Debates of 30 Jun 2009

MADAM SPEAKER
PRAYERS 11:10 a.m.

ANNOUNCEMENT 11:10 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, I have received communications from His Excellency, the President. It is dated 29th June, 2009.
“29TH JUNE, 2009
THE RT. HON SPEAKER
OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT 11:10 a.m.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE 11:10 a.m.

ABSENCE FROM GHANA 11:10 a.m.

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC 11:10 a.m.

Mr. I.K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
the House has accordingly received the communication from His Excellency the President. May I know whether he is to leave or he has left - [Interruption] - and whether the communication to the House should be “prior” or “post”, or “during”, which is which? At what point should Parliament be communicated to in respect of this travel. I am interested in knowing whether Parliament should be duly informed before or “after”, or “during”, I want to know so that this House would receive the necessary respect it deserves?
Madam Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, what
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I am asking for guidance.
Madam Speaker 11:10 a.m.
I am asking you
also to help me look at the Constitution.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
Madam Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, refer
to our Standing Order 51.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker, article 59 and I beg to quote:
“The President shall not leave Ghana without prior notification in writing, signed by him and addressed to the Speaker of Parliament.”
Madam Speaker, so the emphasis is, “.
. . without prior notification in writing”, he cannot leave the shores of this country. Madam Speaker, this is article 59 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. It is clearly stated that the President shall not leave Ghana without prior notification in writing, signed by him and addressed to the Speaker of Parliament. So the emphasis is on without prior notification” to this august House. [Interruptions] So he shall not travel.
Madam Speaker, this is a clear violation of the Constitution, and this House should be seen to be protecting, indeed, the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Madam Speaker 11:10 a.m.
What date did the
President leave?
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I do not know. Madam Speaker, you have read the communication to the House and that is why I am asking, whether indeed, as we speak, he is in the country, about to leave, as the Constitution demands or he has already left.? In that case -- [Interruption] -- or he is on his way, he is in motion. Is he on he is in motion motion? [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, I think you should have all these facts with you before raising it because the letter I read was dated 29th June. I got it after work, after we had Sat on the 29th June. So he did write. But before you raise matters, have the facts with you - [Interruption] - because if you are asking for guidance, you must also tell me the facts upon which you rely. So the letter is dated 29th June, not today.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu) 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
thank you very much for the opportunity. I believe that my Hon Colleague should
advert his mind appropriately to article 59 of the Constitution and Standing Order 51. It says that the President shall not leave Ghana without prior notification in writing, signed by him and addressed to the Speaker of Parliament. My Hon Colleague alleges without any basis or justification that the President is in breach of the Constitution.
Madam Speaker, this House yesterday
adjourned at some minutes to 12 o'clock as captured in the Votes and Proceeding. Thereafter, if communication was received from the President, Madam Speaker, you have no appropriate forum than this morning to make such official communication known to this august House.
Therefore, Madam Speaker, unless of course, he was suggesting that, when you receive communications from the President, you should call an emergency Sitting to brief this House of those matters - Other than that Madam Speaker, I think that the President has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. And since he has no justification [Interruption] - he should withdraw those charges of unconstitutionality and let us make progress.
I thank you for the opportunity. He could have been seeking for additional information [Pause] - and the paragraph is also clear that the President shall write to the Speaker of Parliament. I believe that the practice has evolved that when the Speaker receives such commu-nication, it is appropriate that the House is aware of the whereabouts of the First Person or the Chief Executive of our land.
I believe that my Hon Colleague should understand that he is grossly, grossly out of order and he should make a retraction of these words.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think that the Hon Member made a
categorical statement that the President of this country has breached the Constitution. Madam Speaker, there are consequences if that is to be so and this House should not be used to make such serious statements.
Madam Speaker, I think that the Hon Member, in view of the explanation you have given, the date of the letter which you have informed the Honourable House about, the Hon Member should just do the honourable thing by withdrawing that categorical statement that the President has breached the Constitution. He has made a categorical statement on this floor that he has breached the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. He must withdraw that particular statement.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
What he said was
that if he does not inform us before leaving then he would have breached -- That is how I understood it, [Uproar.] And if so then we have found out that he informed us. So I think it is time to move on, Hon Members.
Mr. John T. Akologu 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
thank you very much. I want to read the provision of article 59 -- [Interruptions.] and then -- [Interruptions]
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
I have ruled.
Mr. Akologu 11:20 a.m.
We were all just referring
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, I
have ruled. Let us move on.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Akologu 11:20 a.m.
With your indulgence,
Madam Speaker -- [Interruptions.] No, he must withdraw that statement.

He said the President has breached the Constitution. [Interruption] Yes, we will move forward but the right thing should be done. The right thing should be done.

Madam Speaker, with due respect, I

will sit down but it must be known that the Hon Member has misled the country and this House. It must be noted.

Mr. Felix Twumasi-Appiah -- rose
-- 11:20 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Thank you,
Mr. Felix Twumasi-Appiah 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much. I am afraid I need your guidance to one or two things.
Madam Speaker, there is a very dangerous practice evolving on the floor of this House that I believe if it is not curbed, will involve this House by itself practicing some illegality..
Madam Speaker, there is a situation
where some Hon Members of this House have given themselves the power to interpret the Constitution. And as he said, he was trying, he has arrogated to himself the powers to interpret the Constitution which is an exclusive function of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ghana.
Madam Speaker, if we do not check some of these practices, it will put the image of this House into jeopardy and I would want you to direct Hon Members who think they have all of a sudden become Supreme Court Judges to desist from such a practice.
Thank you very much.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, are
you speaking for both sides, that both sides
Mr. Twumasi-Appiah 11:20 a.m.
Madam
Speaker, especially Hon Members on that side who believe that [Uproar.] - who have all of a sudden become Supreme Court Judges and they think they can interpret the Constitution. Madam Speaker, it is a very dangerous evolving practice on the floor of this House and I think that it must not be allowed to go on.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.


Madam Speaker, you have indicated that we should move on and so those others who are coming in with these, I believe they should not be entertained.

Madam Speaker, if anybody wants to challenge your ruling on this, let the person come on a substantive motion; that is the clear provisions of our Standing Orders. But Madam Speaker, to the extent that we work in this House, we work with our Standing Orders on daily basis, we are interpreting ourselves from the Constitution, otherwise, this House will be stalled. That is the practice of it, people should understand that.

