Debates of 24 Mar 2010

PRAYERS 11:20 a.m.


Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, I have the pleasure to introduce to you a three-member delegation from the Committee on Education, Culture and Communication of the National Assembly of Mali, who are in the country on a four-day visit to our Parliament. As part of their activities, they will meet with Hon Members of our Committee on Communications to share ideas on audio- visual broadcasting in Ghana.
Hon Members, they are:
Hon Ibrahim Lancine Coulibaly
-- Chairman
Hon Yaya Sangare -- Member
Hon Berhima Berdogo -- Member.
Hon Members, on your behalf, I wish them a fruitful visit and a pleasant stay in the country.

Mr G. K. Arthur 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I was present yesterday but my name has appeared under Members absent.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
You are referring

to what page?
Mr George Kofi Arthur 11:20 a.m.
Speaker, that is page 6.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
But if you say that,
how will I know the name? What is your name? Sorry I have to -
Mr G. K. Arthur 11:20 a.m.
Mr George Kofi
Arthur (Amenfi Central).
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
You were present,
all right. Clerk to note.
Page 7 - 10 --
Mr Kofi Frimpong 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
to my surprise, I have been supplied with Monday, 22nd March, instead of Tuesday 23rd March issue of the Order Paper. I went to my pigeon-hole and that was what I collected from it.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Yes, Clerks -- We
will get you the correct one.
So we carry on until you find something you would want to come back to, in which case, we are on page 10.
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I was absent with permission and a letter to that effect was sent to the Leader and so I want that to be corrected.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
You are referring
to page 10? What page?
Mr Buah 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am on
the list on page 6 as being absent but I was absent with permission.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Yes, Clerk to check
up things and see.
Page 11 --
Prof. (Emeritus) Samuel K. Amoako 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, page 13, (vii) under clause 49, the second paragraph, a word is missing there. The quotation: “Seeds which are confiscated shall be disposed in
accordance with directives of the court.” The “of” is missing -- “. . . disposed of
. . .”
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Thank you.
Pages 15 - 16 --
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 11:20 a.m.
you Madam Speaker. Page 14, clause 53 under xv. There is something there I do not understand. It says “accordingly negatived”. I do not know what that means.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Clause 52?
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 11:20 a.m.
Item (
xv), clause 53 -- “accordingly negatived”.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Not accepted, is it
not? Not accepted.
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 11:20 a.m.
I do not know. I need guidance on that.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, “accordingly negatived”, what is the meaning of it?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, what it means is when the Question was put, the amendment was lost. So it is just stating it in other words.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
That is how I
understand it. It was not accepted.
So we are on page l7 now.
Page l8 --
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 11:30 p.m.
Speaker, page 16, under (xxv), the second paragraph, again, the quotation “ensure the establishment and maintenance of a national seed security stock at all time”. The ‘s' is missing -- “. . . at all times”.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
Yes, thank you.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
Let us get that
again. Were you on page l7? Hon Member, was it page l7 you were referring to? Your last intervention, page l7?
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 11:30 p.m.
Page l7,
it is (xxvi).
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
Clause what?
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 11:30 p.m.
55, line 5, the last word of line 5, which may “be used in case of acute seed shortage”; what we have is “shortages”. The “s” is not necessary.
Mr J. B. Aidoo 11:30 p.m.
Page l8, (xxx), clause
56, the proposed amendment should read: “. . . two other persons nominated by the President, at least one of whom shall be a woman”. The “at least”; did not come.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
That was what was
said, “at least”, all right.
Pages l9, 22 --
Mr Justice Joe Appiah 11:30 p.m.
Speaker, page 22, ‘Miss Beatrice Bernice Boateng. It should be “Mrs Beatrice Bernice Boateng”, then (xi) “Mr. Theophelus Tetteh Chaie”, the “Theophilus”, instead of “I” they used “e”. “Theophilus Tetteh Chaie”.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
“The following
Hon Members were present”, how do you know it is “Miss” and not “Mrs”?
Mr Justice Joe Appiah 11:30 p.m.
Speaker, I think she said it here that she is “Miss”, she is not “Mrs”. Last year she said it here - [Interruptions] -- yes, it was recorded. It is in the Hansard.
Mr. Joseph B. Aidoo 11:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
he is right. On page 3, paragraph 84, it is recorded, that is, “Ms Beatrice Bernice Boateng”.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
He did not say
“Miss”, he said “Ms”.
Mr Justice J. Appiah 11:30 p.m.
It is “Ms”. It
is not “Miss”.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
What was put
down on that page is “Ms.” Is “Ms” the same as “Mrs”?
Mr Appiah 11:30 p.m.
No Madam Speaker, it
can be “Miss” or “Mrs”.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member,
so it is “Ms” we have to put down here, not “Mrs”?
Mr Appiah 11:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, “Ms”.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
Yes, thank you.
Pages 23 - 24 --
Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 p.m.
Item number 2, the last (viii), I see on that list, everybody has a title and there is a name “Papa Owusu- Ankomah”. I am not sure whether the “Papa” is the title or the name.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
Actually, we need to know; that has occupied my mind too. Is “Papa” the title because we have a lot of Papas here, do we not? Is it Mr Papa - [Laughter.]
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I have been advised that according to our traditional norms, adding the prefix “Mr” may be inappropriate. However, if it is Honourable, then there may be nothing wrong with it. I am comfortable with Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Member of Parliament for Sekondi - [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
Well, would the title “Ms”, “Mr” and “Miss” not help us? Are we to assume that everybody would
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, that is the point. I will take it under advisement and engage in the necessary consultations and at the next Meeting of Parliament, I will give you the appropriate answer.
Thank you.
Madam Speaker 11:30 p.m.
Then we will know how to behave with other “Papa” and “Mama” cases here - [Laughter.] Thank you, Hon Member. Yes, pages 24, 25, 26,
27, 28, 29 --
Yes, pages 25 - 29 --
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, page 29, item 1, “Opening” - “The Committee paid a working visit to the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited (GTFCL) at 11.30 p.m.” One would be wondering what that Committee would have been doing at that hour, so it should be rectified.
Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Is it “a.m.” then?
Mr H. Iddrisu 11:40 a.m.
I should think so,
Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Pages 30 32.
Dr Owusu A. Akoto 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
page 31, 3 (iv), it should be “Ms Nyante”, not “Nyonte” of ADB.
Mr J. B. Aidoo 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, page
32, paragraph 2, that is, “Attendance”, (ix), the name there should be “Mr Ofosu Asamoah”, that is the Hon Member for Kade and not “Asamoah Ofosu”. It should be “Mr Ofosu Asamoah”.
Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Pages 33 35 --
The Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday,

23rd March, 2010 as corrected is adopted as the true record of proceedings.

We move to Official Report of Monday,

15th March, 2010.

Any corrections?
Mr Ambrose P. Dery 11:40 a.m.
I am sorry, Madam Speaker. This is a slight amendment of the Official Report. At column 2198, paragraph 3, line 3, there is stated “Rev. Ollennu”. It should be “Justice Ollennu”, not “Rev.”.
Madam Speaker, that is all.
Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
All right.
As corrected, the Official Report of Monday, 15th March, 2010 is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Majority Leader (Mr Cletus A. Avoka) 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, as indicated earlier, this august House is expected to rise today and to resume on the 18th of May, 2010. Against this background, the Business Committee met yesterday and arranged Business of the House from the 18th of May, 2010 to the 21st of May, 2010.
Madam Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 11:40 a.m.
Arrangement of Business
Madam Speaker, Questions may be asked of various Ministers during the week. The relevant Ministers expected to respond to Questions would be informed earlier enough to be able to prepare them.
Madam Speaker may allow Statements duly admitted to be made in the House. Bills, Papers and Reports
Madam Speaker, Bills may be presented
to the House for consideration and those already before the House may be taken through the various stages. Papers and committee reports may also be laid.
Motions and Resolutions
Madam Speaker, motions may be debated and thei r consequent ia l Resolutions, if any, taken during the week.
Outstanding Business
Madam Speaker, all outstanding Business of the House would be carried over to the next Meeting, beginning Tuesday, 18th May, 2010. However, Hon Members with Questions which they consider to have been overtaken by events may wish to withdraw such Questions by notifying the Table Office for appropriate action to be taken.
Madam Speaker, committees could however take advantage of the recess period to deliberate on their outstanding referrals or business.
Commemorative Days
Madam Speaker, the Business C o m m i t t e e a d v i s e s C o m m i t t e e Chairpersons/Ranking Members to prepare and make Statements on ceremonial or commemorative days which fall during the recess period when the House resumes Sitting on the 18th of May, 2010.
Madam Speaker, the Business Committee wishes to express its gratitude and appreciation to Madam Speaker and all Hon Members of this House and staff for their support and co-operation and the good work that we have done during the period of this Meeting. The Committee wishes that your goodself and Hon Members would return in good health to discharge Business of the House.

