Debates of 3 Nov 2006

PRAYERS 10 a.m.



Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 2nd November, 2006. Pages 1 --
Mr. Alfred W. G. Abayateye 10 a.m.
Speaker, my name is conspicuously missing from page 1; I was present yesterday but I have been marked absent.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Page 2 --
Mr.Asum-Ahensah 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
was here the whole of yesterday but my name is on the list of absentees. My name is “Asum-Ahensah Alex”, number 29 on the list of absentees.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Yes, you were present
and you asked a question did you not?
MrAsum-Ahensah 10 a.m.
Yes, I did.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
That is clearly wrong, sorry for that. Page 6 --
Mr. Asum-Ahensah 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
page 6, Mr. Osei-Sarfo is deceased.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
What is your complaint,
Mr. Asum-Ahensah 10 a.m.
They have made it “absent with permission”.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Which number is that?
Mr. Asum-Ahensah 10 a.m.
Number 14.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Which page, please?
Mr. Asum-Ahensah 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, page 7, number 6, Question 639. “Mr. Asum-Ahensah (Jaman South)”. The right thing is “Jaman-North”.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
“North”? Thank you. Pages 8 . . . 12.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, there was a meeting of the Committee on Mines and Energy, but it does not appear in the supplement as the committee that met, so if that correction can be made.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Hon. Member for South Dayi, this correction will be made.
Hon. Members, we have the Official Report of Thursday, 2nd November, 2006. [No corrections were made.] Item 3.

Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its Report to this honourable House as follows 10 a.m.
Arrangement of Business
Mr. Speaker, the Committee has scheduled six (6) Ministers to respond to various Questions.
Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its Report to this honourable House as follows 10 a.m.
The details are as follows: No. of Question(s)
i. Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment -- 5
ii. Minister for Education, Science and Sports -- 5
iii. Minister for Energy -- 7
iv. Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing -- 5
v. Minister for Transportation -- 7
vi.Minister for Information and National Orientation -- 1
Total Number of Questions 30
Mr. Speaker, in all, thirty (30) Questions have been scheduled to be answered.
Mr. Speaker may allow Statements duly admitted to be made on the floor of the House.
Bills, Papers and Reports
Mr. Speaker, Bills, Papers and Reports may be presented to the House for consideration and those which have already been presented to the House, may be taken through the various stages of passage.
Motions and Resolutions
Mr. Speaker, Motions may be debated and the appropriate Resolutions taken where required.
Mr. Speaker, hon. Members will recall that a number of referrals were made to the various Committees during the last Meeting.
Mr. Speaker, the Business Committee therefore requests that Chairpersons of Committees with referrals should liaise with their respective members and submit to the Business Committee not later than Tuesday, 7th November 2006 the dates on which their Reports would be presented to the House for consideration.
Mr. Speaker, the Committee wishes to recommend that the various caucuses organize their usual “Commencement of Meeting” meetings.
Mr. Speaker, the outcome of the meetings would also inform Leadership to organize Closed Sittings and other meetings to resolve outstanding matters.
Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160(2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week.

Questions --

Minister for Local Government --

476, 512, 513, 514 & 550

Minister for Education -- 593, 594,

595, 596 & 608

Laying of Papers --

Report of the Finance Committee on the following:

National Lotto Bill

Motions --

(a) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of Ghana (GOG) and Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited for an amount of USD 13,000,000 for the procurement of equipment and services for the Ghana Police and Prisons Service by Paramount Logistics Corporation Ltd of South Africa.

(b) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Commercial Contract Agreement between the Government of Ghana and VDL Jonckheere Bus & Coach N.V. Roeselare, Belgium for the supply of 150 buses and spare parts for the public transport.

(c) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the
Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its Report to this honourable House as follows 10:10 a.m.

(d) Adoption of the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report on the audit of the accounts of the Auditor- General for the years 2003 and 2004.

(e) Adoption of the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the 2005 Annual Report of the Office of the Internal Audit Agency.

Committee Sittings.

Mr. Speaker, I was approached by the hon. Minister for the Interior that for a good reason, he may be outside Accra from Wednesday through to Friday next week; and he has a motion which is scheduled for Wednesday. We would wish to take that motion on Tuesday since it will be in the interest of all of us if he is around.

