Debates of 23 May 2006

PRAYERS 10 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correc- tion of Votes and Proceedings for Friday, 19th May 2006. Pages 1, 2, 3 … 8? Hon. Members, we have two Official Reports for Thursday, 18th May 2006 and Friday, 19th May 2006. If there are any comments, queries or observations, you may carry them to the Table. Item 3 - Questions.


Minister for the Interior (Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah) 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the provision of facilities, especially permanent office and residential accommodation, is one of the major challenges facing the Ghana Police Service. The Government, through my Ministry, is collaborating with the Ghana Police Service to find a bold and lasting solution to the problem in a holistic manner.
The Ministry is aware of the urgent need for permanent accommodation for the Jasikan Police Station and although it is not possible to give exact dates as to when construction work will begin, I want to assure the hon. Member that we do regard the Jasikan project as one that requires prompt attention and we will work to that effect.
Mr. Kamel 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry concedes that the situation at Jasikan Police Station requires prompt attention. I would want to find out from the hon. Minister whether this year's budget for the Police caters for the police station at Jasikan.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the budget for this year does not specifically cater for the Jasikan project but there are many such police stations that require urgent attention. What I do know is that I have the assurance of the Ghana Police Service that the Jasikan project is one that they themselves regard as very, very essential and critical and would receive special attention as soon as we have been able to come up with something.
Mr. Charles Hodogbey 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question to the hon. Minister is, in establishing these stations at various places, apart from the crime statistics, what other criteria does the Ministry use in setting up those stations?
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Hon Member for North Tongu, I need further clarification; is it a supplementary question? The Question he answered dealt specifically with Jasikan.
Mr. Hodogbey 10 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. I know the Question is related to the Jasikan issue, but there are certain reasons cited in his Answer, so I am asking whether apart from the statistics relating to crime, there are any other criteria used to expedite the setting up of police stations.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think
I agree with you that this is a question which will require an answer in itself. There is a policy aspect of it and I will need to refer to the exact policy statement and come out with an answer.
Mr. E. K. Bandua 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
hon. Minister tells us that the Government through the Ministry of the Interior is collaborating with the Ghana Police Service to find a bold and lasting solution to the problem. My question is, can the hon. Minister tell us the nature of the collaboration? He said his Ministry and the Government are collaborating to ensure that the problem is resolved; and I want to know the nature of the collaboration.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
provision of these facilities require that money be provided by Government. My Ministry is interacting with the Police Service and the Government in making sure that the Police Service is able to tell us exactly what their needs are and for me to be able to liaise with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to get the necessary resources which will be needed to provide the facilities which the Police Service regards as necessary for them to be able to carry on with their work.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
in the hon. Minister's Answer he indicated that the Ministry was aware of the urgent need for providing the permanent accommodation for the Jasikan Police Station. I want to know from the hon. Minister since when did the Ministry become aware.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
Police Service is aware that there are a number of police stations that require these facilities and the Police Service is also aware of certain police stations where
the need is much urgent. The police has known for some time that the facilities in Jasikan require urgent attention. I am not very sure as to the exact date that this came to their attention, but I do know that for sometime now the Police Service has been worried about this and it has all been a question of getting sufficient resources from Government to be able to provide the facilities.
Dr. Kunbuor 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, why I
ask this question is because year after year appropriations have been made for infrastructural development to the Ghana Police Service; and I want to know whether this particular project has ever been provided for in the Budget.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, year
after year allocation has been made for the provision of such facilities for the Police Service; year after year such monies have been used for the very critical ones; and year after year we continue to cry for more resources to be able to provide for those areas where we have not been able to provide -- This is an ongoing programme and we are hoping that very soon we will be able to respond to the specific needs of the Jasikan Police Station.
Jasikan District Fire Tender
Q. 401. Mr. Henry Ford Kamel asked the Minister for the Interior why the Fire Tender for Jasikan District had been withdrawn.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes indeed, the fire tender at Jasikan was withdrawn but has since been replaced by a new fire tender which the Ghana National Fire Service hopes would serve the Jasikan district better.
Dangme East District Fire Office Building (Completion)
Q. 402. Mr. Alfred W. G. Abayateye asked the Minister for the Interior when
the new office building for the District Fire Office of the Dangme East District would be completed.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, work on the Ada Fire Station in the Dangme East District has in fact commenced. My Ministry has issued a specific warrant to the contractor, Messrs Barry Construction Limited, who indeed has recommenced work on the Ada Fire Station. Completion date is estimated to be in the second half of 2007.
Mr. Abayateye 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether he is aware that the building has been at a standstill since 2004 and as at last Friday, even with the District Fire Officer, the contractor could not be traced.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
am not aware that that is the situation. The assurance that was given to me was that work has recommenced, but I would want to thank my hon. Friend for this information and to promise him that I would immediately investigate the matter and make sure that the work is restarted.
Mr. Abayateye 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in view
of the answer that he has given that he is not aware that the man is not at post, I would like to help him by telling him that the building is in place but there is no water hydrant, no louvres, no facilities, nothing, and the 28 workers at post at the moment are “squeezed” in the building of the Public Works Department (PWD). This is a point I want to bring to his information so that as he takes up the issue, he would know where to look at.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, you may
ask a question. If you do not have any question you may resume your seat.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, I thought
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am
certainly not aware of what my hon. Friend is talking about, but if it is any consolation, I want to assure my hon. Friend that I would pay a personal visit to the station and make sure that the right thing is done; and my visit will certainly be before the end of next week.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I would want to find out from the hon. Minister on what date was the warrant issued to the contractor to recommence it. In the terms of the contract when exactly is he supposed to complete work on the project? I ask this because he just gave us second half of 2007.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I would need to refer to my office to find out the exact date that the contract was awarded and the exact date that the contract is supposed to be completed. The information I have to date says that, yes, the contract has been awarded, the job has recommenced and that it is supposed to be completed by the middle of next year. With regard to specific dates, I would need to get some more information from my office.
Mr. Kojo Armah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I would want to know from the hon. Minister what programme he has to properly house Fire Service Offices across the country that are still in rented places or confiscated assets. I ask this question
because in the district capital of Axim, the Fire Service staff are still in confiscated assets which are not being renovated and therefore they are being subjected to serious inhuman existence. I would want to know from the hon. Minister if there is a general programme to revisit these places and have them rehabilitated or relocated.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Evalue-Gwira, it is not a supplementary question; is it? You may wish to ask a question in due course and appropriately but not today.
Mr. Armah 10:20 a.m.
I take notice, sir.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the contractor has recommenced work on the fire station and the completion is estimated to be in the second half of 2007. I want to know the exact time in 2007, not just the second half -- it is too open -- and also the contract sum. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure my very good Friend just wanted to go on record as having asked a question on my first day -- Because, Mr. Speaker, as you can remember, the same question has been asked by the hon. Deputy Minority Leader and an appropriate Answer has only been given.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend did not listen to the Deputy Minority Leader -- he asked for date, not a specific date; and he did not also ask for the contract sum. I want to know the contract sum. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the original Question did not ask for the sum of the contract and as a result the
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ghana National Fire Service had to undertake a review of the allocation of Fire Tenders in a number of districts. The review was aimed at the optical utilization of Fire Tenders in the system arising from the low level of fire fighting equipment available in the Service. This assessment led to the identification of eighty-five (85) critical areas which needed urgent attention. On this basis, the Fire Tender at Have had to be reallocated to one of the critical areas. Have is presently being serviced by the Fire Tender at the Hohoe Fire Station.
The Ministry is currently working on a financial facility for the procurement of new fire fighting equipment, including fire tenders. The Have Fire Post will be considered for the allocation of a fire tender when the new tenders are procured.
Mr. Amenowode 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Minister what factors were considered in the determination of critical areas of which Have was not one.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Fire Service is administered by professionals. This borders on operational matters and I think it is very important that such operational maters are left to the decision of the professionals at the Ghana
National Fire Service. I am unable to say the specific factors that were taken into account in determining what a critical area was. But I want to believe that the professionals there did a professional exercise to identify which areas required the 85 fire tenders that were available. And I think, Mr. Speaker, that it is important that we give the professionals at the Fire Service the benefit of the doubt.
Mr. Amenowode 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I certainly would not take that as a good answer to that question because we had a fire post with a fire tender which was removed to a “more critical area”. So at least, the hon. Minister should be able to tell me one or two criteria by which Have does not qualify to have a fire tender. So my first question has not been adequately answered.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
If you have other questions kindly ask them, please.
Mr. Amenowode 10:20 a.m.
All right, then I will go to the second question, Mr. Speaker.
Last year, a village 20 km from Hohoe was totally razed to the ground. By the time the Fire Service got there, everything was lost; fortunately no human life was lost. Now with this and Have being about 40 km from Hohoe, does the hon. Minister or the Fire Service experts honestly think one fire tender at Hohoe could adequately cover a radius of about 50 km, taking into consideration distance and lack of communication?
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if it is the desire, the wish of my hon. Friend, I would be able to get for him the exact factors that were taken into account what a critical area is. Mr. Speaker, I do agree with my hon. Friend that that is not the best that one should expect. This thing has come about because we happen to deal with, if you like, some scarce resources. If
the Fire Service was adequately resourced and had sufficient fire tenders, I am sure places such as Have would continue to have fire tenders.
I think the Fire Service ought to be commended for that particularly action in sitting down and saying to themselves that “Given the scarce resources that we have, how best do we utilize the few facilities that we have?” I think that in itself was a good exercise. My hon. Friend would want to know the factors that were taken into account; that I can make available for him.
But I also do concede that not having enough fire tenders for the Fire Service is obviously not good enough and attempts would be made, as I have already conceded, to get more financial facilities which will allow us to have more fire tenders in the system and therefore be able to provide fire tenders for places like Have. But given the problems with communication and what not, I could not agree with him more that problems do exist and we should find solutions to these problems.
Mr. James K. Avedzi 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Minister for the Interior why the Ghana National Fire Service should delay for the fire fighting equipment to be depleted to that extent as to necessitate the review and rearrangement for the optimal utilization of the equipment. Why should they wait until the equipment get to that level?
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ghana National Fire Service has to compete for resources with other agencies in the country. They have to compete for budgetary allocation, and as you know, there are so many competing demands on the financial resources of the country. The Fire Service has not been able to provide all these facilities because sufficient funds have not been made available to them to be able to do that. But as I said earlier, we are making all attempts to obtain some
financial resources from outside so that we would be able to provide for the needs of the Fire Service, at least, as far as fire tenders are concerned.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I guess that all security sector agencies normally take decisions based on threats that they are asked to contain. This Question specifically is asking about the intensity and depth of fire threats that necessitates the movement of the fire tender from Have to Hohoe, whether that assessment has been done. This is because there must have been a reason why it was first located in Have and there must be reasons why it has been moved to Hohoe.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as
I said, I need to be able to come back and answer these specific issues on what are taken into account in deciding what a critical area is and therefore whether an area has to benefit from some of the scarce resources. But obviously, issues such as economic activities in the area, the frequency of fire outbreaks in the area, the size of the area -- all these things would be taken into account in determining which area is critical. And I am sure all these things would have been taken into account by the Ghana National Fire Service and the right decision, I believe, must have been taken. I think, Mr. Speaker, it is important that on such operational matters we are able to rely on the expertise and the professionalism of the Ghana National Fire Service in taking those decisions.
A nationwide exercise was undertaken and I do not think that it was a deliberate policy of the Ghana National Fire Service to discriminate against a particular town in this exercise. But the economic activities, the frequency of fire outbreaks, the size of the area and probably many other factors would have been taken into account in making that decision. As soon as we have

