Debates of 2 Jun 2009

PRAYERS 10:25 a.m.


Madam Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon Members, we commence with Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 29th May, 2009. Page 1 … 13 -- [Pause.]
In the absence of any corrections, the
Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 29th May, 2009 are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Now we move on to the Official Report
of Friday, 29th May, 2009.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I believe we are on the Official Report of Friday, 29th May, 2009.
Madam Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Yes. Column --
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, column 67, the last paragraph. I quoted from a provision in our Standing Orders, that is, Standing Order 64 (1). As has been captured, with the phrase concluding, it does not make much sense. I read out Standing Order 64(1) and I quoted,
“A Question shall not be asked without notice unless it is of an urgent character relating either to a matter of public importance or the arrangement of business and by prior leave of Mr. Speaker”.

Madam Speaker, that is what I said, “of Mr. Speaker”. And I said, “in this case, Madam Speaker,” that is, referring to the status of “Mr. Speaker”. And I said, “in this case we have a Madam Speaker”; that is what I said. As has been captured, it is senseless. So there is an omission; if they could complete it, I think the meaning will stand out better.

Then the third paragraph on column 68, I had read out Orders 64(1) and 69(1), and I said:

“Madam Speaker, the combined effect of Orders 69(1) and 64 (1), in my view, would suggest to us that an Urgent Question may not even have to be advertised, . . .”

I think there is a mix-up there. They quoted 69(1) and 69(4). If the Hansard Department could effect this correction.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
at column 59, dealing with a number of Questions: i, ii, iii, iv; I recall that my attention was drawn to the body of the Report where the number of Questions slotted for the Ministers to answer were different from what was stated on the first page which is what is captured at column 59.
The numbers were amended by me to read: Minister for Environment, Science and Technology -- 1 Question; Minister for Transport -- 2 Questions; Minister for Energy -- 3 Questions; Minister for Roads and Highways -- 5. “And the total number was amended to be 11. But it has not been captured; they just captured what is stated in the Report.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Prof. S. K. Amoako 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I just want to be educated on this; is it

The correction as I pointed out is captured in column 71; but I believe what he actually brought at first should reflect -- [Interruption] -- that is exactly what he said, and it should reflect in the report of the Hansard. As a new Member, I want to be educated on this.

Madam Speaker, thank you.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon Minority
Leader, can you help us? He wants to be educated on this. [Laughter.] -- Maybe, we all do.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
Speaker, I agree with the proposition by my Hon Colleague who just made this intervention. Indeed, what the Majority Leader presented to us is what has been captured in columns 58, 59, 60 to 64. Thereafter, this mistake was pointed out to the Majority Leader and he admitted that it was an error as per column 71.
So, the proper thing is that we state what was stated and then the correction will come. Otherwise, if it is corrected there, there will not be any need for the inter-vention of the Hon Colleague. So I think we can find the correction subsequent to his own intervention which was made by the Majority Leader and it is appropriately captured in columns 71 and 72.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
It seems that it is
the same as the two Members have agreed. Hon Majority Leader --
Mr. Bagbin 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, well,
I have listened to them carefully. If the Official Report is verbatim recording and reporting, then that will be exactly the case. And I have no problem with that.
I just also wanted to note that depending on the type of correction -- For example, when my Hon Colleague, the Minority Leader corrected just a few minutes ago the Standing Orders he was alleged to have quoted -- [Interruption] -- it was not what he said.
What he actually said -- and we noted it down when he said it. This could be a slip of tongue because 69(1) and 69(4) -- In fact, the reaction from here is that there is no 69(4). But that, definitely, one can correct.
I realised after drawing the attention that they should have put it in the table form as it was done earlier on so that it will be more manifest and clearer. But reading through the whole Report, I came across the correction that was done later on by the Hon Member and accepted by my goodself. So it is a true reflection of the proceedings of that day, and I think that it should be accepted.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Yes. Thank you;
Hon Member, you have been educated. Any other interventions?
Hon Members, the Official Report of Friday, 29th May, 2009 as corrected represents the true record of proceedings.
Item 3 -- Questions.



