at what parts of the country we come from; but first and foremost, we are all Ghanaians, equal under the laws of this country.

Mr. Speaker, part of the problem we are having in terms of slight ethnic friction is because of the collapse of the former boarding school system. Mr. Speaker, in the past, most of the Ghana Education Trust Schools, which were the main secondary schools to which children from all parts of this country congregated before they went on to tertiary education, were boarding schools. And aside from that, we all took one single examination called the Common Entrance Examination and one made the choice of school one wanted to go to.

Mr. Speaker, depending on how you performed, one could find one self being sent from one corner of the country to another. And so a child from Axim could find himself sent to Bawku Secondary School to go and pursue secondary education. Mr. Speaker, children from the north could find themselves coming to Achimota to pursue secondary education.

Mr. Speaker, in those schools that we attended, our colleagues came from all parts of the country and we saw ourselves as one; we learnt to live together without our parents; we learnt each other's culture and wherever it was that we found ourselves in secondary school, we began to learn the language of the area that the school was. Mr. Speaker, this was a very good system.

Unfortunately, the educational reform system has changed all that. We have a concept of what we call community- based secondary schools and so in most cases children start primary schools in their own locality. When they finish primary school, they continue straight into junior secondary schools (JSS) in their own locality; when they finish the JSS, they most likely will continue into the community-based secondary school within the district in which they are. And so that kind of intermingling and cross- transfer of people unfortunately no longer exist. So we need to find safeguards to replace that system.

Mr. Speaker, in the past, as hon. Asamoah-Boateng said, his father was a policeman; they were the most transferred people in the public service. Policemen, teachers, soldiers and headmasters could be transferred to any part of this country and so you found that the children of policemen, soldiers and teachers could speak multiple languages because they spent parts of their childhood in almost every part of this country.

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, as a result of various problems that arose, the rate of transfers that take place in our public service now is not as high as it used to be in the past. But we must find ways of trying to put in things that will make us come together and understand each other; and I believe that in this the President and Government must show leadership.

Mr. Speaker, as hon. Kwaku Balado Manu said, intermarriage is one of them. How many people here can beat their chests and say that their wives come from a different ethnic group than they themselves come from? [Hear! Hear!] Mr. Speaker, my wife comes from the Brong Ahafo Region and I come from the north. Mr. Speaker, we should encourage our children to marry outside our ethnic groups. Mr. Speaker, when marriage is contracted, it brings two families together and if the families come from different ethnic groups they have grandchildren together and they learn to see that they are one and the same people.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank, very much, the makers of this Statement and to encourage them to continue to address such bold topics.
Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah (NPP -- Asokwa) 11:15 a.m.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to contribute to this Statement. Mr. Speaker, the fact that we are talking about tribalism in the year 2005 is an indication of how far we have to go.
Mr. Speaker, around this time, people in Europe are trying to unite countries; in the Americas, they are also trying to unite countries and here we are talking about tribes. Mr. Speaker, if we were to go 500 years back, there would not be an Ewe, there would not be an Ashanti, there would not be a Ga and there would not be a tribe in this country because as quiet as we think, as quiet as it has been kept, Mr. Speaker, we all come from one tribe. We all moved from somewhere in Central Africa, chased by the Sahara Desert; we moved in here less than 500 years ago. And here we are talking about tribe.
Mr. Speaker, my personal assessment of people -- When I meet people or when I
hear people talk, I look at them when they start talking about tribe and I say, “This person has a long way to go”. Especially in the Ghanaian context, when we begin to propagate the stereotype, the “Rs” and “Ls” and the “Konkonsa” and all those --
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to me,
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi, I have been so absorbed -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Mahama 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, just a point of clarification. I thought I heard the hon. Member say we all came from Central Africa and that we were chased away by the Sahara. I do not know if he got his geography mixed up a bit.
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon. Member for Asokwa, please continue.
Mr. Jumah 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if one can get the chance to travel outside this country, if one happens to be in Guinea or Senegal or maybe Morocco, who cares whether one is an Ashanti, a Ga or an Ewe or whatever? They know one as a Ghanaian. One happens to be in London -- They do not even care whether one is a Ghanaian, they call one “African” or “Black”. The issue that we should be able to concentrate on is the indignity that we suffer as black people when we travel to European and American cities. And the poverty that confronts our people, the ignorance that confronts our people, the ill-health that confronts our people, those are the issues that we should concentrate on.
Mr. Speaker, when we talk about ethnicity or tribalism, it should be done in a very light mood; we should be able to joke about ourselves, joke about the petty stereotypes and have fun among ourselves because after all, if we get to know our history, there is nothing in tribe in Ghana. Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo (NDc -- South Dayi) 11:25 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the last place to contribute to these two beautifully made Statements.
Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. Members who have acknowledged that these two Statements have been made in a very bold spirit in terms of the sensitivity that ethnic discussions carry with them.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to make the point that we should take advantage of these discussions to understand that the expression “tribe” is a little bit derogatory. Therefore, we ought to refer to ourselves rather either as natives or as -- [Laughter] -- Well one is a native of a place but “tribe” has a very bad repercussion that “ethnicity” will be the preferred expression.
Mr. Speaker, having said that, the richness of Ghana's culture can be found in the diversity of our ethnic groupings. In fact, if Ghana is identified as a tourist destination, I believe it is mainly because of our cultural diversity which is linked with our diversity in ethnicity. Therefore, we have a multiplicity of festivals that are ethnic-based. And that brings out the richness and diversity of our culture which attracts people into this country and makes Ghana as a country, a very unique place. We need to preserve these positive attributes of ethnic diversity.
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon. Member for Kwabre, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11:25 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is married to a woman from my area and he is supposed to know the name of the village where the woman comes from. It is Fumesua [pronounced Fumesa]. Mr. Speaker, he cannot get married to somebody whose village is not well-known to him. So he must be conversant with that --
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Order! Order! Hon. Member for South Dayi, continue.
Dr. Ampofo 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think I am doing very well because initially, I used to pronounce Fumesua, as Fremesu -- [Laughter.] But now I have made progress and, at least, I said Fumesua.
But Mr. Speaker, the most important thing is that I am extremely proud to be married to an Ashanti woman -- [Hear! Hear! ] -- And we live in total harmony and peace in the house. In fact, we speak all types of languages in the house. We speak Twi when we feel like speaking Twi, Ga, Ewe, and of course, English. So what I am trying to say is that ethnicity, when it becomes a problem -- And I think it has been said already. It is when the link between it and politics is made. I have often asked my wife and children that should there be a crisis based on ethnicity, what are we going to do? Where are we going to run?
Are we going to run to Ashanti or are we going to run to the Volta Region? So the best thing to do is that this country is fortunate enough that there are a lot of inter-ethnic marriages. These must be glamorized and encouraged because it is through these types of marriages that we mix up as a nation with one identity.
Mr. Speaker, I think the problem can also be resolved through education as the hon. Member for Bole-Bamboi has eloquently expressed; and I would not want to belabour the point. But I would add one more point to it that we should also try to discourage what we have called tribal marks. During Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's era, it was discouraged; gradually, it is seeping
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Item 5 -- Presentation and First Reading of Bills, Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines?
Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines (Prof. Dominic Fobih) 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to crave your indulgence to withdraw the Bill that was laid in this House on the 14th of June, 2005 and to replace it with a new one which has taken into account some changes that were made in the course of the dis-cussions.
Majority Leader (Mr. Felix owusu- Adjapong) 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, you may recall that the Leadership had had series of discussions on this particular matter. And it was agreed that we were going to deal with it like we did with the Long- Term Savings Bill. As a matter of fact,
all the amendments that were going to be debated on the floor had been taken into account by the hon. Minister and we would therefore want to urge that you possibly ask the Committee to consider it under a certificate of urgency in the sense that all the amendments that were proposed at the committee level had been taken into account. So if they can look at them a bit faster than before.
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minority Leader, do you have any comment to make?
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we have discussed the matter, as the hon. Majority Leader indicated, and we agreed that the original Bill is withdrawn and another one laid accordingly. And I think what the hon. Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines did was to lay the new one and I expected him to bow. But he only explained that he was withdrawing the other one and would want to lay another one. But he did not bow to lay it properly. So we would want him to bow and lay it properly.
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Now that these procedural defects have been dealt with, I call on the hon. Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines.
Dr. Fobih 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, rightly so. But Mr. Speaker, I was waiting for your approval because I asked for permission.

Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
The Committee may report as to whether this is a Bill which ought to be taken under the Certificate of Urgency.
Mr. Adjaho 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought we had some preliminary discussions with the hon. Majority Leader and the understanding was that there was no need to lay this Bill because if you look at the parent Act which is Act 642 of 2003 it gave -- [Interruption.]
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 11:35 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think we are all right with this first document; we can move to the second document.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
All right. Item 5 (b) -- Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
Three hon. Ministers -- rose --
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
There seems to be three Ministers upstanding -- [Pause.] Majority Leader?
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Leadership had had a look at the Bill intended to be laid and we seem to become convinced that the Bill that is going to be laid may not be able to cure the disease that it is supposed to cure in the sense that the original Bill has indicated that there could be this fund up to ¢640 per litre. If we go to pass this Bill, then it means we have blocked the instantaneous decision that needs to be taken whenever there is the need to reduce this amount by the passage but they need to lay a document here, a Legislative Instrument for 21 Parliamentary days.
In fact, Leadership is convinced that we
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, that is the understanding we have reached because if you look at the parent Act (Act 642) of 2003, we gave discretion to the levy, up to ¢640 per litre on specified pretroleum products in the Act.
My understanding is that the object of the Bill as I have been informed is to reduce it. Mr. Speaker, if it is to increase it then we cannot use a Legislative Instrument because the power granted to this House under article 174 of the Constitution in terms of matters of taxation would then have been taken away by the Legislative Instrument. But if it is for purposes -- In that case, it would have to come by a proper Bill before this House. If it is to be increased, they cannot do it by Legislative Instrument.
On the other hand, if the object is to reduce it, then they do not need that because we have given a discretion from ¢0 up to ¢640 per litre with regard to those specified petroleum products and to that extent therefore we think that once it is by way of reduction and it will not exceed the ¢640 per litre per gallon that we have given to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to levy, there is no need for such a Bill to be brought to this House.
Mr. Speaker, I therefore support the submission of the hon. Majority Leader.
Minister for the Interior (Papa owusu-Ankomah) 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it appears Leadership has agreed. I do not know whether the Attorney-General was involved in this, but we have a Bill that imposes a levy, a maximum; that is it; that is what the Act does. What this Bill is seeking to do is to vest in the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning the power to reduce the levy because in the Bill no one is given power to reduce the levy. So I am surprised that it is being interpreted to mean that it can be reduced at any time. By whom? This is because the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning must be given specific power to reduce the levy by exercising the power in another way. If tomorrow the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning decides that it should be less than what he stated, how does he exercise that power? That power is not conferred upon him in the Act and that is what the Bill seeks to do.
So what I would suggest is to let this matter go to committee to think about it, rather than for Leadership to say that this is our opinion and so we should withdraw it. Let it go to the committee so that we further consider it because I am not convinced by the argument being advanced by the hon. Majority Leader and the hon. Deputy Minority Leader.
This is a weighty matter; it should not be as if we have just decided that this is our view and that is the view that this House should take. For better consideration and analysis, it ought to be referred to committee. If the Committee goes to meet, discusses these things and is convinced that the Bill is unnecessary, then the Government may be advised to withdraw the Bill.
Mr. Adjaho 11:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we have considered the points being raised by the
hon. Minister for the Interior, but what would have happened if at the time we passed the law the Minister responsible for the Act decided to charge ¢300 per litre? This is because if there is any problem with the law that is passed, the problem is with the law that the House passed because we gave a certain limit from ¢0 to ¢640. That is the discretion this honourable House has given to the Minister. The Schedule says that up to 640 and there is a Schedule to the parent Act; up to 640 kerosene, premium, et cetera.
Now, who gave him the authority to fix the 640? It is this House, we gave him a certain limit. If he were exceeding the 640 then my submission is that he must have to come back to this honourable House for an increase. But we gave him a certain latitude. If he is not exceeding the latitude, there is no need to bring this matter to the House, because, Mr. Speaker, with the law that we passed, we said, “Go and . . . but do not collect more than 640 per litre.” So if they have charged ¢300 per litre, would they have breached any law? They would not have breached any law.

If they have decided to charge Ë200.00, they have not breached any law; if they have fixed Ë400.00, they have not breached any law; once they are within that limit I think that they have not breached any law. It is only when they are exceeding that that Parliament will say they should come back and take our permission before they can do that.
Mr. Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Hon. Members, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is not seeking to lay this Paper so let us proceed.
PAPERS 11:45 a.m.

Mr. owusu-Adjapong 11:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is in reference to item 6 (b). Mr. Speaker, first I would want to suggest that looking at the nature of the Paper, if
Mr. Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Deputy Minority Leader, do you have any contribution to this?
Mr. Adjaho 11:45 a.m.
Well, Mr. Speaker, let the Committee go and look at it, if they are able to finish and this is in line and they bring it to the House, we would push it through. Mr. Speaker, this is in line with the understanding that we reached in your office this morning.
Mr. Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Item (c) --
By the Chairman of the Committee --
Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Allocation for Utilisation of HIPC Funds for the Year 2005.
By the Chairman of the Committee --
Report of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on the West African Gas Pipeline Regulations,
2005, L. I. 1814.
By the Chairman of the Committee --
i. Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the
Public Accounts of Ghana (Consolidated Fund) for the Year Ended 31st December 2002.
ii. Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor- General on the Management of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Markets for the Period
Mr. Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Hon. Members, let us stand item (f) down and take item 7 -- Motion.
Report on the Audit of the Accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General
chairman of the committee (Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah): Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Commitee on the Report on the Audit of the Accounts of the Office of the Auditor- General from 1993 to 2002.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure all hon. Members have got the Report. It is a twelve-page report which I may not be able to read entirely. But since it is the first time that we are moving such a motion in this Fourth Parliament, I will request the Hansard Office to capture everything as presented in the twelve-page report. For the meantime, since this is the first time we are moving such a report, I will give the background to the whole report for hon. Members to follow and then point out some key findings and observations and recommendations from the Committee.
1. The 1992 Constitution enjoins Parliament to appoint an Auditor to audit the accounts of the Office of the Auditor- General. Article 187 (15) specifically states that
“ The accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General shall be audited and reported upon by an Auditor
appointed by Parliament”.
Unfortunately, the first and second Parliaments of the Fourth Republic could not implement this constitutional requirement. This resulted in unaudited accounts of the Office of the Auditor- General falling into arrears of over 10 years.
2. In pursuance of the above provision of the Constitution, the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic appointed Messrs Opoku, Andoh & Co. to audit the accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General for a 10-year period -- 1993 to 2002.
3. The Report from Messrs Opoku, Andoh & Co. on the audit of the accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General (1993-2002) was accordingly submitted to Parliament and laid before the House on 17th June 2005. In pursuance to Order 165 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Report was referred to the Public Accounts Committee for consideration and report.
4. The Committee reviewed the Report and evidence was taken from the Auditor-General and officials from the Audit Service. The Committee was assisted by Mr. Peter Opoku and Mr. Kwabena Asante-Poku of Messrs Opoku, Andoh & Co. in the review of the Report.
5. The Committee wishes to place on record its appreciation to the above officers for their input during the deliberations of the Committee.
6. The underlisted documents guided the Committee in its deliberations.
i. The 1992 Constitution
i i . T h e S t a n d i n g O r d e r s of Parliament
i i i . T h e F i n a n c i a l
Administration Decree, 1979,
SMCD 221
i v . T h e F i n a n c i a l Administration Act, 2003, Act 654
v. The Audit Service Act, 2000, Act 584
vi. The Financial Administration Regulations, 1979, L.I. 1234
vii. The Financial Administration Regulations, 2004, L.I. 1802.
Findings and Recommendations
7. The audit disclosed that record keeping was poor in the Office of the Auditor-General or Audit Service. The Service could not furnish the Auditors with Payment Vouchers and Imprest Cash Books for the period 1993 to 1998. Vote Service Ledgers for 1994 and 1996 and Local Purchase Orders for 1993 to 1997 were only made available after the completion of the audit.
8. The Committee was informed that record-keeping has improved since the submission of the Audit Report. According to the Auditor-General, accounting records are now filed on cost centre basis and staff trained on the new filing system.
9. A new accounting software, ACCPAC, has also been developed and implemented. This has facilitated the electronic storage of data.
10. A separate office space has also been created for the storage of documents.
11. The Committee recommends that the Service should conduct periodic and

regular in-service training on records management for schedule officers.

Internal controls

12. The audit revealed that internal control was weak. There were no internal control reports for 1993-1998 and there was no evidence of stock-taking of the stationery store prior to February 2001. There was also no evidence of a cash count during the 10-year period of 1993-2002. Queries raised in the few internal audit reports made available to the Auditors were also not implemented.

13. The Auditor-General informed the Committee that measures put in place to strengthen the Internal Control System include strengthening the staff of the Internal Audit Department. Each Regional Office now has an internal audit unit headed by a Senior Officer and a qualified Accountant now heads the Internal Audit Department itself.

14. Assistant Auditors-General have also been appointed to head each regional office of the Service.


15. Your Committee wishes to reiterate the recommendation of the Auditors that there should be regular cash count and stock-taking to minimize the risk of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds. Further, sanctions should be instituted against officers who fail to respond or implement the recommen- dations of internal audit.

Budgetary Allocations

16. The Audi to r s a l so no ted inadequate budgetary allocation to the Service. The Auditors indicated that the Audit Service allocation since 1995 had

never exceeded 65 per cent of what was proposed.

17. The Committee was informed that inadequate budgetary allocations coupled with non-timely releases of funds had severely affected the operations of the Service particularly on its timely reporting to Parliament.


18. Your Committee wishes to appeal to the President to ensure that the provisions of sections 26 and 27 of the Audit Service Act, Act 584 are fully complied with. The MOFEP is also urged to ensure that funds approved by Parliament to meet the expenditures of the Service are released on timely basis.