enough resources, I am sure we would be able to have a second look at the situation in Have.

Housing of Police Personnel at Bimbilla Police Station

Q. 404. Alhaji M. M. Mubarak

(on behalf of Mr. Ibn Mohammed Abass) asked the Minister for the Interior what plans the Ministry had to complete buildings started by the previous Government to house police personnel at the Bimbilla Police Station.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the problem is a little bit bigger than that one. And what the Ministry has done is to request the Ghana Police Service to collate information on all uncompleted police stations and residential facilities nationwide. Initial estimates are that it will cost about ¢80 billion to complete all such projects.
The Ministry is collaborating with the Police Administration to prioritise these uncompleted projects and ultimately provide a strategic plan for the completion of all these projects. It is the strong desire of Government, Mr. Speaker, to address the housing needs of the Ghana Police Service and efforts are underway to obtain external funding for that purpose.
Alhaji Mubarak 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, from the hon. Minister's Answer, it looks as if the Ministry did not have data on that project until now. May I ask whether since 2001 it has not appeared in any budget, or is the Ministry not aware of that project and are they now collating information on those projects?
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, clearly, we were aware of that problem. The Ministry or the Ghana Police Service would have been aware of this uncompleted project in Bimbilla.
Mr. Speaker, what I tried to convey is that the problem is much bigger than the
Bimbilla one. It is not only in Bimbilla where a project was started and has not been completed after so many years. There are many such projects in the country and what we are trying to do is to collate information on all such uncompleted projects and to have one whole solution to solve the problem once and for all. It does not mean that we were not aware of the problem in Bimbilla. Sufficient resources have never been made available for us to meet the needs of all these uncompleted houses.
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. Minister has just taken over the Ministry and perhaps has not gone through all the handing-over notes. But I would want to find out why they would want to collate this information if every year they make a budget and try to prioritise and factor in these projects in the order in which the Ghana Police Service and the Ministry consider them.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, office and residential accommodation for the police has been identified as a major problem that has to be tackled in a holistic manner. What we are trying to do is to get information on all such projects and to try to get external funding to solve the problem once and for all. In the past, we had tried to rely on the national budget to raise resources to complete such projects. So far, we have not been very successful and there are many uncompleted projects. We believe the accommodation needs of the police and, indeed, the security services have to be tackled in a holistic manner and what we are trying to do is to make sure that we can get sufficient external funding to be able to address the accommodation needs of the security agencies.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend, the Minister is being very evasive. Time is of essence; he is talking about collaboration. What is the nature of
the collaboration and when are we going to take the first step?
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the process starts with getting the information, getting the data to establish and to find out the exact nature of the problem. That is what we are doing now. When we do that, the next stage will be to obtain funding for it. We are very much on course in trying to get the necessary data. Mr. Speaker, unless one has the data, it becomes very difficult to appreciate the exact nature of the problem.
Fire Service Station for the Nanumba North District
Q. 405. Mr. Ibn Mohammed Abass asked the Minister for the Interior what plans his Ministry had to open a Fire Service Station in the Nanumba North District.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, out of the eighteen districts in the Northern Region, only eight (8) are covered by the services of the Ghana National Fire Service. Bimbilla, which is the district capital of the Nanumba North District, has been identified as one of the eighty-five (85) critical areas in the country with no Fire Station. The Government is working very hard to obtain financial resources to acquire the much needed fire tenders for those areas and Bimbilla being one of the identified 85 critical areas will be covered under that project.
Mr. Abass 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister when in his estimation, the Government would be ready so that the people of Bimbilla can have a Fire Service Station.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there are already some ongoing programmes