Madam Speaker, you have given a firm ruling and I believe we should move on.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, I
have ruled that there has been no breach of the Constitution. Further, I think all Hon Members here and are permitted to make some form of interpretation of the Constitution for ruling. So anybody can try to interpret what they think they see but the ruling must come from the Chair, the Speaker. So you are permitted to interpret what you see and once you try it, it will be ruled upon. I do not, however, think you
are challenging my ruling that no breach of the Constitution has been committed.
Mr. Twumasi-Appiah 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, that was precisely the point I was on my feet to make. Madam Speaker, I was not challenging your ruling. It is an observation I was making and I am allowed by the rules of this House to make such an observation. I do not think I was, indeed, challenging any of your rulings. Hon Members could indeed speak their minds on some provisions but I think to attempt to interpret it or to tell this House emphatically that the interpretation must mean what they think, Madam Speaker, I believe it is all wrong and we must desist from doing that -- [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Well, on that one you are wrong. They have to understand what the thing says according to their own interpretation and when they bring it out, it will be ruled upon. So I think we are all permitted you are all permitted to make your own interpretation until it is decided upon.
Thank you. That brings us to Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.
Votes and Proceedindgs and the Official Report
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 -- [Interruption.]
Benito Owusu-Bio: Madam Speaker, on page 6, number 88, I have my name there as being absent yesterday. Madam Speaker, yesterday the Committee on Public Accounts held a workshop in Koforidua and as such most of the Members were there present. So if they can effects that change.
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Yes, thank you. Pages 6, 7? [Pause.]
The Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 29th June, 2009 as corrected be adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Now we move to the Official Report of 26th June, 2009 - [No corrections were made.] [Pause.]
Hon Members, in the absence of any corrections, the Official Report of Friday, 26th June, 2009 is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
We move to Official Report of Monday, 29th June, 2009. Any corrections? [Pause.] [No corrections were made.]

Question time.

The Hon Minister for Transport will answer our Questions. The first Question stands in the name of Hon Ernest Attuquaye Armah (NDC Trobu-Amasaman).
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 11:30 a.m.

MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT 11:30 a.m.

Minister for Transport (Mr. Mike A.Hammah) 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the number of right-hand-drive buses imported and registered in the country from June,
2004 to date is seven hundred and sixty- three (763).
Twenty-three (23) out of the number have been imported in to the country from January 2009 to date.
Madam Speaker, the explanation for the influx of many right-hand-drive buses into the country is that Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Law 1993 PNDC Law 330, which banned the importation of right-hand-drive vehicles into the country, was amended in 2002 by Act 634 and also Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning's letter No. SA/MOF/ RHSV/07 dated 28th November, 2003.
Madam Speaker, per the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning's letter, the importation of right-hand- drive vehicles was restricted except the following:
i. Refuse Trucks and Equipment for Sanitation
ii. Construction and Mining Equipment for use at sites off the road.
Madam Speaker, further to this, permission was also granted for the importation of disassembled right-hand- drive vehicles subject to the following:
i. The approval and payment of all eligible duties, taxes and other charges.
ii. The steering system should be removed and installed at the left hand side of the vehicle at garages authorized by Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
i i i . The DVLA has to cer t i fy the suitability and roadworthiness
of the vehicle before licensing.
Mr. Armah 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in the Answer of the Hon Minister, he was not specific as to the number of buses now operational on our streets. May I ask him specifically, out of the 763, the number of such buses plying our streets and serving Ghanaians.
Mr. Hammah 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, it will be very difficult to be very specific on the number because as it stands now, it is quite clear that -- it is clear -- [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Order, please.
Mr. Hammah 11:30 a.m.
It is difficult for us to know the number as it is now because some of them are off the road and it is continuous because there are some coming in.
Mr. Armah 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, may I further ask the Hon Minister whether in his estimation, it was good the law was amended to allow in right-hand-drive buses -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. Ambrose P. Dery 11:30 a.m.
On a point of
order. Madam Speaker, I think that the last question is asking for an opinion of an amendment of a law that was effected and enacted by a competent Parliament of Ghana. So this is an opinion he is seeking and I think he is out of order.
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Yes indeed, the question is a matter of opinion and I will not allow it.
Mr. C. S. Hodogbey 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think the question is specific. The question is talking about buses but the number given by the Hon Minister was in relation to vehicles. I would like to know how many of the buses were given this amended - this thing actually - the buses.
Mr. Hammah 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think that it is all-embracing. We are talking about vehicles that have been brought in, so if he is talking specifically about buses, then I may require notice.
Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to ask the Hon Minister, what purpose were these buses used for when they came into the country.
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
Hon Minister, do you know?
Mr. Hammah 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, when the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) Administration handed over power in 2001, some right-hand vehicles were brought into the country. Precisely, they were buses that had been imported from outside the country - I think from Great Britain or somewhere. And they were being operated in the country.
Of course, there was a lot of hue and cry; people thought that the existing law at the point did not allow those right-hand vehicles to be operated in the country. So the Government then decided to regularize the position and brought an amendment to the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) Law. That amendment allowed right-hand-drive vehicles to be brought into the country. And even then, Madam Speaker, if you look at the details of our amendment, they were talking about disassembled vehicles, not vehicles that had to come in the form of right-hand -
The vehicles must be disassembled and it would have to be assembled under strict supervision. And then those garages that had to make sure that the conversion was done must be certified by both Driver and Vehicle Licence Authority (DVLA) and CEPS. That did not happen, Madam Speaker.
Mr. D. T. Assumeng 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to know from the Hon Minister if he would reconsider an amendment to the law to ban these vehicles from coming into the country.
Mr. Hammah 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, looking at the current rate of accidents on our roads, empirical data suggest that some of them are attributable to mechanical faults.
Madam Speaker, normally, when an accident occurs, it is not even the primary impact that results in a lot of casualties, it is the secondary impact. And our investigation reveals that those vehicles that have been converted for other purposes, like the Mercedes Benz 204 that come in are reconfigured.
Because they are not done in accordance to strict standards, Madam Speaker, any time an accident happens, you would realize that the secondary impact rather affects the passengers on board and we record high rates of casualties.
In this respect, Madam Speaker, the Ministry is going to take a second view at the law and at the appropriate time, we would come out with an amendment to the existing laws.
Mr. Daniel Botwe 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, after the drastic increase and fuel prices of the consequential increase of lorry fares recently, I want to know from the Hon Minister the plans his Ministry has to import buses into the country in order to cushion against the effect of the drastic increases.[Hear! Hear!] [Pause.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the question offends Standing Order 69, which says as follows:
“As soon as a Question is answered in the House any Member beginning

