Debates of 8 Mar 2006

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings for Tuesday, 7th March, 2006 -- Pages 1, 2,
3 - 9 --
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh 10:05 a.m.
Speaker, on page 10, concerning the meeting of the Joint Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Local Government and Rural Development, (iii), under “Attendance”, it is “ William Ofori Boafo” and not “William Oforo Boafo”.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Thank you. Page 11.
Hon. Members we do not have any issue of the Official Report.
Item 3, Questions, the hon. Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing --
Mr. David Asumeng 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I still would want to draw your attention to Order 48, which I think all of us are aware of and so maybe, I need not quote --
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Are you referring to quorum?
Mr. Asumeng 10:05 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Yes, we are still under private business and we hope in ten minutes' time, we will have the quorum.
Mr. Asumeng 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear on the stand that you have taken now.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Are you saying that we cannot wait for ten minutes?
Mr. Asumeng 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we can wait.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
We cannot?
Mr. Asumeng 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we can.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Yes, so we will wait for ten minutes.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if I may crave your indulgence, the hon. Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing is within the vicinity of the House. He is attending to a very serious and urgent business - [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker, what I was saying was the truth though I cannot disclose it here. But what I was saying was the absolute truth. Fortunately, he is here with us.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Majority Chief Whip, we are doing serious business in this House. You should know that.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know, but as I said this was extra serious business - [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Majority Chief Whip, we are doing extra serious business in this House as well - [Laughter.]



Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing (Mr. Hackman Owusu- Agyemang) 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, the policy decision was made two years back that we should sell these low-coast houses in most cases to sitting tenants. Action has been taken and consultants are on the field, putting the final touches to the documentation which would be required for such sales.
Mr. Speaker, it is expected that at the end of this first quarter, we would have submitted the report and we would have found the way forward. Meanwhile, as additional information, we have had to constantly review the modus for doing these things, and this is precisely what we are doing. Indeed, we will sell those houses to the sitting tenants, in most cases, and when this is done, the whole world will know that it was done as transparently as possible.
Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to know from the hon. Minister whether this exercise reflects the concept of property-owning democracy, since my constituents are yearning to have a taste of it.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is the desire of every individual, no matter what system that person believes in, that eventually he or she would own his or her own property. Obviously, if you belong to our tradition and our philosophy of life, it is much easier. So, indeed, that is precisely what we are doing. But the important thing is that those who are in the premises are those who will benefit from them so that we do not create slums in some of these areas; because very precisely, these low-coast houses are in some instances right in the center of the various cities.
So we are taking a second look at the possibility of modernizing these houses. If we do, our assurance is that those who are now sitting in these properties, as sitting tenants, will not be in any way disadvantaged. Their rights, their privileges will not be in any way tampered with.
Mr. Felix Twumasi-Appiah 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister, in his Answer said that every single individual may want to acquire his or her own property and it is, indeed, much easier if you belong to their tradition own property such as the one that the hon. Member is talking about?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was talking about aspirations of every individual and I am sure the hon. Member heard me right. This is the aspiration. I believe that even if you belong to the so-called socialist school of thinking you would still want to own property. He has been to Cuba; he has been to Russia and even there, Mr. Speaker, the ultimate aspiration of every individual is to own property. What I said was that if you belonged our school of thought it was a lot more easy and exciting.
Mr. Lee Ocran 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, looking at the area where the Question is about -

Anaji, Effia-Kumah No. I and II - if you take Effa-Kumah, the houses were put up during the First Republic. In fact, some pre-date even the First Republic; and some of them are in a terrible state of disrepair. Meanwhile, these areas are becoming town centers. Would it not be more prudent for these people to be resettled elsewhere and the land developed into high-rise buildings that will accommodate more people and which will be more modern than the present development of Effia- Kumah?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my dear hon. Member for Jomoro, maybe, was not listening. I did say that in certain instances - in fact, I did say that they have become the center of activities in some of the places and we are therefore looking at the possibility of indeed knocking down these houses and putting up more high- rise, or more modern facilities. I did say that in such instances for those who are now sitting tenants, their interests would no way be compromised. In other words, plans are far advanced but we wanted to start before we convey it. Those people who are now living in these old low- coast houses will then be put into the new premises.
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, consultants are going round the whole country. But if you look at the rural areas, in particular where new districts are being created, particularly public servants would

need accommodation. Is this exercise going to be extended to all areas or it will be selective such that we will still maintain a few that are in these deprived areas?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the exercise and the consultants' interventions refer specifically to these low-cost houses. So indeed, if some districts have them, and I know because I have received the first inspection report s indicating that they do have them, then they will be subjected to the same treatment. For the new districts, accommodation would have to be provided and fortunately as far as this is concerned, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. But within the context of the programme of affordable houses we will go to every district eventually. When we go to the regions, these districts will then benefit from them.
Mr. Speaker, we have received a lot of offers for land from the District Assemblies and we are working on them, perfecting the documentation on them. When we get some funds, we would definitely do that.

Re-designation of the Ministry of Works and Housing (Implications)