Financial Statements

19. The Audit Report indicated that the Audit Service failed to prepare financial statements under the Treasury System of Accounting; what was prepared was the Consolidated Expenditure Returns. The Service was therefore assisted by the Auditing Firm to prepare the financial statements for audit. The required information from some district offices in Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions could however not be made available to be incorporated in the financial statements.

20. The Auditor-General acknowl- edged the lapse and informed the Committee that the Service has now instituted a standardized reporting system on monthly returns for the regional and district offices and submissions are being monitored at the Head Office. He further indicated that the 2003 and 2004 draft financial statements have been prepared and are being reviewed by the Internal Audit Department.


21. The Committee recommends that the Audit Service organises periodic workshops for its finance officers to sensitize them on the importance of the financial statements and the information required in those statements.

Accounting Transactions

22. The audit revealed errors in the Vote Service Ledgers. Some payment vouchers were not entered in the Vote Service Ledgers and in situations where figures have been amended by Internal Audit, the original ones were still maintained in the Ledger. Additionally, where the original entries in the Ledger have been cancelled and replaced with the amended ones, balances carried down did not reflect the amendments.

23. The Committee noted that some of these lapses have been rectified and incorporated in the financial statements. The Service has also incorporated internal checks in the Transaction Statement to ensure that transactions are validated before entry into the Ledger.

24. The audit further noted that there was no uniformity in the preparation of personal emoluments at various outstations while copies of the payroll were not kept at the regional and district offices.

25. The Auditor-General informed the Committee that the anomaly has been rectified in the design of the standardized monthly returns, which have since been instituted.


26. It is recommended that the Service should regularly review the system of internal controls in order that lapses can be detected as and when they occur and measures instituted to rectify


Unauthorised Virement

27. The audit noted widespread unauthorized virement at the Head Office. Even though section 70 of L.I. 1234 allows, in specified circumstances, for savings made under one sub-head to be used to provide for extra expenditure under another sub-head, sections 71-76 require that approval must be sought for any such virement. The L.I. also cautions that such virement should not be used for capital expenditures.

28. The Auditor-General, in response to the query before the Committee, indicated that virement within expenditure heads are now approved by him. He however attributed the cause of the virement to inadequate funding and untimely release of approved appro- priations from MOFEP.


29. The Committee recommends that the Service should strictly comply with the provisions of section 171 of L.I. 1802.

Fixed Assets Registers

30. The audit noted that the Audit Service did not maintain any Assets Register and some of the assets of the Service were not marked with identification numbers. Physical verification of assets was not conducted either.

31. The Service informed your Committee that assets of the Service have now been compiled in a register and codes of identification of assets agreed to. Embossment of these codes on the assets is currently in progress. The Service has also since the audit acquired Assets Tracker and Visual Personnel Director software to
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho (NDc -- Avenor/ Ave) 11:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion, with liberty to come back under Order 86 of the Standing Orders.
Question proposed.
Mr. P. c. Appiah-ofori (NPP
-- Asikuma-odoben-Brakwa): Mr.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho (NDc -- Avenor/ Ave) 12:05 p.m.
Speaker, I would wish to make a brief intervention. Under the Constitution, it is the duty of the Auditor-General to take adequate steps to ensure that financial regulations are complied with in order to safeguard the resources of Ghana, at least, the public services. So if the Auditor- General in his own department would sit down unconcerned for such lapses to take place, then Ghana is in trouble -- [Laughter.] Such shortcomings should not go unpunished.
We must try and find a way to safeguard the resources of the country for the Government to access enough funds to execute its programmes for the country.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer you to L.I. 1234, Regulation 125- 127; and with your permission, I quote:
“It is the duty of the head of department to ensure that the financial business of his department is so organised that proper supervision is exercised over the work of subordinate officers . . .”
It goes on to 126 (1):
“Where the circumstances of public financial business so allow, financial and accounting duties would be so arranged that the work of each person shall be subject to the scrutiny of at least one other person . . .”
“… failure to do so shall render him liable to prosecution under section 76(1)(e) of the Financial Administration Decree, 1979 . . .”
And this provision reads as follows:
“Every officer or person acting in any office or employment connected with the collection, management or disbursement of public and trust moneys or with the control of government stores who --
x x x x
( e ) h a v i n g k n o w l e d g e o r information of the violation of any financial law by any person, or fraud committed by any person against the Government under any law relating to public finance for the time being in force, fails to report such knowledge or information to his senior officer; . . .
commits an offence, and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding three times the amount so offered or accepted, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.”

Mr. Speaker, if the Auditor-General had actually arranged the business of his department so that other officers were overseeing other people's work, the loss of one hundred and sixty-five million cedis would have been detected earlier, because the money was not taken at a go, it was taken piecemeal. If he had complied with this strategic provision, he would have prevented the loss but because he did not do that the cashier took piecemeal a total sum of one hundred and sixty-five million cedis and went away with it.

Mr. Speaker, the proper thing he should have done was to ensure that every morning, an officer above the cashier would go to his cage to do what we call cash count. He would count the physical cash and also tabulate the values of the total payment vouchers with it. The two together should be equal to the imprest
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDc -- North Dayi) 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am going to be very brief. Generally, when one looks at the report before us, it paints a very negative picture of the Auditor-General's Department. But I do not think that we should blame them too much since this is the first time they have been audited. We can give them some leeway to operate, but it is my hope that in the next report that would be presented to this House all the lapses that have been noted would have been rectified.
Mr. Speaker, I also want to say that if
Alhaji Malik A. Yakubu (NPP -- Yendi) 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am a member of the Public Accounts Committee and I am rising to support the Report.
Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a very good thing that Parliament finally took action to appoint an auditor for the Auditor- General's Department. The failure of Parliament to do so in the past, we discovered, was a pity because a lot of wrong things that had taken place would have been corrected much earlier.
Mr. Speaker, the auditors that were appointed to audit the Auditor-General's Department have done a very good job. They have done such a good job that virtually nobody complains or has any serious reservations about the findings in their report.
Mr. Speaker, as has been very well captured by the hon. Chairman of the Committee in his Report, a very bad picture was painted. He has listed some of them. Hon. P. C. Appiah-Ofori has also referred to some of them and therefore I do not need to repeat them; but the case we were facing when we handled this report was like the physician who should see to treating patients abandoning all measures of good health himself and yet preaching to others to take measures that would ensure their good health.
Mr. Speaker, the good thing that was heart-warming was that the current Auditor-General admitted without any equivocation that the picture that was sketched in the auditor's report was a
sordid one and he himself when he was asked what his feeling was, said he felt bad about the kind of picture that he saw at the Auditor-General's Department. And we were reassured that not only has he admitted that all was not well at the Auditor-General's Department, but that steps were being taken and actually some were being implemented as at the time he appeared before the Committee. We had no doubt in our minds that the very bad accounting procedures that were recorded at the Auditor-General's Department would no more be the case; and that was very reassuring.
Mr. Speaker, I hope that Parliament would take timely action either to reappoint the current auditors or appoint another auditor so that there would not be undue time lapse in carrying out his work.
With these few remarks, Mr. Speaker, I support the motion.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDc -- Tamale South) 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Report; with your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, I refer to your Committee's Report, page 10. That would form the basis of my contribution and comments.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to article 179 (8) of our Constitution which, in my view, is what the Members of the Committee drew the attention of Parliament to -- our inability, together with the Executive, to honour article 179 (8) of the Constitution which states, and
Mr. Speaker, with your permission I quote 12:15 p.m.
“Where, in respect of a financial year, it is found that the amount
of moneys appropriated by the Appropriation Act for any purpose is insufficient or that a need has arisen for expenditure for a purpose for which no sums of money has been appropriated by that Act, a supplementary estimate showing the sum of money required, shall be laid before Parliament for its approval.”
Mr. Speaker, while we commend the Committee, and particularly this Parliament for taking the unprecedented step in ensuring that auditors were appointed for the first time -- indeed the previous NDC Government lapsed in this particular endeavour in ensuring that what was appropriate was done in this direction -- I think that if we want to protect our public heads, it is important that the Auditor General, as an institution, he and his staff are encouraged at all times. I cannot fathom why for this period of eight years we did not give the Auditor- General the right hand to be able to go into its accounts.
But Mr. Speaker, whilst acknowledging the wrongs of the past, it should be noted that there are many other forensic reports that the Auditor-General has conducted and this House is not privy to the outcome and findings of those forensic audits. I think it will do us a lot of good if the Auditor-General could facilitate that all those forensic audits conducted into Ghana Airways, GNPC, the Trade and Investment Facility Programme and bring them to this House for scrutiny.
Mr. Speaker, my other comment has to do with page 11, item 28, where the Committee observed that the GETFund and District Assemblies Common Fund have accumulated arrears of two hundred and thirty-five point eight billion (¢235.8 billion) and one hundred and seventy billion (¢170 billion) respectively.
Mr. Speaker, it is important once again to acknowledge the recommendation --
Mr. Speaker, with your permission I quote 12:15 p.m.