Minister for Environment, Science and Technology (Ms. Hanny-Sherry Ayittey) 10:45 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the main problem of the Fosu Lagoon in Cape Coast is the excessive pollution of the water and siltation. The lagoon is a closed lagoon and does not normally receive water inflows from the sea. It is fed only from runoffs from the upper catchment which is now heavily built up with poor sanitation,
Mr. Addai-Nimoh 10:45 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister for the Answer that she has given. However, in the absence of funding that she proposes to seek from donors, I would like to find out from the Minister, as a short-term measure, what action or intervention is the Ministry going to take to look at the continuous fishing in the lagoon.
Ms. Ayittey 10:45 a.m.
Madam Speaker, we
are dealing with people. If we ask the community to relocate, we must definitely provide them with alternative livelihood. So the Ministry is taking this programme very urgently and I think that within the shortest possible time, we will try and implement its dredging and then provide alternative programmes for the community. But immediately, we will go to Cape Coast and seek the authority of the Regional Co-ordinating Council to relocate the Siwdu Garages from the catchment area.
Several Hon. Members -- rose --
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 10:45 a.m.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I appreciate the Answers given by the Hon Minister.
But just by way of information and question, I think that quite a lot of work has been done on the lagoon. Indeed, I had the privilege of meeting the Paramount Chief of Cape Coast to look at it. The costing was also done and the Dutch were on the verge of helping us to desilt it and do the same programme as we have done in Elmina.
Maybe, the Hon Minister may want to link up with the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and see how much work has already been done by way of preparatory activities and the
Dutch, I suppose, will help us to do that. Because I remember very well when I was at St. Augustine's, there were a lot of things that -- [Interruption] -- The question is that, have you linked up with the - Basically, it is a water body, so it belongs to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing. Have you linked up with them in trying to fashion out a solution to this problem?
Madam Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Minister,
answer the question.
Ms. Ayittey 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I
have taken note and I will contact my Hon Colleague at the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing. But water bodies come under environment so we will be working together.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in the Minister's Answer, she indicated that the high level of contamination of the water in the lagoon is likely to have affected the fish in the lagoon, meaning that fish from the lagoon is not safe for human consumption. Would the Hon Minister then consider banning the harvesting of fish from this lagoon?
Ms. Ayittey 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think for the meantime the Environmental Protection Agency will not consider banning it but we will intensify public education so that our people will be aware that consumption of fish from the lagoon - [Interruptions] - Because we have not been able to establish the level of the contamination -- This is a fact. It has not been established and we are still carrying out scientific experiments on the fish.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Ms. Ayittey 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think the Hon Member of Parliament for New Juaben North advised that the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing has some kind of a programme already in existence and I think that I will quickly get in touch with the Dutch Embassy and then do a follow-up.
But I would like to advise the House that other programmes have been done on lagoons. If you look at the Chemu Lagoon - The Chemu Lagoon has gone through restoration and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology is going to continue doing this restoration programme of desilting and bringing fresh water to the lagoon. So I believe within the shortest possible time, before the close of the year, we will be able to do something.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Maxwel Kofi Jumah 10:55 a.m.
Speaker, the Minister, in answering the Question put to her stated that training programmes have been conducted in the municipalities and the metropolitan areas to develop waste management plans. I am just curious whether there has been a follow-up to the development of the plans and also if stakeholders were consulted. I am saying this because I have been especially concerned about the pollution being caused by the Kumasi Abattoir, near Ahensan, and also the waste disposal site near Dompoase. Both sites happen to be in my constituency and I am especially interested if stakeholders -- [Interruptions] --
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Minister, he is asking about - [Interruptions] -- Are you in a position to answer?
Ms. Ayittey 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, he was at Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and I think at KMA, he should have worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to solve the problem. But as a new Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology which -- [Interruption.] -- Madam Speaker, I want to assure him that the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology is doing a lot to bring waste management solutions to all the District Assemblies and then we will be able to solve the Kumasi problem very soon.
Thank you.
Prof. Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Fosu Lagoon is a very familiar ecosystem to me. I appreciate the Answer given by the Hon Minister. But two pieces of advice: first - [Inter- ruption] -
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Member,
are you asking a question? We are not debating here. You have to ask a question.
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
One question at a time. Thank you for the first question.
Hon Minister, can you answer the question?
Ms. Ayittey 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think as I stand here, I will say I do not know.
Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister tells us that it has already been demonstrated that the lagoon water is heavily contaminated except that no tests have been carried out to determine the extent of the contamination. But then she goes on to say that given the level of contamination of the lagoon, it is likely that the fish caught from it could as well be contaminated, which means the Minister is convinced that there is that probability -- [Interruptions] -- That it is likely.
Madam Speaker, in view of this, is
it not advisable for the Hon Minister to consider banning the continued fishing in the lagoon since there are serious doubts as to whether the fish from the lagoon is contaminated or not?
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Minister, can you answer the question for the Hon Member?
Ms. Ayittey 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I earlier on said that the Ministry and the EPA would not consider banning it because we need to establish the actual level of the contamination. Some work has been done. Please, we are working on it and we will
do that very soon.
Mr. Yaw Maama Afful 11:05 a.m.
Since the Hon Minister is telling us and she has agreed that the lagoon is polluted, yet she is not going to ban fishermen from fishing from it, is she telling us she will be willing to eat fish from that lagoon? [Inter-ruptions.]
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon Minister, I
think you will like to answer this question?
Ms. Ayittey 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, we
Mr. Afful 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think my
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon Minister,
the question is, will you eat fish from that lagoon? Can you answer the question for us, please?
Ms. Ayittey 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I want to know from the Hon Minister, in view of the fact that the Ministry was killed three years ago and has just been revived, how long is it going to take her to put the pieces together and address the issues that have been raised.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
I am still thinking
Mr. Alfred K. Agbesi 11:05 a.m.
Speaker, I want to know from the Hon Minister whether she knows how long this problem of pollution has been with
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Well, I do not
think it is a proper question because as a Minister, she will know and I am not going to ask her to answer this question.
I will take one last question from Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori.
Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori 11:05 a.m.
Speaker, page five; the Hon Minister enumerated three lines of action the Government has in mind to pursue in order to give effect to the solution there. And she went on further to say that the Ministry will approach donor agencies to sponsor these programmes.
In the event that her effort to get the
support from donor agencies fails, will the Government budget to finance this locally?
Ms. Ayittey 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Last question from
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in the answers given by the Hon Minister, she has repeatedly given assurances that measures will be taken within the shortest possible time. I believe that the Hon Minister now knows that promises relating to shortest possible time are better than promises of now. But the question is, in the second sentence of the Answer given by the Hon Minister she says, the lagoon is a closed lagoon and does not normally receive water inflows from the sea.
Mr. Bagbin 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I urge you to disallow this supplementary question on the basis of Standing Order 67 (1b).
Standing Order 67 (1) “Questions must comply with the following conditions --

Madam Speaker, my very good Friend

is caught up in argumental questions which he is putting through, and he is caught up by soliciting the opinion of the Hon Minister. He is also inferring a lot of things into the Question. And I think that he should not be allowed.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Can I rule on this? Hon Member, I will like to rule on this.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, before you rule, the Majority Leader refers to Order 67 (1) (b) and with your permission, I read:
“a Question shall not contain any arguments, expression of opinion inference . . .”
He says “interferences” but the word there is “inferences”-- [Interruptions.] The word there is “inferences” and not interferences” --
“. . . imputations, epithets or controversial, ironical or offensive expressions or hypothetical cases”;
Madam Speaker, I asked a question on two statements -- two sentences in this Answer. Madam Speaker, I have not
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Before I rule, can I have the question again? What was the question?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in the Answer - [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
No, you referred to two sentences and the question was what?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, on page 4, the second sentence, the Minister informs us, “The lagoon is a closed lagoon and does not normally receive water inflows from the sea”. “normally -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Yes go on, please.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I plead with you to protect me from the harassment of Hon E. T. Mensah. [Laughter.] Madam Speaker, when I read the sentence and asked the Minister whether indeed, sometimes we have inflows from the sea, she profusely nodded that sometimes we have inflows.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon E. T. Mensah, can I rule on the matter? Hon Minister, I think you said “. . . normally it is fed by runoffs water”. Can you answer the question? [Hear! Hear!]
Ms. Ayitey 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, when the sea level, when the tide is very high then you have the water flowing in, and that is not normal, because sometimes the tide keeps very low for a long time especially when we are in climate change -- global warming. So Madam Speaker, that is why I made that statement. [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon Member, I normally indulge you but I will not let you have two questions in a row. You have asked one question and I am looking round, maybe, someone else wants to come in. Were you going to ask another question?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, if your ruling is that if a Minority Leader asks a question, he is not to be allowed to ask a second question, if that is the ruling, I would abide by that. [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
That was not. I said I was looking round for somebody else so that everybody will have an input. That is what I said. It is not that you are not allowed.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, with respect, I will not pursue it.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
I think we have had
enough and what is left is to thank the Hon Minister for coming and for answering our Questions. Thank you Hon Minister.
Hon Members, we had only one Question and now we are moving to item 4 - Statements. Hon Members, I have admitted two Statements - one Statement is on World No Tobacco Day from Hon Maj. (Alhaji.) (Dr.) Mustapha Ahmed (retd), Chairman of the Select Committee on Health.
STATEMENTS 11:15 a.m.