Q. 422. Mr. John Ndebugre asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing what the implications of the re- designation of his Ministry as the Ministry for Water Resources, Works and Housing have for the nation's economy.
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in interpreting the Question, I presumed that my hon. Colleague wanted to know whether the Ministry spent any resources, money on stationery, and so on and so forth, in respect of the change in
name. If that interpretation is right, Mr. speaker, then I would want to assure him that there was no cost to the Ministry and the country. All the letter heads within the period preceeding the change were computer generated. However, I am happy to note that the change has rather put Ghana on the global water map, so to speak. Hitherto, people who wanted to know what to do and where Water Resource was located could not even do that; the action has now led to an added focus on water.
Mr. Speaker, in recent times, the International Community has focused strongly on the provision of potable water to communities in the developing countries as a means of reducing poverty and tackling water related and water borne diseases. From the World Summit on sustainable development through the UN Millennium Development Goals, NEPAD, African Development Bank, European Union, and ECOWAS, etc. “water facilities” are being created to promote the international concern of providing safe drinking water to Africa especially.
Mr. Speaker, our donor partners have strongly made the point of clearly indicating the “Seat” of water in our nation's administrative configuration and to be in line with recent trends.
The purpose of the re-designation, Rt. Hon. Speaker, was to send a signal to our development partners of our readiness, to focus, act and play our role in the global effort to provide the needed support to comprehensive water development. Giving some prominence to water in a re- designated Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, signifies Ghana's readiness to play its appropriate role in the evolving enhancement in the regional
and sub-regional water framework as evidenced by the water activities of NEPAD, African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), and the envisaged Water Sector unit of ECOWAS; as well as the Africa Development Bank water Facility and the European Union/African water initiative.
Mr. Speaker, the designation of Ministry of Works and Housing did not capture the emphasis on water as it was subsumed by “works”, leading to doubts and sometimes confusion in the minds of our development partners and other collaborators.
Mr. Speaker, the re-designated name gives water the prominence it deserves in the present global scheme of things.
Mr. Ndebugre 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the Minister whether the re-designation has led to the establishment of a new department or new departments of the Ministry.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the answer is an emphatic “no”. There was already a Water Directorate in the Ministry. Visit there, and we are strengthening the water directorate because we have to take care of urban water and rural water and we have to coordinate this, as well as even the water bodies that are within our country and the basins. So we have not established any additional department but what we seek to do is to strengthen the Water Directorate in the Ministry.
Mr. Ndebugre 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the Minister whether it would not be prudent to establish a department in the Water Resources sector or section of the Ministry to deal directly with Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the donor development partners he has talked about in his Answer.
Mr. OwusuAgyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the present arrangement responds adequately to our concerns and the need to sharpen our delivery processes with the water sector. There is no need to establish a department because, call it what you may, a water directorate functions like a department of water. What happens in many a country is that “water resources” by itself is a Ministry. Here we have, sort of, put it together with public works and housing; but that in no way detracts from it. Indeed, most of the funding that we have in the rural water sector, 96 per cent of it is funded by donors.
And we have been working effectively with them since 1994, and Ghana Water Company is also being effectively sharpened. So in the process, I believe that we have what it takes now; the present arrangement is adequate to take care of it. If it becomes necessary for any reason to re-designate to do anything else, we would do that. But for the moment, for effective administration and also to save cost we have the Water Directorate, which is performing well so there is no need to add any structures. They liaise effectively with the donors and the NGOs and there has been no problem whatsoever.
Mr. Ndebugre 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister whether having regard to the extensive answers he has given to the main Question as well as to my three supplementary questions, would he wish to revise his position that my Question was merely dealing with expenditure on stationery relating letter-headed forms.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I prefaced my Answer by saying that that was my interpretation of his Question, but so that our people would be apprised of what was going on, I took the liberty of being perhaps over-generous with my
Answers. I can provide a whole lot of information. So if I have done that out of the abundance of the goodwill in my heart, I hope that my hon. Friend will take it as such and see that next time we are in the same track.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister the relationship between the Water Resources Commission, the Water Directorate that he has referred to and, indeed, the Ministry.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Water Resources Commission is set up by an Act. It seeks to regulate the use of water in our country. It gives licences to those who want to operate in the water sector, including the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWA) and Ghana Water. It is an agency under our Ministry but it is autonomous. It has a Commission and a Chairman and they are the regulators, if you like, the custodians of what we should be doing to our water bodies, and what have you. So it is an agency, they report to us.
The Water Directorate is situated in the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and that is the coordinating arm. For example, the Water Resources Commission is in charge of, say, the basin work - various water basins - but if they report we have to make sure that together with Community Water and sanitation Agency (GWSC), together with Ghana Water, we are singing the same song. So it is just an agency within and it in no way conflicts by way of job description and what they are supposed to do. That is an autonomous body but it reports through the Ministry to His Excellency the President.
Mr. C. S. Hodogbey 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my Question to the hon. Minister is, what significantly is in the name? This is because I presume the water department
was part of his Ministry. Does the name change necessarily make any difference in terms of effectiveness; because today even though the name has changed there is more shortage of water in all cities and villages. What are his plans to correct this?
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Member for North Tongu, how many questions are you asking? [Laughter.] Ask one question and let the Minister answer it.
Mr. Hodogbey 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is since they have now changed the name, what plans does he have as far as shortage of water in our main cities and the areas is concerned?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I did say on the floor of this august House that there was something in a name. I did say that the change or the re-designation in the name was to give an added emphasis to the importance of water in our daily existence. I also said it was to assist visitors and our own countrymen to locate and identify water within the governmental configuration. I also did say that in the past, water had been subsumed by “Works” and for that matter nobody really knew whether one particular Ministry, or what have you was taking care of it although within the terms of reference of the Ministry of Works and Housing at that time, it was supposed to cover water. For the avoidance of doubt, and to provide clarity, that is why we did that. And again, that is the modern trend of managing the system, and that once you did that, there were several initiatives and the donors were also very pleased with what we have done. I believe that it did not take away anything, it rather added emphasis to a very vital sector.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Minister what the change in name has resulted in, in practical terms since he said the confusion in the minds of their collaborators has been removed. So what have they got in return, directly?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I heard my good Friend, he was on Radio this morning that even if the name did not result in anything; it provided clarity as to how water was being taken care of. I believe that there have been a lot of instances where if you go back into the history there were only twoMinistries in this country. In most countries, there was the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs even took, care of education, roads, hospitals and everything. But as we develop, we apportion these things and so this particular re-designation, Mr. Speaker, was meant to give that focus and clarity to the situation. As far as I am concerned, even if we do not get anything back, it is not a big deal. But the important thing is that we have gotten a lot of benefits already. Those of them who are in contact with NGOs and the development partners would attest to it; and a lot of my Friends from the opposite side know this and they are very happy that we are giving that added emphasis and focus to water. I believe that this is the right thing to do.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question was simple; what has been the response of our development partners and collaborators who hitherto were confused because of what was in a name. What have they got in response?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if he claims they were confused, now they are ‘unconfused'. I said there was no immediate indication as to where water was being handled, and for clarity and focus it is now there. So if they were confused, they are now ‘unconfused'.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Question No. 423 -- Hon. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, hon. Member for Wa Central?
Q. 432. Mr. Abdul Rashid Pelpuo Potable Water Supply to Wa Municipality
asked the Minster for Water Resources, Works and Housing when the endemic problem of potable water supply to Wa Municipality would be solved.
Mr. Owusu- Agyemang 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the current source of water for Wa; the capital of the Upper West Region, is
groundwater, which is extracted from sixteen (16) boreholes.
Existing Situation
Mr. Speaker, the water yield from the sixteen (16) boreholes is not enough to meet the current water demand.
Currently, the output from these boreholes is about 286,000 gallons per day (1,300m3/day) and the estimated present demand is about 1,760,000 gallons per day (8,000m3/day).
Proposed Improvements
Mr. Speaker, in the short-term, there is an approved programme to redevelop three of the existing boreholes to increase the daily water production to about 616,000 gallons per day (2,800m3/day). Minor improvements and extension of the distribution pipelines are also being undertaken at Wa Airstrip, Wa Konta, Wa Secondary School and Wa Abattoir to improve supply and reduce leakages. These interventions which are to start in April this year are being undertaken with internally generated funds of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) at a total cost of ¢952,118,000.00 (nine hundred and fifty-two million, one hundred and eighteen thousand cedis).
In the long-term, 3,300,000 gallons per day (15,000m3/day) surface water treatment plant is to be developed to meet the water demand through the year 2020. Messrs Aqua Engineering Limited. (formerly Vatech Wabeg) who won the bid in 2001 for implementation of this scheme are in discussions with Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) on financing the project at an estimated cost of US$35 million. The Technical Proposal is being reviewed by GWCL and the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning is also determining whether the terms of
Mr. Pelpuo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the difference between the water needs of Wa at 1,760,000 gallons and the present yield of 280,000 gallons is too big. Will the Minister agree that the present arrangement to increase it to 600 and something which is still far less than the present requirement is too small and that something needs to be done even now faster than what they are doing.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Wa issue is no different from any other. In this country, nationwide, we do not meet more than 53 per cent of our needs. Years, since colonial times, of neglect and lack of refurbishment and expansion have led to this state of affairs. So for starters, this is what we are able to do. There is a limit as to how much ground water you can draw. The aquifer are not inexhaustible and we believe that what we can do is what we are doing now. Unfortunately, as I said, the best coverage is about nationwide - average is about 53 per cent - so this difficulty would be with us for a while; and that is why we are anxious to start and later fashion out a programme before the end of this year. As I said I am happy to announce that we are making a lot of progress. These are things that we should have done years ago, which we did not do;
Mr. Pelpuo 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the problem of water supply in Wa is far more grievous than what appears to be demonstrated here. Areas in Wa, like Kpaguri, Mangu, Sombo, which are just at the present residency where the Regional Minister is and Dopieni and parts of Zongo and Kabanye are within Wa and still there is no pipe-borne water, nothing; and the situation is becoming serious. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether as a temporary measure we cannot ensure that there are boreholes in these specific areas before we think about the grand plan which takes us up to the year 2020 when the effective work would be done to supply Wa with surface water, as he indicated in his response.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we are not oblivious of the gravity of the situation in Wa and indeed in my own Koforidua-Effiduase. We are addressing the issue. We would rehabilitate these boreholes and see how best we can It is due to the fact that resources are limited but I will take his point that if we can, we should try and sink more boreholes. The aquifers, as I said are not inexhaustible; we will do the best that we can. Indeed, the crash programme that is to take place even around Accra is expensive but within the resource constraints that we have, we will do the best that we can. But the one that we are going to do in Wa, would take us up to the year 2020. In other words, it will take our water needs until 2020. If we start, another two years, it will come on stream. It is not as if we are going to give him that water in the year 2020, if I understood him well. We will start working on it and in two years finish it; and then by the year 2020 we would have no difficulties, and Wa water issues would be over. That is what I was saying.
Mr. Pelpuo 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my specific question is whether we cannot have boreholes so that people can go and mechanically fetch the water in the five areas that I have mentioned, which are very critical areas as far as water supply is concerned. In the past there had been cholera outbreak in these areas Can we not relax the rules of rural water supply to only rural areas by the installation of boreholes, by bringing them to the urban periphery and in these specific areas?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the point is well taken and well made. We have in the North - The Upper West Region might get a programme of sinking boreholes and I believe it is possible to find some funds to do a couple of them. We will ask the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) to look into that possibility and sink some of these boreholes which would be used in due course. But I believe that the programmes that we are doing - We will try and see how best we can extend it and if the hon. Member would give me the specific locations - the line was not too clear - I will instruct CWSA to look into that possibility.
Mr. J. Y. Chireh 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the long-term, arrangements to provide water for Wa Municipality, the hon. Minister indicated that surface water would be considered. I want to find out from the hon. Minister where the source of this water is likely to be from, and whether it is not possible that my constituency which houses and borders the plentiful water source will not be considered.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what is the question again? I could not hear.
Mr. Chireh 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am saying that we have the Black Volta, which is the border line between us and Burkina Faso to the West of Wa; and that has a lot of water. I do not know the source of the surface water that he is talking about in the long term. I want to find out whether the possibility is where I am thinking of, which will also provide my constituency and the constituency facilities there with this water. What is the source of the surface water?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have been there and if my memory serves me right, it would be taken from the Black Volta; and that would serve not only Wa West but the whole of - when you talk about Wa water, it means Wa and its environs; when you talk about Kumasi water it means Kumasi and its environs. The same applies to Cape Coast, Elmina and other places. It is just for the sake of convenience that -- It would serve his constituency.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Question No. 418, hon. Member for Gomoa West (Mr. Joe Kingsley Hackman).
Mr. J. K. Hackman 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I realize that this same Question had been answered on 24th January, but I realize that the hon. Minister has new information.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Thank you very much. I think the Question has been answered. You may resume your seat.
Phase II of Ho-Kpeve Water Works
Q. 420 Mr. Francis Agbotsey asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when the second phase of the Ho Kpeve Water Works to cover Sokode Abutia, Bame Dededo (Awudome), and Bame Anfoeta Saviefe would commence.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
as an aside, that was the real Hackman. The real Hackman saved me another repetition and I thank him very much for it. As far as Question No. 420 is concerned, Mr. Speaker, Speaker, the Kpeve Headworks supply water to Ho, the regional capital, Peki and 48 communities. The source of the water is the Volta Lake near Kpeve.
It has an initial production capacity of 4,004,000 gallons per day (18,200m3/ day) with a provision for future expansion to 7,018,000 gallons per day (31,900m3/ day).
Present Situation
Mr. Speaker, he daily demand for the coverage area is less than the present installed production capacity.
Proposed Improvements
Mr. Speaker, proposals for the extension of water supply to cover Sokode-Abutia, Bame-dededo (Awudome) and Bame Anfoeta-Saviefe are already available. Ghana Water company Limited (GWCL) is sourcing funding from the Government, private and other interested developers for the implementation of the project. Required funding is estimated at about US$5 million.
Right now we have not really identified a definite source.
Mr. Agbotse 10:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, my Question is based on the fact that we are aware that the proposal for the extension of water supply to cover these areas are aware that the proposal for the extension of water supply to cover these areas are already available. When will this commence? When will the hon. Minister start?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Speaker 10:55 p.m.
Question No. 421, hon. John Adjabeng, Member of Parliament for Agona East.
Mr. R. S. Quarm 10:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, he is indisposed and he has asked me to ask the Question on his behalf, if permission would be granted me.
Mr. Speaker 10:55 p.m.
All right, ask the Question.
421. Mr. R. S. Quarm (on behalf of Mr. John Agyabeng) asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing whether the rehabilitation works currently going on at the Kwanyarko water treatment plant would include the extension of good drinking water to numerous settlements in the catchment areas which are not linked to the Kwanyarko Water System.
Mr. Speaker, the Kwanyako water supply system serves Swedru, Senya Bereku, Bawjiase, Agona Nyakrom among other towns and villages. The source of water is the Ayensu River.
Present Situation
Rt. Hon. Speaker, the present installed capacity is about 3,080,000 gallons per day (14,000m3 /day), which is inadequate for the population. Currently, the output

at Kwanyaku is being expanded with the construction of a 4,620,000 gallons per day (21,000m3 /day), additional treatment plant. This is being funded by a grant from the Netherlands Government and a loan from the \Ghana Government. Works are progressing steadily and the progress to-date within 7 months about 45 per cent completion. The project is mainly to increase the water supply capacity to meet the demand of the year 2015. However, some minor distribution and transmission pipelines are to be rehabilitated to restore water supply to areas such as Bontrase, Kuntanase and Nkoransa, whose water supply has been interrupted as a result of road construction. Transmission pipelines would be replaced on the Kwanyaku- Swedru route as well.

Proposed Improvements

Mr. Speaker, in the short to medium term, GWCL is to source funds under the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget for Swedru, Aboso, Benso, Akroful, Akropon, Nyakrom, Kwanyaku, Senya Bereku, Osrachire, Bawjiase, Buduburam, Odoben and Nunkanase distribution and extension improvement.

It must be placed on record that villages outside the Distribution Coverage area cannot be connected because of the limitation in water source as the same river is being used for the Winneba Water Supply, which is close to Kwanyaku. Intervention to provide potable water to such communities could be made by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA). We have so instructed the CWSA to look into this option.

Mr. Speaker, in the long term, priority proposals are being prepared for Phase II of the current project for necessary

funding by the Netherlands Government and the Ghana Government, hopefully, for the execution of the distribution network extensions, which will involve the replacement of some main transmission pipeline extensions in the distribution network.
Mr. Quarm 10:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, cons- picuously missing in the list of names provided are communities like Nyanyanu, Fete, Buduburam and Quayekrom, which are all closely linked to the Kwanyarko Water Treatment System. I would humbly like to know from the hon. Minister whether it would be out of place to consider these communities alongside what he has already indicated
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, I have been to the site and I know that Nyanyanu - that name I remember - would be taken care of. I think the list was not exhaustive, but Nyanyanu especially has got a peculiar problem that we are hoping to even tackle as quickly as possible. But when the expansion system is done and under the various interventions as well as the Urban Water Supply Project, we would be able to lay quite a few networks.
The Winneba plant has excess capacity. So once we improve the two of them, if we find funding to lay the pipes, then we should be able to address the water systems in that area.
Indeed, the only major system in the Central Region which we are yet to tackle, I hope we are talking to the Danish Government for a mixed credit is the Agona System. Otherwise, all other areas in the Central Region would have been covered. So Nyanyanu and the towns that the hon. Member have been covered. So Nyanyanu and the towns that the hon. Member mentioned would be covered once we get money to expand the pipe
work system.
Alhaji Collins Dauda 10:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, in view of the enormous nature of water problems confronting this country and also the importance of ensuring the supply of potable water for every part of the country, I would want to find out from the hon. Minister if he has any plans of securing or negotiating for, for instance, a big loan for the supply of potable water as was done in the case of the presidential palace.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, past governments have neglected the water sector. That is the main reason why we are in this present situation. I did indicate that we would have spent in excess of half a billion dollars in two years for the expansion of water system. Yes, indeed, we are in the process of sourcing funds for the water system.
Firstly, for Accra, the major problem - $190 million, for Kpong. Again, Accra rural, Dodowa and its environs, we are going to have the Accra Rural Water (ARW) that is $90 million. Again, the three towns' water project which covers my brother-in-law's constituency is also being considered. In fact, for that particular one, tenders have already even gone out - [Interruption.] Hon. E. T. Mensah happens to be may adopted brother-in-law. Hon. E. T. Mensah's constituency - he happens to be an adopted brother-in-law and so we are covering that.
This morning I heard him on radio talking about it. We have such a massive programme for water development that we want to go beyond even the Millennium Development Goals. You would have noticed that the Millennium Development Goals say 75 per cent of water coverage by the year 2015. We are saying in our
GPRS, 85 per cent. And so we have to do a lot more work.
Indeed, in some African countries water has the highest budget.

