Deputy Minority Leader (Mr. E.
K. D. Adjaho): Mr. Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader is not immediately
available. In the morning, he informed me that he was going for a meeting and that he was coming back to give his closing remarks. I have tried to get in touch with him but it has proven very difficult, but since you called him, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make some few remarks on his behalf, and indeed, on behalf of the Minority side.
Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, we want to thank God; in spite of our agreements and disagreements in the House for the past four years, God has taken us together and we have been able to transact Business of this House and to extend the frontiers of democracy.
In doing our work, a whole lot of people have assisted us, the Executive arm of Government, the media, the staff and your goodself; your guidance and your support have seen this House through.
We want to thank all our Hon Colleagues. It is rather unfortunate that some of the experienced hands in this House are not coming back and this House is the poorer. But that is the beauty of democracy. To those hon. Colleagues who will not be coming back, we want to tell them that this House will continue to need their support so that together, we strengthen this honourable House.
To those of us who have won the election to return, we want to congratulate them, we want to assure them that we will continue to work together to improve the national agenda. We want to assure you Mr. Speaker, that in all our work, we shall put the national interest over and above any other interest.
Mr. Speaker, at times it is very difficult to speak when you have not got the authorization of your boss. But Mr.
Speaker, we want to specially thank you on this special occasion for your guidance, your support and your counsel. Indeed, most difficult times of this House, you have referred a lot of matters to the Leadership of both sides to resolve and that type of leadership style that you have brought to bear on the work of this honourable House has helped us discharge a lot of responsibilities without blaming anybody but only blaming ourselves.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you, wish everybody here well wherever they might find themselves. Some of us are fond of the Hon Senior Minister; we have worked with him since he entered the House in 1997, about twelve years ago, and I must say today on a lighter note that he introduced me to red wine. [Laughter.] He brought his experience to bear on the work of this House and I benefited a lot from him. I learnt some few tricks as far as Parliamentary practice and procedure is concerned, when he was the Minority Leader and I was the Majority Chief Whip.
Mr. Speaker, when the table turned, I used some of those tricks on him and it worked very well to perfection. I think that this country is doing very well with regard to deepening work in this Legislature. After sixteen years of Parliamentary work uninterrupted, it is our hope that it will continue in that direction.
I thank my Hon Colleagues in Leadership, I thank everybody, Committee Chairmen, Ranking Members and indeed, the Clerk's department for keeping this House together. We hope that the years to come would strengthen this House as a very important arm of Government. Mr. Speaker, thank you.
Majority Leader/Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (Mr. Abraham
Ossei Aidooh): Mr. Speaker, as we all know, today marks the end of the term of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic and it is with thanks and gratitude that I seize this opportunity to say a few words before ending my tenure as the Majority Leader of the House.
Mr. Speaker, I became the Majority Leader at the end of the Second Meeting of the Third Session of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana in 2007, when the Hon Felix Owusu- Adjapong handed over to me, having served under him as his deputy.
Within this rather short period as the Majority Leader and doubling as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, I have endeavoured to promote the work of the House and I must say that, with your cooperation and maximum support and that of the entire Leadership and hon. Members, some success has been achieved.
Mr. Speaker, by midnight today, the mandate of this Parliament ends and Ghana will record yet another success in its democratic journey.
During the just-ended elections and its subsequent run-off, many in the country were scared and wondered whether or not we will pull through as a nation. We have as a nation proved that we are serious about what we do and I believe that every one of us is indeed proud to be a Ghanaian.
At this juncture, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Hon Members who were successfully reelected in their bid to represent their constituencies in this august House once more. And to those who lost their re-election bid, may I say we are proud of them and for the term they spent in Parliament making laws and
oversighting the activities of the Executive sometimes under very difficult conditions.
Mr. Speaker, during my tenure in office as the Leader of the House, I have witnessed tremendous cooperation among all stakeholders in Parliament. Indeed stakeholders outside Parliament have also contributed to the process.
Mr. Speaker, in this Parliament, communication among parties has particularly become very effective, especially behind-the-scene consul- tations after which issues are brought to the floor of the House for deliberations. This has to a great extent contributed to enhance consensus-building in all matters and cooperation in the House at all times. The winnowing process in law-making has contributed to consensus building in that regard and we have been able to build inclusiveness and I recommend highly that the Fifth Parliament should improve upon this process.
The Fourth Parliament legislated on areas which would enhance the growth and progress of the country. Mention could be made of the passage of the National Pension Reforms Act, the Northern Development Act, The Education Act and the Chieftaincy Act among others.
Mr. Speaker, this Parliament also actualized the provisions of article 179 of the 1992 Constitution when it ensured the passage of the National Budget before the end of each financial year. In this regard, Mr. Speaker, I say with considerable pride that this Parliament has executed to the best of its ability its mandate under the Constitution.
Hon Members have exhibited a high sense of duty and responsibility during this term and this largely contributed to the success of this Parliament. The knowledge displayed by both old and new Hon Members in parliamentary procedures and practices kept improving day-by-day which contributed to the quality of debates
on the floor of the House at all times. Time will not allow me to outline all our achievements over the last four years.
Even as I speak about the numerous successes of this Parliament, I must also mention that there were times when the attendance of the House affected business. It is my hope that in the Fifth Parliament, Hon Members would strive to make attendance to Sittings a priority.
Not too long after the inauguration of this Parliament, a Member was lost necessitating a bye-election. It was the hope of Hon Members that this would have been the last of deaths to occur among our hon. Members but that was not to be. Other Hon Members including the hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu were also lost. Mr. Speaker, also sad was the passing away of your two predecessors namely the Rt. Hon Peter Ala Adjetey and the Rt. Hon. Justice Annan. We pray for the repose of their souls in the bosom of the Lord.
Permit me, Mr. Speaker, to outline some challenges faced by this Parliament. This Parliament is still contending with inadequate office space for hon. Members and the general security of Hon Members especially in their homes.
Equally challenging is the condition of service of Hon Members. It must be admitted though that under the current administration efforts have been made to improve upon the situation. Despite this conditions of Hon Members remain not the best.
To address the inadequacy of office accommodation for hon. Members, it is hoped that efforts at completing the new office complex and the new Committee Secretariat would be stepped up. Also plans at refurbishing the Job 600 building should be continued. It is hoped that the new office complex that is the Annex will be commissioned by March 2009 and the contract for the work on the Job 600 will