  • Prof. A. M. Oquaye (NPP -- Dome- Kwabenya) 11:35 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity to contribute to this very important and timely Statement made by my Hon Colleague.
    Madam Speaker, I am particularly interested in the problem of secondary inhalation of tobacco. And Madam Speaker, I am very, very glad that our Hon Minister for Environment, Science and Technology is in the House at this time, with her education, background and experience in this health-related bio-chemistry matters. I believe that it is something that she might want to take up further and help us find some solution to.
    Madam Speaker, our airport, public halls having any ventilation - sometimes there are air-conditioners - within that air- conditioned closed environment, we have some people smoking with impunity. It is most painful.
    A woman was diagnosed with cancer and it was detected that her lungs and others were full of smoke fumes. This woman never smoked. The truth of the matter was that she had inhaled so much from her smoking husband, that she was going to die of cancer.
    Madam Speaker, unfortunately, incidentally, fathers especially, are polluting day old babies with this kind of secondary smoking pollution and I
    believe it is time we as legislators took these matters seriously with the support of environmentalists, health people and others giving us very serious data on this to act thereon.
    Particularly, Madam Speaker, it is very, very clear that as for the Scandinavian countries and even by the almighty America herself have made so many laws that are being enforced on this matter that I do not think we even need to reinvent the wheel but we can really copy from the best practices and make some very, very drastic progress in this direction. If all public places would be clearly marked and demarcated “No Smoking” and if we make laws that will bite and heavy fines imposed, I believe this will go a very, very long way to help solve the problem.
    As for that kind of advertisement, where we put up very bold advertisement, advertising cigarettes of all types and then putting some small indication - “smoking is bad for your health” - or whatever it is, according to some surgeon and so on, I believe, Madam Speaker, we must make sure that this kind of advertising is eschewed in this country of ours.
    Madam Speaker, it is a very important matter for us to consider and we should not at least forget the secondary smoking people who are adversely affected by the acts of other people.
    I thank you Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute.
    Mrs. A. Frema Osei-Opare (NPP -- Ayawaso West Wuogon) 11:45 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to identify with the Statement on the floor.
    Madam Speaker, I read from the Papers that the Ministry or some responsible body has given about a month for importers
    of cigarettes to have labels on those products -- The warning label that says that the Surgeon-General has indicated that “Smoking is bad for your health”. While that is laudable, in our environment, Madam Speaker, I believe that it is not adequate because majority of the people cannot read this warning on the packets of cigarettes.
    We also have a system where people actually buy in single pieces. One sends a child to go and buy one or two sticks; and therefore, a packet with a warning really serves very little purpose for this.
    So, I am suggesting that really, we should bring the law that is so drastic that really it will not be even necessary to even smoke at all. One that will make it so uncomfortable and so difficult to really enjoy a stick of cigarette that one will be advised that it is not worth pursuing.
    Again, I believe very much that, if one compared Ghana to other countries -- I have had the privilege of seeing some countries like The Gambia, Kenya and one would find that the smoking levels of the populace is far above that of Ghana. It is more the norm than the odd thing.
    One thing that we should also note is
    that in the traditional setting, I believe very much that the old picture of an elderly man with a long pipe sitting comfortably in a reclining chair seems to be something that is dying out. So, I believe that whatever be the case, if the people are really going off the habit, we must now look at positive reinforcement of why people are now declining to smoke whether in the traditional setting or in the modern setting.
    But Madam Speaker, something worries me. While we are talking about the effect of tobacco smoke, have we thought about the effect of other forms of smoke on the health of the people? I wonder whether the effect of this smoke that our mothers in the rural areas particularly use for cooking
    and the numerous fishmongers along our coast or even the inland fisheries using open smoking kilns to smoke fish and other products.
    I believe that we should not just look at tobacco but actually examine whether the same negative effect from this wood smoke is evident in our traditional way of cooking and smoking.
    I would also urge very much that we do intensify our activities as I have seen on the floor of the Lobby in Parliament not only for the elite because as the Hon Member indicated previously, people are chewing or smoking the raw tobacco and this is done mainly in the rural areas. We should reduce this kind of display as we see on the floor to towards more local level friendly kind of information dissemination so that the people in the rural areas will really see what the negative effects of smoking are.
    But before I end, I just want to appeal to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, the Hon Minister is here, to actually tell us what the negative effects of this wood smoke is on our people so that we can take that on board. This is because we do inhale a lot more -- I am told if I am boiling a pot of palm oil, I inhale far more than maybe, a whole cartoon of cigarettes. And I think that could also be something that should be of concern to us.
    I thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the Hon Member who made the Statement.

    Mr. J. B. Aidoo (NPP -- Amenfi

    East): Thank you, Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement before the House.

    Madam Speaker, our attention has been drawn to a study that had been recently carried out -- that is the Global Youth Tobacco Survey and the results are very alarming.

    Madam Speaker, this study was conducted in our junior secondary schools, that is, the basic elementary school level and 9,990 students were interviewed. Madam Speaker, it will strike you to note that the results indicates that 11.5 per cent of the children who were interviewed had actually taken to smoking.

    This is a very serious matter which we should consider as a nation because 11.5 per cent of a figure close to 10,000 empirically, is very, very significant and important. And therefore, if we have our youth resorting to this kind of habit then it behoves the whole country as a policy and as a better way forward to ensure that the Tobacco Usage Bill which is coming to the House is as quickly as possible pushed forward.

    Madam Speaker, certainly, it is not only the 11.5 per cent of these students who would be affected. The effect of smoking as may be noted, the second hand smoking, and the passive smokers certainly will also be affected. They will be smoking among their peers and colleagues.

    The cost to the nation is what we should look at. It is not just the health hazards that will affect the individuals but the eventual cost, the cumulative cost to the nation is something which should bother all of us. So it is important that the call to the Minister to bring the Bill as quickly as possible to the House for its consideration is done.

    Madam Speaker, with this, I rise to also support the Statement.
    Madam Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Hon Member.
    Madam Speaker 11:45 a.m.

    I will now call upon Hon Boforo to make her Statement.

    Maternal Mortality in the Hospitals

    Hajia M. S. Boforo (NDC -- Savelugu South): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to draw the attention of the Government, NGOs and all other stakeholders to the plight of our pregnant mothers and sisters in their struggle to overcome maternal mortality at the various hospitals in the country.

    Madam Speaker, the issue of maternal mortality in this country is a lingering issue. Maternal mortality refers to those deaths which are caused by complications due to pregnancy or childbirth. These complications may be experienced during pregnancy or delivery, or may occur up to 42 days following childbirth.