Mr. Speaker, for that reason I have discussed with my hon. Colleague the hon. Deputy Minority Leader and we have agreed that it should be rescheduled so that the motions listed for Wednesday, 8th November 2006 be brought to Tuesday

instead and shift the Second Reading of the Credit Reporting Bill to Wednesday, 9th November 2006.

Questions --

Minister for Energy -- 442, 445,

446, 447, 448,

450 & 477

Laying of Papers --

R e p o r t o f t h e F i n a n c e Committee on the Foreign Exchange Bill.

Second Reading of Bills --

Credit Reporting Bill

Questions --

Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing -- 272, 559, 560, 575

& 589

Laying of Papers

Motions --

Second Readings of Bills --

National Lotto Bill

Consideration Stage of Bills --

Credit Reporting Bill

Committee Sittings.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I want to know from the hon. Chairman of the Business Committee whether there are any immediate plans for the hon. Minister for Education, Science and Sports to be brought to this House to brief the House on the current revelations or developments in the educational front, with particular reference to the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) issue which has virtually crippled the educational system in the country.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would have wished that my hon. Colleague had discussed with the Leadership and had used the usual channel to facilitate such an exercise. But if it is the wish of the House that they want the hon. Minister to brief us, I would definitely make sufficient arrangements to enable that to happen. I am sure if he had informed the hon. Minority Leader or his Office, we would have found a way of handling the matter.
Mr. Agbesi 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the answer by the hon. Chairman of the Business Committee is in place, but I am thinking
that this should have been an issue for the Business Committee to consider without necessarily being prompted from the floor.
Mr. Speaker, the whole of the academic year is about to end and our children, parents, everybody concerned in this country is worrying about the NAGRAT issue. I know that the Business Committee is interested just like anybody else in moving this country forward. I know a lot of promises have been made to the teachers by the Government and if the teachers are still out of the classrooms, I believe the hon. Majority Leader should have brought up this issue without any prompting at all for we as the representatives of the people, to give an input as to what is happening to us in our constituencies and in the country as a whole. Mr. Speaker, this is the basis of my request.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Ashaiman, I hope you would take this matter up with the Leadership.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
even though you have ruled, we want to support the position of the hon. Member for Ashaiman (Mr. Agbesi), since in the response of the hon. Majority Leader, he said that if it is the wish of the House, the hon. Minister would be brought here. It is an important national issue. The NAGRAT thing has gone down to even some basic schools; so I would urge that the hon. Minister comes around to brief us, preferably on Tuesday, 7th November,
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minority
Whip, you are part of the Leadership of the House, I do not see --
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my first point is with regard to a question that has been scheduled for the hon. Minister for Transportation. Mr. Speaker, we know that there is no Minister for Transportation;

the Minister for Transportation has resigned. Our Constitution is very clear that Deputy Ministers are supposed to assist Ministers of State; they are not Ministers of State. If there is no Minister, then who is the Deputy Minister assisting?

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Committee, I drew the hon. Majority Leader's attention to it yesterday and he said that today he would give me an answer. He also thanked me for not springing a surprise on him. I was surprised that when he was submitting his Business Statement he never gave me a response to the issue. So we want to know who is coming to answer this Question next week as Minister for Transportation.

Mr. Speaker, again as you rightly

ruled, Leadership must meet today and make sure that we bring the hon. Minister for Education, Science and Sports to this House to brief us. I think it is very important. The last time, it was hon. Manu's committee that resolved the matter. Now, we do not know what is happening and it would be good. The last time, the former NEPAD Minister came on his own volition to brief us about the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process without anybody prompting him or Leadership prompting him. I believe that once the hon. Minister for Education, Science and Sports is here, he could just make it possible for the briefing. We would have to meet today but once he is here he should just tell the hon. Minister when it would be convenient for him, next week, to come and brief this honourable House.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Majority Leader, I
am only concerned with this Ministry of
Transportation issue; the other one I have referred it to the Leadership of the House. Do you have any comments on that?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
on the Minister for Transportation issue, the question is scheduled to be answered on Friday, 10th November 2006 and I thought that we would have waited to be told who had the mandate to respond to the Question on that day.
But Mr. Speaker, it is not for nothing that we have Minister for Parliamentary Affairs who is supposed to liaise, act as intermediary between the Legislature and the Executive; and that is why whenever any Minister is not there the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs gets Papers laid and gets things answered. I want to assure my hon. Colleague that by the time the Question listed for answering is due, there would have been appropriate measures taken to ensure that the right person answered the Question.

