Debates of 18 Jun 2009

PRAYERS 10:35 a.m.


Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 17th June 2009. Page 1 ….
Alhaji A. B. Sorogho 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Alhaji Sorogho 10:35 a.m.
Well, it is like I am
rushing; it is page 5 rather. It is like I have taken the lead, Madam Speaker, so I will have to wait a while.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Yes, page 5 now.
Alhaji Sorogho 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, my name should have listed among those absent but with permission. Unfor- tunately, it is not there, I see it rather among those who were absent.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
All right, but what is the name?
Alhaji Sorogho 10:35 a.m.
Alhaji Amadu
Mr. A. W. G. Abayateye 10:35 a.m.
Speaker, again Hon Charles Hodogbey

was absent with permission but his name has been entered among Hon Members absent, so if that correction can be done.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Any more on
page 5?
Ms. Beatrice Bernice Boateng -- rose
- 10:35 a.m.

Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Ms. Boateng 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I
was absent yesterday. My name does not appear under the list of Hon Members absent but it rather appears on the list of presence.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
And the name is?
Ms. Boateng 10:35 a.m.
Ms. Beatrice Bernice
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Yes, thank you.
Page 6 … 10 -
Mr. G. K. Arthur 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
yesterday, the Public Accounts Committee met but it is not captured here.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Where are you
referring to, page 10?
Mr. Arthur 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am saying that yesterday, the Public Accounts Committee met but it is not captured.
Madam Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Pages 11, 12, 13.
The Votes and Proceedings of 17th June, 2009 as corrected, be adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Statements - Hon Justice Joe Appiah, Member of Parliament for Ablekuma North, I have checked and I have got the right paper now. Kindly deliver your Statement.
Mr. J. J. Appiah 10:45 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Can I go ahead?
Some Hon Members 10:45 a.m.
No. [Pause.]
STATEMENTS 10:45 a.m.

Ms. S. A. Botchway (NPP - Weija) 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement.
Madam Speaker, I want to make my contribution from the regulatory point of view. We are all aware that before an alcoholic beverage is allowed onto the market, it has to be registered with the Food and Drugs Board. Also, before an advertiser is allowed to advertise an alcoholic beverage, one must necessarily get permission from the Food and Drugs Board. This can be found in the guidelines of the Food and Drugs Board. Unfortunately, this is not done in this country. We do not adhere to the guidelines and the rules of the Food and Drugs Board as we should.
Madam Speaker, this creates a lot of problems because then you have issues where alcoholic beverages are described
as aphrodisiacs and we have advertise- ments where one finds women shaking their back sides and all kinds of very outrageous advertisements on television.
Madam Speaker, in advanced countries
or in other parts of the world, the alcoholic industry is self-regulated. Therefore, they have their own codes of ethics or codes of conduct to which they adhere. I wish that we would do the same thing in this country so they can come out with their own codes of conduct that they will make sure that their members adhere to. We should not be seeing advertisements for alcoholic beverages before 9.00 p.m. because children are watching television during the day and in the early evening.

So I hope the industry would do what is done elsewhere. This is just to ensure that the people who are overaged drink these alcoholic beverages which are advertised to have properties which they really do not have. I am not going to mention names but if you take the alcoholic beverage, Heineken; the manufacturers are the sponsors of UEFA which is watched the whole world over and their clear message is that they are champions. They do not come out with advertisements that say that the properties would be beneficial to people who drink it because of (a), (b) or (c).

They just tell you what they are offering without specifically looking at all these things that the advertisements here on alcoholic beverages look at.

So I hope that our alcoholic industry would come together and be self- regulatory and do what is done outside so that our young people do not or are not lured into drinking alcoholic beverages because of properties that they claim they have.
Ms. S. A. Botchway (NPP - Weija) 10:55 a.m.

With these few words, Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the maker of the Statement and support it.

