Debates of 12 Feb 2009

PRAYERS 10:10 a.m.


PRESIDENT 10:10 a.m.

Madam Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon Members, I have a communication from His Excellency the President; I shall read the letter to you.
“11th February, 2009


OF GHANA 10:10 a.m.




  • [No correction was made to the Votes
  • PAPERS 10:20 a.m.

    Chairman of the Appointments Committee (Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho) 10:20 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, the third report is being finalized and the first two reports are being run for Hon Members.
    Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    Two of the reports have been laid and they are for distribution. We are moving on to item 6 on the Order Paper - Motions.
    Majority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 10:20 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, clearly, the reports have just been laid and the first two reports from the Appointments Committee are to be circulated and since Hon Members have not yet been given copies and also there are some pending issues that Leadership would want to confer, I would want to crave the indulgence of the House and seek leave from you for us to have a short suspension of not more than two hours.
    We believe that by then we would have finished with these pending matters, the reports would have been circulated to Hon Members, Hon Members would have had the opportunity to go through them and then we convene for the motions to be moved.

    So I would plead - [Interruption.] Am I getting the sense of the House that two hours is too long? [Interruption.] It is too short? Let us take two hours and then if there is the need we would look at it. So Madam Speaker, I would crave your indulgence to suspend Sitting for two hours.
    Mr. Opare-Ansah 10:20 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, I rise to lend my voice to what the Hon Majority Leader indicated.
    In fact, we all agree that the reports have delayed already by about two days and we have been waiting to have access to them and do due diligence. But indeed, Hon Members also need to have copies and acquaint themselves with the contents before they can speak to the issues that would be raised in the reports.
    So I agree with him. However, I think there are also some matters of interest to the House and so in the interim, I think we can have, if I may suggest, a Committee of the Whole while we wait for the two hours to elapse and then we come back to look at them.
    Mr. Bagbin 10:20 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my Hon Colleague opposite for the addition but I think and maybe his leader did not brief him on that. There are a few things that should be available at the Close Sitting that are not at hand and we agreed that the Close Sitting should be from 2 o'clock. We expect that normal Sitting would close at 2 o'clock so the Close Sitting would be after the adjournment and all the necessary information could be available to properly brief Hon Members. So I want to insist that we take the Close Sitting from 2 o'clock onwards.
    Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
    I thought you were asking for two hours from now which will be 12.30 p.m.
    Mr. Bagbin 10:20 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, yes.
    12.30 p.m. - We would reconvene and business would commence. After we have finished the Business of the House then we have the Close Sitting. So from 12.30 p.m. Hon Members would have read the reports that have been laid and we would debate the motions and we are sure to finish - [Interruption.] We would debate the motions, we would take the decisions, then the Close Sitting would commence after that; that is after 2 o'clock.
    Mr. Opare-Ansah 10:20 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, I do agree to what the Hon Leader is saying and would like to urge the Committee Chairman to ensure that the Clerks actually do get the reports to us as quickly as possible. It would not help us if we only get access to the reports five minutes to the end of the 2-hour break. Then we would not have had the opportunity to actually digest the contents.
    So if the Committee Chairman would kindly ensure that we do get access to the reports on time, then by all means we can take the Close Sitting after the normal Sitting.
    Madam Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, the House is accordingly suspended for two hours. We shall reconvene at 12.30 p.m.
    The Sitting was suspended at 10.28 a.m.

    Sitting resumed
    ANNOUNCEMENTS 1:45 p.m.

    Madam Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, I have received further communications from His Excellency the President and if I may read it to you.
    “12TH February, 2009
    NOMINATIONS FOR 1:45 p.m.



    OF GHANA 1:45 p.m.

    NOMINATIONS FOR 1:45 p.m.


    Ministerial appointments 1:45 p.m.
    1. Mr. Mike Hammah -- Ministry of Transport
    2. Mr. Tetteh-Enyo -- Ministry of Education
    3. Ms. Hannah Tetteh -- Ministry of Trade & Industry
    4. Dr. Oteng Adjei -- Ministry of Energy
    5. Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu -- Ministry of Justice
    and Attorney General
    6. Ms. Akua Dansua -- Ministry of Women & Children Affairs
    7. Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah -- Ministry of Tourism
    8. Mr. Collins Dauda -- Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources 9. Haruna Iddrisu -- Ministry of Communications
    10. Ms. Shirley Ayitey -- Ministry of Environment, Science & Technology. 2. I have also nominated the following for consideration by Parliament for appointment
    iii. Mr. Nii Armah Ashitey -- Greater Accra Region
    iv. M r . O f o s u A m p o f o - - Eastern Region
    v. Ms. Ama Benyiwa-Doe -- Central Region

    OF GHANA 1:45 p.m.