Mr. Speaker, in the last Parliament we had a Minister for Defence who was authorized to handle matters relating to the Interior, and therefore let us give ourselves time, after all it is next week Friday. We do not need to be told the person who would be coming today and therefore I would want rather to suggest that we add it to the items Leadership would discuss this afternoon or this morning. I can assure him that the House would be satisfied with the measures taken. But for the moment, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs is supposed to be interested in activities of all the other Ministers so far as this House is concerned.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in
the course of the week, we were informed that on Thursday, 9th November, 2006, the 2007 Budget would be read to us --
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, what are
you referring to?
Dr. Ampofo 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was
going to refer to the reading of the 2007 Budget Statement which was scheduled for Thursday night but I have not seen it -- [Interruption] -- I am told the date has been changed, so I withdraw it.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Yes, this was brought
to the attention of the House earlier this week.
Mr. Adjaho 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am
not saying that this Question cannot be answered. The President can authorize any of his Ministers to oversee that Ministry until such a time that a substantive Minister is appointed. In fact, that Minister whom the President so appoints to hold the fort can even ask his Deputy to come and answer that Question on his behalf; but we ought to know. This is Parliament; we approve of them. We ought to know who that Minister is.
I have sat on that front desk before and I know that even before you put the Question here, you might have done some behind-the-scene consultation on who is coming to answer the Question before it is listed. He is the Chairman of the Business Committee and he is saying that it is for a purpose that the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs is there. Who is coming to answer this Question on Friday and who has told him that he would be available to answer the Question on Friday before he put it on the Order Paper?
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Deputy Minority Leader, I advise you to save your breath. Friday is a long time from now; save your breath. You can raise this matter later.
Mr. A.O. Aidooh 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
was going to make this point that the view he holds is very, very erroneous, that because the Minister has resigned
his Deputy cannot act. Mr. Speaker, the fact that the Minister has resigned does not stop the Deputy Minister from performing his duties. So in my view, that view being propelled by hon. Adjaho is very fallacious. The Deputy Minister can always act in his own right. He can act in his own right as Deputy Minister and therefore he can come here and act as such.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Members, this is not the time to raise this matter for argument at all. We would make progress. Majority Leader, is the Minister for Finance around? I am asking because I want to take the Statement later.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
he has asked me to let his Deputy take the matter on his behalf.

PAPERS 10:20 a.m.

-- 10:20 a.m.

STATEMENTS 10:30 a.m.

Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah (NDC -- Ho East) 10:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this special Statement made by my hon. Colleague.
Mr. Speaker, the CWP Conference that we just had and the CPA Conference have indeed exposed all of us to the ravages of HIV/AIDS on the African continent.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana as a nation must not become complacent because of the apparent reduction in the infection rate from 3.2 per cent to 2.7 per cent.
Mr. Speaker, during the seminar we had two brave young persons who came to tell us their sad stories of their rejection by their families and society. Mr. Speaker, it is therefore, important for all stakeholders -- the Ministry of Health, the Ghana AIDS Commission and NGOs -- to intensify and educate the public on the mode of infection so that we can all be less cruel to our sisters and brothers, so that they can in turn come out to be better members of the society.
Mr. Speaker, it will also be good if the Ghana Education Service could set up HIV/AIDS clubs in all schools and generally in all workplaces so that we can
start the education of the young people.
Some of the solutions that we found could address poverty in women, which will in turn address the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS. This is what is outlined in our CWP Resolution.
Mr. Speaker, where there is a will, there is a way. Therefore, there must be the political will. Women's wealth must be reflected in policies, especially those promoting their health, education and their empowerment, with micro-credit schemes.
Mr. Speaker, we all must appreciate what the 31st December Women's Movement did to project women of this country; whether we are NGOs or governments, it is important to see to the affairs of women.
Mr. Speaker, it is important to see things through Dr. Aggrey's eyes when he said 10:30 a.m.
“When you educate a man, you educate an individual; but when you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation.”
On this note, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this very important Statement.
Mr. Kofi Krah Mensah (NPP -- Amansie West) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to support the Statement on the floor.
F i rs t , I thank the women for organising this Commonwealth Women's Parliamentary Association's wonderful workshop on AIDS, disease and poverty. I want to cite a visit I made to Uganda where Parliament is essentially and centrally placed in participating in HIV/ AIDS interventions. In the case of Uganda, their Parliament has a communication tool scheme which most parliamentarians are able to use as a parliamentary response to
Mr. Kofi Krah Mensah (NPP -- Amansie West) 10:40 a.m.
Par l iamentar ians in te rvene in prevention, treatment, care and support; and because politicians are best placed to inform as objectively as possible -- non- judgmentally, openly, non-preju-dicially and even without stigmatizing and without discriminating -- I believe that if our Parliament can do that, we can go a long way to have Parliament take a central role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
However, it is my fear that the Ghana AIDS Commission is a little unwilling to help parliamentarians to take such a central position. This is because our fellow parliamentarians have willingly refused or neglected to refund and account for funds they were given some time ago. As a result, the Ghana AIDS Commission is unwilling to give funds for this purpose.