Mr. David T. Assumeng (NDC - Shai

Osudoku): Madam Speaker, thank you for this opportunity. I want to thank the maker of the Statement for coming out with this laudable Statement. However, Madam Speaker, charity begins at home and therefore, I think it would be very necessary for us as Members of Parliament (MPs), to also begin to undertake periodic tests in alcohol - [Laughter] - so that at least, it would send a signal - [Interruptions] -- to the world that just as we are calling on drivers to also undertake this test, I think nothing prevents us - [Interruption.]
Mr. J. K. Avedzi 10:55 a.m.
On a point of order.
Madam Speaker, it looks like the Hon. Member has evidence to prove that MPs do take in alcohol. If he cannot produce any evidence to show that MPs drink then he should withdraw that statement and apologise to Hon Members. Why should we take alcohol tests? Has he got any evidence that MPs drink alcohol and therefore they should take test?
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Member, I
think it is because he did not know that he said they should take tests; that is to find out. So I think he is perfectly right.
Mr. Assumeng 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
thank you for your intervention. It is just leadership by example. I am saying that this would send clear signals to the outside world, especially the youth, that we would not countenance the abuse of alcohol. These days, as we all know; it is not only the alcohol that is taken. You see mixtures of concoctions - alcohol and some other substances - which is so bad. So I think we must all rally to prevent this problem. I think alcohol is
really disturbing the youth and so I think it is very important for us to rally behind, you know, a crusade to prevent the youth from taking these substances.
Madam Speaker, I think the maker of the Statement has made it at the right time and we must all rally behind him to make sure that the youth are prevented from taking excessive alcohol so that we can have a brighter future for our country.
Mr. E. Nana Y. Ofori-Kuragu (IND
- Bosome-Freho): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a contribution to this very interesting topic.
Madam Speaker, the Statement really dealt with alcohol abuse and I want to contribute towards this Statement and make reference, particularly to drivers in Ghana.
As we know, accidents are rife in Ghana and it is believed that most of these drivers especially commercial drivers take quite a bit of alcohol before they embark on their journeys. Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to urge drivers in Ghana especially commercial drivers to refrain from taking alcohol and stop killing little children on our roads.
I would also urge the police to invest in a lot of breathalysers so that these drivers can be breathalysed quite often. I have not seen any breathalysers on our roads in Ghana as yet and elsewhere we believe these breathalysesrs really have an effect of reducing alcohol abuse on our roads.
Secondly, I would urge the Government to increase taxes on alcoholic beverages as this can rake in a lot of revenue for the Government. As we all know, most of the industries in the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) group has collapsed. The only surviving one is the GIHOC Distilleries. So that tells us a story that it is really a profitable industry and so the Government could really rake in -- And I will urge all our MPs to take
Mr. Assumeng 10:55 a.m.

alcohol in moderation.
Mr. Gabriel K. Essilfie (NDC - Shama) 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you so much for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement on the floor of this august House.
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Asiamah, a point of order?
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, is the Hon Member telling this House that his constituents are drunkards? [Inter- ruptions.] Is that the impression being created here, that his constituents are drunkards?
Mr. Essilfie 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, with all due respect, I would like my Hon Colleague (Mr. Asiamah) to try as much as possible to listen and listen carefully to statements that are made or comments made on the floor, and address them properly without inferring any negativity. [Hear! Hear!] What I said was that, some of my friends - [Interruptions] - of my friends. I did not say my constituents are drunkards. So please, he should stop playing politics with this kind of Statement.
Madam Speaker, alcohol is a drug.
Even though as a society we have accepted the use of alcohol, legalized it, it is still a drug. Unlike other illicit drugs like cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana which are forbidden by law, people do use alcohol and there is nothing wrong with using alcohol because indeed, the medical field tells us that a bit of alcohol usage is good for you - [Hear! Hear!] -- That is the reason why we always hear that a bit of red wine is good for your heart. [Hear! hear!] So for me as a person, I take a bit of red wine everyday. [Hear! Hear!]
Dr. Matthew O. Prempeh 11:05 a.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Friend for Shama (Mr. Essilfie) should understand that he should keep to his Certified Public Accountants (CPA ) where his knowledge abounds and stop threading into areas where his knowledge is very, very scanty.
If he could quote me the reference book that says a little of alcohol is good, I think I will put my medical practice aside. [Laughter.] We do not have anything like a little because his little, Madam Speaker, might be my “a lot”. So we are very exact in medicine. If he cannot help me by telling us what medicine says, he should not just cast aspersions and think it will work.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon Member, I do not think you are correcting it properly because I have also seen that a little of it is good. [Uproar.] Order! Order!
Mr. Essilfie 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much for bailing me out. [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker, while all that may be true, what I am concerned about is the way we introduce our youth to alcohol. As someone whose constituency is primarily rural, when I go round my constituency and a lot of other consti-tuencies in Ghana, I see the springing up of a lot of drinking
Mr. Essilfie 11:05 a.m.

bars and at these bars, young men and women under-aged, minors, serve.