    In Ghana Madam Speaker, maternal mortality is estimated at 214 deaths per 100,000 live births. It has accounted for an average of 10,000 deaths in the last 10 years. Health experts say if the trend continues till 2015, about 12,000 more deaths would occur, and 1,000 more women and children would suffer disabilities. In comparative terms, there is the risk of one death in every 35 live births in Ghana as compared to one in 1,800 in developed countries.

    Madam Speaker, these problems are largely due to inadequate medical facilities to ensure quality healthcare delivery.

    Madam Speaker, in April this year, the unannounced visit by the Hon Minister for Health to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital revealed a dysfunctional elevator at the maternity block. The obsolete and dysfunctional elevator made expectant

    mothers, doctors and nurses to endure the pain of climbing the stairs to as far as the sixth floor. This situation compelled the Minister to give an ultimatum for the immediate replacement of the elevator to save the lives of poor pregnant women at the maternity block.

    A few days ago Madam Speaker, there was a clear case of congestion at the Ridge Hospital where pregnant women were lying on the floor of the maternity block without even receiving any medical attention. Sources indicated that one of the pregnant women bled to death as a result of inadequate medical facilities and attention.

    Madam Speaker, the condition at the maternity ward of the Tema General Hospital is also deplorable. The beds are woefully inadequate, forcing two or three mothers with their babies to share one bed while those in labour sit on benches waiting for some of their colleagues to be discharged.

    Madam Speaker, on Wednesday, 20th May 2009, there was a shocking report of poor antenatal services at the Kaneshie Polyclinic. A pregnant woman who reported at the clinic in labour was turned away by the nurses on duty. They could not even detect that she was due for labour. Unfortunately, soon after she arrived home, she gave birth unaided with the baby on the floor.

    Madam Speaker, the situation is not different throughout the country. Health personnel in the three northern regions continue to express concern about the increase of maternal mortality in the regions.

    I believe strongly that these revelations are just a tip of the iceberg. The situation could be worse particularly at the local level where access to health care delivery

    is a serious challenge due to poor road network, lack of transportation as well as expert staff. These conditions are completely unacceptable, Madam Speaker.

    It is in this regard Madam Speaker, that I appeal to Government and other stakeholders to put in more effort to address this avoidable menace. By so doing, we would be sure of achieving the 5th Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality by three- quarters by 2015.

    Madam Speaker, the future of this great nation lies in the health of its people and I therefore call on health professionals to also demonstrate leadership and commitment to promote productivity and have the desire for innovation to safe our dear mothers.

    Madam Speaker, in the last Parliament, the women caucus appealed to some stakeholders and corporate bodies to assist in the refurbishment of the two non-functioning threatres at the Obstetrics or Gynaecology Department of the Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital. The appeal came after our visit to the hospital in 2007. MTN Scancom Limited responded to our appeal and started refurbishing the place with an initial commitment of six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000).

    As I speak now, the project has been completed with a total amount of six hundred and fifty thousand dollars


    Madam Speaker, the women caucus then also contributed an amount of fifteen thousand Ghana cedis (GH¢15,000) for the same purpose. And we are proudly announcing that the presentation of this amount will be made this week by this present caucus on behalf of our colleague women MPs who contributed but are not

    here with us in Parliament today.

    We thank them and MTN for assisting this noble cause. Indeed, the women of Ghana will never forget about them.

    Madam Speaker, your women caucus in Parliament has shown leadership by example and we urge many people to follow suit.

    Thank you, Madam Speaker.
    Mrs. Gifty E. Kusi (NPP -- Tarkwa Nsuaem) 11:55 a.m.
    Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on the floor and I also want to commend my Colleague for such an important Statement.
    The problem that I have with this issue is the fact that the Ministry of Health has been quoting two hundred and fourteen per a hundred thousand live births since time immemorial. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF have been quoting 540/100,000 live births. Where do we stand? Either the Ministry of Health reviews the statistics for everybody to know what is happening in Ghana or WHO should tell us the real statistics; because it seems as if this issue that women are going through is not being taken serious by all of us. This is because if we have 240 and another body is quoting 214 and another body WHO and UNICEF, an important NGO like that also quoting 540, where do we stand as women? We should get the real facts and we should know what women are going through in this country of ours.
    The global statistics for maternal mortality says that 400 women die every day and 90 per cent of this happens in Sub- Saharan Africa. It is like a Jumbo Jet that crashes four hundred passengers everyday
    Mrs. Gifty E. Kusi (NPP -- Tarkwa Nsuaem) 11:55 a.m.

    and I think the whole world would have really shouted, but it is happening and majority happens in Africa.

    This is a very, very serious problem and we should take it very seriously, especially, in the rural areas.

    I had the opportunity of conducting a survey on maternal mortality for my thesis and I realized that at one hospital, 70 per cent of the women died within five minutes of arrival at the hospital. It means in the rural areas, they do not come early. They stay in the house for long before coming and therefore, we should as a country know where we stand in statistics and then we should know the seriousness of the programme so that we all put our hands on deck to solve the problem.

    I want to urge the Ministry of Health and the Nurses and Midwives Council to find funds to organize refresher courses for all practising midwives who have left school five years ago or more to ensure that they upgrade their skills so that the unfortunate incidence that was recounted by the Hon Member who made the Statement will not happen again. At least, they should sharpen their skills.

    At this juncture, I only want to thank the NPP Government for finding funds to expand the free maternal care services to all areas. I also want to urge the present Government -- he said that he is going to continue and that he should continue and even make it better to help solve this problem that women are going through.

    I thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity.

    Minister for Women and Children's

    Affairs (Ms Sena Akua Dansua):

    Madam Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by my Colleague Member of Parliament.

    Indeed, the issues that she has raised in the Statement are very alarming and we should not sit down to see 214 women per 1000 live births die. And the figures she quoted also indicate that there is one death in every thirty-five live births and this is not good for a country like ours.

    Before I go further to make any point, I would like to address the issue of records mentioned by my Colleague Hon Gifty Kusi. All of us are aware that as a country we have a problem with our statistics and that is why next year, we will be having the national population census -- and we in the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs are taking steps to ensure that the instruments that will be used to obtain data are gender sensitive.

    We want to ensure that provision is made in the instrument to ensure that issues affecting women such as maternal and infant mortality are well captured for us to come up with concrete figures; so that is by way of information to her.

    The causes of this terrible situation

    are legion and I will just touch on a few. The most important of it is the access of women in remote areas to medical and health facilities. Some of the communities are so remotely located that in times of emergency, it is very difficult to get the women rushed to a hospital to access quality healthcare and in this way, either the woman dies or the child dies during the process of delivery.