Madam Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2), the Committee submits to this Honourable House, the Business of each Sitting of the week and the order in which it shall be taken.


Laying of Papers



Committee Sittings.



Laying of Papers


Committee Sittings.


Laying of Papers



Committee Sittings. Friday, 21st May 2010


Laying of Papers



Committee Sittings.
Mr Charles S. Hodogbey 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I would like the Hon Leader to explain what “commemorative days” are. Then, the last time when we came back, Questions were put the very first day, which was very unusual because some Hon Members were not notified that their Questions would be coming that very first day. I would like to know if the same procedure would be adopted when we come back.
Mr Avoka 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, “comme- morative days” are days set aside to celebrate or recognise particular events or occasions. Under such circumstances, Hon Members may normally make Statements indicating or in support of the day and sensitising the people about that issue. So I know the Hon Member knows and more so, he has been hearing Hon Ministers and Members making Statements in respect of events. Those are commemorative days.
With regard to the second issue he raised, I did not hear it very well but if he can link up with the Leadership and the Clerks at the Table Office, we will be able to sort out his difficulties.
Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, I take it that the Business Statement as presented is adopted.
Mr Avoka 11:50 a.m.
Item 4 -- the Hon
Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing is in the House to answer Questions.
Madam Speaker 11:50 a.m.
I thought there
was an agreement to go to item 6 - so that the Committee could work on this -- before we came in? Has it changed? I was not told.
Mr Avoka 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, there
was a development that came along after we had left your office. It appears that 6 (a) would be deffered and will not be taken today for that matter.
Madam Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Well, I did not
know. So we are moving on to Questions then?
Is the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing here? Can you put him in his chair then?
Mr Avoka 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, let me
add that it is in respect of not only 6 (a) but 6 (a) (i), (ii) and (iii) will all be deffered.
Madam Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Majority
Leader, is the agreement still standing? That we ask constituency-specific Questions? I think you will have to tell the House. Is it still the case?
Mr Avoka 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, we have
agreed that in view of the fact that we are rising today and the fact that at the end of the day, there will be ceremonial Statements by Madam Speaker and the Leadership, we have decided that the Question time will be strict -- according to the rules. We will want to crave the indulgence of Madam Speaker and Hon Colleagues that Questions that are constituency-specific should be limited to the Hon Member who has asked the Question and Madam Speaker will as usual require the Hon Member to ask three supplementary questions. So we want the co-operation of everybody this morning so
that we can rise early and prepare.
Thank you very much.
Mr Hodogbey 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I
seem to agree with the Majority Leader but water systems are not coterminous with only one constituency. Therefore, in this particular case, I think Members can contribute to the Question instead of limiting it to only one particular area.
Mr Stephen K. B. Manu 11:50 a.m.
Speaker, I remember this matter of constituency-specific Questions came up one day and I made a contribution which your Speakership approved of. That, the fact that we are talking about, for example, Ablekuma South does not mean that other people in the Chamber may not be interested parties in issues in Ablekuma South. There may be even citizens of Ablekuma South who may be living in, for example, Tema.
So if a matter comes up for discussion for Ablekuma South and such a person is not allowed to speak because he is not resident in Ablekuma South, I do not think we are being fair and you approved of this. So I do not know what has changed that this new directive is coming. So I support the Hon Member for his submission.
Mr Ambrose P. Dery 11:50 a.m.
Speaker, I think that generally, I agree with the Hon Member, except to say that this is restricted to this period, namely -- the last few weeks and I believe that it is not a general rule that will apply all the time and the Majority Leader is particularly talking of today that we are constrained and we hope that we would keep the rule just for today and see how we manage it.
Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, inasmuch as I agree with what is being done, my Deputy Minority Leader has already underscored the fact that it is not the practice in most

jurisdictions, in most Parliaments.

If indeed, we are short of time and we must make progress because of what is pending before us, then may I suggest that the Answers are here anyway, so next time we can step them down and the Minister can answer them the next time. What happens everyday on the last day, we force ourselves to take Questions which are not urgent; they will not kill anybody and then at the end of the day, we have Madam Speaker speaking to us at about 7 p.m., 9 p.m., half of which most Hon Members will not be listening.

I really suggest that since the Leadership will be speaking and your goodself will be speaking, we can step it down and go straight to the business of the closure of the House properly. And then maybe, with a 100-day's notice, he can come back and tell us. I sincerely believe that truly, an issue may come up which is replicated on the other side, so let us step down everything and go to the closing procedures, what we have to do, listen to the speeches and we go on.

Madam Speaker, if you take a look

at the Business Statement for when we resume, there is hardly anything there and we wait until the last minute then we pack things on -- I am most un-comfortable with this business of packing the last day with so many things. We can take it the very first week when we come back. I do not see the urgency of these Questions especially that we have the Answers written on the Order Paper anyway, which everybody has a copy. So we can step them down and move on to other things and then make progress.

Thank you.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
Speaker, indeed, we are not going strictly by the rules. The rules provide that you admit the Questions and once you have admitted them and the Members have
been informed accordingly, I think it is only fair to them that we ask them to file their Questions and the Minister happily is here with us.
Madam Speaker, we have only fashioned this arrangement where we have agreed that Members ask the Questions and ask not more than three supplementary questions because of the exigencies of the time. Madam Speaker, you yourself cannot proceed in all fairness beyond 2 o'clock. In fact, that would even be too late for you. Appropriately, between 1 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. you should be rising and before you do rise, you should be giving your remarks.
So Madam Speaker, that is why we have fashioned these new arrangements. It is certainly estranged to our rules of procedure. But it is for the exigencies of time.
Madam Speaker, with that in mind, may I plead that we truncate this debate and allow for Members in whose names these Questions stand to proceed to ask the Questions and then we move on.
Mr Owusu-Agyemang 11:50 a.m.
Speaker, I was making an appeal. I think my Leader is completely off target. I was making an appeal that in view of the time; I am not complaining, the decision lies in your bosom, so I cannot make a decision. That was my suggestion and that was all I did.
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, I think I agreed with your last request that, why we should load the programme with Questions on the last day. We did not talk about that in the Business Statement for the week before because, I also, when I see it on the last day, wonder why we load it with Questions

and we assume to rise before two o'clock. So that is a legitimate point. Next time, our Leadership should look at it because if it is there and Hon Members have come, then tempers are high when they are not allowed to carry on, understandably, and it pushes pressure up for all of us and we should close on a healthy note.

So if they agree, we will go on and take

the three supplementary questions.
Mr Avoka noon
Madam Speaker, I just
want to assure Hon Colleagues that some of the issues in the Order Paper today are not going to be taken, for example, the Plants Bill. So I am confident that we would not close at midnight as in the past. So as the Hon Minority Leader said, it is not a water-tight rule. I expect that when we resume in May, it would be opened to Hon Members to ask Questions whether from the same constituency or not. So it is just because of the exigencies of the moment. I appeal to Hon Members to co- operate so that we can rise early.
Against that background, I think the Hon Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing should answer the Questions because some of them are time-bound and Hon Members are going home and they want their constituents to know before they get home that, in fact, they are concerned about their welfare.
Madam Speaker noon
Yes, so the first
Question stands in the name of Hon Daniel Botwe, Member of Parliament for Okere.
Hon Member, put your Question now.





Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) noon
Madam Speaker, Okere Constituency enjoys water supply from the Kpong (Old) Water Treatment Plant. Currently, the plant produces about six million gallons a day (mgd) instead of the rated capacity of 10 million gallons a day due to the fact that the plant is old. Water is pumped to Akorley Booster Station and then pumped to Adukrom Booster Station before it is finally pumped to the Akwapim Ridge for distribution.
The same plant supplies water to the Prampram area, south of Kpong and Atimpoku to the north of Kpong. Due to the low level of production, water is rationed between the Okere area and Prampram weekly, which is not sufficient.
Messrs Tahal Group BV is currently implementing a project to rehabilitate and improve the water supply situation in the area. Works started on the 18th of October, 2009 and is expected to be completed by October, 2012.
The works involved are the following:
1. design and engineering con- struction of new 10 mgd water treatment plant;
2. construction of 59 kilometres of 600 mm diameter, 7 kilometres o f 400mm d iame te r, 10 kilometres of 250 mm diameter, 21.9 kilometres of 200 diameter
Mr Botwe noon
Madam Speaker, I
thought I would be magnanimous; Hon Members are concerned with time. But basically, the problem is not only about the low level of production, they also have a problem with irregular supply of electricity, so that even the weekly rationing, people do not receive it. Would the Hon Minister assure the House that beyond the steps being taken to improve the water supply, they would also tackle the issue of irregular electricity supply so that even the weekly rationing that we get, the people would benefit from that?
Mr Bagbin noon
Madam Speaker, it is
true that the unreliability of the power system is affecting the distribution of water and we are definitely discussing with the Ministry of Energy to improve the situation. But in the meantime, we need also to increase the volume of water produced. I will not give an assurance but I can only pray that we improve the energy situation so that it can support us in pumping water to the consumers. I am not in charge of the energy sector and that is why I cannot give any such assurance.
Mr Botwe noon
Madam Speaker, my last question.
Madam Speaker, from the response of the Hon Minister, would he consider, in the steps that are being taken, that we
Mr Bagbin noon
Madam Speaker, the
critical problem is not the lack of capacity to hold the water, it is the volume of water that is produced, that is the problem. Therefore, you need to produce that water and then create a room to store it and that is where the reservoir comes in.
So if we build the reservoir first, it would be empty, there would be no water there, it would just be empty because the volume of water that comes over there is not that much to be able to fill the reservoir, and you need to be looking for power again to be pumping the water into the new reservoir,which is going to create more problems.
So this is the best way that the technical experts believe we should implement the programme.
Mim-Feteagya Drainage Works (Completion)
Q. 369. Mr Robert Sarfo-Mensah asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when construction works on Mim-Feteagya drainage works would be completed.
Mr Bagbin noon
Madam Speaker, construction of the Mim-Feteagya drainage works was commenced in May 2007 with HIPC funds to be completed in six months. Works executed to date is just 34 per cent and has come to a halt due to funding difficulties. The HIPC funds have
dried out. The Ministry recognizes the need to complete the works and is seeking funds from other sources to complete the works.
Mr Sarfo-Mensah noon
Madam Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he said that the Ministry is seeking funds to complete the works. Would he tell this House when the search will yield a positive result? [Pause.]
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Minister, the Hon Member is asking, when?
Mr Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I actually did not hear whether he said where or when -- [Interruption] - When! Oh! My good Friend, it is very difficult to say, when. We have located some sources and those sources are quite reliable, they have been supporting us for some time now. Countries like Belgium, The Netherlands and the rest and they are still willing to support in that direction. But when we can tie it and put it on stream, it will be difficult for me to say.
Mr Sarfo-Mensah 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
this project is very dear to the hearts of the people of Mim. So I would like to make a special plea to the Minister that by whatever means he can, to complete this project for the people of Mim, we would be very appreciative of it.
Mr Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I thank
him very much, but the project is very dear to the heart of the Ministry too and I believe to all Ghanaians.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
The next Question
stands in the name of Hon Simons Addai (Techiman South) -- [Pause] -- Shall we move on then?
The next Question is from Hon
Theophilus Tetteh Chaie (Ablekuma
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.


Occupants of Nkrumah Flats at Laterbiokorshie

Q. 371. Mr Theophilus Tetteh Chaie asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing what measures the Ministry had put in place to ensure that the forceful ejection of occupants of the Nkrumah flats at Laterbiokorshie did not occur in the future.
Mr Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing convened a meeting with illegal occupants of the bungalows in the Kwame Nkrumah Flats Complex to end their illegal occupation of the bungalows and I believe that the action that was taken is what my Colleague is referring to in this direction.
A meeting was held with all the occupants of these flats and mutually agreed solutions were found. For example, the meeting agreed to regularize the stay for some of the occupants who qualified by their grades to occupy house types. In the meantime, the Ministry has issued out temporary allocation letters to all the civil and public servants who are illegally residing in the bungalows . They were all given the temporary allocation letters.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing has met with the National Security staff in charge of estate and housing and have agreed that all activities by the National Security that affect the bungalows and flats under the jurisdiction of the Ministry have to be brought to the notice of the Ministry for the due process to be followed before ejection of such occupants. I think that is what we are doing now so that people are not just physically forcibly thrown out into the streets. I think it will not occur in the
future again.
Drainage Problems at Kwapong in Asunafo South
Q. 372. Mr George Boakye asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing what plans the Ministry had to solve the serious drainage problems facing the people of Kwapong in the Asunafo South Constituency.
Mr Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, let me first take this opportunity to thank the Hon Member for drawing the attention of the Ministry to this problem. It is his Question that drew our attention to it and the Ministry has directed the Hydrological Services Department to study the problem and submit a proposal for the consideration of the Ministry.
Mr Boakye 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want
to thank the Minister for his response. But I want to know from him whether he has given the Hydrological Services Department a deadline within which to submit the proposal.
Mr Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, that
is so, we have given them a maximum of six months.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members,
I have admitted one Statement from Hon (Alhaji) Ibrahim Dey Abubakari, Member of Parliament for Salaga.
Yes, Hon Leader?
Mr Avoka 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, if I will
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Leader, I will
come to you, but there was one Question and I hear it is ready to be asked.
Yes, Hon Simons Addai (Techiman South.)
Prof. Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, we had a chat about this and I thought he was going to be here. He has given me the mandate to ask the Question on his behalf.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, that is all I
need, if he has given you that then carry on.
Tanoso Dam (Expansion)
Q. 370. Prof. Christopher Ameyaw-
Akumfi (on behalf of Mr Simons Addai) asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing what plans the Ministry had to expand the Tanoso Dam and extend water from the dam to the newly developed areas of the Techiman Municipality.
Mr Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, under the Strategic Investment Plan of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Techiman water supply is to be expanded to meet the current and future water demands up to the year 2025.
Currently, GWCL is in a serious discussion with companies from Korea, China and USA to finalize funding arrangements for the execution of the project. In fact, the Techiman water supply system was seriously discussed during my recent trip to Korea. We are doing this because we want to take whichever comes first so that we can execute the project on time.
Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi 12:10 p.m.
Speaker, can the Minister indicate the radius to be covered from this new arrangement or these new discussions he has gone through?
Mr Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, what
I know is that the programme talks about
Techiman and its environs, which meant that the surrounding villages will be covered, and the project is to expand the volume of water produced. The amount is quite substantial and I believe that if the project is completed, Techiman and the villages surrounding it will not have any problem with potable water supply.
Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, a final one - even with the existing system, gently rising areas still do not get water even within the immediate part of the municipality. Can the Hon Minister assure us that water supply, even to the current area, would be improved as we look forward to the expansion?
Mr Bagbin 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, yes, what
we are doing to improve the water situation in Techiman is to try and rationalize and sanitise what is happening to remove some of the constraints which sometimes are inflicted by other consumers. So, the distribution network is being policed to make sure that people are not tampering with the system.
We are also trying to get our Hon Colleagues, as I stated early on, in the energy sector to be able to give us a reliable source of power to pump the water that is produced to the consumers. These may be some of the hiccups that are preventing even some areas in the town from getting the water. It could also be that some water vendors have hijacked the pipeline and then using it for other purposes. That was why I said we were trying to monitor and police the network to make sure that people do not vandalise our network to the disadvantage of the majority.
So, this is what is being done and if we succeed in doing that with the support of the residents of Techiman, there will be
Mr Bagbin 12:20 p.m.

some equity and easement of the crisis in the town.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
That is all right.
Hon Minister, that is the end of
Questions for you. We thank you very much for coming to answer our Questions.
Hon Majority Leader, I was moving on
to Statements.
Mr Avoka 12:20 p.m.
Yes, we have one Statement
to make, it can be taken.
STATEMENTS 12:20 p.m.

Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Thank you.
We would have two from either side because of lack of time.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member, any contribution?
Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu (IND. - Bekwai) 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I congratulate my Friend, who was my Director at DVLA, for the Statement congratulating the people of the Gonjaland. Indeed, the peaceful installation of the Yagbonwura in the Northern Region of Ghana is one good news coming out of that region regarding chieftaincy in recent times.
Indeed, there is no dispute that chieftaincy is the institution around which indigenous Ghana is woven. It is, therefore, heartbreaking when often, chieftaincy becomes the source of or the reason for which people, apparently, of the same origin visit violence on one another. That is why I again join my Hon Colleague in congratulating the people of the Gonjaland.
In recent times, as a result of the violence that we witnessed because of
disputes around chieftaincy, people have even gone as far as to claim that they are republicans, so to speak, and claim abolishing of the chieftaincy institution. I think any such call is misplaced.
Chieftaincy is the bedrock of this country and republicanism came to meet chieftaincy. What we should all aim at is investing our knowledge and our expertise in ensuring peace at every level, ensuring that the people who owe allegiance to any stool or skin at any point in time strive to ensure that the processes leading to the installation or enskinment are done in a peaceful manner and in the end, chieftaincy becomes the source of peace and the source of development as it comes.
I congratulate the Yagbonwura and his people and I wish him well.
Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Minister for Communications (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement ably made by Hon Ibrahim Dey Abubakari, Hon Member of Parliament for Salaga on the ascendency of a new Yagbonwura, King of Gonjaland.
In commending him for this Statement, Madam Speaker, I believe it is apt to suggest that other traditional authorities, particularly in northern Ghana can learn some very useful lessons from the processes that informed the determination of a new King for Gonjaland. Regrettably and unfortunately, northern Ghana which remains one of the most deprived and under-privileged
is also a major theatre of such conflicts, particularly unacceptable chieftaincy conflicts.
Madam Speaker, one notes with satisfaction, not just the presence of political heavyweights, His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party and presidential candidate in the last election, accompanied by his running mate to witness this important ceremony.
I do hope and pray for God's guidance and success for Yiram Tuntumba BoreeEssa and to pray further that he will assist Government to bring lasting peace in northern Ghana.
One recalls with some satisfaction the role that the late Yagbonwura Bawa Dosi played in supporting the Asantehene in managing troubled Dagbon following the murder of the Ya Na.
Madam Speaker, I had the personal privilege of visiting the late Yagbonwura before he departed for his eternal heavenly abode. And indeed, he was one of the three eminent chiefs working together with the Asantehene to find a lasting solution to Dagbon. We are still not there.
I believe sincerely that the root causes of many of the conflicts in northern Ghana boil down to the vexed issue of succession, when non-royals want to ascend to thrones that they do not belong to and when people deliberately and for selfish reasons sometimes circumvent known procedures and time-tested traditions and cultures in order to ascend to thrones that they do not belong to.
I hope that the people in northern Ghana will allow peace and tranquility to be established in this country and that our traditional rulers would work very closely with the Government to deal with
Minister for Communications (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:30 p.m.

all trouble-makers. We need to end this culture of impunity and deal decisively and ruthlessly with all persons who cause trouble, who want to undermine the peace and stability of the country in the name of chieftaincy.

Madam Speaker, in concluding, it

reminds me of a very popular statement by one of my lecturers then as a student; whether or not we should not encourage some further research on the withering away of the chieftaincy institution. Traditionally, they were known to have the obligation of maintaining law and order even administering justices. It appears that modernisation is shaking the roots of this very important institution which should have been an ally in ensuring that our local government system works very, very effectively.

Let me assure that Government would deal with some of the emerging conflicts and ensure that law and order are maintained.

I thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity.

Mr Ambrose P. Dery (NPP --

Lawra/Nandom): Madam Speaker, I want to support the Statement eloquently made by the Hon Member for Salaga, Hon Ibrahim Dey Abubakari and to congratulate the new Yagbonwura on his enskinment. It is also refreshing that from the Northern Region and from the North in general, we have an example of a traditional set-up where succession is streamlined, is understood and codified and there is no problem. Each time that you have a Yagbonwura ascending to the skin, it is clear who, or the skin that would provide the next Yagbonwura and I think that is the kind of order that we should seek to achieve in other parts of the North.

Fortunately, we have research

departments of the Houses of Chiefs and these institutions are supposed to assist in researching and preserving the best of our traditions with a view to reducing these into writing as codified customary law so that succeeding generations would be guided. We do know that the oral tradition of passing down history is at risk now because most of the old people have died and as you begin to pass down customs by oral tradition, there are distortions along the way.

So I am happy that we have had yet another successful ascension to the Yagbon skin and I hope that the rest of the North would learn from that.

Madam Speaker, we must not run away from that, that the rest of us, especially politicians are stakeholders in these matters. Just as the Hon Member on the other side has said, at the enskinment, we had representatives from the two main political parties. At the burial of the late Yagbonwura, we had an equally high level representation with the former President, President J. A. Kufuor and also the sitting Vice President present, not to talk of the parliamentary delegation on which both sides were represented.

So, as long as politicians give support without interfering, then we can have these success stories. And in saying that, we must recognise that the chieftaincy institution has more positives than negatives. Coming to think of it, it is just a handful of skins or successions that have gone wrong. At the end of the day because of the deaths, the extent of destruction, the loss of life, in those cases, we tend to feel that such a noble traditional institution with many positive aspects should have outlived its usefulness.

That is far from the truth, because as we recognise the former Yagbonwura, and I would believe that the current Yagbonwura

would become part of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs who are working hard to achieve some settlement in Dagbon.

Unfortunately, within the last two days, we have had yet another incident of a chief in the North being killed. I think that we should begin to work together, to ensure that when these things happen, we on both sides of the political divide see them as national issues. We should not play partisan politics with them. We should not score cheap political points by saying that one side or the other is part of it. We must begin to see these things holistically and see these as national issues.

So I hope that while congratulating the Yagbonwura, steps would be taken to ensure that in that other case where there have been deaths and indeed, also down South around Kasoa, that we do work hard to make sure that we bring justice in those situations, and that together, we would work as a united country and that our chiefs would have their role to play and the shining examples of the Yagbonwura, the Nayiri and the Asantehene, among others, would be examples for the rest of Ghana to emulate.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Thank you Hon Member. I think that is the end of Statements time.
Hon Leader, what is the next item? We have to close before 2.00 o'clock.
Mr Avoka 12:30 p.m.
Yes, we will close at 2.00 o'clock. So we have items 10 and 11 left. We would take item 11 first.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
We have to keep our eye on the time; today, by 2.00 o'clock, we end.
  • Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, which item are we taking?
    Mr Avoka 12:40 p.m.
    We will take item number11 at page 17 of the Order Paper. That would be faster. After that we will take the Alternative Dispute Resolution Bill through the Third Reading; that would also last us some few minutes and we would proceed.
    MOTIONS 12:40 p.m.

    Mr Joseph Y. Chireh 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Petroleum Agreement among GOG, GNPC, Challenger Minerals, et cetera
    Mr Moses Asaga 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I
    beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum
    Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Pet ro leum Corpora t ion (GNPC), Challenger Minerals (Ghana) Limited, Afex Oil (Ghana) Limited and Tap Oil (Ghana) Limited in respect of the Offshore Accra Contract Area (within the Accra- Keta Basin).
    Mr Speaker, your Committee met with GNPC and then the Ministry of Energy and this is the Report that came out of the meeting.
    1.0 Introduction
    The Petroleum Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation on one hand, and Challenger Minerals (Ghana) Limited, Afex Oil (Ghana) Limited and Top Oil (Ghana) Limited on the other hand, for the conduct of exploration and production operations in the offshore Accra Contract Area, was laid before the House on Friday, 19th March, 2010 and referred to the Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report pursuant to article 103 (3) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 188 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House.
    Following the referral, the Committee met on Monday, 22nd March 2010 with the Hon Minister for Energy and officials from the Ministry and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and considered the Agreement. 2.0 Acknowledgement
    The Committee extends its gratitude to the Hon Minister for Energy, Dr Joseph Oteng Adjei, and officials from the Ministry of Energy and GNPC for attending upon the Committee to assist in the deliberations.
    3.0 Reference Documents
    The Committee made reference to
    the following documents during the deliberations:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana;
    ii. The Standing Orders of the House; and
    iii. Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law, 1984 (PNDCL
    4.0 Background
    This Petroleum Agreement was negotiated within the framework of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law, 1984, (PNDCL 184) the Petroleum Income Tax Law, 1987 (PNDCL 188); the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490); the Environment Impact Assessment Regulations, 1999, L.I. 1652; and the Model Petroleum Agreement which was the main guide.
    5.0. The Applicants
    Tap Oil (Ghana) Limited was incorporated in Ghana in 2008 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tap Oil Limited, an exploration and production company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Tap Oil Limited is partnered by reputable oil companies such as BHP Billiton, Exxon/Mobil, ENI, Apache and Kufpec, in exploration and production in Australia using the latest available technology. Tap Oil's reserves are estimated at about 40 million barrels of oil equivalent.
    Challenger Minerals (Ghana) Limited was incorporated in Ghana in 2008. Its parent company, Challenger Minerals Inc. is an exploration and production company with offices in Houston, Texas and
    Aberdeen, Scotland. Challenger Minerals Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transocean Inc., one of the largest offshore drilling companies in the world. Challenger acts as the operator in several fields in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea. It also operates offshore projects in Nigeria and Mauritania.
    Afex Oil (Ghana) Limited was also incorporated in Ghana in 2008. Afex Oil Ghana is wholly owned by Afex of Ghana which is turn is wholly owned by Afex Natural Resources Ltd. Afex Natural Resources Limited together with Afex International Inc., South Atlantic Natural Resources Ltd. (SANR) and Afex North Atlantic Ltd. are owned by Afex SANR, the general partner and owner.
    SANR is the central entity within the group wehil Afex International is the exploration arm. SANR is a private company incorporated in Texas, USA. SANR has been involved in petroleum
    exploration and production for more than 16 years with focus on the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa and has made significant discoveries in Equitorial Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire.
    6.0 The Interest Structure
    The interest structure of the partners is as follows:
    Tap Oil (Ghana) Ltd. -- 36 per cent participating interest and will be
    Mr Moses Asaga 12:40 p.m.
    c) Surface Area Rental In addition, the following surface rental charges will accrue to the State during the
    exploration and development phase of the contract:
    Table 3 10.0 Training and Technology Support
    TABLE HERE 12.40 P.M.
    11.0 Decommissioning Fund
    A provision has been made for the establishment of a Decommissioning and Environmental Management Fund which will be managed by the contractor and GNPC upon the coming into force of the Agreement. A portion of the revenues from production will be set aside to build up the Fund which will be used to finance the decommissioning plan and any environmental accident that may occur.
    12.0 Relinquishment Conditions
    The Agreement requires that on or the expiration of the initial exploration period, the Applicant is required to relinquish 20 per cent of the Contract area if the contractor elects to acquire 600 sq kilometres of new 3D seismic data or 40 per cent if the contractor elects to drill on the basis of the 2D data. At the end of the first extension period, the contractor shall relinquish a further 25 per cent of the contract area. On the expiration of the second extension period, the Applicant shall relinquish the remainder of the
    Contract Area excluding development and production areas.
    1 3 . 0 O b s e r v a t i o n s a n d Recommendations
    13.1 Development of the Voltaian Basin
    The Committee was informed that the objective of the Government and GNPC is to spread and diversify oil exploration and production across the length and breadth of the country. This is based on the belief that there are hydrocarbon deposits in different parts of the country. On the basis of the above, the Ministry and GNPC are encouraging exploration within the Accra- Keta and Voltarian Basins. The Committee observed that this Agreement is, therefore, in line with this objective of Government and GNPC. Ratification of this Agreement will bring to two, the number of valid licences for exploration and production currently operating within the Accra-Keta Basin.
    13.2 Due Diligence