I can tell him that in Nigeria water resources has $700 million this year; roads has $600 million and we are trying to catch up in investment in that sector; so we do have plans. As far as the Presidential Palace is concerned we are going on all fronts. I do not see the link between that and the water provision. I have told the hon. Member that we are indeed going to have massive interventions in the water sector for all parts of the country. We will not compromise that particular stance and I hope my hon. Friend would be happy with this Answer.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Minister for Water
STATEMENTS 11:05 a.m.

Mrs. Agnes A. Chigabatia (NPP - Builsa North) 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement and by doing that I wish to congratulate all women, especially the democratic First Ladies of Ghana, that is, the First Lady, Madam Fathia, the other lady, Madam Fulera and now our dynamic mother of Ghana, Her Excellency Madam Theresa Kufuor and the Second Lady, Hajia Ramatu and every - [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mrs. Chigabatia 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to state that we are using this day to highlight the progress of women. I must say that, for the past few years, women really did well, but we should not forget the problems affecting women. And I would use this forum to tell this honourable House the problems affecting the women of Builsa North in the ugly face of outmoded tradition, which is, widowhood rites. Mr. Speaker, this is another area of women abuse.
In the Builsa North nobody prays for the death of her husband. But any time a woman's husband dies, she is confined in a room; she is only covered with sheanut leaves to prevent the private parts from showing. And then in this room she is shaved with a sharp knife or blade. When one is not fortunate and there are about three or four wives, they use the same blade or knife to shave their hair -- and this is the era of AIDS.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy that this year's theme is “Women in Decision- Making, Meeting Challenges and Creating Change.” So I would pray that the custom in Builsa land is changed. And to throw more light on it, the woman is sent to the field dam where she is made to put her hand into boiling water.
Mr. Speaker, woe betides her when the water burns her. This goes to signify that she was unfaithful to her husband. This is wrong. Mr. Speaker, she has no right to say anything. As she is going through the pain, they are singing and dancing. As she is crying, no one comes to her assistance. She is also made to sit on a wretched mat and on this mat, woe betides her when an ant bites her. Mr. Speaker, these “computerized” ants, they do not know custom and yet we still go through them. So I would beg women advocates to come to the aid of Builsa women and see how best we can create change in this outmoded tradition in the Builsa land.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC - Lawra/Nandom) 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this all-important Statement.
Mr. Speaker, the choice of theme, “Women in Decision-Making, Meeting Challenges and Creating Change,” in the 21st Century is certainly regrettable. If one
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC - Lawra/Nandom) 11:35 a.m.
is beginning to engage issues about other human beings taking part in decision- making, an obvious process in the 21st Century, that tells us how far we have not travelled since the human race in relation to equal opportunities for all.
Mr. Speaker, quite often when issues of women and gender come up, we jump too fast into the practical manifestations but we do not see what type of institutional structures are actually created which perpetuate this state of affairs, which is likely to be addressed because of their structural nature. Mr. Speaker, my first concern has to do with the knowledge base with which we are socialized or brought up in our society. This even starts from very early in our educational process. Eugenic science is quite clear in their minds and I am sure it was a conscious effort to normally, in genetic language denote men as plus which they say is positive and female as minus which is negative.

This very imagery of what is positive and what is negative is part of our educational process. And does it normally come as a surprise when a young boy growing up begins to internalise the fact that he being positive is superior to a woman who is negative? This thing constitutes part of our knowledge base and it is important that we should begin, if we want to address the structural difficulties on this subject, to get back to the foundation of the type of knowledge we create and what we use to bring up particularly the male child.

It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, to note that even the early philosophical thinkers and religious leaders have not had very positive remarks about women and yet they have a very influential following in human society. Perhaps, let us get back

to the days of Plato and find out what he said about women. I have come across even some chapters in the Holy Book that equate women with a very poisonous tree that birds even would not sit on. These things are important because if they are interpreted out of context, given the clear provisions that we have in these things that I am talking about, we are likely to run into a lot of difficulties because people are likely to misread it and misinterpret it.

Why do we say situations like that become very worrying? Just look at Ghana's 1992 Constitution, quite often you will see the side notes that talk about the rights of women, but when you look at article 27, you will see that there is not a confidence in the drafters of the Constitution to accord women equal rights with men. And the type of image that you find in article 27 is particularly revealing, Mr. Speaker. Whilst the side notes talk about the rights of women, what we have is again to reduce women to what we call a baby manufacturing industry.

So women only become relevant in terms of rights in relation to the fact that they must give birth to children and they must be given special care before and after childbirth. So a woman who chooses not to give birth to children, where does that woman have a right in this Constitution? I guess that this half-hearted approach to actually addressing the rights of women is quite fundamental and needs a second look at.

You look at the second arm of that

right in article 27 and it is again jumping the gun and assuming that women should not be discriminated against in relation to training and promotion when they are in employment.

The assumption is that the employment is even there and women are in those employments so that they are not
Minister for Fisheries (Mrs. Gladys Asmah) 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by my hon. Colleague, the hon. Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, on the 8th of March, which is the International Women's Day.
Mr. Speaker, the United Nations
declared this day so that the whole world can look at the development of women worldwide. Mr. Speaker, the Government of the NPP in the year 2001 created the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs because this country will only develop when these two constituencies, the women and the children develop better.
Mr. Speaker, again, a whole Ministerial portfolio for Girl Child Education has also been created so that the girl child must be looked at through her own development.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that at the time
our forefather, Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey said that when you educate a man you educate an individual, but when you educate a woman you educate a nation, if we had taken it seriously, and educated women, this country would have developed better than we have at the moment.
Mr. Speaker, because in the hands of
the girl child lies the development of any nation, the better her foundation the better her children and her own children will also strive to make her children better. The development process would have been better for the whole country and there would have been better development in many families. Mr. Speaker, I wonder
Mr. Joe Gidisu (NDC - Tongu Central) 11:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I equally want to associate myself with the Statement on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, in doing so, on days like this, it is very important to do some circumspection as to how the world looks at women in general. Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that the whole world is celebrating this International Day for Women, it is only Russia that has declared it as a national holiday. All the others give lip-service to the situation in terms of statements of the type we are making.
Mr. Speaker, I would want us to equally narrow down the situation to our own country. A lot of attempts are being made
to promote the cause of women but at the end of the day, a lot of the struggle will have to come from the women themselves
Mr. Speaker, if you look at the present legal framework that exists in the country, how effectively are some of these cutting across the frontiers to meet the ordinary Ghanaian woman? Mr. Speaker, I am saying this in terms of, for example, the activities of the Ministry of Women and Children's affairs. Mr. Speaker, the major thrust of the creation of some of these Ministries and more especially those facilities like micro facilities that these women organizations are supposed to carry across, how effectively are women who are in charge of these programmes reaching out to the other women across board.

Hajia Mahama -- rose --
Mr. Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Minister for Women and
Children's Affairs, do you have a point of order to raise?
Hajia Mahama: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, he is not only misleading the
Mr. Gidisu 11:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in my comments I noted that on days like this, there is the need for circumspection of whatever are the limited legal framework and the other opportunities that exist for women in the country. And I am saying that in the process, as at now, one cannot say that we have no credit facilities and other micro opportunities that exist in empowering women. But if you get down to the ground how effectively are we doing this across board? This is the more reason why I am saying that these programmes are not being controlled by men. They are being controlled by women and in the process, if women themselves would only, on the floor of Parliament make very lucid statements and when it comes to working across board - For example if you come to my constituency, the situation of micro credit to women - [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Minister for Fisheries,
do you have a point of order?
Mrs. Asmah 11:45 a.m.
Yes, Mr. speaker, I have
a point of order to raise. Mr. Speaker, in 2002 I managed the micro credit scheme
in the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs. Mr. Speaker, I just said that of the food that we consume, 65 per cent is cultivated by women. Ten thousand women in that year were given monies and there was abundance of food in the country; and everybody attested to it in 2002. And I am sure in his constituency, they also have women there. Ten thousand - a thousand women from each region - were contacted to do that. Mr. Speaker, I hope he will not mislead this House.
Mr. Gidisu 11:45 a.m.
If the available micro
PAPERS 11:45 a.m.

MOTIONS 11:45 a.m.

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (Mr. S. Sallas-Mensah) 11:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor General on Provision and Management of Government Bungalows.
Mr. Speaker, in moving this motion I would also want to present the Committee's Report which has been given to all Members. Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to read all of this Report. I, wish therefore that the Hansard Department would capture the entire Report.
1. The Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on Provision and Management of Government Bungalows was laid before Parliament on 18 th March 2005. The Report was referred to the Public Accounts Committee for consideration and report pursuant to Order 165(2) of the Standing Orders of the House.
2. The Committee held two Sittings to consider the Report. Evidence was taken from the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, hon. Cecelia Abena Dapaah and other officials of the Ministry. In attendance was also the team from the Audit Service that conducted the audit.
3. Your Committee wishes to extend
its gratitude to the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing and other officials for their input. Reference
4. The under listed documents were used as reference during the Committee's deliberations:
i. The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992
ii. The S tand ing Orders o f
iii The Financial Administration
Act. 2003, Act 654
iv. The Financial Administration
Regulations 1802
Background to Provision of Bungalows
5. The provision and management of government bungalows dates back to the colonial era. The policy then was to provide accommodation to expatriate staff and a few Gold Coast civil servants assisting the colonial administration. The objective was to entice expatriate workers from U.K. to the colony. The Public Works Department (PWD) was established in 1886 to handle the maintenance and management of these bungalows.
6. The policy was continued in the post-colonial era and the objective was to attract and maintain qualified and highly skilled personnel into the public sector. The Government in the 1970 increased the housing stock by building low cost houses for officials of the civil and public services and state corporations. The total stock of Government bungalows currently stands at about 10,630.
7. Funding for the provision and maintenance of these bungalows are
derived from the Consolidated Fund and the District Assemblies Common Fund.
8. Tenants of bungalows are required to pay monthly rent to Government. The institutions responsible for the collection of monthly rents are the Controller and Accountant-General's Department, Regional Coordinating Councils and District Assemblies.
9. Other MDAs, whose officers are occupying government bungalows, are required to deduct the payable rent from the salaries of the tenants and pay same to Government chest.
10. Allocation Committees have been established at the Ministry of Works and Housing, Regional Coordinating Councils and District Assemblies whose main function is to recommend the allocation of bungalows to legible applicants, to the Minister of Works and Housing, Regional Minister and the District Chief Executive respectively for approval.
Purpose of the Audit
11. The audit was conducted upon complaints from tenants of government bungalows about the poor condition of such bungalows and the inability of the PWD to carryout routine maintenance of the bungalows. The other reason that informed the audit was complaints about insufficient number of bungalows.
12. The purpose of the audit was therefore to find out why many government bungalows were in poor condition and the specified roles of the agencies in the provision and maintenance of these bungalows.
Scope and Methodology of the Audit
13. The audit covered the operations of the Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH), Public Works Department (PWD), Regional Coordinating Councils

(RCC), District Assemblies (DAs), Controller and Accountant-General's Department (CAGD) and tenants of government bungalows.

14. Data was collected from three regions - Greater Accra, Ashanti and Volta Regions. The following criteria was used in selecting the three regions:

(a) Greater Accra is the hub of all government activities and also represents the coastal regions where bungalows are exposed to s imilar environmental conditions. The Region also has the highest number of government bungalows.