chairman of the committee (Mr. Sallas-Mensah) -- rose --
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Chairman of the Committee, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. Sallas-Mensah 12:15 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it looks like the hon. Member from Tamale South is jumping into one of our Committee's Reports, which has not been laid in the House yet. It has been laid though, but the motion on it has not yet been moved. This particular motion is being moved on the Report on the audit of the accounts of the Auditor-General and not the Consolidated Fund for 2002. He should check his records, please.
Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to join my Colle-agues in contributing -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
There was a point of order to the contribution being made by the hon. Member for Tamale South.
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, are you resuming your seat, or you want to continue?
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would yield to the hon. Member whilst I get my documents right.
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
You may resume your seat, while I call on the Minister for Communications.
Minister for communications (Mr. A. Kan-Dapaah) 12:15 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to this motion.
Mr. Speaker, I think the House ought to congratulate itself for this very good
Minister for communications (Mr. A. Kan-Dapaah) 12:25 p.m.
The Report, Mr. Speaker, is nothing
more than a catalogue of very shocking revelations. Proper books of accounts had not been kept; there was a complete breakdown in the internal controls and the accounting records were simply not available for the auditors to do their work. I wonder how they managed to come out with the financial statement and the report on it. Even where it was not to do with the accounts, if it was a question of establishing how many employees were employed, the staff numbers, according to the Report, they were not even able to establish that.
So I think the House should take a very serious note of the revelations that are being made to us; that essentially, the body that is responsible for making sure that other MDAs keep proper books of account for monies that are given to them, they themselves were unable to do that for such a long period. And I do not think it is any excuse to say that we should not blame them; we are talking about ten years ago and so on and so forth.
Accounting records, Mr. Speaker, are not to be destroyed until they would have been audited. And Mr. Speaker, this is the gospel that we keep getting from the Auditor-General's Department. They keep telling MDAs “don't you destroy your records until they have been audited”; and the same preachers when we go to them, they say sorry, as for us, we have destroyed ours.
Mr. Speaker, there is something more
to it than that. I do not think it is a question of somebody having thrown away the records. It was probably the case that somebody has refused to give us the records to examine, knowing that examination would come up with some revelations that one may not be interested in. I think this House should take a very serious view and we should not just let this go under the carpet, as it were.
The Financial Statement itself raises a lot of problems. As the auditors themselves acknowledged, they said that they had to assist them to prepare the financial statement; the Auditor- General's Department with all that team of accountants and auditors were unable to prepare their accounts themselves. They needed to go and get somebody to prepare it for them.
If the external auditors are saying they could not get any records at all from the Eastern and Brong-Ahafo Regions, then how were they able to construct financial statements of the entity? If the entity comprises the head office and all the regional offices and you could not get documents from some regions, how come you give us something that you call a financial statement?

Obviously the auditors should have said that the records are so hopeless that we are unable to express any opinion, we are unable to say whether proper books of account have been kept, we are unable to say whether the moneys have been embezzled or not. To give us something that qualifies to be called a financial statement when the auditors themselves have said they did not get the records beats my understanding.

The auditors, Mr. Speaker, were also given a specific assignment, to go and examine the records and tell us whether proper books of account have been kept and whether the accounts show a true and fair view. I think that they should come and tell us.

I am concerned about this because I want the House to recognize the gravity of the situation. They should come and say rather, “sorry, we are unable to do the work that you asked us to do because things are so hopelessly bad”, then we can take it from there. It is not right in my opinion to come up with a Report, as good as it was, which does not give the impression to the untrained mind. I mean somebody who is probably not an auditor, is not an accountant would probably not appreciate the seriousness of it.

So in a sense, it would have been useful if the Committee had gone back to the auditors and asked them to come out with a report which would tell us the true state of affairs; that during those periods no records were kept, such records as were kept have been stolen or hidden from me the auditor; that there is nothing like a financial statement that exists and therefore it is not possible for us to do the work that you asked us to do. Then, we can go beyond that and see how we can get those records.

Are we simply going to accept in this House that, well, they tried, they did not get it so let us forget? If that is done, a precedent would have been set and it would be repeated somewhere. So I think the House did an excellent job in deciding to appoint an external auditor to do the audit but the Report that the auditors have brought to us has raised many, many more questions which are so fundamental and which are so disturbing. This should not be the end of the story and it may be in the interest of everybody in this country
Mr. Simon osei 12:25 p.m.

Bosomtwe): Mr. Speaker, actually the Report has identified a number of serious lapses which should not be overlooked. However, when we look at the Report it covers a ten-year period from the year 1993 to the year 2002.

Mr. Speaker, one of the major problems that I see is the failure of the First and Second Parliaments of the Fourth Republic to comply with article 187 (15) that authorizes Parliament to appoint an auditor to audit the Auditor-General. So the mess was left unattended until the Third Parliament of this Fourth Republic in the year 2002 came to appoint an auditor to audit that institution.

Mr. Speaker, this is making the situation a bit difficult because these problems cannot be put at the doorstep of the current Auditor-General, because for eight out of the ten-year period he was not at post and most of the people who were at post might not even be there currently.

Mr. Speaker, we have to commend the current Auditor-General for the efforts that he is making to correct most of the

anomalies or the lapses that the Report identifies. Mr. Speaker, on the financial front, at least, the Auditor-General has already acquired ACCPART to assist them in their duties.

Mr. Speaker, for the assets, the Auditor- General has also acquired assets Tracker which is going to assist them to keep track of the value of all the fixed assets that they have. Until then, there was no such item at the Auditor-General's Department to keep track of all the fixed assets that the Auditor-General's Department had.

Mr. Speaker, we are also told that they have already even placed an order for pre- numbered vouchers for the stationery; for the ten-year period or for the first eight years there were no pre- numbered vouchers and nobody knows what happened to the stationery supply that they received at that department. I think we need to commend the current Auditor-General for putting in so much effort to correct most of these anomalies.
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua 12:25 p.m.
on a point of
order. Mr. Speaker, I think we need to set the records straight. The appointment of the auditor to audit the Auditor-General's office was prompted by this side of the House; it is not that the Government decided one day to take this action. The decision was prompted by our insistence on this constitutional provisions being
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
This was a point of
order so let him continue. There cannot be a point of order against another point of order. You may speak later but not at this time, so let him continue.
Mr. osei-Mensah 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, in my comments I did not mention any side of the House. What I said was that the First and Second Parliaments of the Fourth Republic -- [Interruption.]
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon. Members, if you
want to contribute, you may indicate and I would call you in due course, but not at this stage.
Mr. osei-Mensah 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
said and I repeat, that the First and Second Parliaments of the Fourth Republic failed to comply with article 187 (15), that is why we are in such a mess. I have also said that I wish to commend the NPP Government for making efforts to honour most of the constitutional provisions, and I repeat that it is the first time in the Fourth Republic that a President has fully complied with article 67 of our Constitution -- [Hear! Hear!] -- Mr. Speaker, again, it is the first time in the Fourth Republic -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Sallas-Mensah 12:25 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. This is a Public Accounts Committee Report, and in this type of reports we discuss them passionately. The President never appointed an external auditor, it is Parliament which did. So we cannot credit the Executive with this kind of action, please.
Some hon. Members -- rose --
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
As I have always
indicated, I do not take point of order against another point of order.
Mr. osei-Mensah 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I
said, article 187 (15) says and with your permission, I quote:
“The accounts of the office of the Auditor-General shall be audited and reported upon by an auditor appointed by Parliament.”
And this was not done in the First and Second Parliaments of the Fourth Republic. It was the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic that complied with this provision of the Constitution.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy also to inform the House that, as the hon. Minister for Education and Sports has already stated, this year article 25 (1) (a) of the Constitution is also going to be fully complied with.
Mr. J. K. Avedzi (NDc -- Ketu North) 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the topic on the floor of the House and to talk on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the accounts of the Auditor- General's Office for the ten-year period.
Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate the Committee for taking pains to work on this Report. If you read the Report of
Mr. J. K. Avedzi (NDc -- Ketu North) 12:35 p.m.
the external auditors on the accounts of the Auditor-General, it is very difficult to come out with any conclusion, and the lapses that were identified in the Report made it difficult for the external auditor to issue a clean opinion and, for that matter, the account was qualified.
Now, if one wants to take the issues one after the other, if one looks at the problem with internal control, the internal control procedures do not exist at all. This means that there are a lot of lapses in terms of management, and checking how the organization is being run. If one talks about the issue of filings where the Office of the Auditor-General would not follow the proper procedure of filing -- It is concluded that the accounts of the Auditor-General's Office, the officials in that department whom we know are the auditors that audit the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) do not themselves check their own records.
Therefore, what do we do? What will the Public Accounts Committee do since the Auditor-General's Office could not keep proper records, meanwhile they go round and audit the MDAs and issue reports and recommend to Parliament to take action?

What action does this House take on the accounts of the Auditor-General? It became very difficult for the Committee. And if one looks at the Report, which is a ten-year period report -- In fact, I was saddened when the last hon. Member who spoke tried to politicize the issue. It is true that the accounts covered the period 1993 to 2002, but one must also recognize the fact that the current Auditor-General was in office for the last two periods. What did he do at that time because the Report

did not exclude the two years that he was in office? The mess was still there when he was in office. The Report does not try to politicize it and push blame that it was for this period which the report was not good and that for that period the report was good.