    PARLIAMENT HOUSE 1:45 p.m.

    Nana Abu-Bonsra 1:45 p.m.
    Madam Speaker,
    the correspondence you read, you made reference to 2nd January and it is a common knowledge or public knowledge -- [Interruptions] -- His Excellency the President was not the President of Ghana as at 2nd January 2009.
    Madam Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    I was checking
    upon in the enclosure because he referred to an enclosure of 22nd January 2009 that is the letter he was referring to. [Interruption.] I think the (2) was left out because the attachment which I have here says 22nd January, 2009 which he referred to in the letter. Obviously there is a typographical error.
    Mr. E. A. Owusu-Ansah 1:45 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, this document before the House is going to be part of the records of the House. If it is wrongly dated, I will suggest that the whole document is returned to His Excellency the President for the proper thing to be done. [Interruption.] It is only a matter of date; the Secretary to His Excellency the President can make
    Madam Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, if
    there had been no enclosure, I would have gone along with Hon Owusu-Ansah's assertion. Since he was referring to a letter he had sent amending a name, I think it is clear that it was a mistake. Instead of the letter saying 22nd it said 2nd. I think if we draw our attention to this and pronounce on it here, we can take judicial notice of the fact that -- [Interruption] to enable us to carry on.
    Hon Members, having mentioned it, I think it will be noted and my ruling is that we take notice that it is a typographical error which should reflect in the Hansard. Hon Members, because of the attachment, it is clearly a typographical error. This is my ruling on this matter; and shall we move on if you will permit me?
    Hon Members, I think we reached motion number 5 on the Order Paper; that is the Laying of Papers. Two Reports were laid, can you continue the motion.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr. E.
    K. D. Adjaho): Madam Speaker, I am moving to item (6) -- the Suspension of the Standing Orders in order to take it.
    Madam Speaker, before I move this motion, I want to make a few remarks. Madam Speaker, I think that you must have seized the Appointment's Committee with a competent Clerk to enable us discharge our responsibilities effectively and efficiently.
    Madam Speaker, I have been in this House for a while and the kind of travail that I, together with the Committee went through and yet the problem remained unsolved, has forced me to make this statement on the floor. Madam Speaker, yesterday, I had to summon the Clerk
    22nd January,
    as Regional Ministers:
    i. Mr. Mahmood Khalid -- Upper West Region
    ii. Mr. Nyamekye Marfo -- Brong Ahafo Region
    MOTIONS 1:55 p.m.

    Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 1:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the motion is given and the date on which the motion is moved, the motion for the
    Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, shall I stop you here and pause a little. Having regard to the state of business of the House and the time, that is five minutes to 2.00 p.m., I hereby direct that the Sitting be held outside the prescribed period because obviously, we are going to go beyond the 2.00 p.m.
    Hon Member, can you carry on?
    Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Are you standing on
    a point of order or? He is moving a motion.
    Mr. David Oppon-Kusi 1:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I am on a point of order.
    Madam Speaker, in the first place, this morning, two Papers were supposed to have been laid. As I speak, we hold only one. We were given two with the understanding that the Papers were ready; if they were ready, I do not understand why we are holding one.
    Again, the motion that is going to be moved is going to set aside Standing Order 80 (1), meaning that we are going to debate this Paper today. Madam Speaker, already, there is a perception out there that we rush through reports. We hardly had time to look through this report - [Interruption.] Madam Speaker, this is a perception out there and we must not give credence to that perception.
    So Madam Speaker, I suggest that Hon Members be given time to look through this report so that when it comes to the floor of Parliament, when the motion is moved, we can then debate it properly.
    Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon First Deputy Speaker, can you give an answer to this? The Hon Member says that there is only one report that he has got.
    Mr. Adjaho 1:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, because I am moving the first one, I thought that when we get to the second one, I would be in a position to explain concerning that aspect. We are not taking the two simultaneously, therefore, I thought that the point that he has raised, even though correct, is a bit premature.
    Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    The Hon Member mentioned the fact that it was given to him so late and he has not read it, what do you have to say to that?
    Mr. Adjaho 1:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, indeed, I consulted the Ranking Member on the Committee and other members of the Committee and we agreed that we should take this report.
    Madam Speaker, it is important to take note that normally, with the recom- mendation of the Committee, there is no Majority or Minority decision if it was by consensus. Therefore, the normal practice of this House is that if it was by consensus, then the rules are normally suspended, but where there is a division then normally it is only fair to make these reports available to Hon Members so that the reasons for the division in the Committee can be well articulated by both sides of the House. Madam Speaker, this is not the situation currently before us.
    Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye 1:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, if I may beg to slightly differ from my hon. Colleague's contribution a moment ago.
    Madam Speaker, even where a