(b) Ashanti is approximately the central point of Ghana and has the second largest number of government bungalows.

(c) Volta represents one of the least endowed regions.

15. Interviews were conducted at MWH, PWD, RCCs and DAs in the regions visited. The Audit Team also inspected government bungalows at Labone and Roman Ridge in Accra; Danyame, Ahinsan and Chirapatre in Ashanti and; Mawuli Estates in Volta Region.

Findings of the Audit

16. The findings of the audit indicate as follows:

i. Government bungalows are in poor condition

ii. Rent is subsidized but the reasons and intended effects from the

subsidy are vague iii. The target group is broad

and the in t ended e ff ec t vague bungalows are used by government workers in general and private individuals.

17. The reasons for the above are unclear government policy, poor maintenance, ineffective rent collection and ineffective monitoring and supervision.

Observations and Recommendations Unclear Policy

18. The Committee noted from the Audit Report that the absence of a clear policy on the allocation of bungalows has led to all manner of people and organizations occupying these bungalows. These comprise government workers, private individuals, foreigners, subvented organizations and private companies.

19. The absence of a clear policy has also led to persistent rent defaults among tenants. Rents payable are equally low and there are distortions in rents paid by people occupying similar bungalows.

20 .The Deputy Minister acknow- ledged before your Committee, the absence of an elaborate policy on the provision and management of government bungalows. She however added that the Ministry has a working document which guides it in the allocation of bungalows and this was circularized to all Chief Directors and Regional Coordinating Directors in 1990. The document according to the Ministry outlines the objectives of the provision of government bungalows and those who qualify to be accommodated in such bungalows.

21. The Committee was further informed that the above notwithstanding, the Ministry in collaboration with the

Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS) is developing a comprehensive policy on the provision and management of government bungalows.


22. The Ministry of Works and Housing should broaden consultation with stakeholders in preparing a comprehensive policy to govern the provision and management of government bungalows.

Maintenance of Bungalows

23. The audit found that out of a total estimate of 10,630 bungalows spread nationwide, only 40 per cent of these are in good condition. The remaining 60 per cent are in various degrees of disrepair and require renovation and reconstruction in some cases.

24. The Committee noted that the poor state of these government bungalows was attributed to the following:

i. Non-adherence to maintenance programme schedule

ii. Insufficient budgetary allocation

iii. Delay in release of funds.

25. The Ministry agreed with the findings of the audit but indicated further that an amount of ¢5.0billionn has been allocated to the Ministry this year (2005) for the maintenance of bungalows.


26. Ministry of Works and Housing should negotiate with MOFEP to set aside a percentage of rent for routine maintenance. MWH should then pursue the timely release of funds and also adhere to its maintenance programmes.

Collection of Rent

27. Even though revenue generation from rent charges on bungalows is not the primary objective for the provision of government bungalows, rent paid by tenants nonetheless form part of the revenue of Government.

28. The audit noted that the collection of rent from tenants occupying government bungalows was ineffective. The factors identified to be contributing to this phenomenon include rent default, illegal occupancy and low rent charges.

Rent Default

29. Rent default on the part of tenants i.e. refusal by tenants to pay and inability of government agencies to collect rents due. The audit indicated for instance that a review of the rent register of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) showed that 30 out of 41 tenants were in arrears totalling ¢12.3million as at June 2002. At Ho, 38 tenants were in default to the tune of ¢5.9million. The audit further indicated that no effective mechanisms were applied by collecting agencies to compel tenants to pay their rent.

Illegal Occupancy

30. Illegal occupants of bungalows end up not paying rent at all. Some of these illegal occupants include retired officers who had overstayed their three- month grace period. According to the Auditor-General at the time of compiling the audit report, the MWH was making efforts to evict 26 retired officers who had overstayed up to three years.

Low Rent Charges

31. Most government bungalows are located in prime areas where rent payable for properties located in such
Dr. A. A. Osei 11:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion and in so doing I would want to add a few words to the Chairman of the Committee's remarks. Mr. Speaker, in the recommendations, it is clear that the RCCs and some MDAs are not following the law. It would please the House to know that we have recently instituted some audits on this IDF matter. We are in close contact with the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to find a way to actually prosecute some of these cases so that the appropriate sanctions can be applied.
Mr. Speaker, if you read the Chairman's Report on the part relating to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and the Ho District Assembly, it is rather not very gratifying. The Auditor-General has asked our Ministry to, as it were, refer some matters to the Attorney-General and we are in the process, through our legal office, of trying to pursue these matters.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I would like to second the motion moved by the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
Question proposed.
Mr. Opare-Hammond 12:05 p.m.
Thank you
Mr. Speaker for the opportunity to support this motion on the floor and in doing so I would want to also congratulate and commend the Audit Service for undertaking this exercise. I believe it is the first of its kind in the country.

Mr. Speaker, the provision of bungalows by Government for its workers was something that was instituted by the colonial governments, and these
Mr. Opare-Hammond 12:05 p.m.
bungalows were to house their staff who were posted from abroad.
Mr. Speaker, since we took over these houses, many of them have not seen much renovation. Some of these houses are just, maybe, one or two bedroom apartments sitting on a large plot of land, sometimes one acre of land. The need therefore has arisen that some of these houses be pulled down to make way for houses or buildings that can take many more rooms and therefore accommodate many more people. It is in the light of this that we must commend the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government for taking steps in this direction.
Mr. Speaker, one worrying trend that is highlighted by the Report is the management of these bungalows. With your permission, I want to quote paragraphs 16 and 17 of the Report:
“The findings of the audit indicate as follows:
(i) Government bungalows are in poor conditions (ii) Rent is subsidised but the reasons and intended effects from the subsidy are vague.
(iii) The target group is broad and the intended effect vague - bungalows are used by government workers in general and private individuals.
(iv) The reasons for the above are unclear government policy, poor maintenance, ineffective rent collection and ineffective monitoring and supervision.”
Mr. Speaker, it is sad to hear that people
still live in these houses and pay rents as

while others pay about ¢5,000.00. Some of these bungalows are located in prime areas of the capital city, Accra, and in such areas, rents can be as much as ¢26 million per month. However, these houses that are occupied by our civil servants attract just as about ¢500,000.00 per month. This means that the Government is contributing about ¢25.5 million per month to the civil servants that live in the bungalows in these prime areas.

Yet, ironically, several of these civil servants are the ones who complain about the fact that their salaries are low and that the Government is not taking good care of them. This often has resulted in the fact that civil servants do not give of their best.

Mr. Speaker, it is in the light of this that once again we must commend the NPP Government for its policy of monetisation of all benefits that should accrue to the civil servant. I therefore wish to use this opportunity to ask the Government to expedite action on this monetisation exercise.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I wish to ask that the Ministry should take steps that would ensure that those that are paying very low rents, as low as ¢80.00, would be asked to pay the relevant or the actual rent that would, at least, enable the Ministry to have sufficient funds to renovate these bungalows.

With these few words, I support the motion on the floor.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi (NDC - Ashaiman) 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, reading through this Report, there are two things worrying my mind. Government is out to provide bungalows and maintain bungalows for workers. At the same time Government cannot manage these bungalows. So what do we do?
The people's incomes are low. If
incomes are low and they are in bungalows for which some are paying as low as ¢80.00 and these are supposed to be deducted from their pay but these are not being paid or are not being done, Mr. Speaker, we have to overcome this situation. Maybe, one solution is that these bungalows should be sold out and Government takes steps to pay workers living wages, wages that can enable them acquire their own houses.
Mr. Speaker, it is good that we pay for efficiency, we pay for dedication, we pay people who work for the State. There are people who leave government work, but they cannot afford to put up their own houses because they have not been able to make enough. Even the little that is deducted from their salaries in respect of the bungalows they are living in, is not being paid into government chest. So what do we do?
Mr. Speaker, I believe that we have to move forward. The step that has been taken in some instances of selling these bungalows out should be pursued. If not, the Government must make all efforts to provide and maintain these bungalows for the workers to live in, in comfort, and work for the State. With these few words I support the motion.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP - Suame) 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise up to associate myself with the motion on floor. The Committee has done a thorough job and they need to be commended.
Mr. Speaker, it is significant to observe, preliminarily, that the Report that is being discussed, as the Chairman has informed the House, was referred to the Committee on 18th of March, 2005. That is very significant because it predates the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill which was laid in this Parliament and
Mr. Sallas-Mensah 12:05 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member is trying to mislead the House. This is a Report; this is not a Bill. They are two different things. A Bill is time- bound whereas a report is not time-bound.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was talking about referral to committees, and the Standing Orders do not tie us to Bills alone. But, Mr. Speaker, it is significant to know that the Chairman himself was referring to the responsible Ministry as the Ministry of Works and Housing. The Chairman realises that the name of the Ministry is no longer Works and Housing; it is “Ministry for Water Resources, Works and Housing”. Mr. Speaker, that is to tell the Chairman that this matter has been with the Committee for more than one Meeting.
Mr. Speaker, the issues that were raised by the Committee, as have been alluded to by the Committee Chairman, are very germane and they relate to the state of disrepair of our bungalows.
12. 15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, he gives us the number, in excess of ten thousand six hundred, and he says that it is only about forty per cent out of the number that are habitable; the rest of them are in a state of serious disrepair.
Mr. Speaker, one reason why this is so
is that these houses are allocated to various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), yet they expect a central body, that is the Ministry for Water Resources,
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
Works and Housing to take charge of them. Sometimes, they are not able to monitor the people in the structures, where the structures are, and so on.
We have debated this matter in this House before. I remember before the year 2000, suggestions were made that it may, perhaps, have become imperative to let the MDAs which were occupying these structures take charge so that every year they would be responsible for the maintenance. Yes, the issue was raised about the drawings, where they reside; and that sometimes, particularly when they relate to electrical faults sewerage and so on, it becomes difficult if one has to hand over to these MDAs to refurbish. But indeed, Mr. Speaker, the truth is that if you go to the Ministry for Water Resources, Works and Housing, that is courtesy the Public Works Department (PWD), some of these architectural drawings do not even exist. And how are they to be maintained?
So perhaps we could go back to the drawing board and take a bold decision. Let us have a clear policy, as the Committee has indicated. I believe leaving them in the charge of the PWD would not provide any solution at all because they cannot handle ten thousand, six hundred houses in a year; that is the bottomline. So let us leave them in the charge of the various MDAs and I believe if we do that the proper thing could be done, at least far better than what is being done today.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to talk
about the recommendations of the Committee. Germane as they are - and these recommendations have been coming year in, year out - we seem to be talking about the same things. How are we to enforce these recommendations that come from such committees which I believe if they are followed through would save

Perhaps this House has to look at this whole enterprise of just making mere recommendations. Can we not as a House, Mr. Speaker, table motions which would be enforceable, motions as I said, which would be enforceable by the Ministries that we make these demands on? Because, if we make mere recommendations they may not be adhered to and it would become ritualistic. Every year, we would come and same submissions, and nothing much would be done.

Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I associate myself once again with the motion on the floor.