The only assuring thing that we had from the Auditor-General is that measures are being put in place to ensure that these things do not occur. Professional accountants are being employed; other professionals are employed to ensure that proper things are done. An internal audit department has been set up at the head office. At the regional level we have internal audit units where we have professionals, trained officers manning these units. Standard reports are being designed for reporting from the districts to the regional offices which is assuring that these lapses we had for all these years will not occur.

That is why in our Report the Committee is recommending that this House approves the Report and then see how all the assurances that have been given by the Auditor-General would go the following year. So Mr. Speaker, I want to support this motion and to urge this august House to go ahead and approve this Report and then wait for the following year to see how the assurances that are given, would go.

Deputy Majority Leader (Mr. A. o. Aidooh): Mr. Speaker, I want to make a brief intervention in this matter. I happen to have chaired the Committee that appointed the Auditors to audit the Auditor-General's Office. Mr. Speaker, I would also want to place on record that this is, in fact, the first time ever since our independence that that office has been audited. I also believe that we do not have to slacken back into arrears in terms of the auditing processes of that department. I notice that the work of the auditors has
Mr. Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Hon. Chairman of the Committee, would you be kind to wind up?
Mr. Sallas-Mensah 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all hon. Members for the brilliant comments that they have made on the Report, especially the comments made by the hon. Minister for Communication, Mr. Kan-Dapaah on how the external auditors even got some accounts to bring to Parliament in the first place. Although they qualified all the ten years accounts, some of us thought that they could have gone back to do a more thorough job or an investigative audit. This time it is not just auditing financial -- This should have been an investigative audit and we questioned on whose account were they going to do such an investigative
audit? That was one problem which the Committee actually faced because if the internal control system is weak, it means that if one puts garbage in, one must have to get garbage out. So immediately the account is of no use anyway.
But the Committee thought that since this has been the first time that the Auditor-General's outfit is being audited we would take their word for it and then monitor subsequent accounts which would be audited by the external auditors. Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, this House should within the next few weeks sit to appoint an external auditor to start doing the accounts of 2003 and 2004.
Sometimes, we come here and we talk but we do not know who is going to take the next action. This is very important and I know that the hon. Majority Leader would in the next few weeks initiate the action for Parliament to appoint or confirm this present auditor to audit the 2003 and 2004 accounts.
On that note, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all hon. Members.
Mr. Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Majority Leader, do you have any -- [Interruption.]
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am becoming convinced that there is no need for us to go back and confirm the appointment of the going auditor. This is because we have only two days to work here and since the Chairperson and the hon. Deputy Majority Leader, are all convinced that it is a good work done, I believe that we can confirm the appointment now so that we do not add that to the numerous exercise we intend doing.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Hon. Chairman of the Committee?
Mr. Sallas-Mensah 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it looks like the last terms of reference given to the external auditors were a little bit limited in the sense that they brought only 14 copies of the Report to the House and so most hon. Members did not have the actual Report from the external auditors. So I think that this time the terms of reference should include the submission of their audited accounts to the 230 hon. Members of this Parliament and management report attached.
Definitely, their fees are going to go up -- 300 copies, actually. This time it should not only be 14. So I think their terms of reference should be made to include the submission of about 300 copies to this House, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Hon. Chairman, I think this is an administrative matter which you have to deal with.
Suspension of Standing orders 80 (1)
Minister for Women and children's Affairs (Hajia Alima Mahama) 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that notwith- standing 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 Second Reading of the Human Trafficking Bill may be moved today.
Mr. Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Any seconder?
Mrs. cecilia Abena Dapaah 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.


Human Trafficking Bill
Minister for Women and children's Affairs (Hajia Alima Mahama) 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, That the Human Trafficking Bill be now read a Second time. And in so doing, Mr. Speaker, I beg to make the following submissions.
Mr. Speaker, trafficked persons, mainly women and children, are found in dehumanizing situations through no fault of their own. They become domestic workers, head porters, fisher boys and girls and engage in commercial sex work among other forms of labour.
Mr. Speaker, human trafficking has an internal and cross-border dimension. Our country serves as a supplier, receiver and transit point for human trafficking. The root causes of human trafficking are poverty, the demand for labour and other socio-cultural and economic factors. Mr. Speaker, child labour in particular and forced labour of young women is attractive because they are paid low wages, if paid at all, and they are not in a situation to complain.
Mr. Speaker, currently, there is no specific law against trafficking. The Children's Act has provisions on apprenticeship and child labour to protect the best interest of the child; but the Act does not capture trafficking. The Criminal Code, Act 29 does not make specific reference to the term “trafficking” although it does contain provisions which create offences related to the topic such as abduction, slave dealing and kidnapping. However, provisions on kidnapping
Minister for Women and children's Affairs (Hajia Alima Mahama) 12:45 p.m.
covers the person who physically removes the victim and not necessarily the other persons who aid, abet or otherwise participate in the process.
Mr. Speaker, in situations of abduction
and child stealing, the consent of the parent is seen as a defence. However, the Human Trafficking Bill seeks to negate the consent of the parents. Mr. Speaker, the Republic, that is, Ghana has ratified the worst forms of child labour convention, that is, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 182 and this Convention calls upon countries to prohibit the most abhorrent forms of child labour with immediate effect. The worst form of child labour comprise all forms of slavery and practices similar to slavery and include the sale and trafficking of children.
Mr. Speaker, at the international level, we are obliged by the Convention that we have signed and though we have not ratified the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommendations on the principles and guidance on human rights and human trafficking -- that indicates a gap in our ability to conform to international standards. However, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Declaration on the Fight against Trafficking and the ECOWAS Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons commit us to take action in this direction.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill seeks to prevent, suppress and punish human trafficking. It is set out in six sections. Section 1 prohibits the offence, section 2 lays the procedures for complaints as well as arrests. Section 3, Mr. Speaker, focuses on rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration. Section 3 recognizes that the rights of victims are fundamental; this is a human issue and it involves violations of the fundamental human rights of victims,

especially women and children who constitute the majority of trafficked persons. The Bill therefore seeks to ensure that the capacity of victims to cope is enhanced and that assistance and services is provided to trafficked persons as well as potential trafficked persons and that this should be a State obligation.

Mr. Speaker, we had a situation where the previous laws focuses on the offender rather than the victim. Section 3 seeks to fill in this gap to ensure that the trafficked person have services at his or her disposal and to ensure that the person is integrated into the community. Section 4, Mr. Speaker, focuses on financing and it seeks to establish a Human Trafficking Fund so that the issues of rescue and rehabilitation will be addressed. Issues of implementing the provisions of the law, if it is so passed, will also have some funding element that will enable us deal with the issues of human trafficking in the country.

Mr. Speaker, section 5 recognizes that the nature of trafficking -- [Pause] -- Mr. Speaker, part 5 of the Bill -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Adjaho 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am getting a little bit confused. The hon. Minister for Women and Children's Affairs keeps on referring to sections but there is no section. We talk about clauses if it is a Bill, then we know that we are all using the same document. Otherwise, it appears there is an Act and we are holding the Bill. We want to be sure that we are talking about the same document.
Hajia Mahama: Mr. Speaker, it is the
same document. The document has five parts although it is written in the Bill as sections. But at this point in time, I should refer to them as parts.
Mr. Speaker, part 5 recognizes the
nature of trafficking and it seeks to prevent as well as deal with the fact that trafficking requires co-ordinated and collaborative response by all stakeholders. It therefore provides for a task force on human trafficking to enable all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that are involved in matters of rescue, in matters of rehabilitation, in matters of re-integration as well as in matters of enforcement to come together, deliberate on issues and provide recommendations for implementation if this Bill is passed into law.
Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent on us as a country to criminalize trafficking and address the rights of victims of trafficking, to rescue, reintegrate and rehabilitate the victims. First, because it is desirable to do so at the domestic level from a human rights point of view; and second, also to conform to international standards.
Mr. Speaker, for our women, our children and the few men who also get trafficked along the line, I beg that the House considers and consequently pass this Bill into a law. Mr. Speaker, I so move.
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Any seconder to the motion?

chairman of the committee (Mrs. Esther obeng-Dappah): Mr. Speaker, I rise to present the Committee's Report.

Mr. Speaker, the Human Trafficking Bill was presented and read the First

[HAJIA MAHAMA] time in the House on Friday, 17th June 2005. It was referred to the Committee on Gender and Children for consideration and report in accordance with Order 175 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

2. Background

Trafficking in persons is a violation of many international laws and Human Rights Protocols. Human trafficking is conducted by persons or group of persons who may operate within national or across international borders.

The victims of human trafficking are often denied their basic freedoms and forced to work as prostitutes, labourers, domestic servants, child soldiers, fisher boys and girls to mention a few. The victims may be routinely raped, tortured and brutalized.

However, in Ghana there is no specific legislation against this dehumanising practice and therefore there is a need for a passage of this Bill.

3. References

The Committee in its deliberations made reference to the following documents:

The Const i tut ion of the Republic of Ghana;

The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana; The Criminal Procedure Code, 1960 (Act 30);

The Children's Act, 1998 (Act


Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651);

West African States Agreement on Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (27th December


C182 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999; and

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention a g a i n s t Tr a n s n a t i o n a l Organised Crime.