with the Member who asked the Question may, without notice, ask a supplementary Question for the further elucidation of any matter of fact regarding which the answer has been given, but a supplementary Question must not be used to introduce matter not included in the Original Question”.
Mr. O. B. Amoah 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, with all due respect to the Hon Senior Member of the House, I believe that the question is very relevant. Indeed, Madam Speaker, if we refer to page (7) of the Order Paper, which is the Hon Minister's Answer to another Question, the Hon Minister, indeed, says that -- [Interruption] Madam Speaker, if I may be permitted to read. He says:
“. . . a direct consequence of increase of urbanization and use of many private and mini buses (trotro) is causing congestion in our cities with high fuel consumption and consequently high cost of travel per passenger/kilometer.”
Mr. J. B. Aidoo 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, a simple question was asked about what the buses were used for. And the Hon Minister went into the pontification of the law, and the amendments of the law. The question is, what were the buses used for? It is very simple - [Interruptions] - a very simple question; and then the Hon Minister goes
about reciting laws and the amendments. He should tell us, what the buses were used for.
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
Hon Member, is this not the same question which the Hon Minister answered?
Mr. J. B. Aidoo 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, with due respect, the Hon Minister never answered that Question. He just lectured us on the law and then the amendment to the law. That is all. But he never told us anything about how those buses were used. We just want to know how the buses were used.
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
So, ask a question then.
Mr. J. B. Aidoo 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, this Honorable House would like to know, what were the buses used for [Interruptions.]
rose
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, we will come to your point.
Hon Minister, the Hon Member said, what the buses were used for. He has asked again, I know you answered, but the Hon Member said you did not answer, so he still wants to ask that question. If you answer, we would go on to the Hon Member. Just what were the buses used for?
1150 a.m.
Mr. Hammah 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, even though the buses were used for public transportation, at the time they were brought in, it was against the laws of the land. [Uproar] Madam Speaker, if I want to explain, during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime, the

laws as regards the use of road transport were quite clear; right-hand-drive vehicles were banned and that was the CEPS law. It state clearly and it is for a purpose.

Madam Speaker, when you make a law, the law is supposed to help you to achieve a certain set of objectives. At that point in time, we felt that it would reduce road accidents. We are now driving on the right, how do we allow right-hand drive vehicles to be brought in? During our time, we said except vehicles that are going to be used for dedicated purposes - maybe, a vehicle that is to be used on a construction site, could be a right-hand drive vehicle. Even then, we insisted that when it is used for that purpose for which it was brought into the country, it had to be re-exported.

Madam Speaker, it was simple; we felt that we wanted to reduce road accidents and we felt that once we are driving on the right, it is very improper to allow right-hand drive vehicles into the country.

Madam Speaker, thank you very much.
rose
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
Hon Members, surely you do not expect an answer in a form of yes or no. So he has said it is used for this but added something, which we cannot take it from him. So I think he has answered the question. [Interruptions.]
Hon Member, you have asked about
importation of buses and it was objected to. Ask the question again and let me -- what was your question?
Mr. Botwe 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the
question is about the importation of buses into the country. And my question is, given the high cost of lorry fares after the drastic increase of fuel prices, would the Hon Minister consider more importation of such buses into the country?
rose
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
Well, I think since we are talking about buses, he can answer the question. [Hear! Hear!] Answer the question as far as you know it. [Inter- ruptions.]
Mr. C. S. Humado 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, I am standing on Order 69, the end of it which states that, and with your permission I quote:
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
Hon Member, the substance of the Question is not on petrol, the substance is whether more buses would be imported. I think he is capable of answering if he knows it or whatever. I think I will rule that it is a good question. [Hear! Hear!] The question is, will more buses be imported?
Mr. Hammah 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, we do not intend to import more right-hand drive buses. We will not do that Our Manifesto has made it quite clear that we will streamline the operations of Metro Mass Transit. The idea is that we want to encourage the use of high occupancy vehicles and for that matter, we will re-
Mr. Hammah 1:40 a.m.


visit our vehicle acquisition moderniza- tion policy and at the appropriate time we would come to this House with the appropriate policy as to how we intend to renew those vehicles. The vehicle renewal and acquisition policy will be brought to the House.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister has informed us about the law regulating the importation of right-hand drive buses and he talks about PNDC Law 330 and the CEPS Management Law 1993, which banned the importation of right-hand drive vehicles into the country.
The law, as he has indicated to us, was appropriately amended by Parliament in 2002 to allow for the importation of right- hand drive vehicles, and the Hon Minister is telling us that the NDC recognised the effects of this law and therefore, complied and did not import right-hand drive vehicles into the system. That is what the Hon Minister has told us.
Madam Speaker, is the Minister aware
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
The question is are you aware?
Mr. Hammah 1:40 a.m.
I am not aware.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Mr. Akologu 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the
Minister told us in the Answer that 1:40 a.m.
“The DVLA has to certify the suitability and roadworthiness of the vehicle before licensing.”
I want to know from the Minister how many of these 763 buses were licensed by DVLA and whether they were all roadworthy and suitable for use here before licensing them. I want to know.
Madam Speaker 1:40 a.m.
Hon Minister, they all licensed?
Mr. Hammah 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in my initial presentation, I did say that most of these vehicles even came in and they were operational before the amendment was done. So truly speaking, they did not go through any strict standard to ensure that they were all right for the road. Besides, they just brought them in 2000 and then -- [Interruption.] Most of the buses that were brought in at that time were brought in before the amendment was done.
Even if you look at the amendment, Madam Speaker, if you look at the administrative directive that was given by the then Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, he did emphatically say that it was only disassembled vehicles that were brought in. He did not talk about right-hand drive vehicles imported hook, line and sinker, when everything has already been put together.
So Madam Speaker, the issue was that those vehicles were brought in before they talked about amending the existing Act.
Dr. A. A. Osei 1:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in the Minister's Answer, he said and with your permission I want to quote:
“ . . . the number of right-hand drive vehicles imported and registered in the country from June 2004 . . .”
The amendment he also told us was done in 2002. So would the Ministry reconcile his answer as to these dates? Which is which? He said they were all imported before the Amendment but the amendment was in 2002, and he is talking about 2004 to up to date. So would he reconcile these two statements?
Mr. Hammah noon
Madam Speaker,
yes, from 2004 -- so we are talking about from 2004 when the Act was amended. But before then some vehicles had already been brought into the system -- [interruptions.] Some of them, I will need notice to separate them. But if you look at the Answer that we have now, it dwells on the period from June, 2004 to date --So that talks about the period when the amendment was done.
But I was just saying that the right hand-drive vehicles were actually brought into the country even before 2004 and, if you want the number I would come back to the House and give you the exact number. But if you add those that came into the country before 2004, Madam Speaker, we are talking about in excess of over one thousand vehicles.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
Madam Speaker, with respect to the Minister -- [Interruptions] -- the Minister has told us -- [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker noon
Order! Let us hear
what he is saying, we do not know the point he is raising and so let us hear him. Yes, Hon Member, what is the point you are raising?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
Madam
Speaker, the Minister has indicated to us that all the vehicles were imported before the amendment. But in his own Answer, paragraph two of his Answer, he is telling us that 23 out of the number have been imported into the country from