which would be able to bring some fire tenders into the country this year. So we do in fact expect some new fire tenders in the country this year and since Bimbilla, as I said, has already been identified as one of the most critical 85 areas we certainly should be able to most probably take care of Bimbilla this year.
Mr. Abass 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, by what the hon. Minister has said, do I take it that it is an assurance that within the year or by the close of the year the people of Bimbilla would have a Fire Service Station?
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I very much hope so, but obviously, this is an operational decision which will have to be made by the professionals at the Ghana Fire Service. I want to take consolation from the fact that the Fire Service has identified Bimbilla as one of the areas that critically needs support and depending on the number of fire tenders that we are able to bring into the country this year, I believe Bimbilla stands a very good chance of being served with a fire tender by the close of this year.
Old Ningo Police Station (Cost)
Q. 406. Mr. Enock Teye Mensah asked the Minister for the Interior the cost of the old Ningo Police Station which was recently commissioned.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the contract for the demolition and re- construction of the Old Ningo Police Station was awarded in the sum of five hundred and sixty-three million, three hundred and twenty-four thousand, eight hundred cedis (¢563,324,800.00).
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Minister whether the contract was awarded through
competitive bidding and which other contractors put in a bid.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is unimaginable that the contract would have been awarded without going through the due process.
Mr. Speaker, the Question from my hon. Friend was very specific -- what was the value of the contract -- and that was the Answer that I gave. If there is any other information, I would need some notice to be able to provide that.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the supplementary question that I asked was related to the award of the contract; you either go through competitive bidding or selective bidding or what have you; he should have apprised himself of the information before coming.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know the name of the contractor and whether the property there has value for money because it is just like a chamber and a hall, what has been built in Ningo, and the sum of five hundred million, I think, is just too much.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minority Whip, your Question was very specific -- the cost -- that was the Question you asked -- the cost. Minister for the Interior, if you have the answer you may give it.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the name of the contractor should not be very difficult to know. I can give it to my hon. Friend at the appropriate time. But as I stand here, I do not readily remember the name of the contractor.
Namoo-Yelwongo Border Post
Q. 407. Mr. Albert Abongo asked the Minister for the Interior what plans the Ministry had for the development of the Namoo-Yelwongo Border Post as an alternative entry/exist point between
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Namoo Border is one of the approved Entry/Exit points in Ghana. The Namoo Border Station has a current staff strength of five Immigration officers. The Immigration Service currently shares offices in the same premises with staff of CEPS. The Service is in touch with the Chief of Namoo to release plots of land to put up office and residential accommodation for officers stationed at Namoo.
Mr. Speaker, as part of the ongoing measures to strengthen Ghana's border and enhance border operations under the new Border Management Project, the Namoo Border Post shall definitely see an improvement in terms of infrastructural development, equipment and manpower.
Mr. Albert Abongo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister about the negotiations for land. I do not know how soon that will be concluded so that the intended infrastructural development projects will start; I would like to find out from the hon. Minister.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the process has been to try to get the chief there to give us a plot of land; once we have been given that land, we would work very fast on it. I am hoping that, at the very least, we should be able to get it into our budget for next year to start construction of that important border post. But Mr. Speaker, if there is any assurance, I want to reassure my hon. Friend that we do consider that border post as a very important border post which should be given all the facilities that it deserves and as quickly as possible.
Mr. Abongo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would
like to know from the hon. Minister if he is also considering putting up a police station at the area because that has not been mentioned at all; I know the police will also be very important at the area.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Question was very specific and it was with respect to the border post. I will try to find out from the police what their plans in the area are and communicate that to my hon. Friend.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Minister for the Interior, thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions. You are discharged.
At the Commencement of Public Business -- Item 5 -- Motion.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to crave your indulgence to allow the Minister for Energy to move this motion on behalf of the Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment for a number of good reasons, including practical realities.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Minister, you may move the motion.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Paul Okoh) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to present the Report of the Committee. I crave your indulgence to let the Hansard capture the entire Report.
1.0 Introduction
The Persons With Disability Bill was laid before Parliament by the Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment, hon. Joseph Kofi Adda on 24th February 2006 and referred to the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises in accordance with Order 125 and articles 103 and 106 (4) of the Constitution for consideration and report and the Committee having so considered the Bill reports as follows:
1.1 Reference
The Committee made references to the underlisted documents during its work:
i) The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
ii) The Constitution of the Repu- blic
iii) The Standing Orders of the House
iv) The State Property and Contracts Act, 1960, C.A. 6
v) The Workmen's Compensation Law, 1987
vi) The State Lands Act, 1962, Act 125
vii) The Labour Act, 2003, Act 651
viii The Beggars and Destitutes Decree, 1969, NLCD 392.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Paul Okoh) 11 a.m.

The purpose of the Bill is to provide legislation aimed at enabling persons with disability to enjoy rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic and other international charters such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Bill is particularly set to improve the living standards of persons with disability while integrating them into the mainstream of development all in a bid to harnessing the human capacity development of the nation for accelerated development and to make the national goal of achieving middle income status by 2015 a reality. 1.3 Background

Successive governments of the Republic have contributed in diverse ways to promoting better living standards for persons with disability. Various policies were made by successive governments to provide persons with disability with educational facilities and other life-enhancing amenities that could improve their lot. Special educational establishments were put up whilst attempt was made at policy for persons with disability.

On the global scene, various human rights charters including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been promulgated and adopted by member countries for the benefit of their citizens including persons with disability.

In Ghana, the 1992 Constitution was emphatic in providing for the rights of persons with disability. Articles 29 (8) and 37 (2b) specifically mandate Parliament and the State to enact laws to ensure that persons with disability enjoyed the basic human rights and freedoms of the land.

The Persons With Disability Bill is accordingly in fulfilment of this constitutional requirement and also in compliance with the need for member countries of the United Nations to uphold and promote the rights of all persons regardless of race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, religion, creed or gender.

1.4 Acknowledgement

The Committee held a number of meetings at which it was assisted by the sector Minister, his two Deputies, a representative of the Attorney-General's Department and the leadership of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled including the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, the Ghana Association of the Blind, the Ghana National Association of the Deaf and the Parents Association of Children with Intellectual Disabilities and the Committee is grateful to them for their assistance.

The Committee is further grateful to all Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Municipal/ District Chief Executives and officials of Municipal/ District Assemblies and members of the general public who contributed in diverse ways including being present at the various public fora which were organized in some of the regions.

Again, the Committee is most grateful to the directors, teachers, parents, guardians, and students/pupils of the special schools which the Committee visited during the consideration of the Bill.

2.0 Deliberations/ Observations

In the course of deliberations, the Committee made the following observations:

2.1 Human Resource Development

The GPRS II has, as part of its core coverage areas, the development of

the country's human resource base for accelerated development. This, the Committee found to be necessary in harnessing the contributions of all citizens to the GDP of the country since the status quo would be inconsistent with the national goal of wealth creation through employment generation with a view to precipitating the country's attainment of a middle income status by 2015.

It is in the light of the foregoing that the Committee observed with admiration that the introduction of the Bill was intended to promote the capacity building of persons with disability to enable them contribute significantly to the country's development.

2.2 Employment Generation

The Committee observed with delight the extent to which the Bill, when passed into law, will generate employment particularly for persons with disability.

While it contained provisions that required the state to assist in securing employment for persons with disability, it also made provision for giving persons with disability employable skills as well as tools to enable them start their own business enterprises.

Besides, it promotes the production of amenities for persons with disability by supporting local industries in that venture. This support has the potential to increase the capacity of such enterprises to employ additional hands.

2.3 Discrimination/Exploitation/Abuse

Article 12 (1) of the Constitution enjoins all persons and all corporate entities including the arms of government to respect the individual's rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution. Article 15 (1) particularly provides that the “the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable”.

Nonetheless, in the absence of

legislation sanctioning the abuse of the rights of persons with disability, the Committee observed with nostalgia the rate of abuse, the wanton discrimination and the exploitation that persons with disability were subjected to by society. At the various fora and meetings, the Committee learnt how persons with disability suffered abuses from able- bodied persons who even failed to appreciate their predicament. Mention was made severally of how employers refused to engage the services of persons with disability regardless of their qualification once they identified them with disability.

The harassment faced by spouses from in-laws, the discrimination of students in respect of the lack of special educational materials, the lack of special teachers, the poor attention received during examinations and the marking of scripts, et cetera, are just a few examples of the extent of discrimination that persons with disability face in their daily lives and which were brought to the attention of the Committee at its meetings.

These and many other forms of discrimination, abuse and exploitation of persons with disability were the reasons for the Committee's joy at the introduction of the Bill which, when passed into law, will eliminate all such abuses to the relief of persons with disability and all well- meaning persons noting that disability is not the preserve of persons with disability today and that everybody was at risk.

2.4 Welfare

The Committee observed further with satisfaction that the Bill had as a major object to promote and protect the welfare of persons with disability. The Committee was particularly pleased with the provisions of the Bill that dealt with making public facilities and programmes

accessible to persons with disability. While this promoted their welfare, the Committee observed that it also had the tendency to give persons with disability a sense of belonging which was vital in boosting their confidence for enhanced productivity.

2.5 Commitment to Rule of Law

The Committee noted that the Bill was in tune with the general legal requirements on human rights both locally and internationally as it fulfilled articles 29 and 37 (2b) of the Constitution and also the fundamental human rights provisions as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.

The Committee observed that this development was healthy and needed to be encouraged to promote a commitment by all to the rule of law.