    The Committee was informed that GNPC had conducted appropriate due diligence on the three companies applying for the block. As much as the Committee does not doubt the competency of GNPC to conduct such due diligence, it is the considered view of the Committee that in the interest of objectivity and fairness, GNPC should engage the services of an independent organization to do due diligence on all prospective companies in the future.

    13.3 Training and Technology Support

    The Committee further observed that the contractor under this Agreement is required to pay about US$2,300,000.00 to GNPC in respect of training and technology support within the exploration period. The Committee observed that similar clauses exist in other agreements that have already been ratified by Parliament. It is the view of the Committee that in addition to GNPC, there are other agencies of State that urgently need to build their capacities to enable them perform their roles effectively within the industry.

    Some of these agencies include the country's tertiary educational institutions, the revenue agencies, the Judiciary, the Attorney-General's office, the Legislature, among others. The Committee, therefore, urges GNPC to endeavour to use part of the resources earmarked for training and technology transfer to support these institutions to build their capacities. It is further recommended that GNPC should report to the Committee on the utilization of these funds in addition to other funds from earlier Agreements ratified by Parliament. GNPC should also periodically report to the Committee on Mines and Energy on the utilization of such funds in future.

    13 .4 Standardizat ion of Block Size Allocation

    The Committee requested information on block size allocation and wished to know if there were standard sizes given to exploration companies. GNPC informed the Committee that the range was between square 2,000 kilometres and 3,000 square kilometres and actual allocation depended on several factors.

    13.5 Fiscal Benefits

    The Committee wishes to advise the Ministry and GNPC to endeavour to improve on the financial benefits to the country in the post-oil discovery regime.

    13.6 Local Participation

    Information available to the Committee indicates that there was only one Ghanaian board member in one of the companies but no local shareholder or partner in this Agreement. In view of the call for increased local participation in the oil and gas sector, the Committee urges the GNPC to endeavour to encourage foreign exploration companies to partner local companies in their operations.

    14.0 Conclusion

    The Committee recommends to this Honourable House to adopt its Report and ratify the Agreement in accordance with article 268 of the 1992 Constitution.

    Respectfully submitted. Mr Joseph K. Adda (NPP - Navrongo

    Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the motion on the floor and to urge my Hon Colleagues to vote for its adoption.

    Mr Speaker, the Petroleum Agreement whose ratification this Report seeks to do is a fairly straightforward and standard one. The fiscal terms are within the range that we have set as a nation that have been negotiated on over time and they

    are acceptable.

    Mr Speaker, block size which has now been standardized between 200 square kilometres and 3,000 square kilometres is also within range. The conditions that have been set which include the interpretation of 3D seismic data over a 600 square kilometres area, the drilling of at least, one well are also conditions that are standard and have been applied to other petroleum agreements.

    Mr Speaker, on the consortium or the partners who have sought to undertake this exploration, due diligence has been carried out on all three companies and information reaching us through the GNPC is that they all have the financial wherewithal to be able to undertake this venture. They also have the technical expertise and so together they are well equipped to be able to explore and perhaps, help us as a nation to discover more oil in commercial quantities.

    Mr Speaker, there were some concerns on due diligence that needed to be carried out. Indeed, over the period, the GNPC seeks to be improving in some of the functions that it has been performing with regard to negotiating petroleum agreements and bringing them to the attention of this House. But the Committee insisted that we should try and get them to engage an independent company that is specialized in undertaking due diligence to ensure that what comes before us is bona fide and is acceptable globally.

    Mr Speaker, the Committee was also concerned about the training components on the agreement and that is the aspect on which the GNPC benefits financially from the exploration companies. Indeed, the standard amount that they have been collecting has been in the range of US$200,000 per year over the exploration period.

    Whereas these funds have been utilized to train some of the GNPC officials as well as other agencies within the country, the Committee found it necessary to advise them to report to this House on how they have been utilizing these funds and to insist that there is transparency in the utilization of the funds.

    Mr Speaker, we are particularly concerned about the ICT aspect of the activities of the national oil company. Mr Speaker, I recall the last time that we ratified an agreement in this House; we tried to bring to the attention of the House that the ICT industry is growing by leaps and bounds, if I may say so. Ghana is lagging behind, and therefore, substantial amount of this fund should go into equipping the Ghanaians to be able to handle their oil operations when we start tapping that oil.

    Mr Speaker, the GNPC accepted to do that and said it would also report to this House on the way they have been using these funds.

    Mr Speaker, I think what is really exciting about this Agreement is that, we are moving away from the west coast of the country and going to the east side, and indeed, this is part of the objective that the Chairman of the Committee mentioned that it is a broad objective of Government.

    Therefore, for us to be able to get companies that are prepared to look at the eastern coast of this country where we have all been informed that there is a potential for us to tap hydrocarbons, I think it is a welcome idea.

    There are also plans for us to be able to move up country along the Volta Basin and ensure that we undertake the various
    Mr Moses Asaga 12:40 p.m.

    tasks that are necessary for us to be able to discover oil in those areas.

    Mr Speaker, as indicated earlier, this is a pretty straightforward and standard agreement, and all the terms fall within the acceptable limits.

    But one other aspects that the Committee raised regarding this Agreement was that, there was not enough local participation; given what is rife from the country today, there should be active local participation, and that we should take an equity stake on the exploration agreements, we did not see any shareholding by Ghanaians in this Agreement.

    What we did notice was that, there is only one Ghanaian Board member on one of the companies. And so, we urged the GNPC to try in the future to get Ghanaians involved to take equity participation in these exploration activities.

    Mr Speaker, with these few comments, I would like to urge my Hon Colleagues to vote for the adoption of the motion, and for us to continue to encourage companies that are interested in exploring and finding oil in Ghana to come in and help us discover oil in commercial quantities.

    Mr Speaker, thank you.