I am therefore proposing, Mr. Speaker, that Parliament should get more involved. Like the Ugandan experience - Uganda has been noted for being a wonderful model for other countries to copy. I believe that if our Parliament is properly placed and resourced through partnerships with the Ghana AIDS Commission we would be able to help, treat, care, support and even intervene at home, in our constituencies, in the districts and at the national level in the fight against AIDS. If we do this then Members of Parliament should be able to make a difference; Members of Parliament should be able to debate HIV/ AIDS matters and they should be able to mobilize resources, both financial and otherwise, to face the task ahead.

With these comments I support the Statement on the floor.

Mr. Charles S. Hodogbey (NDC

-- North Tongu): Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Statement.

HIV/AIDS, like any other sexually- transmitted disease, is something which is spreading so fast. The awareness of HIV/ AIDS is there. We all know of the factors which lead to a person contracting the diseases. Some have mentioned poverty, failure to protect oneself. I would like to mention the following, that for us to be a little bit safer, by way of protection, there should be free contraceptives; especially, condoms should be given to all junior secondary school pupils and even to students at the university level.

The reason is that in all advanced countries, if you go to special clinics, these condoms are in a basket; you go there and pick any quantity that you want. I worked at the Department of Health in the city of Chicago where we went round to place condoms at vantage points for people to pick. If we are talking of protection and we want these children to go and buy condoms before using them, Mr. Speaker, this is not possible.

The second thing I would like to talk about is that instead of married couples voluntarily going in for the test, the Government should make it compulsory for all people who intend to marry to be tested for HIV/AIDS.

The last thing I would also like to mention is research. All developing countries are putting their hopes on advanced countries to come out with a cure. The question is, what are all these countries doing about giving money or funding research institutions in their own countries to research into this disease? They are doing very little.

Therefore, I call on the Government to set up a special research institute, give
Mr. Kofi Krah Mensah (NPP -- Amansie West) 10:50 a.m.
we need to target these people and advise them to have voluntary counselling in order to curb the menace of this deadly disease.
Also, Mr. Speaker, we need to have clear guidelines and policies on homosexuality because there are paedophiles who are attacking young boys. If we do not have strategies, if we do not know how to identify them, then this will continue to go on and on, and our young ones would not be protected. So there must be clear guidelines and policies. Obviously, Ghana cannot condone with homosexuality because of our culture, but Mr. Speaker, we need to find out who they are, where they are, in order to protect our young ones.
Mr. Speaker, on this note I would say that Ghana is doing very well, but Mr. Speaker, we need to do more to curb the deadly disease.
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDC - North
Dayi): Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion on the floor and in so doing I would like to express my reservation about the continuous feminization of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic. I am saying so because anything concerning women in this world is not taken seriously, and you can tell from the attitude of our Colleagues in this House; the way people are behaving when this serious issue is being discussed. It is so because the HIV/AIDS issue has been given a woman's face. Mr. Speaker, women are only victims of HIV/AIDS pandemic; the men are described as the drivers of this pandemic. So why do we not concentrate and pay more attention on the men who are the drivers and making us look like devils in this world? What have women done to merit this kind of treatment all the time?
Mr. Speaker, having said that I want
to add that it looks like the Parliament of Ghana and some African countries are not exercising enough oversight over HIV/ AIDS issues. I am saying this because a study commissioned by the Canadian Parliamentary Centre which was done in South Africa by a non-governmental organization (NGO) revealed that many African countries have failed to exercise enough oversight.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote excerpts from this document which I have in my hand. Specifically, it says that recent research has revealed that the level of involvement of legislatures in contributing to the response to the HIV/ AIDS pandemic in Africa is rather weak. There is weak parliamentary participation and oversight in HIV/AIDS policy-making and programmes.