3.0 Recommendation

3.1 Transitional Provisions

In the light of the volume of work that need to be done to bring all public facilities and amenities to a level that is friendly to persons with disability, the Committee recommends that, with the passage of the Bill into law, efforts should be made by all regulatory institutions to ensure that new facilities and amenities were friendly enough to persons with disability.

This, the Committee believes, will reduce the burden on the State and individuals who might overlook this requirement only to be compelled later to redesign those facilities and amenities to be disability-friendly.

3.2 Employment

The Committee also recommends that the Ministry responsible for Employment
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC -- Tamale South) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this very significant Report on a very
important Bill -- Persons with Disability Bill. Mr. Speaker, in doing so, I must also raise issue that this has long been awaited, but nonetheless, better late than never. We welcome the process and Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like to premise my comments by reference to article 29 (6) of the Constitution; and with your kind permission, I would like to quote. Article 29 (6) reads:
“As far as practicable, every place to which the public have access shall have appropriate facilities for disabled persons.”
Mr. Speaker, if you refer to page 5 of your Committee's Report, the opening paragraph makes another significant remark; and with your permission I quote:
“The Committee was particularly pleased with the provisions of the Bill that dealt with making public facilities and programmes acces- sible to persons with disability.”
Mr. Speaker, article 29 (6) and the Committee's Report therefore impose a heavy burden and obligation on the Government in ensuring that all public places and facilities are disable-friendly.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin even with this honourable House, as my example. I do not think that the structure of Parliament as constituted now is disable-friendly because some disable persons who may want to observe the proceedings of this House may not be able to do so, on the basis of inadequate facilities and the fact that we have not created enough opportunities to cater for persons with disability.
I may also use the example of a telephone booth. Mr. Speaker, it is a public facility. If a disabled person wants to have access to a telephone booth, I am not sure that any of our major telephone service providers has created opportunity for this; and I am saying this in the light of the fact that in making this part of the
law, the Government must commit itself to providing resources.
Indeed, if you take our educational institutions, every educational institution is a public facility and therefore must have access for persons with disability. Mr. Speaker, in referring to this, I would also say that I find the purpose of the Bill, as stated in the Committee's Report, rather too narrow, since it just says that the Bill is in observance of a convention that we have agreed to, such as the United Nations Convention on Human and People's Right. I think that one of the purposes of this Bill is to make it clear that we are passing this Bill in order to make it unlawful for persons with disability to be discriminated against.
Mr. Speaker, the major problem confronting persons with disability in this country is social exclusion. They are marginalized and excluded from mainstream society. Even our policies and programmes are not gender-friendly. I have seen some reference made to the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy document that it would be poverty- friendly. We would need to practicalize it in ensuring that all educational institutions, all health institutions which would be constructed after this Bill is passed are disable-friendly, in a manner that there is access in and out for persons with disability to be able to enjoy the benefits of public policy.
Concern ing employment , Mr. Speaker, the fact is that many disabled persons do not have the required skill for purposes of employment. Many of the special educational institutions we have established, whether a school for the deaf or a school for the blind, are under-resourced. I am told that one of the best disabled institutions is in Mampong Akwapim which is a Secondary/Technical School for the Deaf. I am told that up to the year 2005, the school did not have a functioning library to serve the people who
were undergoing training.
Mr. Speaker, if we make a law insisting that we want to create employment opportunities for persons with disability, then we ought to strengthen the capacities of those educational institutions offering that particular training in order that they would be able to participate in our public life.
Mr. Speaker, I will not hesitate in asking hon. Members to join me in advocating for free education at all levels for persons with disability. If you look at the content of the Bill, we say “Education” but we are not specific. If we are offering free education, is it going to be at the basic level, secondary level or tertiary level?
I think that we should recognize that as regards persons with disability, many of them do not earn income by virtue of their physical or mental impairment. Therefore, we should as a country declare that education at all levels, from basic to tertiary for all persons with disability shall be borne by the Central Government, so that we would be specific in that direction.
Mr. Speaker, some of the problems of disabled persons may not necessarily be dealt with by legislation, like the problem of exclusion; you may not be able to make a law to deal with society not accepting them just like we do to other able-bodied persons. So I think that some moral education would have to go on for us to incorporate disabled persons into our mainstream public life.

Mr. Speaker, finally, I am also told that especially persons with disability have a major difficulty in educating their children because they themselves do not earn any appreciable income; and those
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon . Member fo r
Atwima-Mponua, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill is
here and clause 18 of the Bill is clearly -- [Interruption] -- Mr. Speaker, it is in black and white and it is here. Mr. Speaker, it is already in the Bill. Clause 18 states, “Free Education and Special Schools: The Government shall provide --” [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, are you
raising a point of order?
Mr. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it was a
point of information.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think
that since other hon. Members would want to contribute, I will rest my case now.
Mr. Yaw Baah (NPP -- Kumawu) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the passage of this Bill is something which is long overdue and as such we have assembled here today to ensure its passage. We are fulfilling article 29 of the Constitution.
Mr. Speaker, I will be dwelling on the
area of transition in my contribution, that is the ten-year period after which this law is supposed to properly take off. Mr. Speaker, I would like to sound a note of caution regarding its application because the passage of the Bill is one thing and the imminent legal battles to follow after the passage is another, that is after the transitional period of ten years have elapsed, and its likelihood of opening the floodgates.
Mr. Speaker, I have heard from certain
quarters that people are advocating for the reduction of the transitional period from ten to five years. Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw our attention to this issue that here in this country, dating back from independence, one thing that has been very synonymous with our development has been our non-maintenance culture.
Another issue which is also of much concern has been that the Government or the State has been the sole provider of almost all places of assembly and services, from schools to stadia. As we speak now there is only one private stadium in the country, the Obuasi one, and we are all aware of the problems we are grappling with regard to having access to it.
If we take hospitals, all these are provided by the State with only the
generosity of few missions. Therefore, over ninety-five per cent of these facilities are provided by the State, and we are all aware of the economic health of the country. Therefore, the period that has been envisaged, ten years, with my experience, especially in Britain -- Until three years ago, when I became a Member of Parliament, I was a review or appeals lawyer for Newham Castle in Britain and I want to share a little with you.
Mr. Speaker, after the transitional
period elapses, the likelihood of this floodgate which I have talked about with the enforcement of a right regarding disability is no mean case. Many a time, you go to the court and the counsel is supposed to provide such facilities as council flats and whatnots, access to these areas, stadia and others. The real test has always been the reasonability test. Has the council or the nation succeeded in making provision to appreciable standard? And many a time, the case has gone against the State because the provision of these facilities is not an easy thing to be carried out.
We are all aware of funfairs that greet the commissioning of projects like building of hospitals and others. The reality is that it may be estimated that such a project should be carried out within two or three years. But we end up taking five, six, seven years. Therefore, I am sounding a note of caution that regarding the transitional period, it should rather be extended.
The State is the sole provider of these facilities and once the transitional period of ten years elapses, the legal battles would commence. Once it has been enshrined in the Constitution and Parliament has gone to the extent of passing the law to enforce it, definitely whoever goes to the court will be having a field day.
It is not like a situation of criminal negligence where judges have been very passionate or kind enough by not implementing to the last letter. That of this enforcement regarding the disability issue is one I see as hundred per cent straightaway, hence the imminence and the dangers of legal battles. And it will always be individuals against the State and we are all aware that at the moment -- How many of these structures have we succeeded in putting up? Therefore, I am calling on hon. Members that the euphoria that is greeting the passage of this Bill should not cloud our judgement regarding the likelihood of opening the floodgates for legal suits here and there, an issue any State cannot afford.
In view of this, I would rather suggest that there should be a further extension from ten years to fifteen years. This will enable the State to succeed in making available such facilities to certain appreciable levels.
Alhaji M. M. Mubarak (NDC --
Asawase): Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion and in doing so, I will make some few submissions.
Mr. Speaker, the title of the Bill itself,
I believe, has a little problem, because we call it “Disability . . .” Everyone of us would agree that disability normally refers to unableness or incapacity and I would even urge, before I make other submissions, that when we come to the Consideration Stage, hon. Members should support the amendment for us to change the “Disability” to “Physically Challenged”. They are not disabled; they are only physically challenged, and I think we need to recognize this.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at some of the submissions that have been made so far, you would agree with me that in the Bill,

as rightly mentioned by the hon. Minister, employment is going to be taken care of, to make sure that people who are physically challenged at least are able to sustain themselves and their families.