    Question proposed.
    Mrs Gifty E. Kusi (NPP -- Tarkwa- Nsuaem) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I support the motion, but have a few comments.
    Mr Speaker, this is a standard Agreement as has been said, but I would wish that there would be some sort of transparency as far as GNPC is concerned. Mr Speaker, I am speaking on page 7, “due diligence”.
    Mr Speaker, GNPC informed the Committee that they had done the due diligence, and then since Monday, we have been asking GNPC to provide us with a
    copy of whatever due diligence that they did, but up till now, they have not been able to give us a copy of that report --
    Mrs Kusi 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are dealing with companies, and I think that we should know what the companies are doing before they even come to sign this Agreement. But I have been asking and asking -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Chairman of the Committee, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Asaga 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just a point of assurance. Mr Speaker, I think that -- [Interruption] -- It is a point of order. Mr Speaker, the point of order is that, GNPC, through the request that she made, has made available a copy to the Committee this morning, and therefore, I just want -- [Interruption] -- Oh, please. I therefore, want to apologise for not making it available to her, but we have a copy.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, in future when you get a document on behalf of the Committee, try as much as possible, to make it available to other members of the Committee.
    Hon Member?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the comments that you made is very instructive and very useful. I think that if a committee requests for due diligence on a company, they must be served. The Chairman is apologizing for not showing it to committee members; ordinarily, it must be taken in good faith.
    But Mr Speaker, if you are dealing with such a venture, and a committee of the House requests for such vital information, only for the Chairman to come and tell us that, “oh, I had it. I apologise for not
    the Committee's Report. And the motion is to adopt the Committee's Report. So, I would let us proceed.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said, you have given a direction to the Committee not to repeat it. So, if the House has to consider this, it must be on the strength of this appeal, but regarding the Report from the Committee itself, that it should urge us to adopt the Report -- Clearly, that cannot be the procedure, because it can only be a recommendation from the Committee to this House and plenary reserves the right to reject the Report based on the fact that the proper thing was not done.
    Mr Speaker, but as I said, we should all be mindful of the appeal that you have made. That is my position, but regarding that, that should bind us, that the Report did not make it a condition precedent for its adoption, I believe, it is neither here nor there, with respect, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, but we may as a House have to consider this subject to the direction that you have given.
    Mr Avoka 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we note the concerns expressed by Hon Gifty Kusi and then the Hon Minority Leader, but as we all know, and like you indicated earlier, today is the final day that this House has to do business, and we have all indicated through Madam Speaker about the need for us to rise before sunset. So, I appreciate the fact that, there is a Ranking Member from the Minority side on the Committee and other members. And if there is no fundamental objection, like I have indicated, and following the apology and the fact that the document is available, I would want to pray that we continue to do the business, and take the advice and the cue that you have given for future reference.

    having been able to show it to you”. -- Mr Speaker, I think it is unacceptable. It is completely unacceptable. Mr Speaker, I take a cue from what you are urging, but I think that this practice should not have further procreation in this House.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, yes, I agree with you, that is why I have taken into consideration the fact that the Chairman himself has apologized, and I have made the direction when a request for a document, once he gets the document, he should make it available to all the members of the Committee.
    Mrs Kusi 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the document has been provided, then we need to read it, and assess whether that company, that the Government of Ghana is going to deal with, is competent enough. Mr Speaker, so, stand this Report down, we will need time to go and study that due diligence that the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) said they did before we proceed.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Members, today is supposed to be our last day, and in view of the programme for the day, I would just plead that we proceed. Indeed, in doing so, I have taken into consideration the Committee's own Report; the Committee's own Report is suggesting that in future GNPC should not do its own due diligence, they should get independent people to deal with -- [Interruption.]
    No, no, on page 7 of the Committee's Report that the Hon Member referred to, the Committee itself did not make it a condition precedent for the adoption of
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Thank you. Hon Members, I have listened to the Leaders and they have given a certain direction that we should proceed and I want us to proceed and debate the matter.
    Hon Members, I made the earlier comment bearing in mind that Hon Gifty Kusi is a very senior member of the Committee, and indeed, the former Chairman of the Committee, and she was at that meeting. It is on that basis that I made the comment with regard to the Committee's Report.
    Hon Members, let the debate continue.
    Hon Gifty, have you concluded?
    Mrs Gifty Kusi 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this Report was just brought to this House and he is tendering it in; we have not read it, so it makes it not complete. Because there may be something there that we need to incorporate in this Report, which we have not read. So if the House will brush this aside -- and we cannot do any shoddy work, because these are companies that are going to deal with Ghanaians and Ghanaians deserve better, and I think that we should do something about it.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have heard our Leadership and I am sympathetic with them, but I thought we were going to be assured that having seen the Report, there is nothing grievous enough to stop us from moving forward. I have not heard that, all he said is, “the Report just came”.
    I think it will be fair to us if we are sure that even though it has not been distributed -- they have not seen it, but they can assure this House that there is nothing untoward in there, so that we can go forward. But to say that because we are rising -- that is not the reason. It is the
    assurance that they are comfortable with what they have seen. I think we can make progress, so we can trust Leadership.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Chairman of the Committee, make sure that the members of your Committee have access to the Report. Chairman of the Committee, ensure that members of the Committee -- give copies to them. You make copies available to the members of the Committee.
    Mr Avoka 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, to address this issue adequately, I propose that we step down this motion, allow the Committee to have a five to ten minutes' discussion in the corridors while we go on with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Bill that is due to be taken the Third time this morning. So that by the time they come back, they would have consulted enough and it would have been ready for discussion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Members, I will suggest that we take this motion while we defer the Resolution, because if the Resolution does not go through, the motion itself does not give effect to the transaction, so that we can make progress on this matter.
    Mr K. T. Hammond 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I think in the cir- cumstance, may I plead with you to allow about ten minutes for us to kind of sort these things out? Hopefully, we -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Very well, Hon Members, item 10. [Pause.]
    Hon Majority Leader, you said we should take item 10 and I have called item 10 and nobody is proceeding.
    Mr Avoka 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are sorting out.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Members, Item 10. [Pause.] Why, is there any confusion? There should not be any confusion.
    Mr Stephen K. B. Manu 1 p.m.
    Yes, there is. There is confusion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Members, there should not be any confusion at all. I called for item 10 and if you know our rules well, there should not be any confusion and I will call item 10 for the last.
    Mr W. O. Boafo 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on item 10, I filed some amendments which appeared on page 30, and in view of the fact that we are moving to the Third Reading, I would like us to consider it at the -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Member for Akropong, what you have to do is to move at motion that you want this Bill taken through a second Consideration Stage with regard to the amendments that you have filed. And then I will put the Question to the House, if it is agreed then your amendments will be taken. That is why I have been waiting all along for you to move the motion, that we pass it through a second Consideration Stage so that I can put the Question. And if the House agrees to it, then it goes through the second Consideration Stage. If the House rejects it then that ends the matter;
    then I call on the Minister responsible for the Bill to move for the Third Reading.
    Mr Boafo 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker -- [Inter- ruption.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before we come to that I noticed that my Hon Colleague, the Member for Ahafo Ano South has been standing for a very long time, but I noticed quite a number of people were standing up so, maybe, he might have been lost to you in the process. If you may with respect, listen to him.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Well, Hon Minority Leader, I have taken note of that but when the Majority Leader gave the direction that we should suspend the other item and move to item 10, in line with Standing Order 130, I called -- that is why I called item 10 and the rule says that if a motion is called before an attempt is made for the Third Reading, the person in whose name an amendment stands gets on his feet, then I recognize him.
    I know that the Hon Member for Akropong has filed an amendment to pass the Bill through a second Consideration Stage and he is the person to be recognized for now. If any other Member gets up, it means that he is rising on a point of order to interrupt the proceedings or to raise a matter of privilege, and I do not know who is in breach for which the Hon Member for Ahafo Ano South should be on his feet. That is why I kept on calling the Hon Member for Akropong.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, as Madam Speaker has been saying, we may not be able to anticipate what our Colleague has until we listen to him. If you do listen to him and he is out of order, it will be for you to
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.

    rule him out of order and then we move on. But he is a senior, a very senior Member of the House, he has been on his feet for a very long time. I do not know what he intends to say, I have no idea at all, but only because he has been there for a very long time, that is why I am asking.
    Mr Avoka 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the practice is that, in the first place, if Mr Speaker is talking, all Hon Members resume their seats. He has been standing all along. Certainly, Mr Speaker is not obliged to call an Hon Member on his feet. He has the discretion to call Hon Members. I do not know why we are always twisting and amending the rules to suit us.
    The practice is simple: Mr Speaker is not obliged to call an Hon Member standing, notwithstanding his back- ground in this House. That is his discretion. I think we have a lot of business to do today.
    If we take the Bill, the Hon Deputy Minister for Justice and Deputy Attorney- General is available. If he moves the motion for the Third Reading, we can start the amendment, if he has any amendment to make or to contribute, he will contribute to the debate. We should not be taking ourselves backwards and compel Mr Speaker to call him because he is standing.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, my application to you is not intended to arrest any process whatsoever. I am just drawing your attention because so many people were standing up, which, is why I said that perhaps, he got lost in the special
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.