Some hon. Members -- rose --
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
I was going to put the
Question. Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K.
Bagbin): Mr. Speaker, I want to add my voice to the motion on the floor, and in doing so to say that the policy of maintaining Government premises for workers should seriously be reviewed.
Mr. Speaker, it is true that the history
of the construction and maintenance of official premises for workers started before independence and that definitely was part of the incentive packages to attract qualified staff into the country. Immediately after independence, the first President was faced with this same problem and had to adopt it in order to retain some of the qualified staff, with further attractive salary packages, and also attract the locally qualified technical staff into public service. But Mr. Speaker, I think that it is high time we re-looked at that policy.
I belong to the school of thought that believes that we need to move away from Government maintaining bungalows for public servants. We only need to maintain official residences for critical
areas - emergencies services, the medical services, the security agencies - where you need to put some kind of discipline in place. But the general body of public servants, including politicians, are areas that we have to move away from and provide enough resources to them to look for their own accommodation. I do not think that this archaic colonial policy is still serving the national interest well; we need to move away from it. We need to release the prime lands that are encumbered by dilapidated structures, for better development schemes.
Mr. Speaker, it is really surprising that the Audit Service did not go to the Government to ask for more resources in order to improve upon the audit sample. The audit sample is so limited, as stated in the Report. It is only the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Volta Regions. Again, in looking at the towns that they visited to inspect the bungalows, even in the Volta Region I can see that they only talked about Ho, because Mawuli Estates is the only place they mentioned. So the sample is very limited; it is not all-embracing.
Again, the scope too is very limited because this is a very important policy area that we need real evidence to be able to review the policy. So I want to urge that the Audit Service should, in collaboration with the Government, delve further into this area so that we can review the policy.
Mr. Speaker, I heard the hon. Majority Chief Whip talk about implementation of recommendations but I think, maybe, it has escaped his mind, that in the Audit Service Act, Act 2000, we actually put in place some committees which we call the Audit Committee Recommendations implementation committees and those committees throughout, the Committee has insisted that they be established. We usually ask even for the membership and
the chairmanship of the committees and they appear before your Committee in Parliament.
So Mr. Speaker, I think this is one of the areas that we could, as a nation, generate a lot of revenue from, through savings; because we spend a lot of money trying to maintain these useless structures which hold large families. They are very useless structures because we have African families, which are not that of a man and wife and maybe two or three children; which are made up of clans. And if you go there you would see a small structure in a large area with only one or two bedrooms,and you have all these clans sleeping in the halls; and the pressure on the facilities is too great. So Mr. Speaker, we have to move away from this because even look at hon. Members of Parliament, consider the kind of hen coops they are put in, where there is not even a place for ventilation. Not even common fan is put in those premises for Members of Parliament. And there they are accommodating not only their families, some with more than one wife - [Interruption.] - but also some -

I am lucky I have only one -- some accommodating their constituents who come to transact business in the city.

So Mr. Speaker, I believe strongly

that yes, as we in this House and I have recommended to the President's Committee; resources rather should be made available to Members to look for their own accommodation; and it must be the same for the public servants. We have spent a lot of money. In fact, I expected that this Report would capture how much we spend annually in trying to maintain these structures for the use of public servants and then compare that to the moneys that would have been given them as a top-up
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Chairman of the Committee, do you have anything to say?
Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing (Mr. Hackman Owusu- Agyemang) -- rose --
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
He is the Chairman
of the Committee and I am asking him to wind up.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I thought I should speak after the Minority Leader had spoken. I think I should be given an opportunity.
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
I will, but let me hear the
Chairman of the Committee first.
Mr. Sallas-Mensah 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
should like to thank all hon. Members who have made, so far, positive contributions to this Report. I am very happy that the hon. Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing is here to listen to this debate. I am sure that this Report, if adopted by
the House, he would use it as an authority to start some policy formulation in this sector for us.
And on the implementation issue, concerning reports of this Committee, Mr. Speaker, as has been pointed out by the hon. Minority Leader, there is also another section in that Act, the Financial Administration Act (FAA), which empowers the Executive to form a tribunal to implement some of these decisions, especially those bordering on malfeasance - a court, actually a tribunal to implement those decisions adopted by this House. Up till now, that tribunal has not yet been set up. It is in the FAA Act, sections 66 and 67, and I hope the Executive will expedite action on the setting up of this tribunal.
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon. Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing do you have any observations? Very briefly.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that some very portant issues have been raised here today which should go to inform our actions in the future, and it is important that I associate myself with the Report and to say that the Committee has done a good job.
I want to assure the hon. Minority Leader that the ‘smallness' of the sample notwithstanding, the findings are nationwide. Truly, because I have inspected these premises we have inspected these premises -- and Mr. Speaker, they are in the worst of shapes. Indeed, there are instances where public servants even convert some of these bungalows into of markets and things like that. We have to evolve a policy, and I happy that a consensus is emerging that would guide us in this.
But what is important is that we have to hasten slowly, because at the end of the day, most of the senior civil servants and those who are in the city - Once we dispose of these properties, the civil servant would
Mr. Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have not ascribed it to any group of people; I was just talking generally. In fact, when we came to Parliament in 1993, we were living at Legon, the students' rooms. That was how it started. And when the students came and drove the Members of Parliament away, they were asked to live with their relatives. That was how we started. So I know that something has been done but I am talking about a general policy.
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
This is a point he has made and you may conclude.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, his explanation is well taken and I take it as coming from a good friend.
So all in all, Mr. Speaker, we shall be guided in our deliberations and in our management of government property by these. And that is why it is important that we learn the culture of maintenance; it is almost non-existent in this country; and that is what we have been preaching. We have left many an edifice go waste and that is very criminal. So we should begin to rehabilitate some of these structures, and also for posterity because we must have a history, as a people. Some of these colonial bungalows cannot all be knocked down; we need to know what the architecture was about a hundred years ago, fifty years ago. It has to be a judicious assessment of the situation and how we can balance history with modernization.
And that is why, Mr. Speaker, we are rehabilitating the Peduase Lodge and the Flagstaff House which is all in the right
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Freddie Blay) 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this honourable House adopts the First Report of the Joint Committee on the Appointments and the Judiciary on appointments to the Supreme Court of Ghana.
Mr. Speaker,
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Pursuant to article 144 (2) of the Constitution, His Excellency the President communicated to Parliament his nomination of two Justices of the Court of Appeal for appointment to the Supreme Court of the Republic.
They are:
a) Mrs. Justice Sophia Ophilia Adjeibea Adinyira
b) Mr. Justice Samuel Kwadwo Asiamah
1.2 In accordance with Orders 172(2) and 176 of the Standing Orders, the Speaker referred the nomination to the Joint Committee on Appointments and Judiciary on 7th February, 2006 for consideration and report.
2.0 Procedure
In accordance with Order 172(3), the
nomination was published in the mass media and views in the form of written memoranda were invited on the suitability, experience and capability of the nominees for the positions.
The Committee held a public hearing in accordance with Order 172 (4) on 1st March, 2006 to consider the nominees. On appearing before the Committee, the nominees testified on oath and answered questions on a range of issues related to their appointment.
The Committee hereby reports as follows:
3.0 References
a) Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992
b) Standing Orders of the Parlia- ment of Ghana.
4.0 Background
In response to clarifications sought, the Judicial Service informed the Committee that the number of Judges on the Supreme Court, by convention, has been within an upper limit of thirteen (13) plus the Chief Justice. The last appointments were made in October 2004 and the roll stood as follows:
i. G..K. Acquah, CJ
ii. F. Y. Kpegah
iii. W. A. Atuguba
iv. Theodore Adzoe
v. Sophia A.B. Akuffo (Ms.)
vi. G.T. Wood (Mrs.)
vii. S.A. Brobbey (On Second-
viii. Seth Twum
ix. S. K. Date-Bah
x. Modibo Ocran
xi. Julius Ansah
xii. Felix M. Lartey
xiii. R. T. Aninakwah Subsequently, Mr. Justice S.A. Brobbey
was seconded to the Gambia as Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Felix M. Lartey retired in April 2005 and Mr. Justice Theodore Adzoe is due to retire in May 2006 on medical grounds. Mr. Justice F.Y. Kpegah has also been indisposed and is due for preliminary medical check up for treatment abroad. Thus, the nominal roll of judges on the Supreme Court after May will stand at eleven (11) including the Chief Justice but with only nine (9) in active service.
The Supreme Court sits in panels of not less than five (5) Judges. Having regard to its workload, the Court sits in two panels that rotate weekly. Given the current number of active judges, some judges have had to sit every week and hence the need to augment the number in accordance with the convention.
5.0 Constitutional Requirements
The Commit tee rev iewed the constitutional requirements for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court, especially articles 128 and 145. In respect of article 128 (4), the Committee noted that both nominees have more than fifteen (15) years standing as lawyers. The Committee did not make any adverse
finding about their moral character and integrity.
In respect of article 145 (2), the Committee noted that both nominees have not attained the age of seventy (70).
6.0 Observations
6.1 Mrs. Justice Sophia Ophilia Adjeibea Adinyira
6.1.1 Resume Mrs. Justice Sophia Ophilia Adjeibea
Adinyira is a Court of Appeal judge with thirty-two (32) years standing at the Bar. She was born on 1st September 1949 at Cape Coast and attended Fijai Secondary School (1961-1966) and Wesley Girls High School (1966-1968). She obtained LL.B. Hons and B.L. from the University of Ghana and was called to the Bar in
She was appointed as an Assistant State Attorney in 1974 and rose to the position of Principal State Attorney in 1986. She was appointed to the High Court in 1989 and promoted to the Court of Appeal in
She is married with five children.
6.1.2 Experience and Contribution
In response to questions about her experience and changes she would bring to the judiciary, if appointed, the nominee said that she had acquired immense experience in the management of both civil and criminal cases as a state attorney and subsequently as a judge. In addition, she was familiar with the socio- cultural background of people in many communities across the country where she had practiced and that would inform her
Mr. Yaw Baah 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion and in doing so I have a few comments to be make.
Mr. Speaker, it is imperative that two
more nominees are being considered to be added to the Judges of the Supreme Court. Because strictly speaking, currently, there are only nine judges, the Chief Justice inclusive, who are actively working at the highest court of the land. Therefore, with the two nominees being accepted it will augment the work of the highest court of the land. Currently, some judges who are supposed to be sitting once a week are sitting twice a week because we have only nine judges and the panel for any sitting is five; which means invariably that we find some judges sitting twice in the week. Therefore, with the nominees being accepted it will ensure the convention that has been prevailing, that is, the upper
ceiling of thirteen judges always at the Bench.

Mr. Speaker, there was also this issue which has been bothering your Committee, especially the general perception of lack of transparency with regard to promotion at the Bench. While it is easy, especially regarding the Supreme Court, which is very clear, when it comes to those especially from the inferior to the superior courts, people especially some voices have been raised as to how people are promoted. Mr. Speaker, the Chief Justice has been hammering on this issue of late and the Ghana Bar Association has not been left out. I think it is the right time that a device should be instituted to ensure openness regarding the promotion from the inferior courts to that of the superior courts.

Mr. Speaker, on the nominees, I was highly impressed, especially with that of Her Lordship, Justice Adinyira. Her enviable record of thirty-two years at the Bar, twelve years as a prosecutor and twenty years as a judge, convinces me that a very resourceful person is being elevated to the highest court of the land. Regarding the issues which transpired at the vetting, she has been involved in a lot of activities regarding passage of laws and other things, especially with the Children's Act of 1989 of which she was very instrumental, in which she presented papers.

On the issue of perception of corruption, she threw more light. The general perception is that any time the word “corruption” is mentioned the focal point is always the judges but that is not really what prevails. Most of the time, it is rather the other officials of the courts who are the starting points and who have been indulging much in this.

On that of Justice Asiamah, he too won my heart that, in spite of his strong religious inclination, he was forthright, especially when the question of death sentence was thrown to him so as to ascertain his opinion. He said that from the moral side, although he is against death sentence, since the Constitution reigns supreme, what has been prescribed in the Constitution, especially with reference to article 15 must be the thing to be done.

Mr. Speaker, with these few comments, I entreat my hon. Colleagues to vote massively for the adoption of this motion so that the judges will join their colleagues to perform the services expected of them.

Question proposed.

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC - Tamale

South): Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the motion and to support the House's approval of the President's nominees for the Supreme Court of Ghana. And in doing so, Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to page two, paragraph 4.0 of your Committee's Report and to make some comments relating to the approval. Mr. Speaker, it is stated in paragraph 4 - and I quote from the second line.