    committee may have had a consensus in the approval of a nominee, nevertheless, hon. Members are entitled to be well informed, and in advance, as to the reasons for the conclusions reached, how be it unanimously, by the committee. Madam Speaker, then can Hon Members of Parliament make meaningful contri- butions.

    Madam Speaker, we do not only come here to approve or disapprove. We also make a number of statements and they are well captured in the Hansard, as to advising, cautioning the incoming Minister; and Members of Parliament also contribute to possible areas of vision and action by the incoming Minister.
    Mr. Alfred Kwame Agbesi 1:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, we have had this report distributed to us over one hour ago -- [Uproar.] Madam Speaker, the report on the nominees - Madam Speaker, the report captured on each nominee is on a page. Madam Speaker, I took two minutes to read through this Report and we have had this Report for over one hour.
    I believe this is a reasonable time, sufficient enough for hon. Members to have digested this report and make meaningful and good contributions on this. Madam Speaker, I believe that this is the time, the time is right, we have read this report, we are satisfied and we can go ahead. Madam Speaker, what we have is enough, it is too much of a time to go on with this Report.
    Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    I will get one comment from this side and then I will rule. Can I hear you then?
    Mr. Samuel K. Obodai 1:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I beg to differ from what my Hon Colleague just said. I had the report
    Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Chairman of the Committee, you did not mention the mistakes, whether they are typographical or whether they are serious.
    Mr. Adjaho 1:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I am very, very happy with the level of diligence that the hon. Members of this House are calling for.
    I am a man of diligence and I must say in actual fact and to be very honest that some are typographical and some are factual. Madam Speaker, it was on that basis that I made those introductory remarks. If it is the wish of this Honourable House that this be taken first thing tomorrow morning - [Interruption.] Madam Speaker, I would never, never oppose that position because as I said, we arrived at the decision on the report by concensus and it is fair that the standard of this House is preserved at all times.
    Minority Leader (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 2:05 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I think the Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee could not have put it in a more succinct manner than what he has said.
    In fact, the Committee has been working under severe pressure and the Clerks have also been working under severe pressure because indeed, we have been working rather late into evenings. I remember one time we closed after 9.00

    p.m. Then the Clerks would have to retreat and begin working on the minutes; It has been difficult for them. Human as they are, they could also make mistakes. So, I do not want us to overly blame the Clerks.

    Yes, indeed, one would say that after the corrections had been made, as we tried to do this morning, the final product that came ought to have reflected what we did, and yet some many, many other mistakes had been repeated. That indeed, is regrettable.

    We are in the process of effecting further corrections and I hope that by about 6 o'clock this evening we would have finished with this and hopefully tomorrow we can take the first batch. There are some others in the pipeline which we are still working on. It may be difficult to take those ones. But at least, with the first ten that we have, I believe that by tomorrow, we may be able to - [Inter-ruption.] Tomorrow is Friday, I guess; normally, we do not intend working late on Fridays but we will endeavour to complete, at least, this first list that we have.

    So, on that note, may I plead with my Hon Colleagues that we look at them and, particularly Committee members, if there are any further corrections that they have detected, that they come, we put our heads together, to do the correct thing to enable us take this first time tomorrow.