    arrangement. That is why I am making this special appeal. Mr Speaker, it is for you to accept the appeal, or not to accept the appeal. But you signalled that you are not too sure of what he wanted to say, and that is why I said that we may not know until we listened to him. And it is still in your bosom; if he starts and he is off track, to bring him home and tell him that he is out of order and we move on. If perhaps, you find it worthy, whatever he intends to say, so be it Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, what I was trying to do really was to get the Hon Member for Akropong to move the motion first and then once we put the Question and they have agreed to, then I will call the Hon Member you are referring to, then we would have located our business properly. But I have -
    Mr Manu 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I want to thank the Hon Minority Leader for taking up this matter on my behalf. I want to observe with the heaviest heart that I have not been happy about how the Chair has -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, you are completely out of order and kindly take your seat. If you want to challenge -
    Mr Manu 1:10 p.m.
    I can be out of order but I have expressed my view about how I have been treated by the Chair.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    You are out of order.
    Mr Manu 1:10 p.m.
    I can be but I have
    expressed my view. I have not been happy. We were all standing. You called everybody but me --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, if you think you are a very senior Member of the House, you know the procedures to use. You should know the procedures, definitely.
    Mr Manu 1:10 p.m.
    I do know --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Member for Akropong, are you ready to move your motion?
    Mr Boafo 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am abandoning the amendment.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, let us move to item 10 then?
    Hon Majority Leader, item 10.
    Mr Avoka 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Justice and Deputy Attorney General is in the House to handle item 10. I humbly appeal, with permission from my Hon Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader, that this august House permits the Deputy Minister to move motion number 10.
    Thank you.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, very well.
    BILLS - THIRD READING 1:10 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, you are in charge of business. We have finished that one, what business do we take? That is why I called you.
    Mr Avoka 1:10 p.m.
    There are amendments in respect of the Bill.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, you know that -
    Mr Dery 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Leader of the House has lost track because we have abandoned it, and we are going forward and we have passed the Bill. So I just want to update you. The Bill has been passed.
    Mr Avoka 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was conferring with one of the Clerks and my Hon Deputy, so I did not hear the process of him throwing in the towel.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    We have just passed the Bill. That is why I am asking you, what will be our next business.
    Mr Avoka 1:10 p.m.
    We will invite the Committee on Energy, if they have finished - so in the alternative, Mr Speaker, they are just distributing an addendum - an Addendum to the Order Paper --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Chair has not received a copy of the addendum.
    Mr Avoka 1:10 p.m.
    It is being distributed now, Mr Speaker. So with your kind indulgence, if we can take that one. By the time we finish, then the Committee members on Energy would have come back.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, are you saying that we
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.

    should go to the motion on the Addendum to the Order Paper? Is that what you are suggesting?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    I was seeking advice from the Hon Ranking Member because this has been outstanding for quite a while and I thought that many people, as we speak, do not even have their Reports with them. The Hon Majority Leader can concur with what I am saying. So now that we see the Energy Committee members are here, I believe that we can take their own, and then consult on this one, to see whether the path is smooth; if the path is smooth then we can come back and take that one.
    So with respect, let me appeal to the Hon Majority Leader to re-situate the one on Energy and then we can go on.
    Mr Avoka 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in view of what the Hon Minority Leader has said and the fact that the Energy Committee members have come back, we can take the Energy Committee motion and then come back to this subsequently.
    MOTIONS 1:20 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Chairman of the Committee, have you resolved your problem?
    Mr Asaga 1:20 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, we have resolved the issue and both sides of the
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in this House, the committees have often strived to work in a very consensual manner. So, at the level of committees, there is no division, that is the Majority side and the Minority side of the committee, and so, if the Committee has agreed, they have agreed. It is not for the Hon Chairman to say that the Majority side has agreed, the Minority side has agreed. That is not the language at the level of the committees.
    Mr Asaga 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, previous statement withdrawn. The Committee, in a consensus has agreed.
    Mrs Kusi 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we went to discuss the Report and GNPC has submitted the due diligence. As our Report has emphasised that in future we would not accept it from GNPC, we expect that they get an independent body to do that just as the Report is saying.
    With that, I support the motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much. I will take two more and put the Question, or one?
    Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah (NPP - Afigya-Sekyere West) 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I want to say that I was at the Committee meeting which considered the Report --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Are you a member of the Committee?
    Mr Kan-Dapaah 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was invited by the Hon Chairman to participate in the discussions, and I must say that I was most impressed with the diligence
    with which the Committee went through the deliberations. Mr Speaker, I made a couple of remarks at the Committee level and I will want to share some of these remarks with the House.
    To start with, Mr Speaker, we have been assured by Government that in due course, and in fact, most of us were expecting that it would be before the end of this Meeting, that in due course, we are going to have a policy document on oil and gas and most probably, we are going to have a new petroleum law. One would have expected that now that we have discovered oil and since the Government itself has found it necessary to come up with new policy guideline and new petroleum laws, one would have expected that we will wait to see the new guidelines and the new laws before we enter into any new petroleum agreements.
    This is because, clearly, any new document, any new law will comment on, say, the fiscal regime. If we are not careful, we will end up approving a petroleum agreement today which may not be consistent with the petroleum law and the petroleum policy guidelines when they come out. It will appear, therefore, that we are rushing this particular Agreement through and we need to watch it.
    Mr Speaker, when this point was raised, the Hon Minister responded that it was important for them to keep to what they refer to as their planned licensing programme, and that they could not afford to stop all the licensing until the new guidelines and the new law had been tabled in this House and agreed upon. I still want to believe that it is important that we get the new guidelines and the new laws before we approve any new petroleum agreement, so that we do not end up having a new petroleum agreement which is inconsistent with the new laws
    that come up.
    Mr Speaker, again, on this question of due diligence which had earlier been discussed here, the Committee thought it was very, very important and I think all of us agree that it was important, especially when the Cabinet memorandum which was given to us at the Committee level indicated in paragraph 4 that Cabinet directed the Hon Minister to ensure that company profiles were attached to the agreement and made available to Cabinet and Parliament.
    What it means is that at the Cabinet level, approval was given even without sighting the due diligence report. That, obviously, was not good enough. So, if Cabinet had not sighted it, at the very least, we, Parliament had an obligation to sight it before we could approve this particular petroleum agreement, and I think that was how important the due diligence report is.
    Mr Speaker, I have just seen a copy of the alleged due diligence report and I concede that it is quite an improvement upon previous due diligence reports that were presented to the Committee, but I still believe that it has a very long way to go to qualify to be a proper due diligence report and I think we should take this into account when we are considering future agreements.
    Again, Mr Speaker, it has been our practice in this country that whenever there is a new petroleum agreement, there is some aspect of local content and Ghanaians normally have equity participation in the companies that are coming to invest here. That was the case with the EO Group; that was the case with the Tullow Energy; that was the case with Afren, the last one that was mysteriously approved.
    In this particular instance, there is no local content. We are told that there is no
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Yes, the last one, then the Chairman of the Committee will wind up.
    Mr Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC -- Wa Central) 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the motion and to say that this is a very good opportunity for Ghana for us to add another notch to our determination to increase the scope of oil exploration production and perhaps, marketing in this country.
    It is also an opportunity to increase our capacity to develop an economy that
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, you were here when Madam Speaker directed that she wanted to close the House at 2 o'clock. So I am working according to that time and you know Leaders will be making Statements on the floor of the House. So Hon K. T. Hammond, I am pleading with you, allow the Chairman to wind up.
    Mr T. K. Hammond 1:30 p.m.
    Five minutes.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    No, Hon Chairman of the Committee, can you wind up.
    Mr Moses A. Asaga 1:30 p.m.
    Thank you. Mr Speaker, I want to thank the House for the support that you have given to the approval of this particular petroleum Agreement, and also we need to take on board the comments of Hon Kan-Dapaah on local content. As we also know, local content in equity should be a paid-up money and therefore, Ghanaian business-men should brace themselves up to come as a consortium, so that we can always get some equity or sweat equity participation.
    I thank Hon Members of the House for this support for the Agreement.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    Mr Avoka 1:30 p.m.
    Yes, if we can take the Resolution.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    You are supposed to do something.
    will allow for us to respond to the many development challenges we are facing. I am particularly impressed with the fact that the training component which is indicated in the Agreement will require a one-time payment of US$1,000,000.00 to GNPC for training.
    In my opinion, this is a very important aspect of it, because it will ensure that eventually Ghanaians themselves will have the capacity to get involved in oil exploration and we will have the technical know-how to eventually own the technology in Ghana here to use it. But beyond that is the fact that it will ensure local contents which is being bemoaned as not being part of the agreement. In order to have local content, you need to prepare for it, and the preparation stages will require capacity building.
    Mr Speaker, so I believe that as we move gradually, it is important for us to take note also that we are having to develop some kind of policy arrangement that will allow us to have local content which will involve Ghanaians themselves in the business of oil exploration and production.
    Mr Speaker, my comment is brief and a summary of it is that, I believe very strongly this is a good time for us and that as we do these initial arrangements, we have to ensure that there is a complete understanding of everything that is happening here so that eventually Ghana will be the winner and Ghanaians will be the beneficiaries.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Avoka 1:30 p.m.
    Well, I humbly appeal that the Hon Deputy Minister for Energy be permitted to take the Resolution.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I heard the Majority Leader well, I think he wants the Hon Deputy Minister for Energy to take the Resolution; there is no problem at all.
    RESOLUTIONS 1:30 p.m.