Mr. Speaker, we live in a country
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Speaker, my hon. Colleague is saying that the caption of the Bill, “Persons with Disability Bill” should rather read “Persons who are Physically Challenged
. . .”
Mr. Speaker, if you look at the
interpretation of “person with disability”, it is not talking about the physical disabilities alone; a person with disability means, an individual with a physical, mental or sensory impairment. So Mr. Speaker, he is misleading the House by saying that it should be restricted to “physically challenged” alone. Otherwise, perhaps, he may not entirely understand the Bill. He must advert his mind to the meaning of “person with disability”.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon . Member fo r
Asawase, please proceed.
Alhaji Mubarak 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say that even if someone is mentally challenged, it manifests itself in the physical and therefore I still believe that we should change it to “physically challenged”. But when we come there we would look at how it goes.
With regard to employment, I think the Bill should move a step ahead, not only to mandate the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment to try to create
employment for people who are physically challenged but make it part of the Bill such that employers would be mandatorily forced to employ; at least, even if one per cent of their employees are physically challenged, they would start on a very good note. This is because leaving it as it is, people especially in the private sector would find one reason or the other not to employ people who are physically challenged.
Mr. Speaker, with computerization today, everyone would agree that people who are physically challenged even have more time to sit. With computerization, I can tell you, their productivity on the average would be higher than those who are termed “very healthy”. So, Mr. Speaker, I would urge that we look at that aspect so that we make it a bit mandatory for people to employ people who are physically challenged.
Mr. Speaker, when you look at our laws, especially the Labour Act (2003), Act 651, clauses 41 to 46, Mr. Speaker, with your permission I beg to quote. Clauses 41 and 42 state that:
“41. Special incentives shall be provided to an employer who employs persons with disability.
42. Special incentives shall b e g i v e n t o p e r s o n s with disability engaged in business or enterprise.”
Mr. Speaker, clause 43 further states that 11:20 a.m.
“The special incentive shall be determined by the Minister responsible for employment.”
We are yet to see any incentives given. I would say that if you look at
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:20 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. He is completely out of date. I can inform him that the Ministry has placed an order for the purchase of all the chalks supplied or produced by the disabled. So the hon. Member is really out of date and has thereby inadvertently misled this House.
Alhaji Mubarak 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, unless it happened, maybe, within the past two weeks -- Three weeks ago, it was on air that the disabled were closing down because there was no patronage for their chalks; and that is what I am referring to. If he has been doing it within the last two weeks, fine. That, we are not aware, because it has not come out; what came out was that they were closing down due to lack of patronage.
I would urge that the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports in
particular would do well especially -- When you look at the school uniforms that are produced in this country in most senior secondary schools -- I know one company in Kumasi, Ewuraa Abena which has been doing very well. When you go there, almost everyone there is physically-challenged and they have been helping them.
I would urge that the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports further collaborate with the Ministry of Health, the hon. Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment, so that they try to create more avenues. It is only when we create these avenues that these physically- challenged could get themselves employed and be able to take care of their families.
With these few words, I supposed the motion and urge all my hon. Colleagues to do same.
Mr. James Appietu-Ankrah (NPP
-- Lower West Akim): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak to the motion on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity
during the recess to go round my constituency and interact with our kith and kin who are disabled. I was amazed when I went to a village where the only dressmaker there is disabled. She was not only making dresses but she had apprentices. Unfortunately, she crawls and did not have a wheelchair. That was her only difficulty. I managed to arrange one from the Department of Social Welfare for her and that was a big plus for her.
Mr. Speaker, I also found out that we
had all sorts of talents who are disabled -- teachers, visual artists, farmers who had won awards at the National Farmers' Day who are blind people. I believe that we have these people all over the country, and this Bill has come at the right time.
Their difficulty was with implemen-
Mr. Joseph Z. Amenowode 11:30 a.m.
(NDC -- Hohoe South): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the motion.
Mr. Speaker, it is actually good news
that this Bill would be passed into law
to help an estimated 10 per cent of the Ghanaian population and all of us who are in this country. We, however, must take note of the burden the Bill would be placing on not only Government, but all of us who are citizens of this country.
The former hon. Minis ter for Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, in moving the motion, assured us that all services that would be necessary to make our brothers and sisters that are disabled fit well into society would be provided in the Bill. The Bill, when passed, would make provision for such people.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister
mentioned health and other services and I want to draw the attention of this House and the whole nation to one very important service that we most often neglect and which, to me, is one of the major needs of the disabled person. The disabled child, growing up, faces a great psychological question of concept of self.
He or she questions why he/she is different from the brothers and sisters; and this, when not resolved properly, becomes a major problem and no amount of intervention could remove the initial sense of not being complete. So I would want to say that for this Bill or this law to actually help the people we want it to help, we must pay attention to psychological services right from the communities where this children are born.
We must be able to help these children accept their disability as part of themselves so that they would be able to live comfortably with themselves. Otherwise, when you provide wheelchairs and other physical needs without giving them a concept of self, being full human beings, we would not be doing very much.
Mr. Speaker, I also believe that what our brothers and sisters who are disabled
Mr. Kojo Armah (CPP 11:30 a.m.

Gwira): Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Bill by first saying that it is one Bill that has been very long in the pipeline. We saw the agitations of the members of the Disabled Society, clamouring for some of their rights to be respected and some opportunities created for them.

Mr. Speaker, in supporting this Bill, I am minded to look at the process of implementation. If you look at the

provisions made in the Bill, you would realize that we are talking about adequate transportation, we are talking about free medical care for them, we are talking about incentives for business houses that would create job opportunities and facilities for them, and we are talking about changes to physical structures to accommodate the disabilities.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very tall order and we are also very much aware of the impediments to implementation of projects and intentions of government in this country. Now, if we are not going to create more frustrations for the disabled persons, then we need, perhaps, a special attitude to the implementation of the proposals made in this otherwise laudable Bill.

Mr. Speaker, in line with that one,

perhaps one would have to look at the transitional period that has been laid out in the Bill, that is the ten years, and work out the possibility of perhaps increasing it to about fifteen years to allow the major infrastructure changes that we would need to implement the law, to be taken care of.

Mr. Speaker, I am also worried about

the free medical care and the free education to persons with disability. My worry is not that it is not good; my worry is about the children of persons with disability. Are they also going to enjoy free education? This is because if you pass through the streets of Accra, everyday you have children pushing their mothers or their aunties, people holding the hands of blind people to beg for alms.

Now, if we are going to take care of these people with disabilities, what about the children who come out of marriages of persons with disabilities? I do not know whether the Bill takes care of them or whether the Legislative Instrument (L.I.) takes care of them, but I
Mr. Alfred W. G. Abayateye 11:40 a.m.
(NDC -- Sege): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity given me to add my voice to that of my hon. Colleagues in asking the House to look seriously at the Persons with Disability Bill and to pass it.
Mr. Speaker, I happen to be a member of the Committee; we went round the country during the recess and it would interest you to know that our brethren who are disabled, especially the deaf and dumb, get to hospitals and try to explain or tell the doctor what the sickness is, but because the doctor or the medical staff cannot understand what he or she may be saying, sometimes wrong medication is prescribed.