While we try to talk to ourselves and convince ourselves that excessive use of alcohol is not good, we should also know that letting these children be exposed to alcohol is worse. For that matter, we as a society, as a Government, have to make sure that if the laws are not already enacted, we enact the laws that will make it an offence for minors to serve at these bars. Also, sending minors to go and buy alcoholic beverages -

Madam Speaker, in addition to that, we need, if it is not already in our books, to enact laws that will create opportunities to counsel alcoholic, to help people who have become alcoholics to somehow get themselves out of the use of alcohol.

We should also have laws in our books because as far as I know, in the United States of America, even if I have a party in my house and a friend comes to my house, I have to control the amount of alcohol I serve that friend. When I see that my friend is staggering a bit, I do not have to give him anymore alcohol. If I do not do that and he leaves my house and on the way he is involved in an accident, I will be equally liable for the action of my friend because I should have known better and not give him anymore alcohol.

So Madam Speaker, all I am asking is since we are so much in trying to control excessive use, if we do not already have the laws to monitor the use of alcohol and introducing our children to it, we need to make sure we enact those laws.
Mr. A. E. Amoah (NPP - Mpohor Wassa) 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to say that the truthfulness of advertise-ments
is always a suspect. And I want to ask whether the institutions mandated to look at the properties that we hear, these beverages have done so. What happens is that most of the advertisements tell people that if one takes an alcoholic beverage, one would get this, one would get that, and that is the more reason why a number of people continue to take those things. But let me ask, “all those alcoholic beverages that we are consuming in this country, how many Ghanaians are consuming them?”
Let me ask because we know that over 70 per cent of Ghanaians are Christians, and over 13 or 15 per cent of Ghanaians are Moslems and we know that Moslems do not take alcohol. [Uproar.] We also know that Christians - [Interruption.]
Mr. I. A. B. Fuseini 11:05 a.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, it is true that true and devout Moslems do not take alcohol. But my point of order is on the statistics the Hon Member is churning out in this House. I would want to know whether he has evidence of the statistics that 70 per cent of the population of this country are Christians, 15 per cent are Moslems and the rest are with other religions. There are school children here and if by churning out these statistics we mislead them, they might fail in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). When such questions are asked and then they go to possible answers, a, b, c, 70, 30 and they shade, they would have heard it from Parliament. [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
But if you do not know the statistics yourself, then how are you challenging it? He might be right.
Mr. Fuseini 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I do not know. This is a matter of statistics. I know that it is not exactly so, that 70 per cent of the population of Ghanaians are Christians. I know that as a fact, but I do

not have the exact statistical data and if he does not have that either, then he should stay away.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
He said 70 per cent are Christians. Did he not? So he is right. So you are not correcting anything, are you?
Mr. A. E. Amoah 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I thank you for bailing me out. But what I am trying to say is that since we have over 70 per cent of Ghanaians claiming to be Christians and over 15 per cent claiming to be Moslems and we know that these religious groups claim that they do not take alcohol, who then are drinking the alcohol that we have a lot of advertise- ments? So I am saying that what we need to do is to ask the religious institutions to - [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Let me take a point of order, otherwise, I will cut you off.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:05 a.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Friend is still misleading the House. When he talks about Christians generally do not take alcohol - we have different denomi- nations. It is clear that Catholics do not shy away from -- So it is not right that they do not take at all. Anglicans -openly. There are those - [Interruption.] We do it openly. There are those who do it, unless he does not know. Only the pentecostals claim they do not and we should also know that every good communion, wine has alcoholic content. Every good communion, wine has alcoholic content. It is misuse of alcohol which is a problem. So he cannot make this sweeping statement that people do not take --
Mr. A. E. Amoah 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I do not think that my Colleague is saying that the churches and the religious institutions or both consume alcohol. I do not think this is what he wants to tell us because the impression that all of us have is that most of these churches preach against alcoholism. What we are talking about is alcoholism, and not the taking of alcohol. We are saying alcoholism and what I am asking is that the population we have in Ghana supposed to be religious is over eighty per cent.
So if most of these institutions preach against alcoholism, who are those consuming alcohol? So my point is that in fighting against alcoholism the churches need to come into play. The churches have a role to play in trying to help our people not to consume too much alcohol.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Is it on a point of
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:15 a.m.
Speaker, thank you. I believe the Hon Member is misleading the House. He says about 80 per cent of the population of this country claim to belong to some religious groups. So presumably, if alcohol is being consumed in this country, it cannot be from the others who do not belong to any religious groups. I am saying that from what he is saying, the inference is that the twenty per cent who do not belong to religious groups may be those who are consuming the alcohol.
Mr. A. E. Amoah 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I am not inferring that it is the twenty per cent who may not be religious who are consuming alcohol. I am saying that most of these religious groups preach against
Mr. A. E. Amoah 11:15 a.m.