4.0 Deliberations

In considering the Bill, the Committee held a number of meetings and workshops at Elmina and Akosombo respectively where the hon. Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, Hajia Alima Mahama, her deputy, the Deputy Minister for Manpower Development, Youth and Employment and other resource persons briefed hon. Members of the Committee on the Bill.

M r. S p e a k e r, i n v i e w o f the importance of the Bill, the Committee invited memoranda and held discussions with many stakeholders. The following stakeholders submitted memoranda to your Committee:

(a) Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), Ghana

(b) Ghana Immigration Service

( c ) B r i t i s h C o u n c i l , Commonwealth Human Right

Initiative (d) LAWA-Ghana

(e) UNICEF, Ghana

(f) US Embassy

(g) Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)

(h) Centre for Social Policy and Studies (CSPC)

( i ) Internat ional Labour Organisation (ILO)

(j) International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

(k) NGO Coalition on the Right of the Child

(l) Ghana Employers Association


(m) The Ark Foundation, Ghana

(n) Ghana Parliamentary Centre.

5.0 Acknowledgements

The Committee wishes to express its gratitude to the immense contributions of the Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, hon. Hajia Alima Mahama and her Deputy, hon. Mr. J. B. Danquah Adu, and the Deputy Minister for Manpower Development, Youth and Employment, hon. Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, the Chief Directors, Legal and Technical Officers and all other resource persons, for their invaluable contributions during its deliberations.

The Committee as required by Standing Order 175 accordingly

presents the following report: 6.0 Purpose of the Bill

The Bill seeks to prevent, suppress and punish persons or group of persons who engage in Human Trafficking. The Committee considered the Bill clause-by-clause and presents the topical issues as follows:

7.0 Provisions of the Bill

7.1. The Committee recommends that the short title of the Bill should be “Anti-Human Trafficking Act”.

7.2. Clause 1

(a) Subclause (1)

T h e m e a n i n g o f “ H u m a n Trafficking” has been expanded and redrafted to include trafficking of persons within and across national borders as follows:

“(1) human trafficking means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, trading or receipt of persons within and across national borders by:

(a) the use of threats, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or exploitation of vulnerability,

(b ) g iv ing o r rece iv ing payments and eg benefits to achieve consent.”

(b) Subclause (2)

The Committee proposes a new rendition with the deletion of “people smuggling” and “human beings” to read as follows:

“(2) Exploitation shall include, ‘at the minimum' induced prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs ‘for sale or for ritual purposes'.”

The deletion of “human beings” is to avoid repetition, since “prostitution” automatically does not refer to any other living thing. People smuggling on the other hand is a cross-national border activity, while trafficking in persons takes place both within and across national borders. The new rendition therefore makes the subclause more meaningful.

7.3. Clause 2 (1) (a) and (b)

The Committee proposes a redraft of paragraph (a) of subclause (1) to read as follows:

“(1) a person shall not traffick another person within the meaning of clause (1) or acts as an intermediary for the trafficking of a person.”

The prohibition of trafficking as contained in the subclause (1) does not convey the exact meaning in clause 1 (1), hence the amendment.

Clause 3 (1)

The Committee proposes that the
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.

Society Organisations (CSO).”

The subclause has been expanded to include bodies other than the police to receive information or reports on human trafficking.

7.5. Clause 9 (5)

The Committee proposes an amendment to the subclause by inserting the words “the next of kin or” after the word “by” in line 2.

This is to ensure that the next of kin of the deceased should be one important person who can lodge a complaint before any other person.

7.6. Clause 10 (2)

The Committee is of the view that another avenue should be created for redress for a complainant. Consequently the Committee proposes the following amendments:

after “shall” insert “on a report filed by the complainant to a superior officer”.
GRAPH 12:55 p.m.

Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDc - North Dayi) 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the Bill and in doing so I wish to state that I fully support the intent, purpose and principle of this Bill. And I think that it is high time Ghana had its own law to combat this dehumanizing practice.
But Mr. Speaker, I would like to place on record the perception that some people hold that human trafficking is very endemic in this country.
Mr. Speaker, in the consideration of this Bill, we have had access to reports and documentation on human trafficking in various parts of the world and we think that in Ghana the situation is not as bad as people would want us to believe. And in a situation, for instance, where fully-fledged adults agree to pay moneys to obtain visa to go into countries that they know definitely that they cannot easily find work to do and for which reason some of them are compelled to go into prostitution, this cannot be defined as human trafficking and we need to correct that impression.
Mr. Speaker, that is not to say that we should not make the law; we need to make this law to check the little pockets of human trafficking that we have in Ghana before the situation gets out of hand.
Mr. Speaker, having said that, I think there is still some work to be done on this Bill to make it effective so that when eventually it is passed into law the implementers would not have any problem to work with it.
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDc - North Dayi) 12:55 p.m.

The first point I have to make is that in the memorandum we are told that Ghana is yet to ratify the UN Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish human trafficking in persons which, we were made to understand, supplements the UN Convention against transnational organized crime.

Mr. Speaker, no reason was provided us for the inability of Ghana to ratify this Convention and we think that it is high time we did so. Because if we do not put the foundations right, even though we may have the national law to work with, we may not have the moral guts to defend ourselves when we go outside into the larger UN family, for instance. And so I think that we need to ratify this Protocol as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker, there are also certain drafting problems with the Bill generally. We noted, for instance, that clauses 12 and 13 and then 26 and 28 are not in conformity with the existing laws such as the Criminal Procedure Code and we think that the draftsperson should relook at these clauses and make them consistent with our existing laws.

Mr. Speaker, there is also this problem with the composition of the human trafficking task force which we recommend should be changed to a management board. The problem is that the hon. Minister under whose ambit this board is supposed to work has been made the Chairperson. In our view, we do not think it is right that the hon. Minister chairs the board that normally should be advising her on issues relating to human trafficking. And so we think that if we should retain the proposal as the Committee has made then this board should rather advise the Government of Ghana on issues of trafficking instead of

advising the hon. Minister under whom they are supposed to work.

Mr. Speaker, we think also that we should include an official of the National Security Council. This is because at that level they are able to intercept intelligence earlier than all the other security agencies. And we think that somebody from the National Security Council would be more useful, and effective to the work on this National Human Trafficking Management Board than any other person.

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking also as a media person. I think in this matter the inclusion of a media person on the board will not be out of place because we need information to work with. We need to publicize the work of this board and also human trafficking issues generally in Ghana. And I think that it would be worthwhile if we added somebody, that is, a media practitioner on the board.

Mr. Speaker, I noted also that the -- I should have spoken about it earlier but pardon me. The definition of the Bill itself is problematic. And I am saying this because the definition does not take care of the socio-cultural dynamics of the Ghanaian society which makes it imperative on well-to-do members of the family to cater for or foster children or relatives who are in very deprived situations. I am saying this because under clause 2 -- I think it is clause 2 -- I am not sure. But there is a clause which provides that the consent of a parent or a guardian in a situation where somebody is taken from an area to another is not a defect against prosecution.

If we approve this Bill in this form, then it means that most of us in Ghana will be guilty of this thing and so instead of solving one problem, we are going to perpetuate poverty in our various areas we come from, in our various families. I
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDc - North Dayi) 1:05 p.m.

am saying this because if I am going to be prosecuted for offering a helping hand to a family member who normally would not have got the kind of care that he or she would get back home, then I might as well not go in to offer this helping hand. And I think that we should not totally neglect or ignore our socio-cultural dynamics; there is need for us to capture this so that we would make the law implementable and also help to maintain some of the good practices that we have in our socio-cultural system.

Mr. Speaker, the other problem that we had was that we did not hold a very exhaustive consultation with the necessary stakeholders. I am saying this because all the agencies, the documents that we relied upon to discuss this Bill were secondhand information. We had wanted to tour some of the identifiable sites where human trafficking is practised in this country, speak to the victims and also speak to the perpetrators, but unfortunately the Committee was not resourced to do this kind of work, and I think that this is not too good for us.