    We are also aware that there are inadequate medical facilities. In fact, experience shows that population is far exceeding the facilities that we have in place now and even though steps are being

    taken to provide additional facilities, it is becoming more and more difficult and we would have to take steps to ensure that at least, those people who have the facilities located in their communities will use them to reduce the burden on facilities like Ridge Hospital, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the bigger hospitals. This way, I am sure that some of our women can be catered for.

    The third problem has to do with

    obsolete equipment. In fact, if you go to some of our hospitals, no one will tell us that some of the facilities that have been in place like delivery beds, even oxygen bottles and all of this have been in existence for the past several years and this equipment would have to be replaced. Some of them are even outdated as modernization progresses, some of the equipment that were used in the past are no longer relevant now, so we need to replace them.

    Recently also, this Government policy of free maternal care is contributing to worsening the situation. While it is a good policy, some of our young women are actually abusing it. They are actually abusing it; some women are having more children than they can afford and -- [Interruptions.] Please, please, allow me.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Member on the floor is a Minister, she has been in the House for quite a long time and he knows that by our rules - [Interruption.] She knows, you are a “she”. All right I take note of that. By our rules of procedure, in contributing to a Statement, she is not required to provoke debate. So I will plead with her that she does not go on that lane. I would want you to, in this case, guide her to refrain from what she is attempting to do.
    Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Honourable, just
    comment on the Statement.
    Ms Dansua 12:05 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, thank
    Having enumerated the problems, I think that we all need to put our heads together to see how we can solve them. I want to assure my Colleagues in this House that my Colleague the Minister for Health and I have been talking. Imme- diately, concerning the Ridge Hospital problem for instance, the Ministry of Health is to put up temporary structures that will decongest the maternity wards and also the children's wards.

    So that when the women go to deliver they will have at least some space to -[Pause] -- When the women go to deliver, they will have more space to operate within. Some of the facilities are obsolete; we saw on television the other day how doctors and nurses have to grapple with the old oxygen bottles and all of that. My Hon Colleague, the Minister for Health has indicated that some of these equipment will be replaced as soon as possible.

    We will also appeal to some of our
    Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Member. I will call on one man. Hon Dery --
    Mr. Ambrose P. Dery (NPP -- Lawra/ Nandom) 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to support the Statement that has been made and to remind everybody in this House that the problems that they have enumerated so far are just a tip of the iceberg, that most of the problems occur in the rural areas.
    Having listened to interventions so far, people talking about Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and Ridge Hospital, one can see clearly why Government and UNICEF statistics will differ.
    Madam Speaker, I think that we need to include the traditional birth attendants in the programmes that we will formulate to solve these problems because the majority of the pregnant women in this country do not have access to the hospitals and the clinics. So while we talk about a long- term plan of establishing clinics in CHPS compounds in various communities, we should remember that whatever training we think we give to midwives should be extended to traditional birth attendants.
    This is because a lot of the deaths are caused by some herbal concoctions that are normally administered to pregnant women in the rural areas. It is alleged that those concoctions will assist women to deliver freely.
    I have an experience in the Upper West Region where we had a lot of support from UNICEF to train traditional birth attendants, give them bicycles and also
    educate them on the side effects of these herbal concoctions. So we should consider that seriously.
    Madam Speaker, I also think that appropriate transportation for pregnant women to hospitals is also very important, and therefore, we should expand the ambulance services because most of the time in the rural areas, pregnant women who cannot deliver in the villages are transported by inappropriate means; either bicycles or sometimes you will be surprised, on donkeys and all these help to increase the figures.
    So I just wanted to give this rural perspective, and to say that we as Members of Parliament should not only depend on Ministers and Ministries; we should also educate our constituents on their responsibilities towards pregnant women, especially men -- husbands; the kind of nutrition that they need to give to pregnant women. You do not wait for an anaemic pregnant woman to go to the hospital and you think that any doctor can work a magic. So I think we should educate our men to know that the eggs and the meat that they reserve for themselves must be given to pregnant women and to children to develop. I think that when we have done our bit, we would have been solving this problem.
    I think that I support the Statement and wish all of us will play our part to ensure that our women are safer when they go to deliver to continue our lines.
    Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah ( NPP -- Bantama) 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement on the floor of the House ably made by my Hon Colleague and the title of the Statement is
    quite revealing. It says:
    “The Struggle by women to overcome maternal mortality at the various hospitals in the country”.
    Madam Speaker, I believe there are indeed stakeholders involved in this whole project of trying to overcome maternal mortality. And I will take this opportunity, in addition to my other Colleagues to commend the women caucus in this House, the old and the new, and I believe the new caucus will also be up and doing to make sure that we continue with the good work that we started from the last time.
    There is also government, and there is also the Ministry of Health, and there is also the part played by our partners, be they fathers or husbands.
    Madam Speaker, we also have to talk about the hospital staff and their capacity to make sure that women are well catered for. I believe we were all in the country when we read a story or heard a story about a pregnant woman who was turned away at the Kaneshie Polyclinic. The husband had no choice but to take her home. But what did he do?
    He put the woman there and left a mobile phone by her side and went out either to work or to roam about or to do other things. The woman was in labour, she had to bring forth the baby alone because she could not even dial the numbers; and I think that it was later that neighbours came round to help.
    Madam Speaker, the woman could have died. She could have lost her baby. So when we are talking about maternal mortality, we are also talking about the death of babies and we should make sure that every policy, or implementation of a policy that is carried out has this angle of
    Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah ( NPP -- Bantama) 12:15 p.m.
    taking care of babies as well so that we do not also have an epidemic of infant mortality.

    Madam Speaker, I also want to touch on the health status of our pregnant women. I believe we all know that in the rural areas, it is quite difficult seeking ante-natal care but we should make sure that, at least, the traditional birth attendants (TBAs) are strengthened and helped to sharpen their skills to provide the necessary help that they can give to our rural sisters and mothers.

    We also talked about rural infrastruc- ture, which I believe Hon Colleagues have already touched on, that women have to be either on the backs of other people or in wheel barrows or on bicycles on bumpy roads and bad roads, and you can imagine what can happen to this woman who is even nearing child delivery.

    Madam Speaker, I believe we should not forget the role of Government, because the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was able to raise about $40 million to help with the eradication of maternal mortality. I will urge this new Government also to seek more funds to carry out other projects to enhance the infrastructure in our hospitals and to make sure that this canker of maternal mortality and infant mortality is totally eradicated.