alcoholism and that they advise their members not to drink and so they have a duty to do that so that alcoholism can be reduced. I do not think there is any church in this country that can easily come out that it advises its members to take alcohol.

So I do not see that problem. But what I am saying is that apart from the religious institutions coming out to advise the members to do away with alcoholism, I believe that the Food and Drugs Board should also come out and tell us whether the properties that these adverts tell us about are true. I think that it is just because people hear that these alcoholic beverages can do this, can do that, that they go in for them, other than that nobody would do that.

If we are able to do that it will help us. And honestly, as a media practitioner, I know that the truthfulness in advertisement is a suspect and so people should not take advertisements for their sake.

There are a lot of things that are said on advertisements which if the mandatory institutions want to look at their trustfulness, they would find out that most of these properties that they are talking about are not true. And I want to advise Ghanaians that the truthfulness of advertisement is always a suspect and they should not take what they hear or what they read as the truth.

Dr. Francis B. Dakura (NDC -

Jirapa): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this very important Statement. I am very interested in this topic because I am very aware that the contributions so far being made seem to locate the problem on either youthful overexuberance or on advertisements. I think the problem goes much deeper than that.

The root causes of alcoholism in this

country, I believe, are economic. People simply, when they are unemployed and they are frustrated, find a lot of comfort in alcoholism, and I think we should begin to look at policies that can offer the youth and the strong of this country opportunities for employment -- gainful employment.

I know for sure that in the 1970s, in the then Upper Region, one Colonel George Minyila had to ban alcoholism because it was destroying families. Alcholism was destroying families -- [Interruption.] There is alcoholism which is abuse and then there is alcoholism which is misuse. We are talking of alcohol as abuse not - [Interruption.]
Dr. A. A. Osei 11:15 a.m.
On a point of order.
Dr. Dakura 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I thank
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh 11:15 a.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, it was not alcohol generally that was banned, it was Akpeteshie [Laughter] that was banned, the excessive consumption of it. So that was what Colonel Minyila banned.
Dr. Dakura 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thank
you. It was Ogogoro which was a very, very crude form of alcohol, a very crude form of alcohol. It was popularly called Ogogoro or Akpeteshie.
What I am saying is that alcohol abuse is linked to poverty, unemployment and leads to a lot of social problems. And I am saying that if we do not locate the problem in excessive advertisements, it might be misleading.
Dr. Dakura 11:15 a.m.

In fact, we should be looking at how best we can provide employment for the youth of this country, how best we can provide employment for the rural people of this country, which will go a long way to reduce the frustration that people face and avoid the issue of alcohol abuse and misuse.