    Madam Speaker, I want to concur
    Madam Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, a suggestion has been made, what is your take on it?
    Mr. Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I can attest to the work rate of the Committee.
    I am aware, I do visit both the Hon Chairman and Hon Ranking Member and some Hon Members of the Committee and I can attest to the work rate of the Committee. There is a lot of pressure on the Committee and the staff attached to the Committee.
    Madam Speaker, in the circumstances, we would have to take some measures to make sure that the hon. Members are properly motivated to continue to work late into the night.
    Madam Speaker, this is because the wheel of governance is moving slowly because of the lack of Ministers. And we need to expedite work on this matter. But as stated earlier on, we cannot blame the Committee or the staff attached to the Committee. It is the work-load that is expected within a very short time.
    I myself, when I heard the Hon Chairman state about the incorrectness of the contents of the Report and the fact that he did not say there were one or two, he said there were many of them -- And if it has to deal with even facts, the mis- statement of facts, then it is important that we get those things corrected before we move the motion. If not, some Hon Members would be misled by the facts there and they may make some statements that may not have any basis at all and which could affect the reputation or otherwise of the nominees that are sought to be approved by this House.
    So Madam Speaker, I am also in support that we do adjourn till tomorrow when we can take the properly prepared and laid Report and Hon Members will make better informed opinions and, at least, we do justice to the work of this House.
    We would continue to insist that the spirit of co-operation and consultation continue. We will continue to work towards this House, as an institution, as one body. We will continue to work to excel so that at the end of the day, it is the national interest that will be the beneficiary and not individual members.
    So Madam Speaker, I support the move that we adjourn till tomorrow where we can take the two Reports, if they are ready, and Hon Members will continue after the Reports, at the committee level to consider the other nominees.
    I indicated earlier on that the House would also be having a meeting. Some refer to it as the Committee of the Whole, some would say Close Sitting but actually it is a Caucus meeting of the House. And I think that we will do that immediately after adjournment.
    But once again, I want to commend Hon Members for the work that we are doing.
    Thank you very much.
    Madam Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, I was going to rule on this and to ask a few questions.
    An adjournment has been proposed but the complaint was also not only about shortness of time to read it, but that the corrected version will be distributed. So when can the two come together so we can move on tomorrow?
    Mr. Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I took a clue from the statement of the Hon Ranking Member that by 6.00 p.m. today, the Committee would have completed the corrections and that by early tomorrow,
    Dr. Akoto A. Osei 2:05 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I need to be educated on some very important matter.
    This morning, we were told two Papers were laid which are both incorrect. Should we take it that those incorrect Papers have been laid? This is because if they are incorrect, they need to come correctly and lay them. So, we need to be guided as to when the correct Papers would be laid before they are distributed. But we are not being told anything. So, I am not sure whether this is what I need to be reading [Shows a copy of a Report] or something that is coming tomorrow in the morning.
    So I need your education on this matter, I need to be guided.
    Madam Speaker, I think this one [Shows a copy of a Report] should be withdrawn and the correct one should be laid tomorrow so we can proceed. After all, it is by consensus and we should do things properly.
    Even the Hon Chairman is admitting that there are both factual and typographical errors. By implication, we do not have the correct Paper to be laid. So it would seem to me that the Hon Chairman would want to withdraw this and lay it tomorrow.
    Madam Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Let us hear what the Hon Majority Leader thinks about this.
    Mr. Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I was
    Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Can Hon Members
    address the Speaker, please.
    Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    The procedure is that you lay the Paper. Now, when we are talking about laying, it is expected that a copy of the report or whatever document is being laid, is placed on the Table.
    Now, Madam Speaker, the copy that is placed at the Table is talking about the subject matter; not all the documentation in the matter. [Interruptions] - And our good Friends are aware that on many occasions we have to refine the documents that are laid and then proceed with the discussions and debate. That is the practice, particularly so when they are coming from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning where he was the Minister.
    So Madam Speaker, I believe that he said this in order to generate some debate, but he is aware - [Interruptions] - Yes, we are moving forward in the right direction. [Laughter!]
    Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    I think I would like to hear from the Hon Minority Leader on this matter, about whether it should be laid again or whether it was just laid for distribution and so it could be substituted. Can we share your -
    Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I just want to conclude by referring to our Standing Orders and I think that is what we are doing. I think it is Order 55 and I think that, that is relevant to this situation
    because it is an item that we have not - [Pause.] Standing Order 55 and with your permission, I quote:
    “Any item of business standing on the Order Paper on any particular day which has not been completed or reached on the interruption of business under the pertinent provisions of these Standing Orders shall be placed on the Order Paper for the next Sitting day in such order as the Business Committee may determine.”
    Madam Speaker, what we are simply saying is that this business that we have not completed should be placed on the Order Paper for tomorrow for us to complete. That is all.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I believe we have come a long way and I believe the issues have been articulated by the Chairman of the Committee. Clearly, we have difficulties. The Paper indeed, in the form of a report, has been laid and Madam Speaker, indeed, in this particular matter, the Order quoted by the Majority Leader, unfortunately, is irrelevant to the House. Madam Speaker, in this case, the Order that is relevant to us is Order 75 and indeed, Order 161, that is, regarding reports from committees.
    Madam Speaker, if a report from a committee is laid, I do not know in what form a report could be laid other than the normal, the usual form that the report takes; that is, the introduction, the body, the observations and conclusions and so on.
    Madam Speaker, clearly, as the Chairman has said, yes, a document was laid and we all presumed that it was correct. It was later found out that it contained some mistakes. The Chairman drew my attention to it and we decided that instead of going forward and moving