We think that the issue of human trafficking should have been given the necessary support as has been given to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee. Mr. Speaker, we on the Committee thought that the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs -- [Interruption.] Why?
Mr. Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Hon. Member, continue.
Ms. Dansua 1:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, all I am saying is that the Committee did not get the necessary support as we should have been given to enable us do our work because in the same way that the
Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has been resourced to do a national consultation on the People's Representation (Amendment) Bill, we also thought that the same assistance should have been given us to enable us do a very exhaustive work but this did not happen and I think that next time the Leadership of Parliament should try as much as possible to give equal support to committees to enable them do their work.
Mr. K. T. Hammond 1:05 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, she just summed up but I think you would permit me to raise a point. It should have been a point of order.
Mr. Speaker -- [Some hon. Members: No!] It is important; it is of general application so please -- Mr. Speaker, it is of some importance so -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister, there is no hon. Member on the floor at the moment for you to invoke this provision of the Standing Orders so you may resume your seat and at the appropriate time catch my eye.
Deputy Minister for Education
and Sports (Mrs. Angelina Baiden- Amissah): Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the motion on the floor of the House and in so doing I wish to say that several interventions have been made with regard to human trafficking and especially child trafficking from the year 2001 and to date.
Mr. Speaker, I remember very well going to a market and meeting a lot of very tiny children, aged 6, 7 up to 18, and any
time I wanted to conduct a research to find out more about them and to gather enough information from them I would put on my cloth and my headgear so that I would look just like anybody in the market. During that time I would get a lot of information from them.
Mr. Speaker, children as young as six (6) years carry a big load, who have been trafficked from the north to the Makola Market, to Accra, just to carry a load which is bigger than the child herself and most of the time it affected the girls.
Mr. Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Hon. Member for Ayawaso East, you are out of order.
Mrs. Baiden-Amissah 1:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, he wants to know whether I also -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Please, continue.
Mrs. Baiden-Amissah 1:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would go on. What I mean is that if we continue with the trend of people giving birth without responsible fathers, what do we expect to see in the near future?
After going round and finding out exactly the reason for their being brought down, I came and informed the Committee on Gender and Children. At that time, 2003, I was chairing the Committee; and we moved to the prone areas. It is rather unfortunate that the present Committee was not resourced enough to move to those areas but some of us are still on the Committee so we made interventions here and there, referring to our previous experience.
Mr. Speaker, we moved to Tolon, we moved to Kumbungu, and we asked the women or the parents if they were aware that their children were going through child abuses and they said, “no”. Then why did they send their children out? They said it was due to poverty and that there was no work in those deprived areas and that was the reason why they sent those children out. So we made them aware of what was happening and even told them that they would be brought back.
We also moved to the fishing commu- nities, interacted with them and it was the same thing; they felt that in their area they could not get enough catch so they had to send them out to go and do some fishing, trying to help the families.
Mr. Speaker, I said that several interventions had taken place. I know that the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs from 2001 to date have been visiting prone sites; they even went to the extent -- I remember hon. Mrs. Asmah went to the extent of visiting those areas and causing parents to bring them back.
The Ministry paid for their transport back and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also did a lot in that regard. It even became necessary for the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to buy school uniforms, books, even sandals and bags to give to the children who had been trafficked and who we wanted to continue with schooling or to
Mrs. Baiden-Amissah 1:15 p.m.

start attending school.

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of laws in Ghana as regards children and humans, for example, the Criminal Code (Amendment) is there to check child abuses. Mr. Speaker, the new Labour Law is talking about the child starting around age 15. Even that one, it is on light duties.

Mr. Speaker, the type of work that these trafficked children do is more than what their bodies can absorb and it affects them mentally and socially. It is for this reason that we feel that we must pass the Human Trafficking Bill, not only child trafficking, human, because women are also trafficked; children are trafficked, even some boys are trafficked. So if we pass this Bill, it will criminalise the effect of moving people from their original places to other places. So the Human Trafficking Bill is talking about or is criminalizing both internal trafficking and cross-border trafficking.

When it happens this way, the police is not able to take hold of any law so that the right punishment could be meted out to such offenders and also whatever rehabilitation is to be given to the victims -- So by passing this Human Trafficking Bill, I think it will help all of us in the country; it will help our children to remain where their parents are; and attend school so that they grow up to come and help with the development of the nation.

Women who are also moving here and there in search of greener pastures who later realise that they have been fooled -- let me use the word -- “fooled” so that instead of going to work they only go and do prostitution -- With this Bill, I believe that all these negative things would be curtailed and Ghana will occupy its right place as far as its women, girls and boys
Mrs. Baiden-Amissah 1:15 p.m.

are concerned.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for this intervention.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu (NDc -- central Tongu) 1:15 p.m.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the chance to make a contribution to this Bill. Mr. Speaker, the motion on the Bill seeks to bring Ghana into the limelight of countries which have taken steps to prevent human trafficking. The situation is more prevalent in developing countries and especially in our side of the world.
Mr. Speaker, as noted, the driving force behind this human trafficking is economic factor; basically it is poverty-driven and I want to associate myself with the steps being taken under the Bill to bring punitive measures to prevent the activities that currently take place. This Bill is timely but Mr. Speaker, we need to be circumspect in the administrative structures connected with the operations of these anti-human trafficking activities.
Mr. Speaker, this is because if you look at the operational structures, the pivot of the agency connected with these activities is the Department of Social Welfare which is located in the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment. Mr. Speaker, this Social Welfare Department is to be responsible for the rescue of trafficked persons, temporary care of trafficked persons, counselling of trafficked persons; tracing of the families of trafficked persons; rehabilitation of trafficked persons and generally it is the co-ordinating agency for these activities. Mr. Speaker, but the Ministry which is supposed to be co-ordinating this human trafficking activities is the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at the situation of the activities that drive people to
move either internally or externally, it is poverty and mostly it is located in the rural communities. Mr. Speaker, but if you look at the operational structures of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, apart from the main Ministry in Accra it does not have structures at the regional, district and our local communities.
Mr. Speaker, at the committee level, this issue came up strongly. Even the consultants on the project and other co-operative agencies saw the need to locate the Ministerial responsibility with the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment but we were told that it was a Cabinet decision. Mr. Speaker, this is a situation which if we do not take care of, we would be subjecting this important agency to bureaucracy which will not make it effective in the implementation of activities for the control of the human trafficking efforts.
As noted by one hon. Colleague, it is not only women and children that are trafficked. Men are equally trafficked, and for that matter if we are only looking at the fact that women and children are the dominant people who suffer under this Act and for that matter locating the Ministry under the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, Mr. Speaker, I envisage a bureaucratic tendency which will eventually paralyse the effective operations of the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, if it is envisaged that the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs is a new Ministry which does not have many things on hand and for that matter we want to give it responsibility in terms of these activities, then that may be a very noble idea. But seriously, I envisage the situation of running into bureaucracy in terms of the factors that are connected with this Bill.
With these comments, I want to associate myself with the Bill and want to give indication that at the Consideration Stage it would be necessary to come in with amendments to revisit some of these situations. Thank you.
Senior Minister (Mr. J. H. Mensah): Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a short contribution to the consideration of this Bill at this stage in order to draw attention to a few cautions that we must observe on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, there is developing around us a certain constituency of people who are making a profession of curing these social ills. There are a lot of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) spending a lot of money under a lot of international operators who are trying to help to get rid of these abuses of human rights. But Mr. Speaker, the danger with this new profession is this, that in order to justify their own profession, they must first affirm that a problem exists to be resolved. Therefore, we are in danger of setting up straw men and then shooting at them and so on.
The other day, there was published in the Daily Graphic here an article by a foreigner and I was amazed that the Daily Graphic published that article on its editorial page; and this article asserts that the exploitation of child labour is endemic to Ghanaian society. This big statement criminalizing the whole Ghanaian society for the exploitation of child labour was obviously based upon an extreme view of how children should be brought up.
Mr. Speaker, your people, the Fantis learned from the white men long ago how to fry -- baking an egg with butter and it became a tradition that when you wanted to prepare a young girl for marriage who did not have the opportunity of formal
Mr. J. K. Gidisu (NDc -- central Tongu) 1:25 p.m.

education, you sent them to live with a Fante lady so that they might learn how to make cakes and so on.

Mr. Speaker, this is a perfectly legitimate and genuine way of preparing people for life. Mr. Speaker, if in the process the woman was frying togbee and the child had to go and sell togbee. Mr. Speaker, this was learning how to be a caterer without formally going to catering school and in later life, many of these girls school to be the people who run the chop bars and cook food for workers from the roadside and so on. So I am particularly anxious that the provisions of this Bill shall create a management situation where people with discrimination are involved in administering the law so that we do not have this extreme interpretations and wrongful interpretations of the process that we are observing.

The economic situation of some communities, for instance, our fishing communities in the Fante areas, when it deteriorated and the cost of nets and so on for sea fishing was going very high, some of the communities migrated to the Volta where they were more able to catch the fish. Now, a young boy in a fishing village growing up traditionally would have followed the old men to sea from time to time and learned to be a fisherman.

I am saying th is because the Government is very anxious about the proper structuring of apprenticeship for young people. There is no way you can learn to be a good carpenter without working with a carpenter at a bench, with a saw and a plane, and so on. But where do we draw the line between the exploitation of that young man and his apprenticeship to carpentry or to fishing?
Mr. J. K. Gidisu (NDc -- central Tongu) 1:25 p.m.

And so in administering this Act, I am making a plea that the House looks at the administrative provisions again and see if there is a task force which is made up of officials -- representatives of this or that.

I think that the sociological require- ments for the proper administration of the Act go beyond the normal mindsets and inclinations of officials of that set. And so I think that at the Consideration Stage of this Bill, we might do well for ourselves by looking at this implementing machinery and bringing to bear some experiences and properly discriminating viewpoints as to how we are going to bring up this Bill.

As for the criminal aspects, certainly, slavery was abolished by law a long time ago, and it is tending to come back by the backdoor through this human traffic; and certainly we have problems. If you go to Paris, in some of the prostitution quarters, you hear them speaking Twi, and if you go to the sea front in Amsterdam where they are displaying human flesh for sale in windows, too many of our people get caught up in that traffic. Therefore, there is the need for a legislation to stop that practice.

But there is also the need in applying that legislation and sometimes you cannot write in advance, all the contingencies and nuances that would arise, and that is why I am very anxious that in passing this Bill, we look at the implementation machinery so that we would deal with the cases on their merits and not be subjected to these wild generalizations of certain would-be do-gooders who want to criminalize the whole of Ghanaian society.