“In response to clarifications sought, the Judicial Service informed the Committee that the number of judges on the Supreme Court by convention….” Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight that, “…by convention has been within an upper limit of thirteen.” Mr. Speaker, this is a very misleading report. Since our constitutional practice from 1992 up to date, there has never been a situation where the number of judges of our superior courts consistently has been at “an upper limit of thirteen. We may say an instant,” that nobody will question. But to say that we have
Mr. Freddie Blay 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
point of order. In my hon. Colleague's contribution, he talked about the superior courts; indeed, we are talking about the Supreme Court of Ghana and not the superior courts.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the most superior court, the Supreme Court of Ghana, there has never been any convention of thirteen judges sitting at the Bench of the Supreme Court. Mr. Speaker, convention [Interruption.]
Nana Akufo-Addo 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a
point of order. I think there is some serious misunderstanding by the hon. Member for Tamale South. What is being said is that there are thirteen members of the Court appointed, not thirteen members sitting. We are talking about the number of judges at any one time of the Supreme Court not the number of judges that sit on any one case. That is the issue.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
Speaker, on a point of order. That construction says “…within an upper limit of thirteen”; the operative word is “within.” So what is he talking about? If it is nine, it is within; if it is eleven, it is within. What is his problem?
Mr. Iddrisu 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is also a key phrase of “upper limit.” And I am saying that the Supreme Court of Ghana has not consistently had an upper Bench of thirteen. That is my argument. Mr. Speaker, even related to that, with your indulgence, I would like to refer to articles 125 and 126 of the 1992 Republican Constitution and to say that it is about time that this House guided the Executive in ensuring that there is a ceiling to the number of Justices appointed to the Supreme Court. Mr. Speaker, with all respect, we cannot extend our policy of “job for the boys” to an important organ of the State such as the Supreme Court of Ghana. I believe strongly that our Constitution is based largely on the Supreme Court of the United States of America which has a time tested value.
Mr. Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, are you calling for an amendment of the Constitution?
Mr. Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, rightly so; I
Mr. Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon. Member for
Tamale South, that is why I am asking you whether you are asking for an amendment
of the Constitution.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.
Rightly so, Mr. Speaker. I
Mr. Kyei Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
On a point
of order. Mr. Speaker, the use of the phrase, “Job for the Boys” I believe is very offensive to our Supreme Court Judges. Mr. Speaker, I believe my hon. Colleague, young as he is in the House, should learn to be very circumspect in the choice of his words. Quite too often he goes haywire, I do not think that is acceptable. The use of the words “Job-for-the boys” in describing competent Supreme Court Judges who have been designated is very offensive and he must withdraw.
Mr. Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, we are dealing with a very important arm of State.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, if the hon.
Chief Whip appreciated my diction, I said that we should not extend the policy of “Job-for-the-Boys” to the Judiciary, that was not to say that - [Interruptions] -
Mr. Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not saying and I am not suggesting that this appointment is job-for- the-boys but I am saying that let us not extend the policy of “Job-for-the Boys” - [Interruption] -
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I thank you for the opportunity. I think that this House has always expressed concern about the lack of upper limit for the appointment of Supreme Court Judges.
I can recall that this came to prominence during the year 2000 when there were some nominees including His Lordship Justice Essilfie Bondzie. and this same language was used -- [An hon. Member: Yes, by him -- that we should not give room for Presidents to be using that opportunity for “Job-for-the-Boys”. It was used in the year 2000. They are not saying that - The “Job-for-the-Boys” does not mean the people do not have the qualification but the opportunity for packing of the highest court with President's favourites. [Interruptions] - Mr. Speaker, that is what was said in the year 2000; and that is what is being said today. So Mr. Speaker, the language that is used might be something that is unparliamentary - and I will insist that it is unparliamentary and should be withdrawn.
But we are drawing the attention of the country to the fact that we need to establish some conventions to prevent that provision from being exploited. But at least, that language has been used and it is something that we should not encourage. I say we should withdraw it; I accept that.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you
Mr. Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon. Member for
Tamale South, time is not on our side.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I humbly
withdraw “Job-for-the-Boys” and insist that there must be a limit to the number of Justices appointed to the Supreme Court and in my view it should never exceed eleven. And Mr. Speaker, I am doing so, relying on article 128 of the Constitution; and with your permission I beg to quote:
“128. (1) The Supreme Court shall consist of the Chief Justice and not less than nine other Justices of the
Mr. Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, I am in particular interested in article 128(2) where it states, and I quote

“The Supreme Court shall be duly constituted for its work by not less than five Supreme Court Justices except as otherwise provided in article 133 of this Constitution.”

Mr. Speaker, it means that we have a minimum of five of Supreme Court Judges who can be empanelled for the purpose of dealing with much controversial issues that border on people's human rights. Mr. Speaker, as you are rightly aware, the Supreme Court is the protector of the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians, especially matters bordering on constitutional interpretation. If you have five you can go for a review of seven, a review of nine and you could have a final Bench of eleven sitting if we review the Constitution to make sure that there is a ceiling of eleven Justices of the Superior Court appointed.

Mr. Speaker, I think that we must begin to do that because of the respectability of that institution. Because there is no limit we have seen instances where the President was far away in Malaysia when a particular court was held, and while far away he indicated that the decision was to be overturned. Mr. Speaker, he has the opportunity under the Constitution to appoint Justices of the Superior Court, even if that is not his intent the likelihood is that the Ghanaian public will construe his action as wanting to secure a particular judgment at a particular point in time. [Interruption.] He did so and they are aware of what he did.

Mr. Speaker, may I also finally refer to article 71 of the Constitution in supporting this motion. I think it is about time that we

called the Executive and the President to order especially in relation to determining the conditions of service of all public servants and in particular that of the Supreme Court Judges including Members of Parliament, -- [Interruption] -- you do not know your conditions of service as you sit.
Mr. Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon. Member, whom are you addressing?
Mr. Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, Under article 71, and Mr. Speaker, this is a very crucial issue. The conditions of service of Mr. Speaker himself, his Deputies, Members of Parliament, Superior Court Judges as provided in article 71(1)(b) and with your permission I quote:
“the Chief Justice and the other Justices of the Supreme Court Judicature;”
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that this has happened because the conditions of service of Public Servants have not been determined. It is not for nothing that our Constitution sought to
Mr. Iddrisu 12:55 p.m.
-- Even Members of the
Supreme Court, that has not been done and I think that - [Interruptions] -- Mr. Speaker, in supporting this motion, I think that - [Interruptions.]
Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
my hon. Colleague on the other side claims - He just stated that we do not know our conditions of service I beg to differ. He as a Member of Parliament, I want to tell him that since he came in here, his conditions of service have been changed. He should check his payroll [Interruptios] -- So what is he saying we do not know, -- [Interruptions.] It has changed; he should check his payroll. - [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Order! Order!
Dr. Osei 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, if he wants
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Order! Order! Hon.
Member for Tamale South, continue and conclude, he is out of order.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Do not be distracted; he is out of order; you do not have to respond to him.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:55 p.m.
With these few comments,
Mr. Speaker, I beg to support the motion I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Nana
Akufo-Addo): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion for the approval of this House of the President's two nominees to the court and in the process commend the Joint Committee for the clarity and thoroughness of its work.
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon. Member for
Tamale South, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Iddrisu 12:55 p.m.
Rightly so, Mr. Speaker.
The hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs has made a statement which is grossly misleading and may undermine the very principles of independence of the organs. He indicated just now that he proposed - Mr. Speaker, under the Constitution it is the President who does so in consultation with the Judicial Council. I do not know what role he played, either quietly or openly, in that. Unless of course, he is saying that the proper procedure was not followed in relation to the Justices that he referred to.
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Let him continue.
Nana Akufo-Addo 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, we
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Order! Order! -

Hon. Members, behave yourselves. Let

us have decorum. Hon. Minority Leader?
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 12:55 p.m.
Thank you, Mr.
Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs who is a very senior Member of this House is aware that his choice of words on this occasion was very emotional - “people who come to this House with wax in their ears” -- “wax in their ears” - [Uproar.] Mr.
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon. Members, let us
have decorum.
Mr. Bagbin 12:55 p.m.
I want my hon. Colleague
to honourably withdraw that aspect of his submissions.
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Order! Order!
Nana Akufo-Addo 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, when
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon. Minister for
Nana Akufo-Addo 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Order! Order! I do not
have any in my ears, at least.
Nana Akufo Addo 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
Mr. Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Are you withdrawing?
Some hon. Members: No! No!
Nana Akufo-Addo 12:55 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker,
I withdraw the statement if it offends the young unknown lawyer who is making so much noise about matters he knows nothing about. [Laughter.] I withdraw those remarks.
Mr. Bagbin 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, when we raise a point of order and we say that language is offensive or unparliamentary, it is not because it offends a particular
Member, but it offends the order of the House, the dignity of the House [Interruptions.] He withdrew and said if it offends the young unknown lawyer, - [Interruptions] But we are talking about the House the House as a unit and not an individual Member. Mr. Speaker, I think that he may want to take this as some humour, but at least, he should assert the dignity of the House.
Nana Akufo-Addo 1:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
withdraw the statement. Mr. Speaker, I was saying that the House is assisting the country in getting a Supreme Court that is worthy of the legal traditions of our country and I therefore call upon this House to approve the two nominees by consensus and bi-partisan support. And in so doing, I will merely point to the finding that the Committee made at paragraph 7 - “The two nominees demonstrated confidence, strong conviction and good knowledge of the law”. These are far from people who are “jobs-for-the-boys” type of people; they are very far from it.
Mr. Speaker, I want to comment on a
particular matter that is being raised and that is the question of legislation about the size of the Supreme Court. It is true that our Constitution is silent about the maximum; it speaks about the minimum but it is silent on the maximum. The convention that the Judicial Council has operated upon since 1993 is that it has never had a court composed of more than thirteen people. When I say a court, I speak of the number of Justices of the court not necessarily the number of people sitting at any one time of the court. It has done so and it is insistent on thirteen as the number.
My own belief, Mr. Speaker, is that conventions when respected can be as effective as laws in protecting the intentions of the Constitution and ultimately this House is the guardian of
that Constitution. The power of approval is in this House; if that power is not exercised no appointment can be made. In any event, on these matters, it is always extremely expedient to import into our particular circumstances constitutional, experiences of other countries.

Mr. Speaker, in the American Supreme Court which is now being promoted as an example for us, the figure of 9 that has been arrived at came 80 years after the inauguration of the American Constitution; the Congress has intervened on this matter several times. For there was a time when the number of Justices in the court were 4, it went up to 12, it came down to 10 and finally it was in the latter part of the 19th Century that the figure 9 was arrived at. And it was arrived at after the experience of the United States Court and its lawyers so that the figures themselves are the result of history.

Secondly, the American court, unlike our own, is not obliged to take all appeals or applications to that court. The American court has a process of certiorari which allows it to select what particular matters it would deal with; that is by the writ of certiorari. Unlike our courts which is required by constitutional tier to take every appeal that comes from the courts below, the American Supreme Court is not so bound. So in terms even of the workload of the two courts there can be a radical difference.

Thirdly, the Administrative structure that supports the two courts 0 theirs and ours - are not the same. The clerk system in the United States is so advanced that the workload on the Judges is virtually taken care of by their clerks. Our situation in this country has not yet reached that situation and that is why the Judicial Council, in

its wisdom, accept to have two courts, two panels of five alternating all the time. A figure of 13 is that which makes sense for the judicial administration and for the coherence of the work of the courts. I believe that the attitude of the Judicial Council has been an extremely responsible one and it is a responsible one which this House, acting on behalf of the taxpayers of our country, should support.