Mr. Samuel Atta Akyea (NPP - Akim

Abuakwa South): Madam Speaker, I am grateful that finally, I have caught your eyes --
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Better late than never.
Mr. Akyea 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, there is a
very important dimension to the Statement on the floor that I want to draw attention to, some of the serious medical implications when we do not abstain from the use of alcohol.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated some serious diseases which are alcohol-related and I am sure if I should give the grim statistics, some of us will be scared and refrain from the attitude and that behaviour.
The first serious medical situation
which is alcohol-related is called alcoholic psychosis. That is to say it is possible that by reason of alcohol usage, we might have some mental problems. The other one is called alcohol dependent syn-drome. And some people without the intake of alcohol will just malfunction; they cannot think straight and they cannot do serious business. [Interruption] -- The other one which is very, very serious is alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon Asiamah, are you making a point of order?
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I
want a point of clarification here. The Hon Member mentioned “serious business”. What kind of serious business is he referring to? We want to be educated on the serious business he is talking about?
Thank you.
Mr. Akyea 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, for instance, trying to internalize the serious statements and then contributing to the statements -- reading good materials so that one can help in debates; even practising as a good lawyer or a good economist, or the Leader of the House -- [Hear! Hear!] -- Any serious business. Madam Speaker, and also trying to steer the affairs of the House as a Speaker, if alcohol is not checked, it could even bring some problems - [Laughter] -- There is a serious problem -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Let me take a point
of order.
Dr. A. A. Osei 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, a point of clarification. Madam Speaker, is the Hon Member who just spoke inferring that the Speaker of this House is engaging in consumption of alcohol? [Laughter.] I just want a clarification.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Yes. We need to know. [Laughter.]
Mr. Akyea 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I cannot
Dr. Osei 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I thought earlier you had said to somebody that a little red wine - you engage in it sometimes - [Laughter] - so this is why I asked the question.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
I think I better correct the impression at this stage -- [Laugh-ter] -- I said, I had read. [Hear! Hear!]
Mr. Akyea 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am
grateful. There is another serious medical condition called alcoholic liver cirrhosis. I have just been educated that if a man should continue drinking alcohol, there is a tendency of the liver degenerating; and the liver, I am reliably informed, is a serious function in the body.
There are also serious cases of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and what is very frightening is what I have heard that prenatal alcoholic exposure, that is to say, the baby in the womb can be affected by reason of the alcoholic intake of the mother. So that there is real tendency that before the child is even born, there are problems of mal-functioning. Not to mention a serious disease which is attacking even the youth; the problem of stroke. We used to think that stroke was associated with the elderly. But of late, you will find people between the ages of 30 and even 40, having stroke experiences. What about injuries associated with alcoholic intake; accidents and all the related problems?
So what I would want to say is that, no matter how you look at it, there is an overwhelming medical record that any excessive use of alcohol or what we call habitual use of alcohol will do more harm than good.
This is a little contribution that I want to give.
Madam Speaker, thank you.
Mr. E. Armah-Kofi Buah (NDC - Ellembele) 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement made on alcohol.
Madam Speaker, a lot has been said about the dangerous effect of alcohol but Madam Speaker, I challenge this House this morning that if we are really serious about the implications of the consump-tion of alcohol -- I challenge this House that we begin the discussion, quite frankly, we cannot within discussion ban the use of alcohol but we can begin by restricting the consumption of alcohol.
Madam Speaker, I challenge this House that we begin by banning the sale of alcohol on Sundays. We ban it, after 9.00 p.m, which has been established that within those times, there is a real possibility of drinking alcohol and causing - and empowering the police to be able to check on the spot consumption of alcohol. So I challenge this House that we begin the discussion by banning the sale of alcohol in the entire country after 9.00p.m, and by banning it even on Sundays.
Madam Speaker, I think that will be the right direction in us being taken seriously about the discussion of alcohol since we are on the topic.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Thank you Hon Member.
Ms. Cecilia Abena Dapaah (NPP - Bantama) 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement.
Madam Speaker, I am very, very concerned when it comes to women and alcoholism. It is becoming the fashion or the trend that many women are now beginning to drink alcohol excessively.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Members, I think Statement time has ended. [Pause.]
Ms. Beatrice Bernice Boateng (NPP - New Juaben South) 11:35 a.m.
Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity.
Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my Brother, the Hon Member for this Statement.
Madam Speaker, I want to start mine with a real story that happened in some of my schools. A kindergarten school was organizing an open day and I was invited there. There were three children who got many prizes and I wanted to engage them in some discussion, so I asked them “What will you want to do in future as a future career?” One of them said “I will want to be an armed robber when I complete school”. The other one said “I will want to drink Guinness on television as” and he mentioned the name.
What really came to mind was that they had been looking at advertisements on television and at the time the boy said he would want to be an armed robber, that was the time that Accra Police had organized a lot and they were talking to us
Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Thank you Hon
Statement time is ended and we are moving on to the Laying of Papers -- Item 4 (a), Majority Leader.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:35 a.m.
Thank you, Madam
Speaker. Madam Speaker, we want with your leave to skip item 4 (a) and take the Resolution, Item 6.
Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
What about item
4 (a)? Are you skipping it too? Hon Majority Leader, item 4 (a), Laying of Papers.
PAPERS 11:35 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
We move on to item
5, what about item 4 (b)?
Mr. Bagbin 11:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, let us
skip item 4 (b) because I am told by the Chairman of the Committee that it is not ready, so we have to defer it to be re- programmed by the Business Committee.
Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Thank you. It is
deferred. So we move on to item 5 -- Motion. The Chairman of the Committee to move.
Mr. Bagbin 11:35 a.m.
May I at this stage,
Madam Speaker, rather call on the House to take the Resolution, Item No. 6, page 2 of the Order Paper?
RESOLUTIONS 11:35 a.m.