    Thank you Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity.
    Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Thank you
    Mrs. Christiana Abelema Afeku
    (NPP -- Evalue Gwira): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made ably by our Colleague from the other side.
    Madam Speaker, my take on this Statement is on teenage pregnancy. Maternal mortality, I think from all the contributions made so far, is bringing up the assumption that women are delivering and they are having these challenges but many at times the teenagers, who for one reason or the other, hide unwanted pregnancies, go through unsafe abortions and this contribute greatly to maternal mortality.
    Madam Speaker, another area of concern, and our women are dying that we really, really need to raise attention in this august House -- so women across the -- will rally together to bring Government policies and also bring attention to it. It is access to health. We have the National Health Insurance Scheme but a lot of the traditional areas, especially rural areas are not accessing it for one reason or the other.
    There are social issues, there are misconceptions and the education needs to be beefed up by women, especially those of us as role models to sensitize rural communities that access to health can save their lives and the unborn babies. A decentralized approach to this can help all of us especially in areas like mine.
    When you go to the rural communities women are carried in cloth for ten hours to access a small clinic and by the time they get there, Madam Speaker, these women and the babies do die. These are not stories, they are happening in our country.
    So until we bring attention to these precarious environments where women are actually hiding pregnancy, women between -- I will say women because after 14 years, after puberty, they are full women. Fourteen years and eighteen years are becoming pregnant, hiding it from their parents and making unsafe deliveries and dying in the process.
    So my contribution is creating the awareness to make sure that teenage pregnancy is curbed, unsafe abortions are curbed, but the only way we can do that is through education, education and education.
    With these few words Madam Speaker, I think the august House will help to highlight these challenges for the young mothers.
    I thank you.
    Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Thank you
    Now we move to Commencement of Public Business and the Laying of Papers. Item 5 (a) -- Minister for Environment, Science and Technology.
    PAPERS 12:15 p.m.

    Mrs. Gifty E. Kusi 12:15 p.m.
    Thank you very
    much, Madam Speaker. I think that the Majority Leader should have sought
    permission for the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to lay the Paper on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Industry. That is the convention in this House and I do not think people should take this House for granted.
    Mr. Bagbin 12:15 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I do
    not know what she means by convention, because there is no such convention in this House. Even when they were on this side of the House, they laid many of these things without permission, even by Deputy Ministers, we never complained. We should not be that petty over these things. It is coming from my Executive and a Minister of State has laid it, what is the issue? She should draw my attention to the convention. Being too petty.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Speaker, what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. I do not rise to challenge what the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning has done. I think that it is in order, except as we do in this House the Majority Leader would normally seek permission and it would be done. It does not take anything, but for him to say what is being done amounts to pettiness --
    Mr. Bagbin 12:15 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, if the Minority Leader cannot draw the attention of his Members to what they are doing, I think as the Leader, I have the right to do. He himself is aware that this issue has happened many times and nobody has raised it on the floor. This is not the first time that another Minister lays a report on
    Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    The Hon Member
    is not standing, otherwise, I would have called upon him to tell us the meaning of “pettiness” but you are not standing, so we will let it pass.
    Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, quite apart from the use of the word “pettiness”, I am sure the Leader of the House cannot deny the fact that it is the tradition to ask leave of the Speaker for certain things to be done and that is precisely what the Deputy Chief Whip was doing here. I do not think that he can browbeat anybody into believing that we have not done this in the House before. That is what we have consistently done, whether it is a Deputy Minister or a Minister, it can be done.