The Bill which is coming in now makes it compulsory for provision or training in sign language -- Braille writing and reading and use of appropriate technology. What I am saying is that when this Bill is passed it becomes compulsory for training institutions to take this aspect and train people and then there will be


People who are trained in these special languages -- job opportunities would be made. They will be available, in the hospitals -- and when, let us say, a dumb person is making the sign, because there is somebody who understands the sign language and will interpret it to the nurse or the doctor, there will be proper communication and the person with disability, the deaf and dumb, would feel so secured and happy that his problem is being communicated.
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng 11:40 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. Colleague there is seriously misleading this House. First of all, I wonder whether he is a medical officer, and if he is not, does he also know that doctors use other methods to detect one's ailment without necessarily talking to the person? They can detect by using equipment; does he know that? [Interruption.] There could be tests. So I do not know whether he is a medical officer -- [Interruptions.] Did he pass out last year or this year?
Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon. Member for Sege, please, continue.
Mr. Abayateye 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it seems my hon. Brother is rather confusing the House.
Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Please, continue.
Mr. Abayateye 11:40 a.m.
These are facts which
we experienced in the course of our work and I am saying that sign language, which is now part of the Bill, will be very effective.
Again, our blind brethren, many of
Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Abayateye 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, again, I would like to say that this Bill is very timely. Our brethren who are disabled and who are working -- Article 10 of the Bill says Government will provide special incentives for persons with disability not only to the one working but even to organizations which employ people with disabilities.
Therefore, I want to call on organizations to realize that there is something good in the offing for them and they must open their doors and take on people with disabilities.
One thing I have realized is that when one sense is disabled its function is passed on to another. Many of them are very good. I know of someone at Tema Community 7; he is a cripple with two clutches but if you get to his shop there are more than 15 men and women, able-bodied people that this person with disability is training in dressmaking. Interestingly, the women there are rather trained to sew things for the men and
the men are trained to sew things for the women; and it is just good and perfect. I want to encourage the House to push this Bill through so that our brethren would feel very comfortable and they will feel that they are loved.
Again, this Bill makes room for no one to go into begging. We have a law on begging in the country -- NLCD 392 of 1969 which prohibits begging in Ghana. Therefore, when this Bill comes into being -- Nobody is being worked against, there is no law against the disabled who beg; the law on begging is for all Ghanaians. Therefore, I would like to encourage my brethren with disability that they must feel proud that it is time for them to collect their rains because the clouds are forming.
With these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment (Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to the motion. Mr. Speaker, indeed, I am very, very happy today and I know that all well-meaning Ghanaians who desire equal opportunities for all, irrespective of their physical or mental circumstances, are happy today.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, this Bill is long overdue. As my hon. Colleagues have said, this country has made various efforts, and as far as the records in our Ministry indicate, we have tried since 1986 with various versions of “Persons with Disability Bill”. Nevertheless, it was never passed or reached a stage where Parliament would consider it. And therefore it is very heartening that today we are here, after that long journey, to give equal opportunities to the vulnerable and the excluded in our society.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill seeks to create
Mr. Abayateye 11:50 a.m.
an enabling environment for persons with disability to develop themselves, to give themselves an opportunity to be mainstreamed into both community and national development processes.
I would like to draw attention, Mr. Speaker, to some cultural practices that have impacted negatively on persons with disability. It is sometimes believed that disability is a curse and to that extent people who have families with disability tend to hide them from the rest of society to the extent that they cannot access any other service; they are inside and they do not know what is going on in the world.
Also, because people believe that this is a curse it impacts negatively on the family's social standing to the extent that I have witnessed marriages that were to come on but because of the prevalence of some form of disability within those families, those marriages had to be stopped.

Indeed, it is very important that we in Ghana begin to put these kinds of superstition aside and begin to look at persons with disability, that it is a condition that comes on a person not by any spiritual means but by some medical condition that can be addressed, or that we have ways of facilitating these people to be mainstreamed into other development processes. The social needs of persons with disability should be an important issue for all of us; and I am glad that there is provision for having facilities, incentives and equipment to facilitate the participation of persons with disability in cultural and sporting events.

Mr. Speaker, one other provision that

I think is very important in this Bill is

the early screening and assessment of persons with disability. I am told and reliably informed that over 60 per cent of disabilities can be prevented and dealt with if detected early. This Bill has made provision for that and it is my hope that we would all make the effort, particularly the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports and the Department of Social Welfare, to ensure that this early screening facilities are put in place to reduce the number of persons with disability that we would have to deal with.

Yesterday, I had a very emotional experience in my office. A lady I had never met before visited me. We had a discussion on various issues and she ended up saying that there was another reason why she visited. She said she had been praying for me and I wondered why. She said she was praying for me because of the Persons with Disability Bill. She asked whether I was sure that the Government could do this and whether we were ready for it.

Mr. Speaker, I was very saddened because I felt that the prayer should have been directed to encourage us to move forward, to encourage the Government to take that bold initiative and to ask that the Government would have the resources to do the right thing for our own people. Mr. Speaker, so while we can never deny the fact that there are cost implications of this Bill, I believe that whatever food or bread or whatever size of resources we have, a section should be allocated to equally support persons with disability.

Mr. Speaker, on this note, I would like

to urge my hon. Colleagues to support the motion.

Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho (NDC -- Avenor/

Ave): Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is a motion that should be supported by both sides of the House. In contributing to this
Mr. John A. Ndebugre (Zebilla -- PNC) 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I can see that everybody would support this Bill. It is not a controversial Bill -- [Laughter.] This is because you may be a person without disability today and in the next hour you would be a person with disability; so we must all support it.
There are just a few points I would want to raise in connection with the Bill. Maybe, because people think I am very political, I would start with that one. I realized that the Bill wishes to satisfy article 29 of the Constitution and other aspects of the Constitution. In fact, the Committee that worked on the Bill cited article 37 (2) (b) of the Constitution, which with the indulgence of Mr. Speaker, I would like to cite:
“(2) The State shall enact appropriate
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ahafo Ano South, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Manu 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes, I have a point of order. It appears the hon. Member is misleading this House. In the last election the blind voted so there is a provision for them to vote in this country.
Mr. Ndebugre noon
Mr. Speaker, I suspect that my very good friend, hon. Balado Manu was somewhere else in his mind that is why -- I am saying that the Bill tries to provide for ways by which the disabled can -- [Interruption.]
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin noon
Mr. Speaker, this is a House of dignity and Members should be cautious with the language they use. To refer to an hon. Colleague that his mind might have been somewhere is imputing some kind of innuendos.
Mr. Speaker, he had just simply raised a point of order and this is not an occasion for one to refer to him as having his mind somewhere else -- it is the movement of the hand -- “somewhere” -- that I think is unparliamentary and my hon. Colleague should withdraw that portion.
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member for Zebilla, you may wish to take a certain course in this matter, please.
Mr. Ndebugre noon
Mr. Speaker, I am a new Member of Parliament, but all the same I read the Standing Orders. I think that we must take a definite position on these matters in this House now. In my considered view, a person who rises on a point of order should refer to the specific rule that the Member who is out of order has infringed.
In other words, I was telling my very good friend, hon. Balado Manu that probably he was not paying attention to what I was saying and I do not see anything unparliamentary about that. I would challenge the hon. Minority Leader to cite the specific rule of our Orders that has put me out of order. Otherwise, I will insist that I have done nothing wrong and with Mr. Speaker's permission, I will proceed with my submission.
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member for Zebilla, the point you are making is that you did not mean any offence, is that it?
Mr. Ndebugre noon
That is so, Mr. Speaker, and I would have expected that if hon. Balado Manu was offended by the words
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member for Zebilla, any Member of the House can take objection.
Mr. Ndebugre noon
Mr. Speaker, I am saying that I do not believe that I have used language -- I did not intend and I have not used language that may offend hon. Balado Manu.
Mr. Speaker noon
You may also wish to add that if at all anybody was offended you were withdrawing.
Mr. Ndebugre noon
Mr. Speaker, I feel disabled to do that -- [Laughter.] Because it would amount to me accepting that I have offended the rules which I believe strongly that I have not. [Some hon. Members: They say do not challenge Mr. Speaker. I am not challenging Mr. Speaker, please.
Mr. Bagbin noon
Mr. Speaker, I am compelled to intervene because it is high time, as he stated earlier on, we learned the procedures, the choice of words and language that we use in this House. And clearly, if he read Order 93, if he wants to be told the Order, I am prepared to tell him. He is not just a new Member in this House, he is aware that the profession that we all belong to, I am very senior to him and therefore when I am referring to things, definitely it is from experience and knowledge. [Hear! Hear!] [Some hon. Members: Teach him! Teach him!]
Mr. Speaker, again, as you rightly stated, anybody in this House can raise a point of order, you do not need to be
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member for Zebilla, we want to make progress -- [Interruption.] Let us make progress.
Mr. Ndebugre noon
Mr. Speaker, we will make progress, but if I heard Mr. Speaker well, he said “you may also wish to add” -- so there was a choice there. You said, “you may also wish to add”, and I said that I would have very much wished to add but I am disabled, I think that he is older than me in this House but I am older than him in the world -- [Laughter.] So, as for age, it has different connotation. But in any case, if I made any gesticulation -- I do not remember that -- which offended hon. Balado Manu or for that matter any other Member of the House, particularly Rt. Hon. Speaker, I wish to withdraw that gesticulation -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member for Zebilla, please proceed.
Mr. Ndebugre 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Actually, I was trying to make the point that I expected the Bill to make provision for certain categories of
persons with disability to exercise their franchise without any difficulties and I find that it is missing in the Bill, that is all I wanted to draw attention to.
Also, I have looked at the definition of persons with disability and even though we are not dealing with the Consideration Stage, I think that it is time for us to start thinking very actively about how we are going to deal with this Bill.
The definition is rather limited, in my view, because the definition of persons with disability is rendered as follows --
“Person with disability means an individual with a physical, mental or sensory impairment, including a visual, hearing or speech functional disability which gives rise to physical, cultural or social barriers that substantially limit one or more of the major life activities of that individual.”
In my view that is a rather limited definition and I am hoping that when we come to the Consideration Stage we will look at it and then in the regulations that are provided for in the Bill, categories of persons with disability will be set out clearly because there are blind persons, there are cripples, there are lepers and so many.