Minister for Finance and Economic Planning (Dr. Kwabena Duffuor) 11:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move,
WHEREAS by the provisions of article 181 of the Constitution and section 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), the terms and conditions of any loan raised by the Government of Ghana on behalf of itself or any public institution or authority shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by Parliament by a Resolution supported by the votes of a majority of all Members of Parliament;
PURSUANT to the provisions of the said article 181 of the Constitution and section 7 of the Loans Act, (Act 335) and at the request of the Government of Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament the terms and conditions of the Credit Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and Societe Generale (Canada)(with Insurance Guarantee from Export Development Canada [EDC]) for an amount of one hundred and ninety-four million, three hundred thousand United States dollars (US$194,300,000.00) to finance the construction of a 132-megawatt combined-cycle thermal power plant at Aboadze.

H E R E B Y R E S O LV E A S 11:35 a.m.

Dr. A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to second the motion on page 2 of the Order Paper.
Question put --
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
Speaker, the Question is, as you have put it, as many of us as are in favour of the Resolution and the response has been Aye. Yes, we may be in favour of the Resolution, but we may not be in favour of its adoption.
Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
We have not
reached that stage. It is when I get the Ayes and the Noes that I can decide whether it is adopted.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
Well, I am
waiting for that.
Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
I will put the
Question again.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Hon Members , the House has accordingly approved the Resolution numbered 6 on the Order Paper.
Thank you.
Hon Majority Leader, do we now move
to motion numbered 5 or do you want it also deferred?
MOTIONS 11:35 a.m.

Mr. Samuel K. Obodai (NPP Agona West) 11:45 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, I rise to second the motion and in doing so, I wish to bring a few points to the notice of the Hon Minister and his Ministry about this Report.
Madam Speaker, the Report under review is for 2006 and I think this issue has ever come to this House where Hon Members have expressed the need for the Ministry to present their reports on time. Madam Speaker, it is sad this morning that for such an important motion none of the Executives from the Ministry is around and the Hon Minister is also not around.
In any case, you will realize that most of the issues raised in this Report have now become issues of the past because
Mr. Samuel K. Obodai (NPP Agona West) 11:45 a.m.

2006 Report now being considered in 2009. You will go to the grounds to find out some of the issues raised and you will realize that they have already been solved and they are not issues to be raised now.

So I think that the Hon Minister and his Ministry should do this House some good by presenting their report to us at least on time. If it is even 6 months -- if it delays for even 6 months, that will be appropriate.

Madam Speaker, what disturbs me is that the Auditor-General's Report comes

11.35 A.M. TABLE 6
Mr. Samuel K. Obodai (NPP Agona West) 11:45 a.m.

to this House after about 3 to 4 years, the same duration and if you consider the work they do, handling all the Ministries, agencies and a whole lot of things that come under them and it takes them about 3 years to come out with their report and just a portion of money used by the Ministry is coming to this House - a report on it is coming to this House after 3 good years.

Madam Speaker, I think that the Hon

Minister must sit up - [Hear! Hear!] The Road Fund is under the Minister.

11.35 A.M. TABLE 7

Madam Speaker, on a more serious issue, the Road Fund bridge tolls, I believe that if this issue is considered critically, it is also going to help to get some more funds for the Ministry to construct a number of roads for this country. If you consider the amounts that are being paid now, they are on the lower side and this issue has come up severally. I believe that this time round, the Minister should consider it as an important area that will help the Ministry to get more funds into the Road Fund kitty.

On this note, I will end here and ask that the Ministry takes up the issue seriously so that whatever report they bring on this Road Fund, when it comes to this House,

will not be a dead news.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Question proposed. Dr. Richard W. Anane (NPP -

Nhyiaeso): Madam Speaker, I rise to associate with the motion on the floor and in so doing, to just make a few observations as per the Report of the Committee.