January, 2009. So how can he tell us that all the vehicles were brought in before the amendment? Madam Speaker, would the Minister admit that he is misleading this House and the nation by the subsequent answers that he has been giving?
Madam Speaker noon
They want a
clarification, tell them.
Mr. Jospeh Y. Chireh noon
Madam Speaker,
in fact, I object to the way the Minority Leader is threatening and behaving and asking the questions -- [Interruptions.] I do not think that -- [Interruption] -- If he is eliciting information, it does not amount to threatening and showing the way he is showing -- It is not a good practice, I object to the question. Our Standing Orders do not support violence in language.
rose
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Member, is it a question? That is the last question on this -- [Interruptions.]
rose
Madam Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Minority
Leader?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
Madam
Speaker, with respect to my dear Colleague, he has not answered the question that I posed, a very innocuous question.
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Minister, they
want elucidation of some facts, give it to them. Answer the question.
Mr. Hammah noon
Madam Speaker, I am
sure my Hon Minority Leader did not hear me when I was doing the presentation. I said “some of them,” I did not say “all”. I was just giving them -- [Interruptions.] No, I said “some.”
rose
Madam Speaker noon
Last question on
this.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah noon
Madam Speaker
rose
Madam Speaker noon
I will come to you
then, yes.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah noon
Madam Speaker,
Madam Speaker noon
Which past Govern-
ment? There have been a lot of past Governments. Is it immediate past?
Mr. Kan-Dapaah noon
The NPP Govern-
ment -- immediate past -- and if any of these buses are still operational, they, clearly, the Question has not been answered. He has not told us how many buses were imported by the NPP Government at the time and how many are still operational.
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Minister,
do you have the correct figures for them?
rose
Madam Speaker noon
Yes, hon. Majority
Leader?
Mr. Bagbin noon
Madam Speaker, I simply
want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that he is talking about right- hand drive buses, not buses. He ended up referring to buses. He did not talk about -- [Some Hon Member -- No.] Oh, you will read the Hansard And his
question was also talking about buses, not right-hand drive buses. The Question is on right-hand drive buses, not on all buses.
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Member,
your question again. Is it on right-hand drive buses?
Mr. Kan-Dapaah noon
Madam Speaker,
can the Hon Minister be specific and tell us how many right-hand drive buses were imported into the country by the erstwhile NPP Government and how many of them are still operational?
Mr. Hammah noon
Madam Speaker, once
he has introduced the NPP dimension, I would require notice -- [Laughter.] Yes, I will require notice to this one.
Madam Speaker noon
The last question,
yes, Hon Member. Hon Ahi will give us the last question.
Mr. Sampson Ahi noon
Madam Speaker,
there was a law in place banning the importation of right-hand drive buses, yet the NPP Government went ahead and imported some right-hand drive buses into the country. Would the Minister agree with me that the NPP Government at that time violated the law and did not respect the law banning the importation of right- hand drive buses into the country?
Mr. Dery noon
Madam Speaker, I think
this is obviously in breach of the rules. He is asking the Minister's opinion in this matter. I think it simply is not the case.
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Dery, I think
the question was introduced about the immediate past Government, that is where the NPP came in and that is why he is asking whether in view of the law there has been a transgression of the rules. You do not think it is a proper question?
Madam Speaker noon


Some Hon Members -- He is offending our rules.
Madam Speaker noon
What does it
offend? Which of the --
Mr. Dery noon
Madam Speaker, I am
referring to Standing Order 67 (1) (e), and he is soliciting opinion and I think that it is in breach of that and therefore, it should not be allowed.
Madam Speaker noon
Ask the question
again.
Mr. Ahi 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think I asked a simple question, and it is that there was a law in place banning the importation of right-hand drives into the country. And in spite of this law, the immediate past Government went ahead and imported right-hand drive buses into this country. And I want to find out whether the Hon Minister would agree with me that the NPP Government -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, ask the question.
Mr. Ahi 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, will I be right to say that the NPP Government illegally imported right-hand drive buses into the country?
Mr. Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister was right in saying that when one introduces NPP Government importing buses, one is introducing a new element and he needs notice. Because the question we are talking about says:
“the past government allowed” --
that is allowing those buses into the country. It is different from the government itself importing. This question is talking about allowing buses into the country. Allowing buses into the country is different from the government itself
importing buses into the country. And he was answering “allowing buses.” Now, they are introducing, “the government importing” -- that is different.
Mr. Dery 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I just want to refer you to Standing Order 67 (1) (a) and (b). And Madam Speaker, Order 67 (1) (b), touches especially on what Hon Ahi is saying, and I beg to quote:
“A Question shall not contain any arguments, expression of opinion
. . .” --
When he said, “would the Hon Minister agree with me”, that was his opinion. Then --
“ . . . inferences, imputations, epithets or controversial, ironical or offensive expressions . . .”
If you take that and Order 67 (1) (e), Madam Speaker, then Hon Ahi's question is completely out of order. -- [Interruptions] -- Yes, “would he agree with me that what they did was illegal”, that is his expression.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is totally out of order. On your instruction, Hon Ahi reframed the question and took away “agree with me” -- [Interruptions.] -- He withdrew that. He did.
Dr. Osei 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, with respect, I know we are entitled to our opinions but my good Friend used the word “illegally”. Madam Speaker, with respect, no one in this House has established that fact. So, for my Hon Colleague to infer illegality on the part of some people, I find very offensive. And I think he should withdraw that statement. If he thinks that illegality has occurred, he should go to the appropriate court. But to state in front of the House that an illegality he is not even a lawyer. Madam Speaker, I find that
Dr. Osei 12:10 p.m.