We want to help people who have suffered disability and therefore need to be assisted to function properly as human beings. So there is no point in hiding their identities. We need to categorise them very clearly so that any policy person who takes the law and looks at the list will know that a person falls under this category and I do not think the Bill seeks to address that.

The other point I want to make is the need for us to know, as the hon. Member for Evalue/Gwira (Mr. Kojo Armah) said, the size or the number of persons with disability in our country. I have said this before in another debate that we can make use of district assemblies, unit committees and chiefs, if we make it part of the Bill that in every village the chief in consultation with the Assembly Member and the unit committee members in that area should keep a register of disabled persons.

We can have the number of disabled persons in one village and then in the district, in the region and in the whole country that all the time we will know how many disabled persons are there and factor them into our planning and budgeting process. I think that the Bill does not address this either.

The last point I wish to make, because others will want to contribute, is the question of the transitional provisions. Again, the provisions there is rather limited. It says that owner or occupier of an existing building to which the public have had access shall within ten years of the commencement of this Act make that building accessible to and available for use by a person with disability. Now, if you look at the clause on begging, which is clause 22, it bans begging by persons with disability; meanwhile, this is not reflected in the transitional provisions.

So as soon as the Bill is passed and it becomes law, then anyone who is found begging has offended the law. But we must allow some period for them to wind up -- [Laughter] -- We must allow them some time for them to wind up and go back to their villages and so on -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, do you have a point of order?
Mr. H. Iddrisu 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order because the hon. Member for Zebilla has failed to meticulously pursue the Report of the Committee, otherwise he would not be misleading the House on the comments he has made in relation to begging. If you read page 8 of the Committee's Report particularly page 22, it is stated and it is the Committee's recommendation to delete the entire clause. Therefore, he cannot, as recommended, be making reference as if it is likely that that clause will stand in the Bill when it is passed.
Mr. Ndebugre 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I premised my contribution by making a statement that we are not at the Consideration Stage. The point he has made relates to the Consideration Stage so I think that he is totally out of order himself. But in any case I am winding up -- I am just saying that even notwithstanding the fact that there is this Decree 392 -- [Interruption.]
Mr. S. K. B. Manu 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member needs this information, that he should add End of Service Benefit (ESB) for the beggars so that whilst they wind up we also plan to pay their ESB so that it will be a full package for them -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon. Member for Ahafo Ano South, this is not a point of order at all.
Mr. Ndebugre 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will conclude. With these few comments, I commend this Bill most highly and I appeal to all hon. Members to support the Bill. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon. Member, are you winding up for now?
Mr. Hodogbey 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Our social sector is different and when we try to import the same things prevailing in other countries into this Bill -- [Interruption] -- Please, some people are agitating that the transitional period should be shorter than the ten years. It takes the Government a lot of money to effect changes.
On this note, I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. David Oppong-Kusi -- (NPP -- Ofoase/Ayirebi) 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the motion on the floor and in doing so I would be very brief. Mr. Speaker, we have all waited for this Bill to become operational, especially those who would be directly affected by the Bill itself and the country as a whole; we cannot continue to wait. I have gone through the Bill myself and realized that it covers almost every issue required to bring persons with disabilities into the mainstream of Ghanaian life, and rightly so.
Mr. Speaker, we all have disabilities. I do recognize that there is no 100 per cent human being. The only difference is that some disabilities are physical and visible whilst other disabilities, which we all suffer from, are invisible. The difference between those of us who seem not to have disabilities and those who have is that of a kind and degree. We all have some

kinds of disabilities and if we are humble enough to accept that we would begin to recognize those people as one of us and begin to accord them the necessary respect that they need.

Mr. Speaker, before this Bill can become operational it has to be done in a certain kind of environment, an environment where we all recognize that we are one and the same and that their disabilities are simply visible and ours may not be so visible.

Mr. Speaker, section (8) of this Bill carries a penalty for contravention and I do assume that it means that there is going to be a mechanism that will identify, apprehend and prosecute those who offend the provisions of this Bill. My problem is, who takes responsibility? If you look through some of these provisions, the onus for implementing some of these things goes to different governmental agencies. Now when it comes to apprehending those who go against these provisions, is it the work of the Metropolitan Authorities, the city authorities or the Assemblies? Is it the work of the police, or the Department of Social Welfare? I do hope that when the necessary Instruments are brought before this House we would be able to address the issue of who is going to be responsible for apprehending those who contravene the provisions of this Bill.

Most of the problems we have had in this country have been how to be able to implement some of these things, how to be able to find out those who contravene our very fine laws. Mr. Speaker, it will require a certain kind of orientation for all of us and especially those entrusted with implementing these laws to be able to act on the provisions of the law.

I would want to appeal to the conscience of Ghanaians, all of us, especially those of us in leadership positions to be able

to carry these messages down so that we develop the kind of attitude that is sensitive to the plight of those who are disabled, so that we would recognize contraventions when they do occur.

Some of these things are so subtle, Mr. Speaker, that we cannot really recognize them. The kind of disrespect that we show, the kind of discrimination that we show which might not be very obvious on the surface, how do we find out these things? How do we combat these things? It is important that we change our attitude and then we develop that sensibility to be able to make sure that law would operate in an environment in which we all regard ourselves as one and the same people.

Mr. Speaker, there is a crippled person

in my constituency who owns a very large rice farm and a palm oil farm. Sometimes I go to him, and I see him employing physically able-bodied people. Yet, you would see able-bodied people who do not own farms and sit the whole day doing nothing. Sometimes I wonder whether it is he who is disabled or it is those who sit there, physically abled. We have disabilities in all kinds of people and it is about time that we did recognize the abilities in those who look like they are disabled and then give them the necessary support.

Mr. Speaker, the time has come for all of us to support through our actions, through the kinds of interventions we make in the lives of those with disabilities. We meet them in our everyday lives. Most of the things we do against the disabled people are done in our homes, away from the eyes of the law. People who hide people with disabilities, people who make sure they do not bring them up so that they do not get the education they need. It is worse, especially in our rural

communities where people look at these things as normal.

The kind of treatment we give them, people consider them as normal. And if we so much speak against these things, people do not seem to understand because they believe that it is normal; he is a sick person, he is a disabled person. The time has come for us to create that awareness that being disabled does not mean one is unable to look after oneself.

It is a fine Bill, Mr. Speaker; there are provisions for penalties. But most importantly, there are provisions for us to be proactive in providing all the facilities that would be required for these people to be mainstreamed into our normal life and to lead normal lives, especially for us to accord them the necessary respect because this is what they most need. Most of them do recognize that they are not disabled. They have the faculties that we all have but then we do not accord them the necessary respect, bring them alongside what we are doing, be part of them so that they would be part of us. This is a responsibility that leadership should be able to take up.

I would urge hon. Members that when we do go back to our constituencies after passing this Bill, it does not become just a document; we must explain to the people. We must find ways and means of bringing them together and letting them know what this Bill has for them so that together we would make this country one that recognizes the rights of everybody.