Madam Speaker, in the Committee's Report, paragraph 5.3.1, the issue of fuel levy was touched on. Madam Speaker, yes, the Committee recognized that fuel levy contributes close to 94 per cent of all what the Road Fund accruals are.

Madam Speaker, it is also noted that
Mr. Samuel K. Obodai (NPP Agona West) 11:55 p.m.

very prepared for an upping in the bridge and road tolls.

Madam Speaker, as an example, the last Parliament considered the issue of ensuring that all over the country we can have tolling of our roads and therefore, the last Parliament approved the total or the entire corridors as presented to them from Accra through Kumasi, through Techiman to Paga. From Accra through Kumasi through Techiman again to Hamile. From Accra through Kumasi to Sunyani and on the coastal highways and all the major corridors.

These were approved for tolling and therefore, Madam Speaker, I would want to urge the Minister to seriously consider what have been started as shown by the installation of the toll plaza on the Mallam Kasoa road which is one of the examples of what the previous administration did to ensure that we collect more tolls in order to improve upon our Road Rund for us to get more money to continue with our maintenance and other activities.

Madam Speaker, but when you are doing this, you are also constrained by the Road Fund law itself. The Road Fund law constrains one to ensure that the fundings are used for basically maintenance activities and if it is basically for maintenance activities then one would want to know whether up-grading rural roads, especially feeder roads which are now being tarred and I can give a few examples as I know currently. If you look at all the regions, a lot of tarring activities on feeder roads are going on.

If you take a place like the Eastern Region, from the end of June 2008, about 616 kilometres more of feeder roads were being tarred. In the Central Region, 146

kilometres more were being tarred, in the Volta Region, 209 kilometres more were being tarred. In the Upper East Region, 76 kilometres more and in the Upper West Region, 99 kilometres more.

Madam Speaker, these are going on country-wide but in order for us to get more funding to continue with these activities, there will be the need for an improvement in the Road Fund accruals. That is why I am urging the Ministry to seriously consider the accruals as per fuel levy, as per the road and bridge tolls which together would help to improve upon the totality of the Fund. And also for the Ministry to consider what has been started but which was not initiated because of the new Government coming in for road tolls and bridge tolls to be increased to a certain extent.

This Government may want to consider what level of tolling they may want to, but at the end of the day, it is a matter of getting more funding into the Road Fund to ensure that we get more of our road activities done.

Madam Speaker, this is just the little I want to contribute.

Deputy Minister for Energy (Mr. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah): Madam Speaker, I rise to support the motion and in doing so, I wish to draw the attention of this House to the growing menace of armed robbery on our roads.

Madam Speaker, it must be recalled that last Saturday, the Hon District Chief Executive (DCE) of Ellembele District, after a one week orientation in Accra, on his way a back to his district, was attacked at 8.00 p.m. by armed robbers. Madam Speaker, his car was taken from him, he was completely robbed, his money was

taken and they used the Government car to rob passengers on other commercial vehicles.

Madam Speaker, this menace is happening and one of the reasons this is being intensified is because of the poor state of our roads and also because of lack of intensive police patrols.