very offensive, as a former official and he should withdraw.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, I do not think your point is legitimate. I would rule on the admissibility of the question.
The question is, “Has some law been contravened?” Is it an opinion? Hon Leader, is it an opinion? If the law is there and the question is, “has there been an infraction of some law”, will it be a question of opinion?
Mr. Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, we all read laws. We try to understand them. By ascribing a meaning to the law and that will be the person's understanding and that will be the person's opinion of the meaning of the law. I think that that is clear. It is the person's opinion about what the law says. And the Judiciary, in giving judgements, they express their opinion. But at the end of the day, it is the decision of the court. So, one can express his or her opinion but at the end of the day, it is the decision of the court. So, here in the House when Hon Members are trying to interpret, understand laws and ascribe meaning to them, they are giving their opinions about the law.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, to cut a long story short, I would disallow the question and move on to the next Question -- [Hear! Hear!]
Metro Mass Buses Imported from China
Q. 35. Mr. Ernest Attuquaye Armah asked the Minister for Transport the number of Metro Mass buses imported from China and the number now operational on our roads.
Mr. Hammah 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in order to fulfill Government's policy of providing passenger mass transport services in the urban areas of the country, a
pilot Mass Transit Service was introduced in October 2002 with seventeen (17) used high capacity Fiat/IVECO buses donated by the Government of Italy.
Madam Speaker, after the initial encouraging operation of the pilot project, the Government in 2003 used the assets of Omnibus Services Authority (OSA) as equity and in partnership with Social Security and National Trust (SSNIT), National Investment Bank (NIB), State Transport Corporation (STC), and Prudential Bank established and incorporated the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT) as a limited liability company to operate the transportation services.
Later, Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and GOIL also joined the company and currently the six (6) Institutions own 55 per cent shares and Government owns 45 per cent shares.
Madam Speaker, in April 2004 following Cabinet's approval and subsequent ratification by Parliament, fifty (50) Yaxing buses were imported by the ex-Ministry of Roads and Transport after a Supply Contract Agreement with the China National Machinery and Equipment Corporation (CMEC).
To day, a total of 400 Yaxing Buses comprising 312 Single Deckers and 88 Double Deckers have been procured for MMT at a cost of USD18.6 million.
Madam Speaker, the following is the present fleet position 12:10 p.m.
i. Buses in operation -- 91
ii. Buses not in operation (due to mechanical, electrical faults and unavailability of parts et cetera
-- 195
iii. Buses already cannibalised to
service other fleet and disposed off as scrap -- 13
iv. Buses earmarked to be cannibalized to service other operational fleet
--101
Madam Speaker, mechanical and electrical failures especially poor engine, clutch problems coupled with poor after sales service support have resulted in several Yaxing buses being grounded for long periods with the attendant loss of revenue.
Madam Speaker, a direct consequence of increase of urbanization and use of many private and mini buses (‘trotro') is causing congestion in our cities with high fuel consumption and consequently high cost of travel per passenger/kilometer. The successful expansion and operation of MMT with a planned bus replacement programme will help reduce congestion in our cities, lower cost of travel for the mass of the people and therefore, have positive, social and economic impact.
Mr. Armah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, con- sidering the number of buses which were imported into the country and the number now in operation - out of the 400, only 91 - will the Minister say whether the Ministry did due diligence to check the strength of the buses that were purchased?
Mr. Dery -- rose -- [Some Hon.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Minister, did
you get the question?
Mr. Hamah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, if you
look at the rate at which the vehicles break down and the number of vehicles now unserviceable, even if the due diligence was done, I have a strong belief that it was seriously flawed.
Mr. Dery 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, how
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Minister he
says, how many buses are in use?
Mr. Hammah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I will
require notice. But then, the Hon Member who asked the question was looking at Chinese buses; that is only 91 operational. If he wants all of them because there other buses, I require notice, Madam Speaker.
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
in his answer as to whether due diligence was done in the importation of the buses, he said it was, but with fraud. May he tell us more about what he means by fraud? [Interruptions]. Oh! Flawed? All right, thank you very much. I did not get him. And he said there, may he tell us what or more about the “flawed” that he is referring to? [Interruptions]. The “flawed” within the importation. [Interruptions].
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon. Minister?
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
Mr. Frimpong 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my
question has not been answered.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
I thought your
question was about fraud and you were told it was not fraud.
Mr. Frimpong 12:20 p.m.
What about the
“flawed”; I want him to explain about the “flawed” and expand on it further. Yes, he made mention of “flawed”, I want him to explain it and expand it further; what he means by that.
Mr. Frimpong 12:20 p.m.
Yes.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Minister, he
said you mentioned something about a “flawed” in the importation that you should -- His question is, what was the “flawed”?
Mr. Hammah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I said
it was flawed because if the due diligence was done properly, you do not expect this extremely very high rate of unserviceable vehicles; because you have to take a lot of things into consideration before you come out with the policy in your position. But if for a very short time you have this high rate, I can just say it was flawed.
rose
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, he has
answered the question. No, if you are not satisfied, it does not mean he has not answered it, because nobody is satisfied with [Interruptions] So, shall I take the next? Time is running out; we have only one hour for Question time.
Mr. J. K. Avedzi 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
if you look at the Answer on page 6, out of 400 buses imported from China, only 91 are operational within this short period. Now, would the Hon Minister take that into account when the planned bus replacement programme is being carried out?
Mr. Hammah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, yes
Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah 12:20 p.m.
Madam
Speaker, last question, please.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I
would give you once more.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, is
the Hon Minister aware of the speculation that most of the buses that are operational
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Minister, is
that so? What is your answer?
Mr. Hammah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am not aware. [Laughter1] Mr. Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu -- rose --
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Well, that is the end
of Question time. One hour has already passed. But since the Leader is standing up, I will give him the very, very last question, that his people would aspire to the Leadership. Hon Minority Leader, you last question.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Hon Minister, Hon. Minister --[Interruptions]. [Laugh-ter] --
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon. Minister, can
you answer the question?
Mr. Hammah 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
in the road transport industry, we have benchmarks. There are other buses that we use for road transportation. If you do a comparative analysis, nobody wants to tell you this; nobody would have to tell you that we have problems with them. Strictly speaking -- [Interruptions].
Yes, they were, because if you have these very high rate of unserviceable
vehicles and they came in now; they are very brand new vehicles. And then on the average -- [Interruptions]. Yes, Madam Speaker, for the kind of roads we are -- in the tropics, so you do a due diligence. When you are bringing the buses, you have to make sure that you take into account the conditions that you have in your country and you bring in the right buses. But if they come and within a short time, you have a very high -- I will only indicate that they serve our purpose. Maybe -- [Interruptions]. Listen to me!