Mr. Speaker I support the motion.
Mr. Lee Ocran ( NDC - Jomoro) 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Bill but I have two issues: One, with the Report which states on page 4, under “Discrimination, Exploitation and Abuse”, second paragraph - and I quote:
“Nonetheless, in the absence of legislation sanctioning the
Mrs. Esther D. Obeng (NPP - Abirem) 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to add my voice to the motion on the floor. This Bill could be easily considered a landmark Bill in the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic; and I am delighted with the support that is being given to the Bill in this honourable House.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill is in the right direction and it is a bold step due to the cost involved. This is going to mean the installation of ramps, escalators and possibly lifts in public places, but it is the right step. There is no doubt that the implementation of the Bill, when it becomes an Act, will be very very costly but at least we can start by allocating parking spaces to people living with disability in public places.
At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would like
to salute Mr. Yeboah, the cyclist, who made Ghana very proud when he was invited to the United States of America by President Bush and later appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. His DVD and videos encourage people living with disabilities to lead productive life.

I also salute the School for the Blind at Akropong, also in the Eastern Region, for the work that they are doing to help children to live productive lives. Mr. Speaker, in other countries, people living with disabilities enjoy equal rights and recognition as their able-bodied counterparts, and care allowances are paid to those who care for people living with disability. As time goes on, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that care allowances should be paid to these people.

It is stressful looking after a person living with disability but it is also very stressful when you are faced with financial difficulties. So with time, I would like to see that these people are given allowances.

Mr. Speaker, a lot have been said and that is why I am being very brief.

With these remarks, I would appeal to all hon. Colleagues to support this Bill.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Before I call on the
Minister to wind up, I would invite the Minority Leader to say a few words.
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K
Bagbin): Mr. Speaker, I can best describe what is happening today as better late than never. Mr. Speaker, I am fully aware that the country for sometime made efforts to make this a reality but has only succeeded today, and we have the opportunity to deliberate over comprehensive provisions, as to how as a country we can better place our disabled brothers and sisters to achieving the maximum input from them in national development.
Mr. Speaker, it is true that we are
enjoined by article 29 (8) to do what we are doing today, as a Parliament. But I think it is now known to all that by some other provisions in the Constitution and by the incapacity of Parliament itself, we were not in the position to initiate the legislation and therefore, we had to rely on our brother arm, the Executive arm to initiate and present this legislation to the House.
Mr. Speaker, some of us who have grown up with a lot of our brothers and sisters who are challenged are actually not at ease with the use of the word “disability”. I know there is a big problem in how to capture all the areas of impairment, and that also in our 1992 Constitution, the word that is used is “disability”. Mr. Speaker, I would have preferred that we actually used the word “impairment”, because internationally, society is shying away from using the word disability to mean inability; and therefore if even the definition which is proposed in this Bill is preferring the use of “impairment”, whether it is mental, physical or sensory, we use the word “impairment”.
So I would support moves to try to refine the title of the Bill to something like “Persons with Impairment Bill or Act”. I say this because I know that a lot of hon. Members who are directly affected by this Bill tried changing the title of the Bill.
Mrs. Osei-Opare 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on
a point of information. Mr. Speaker, I thought I should give some information
Mrs. Osei-Opare 12:30 p.m.

that would help the hon. Minority Leader.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Are you raising a point
of order?
Mrs. Osei-Opare 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am
on a point of information.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
But you know the
Minister would be winding up with the points.
Mrs. Osei-Opare 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I take
your word for it; I will pass it on.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Yes, that is the appropriate thing to do.
Mr. Bagbin 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was
saying that after the passage of the Bill, as a country, I think we have to commit a lot of time, effort and resources to making sure that we bring the provisions of the Bill to the knowledge of the rank and file of Ghanaians, so that the provisions can actually be accepted and implemented by all.
Mr. Speaker, I believe when it is time for consideration, we would have the opportunity to look at some of the clauses that are in the Bill. And I realized that some of them have not been looked at seriously by the Committee. Clause 6 has been commented on by my Deputy, hon. E. K. D. Adjaho, but I believe that we also have to look at clause 32. Clause 22 has been recommended to be deleted so I would not say much about that.
But for clause 32, I think we have to look at it and make sure that we let people know what we mean by “severe disability” -- what is the definition of severe disability? We are introducing controversy into the law; I think we must come clean on that.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon. Minister, you
may wind up.
Mr. Kofi Adda 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would
like to express my gratitude to hon. Colleagues for the convergent manner in which they made their contributions. Mr. Speaker, it appears to me most of the concerns and comments that have been raised are reflected in the draft Bill. It is for us, as Members of this august House, to go through the due deliberations and agree on what is best under the law.
In the area of free education, there is a provision in there; employment incentives for employers -- it is reflected in the Bill as well. Infrastructure requirements are also provided; Braille facilities can also be applied to the voting arrangement so that we can enfranchise them the more.
I think these are all good comments and I would urge all hon. Colleagues to look very carefully at the Bill, because it has gone through a tedious exercise and we had well-meaning people taking the viewpoint of the Committee and other stakeholders very seriously. And what we have before us is in my opinion one of the best Bills that we can have. Therefore, rather than anybody making hasty comments, we should pay attention to the Bill itself.

Mr. Speaker, it has been stated that implementation would be our major headache and that is very true. In the area of financial concerns, yes, appropriate allocation has to be made, especially the public sector, for us to ensure that we can change whatever facilities need to be modified over the ten-year period.

But in the case of those new facilities that have to be constructed immediately after the Bill goes into effect, all building permits, it is understood, would have to be provided on condition that there is

provision for disability-friendly facilities in those structures.

Mr. Speaker, some concerns were also expressed about definitions. In the area of defining persons with disability, it is our opinion that the definition provided in the Bill is appropriate. It is broad and flexible enough to cover all the areas of disability. Trying to be specific about it and pinpointing or listing all of the possible physical or mental or sensory disability areas would not be a good definition.

Also, with regard to the title of the Bill and the name that should be used for the disabled persons, I wish, Mr. Speaker, to bring to the attention of this House that the key stakeholders themselves, persons with disabilities, have gone through a lot of research and we have engaged them in a lot of deliberations and we have examined all the possible names that can be used to describe them -- whether they are physically challenged, whether they are impaired people, what have you -- and they feel most comfortable that the name of this Bill should be persons with disability. And I think that is the situation globally now, as we speak.

With regard to the definition of the owner of premises, in the private sector arena, it is a fairly straightforward matter. It is very clear who owns a property, who owns a facility, and it is true that we can pin down whoever is responsible for not complying with the law. But Mr. Speaker, perhaps, we have a bit of a problem in the public arena. But I know that we do have well-structured governance systems and mechanisms to address that.

Under our governance arrangements, there are boards and councils, there are chief executives and in the Ministries themselves, there are vote controllers. All of these provide ideas on who should be pinned down in terms of responsibility, if
Mr. Kofi Adda 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, perhaps, the most important aspect of implementation that we need to keep in mind is that the concept of self that was expressed by one of our hon. Colleagues is the area where culture and attitudes come into play. yes, we may enshrine in this law certain provisions to ensure that we do not use derogatory language or insults, or as we say in Ghana abuse persons with disability but if we are not prepared to change our attitudes then we will probably have difficulties along the way nearly everyday of our lives, because as it is now our cultural attitudes are such that we say things that are unpleasant to persons with disability and we think that that is normal; that is abnormal.
Under this law, that has to change and therefore it is incumbent upon us, not just in this House but all Ghanaians, to ensure that we change our attitudes and our cultural norms to ensure that we have total social inclusive policy and respect. Self- worth must be recognized and they must have their dignity.
Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to acknowledge the contributions and efforts made by hon. Colleagues in the Committees and also some of the Ministers who participated in our deliberations. I particularly want to state the recent past hon. Minister for Education and Sports, the hon. Minister for Health, the hon. Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, hon. Christine Churcher, hon. Theresa Tagoe, and hon. Prof. Fobih who spent all the hours and all the days that we needed to go through this Bill.

Question put and motion agreed to.

The Persons with Disability Bill was

accordingly read a Second time.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Any indications at this stage, Leadership of the House?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, Thursday would be a public holiday. The Business Committee would be meeting after adjournment tomorrow so that we can discuss the items for the following week. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is advising me and I will talk to the Leadership on the appropriate time to have a closed meeting. I will discuss with Leadership later on. I therefore move that this House do adjourn till tomorrow ten o'clock in the morning.
Mr. Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I take it that my hon. Colleague would be in touch so that we discuss the issue of closed Sitting for hon. Members. In that respect, I second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:40 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.47 p.m. till 24th May 2006 at 10.00 a.m.