Mr. Speaker, in the provision of penalties and so on, we must be harsh against human trafficking, but in finding out whether there is human trafficking or not, we must be discriminatory and wise. This is the caution that mostly, I want to bring to this discussion at this stage.

Let me say before I end that the

consequences of not administering this Bill well could be quite grave. The other day, there was a movement in America to boycott chocolate made with Ghana cocoa, on the grounds of a report in some American newspapers that the West African Cocoa Industry was being run with exploited child labour, trafficked labour, and so on and so forth, as a slave industry, while it is not.

Our cocoa industry is not a slave industry and in administering this Bill, I hope we will make it clear to our friends that they are welcome to help us to avoid human trafficking, but they are not welcome to criminalize Ghanaian society on the grounds of the arrangements that we have made for earning our living.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho (NDc -- Avenor- Ave) 1:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion. I see this Bill as a very important Bill and I congratulate the senior Minister who just spoke because some of my concerns were adequately canvassed by him.
Mr. Speaker, my worry, however, is the way we are handling this Bill. I do not want to believe that there is some pressure being put on the Government to pass this Bill as early as possible for some other benefits somewhere. If you read the Memorandum to the Bill, you will notice that Ghana as a country has not even ratified the United Nations Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons. And I am wondering why up till now, as a House, this matter has not been put before this House for ratification. Indeed, if it has, and then we are getting this Bill, then we would also know the commitment that the Government has made with regard to that Protocol, vis-a- vis the Bill that we are looking at today. But that is not to be.
Mr. Speaker, you would notice that some few minutes ago we suspended the Standing Orders. Mr. Speaker, we got the
report today and I am wondering whether we can do substantial justice to this Bill. It is a very important Bill and we have to make sure that we come out with a Bill that can stand the test of time. For me, that is my greatest worry with the Bill because it is very, very important.
Mr. Speaker, you would notice from the Committee's Report that right from. paragraph 1 of the Committee's Report, amendments started. This is a 17-page Report of the Committee and you will notice that amendments started from page 4 and ended at page 17 of the Report. So it is sending a certain signal as if the Bill is being rushed through; but the proponents of the Bill have not even seriously tried to look at it before bringing it to this House. I do not think that there is anybody in this House that would kick against this Bill; we all support this Bill; we must all support this Bill but we must all fashion out this Bill so that it can, at the end of the day, serve the purpose for which it has been introduced into this House.
Mr. Speaker, I doubt how many of us, apart from Committee members, have even read the Committee's Report, given the time it was distributed this morning on the floor of the House up till the point this debate is going on. But my expectation is that, in spite of all these defects -- this is a 43-clause Bill and if you look at the number of amendments, it is a bit worrying.

Mr. Speaker, I think that this is a

good Bill and I believe Members of this House who have taken time to work on the Bill would make sure that they bring amendments that would improve upon it. I have read the Committee's Report; I have tried to look at the Bill and still it is my considered opinion that a lot of work needs to be done to polish this Bill so as to serve the purpose for which it has been introduced. And listening to the hon. Majority Leader it appears that we may even have to take the Consideration Stage tomorrow; and that is where the problem will be coming from.

I believe that this is a very very important Bill; and as the hon. Senior Minister said, our cultural and sociological backgrounds must be taken into account in all these matters. We have customary mode of adoption and we have the statutory mode of adoption. How do we make sure that the customary one does not turn into criminalization as the hon. Minister indicated in his submission?

Mr. Speaker, I believe that we would do a better work to improve on the Bill. Subject to these comments and reservations, I support the motion.
Mr. Speaker 1:25 p.m.
Hon. Minister for Fisheries, I hope you are winding up.
Minister for Fisheries (Mrs. Gladys Asmah) 1:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is just a small contribution, and I will be very brief.
Mr. Speaker, I am personally happy that this Bill that has been on the drawing board for sometime is now in Parliament for ratification. Mr. Speaker, for us it is welcome news, but to side with my hon. Sister, hon. Akua Dansua, human trafficking in this country is not as bad as we are imagining it to be. We are a country
with a cultural background and many children as the hon. Senior Minister said, were trained by their aunties and uncles but why is it now that we are having such a phenomenon in this country that mothers or parents are happy to give their children to people whom they do not know to take them away?
Mr. Speaker, in some countries in the Far East, people are abducted and sent to camps where they are used as prostitutes and also to do some menial jobs. For instance in Cambodia, according to the United Nation's report, eight hundred thousand women were abducted, and carted by trucks and sent to military camps as prostitutes. Do we have that situation in this country? We do not but whatever is there, the little that we have in the country, we must make sure that we stop it; and I am happy that the Bill is here finally for it to be passed.
Mr. Speaker, when a person reports sick at the hospital, the doctor first diagnoses the ailment and then applies the proper treatment to the ailment. Mr. Speaker, I had the occasion of going to Walewale in the Northern Region in 2002 and twenty- four children who were being sent down south had an accident and the District Chief Executive (DCE) took them back home. I asked him to call a meeting with the parents and the children and we had that meeting at the assembly hall where I met the parents of these twenty- four children together with the children themselves. So I asked them why they wanted to send their children down south to places that they did not even know, and they said it was nothing but poverty.
It rains only once in the north and when the dry season comes and there is not much to eat, traffickers go and entice them with money and they give these children to them. So I asked what they want us to do

to stop them from sending their children down south. They said, “bring us agro- processing machines”, which we did. Two billion cedis was used in purchasing agro-processing machines for the women in Walewale and today, I am happy to say that they are asking their children to come back home and help them, as children help their parents all the time. Therefore, the proper treatment when given to this ailment would stop them.

Mr. Speaker, our extended family system, as the hon. Senior Minister has said, has enabled us to educate a lot of children. Even though we are passing the law, we know that at the end of the day when we apply the right measures that the Government is trying to do with poverty reduction programmes, it would solve a lot of the problems; and this would be a redundant law because Ghanaians are very adaptable. The moment we know the law is there, and people are being helped to reduce their poverty levels that makes them send their children down south or to fishing areas to fish, it would be solved.

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations declared this year as the year of macro- credit, knowing that it is the poverty that we have in our part of the world that is destroying the lives of the people, and we hope that after passing this law and making sure that people's lives go on without poverty, the UN would help us put in more micro-credit programmes to support parents who have the tendency of trafficking their children to places where they themselves do not even know.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for this and I know that since it is not a controversial law, all of us would pass it and make sure that we put the necessary interventions there to stop people from trafficking in humans.

Question put and motion agreed to.

The Human Trafficking Bill was accordingly read a Second time.
Mr. Speaker 3:30 p.m.
Hon. Members, we may now suspend Sitting for an hour, we shall resume at three o'clock on the dot.
The Sitting was suspended at 1.40 p.m.

Sitting resumed.
Mr. Speaker 3:30 p.m.
Leadership, what is the next item, please?
Mr. Felix owusu-Adjapong 3:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, we would like to take the Addendum and handle this Report on the HIPC Funds. Luckily, your Second Deputy Speaker is the Chairman of that Committee.
Mr. Speaker 3:30 p.m.
We will take item 1 -- Motions -- Chairman of the Committee?
Suspension of Standing order 80 (1)
chairman of the committee (Alhaji Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu): 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 Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Utilisation of HIPC Funds for the year 2005 may be moved today.
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 3:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Alhaji Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu 3:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Utilisation of HIPC Funds for the year 2005.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to present the Committee's Report by just referring to the relevant portions and request that the Hansard captures the whole Report.
1.0 Introduction
1.1 The Appropriation Act, 2005, Act 688 stipulates in section 3 that “HIPC financed expenditure shall be classified under programmes or activities (other than Personal Emoluments (that is Item 1)) and submitted to Parliament for approval”.
Pursuant to this requirement and in accordance with article 179 (2) of the Constitution, the proposals for the Utilisation of Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Funds was laid in the House on Thursday, 21st July 2005 by hon. Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning on behalf of the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
The Paper was subsequently referred by Mr. Speaker to the Committee of the Whole in accordance with the Constitution and Standing Orders of the House for consideration and report.
1.2 The Committee held one sitting to consider the proposed allocations and benefited from further clarifications by
the Deputy Minister, hon. Dr. A. A. Osei.
2.0 Reference Documents
i. The Appropriation Act, 2005, Act 688
ii. The Official Report (of the House), Friday, 18th March 2005
iii. Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992
iv. Standing Orders of the House
3.0 Projected HIPc Receipts and Proposed Allocations
The total receipts for the HIPC Fund in 2005 is projected at ¢1,992.9 billion, made up of various debt relief amounts from creditors. It is meant to be additional budgetary support for the implementation of programmes/activities linked to targets set under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The memorandum submitted to the House set out the global percentage allocations of the HIPC Funds as follows:
Programme Proposed Percentage
Allocation (¢bn) Allocation
1. Domestic Debt Interest Payment
2. Sectoral Programmes/Activities
1,195.7 60
3. District Assemblies
199.3 10
4. Contingency
1,992.9 100
Below is a graph presentation of the allocations.
The memorandum further detailed out the allocations by Sectoral Programmes/ Activities as follows:
Sectoral Programmes/Activities Allocations (¢bn)
1. Trade and Industry