Maybe, in China it would have lasted longer but that is the more reason why we do a due diligence, make sure that you come on board, bring all the factors that would have to be considered before deciding on a particular bus to be brought. So many factors have to be brought into consideration. There are considerations of factors and in considering those factors, I feel that the due diligence was seriously flawed.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Members,
according to Standing Order 65 (3), when the time for Questions has passed, any Question remaining on the Order Paper shall be printed in the Official Report. So the last Question's Answer will be printed in the Official Report because we have exhausted the time.
Hon Minister, thank you for coming.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, with respect, Standing Order 60 (2) and with your indulgence, I quote:
“Question time to Ministers shall ordinarily not exceed one hour except that the Speaker may in exceptional cases exercise his discretion and permit Questions after the expiration of the time stated
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.


and also for such questions as are described in Order 64 . . .”

Madam Speaker, so it provides that you may allow for an extension of time to allow for these Questions to be asked. So, Madam Speaker, I would want to have your guidance. If indeed, you are going to be religious about the application of the one hour rule, then from now, we will insist that we do not go beyond one hour.

Madam Speaker, I need your guidance.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Well, you cannot insist in all cases because I have a discretion -- [Hear! Hear!] -- and I have been doing it, enlarging time when it is over one hour. So we cannot follow that ruling in all cases. In this particular case, I will close it and move on to item 5 on the Order Paper.
rose
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Is it about item 5 on the Order Paper?
rose
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, are you asking me to go back on my ruling?
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am pleading with you.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
This plea will not be acceded to.
Thank you.
Delta International Airlines Business Practices
Q. 47. Prof. (Emeritus) Samuel K. Amoako asked the Minister for Transport what steps the Ministry was taking to curb the exploitative business practices of Delta

International Airlines, especially with regard to extra baggage fees of Ghanaian travellers from the United States in particular and Ghanaian diasporans generally.
Minister for Transport (Mr. Mike A. Hammah) 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, Delta International Airlines, a United States registered air carrier operates flights on the route New York-Accra-New York pursuant to the Bilateral Air Services agreement signed between the Governments of the United States of America (USA) and the Republic of Ghana in August 2000.
Ghana on its part designated the defunct Ghana Airways on the routes Accra-New York-Accra with further traffic rights to other destinations in the United States such as Washington D.C. and Atlanta.
By the terms of the Agreement, the designated airlines are permitted to determine their own passenger tariffs and cargo rates as well as conditions applicable to those tariffs and rates.
Madam Speaker, the conditions under which air carriers offer their services are usually contained in the following documents which constituted the contract of carriage:
(a) Passenger ticket;
(b) Cargo airways bill;
(c) Air carriers' conditions of carriage.
The passenger ticket states the cost of the ticket including the number of allowable weight or number of baggage depending on the type and class of air ticket.
Any excess weight or baggage will then be subjected to additional payment on the part of the passenger.
Madam Speaker, in the case of Delta Airlines the following conditions apply 12:30 p.m.
Business class passengers are entitled to 3 bags each weighing 32 kilogramme plus hand luggage of 18 kilogramme.
Madam Speaker, it is instructive to note that airlines on the North American route offer more generous baggage allowances than those on the European and regional routes. In order for passengers to enjoy greater benefits for air travels, competition has to be introduced on the route.
In this respect, some Ghanaian air carriers have expressed interest in operating flights on the North American routes.
It is hoped that when these Ghanaian air carriers commence operations, Delta Airlines would be compelled to come out with better attractive conditions and services in the face of competition.

I will move on to item 5 the laying of papers.
PAPERS 12:30 p.m.

Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Item 5 (b ) -- Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
Mr. Bagbin 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Item 5 (b) (ii).
rose
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Were you making a point of order?
Mr. Frimpong 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, it looks as if we have about two Mampongs in Ghana. And which of the Mampongs is this Agreement referring to? Are we talking of Akuapem Mampong or Asante Mampong ?
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
I am told Akuapem.
Hon Member, when the Report from the Committee comes, it will be clearly stated therein whether it is Asante or Akuapem. We are just laying the Paper.
Mr. Frimpong 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, it looks as if we have to know exactly where it is going to so that when we go to the
Committee meeting, we would know how to contribute.
Mr. J. K. Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think my Hon Colleague is out of order. The Paper is now being laid for distribution. When it is laid, he will know whether it is Akuapem Mampong or Asante Mampong. Why is he insisting to know this thing now?
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
He says when it is laid, you will know. So let us lay it and see.
Mr. Frimpong 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my Chairman is seriously misleading the House. Madam Speaker, we must be clear of what is going on and where the whole thing is going to take place. So if he tells me I am out of order he is rather misleading the House. I am even told there is a third Mampong, Akim Mampong. So which of the Mampongs is the Agreement referring to?
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Which Mampong is it referring to?
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, with respect, it is Akuapem Mampong.
Madam Speaker, thank you.
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
It is Akuapem
Mampong. Then we come to B (ii)
By the Minister for Communications (on behalf of the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing) --
Buyer's Credit Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and BNP PARIBAS Bank of Belgium for an amount of €67,608,000.00 for the construction of the Ada Coastal Protection Works
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.


to be undertaken on contact with Messrs Dredging International Services, Cyprus (DISC) and International Marine and Dredging Consultants (IMDC) of Belgium.