Mr. Speaker, Members of Parliament are expected to enact legislation to protect the rights of those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS. We are also supposed to be overseeing the proper implementation of programmes. We must also supervise the proper allocation of resources to National HIV/AIDS programmes and also advocate against the stigma of HIV/AIDS, and promoting greater awareness.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Berekum, do you have any point of order?
Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (retd):
Yes, Mr. Speaker. My hon. Colleague was
referring to a document, but she did not tell us the nature or title, or form of the document so that at least we can also refer to it. So if she can just identify the nature of the document that she is quoting from, that would be appropriate.
Ms Dansua 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this
document is from the recently formed Coalition of African Parliamentarians Against HIV/AIDS, otherwise called CAPA which I am going to talk about; and if he is interested I will make copies for him. And in fact, I invite him to join and be an advocate for HIV/AIDS issues in the Ghana Chapter of CAPA.
Mr. Speaker, I was going to say that it is true that the Ghana AIDS Commission had some problems with some of our hon. Colleagues in the past as far as the resources allocated to us to exercise our responsibilities were concerned. But if they learnt anything from the GETFund and the Common Fund, I am sure they would have been able to put proper accountability mechanisms in place that would enable us account for any resources that the Ghana AIDS Commission or any donor, for that matter, would allocate to us to enable us exercise enough oversight over HIV/AIDS issues in Ghana.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to end by inviting hon. Colleagues to join in this laudable effort that is being made at the Pan-African level to get Members of the various Parliaments to come together to form this coalition. We will be a force to reckon with, Mr. Speaker, in the sense that we have the capacity to obtain resources to collaborate with big players like the World Bank, the Canada Fund and all of that, to build our capacity and also enable us meet with our Colleagues from the other Parliaments in Africa and to share best experiences which we can use to the advantage of our own citizens.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Deputy Minority Whip, do you have any point of order to raise?
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I heard the hon. Deputy Minister say, “Whilst I support the motion . . .” It is a Statement and not a motion.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
It is a Statement. Please,
Mr. Owusu-Agyei 10:50 a.m.
Thank you very
much, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to prelude my statement with facts. Until 2002, Mr. Speaker, the HIV/AIDS pandemic did not show any sign of stabilizing, but
between 2004 and 2005 results of the HIV survey have shown a gradual shift towards stabilization. For instance, we know that at the moment there are thirty-four ARV sites in Ghana offering treatment for HIV/ AIDS patients. The number of persons under treatment on the ARV is 5,802. We have the breakdown which I may make available to any of my hon. Colleagues later.
Mr. Speaker, what I want to say is that the Government is concerned about stemming this particular problem that is facing us. And we have national response strategies that have been put in place. For instance, we know that we really are defining National HIV/ AIDS Prevention, Care and Treatment Strategies and Implementation Plans through pre-paratory processes. Then also, we are empowering the stakeholders from the community up to the national level with financial and decision-making authority. Also, we are using decentralized administrative structures to monitor and supervise HIV/AIDS activities. We are channelling funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, communities and civil society organizations regarding HIV/AIDS activities.
Mr. Speaker, we thank hon. Members for the concerns shown and I would not want to go individually to respond to them. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Item 7 -- Committee
Sittings -- Leadership.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
as some Members may be aware -- and if they are not aware, they are being informed -- the Italian Government is coming to help us with our Internet Café. There is going to be a presentation at 12 o'clock and there is the need for us therefore to adjourn and all of us get
prepared to support the Presentation Ceremony. The location is on the first floor. So we are encouraging all hon. Members to be available at 12 o'clock at the First Floor where the Internet Café Presentation is going to be done.
I therefore move that this House do
now adjourn till 7th November, 2006 at 10 o'clock in the morning.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg
to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 10:50 a.m.