    backward, it would rather help our cause if we did the cleansing of the report. That is what we are trying to do.

    I must say that we have almost finished and I believe if we have about 30 minutes after adjournment, we could finish with it and then have it printed so that by tomorrow morning before we come everyone would have got a copy of it. At least, for about two hours we could peruse the document before we come and sit down so that we do not have further problems, at least relating to this report covering the ten nominees. And I believe we are capable of dealing with the ten nominees tomorrow.

    Madam Speaker, I have taken a cue from the Hon Chairman of the Committee, the First Deputy Speaker; I am not taking a clue from him, I am taking a cue from here - [Hear! Hear!] and that being the case, I second the motion by the Majority Leader that we adjourn until tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon. I beg to second the motion.
    Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, the ssue that we are to determine is the continuation of an item of business. The issue we are confronted with is not on the recom-mendations given by the Committee, which is Order 161 - [Interruptions.] No, no, Order 161 is dealing with recom-mendations from the Committee and the recommendations will come in the form of a report. But the issue we are confronted with is continuation or discontinuation of the business of the House and the relevant Order is Order 55, not Order 161.
    Madam Speaker, I want to correct this because we are not dealing with the recommendations of the Committee. You raised the issue of whether we should continue with the business or we should adjourn it till tomorrow; some are saying we cannot continue because there are errors in the report. That is what we are
    Mr. Bagbin 12:25 p.m.

    talking about.

    So Madam Speaker, it is important that we rectify it before I proceed to move, that in the circumstances that we are faced with, it is better for the House to be adjourned till tomorrow where the corrections would be made. Hon Members will be given the report and Hon Members will read it, we will come back tomorrow and debate it. It is with this, Madam Speaker, that I beg to move the motion for adjournment.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Speaker, I thought that you invited me to second a motion that is why I did what I did. I am being told that no motion was moved and so I may want to go back to it.
    However, Madam Speaker, the point of entry was whether a report had been laid or not and the plea from some Hon Members was that in view of the admission by my Hon Colleague that it was filled with factual and typographical inaccuracies. Some people were arguing that we should consider that nothing is before us. That was the gravamen of the argument, not by him but by Hon Members who joined the issue. [Interruption.] Yes, at least, one of the Hon Members; and my plea was that we should consider that the report has been laid.
    That is all that I said. And I do not know in whatever form recommendations from a committee do come, except by
    report. And so this argument by the Majority Leader, really, he wanted to offer a distinction without a difference and I do not know what he means by that.
    Madam Speaker, but the most important
    thing is that we have realized our mistakes. We admit them. We are going to work on them. We will soon finish with them and tomorrow by God's grace, we will deal with them.
    Madam Speaker, I second the motion.
    Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon. Members, a

    Hon Members, I think I can adjourn

    this House without even going through a motion.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:25 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 2.29 p.m. till 13th February 2009 at 10.00 a.m.