    But the issue is that, the authority or the concurrence of the Rt. Hon Speaker, must be sought and that was all. We have done it many times before and that is why I said, by convention -- it is not in the Standing Orders and you do not use your position to sort of, terrorize and browbeat people in this House. It is out of order, it is completely out of order. You are out of order and you must apologize.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, what do we have on the Order Paper? On the Order Paper, we have laying of Papers, the Minister for Trade and Industry to lay a Paper, A Minister rises up and bows to indicate that he is laying the Paper. He is definitely not the Minister for Trade and Industry -- [Laughter.]
    Madam Speaker, I agree that this House has allowed this practice, where a Minister holds the fort for a Colleague Minister who may not be in the Chamber; it is acceptable. All that we are saying is that, we should be accordingly informed just so that nobody mistakes the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning as the Minister responsible for Trade and Industry.
    Madam Speaker, so I do not think that if the attention of the House is drawn to this, the person who drew the attention of this House to this could have her conduct described as pettiness. I think it is wrong and that is all that we are calling on the Majority Leader to withdraw.
    I do not think that it amounts to pettiness. It does not and in the circumstance, Madam Speaker, the use of this word, “petty” is very unparliamentary. [Interruption.] In the circumstance -- [Interruption] who says? Madam Speaker -- I am saying that in the circumstances -- that is why I am inviting you to direct that he withdraws.
    Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    You are asking me
    to say that it is unparliamentary - petty - but I have not decided yet. I will decide whether “petty” is unparliamentary.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I am putting out a case for it and it is for you to rule.
    Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Thank you. I have got it right now.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr. Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, by the submission of the Minority Leader, this is something that has been happening without anybody raising an issue -- [Interruptions] -- In his own submission, it has happened -- [Interruptions] -- [Some Hon Members: Withdraw, withdraw.] This noise will not deter me. You know it.
    By his own submission, it happens here and nobody raises an issue and we take it and we move on. So it means it is not a critical matter. It is not so important that Members should keep on raising it. That is why it is termed “petty”. It is something that is simply procedural, that we allow to pass because it does not infringe any rule, it does not infringe any Order, we just allow it to pass.
    So when you start raising it, it is being petty -- This is parliamentary, it is decent, it is normal and I so submit. It is not something that - because if you allow things to pass without comment, it means they are not important. So when you raise them, it is petty. That is the simple English. It is petty.
    Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    On the word “petty”. The word “petty”. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I think we are talking about --
    Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    I will like to rule on the word “petty” before I get to the whole matter because the Hon Member is asking that he withdraws the word and that it is unparliamentary and so, I have looked at my dictionary and “petty” says “unimportant”. And with that dictionary meaning, all he means is that it is unimportant. So I would not say it is unparliamentary, that word by itself.
    Yes, my attention has been drawn to the fact that the convention is that this has been done before but I think the objection is that the Hon Majority Leader should have said it would be done by this Minister - isn't it? That is the way I see it. In which case, it can be done when we get to 5 (c ) now and do -- fortunately, the Minister himself is here --
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, not to belabour the point, you have made a ruling on the use of the word “petty” and I believe that, from hence this House will be inundated with the use of the word “petty” but to continue, Madam Speaker --
    Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Depending on the context. In this context, it says it is “unimportant” because it has been done before. But it is not every context when “petty” is used will it be parliamentary.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, in this particular case, the Minister responsible for Trade and Industry -- Madam Speaker, you have ruled on the use of the word “petty” and we accommodate that. You have ruled on the use of the word “petty”. Now, we are talking about the substance of the matter.
    Madam Speaker, the Minister for Trade and Industry is supposed to lay a Paper. She is not here and accordingly, another Minister could do so by our convention in the House on his or her behalf, but we are saying that, normally, the procedure is for leave to be sought and the person does it.
    Madam Speaker, if as has happened now, the Minister rises up, he is not the Minister and he lays the Paper, are we to deem him as the Minister responsible for Trade and Industry? And if we are not, Madam Speaker, of course, we all do know that he is not the Minister for Trade and Industry and he does it, would that not amount to an act or conduct calculated
    Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader, what Order are you using?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I am quoting Order 30 (e) and I am submitting that the conduct of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning amounts to an act or conduct calculated or intended to deceive Parliament because he is not the Minister. Madam Speaker, he is not the Minister. He is not the Minister for Trade and Industry and that is why leave of this House must be sought.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, this is a deliberate -- Madam Speaker, it goes against the brain of our Standing Orders. Order 30 (e) further strengthens this. It is a deliberate misleading of Parliament because he is not the Minister. He is not the substantive Minister for Trade and Industry. Order 30 (e). Madam Speaker, the combined effect of Order 30 (e) and (f) is that what we are witnessing here amounts to misleading of Parliament.
    Madam Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Shall I rule on this one?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
    Yes, rule on it.
    Madam Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    No. I think
    that Hon Member, I will not agree with you. Order 30(e) says that “any act or conduct calculated or intended to deceive Parliament . . . ” unless the doing of that act was intended to deceive us. [Interruptions] -- I would not say that it
    was intended to deceive us.
    Mr. Dery 12:35 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I thought
    that this matter could have been easily handled by the Majority Leader. But if he thinks the intention is the subject (f) then he is misleading. Yes.
    Madam Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    But I have ruled
    that I do not think it is intended to. Are you going back?
    Mr. Dery 12:35 p.m.
    That was (e), now (f);
    Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister got up on his own, nobody forced him to do that. Madam Speaker, on a simple note, I have been in this Parliament since 7th January 2009, he the Majority Leader and the Leader of this House had the occasion to inform us on this side of the House that if a particular Hon Minister is not present and that another Minister present would take an action and we have accepted that; why are we being laborious on the matter? [Interruptions.] Because he did not do it, so that is all right; nobody even said that the laying is void, the allegation was not that the laying was void, but we said he should tell us.
    I would have thought that the Leader of the House will have taken this lightly in his stride and we will continue.
    Madam Speaker, see how much time we have wasted on this matter -- [Inter- ruptions] because all that the Leader needed to do was to behave like a Leader and say well, all right, I understand, let us go on. He is not being petty, I will not say he is being petty, he is my brother, I will not say that.
    Madam Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, to
    Mr. Bagbin 12:35 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I have
    been in this House longer than all of them. [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, the
    time I was in this House my very good friend Hon Kan-Dapaah “affordability” was a Director at Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) -- [Laughter.] That time, the Minority Leader was “Mongo Park” [Laughter.] We, in a matter of practice and procedure, sometimes raise these issues for us to try and get our Hon Ministers of State to come to the floor of the House to comply with our summons, to come and do business in the House. We do that from time to time.
    We have indulged each other on these matters and initially when our friends on this side came in 1997, they insisted that they will not allow a Deputy Minister to lay a report on behalf of a Minister. As we went along and when they got into power, they realized it was not practicable and we indulged them throughout and allowed Deputy Ministers to lay reports. This time, we have; I just want to give you the background so that you will know; that is why I said, it is ‘petty'. Because sometimes we get up and ask for permission, some other times we do not do so.
    There is no such convention and rule and that is why when she got up and with all her strength and anger, after even the Paper had been laid and we were on another matter -- It was not done at the time that the Hon Minister stood up, she really sat on whatever right she had, anyway.
    So I said this is a matter that is ‘petty', let us move on, we have used an hour in trying to debate it, but it is good for the edification of the House and our listeners.
    Madam Speaker, it has been laid, we have moved on and I will urge you to let us move on to complete the business that is before us.
    My uncle, Hon Hackman is saying that I want to browbeat, I will never browbeat any person because I do not even have it. I do not have that strength, I do not have that brow to beat any person. I am simply your humble Leader, doing the work of the House.
    Madam Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Members, can we move on?
    Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 12:35 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I think the Leader has been here for 16 years and some of us have also been here for 12 years but the point is that, you did say that the Paper was to be laid by the Minister for Trade and Industry and the students and young boys and girls sitting in the Public Gallery up there -- when my dear friend, Dr. Duffuor gets up and lays it, they might think he is the Minister for Trade and Industry and it will go into the Hansard and they may go to an examination and write that Dr. Duffuor is the Minister for Trade and Industry. I do not think there is a problem here at all, and we should not make it an issue.