Mr. Speaker, the fixation that a young, inexperienced, relatively unknown lawyer has about the figure of eleven is a fixation. It is not one that has any substance in practice or in proceedings. At the moment we have had the situation when the Judicial Council has solemnly told the country that it is not its intention to go beyond the figure of 13 - that figure has been working for the country up till now. I believe what this House should do is to support the work of bodies like the Judicial Council and not seek to come here to introduce and reduce reputation in our country.

Mr. Speaker, the Judges who are being recommended for approval by this House are clearly meritorious. The work that the Joint Committee has done in examining their background, in examining their fitness for work on the Supreme Court is one that none of us can quarrel with. We should support and approve this motion, and hopefully we do so on a bi-partisan basis and in consensus.
Alhaji Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu (NPP - Yendi) 1:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, having taken part in the Joint Committee's handling of this matter, I would like to say a few words in support of the motion.
Mr. Speaker, I think that the lady and gentlemen Lordships who appeared before the Committee, as the Committee has indicated, gave a very clear demonstration that the appointing authority did a very good job in looking for quality because
Alhaji Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu (NPP - Yendi) 1:15 p.m.
we had a very clear picture of members of the Bench who would acquit themselves properly in dispensing justice. Particularly, in respect of Mrs. Justice Sophia Ophelia Adinyira, it was very, very clear that this is a lady who had gone through the mill. From 1974 right from Assistant Magistrate position she rose through the rank and got to the Court of Appeal. And one can see that her posting had been very widespread. One could see clearly that she came across as somebody well grounded in the law.
But her horizon is even broader by the curriculum vitate (C.V.) that was presented to the Committee. Her Lordship belongs to many national, international and other world bodies and it was amazing how she could be so linked to many important international organizations, including religious and social organizations. Her knowledge of so many areas of endeavour, religious, social and other things were so impressive and wide that here is a Judge who; when she sits to adjudicate on a matter, would have a very plural outlook and she would be able to dispense justice in a qualitative manner. So we had no hesitation whatsoever. In fact, her looks were deceptive; you would think that she is young but when you look at her background then you would find that she is well-groomed in the court of law.
There is one issue that she raised that I think needs the attention of the Government and specifically the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice should look at that area very well. When she has asked about access to justice she was very emphatic in saying that the rural poor do not have easy access to justice. And she said, why not because the Legal Aid, those who offer services are paid a meager sum of 50,000 and so it is not attractive enough.
Although it is sacrificial, at least, let the expenses that a lawyer will make in
offering legal service to the poor not go bankrupt in spending a lot of resources and getting nothing to equalize what she has expended. She was unambiguous about it. And I think it is important that that matter should be looked at and everything should be done to encourage the lawyers who are to give legal service to the underprivileged, the poor persons, particularly in the rural areas so that justice would be seen to reach all manner of citizens in this country.

Mr. Speaker, I think that as had been eloquently demonstrated by the hon. Foreign Affairs Minister who was once Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, it is very clear that we are in an era where of those appointed to, especially the highest court, you can have no quarrel with their integrity and their professional qualifications. And I think we have an easy task this morning in respect of these two proposed Judges of the Supreme Court, to give it overwhelming approval. I support the motion, Mr. Speaker.

Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K.

Bagbin): Mr. Speaker, I just stand to support the motion and to remind all that this Report is consensual; there is no disagreement or dissent as to the qualities or otherwise of the nominees.

Mr. Speaker, we are very grateful that our hon. Colleagues now in Government have approved our findings that these are very good materials because both nominees were appointed during the time of the former regime. In fact, it is clear from the curriculum vitae of Mrs. Justice Sophia Adinyira that because of her good qualities when she was appointed to the High Court in 1989 she only spent 10 years before she was promoted to the Court of Appeal, in 1999.

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that both sides of the House agree that these are very

good, well qualified and experienced legal luminaries that would do justice to the Supreme Court and we do so together, in unison.

Mr. Speaker, my worry actually is that

after the appointment to the Supreme Court, what next? What do we do as a House to make sure that the people working in the other arm of government also have some conditions of service that cushion them to do their work effectively and efficiently, well?

Mr. Speaker, I have had the trouble of paying visits to some of them in their offices just to see how they were feeling, and the conditions are horrible. It is like we just appoint and send them to the gallows; and I am not surprised that even in the Report they have identified a number of them who have been very seriously taken ill. It is because of the conditions of service. We are not talking about salaries; we are not just talking about remunerations; we are talking about conditions of service. Mr. Speaker, that is what my good friend the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning would have to look at, that we are talking about conditions of service, not remuneration or salary.

Mr. Speaker, I even had to test the seats or chairs they sit on day in, day out for long hours just to make sure that justice is dispensed. They are so uncomfortable and they develop spinal problems; a lot of them have been complaining about spinal problems. I think that we need to look at the Judiciary seriously and make sure that we give them some support, some logistics, some equipment to work with.

It is true what the hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs (Nana Akufo-Addo) said as to the conditions in the Supreme Courts in the United States, and in Canada - we had the opportunity of visiting these

Supreme Courts. The pressure on those courts is not like what we have in Ghana where much of the work is still through manual.

I am aware there is some computeri- sation but the research work, the way they have to collate the evidence, testimony and the rest, is too laborious. Again, it is recently that some sort of libraries have been made available but they are all inadequate because you would need to do a lot of reading, you need to do a lot of research before you can come out with a judgement that people would say that they do agree with. But, we are moving forward; I hope one day, we would get there.

The last issue is office space. When you go there you would see how they are crammed into small rooms as if they are also consigned to the prison - very little office space for the judges. We have to do something and do it now. I believe strongly that the proposal to construct a Democracy House where the Constitutional Commissions including the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the rest will occupy should be expedited so that the rest of the space left there could be acquired by the Judiciary to develop more structures to support the Judicial Service.

I think that our Committee, the Judicial Committee should, after this, always follow up to see how the people we support in appointing are faring at their workplaces. I really was sad to witness it a number of times and I had the opportunity of visiting the Chief Justice, not just this one, but a number of other Chief Justices who had been in office during my time in office, from 1993 to date - as one of the most experienced hon. Members of Parliament in Ghana. [Hear! Hear!] My hon. Colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs who was the Ranking Member to
Mr. Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Chairman, do you wish to wind up?
Mr. F. Blay 1:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, members of your Joint Committee will wish to thank hon. Members for their various contributions in this lively debate over our Report. We thank them for their contributions, particularly the hon. Member for Abuakwa and Minister for Foreign Affairs and indeed one time Minister for Justice and Attorney-General for his contribution which has made my work lighter, particularly by explaining paragraph 4 that we intentionally added to diffuse that misconception that people have had about ceiling conventions and so on and so forth.
Mr. Speaker, we thank you very much and we would ask hon. Members to vote massively for this motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker 1:25 p.m.
Item 7, Motion
-- Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

Report of the Auditor-General on the Statement of Foreign Exchange

Receipts and payment of the Bank of Ghana for the two half-years

of 2001
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Sallas-Mensah) 1:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor- General on Statement of Foreign Exchange
Receipts and Payments of the Bank of Ghana for two half-years of 2001.
Mr. Speaker, this is a 14-page Report and I do not intend to read all because the Report had been laid since last year; it is just that it was not programmed by the Business Committee for debate. I hope hon. Members would have seen the Report and done justice to it. So I would crave your indulgence to ask the Hansard Department to capture everything in this Report.
1. The Report of the Auditor-General on the Statement of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payments of the Bank of Ghana for two half years of 2001 was laid before Parliament on 18th March 2005 in accordance with Article 187(2) of the Constitution. Pursuant to Order 162(2) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Report was referred to the Public Accounts Committee for consideration and report.
2. The Committee held two Sittings to deliberate on the Report. Evidence was taken from officials of Bank of Ghana (BoG), Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) and the Controller and Accountant-General's Department
3. The Committee wishes to extend its gratitude to officials of the above- mentioned institutions for the input in clarifying issues raised by Members during the discussions.
4. The following documents guided the Committee in its deliberations.
a. The 1992 Constitution
b. The Standing Orders of Parliament
c. The Financial Administration Decree (FAD) 1979, SMCD 221
d. The Bank of Ghana Law, PNDCL
e. The Bank of Ghana Act, 2001, Act 612
f. The Exchange Control Act 1961, Act 71.
g. The Financial Administration Act, 2003, Act 654
h. The Financial Administration Regulations, 1979, L.I. 1234
i. The Financial Administration Regulations, 2004, L.I. 1802
PART I 1:25 p.m.

PART II 1:25 p.m.

PART III 1:25 p.m.

Mr. Kofi Krah Mensah (NPP - Amansie West) 1:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion, but in doing so I want to make a few comments on the Report.
According to the Auditor-General's Report the balance of payments position of the country was good, but I want the Bank of Ghana to accept the responsibility, not only to penalize but also to sanction all those who do not comply with the law.
Secondly, we noticed that there was some payment of 50 million cedis to Construction Pioneers (CP). Mr. Speaker, I am aware that this case is a matter of
Dr. A. A. Osei 1:25 p.m.
On a point of information. Mr. Speaker, the amount involved is not 50,000 cedis - [Interruption.]
Mr. Krah Mensah 1:35 p.m.
$50 million. Mr. Speaker, I beg your pardon. So I recommend that we should not only look for the money; it should be refunded as quickly as possible, and if need be, CP should be prosecuted.
Mr. Speaker, further investigations at the Committee indicate that the matter is pending before the International Court but it is taking too long and I am not comfortable with that.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to talk about the loan given by Sumitomo Corporation of Japan to Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU). Members of the GPRTU have not only used the facilities involved in the loan but they have failed to pay all the amount involved. I therefore think that they should not only pay the amount involved but they should be surcharged with the accrued interest thereon.

On that note, Mr. Speaker, I second the motion.

Question proposed.

Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning (Dr. A. Akoto Osei): Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion that is being debated at this moment. And in doing so bring Member's attention to a few paragraphs of the Report which

require our serious attention.

Mr. Speaker, in particular, I will look at page 9, paragraph 37, the section dealing with additional costs that the Government has had to pay because of delays by implementing agencies. This is one case of an amount that was paid as charges for delay simply because officials of a particular Ministry did not do simple things like writing the appropriate letters, and so forth. Mr. Speaker, if you multiply this amount through all the kinds of delays that have occurred in the Ministries, you can begin to imagine the type of costs that our taxpayer is beginning to bear because of the inefficiencies in the system.

What is worse, Mr. Speaker, is that at no time are the affected persons sanctioned; at least I am not aware of any. The typical excuse is to write to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to effect payment. Mr. Speaker, I think Members of this House should begin to look at these areas so that at least those parties who are responsible for committing such errors can be punished.

Mr. Speaker, you go further down to paragraph 39, and my senior Colleague mentioned it. This amount is not the only amount. This is US$50 million that was paid every month from January 1,2000 till December 31 2000 to an account in Leicentone. Mr. Speaker, we are spending a lot of money, as I speak, by hiring a law firm in New York to defend the Government because Construction Pioneers (CP) had filed a case in the State of New York to the tune of almost US$100 million against the Government of Ghana. The Bank of Ghana claims, Mr. Speaker, in the next paragraph that their task is to use certificates to effect payment. In this case, it is false.

Mr. Speaker, we have a report that we

have been working on; my Chief Director has written to the appropriate agencies. There is clear violence, and from what our lawyers are telling us there were no certificates. These were contracts that did not exist but there was an agreement that said that because some earlier contracts had been suspended, we would add on to any work that you do and you simply submit an invoice for payment. But our system is such that no such payment can be made until instructions have come from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to the Controller and Accountant-General. In this case, every month, it just went religiously by one official in one Ministry without even the Minister's instructions.

Mr. Speaker, our system is very porous and we are working had to plug the loopholes. But this is one case which as I speak our Attorney-General and other parties are trying to settle amicably because in the London case it was looking like the international arbitration was loaded a bit against the Government of Ghana. Our own Jurist, Prof. S.K.B. Asante was the only dissenting view on that matter.