Referred to the Finance Committee.

By the Minister for Communications (on behalf of the Minister for Water Re- sources, Works and Housing) --

Request for tax exemptions on equipment/machinery to be imported or purchased locally, corporate and expatriate PAYE taxes amounting to €11,642,706.00 in respect of the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP) Stage IV.

Referred to the Finance Committee.

By Minister for Communications (on behalf of the Minister for Energy --

Request for waiver and exemption of tax liability on equipment and materials to be imported or purchased locally amounting to €28,743,883.00 in respect of the Network Expansion and Loss Reduction Project for the Electricity Company of Ghana.

Referred to the Finance Committee
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Item (C) --
Chairman of the Committee.
Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah 12:40 p.m.
Madam
Speaker, I am afraid, the Report is not yet ready because we have not been able to make contact with a key official against whom a very serious allegation has been made. We hope, we will be able to meet with him sometime during the week.
Madam Speaker, our regrets.
Mr. Iddrisu 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, you
were right. Ashanti Mampong. Now, we move on to item 3, is the
Hon Minister here? [Pause.] Minister for Energy --
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
since corrections are being made, will you consider the Paper being re-laid because the laying of the Paper was wrong, and for records sake, will you consider it being re-laid?
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member,
no. The mistake did not appear in the Paper. The Paper did not say Akuapem Mampong; that is why you asked which. So now, he says when you go to the Committee, you will know and now, we know it is Ashanti Mampong. And since there was no mistake on the Paper - [Interruption] -
Mr. Frimpong 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
with all respect -- [Interruption] -- Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleagues are making the House so cacophonous, and it is uncalled for. In fact, when we are dialoguing -- [Interruption] -- What is it? Madam Speaker, I respectfully want to request that -- [Interruption] -- Madam Speaker, your Rt. Hon Self -- [Interruption] -- I said the House has become so cacophonous.
They are making the House so cacophonous; making it impossible -- [Interruption] - Madam Speaker, for your
sweet, soft voice to be heard. [Laughter] - Madam Speaker, they must be brought to order.
Madam Speaker, I am saying, with all respect, and for record purposes, the Paper must be re-laid. And what does it take to relay the Paper? It is a matter of putting “Ashanti” in front of the “Mampong”, and make it more authentic.
Madam Speaker, that is my worry.
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, did
the Paper contain Akuapem Mampong in it?
Mr. Frimpong 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the
Paper said Mampong.
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes. And you asked
for clarification; and you have now got it proper that it is Ashanti Mampong? So why do we go back to correct the paper?
Mr. Frimpong 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
It is already captured
in the Hansard. You got recommendation for even raising it. Did you not? It is all captured in the Hansard.
Mr. Frimpong 12:40 p.m.
Thank you Madam
Speaker.
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members,
now, we move on to item 6, if the Hon Minister for Energy is here, can he move for the adoption of a Resolution.
Mr. Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, item
6, on page 3 of the Order Paper is for the adoption of a Resolution by the House to be moved by the Minister for Energy. Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister is out of the country on an official duty; and the Hon Deputy Minister is here to do that on his behalf. Madam Speaker, I just want to seek your permission, and the indulgence of my Hon Colleague for him to do that.
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes. He can move it. Hon Deputy Minister, can you move for the resolution.
RESOLUTIONS 12:40 p.m.

LUKOIL OVERSEAS 12:40 p.m.

Minister for Energy) 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that
WHEREAS By the provisions of article 268(1) of the Constitution, any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of the Constitution is made subject to ratification by Parliament.
In pursuance of the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution, the Government of Ghana has caused to be laid before Parliament through the Minister responsible for Energy the Petroleum Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) AND Vanco Ghana Limited and LUKOIL Overseas Ghana Limited for the conduct of exploration and production operations in the Offshore Cape Three Points Deep Water Block.
NOW THEREFORE, this House in accordance with the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution hereby resolve to ratify the said Petroleum Agreement among the Government

of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation ( G N P C ) a n d Va n c o G h a n a Limited and LUKOIL Overseas Ghana Limited for the conduct of exploration and production operations in the Offshore Cape Three Points Deep Water Block.
Mr. Adjaho 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to second the motion for the Resolution.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I believe we brought this matter to a closure last Friday and we ought to have taken this Resolution. But unfortunately, a Member indicated into that we did not have sufficient numbers which why we are here today on the Resolution.
Madam Speaker, after the debate I thin
k we made our position clear; the Minority made our position clear that we are in support of the Agreement, we support the Agreement.
Madam Speaker, we want to reiterate our position that we support the Agreement. What we do not support is the position of Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye as the head of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), in the execution of this Agreement.
So Madam Speaker, we are clear in our mind what we want to do. We are in support of the Agreement. What we are not in support, we have already articulated that position and we said the other time that, when we come to taking the Resolution, we want to wash our hands off it.
Indeed, Madam Speaker, we are abstaining, we want to register that we want to abstain. And we want it to be registered as a matter of record that we are abstaining on the principle of the involvement of Nana Boakye Asafu- Adjaye as the head of GNPC. Madam
Madam Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Order!
Mr. Bagbin 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want
to put it on record that if my Colleague is speaking for himself, he is at liberty to do so. I recollect very well and the Hansard will support me on this that even though he gave indication that their side was not against the Agreement and they were in total support, during the voting some of his Members voted “No”.
He even turned to look at them and saw them giving their hands that they did not agree. So it is not like the whole group. The whole group is in support of the Agreement and you will recall - [Interruptions.] Because when you say “No” it means you are voting against.
Madam Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Order! Order! Let

Hon Member, let the Leader finish

making his point.
Mr. Bagbin 12:50 p.m.
It was because of the
response “No” which made us not to even take the Resolution, because we had to adjourn it to today to do consultations.
Madam Speaker, today, the clear indication we had was that both sides of the House supported the Resolution. That was the indication we got, that both sides of the House supported the Resolution and we decided to take it today. We are being told that, “yes, we are not against the Resolution but we will abstain”. And the reason for abstinence is not something that has to do with the Resolution or the Agreement but an administrative matter which is outside our domain.