    Sometimes leaders should also be humble enough to say this is where I have erred and let us move on and I believe, the leader is just trying to create a problem for everybody. I believe Madam Speaker, in the 12 years, and even if we were dancing, we would understand that the Leader must ask leave of the Speaker to do what he has done. It is very simple, otherwise, the Speaker will not be Chairing -- so that the next time the Speaker calls the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, then the Minister for Defence will get up. Is that how we are going to operate in this House?
    Madam Speaker, for example, we do give respect to you -- today the Minister for Environment, Science and Technology did say that water bodies are under the
    Madam Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    One last Member to speak on this point.
    Prof. Oquaye 12:35 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I will
    beg to seek your direction. When we have closed today and come tomorrow, can this problem arise again? If we say Minister for Energy will lay a Paper, can another Minister just get up? Madam Speaker, let us have the ruling clear, no matter what has been said in antiquity, that this House--
    If your name is listed and somebody else is to do it for you, good practice demands that whatever meeting it is, whether it is lodge or whatever, someone must tell whoever is sitting in the Chair, that Madam Speaker, this is to be moved by Minister for so and so, he is not here, Minister “A” or “B” will do it and that ends the matter. I believe we should not unnecessarily protract this in such a way that at the end of the day, we do not even know what we should do next time.
    Madam Speaker, I wish we will have direction.
    Thank you.
    Madam Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Second Deputy Speaker. Majority Leader can I rule on this?
    Mr. Bagbin 12:45 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, on a point of correction before you rule. Madam Speaker, I stated that the matter was laid and we were moving to another one before she made her submission. If it is that at the time the Hon Minister stood up, she had raised the issue, I would have gone to explain. [Interruptions.] When you are talking I keep quiet, when I am talking you are shouting. The shouting will not stop me from talking, it will not. [Interruptions.]
    My Hon Friends are aware that just a few days ago, when Hon Papa Owusu- Ankomah pointed out a mistake I made, I stood up here, I admitted it and we went ahead. But when I do not make a mistake and somebody gets up and tries to impose a mistake on me, [Interruptions] -- then I am being compelled to be humble by accepting something that is a mistake. There is no way -- that is not humility; I cannot be compelled to do what is wrong, I will do what is right.
    Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Can I be allowed to rule on this matter so that we move on? [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, you will certainly be allowed. But since you have allowed the correction of a matter before ruling, I guess you also indulge me.
    Madam Speaker, first of all, let it be noted, that longitivity in this Parliament does not in any way mean that one, the one who has lasted longest is the wisest or the most intelligent or is the master of the rules. Madam Speaker, that is the first issue.
    Second, yes, indeed, when we were in the Minority 1997/2000, we raised issues about Deputy Ministers laying Papers as the Hon Majority Leader has rightly pointed out, but it is not on record that we stopped the process and that Deputy Ministers were forbidden from laying Papers, they were not. Indeed, they laid Papers and transacted business on behalf of the substantive Ministers, that is by way of correcting the wrong impression.
    Thirdly, Madam Speaker, the Leader is now talking about the fact that we had already gone beyond the process of laying the Paper, that is true. The Paper had already been laid, so if he had said that the Deputy Whip was out of time and so we have to move on, that would have been a different argument. But then he said that no, there was no convention and that she was being petty; that is what provoked all these; that is it.
    Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    You are pre-empting my ruling. You want me to make a ruling on that point? I know I have to make a ruling on the point you are making that either -- [Pause] -- Yes, so can I rule now?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Fritz
    Baffour, I will sit down. I will sit down when I have exhausted what I have to say. It will not be at your own beckoning.
    Mr. Bagbin 12:45 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I need to correct a factual error.
    My Hon Colleague, the Minority
    Leader stated that they never, on any occasion, stalled the proceedings of the House because of such an issue to do business. On the 2nd of June, 1997, a similar thing occurred on laying of Papers and they walked out. It was then Hon Simon Abingya who did that. So it is not true and I want to correct that. So history is replaying itself, it is not that it has not been done before.
    Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Members. I think I will rule now. I do not think the Hon Majority Leader is disputing the fact that when a Paper is to be laid other than by the person listed, we should not be informed that it is being laid by somebody else. I do not get that. So I think when it is done, if the Speaker and the House are told that the Paper is being laid by this and that officer for the relevant Minister, that should be allowed. So that is the simple ruling.
    Can we move on to the next item, which is 5 (c)? [Interruptions.] Well, I am not repeating myself. I have said that the ruling is that when the Paper is being laid otherwise, by the Minister, the Majority Leader will inform the House. I do not want to follow somebody who said we need hearing aids, no. Because at that time, I ruled that it was not unparliamentary so that maybe, I can also use it. But I do not think we need hearing aids here. I do not think Hon Ambrose Dery needs hearing aids.
    Mr. Dery 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much for your ruling. Madam Speaker, that being so, did he inform the House that a different Minister was going to present it? [Uproar.]
    Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Dery, I think you should have raised this quite earlier before the Paper was laid. But in future, if the ruling is that -- [Pause.]
    Thank you, Hon Members, we have
    learnt something today, it was quite a good intervention and let us carry on. Thankfully, the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is here. Can you lay your Paper on 5 (c)?
    By the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning --
    Credit Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and Societe Generale (Canada) with Insurance Guarantee from Export Develop- ment Canada (EDC) for an amount of one hundred and ninety-six million, four hundred and eighty thousand, one hundred and seventy United States dollars (US$196,480,170.00) to finance the construction of a 132-megawatt combined-cycle thermal power plant at Aboadze.
    Referred to the Committee on Finance.
    Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    We move on to 5 (d) (i) to be laid by the Majority Leader?
    Mr. Bagbin 12:45 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, the one you just referred to the Committee on Finance is right, but I would pray that you add the Committee on Energy because the subject matter is not only one of finance, it has to do with the energy situation in the country, which is the construction of 132-megawatt combined-cycle thermal plant.
    It would be appropriate that the Committee on Energy be part of these deliberations, so it should be referred to the Joint Committees on Finance and Energy.
    Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
    Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Member, we will effect the correction.
    Item 5 (d), Majority Leader, are you going to lay the Papers?
    Mr. Bagbin 12:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I can lay 59 (d) (i) which I cross-checked and saw that it is coming from the Auditor- General and the Auditor-General is one of the independent government institutions (IGIs) that we have decided to support in getting their independence from the Executive.
    With regard to (ii), I am not in a position to lay that because that is a Report coming from the Executive; it is coming from the President's Office. I am not part of the Executive; I am part of the Legislature. Number (iii) is coming from the Auditor-General and that too I can lay, but not (ii). I have stated that I can lay (i), that is so, it is coming from the Auditor-General.
    By the Majority Leader --
    ( i ) P u b l i c O f f i c e Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Regulations, 2009 (L.I. 1957).
    Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Sometimes when the microphone is on, I do not hear properly what is said -- [Laughter.] That is why I turned it off to listen, so I am sorry.
    Referred to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation.
    Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Leader, (d) (iii).
    Mr. Bagbin 12:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, we will
    consider (d) (ii) where I in accordance with your ruling seek your permission to permit the Minister of State at the Office of the President, Hon Alhassan Azong to lay the Report -- that is (d) (ii).
    By the Minister of State (Mr. Alhassan Azong) --
    (ii) Annual Report on Presidential Office Staff for the period January to December, 2008.
    Referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parlia-mentary Affairs. By the Majority Leader --
    (iii) Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on Manage-ment of Ghana Police Residential Accommodation.
    Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Yes, item 6 -- Committee Sittings - Yes, Hon Leader?
    Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 12:55 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, we will have to adjourn to allow the committees to sit - [Interruptions.] Oh! Madam Speaker, I may need to, for the edification of my Hon Colleague, the Minority Leader, let him know that the pronunciation of those words are equally accepted by the Queens English -- [Laughter.] It is either - [Interruptions] -- I studied --
    Madam Speaker, I studied “phonetics” in Legon and I can bring you the books -- [Interruptions.] I am -- it is “phoenetics”.
    I am going to seek the indulgence of the House to allow us to adjourn for the various committees to sit. Particularly, the Committee on Selection will be sitting to look at the review of the composition of committees for this House. I want to urge Members to be present to let us please iron out all the problems that our attention is being drawn to.
    With this, Madam Speaker, I beg to
    move, that the House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10.00 in the forenoon when we shall reconvene.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
    Well Madam Speaker, with this information from the Hon Majority Leader who says he studied “phonetics” at Legon, I know they study “phonetics” not “phonetics”. [Laughter.] But with this from him, I will second the motion.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:55 p.m.