But the law firm that we have hired in New York, Mr. Speaker, has been able to save us a lot of money, but we have to pay them a lot of money. In fact, Mr. Speaker, this week we have received an invoice for over US$1.4 million just to defend ourselves against such malpractices.

Mr. Speaker, no one I am aware of has gone to jail yet for this matter. We are aware that CP completely disappeared from Ghana; they stopped their operations. Mr. Speaker, whether they are guilty or not the fact is that CP was a very big contractor in terms of contract works in Ghana and

for a long period of time because they, as it were, had a monopoly in a lot of areas, it brought a lot of delays in construction projects in Ghana.

As I speak, we have an address in Leicentone where some of the directors are supposed to be residing but it has been difficult to find them. Our Attorney- General and the Office of the Attorney- General, as I said, are vigorously pursuing this case and I hope that the Government would be saved some money.

At this point, I am unable to tell what has been put on the table but the initial request was for an amount of US$100 million. We are trying to do an offset because the interest charged on this amount was compounding at about 7.5 per cent, but those of the old Government were not attracting any interest. Mr. Speaker, I just want to draw this House's attention to these areas of our governance, which appear to be very porous, and I invite the House to look further into this, particularly the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Mr. Speaker, the last one, page 11, paragraph 50. Mr. Speaker, as I speak, we are engaging debt collectors and attorneys to try to collect these types of debt for us but this is the case also, as it were, where the controls were almost non-existent. It is said in the Report that the Controller and Accountant-General guaranteed. Mr. Speaker, the Controller and Accountant- General cannot guarantee without the instruction of the Minister. He is acting on behalf of the Minister.

So the Report should appropriately state: “On the directives of the Minister, the Controller and Accountant-General guarantees for the Government.” Mr. Speaker, this was 1995 prior to our elections in 1996. Anytime you call he GPRTU to pay a certain amount, they bring one cheque and then do not pay
Alhaji Seidu Amadu (NDC - Yapei/ Kusawgu) 1:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion moved by the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
Mr. Speaker, I just want seek a small clarification on page 5 of the Report. Mr. Speaker, paragraph 19 appears to describe exports of bauxite and manganese as non-
traditional items. Mr. Speaker, bauxite and manganese constitute the rubber economy of this country and they are exploited and as long once they exhaust the mine, there is nothing for you to exploit again. For many years, bauxite and manganese, and to some extent timber - although timber can be replanted - have constituted a nuclear component of Ghana's foreign exchange earnings.
So I find it difficult why up to now the Bank of Ghana would still like to describe these items as non-exportable commodities and for which reason they are supposed to return one hundred per cent of the forest proceeds that they earn out of the exports. I would want a clarification from the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning as to whether they could not take off these two items - agricultural produce, Manufacturing is understandable.
Mr. Speaker, my other concern has to do with the response of the commercial banks in respect of the returns that they are supposed to submit to Bank of Ghana. Mr. Speaker, it is indeed sad that even the Government owned banks are in default of this.
We all know that without appropriate and timely submission of returns, there is no way the Bank of Ghana can capture the foreign exchange earnings, the foreign earnings that will make us a country. I would want again to suggest and to appeal to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to ensure that these banks that have continued to default in the submission of these returns are appropriately sanctioned so that they live up to their expectations and responsibilities.
With this Mr. Speaker, I support the motion.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP - Suame) 1:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to
lend my voice of support to the motion on the floor.
Mr. speaker, I have always said that if indeed we empower the Public Accounts Committee to work actively, we would be able to save this country a lot of good money. Mr. Speaker, I am very much impressed by the quality of work that the Committee is turning out of late. The Chairman of the Committee is a reputable accountant and I believe he is bringing the qualities of excellence to bear on the work of the Committee. Mr. Speaker, that really is inuring to the benefit of this House, and I hope and pray that the Committee chairman continues in that vein.
Mr. Speaker, there is just this little thing that has been harped on by the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and the Member for Amansie who is the Ranking Member on the Committee. Mr. Speaker, it is in respect of this Government guarantee for GPRTU. In 1995, this was done. Indeed, in 1998 another guarantee was effected and we raised issues. In fact, the Progressive Tramsport Onwners Association (PROTOA) those days came and saw the Committee on Finance that they also put in a request and the request was rejected. And the argument at the time was yes, they had started with GPRTU and they wanted to see how the thing would work and that similar facilities would be extended to other outfits.
It is sad to relate that the GPRTU has defaulted. Indeed, in times past and particularly in our times of need, GPRTU served this country very well.
Only last week an hon. Member made a Statement on the floor of the House and was appealing that for long distance travels, because of the mishaps that have been happening on our highways caused
basically by the 207 and 208 Mercedes Benz mini buses, the Government should come out with a policy such that for long-distance passenger haulage, we would resort only to these long buses and coaches. And she appealled to the Government to make loans available to private individuals and companies to enable them to procure these buses.
It is sad to relate that the example of GPRTU in this particular area is nothing to write home about. It is indeed worrying, and the vehicles, which were procured in 1995, as we speak today if they are still plying our roads, would be eleven years old. Those of them, which were acquired in 1998, would be about eight years old by now. And if the moneys could not be collected from the owners in those days, I shudder to think what could be done now that the vehicles are eleven years old.
Mr. Speaker, so I agree with the Ministry in their proposal that they would want to resort to debt collecting agencies to effect the collection of these outstanding debts from the GPRTU. That will help GPRTU itself because these buses went to individuals. They were not registered in the name of GPRTU as an entity. They were all lent to individuals and these individuals have to be made to pay for the buses that they have used to line their pockets. It is terrible that we encourage such situations. This is because there are individuals in the GPRTU who did not benefit and who would want to benefit from such procurement.
Mr. Speaker, there are other outfits, PROTOA and the other one that has just sprung up which would also want to enjoy similar treatment and benefit from similar facilities. So it is important that we clear this obstacle to enable these outfits also to benefit.
So Mr. Speaker, I would want us not
  • [DR. AKOTO to forget about the debts. We cannot write them off because individuals have benefitted and they should be made to pay just so that they would be paid to other members of the GPRTU and other similar bodies to benefit from and also to improve on our mass public transport system. Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this motion.
  • Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 1:45 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have just a few quick points.
    Mr. Speaker, the financial and economic environment is crying urgently for a review of the Foreign Exchange Control Act of 1961. The provisions will need to be updated seriously and I urge the authorities to expedite action on it for us in this House to consider.
    Again, the issue of additional cost payments to contractors on government projects will have to be looked at. I think that the current practice is that you build into the contract a penalty clause for non-completion. It seems we have contractors who basically depend on Government to execute contracts. They bid and get the contracts and they wait for the Government to give them money to do the construction. That is not how we do business. If that were the case, we could all go into that business of construction. You just register a company, then submit something and wait for government money to do the work. I think that is not correct.
    I saw an example at the Tanzanian Parliament where they contracted out the construction of a new structure to a company and a period was given to the contractor, and the contractor is struggling to finish the very solid edifice by April, and if not penalty starts running weekly.
    Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 1:55 p.m.
    Again, we are experiencing these problems with GPRTU and the rest because it is clear to all of us that these days we are talking about public/ private partnership. Inasmuch as we would want to support the private sector to grow, the conditions have not been created for the private sector to grow. So sometimes, when you give this support to the private sector, they rather incur a lot of unnecessary operational costs and they find it difficult to pay back the loan. Mr. Speaker, these are some of the experiences that will have to inform our future decisions.

    In fact, the 1998 loan that we approved in this House could not materialise because our development partners insisted that it was for the private sector and that Government should not be guaranteeing the loans for them. So the buses actually did not come on stream. That is why, Mr. Speaker, we need to learn from this experience and see how we can facilitate the Metro Mass Transit Company. I am saying this because we have not yet been able to clearly come out with designated routes so that they do not have obstructions in their operations.

    I had a copy of a feasibility report that was submitted very early in 2001 thereabout, as to how to operate a metro mass transport; and the demands and facilities that are to be put in place are not yet in place. Therefore, I anticipate that the Metro Mass Transit will meet future difficulties. They are now surviving well because maintenance cost is very low, the vehicles are new and a lot of things are moving on. But with time, when the vehicles start depreciating, they are going to have a lot

    of problems with maintenance cost. So we need to expedite action in constructing the designated transport terminals and giving designated routes and preventing the public and other transport services including private, from using those routes and obstructing the movement of the Metro Mass Transit vehicles. I think that with that they may be in a position to pay back what we are on-lending to them if not we may get the fate of the GPRTU.

    I am aware of the cases that we are struggling with outside Ghana and the cost that we are incurring in trying to retrieve some of the monies that did not pass through the due process, properly. I am also aware that action is being taken to make sure that we can at least reduce the loses. But I am raising this issue in connection with patriotism. I am not happy that some of us would decide to testify against Government position irrespective of which political party you belong to.

    We must be very patriotic and when it comes to Ghana, Ghana is for all of us. I am aware of what is happening and I was sad myself to be part of it in London one time when I was there; and I think that as leaders, whether you, we Members of Parliament or Ministers of State, when you are caught in the hands of the law, one should be very frank, open and be supportive of the national interest instead of trying to talk about personal interests.

    Mr. Speaker, it is with this that I also commend the Committee for doing a good job. I know that the Committee is chaired by a professional. In fact, some of us are exonerated because it is for a good reason that I decided to give room to my very senior Brother, who is a professional in the field, to chair it instead of the convention of a Minority Leader chairing it. But I

    am also aware that the Audit Service itself has been strengthened and, in fact, some facilities from our development partners have given them more technical hands, more professionals. Reports from the Service are better than before. That is why maybe we are getting this improved input.

    Mr. Speaker, with this contribution, I also support the motion.
    Mr. Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, you may wind up.
    Mr. Sallas-Mensah 1:55 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all Members for supporting this motion. Mr. Speaker, the Member for Yapei/Kusawgu, hon. Seidu Amadu made a certain point, that under the “Memorandum Account Items”, we were classifying bauxite, timber and other items as non-traditional export. Mr. Speaker, we did so because your Committee is constrained working with certain documents, for example, the Foreign Control Exchange Act of 1961, Act 61 which is actually outdated, out of place, but which is the legal framework that we have to contend with as of now. I know something is being done to amend the Exchange Control Act.
    So I will use this opportunity to appeal to the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to make sure that, that Act is amended as quickly as possible so that what is happening on the ground should be captured in the law, so that we too do not have difficulty at the Committee. On that note, I would like to thank all hon. Members.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    Resoled accordingly.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:55 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    Mr. Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Chief Whip, are you saying that the Committee on Interior should be added; is that your wish?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:55 p.m.
    That is my wish, except that I have been told that the Joint Committee has about finished its work. If it has not finished, then the
  • [MR. BAGBIN Committee on Interior, Mr. Speaker, by your permission and with the indulgence of the House could be asked to join the Committee in the consideration of this specific matter.
  • Mr. Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    I direct that the Committee on Interior should join so that we have three committees.
    Dr. Kunbuor 1:55 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, there seems to be some difficulty with what the hon. Chief Whip is saying. Because, I think the fact that they are meeting only the Committee on Local Government today is based on a realisation, after the preliminary discussions, that the bulk of the work on identification seems to be focusing on the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and so they created a joint Committee that they think that the other committee did not seem to have much to do with it. So the position seems to be that we should let them go back, take up the details with Local Government and bring back the Joint Committee together. But it is not a situation as if work is really progressing, there are some technical difficulties.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:55 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, now that you have indulged my request that we add a committee to it; it is past 2.00 o'clock and you may on your own volition, Mr. Speaker, adjourn the House without any formal motion.
    ADJOURNMENT 1:55 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 2.03 p.m. till 9th March, 2006 at 10.00 a.m.