Madam Speaker, I find this difficult, because my Colleagues are aware, including the Minority Leader that in our Constitution, the issue that they are raising is an issue that can easily be referred to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate. It is not in the Constitution. That is nothing to do with the Resolution we are taking today. So you cannot on the basis of that say you are abstaining.

If there is a different reason yes, but not that reason that you are abstaining. It could be a different reason. I am really surprised because the clear indication I got was that we were both in support of the Resolution. That was the clear indication.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:50 p.m.
Madam
Speaker, probably, we want to assist the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of the House. When the Minority Leader speaks, and says he is speaking on behalf of his group, no one can question it. He knows it, whether rightly or wrongly, nobody can question it. It is unfortunate the Majority Leader now seeks to question the right of the Minority Leader to speak on behalf of the Minority Caucus.
Secondly, Madam Speaker, I am
holding in my hand the Hansard for Friday and there is no indication that because there was a misunderstanding this Resolution was being deferred to next week. Indeed, the request was specifically made by the Majority Leader and with your permission I refer the House to column 1139 of the Official Report for Friday, 26th June, 2009.
“Mr. Bagbin: Madam Speaker, I am craving the indulgence of the House and the permission of the Speaker to defer the Resolution to next week. We have approved the Agreement but we need to
resolve and I think we should do that next week. It will be proper and better for us to do it next week.
Thank you very much.”
No where in the Majority Leader's
guidance to Madam Speaker did he indicate that there was anything further to discuss.
Thirdly, Madam Speaker, we are
Members of Parliament. We do not need any reason on the floor of the House to indicate how we are going to vote. If the Majority Leader is now trying to advise the House, that before a Member votes, he must state a reason, then it is different matter.
We all come to these points in time during these debates and if the Majority Leader finds himself in any uncomfortable position, probably, he can ask for an adjournment and we discuss these matters further, but never should it be said on the floor of the House when a Minority Leader speaks that he does not speak for his group. That is not proper.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
Mr. Bagbin 1 p.m.
Please I want to implore
my Colleagues to listen. I did state when the vote was to be taken, the clear indication we had on Friday 26 th June, 2009, was that we were all in support of the motion, and that was what happened. I do not want to name the Members who shouted “No” -- [Interruptions] -- You are shouting already.
The same people are shouting already. Madam Speaker, on the basis of that, as the Leader, I read the pulse of the House and that was the reason why I said it was better for us to take the Resolution another day.
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, yes,
surprised we may be, but he is saying that they will refrain from voting. That does not prevent us from going on.
Mr. E.K. D. Adjaho 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
as Members of Parliament, we engaged one another especially, where signs are that some of our Colleagues are not too happy with certain issues.
Madam Speaker, on this particular occasion, with regard to this particular matter, I spoke to the Hon Minority Leader, and the signal that he sent was that they were not going to oppose the Resolution.
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
If they are not going
to oppose the Resolution, it is the same as abstaining. Is it not it?
Mr. Adjaho 1 p.m.
In v iew o f the
developments, we may have to consult the Hon Majority Leader to see whether the vote can be deferred or we go ahead and take it.
Kyei -Mensah-Bonsu: Madam
Speaker, the point is being made that people are expressing shock that we are going to oppose this Resolution. Madam Speaker, we are not going to oppose the Resolution and indeed, if you abstain in a voting you have taken part in voting. That is what must be understood and Madam Speaker, I am surprised that the Majority Leader is entering a plea for us. He says that we are seeking a reason for

abstinence. Madam Speaker, I have not said we are pleading for abstinence.

Indeed, we are pleading for abstention and not abstinence -- [laughter] --

Madam Speaker, let me also say that the Majority Leader cannot pretend to be the Minority Leader. Just like when he speaks, he speaks for the Majority, when I speak, I speak for the Minority [Hear! Hear!] and that point must be made.

Madam Speaker, when we took the vote it was a voice vote and I will be surprised. Indeed, I heard a no vote. I must register that, but I was looking whoever might have said so and because I was facing this direction, I was swivelling my chair, looking all over to see who might have done that.

Madam Speaker, the Hansard does not record that the ‘No' vote came from outside. It should be put on record and the Majority Leader cannot make any attribution -- Madam Speaker, he better understand that.

Madam Speaker, we took a vote and I signalled to him that day, that we should even go on and have the Resolution because indeed, we had made our position clear. And when he said that it should come the following week even yesterday, I was pleading with the Majority Chief Whip Hon E.T. Mensah, that we should have the Resolution because as far as we are concerned our position is clear.

We are not going to oppose it. We are only saying that given the circumstances of the involvement now, of Nana Boakye Asafu- Adjaye as the head of GNPC, we cannot go on that line. However, as for the Agreement, we are for it. That is what we have said and we want to reiterate it.

I am saying that, we are abstaining,
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Majority
Leader, what is your proposal?
Mr. Bagbin 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, we will
proceed to take the vote.
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Yes, because they
are just abstaining from voting but that does not mean they are voting against. That is my understanding.
Now Hon Members, the motion has been moved and it has been seconded.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved:
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Leader of the
House, any indications?
Mr. Bagbin 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, since
Committees are going to Sit, I would plead with you that we do take an adjournment till tomorrow next, when we shall re- convene on the 2nd of July 2009 to continue with Parliamentary business at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
Madam
Speaker, in seconding the motion, ably moved by the Majority Leader, I want this House to take notice that even though we would not allow a third Question to be asked, we are adjourning at 1.10p.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg second the motion for adjournment -- [Hear! Hear!].
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Minority
Leader, what is the implication of that? The implication is lost on me.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I have made a very harmless statement -- [Interruptions] -- It is not pregnant with anything. It is not pregnant with anything but Madam Speaker, the facts speak for themselves.
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Minority
Leader, surely, the time for breaking will be recorded if that is all it is about. It will be recorded and if I dare say, I do listen to the House to follow the rules strictly and from now, I shall endeavour to do so.
Thank you.
Question put and motion agreed to
ADJOURNMENT 1 p.m.