Madam Speaker, I want to use this occasion to ask the police to increase patrols across the country and instead of the stationary checks by police that more or less is resulting into a collection spot, Madam Speaker, I think that the police can do better by intensifying patrols to really address this issue.
Mr. Ambrose P. Dery 11:55 p.m.
On a point of order! Madam Speaker, I think that it is an issue of relevance in supporting this motion and I think going to that extent is really going way off. I think it is an important issue he has raised, but he can make it as an independent Statement under appropriate circumstances. So I am objecting to the content to the extent that it is not relevant to the motion now.
Mr. Buah 11:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I thank
my Hon Colleague, but I strongly believe that this is relevant because I really connected the issue of armed robbery to the poor state of our road network. But Madam Speaker, having said that I would urge my Hon Colleagues to strongly support the motion.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:55 p.m.
Speaker, it was on a point of order, however, he has completed. But I just want to advise the Hon Deputy Minister for Energy that as a member of Govern- ment, he is really part of the team that should be solving these problems. So I am urging him to flow these ideas to his Hon Colleagues.
fuel levy can be exacted by either an increase or a decrease of fuel levy. But Madam Speaker, the levy which will be exacted is what will eventually get us to get the colossal amounts of money that we use to first maintain our roads and as is now currently being done to also help to up-grade some of our road corridors.
Madam Speaker, there is also the issue of fuel up-take. Fuel levy increase may cause an increase also in the cost of ex- pump prices of fuel and therefore, that may impact negatively on fuel up-take. But Madam Speaker, whatever it is, fuel levy plus fuel up-take would help to improve upon fuel levy as a component of the Road Fund. It is on this that I would want to urge Government to seriously consider the issue of fuel levy and to possibly as per agreements with our development partners to seriously consider and up fuel levy if it is an issue for Government to take.
Madam Speaker, under 5.3.2, on the question of road and bridge tolls, the road and bridge tolls as also recognized by the Committee constitute about 1.5 per cent of the total Road Fund approvals. Madam Speaker, over the time efforts have been made to help to increase the contribution of road and bridge tolls in order for our Road Fund to increase so that we can get extra more funds to continue with maintenance and possibly upgrading activities in the road sector.
Madam Speaker, based on this, a lot of efforts were made with the major stake- holders in the transportation sector over the past few years to get them to appreciate the need for contributions as per toll plaza and bridges for them to at least, help to get more funding for the maintenance of our roads.
Madam Speaker, I would want to record here that yes, the engagements were very satisfactory and the stakeholders are
Mr. Buah 11:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I thank
my Hon Colleague, but it is important for me to point out that this Government's commitment to tackle the issue of armed robbers is not in doubt and that is why since the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government came into power, armed robbers are on the run; we are committed to that, we would crash them.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:05 p.m.

Majority Leader (Mr. A. S. K.

Bagbin): Madam Speaker, I just want to, in support of the motion say a few words.

One; the urgency for us as a country to up some of these levies -- Some of the levies are now unrealistic, particularly, the road bridge tolls are unrealistic, I believe even the vehicle registration fees are also unrealistic. It is important that we continue to review these fees and I want to call on Government to expedite action on it.

May I at this point try to assist Madam Speaker, in bringing some order to the House. There are too many meetings going on and it is becoming un-parliamentary for

Hon Members to just compose themselves into sub-committees of the whole House and sit on the floor of the House and discuss issues not under tones but so loud that contributions are drown out and cannot be heard, I think we should bring this to a stop.

Madam Speaker, I was trying to propose that we should also look at vehicle tolling fee. The consultants should advise us on that. But the practice where vehicles are repaired on the roads, particularly, the asphalt roads lead to depreciation. I think that we should have a law that would prevent the working on broken down vehicles on our roads because the impact on the roads are so terrible that roads that are meant to last for 15 years last for 10 years. And to this end, I am proposing that we look at a fee called vehicle towing fees.

I believe that we also have to look at the law. It is very difficult to look at the law. . . . and the definition of maintenance here is difficult for the Ministry.

I think we should look at it and permit the Fund to be used for the development of roads generally. It could supplement the loans that we have been contracting to develop our roads.

It is with this, Madam Speaker, that I support the motion.
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Thank you, Hon Member. Hon Members, the debate is closed now and I am ready to put the Question.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Hon Leader, any indication as to adjournment?
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to draw the attention of Hon Members to the last item which is item
7, and call on Hon Members of various committees to meet to deliberate on a number of referrals.
And at this stage, I want to move that we do adjourn to allow Hon Members to meet at committees to deliberate on the matters that have been referred to them.
I beg to move.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in rising to second the motion, I just want to stress what the Majority Leader has indicated.
Madam Speaker, the motion was to adjourn proceedings to enable com-mittees to transact business. What we do see here is that, many of the committees have been programmed to transact business at stipulated times.
Madam Speaker, the F inance Committee, under special circumstances is programmed to meet at 12.00 o'clock, that one is excusable because the meeting is with the World Bank. But the others: Committee on Health to meet at 11.00 o'clock, Committee on Mines and Energy to meet at 11.30, Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture to meet at 12.30 and so on.
Madam Speaker, we have indicated in this House that committees should schedule their meetings after adjourn- ment, we should stress that. This is because normally when people come here, they see very few people in the House and they begin to think that we are not doing serious business here. So may we appeal to the Leadership of the various committees to programme meetings after adjournment of the House.
Madam Speaker, on that note, I second the motion moved by the Hon Majority Leader.
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Thank you very much. I liked the points you have raised that we should specify time, so people do not think we are not very serious as
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.

a House.

Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:05 p.m.