    Mr Asaga 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Resolution that has been read.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Avoka 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, even though they have circulated the Addendum, we have agreed by consensus that it cannot be taken now. So we would defer that one until we come back. [Pause.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, at this stage, we suspend Sitting for 10 minutes for Madam Speaker to come and adjourn the House.
    Sitting Suspended.
    2.00 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
    Madam Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, at

    Hon Members, we are about to adjourn for the Easter vacation. And before I do so, I will call upon our Leaders and I will start with the Hon Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu for his closing comments.

    Hon Minority Leader, can we have your

    closing comments, please?
    CLOSING REMARKS 1:30 p.m.

    Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 1:30 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, on December 18, 2009, I stood here to read my closing remarks to Hon Members after the Budget meeting. Today, I am on my feet again, at the close of this Meeting, which was dominated by the President's State of the Nation Address, to give my closing remarks.
    Madam Speaker, this Meeting lasted almost nine weeks from its commencement on the 26th of January, 2010. We have engaged ourselves in very fruitful discourses and have discussed Bills and issues thoroughly for the good of our dear nation. Our efforts have manifested in our ability to deliberate and pass many Bills and motions in this Meeting.
    Madam Speaker, irrespective of our party affiliation and background, we have joined heads together during our various committee meetings in this Chamber and have contributed positively for the betterment of our dear country. Madam Speaker, as earlier noted, a significant event was the Address by His Excellency
    the President of the Republic on the State of the Nation.
    In the debate of the President's Address, some Hon Members described it as excellent and prophetic as has become usual and conventional. Others thought it was full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
    Madam Speaker, the group I lead is of the considered opinion that the President's Message was uninspiring and as for the content, I would not want to use former President Nkrumah's description of the Coussey Committee's Recommendation, which was “bogus and fraudulent but worth trying”. Madam Speaker, as I said, I do not want to use it - [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, but that is the beauty of democracy, we agree to disagree.
    This notwithstanding, Madam Speaker, let me associate myself with a declaration by the President in his Address.
    He said and I quote:
    “We must work together to fashion a requisite legislation that will help this country face and overcome her many challenges in these times of domestic and global uncertainty.”
    Madam Speaker, the President described his performance as “slow but sure”. May I, however, remind His Excellency that “slow but sure” is the usual inscription on smoke-belching, squeaky, jerky, non-performing jalopies - [Hear! Hear!] -- which sooner rather than later would not have the strength to crawl the road in spite of the hope and the furlon wishes of their owners.
    Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 2:10 p.m.

    Madam Speaker, the President renewed

    his commitment to the good people of this country by promising to stamp out drug trafficking, provide security to the citizenry and ensure adequate collaboration with, without sacrificing the independence of the Judiciary among other promises.

    Madam Speaker, we can only chorus Hear! Hear! to that. But the good people of this country are patiently waiting for results from His Excellency and his Government. The President would know that the price of greatness consists in taking full responsibility for every action and promise taken and made.

    Madam Speaker, I was very pleased that procedurally, and in terms of protocol, this House, with the tacit involvement of your goodself and Leadership, welcome His Excellency with all appropriateness, a marked departure from the rumbles of yesteryears. It is my sincerest hope that we ferry this attitude into the ensuing years. My prayer is that it would be reciprocal.

    On the occasion being discussed, the President revealed to Ghanaians his instructions to the Vice President to proceed to the Republic of Korea to “put the final nail in the coffin” of the housing project to produce about 200,000 new houses for Ghanaians. The deed, indeed, has been accomplished and as the new Minister responsible for Water Resources, Works and Housing would bear testimony to, the “final nail”has been hammered.

    While the nation ponders in obsequious silence amidst the dirges being rendered,

    Madam Speaker, another significant event that characterized this Session was the change in Leadership regarding Colleagues on the Majority side of the House. May I take this opportunity in closing this chapter, to wish my able Friend, Hon Bagbin and the others in the Majority Leadership who have been assigned new roles in Government, all the best in their new endeavours as Hon Ministers.

    Madam Speaker, with the experience they have gained in Parliament, I have the fervent hope and trust that they will contribute their quotas accordingly and judiciously.

    To the new Leadership, Madam Speaker, in the persons of Hon Cletus Avoka and Hon Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, they are welcome to the hot seats and I believe they would conduct themselves in all professionalism and decorum and make this House a very exciting one.

    Madam Speaker, one wants to believe that what happened last Monday, occasioned by the intervention of the Leader, was an abrasion and would not be afforded space for further procreation.

    Madam Speaker, 2010 got off to a jerky and bumpy start. The hiccup was avoidable. Notwithstanding, we look forward to a productive and co-operative year.

    Even though there a re a few outstanding matters in particular relating to the Communications Director at the President's Office and the Chair of the

    Minority Leader, which was tampered with, we can generally in confidence state that, this Meeting that is concluding today, has on the whole been indicative of the co-operation and productivity that we encouraged earlier this year. I want to believe that we would continue down this path and expect that when Parliament next convenes, we will have many success stories to tell and much business to work on.

    My appreciation, Madam Speaker, goes to the Clerk and his staff for supporting the work of the House diligently. I wish to also express my gratitude to the media, particularly, those always present in the press gallery every Sitting day for ensuring that the good people of this country are well informed while at the same time, increasing Parliament's publicity and presence during the past nine weeks.

    Madam Speaker, as we rise today, it is my sincerest wish that Hon Members would have a good rest, happy Easter holidays and a fruitful engagement with their constituents. May the Almighty keep our bodies, souls and spirits together in peace until we resume on the 18th of May, 2010.
    Madam Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader for your speech.
    I now call upon the Hon Leader, of the House, Hon Avoka.
    Majority Leader (Mr Cletus A. Avoka) 2:10 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, we have once again come to the end of yet another Meeting - The First Meeting of the Second Session of this Parliament; and as custom demands, I present a summary of the business transacted during this Meeting.
    However, given that time is already far spent, I will skimp on the report and highlight some of the landmark events and then request the Hansard Department to capture the Report in its entirety as having been read.
    Madam Speaker, the First Meeting is one of the most important periods in our Parliamentary Calender as it is in that Meeting that H.E. the President presents his Address to the nation through this august House. In some jurisdictions, however, this occasion actually marks the official opening of Parliament.
    Madam Speaker, in line with this tradition, H.E. the President submitted himself to this august House on Thursday, 25th February, 2010 and presented to us, the State of the Nation in accordance with article 67 of the Constitution.
    Madam Speaker, you have already conveyed the appreciation of this House to the President for this gesture but Madam Speaker, let me once again congratulate the President for his Address, particularly for the manner in which it was delivered - a sober and uniting Address. The Address was full of conviction and then hope for all Ghanaians - [Hear! Hear!] -- and since this forum is not an extension of the debate on the State of the Nation, I will not say anything further to that effect. [Laughter.]
    Madam Speaker, let me also commend Hon Colleagues for their decorum and comportment during the entire period of the delivery of the Address and also for their respect for the Presidency. It is my hope and prayer that this spirit will
    Mr Avoka 2:10 p.m.
    If I finish, you can say something --
    Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Can he finish? I would give you the chance to comment on that aspect. Please, note it down.
    Mr Avoka 2:20 p.m.
    I know, maybe, he wants to comment on my statement that some Hon Members of the Majority front bench were elevated to the Executive --
    Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    All right, we do not know, so carry on, we would get to know.
    Mr Avoka 2:20 p.m.
    Well, I would not pre-empt you.
    Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Avoka 2:20 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, the visit and the address helped bridge the information deficit of the Legislature regarding the Executive's relations with the Bretton Wood Institutions. I hope this marks the beginning of a direct engage-ment between these institutions and Parliament rather than it has always been through the Executive.

    I do not share the view --
    Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Unfortunately, he is not here.
    Mr Avoka 2:20 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I pray for continued good health and breath of life for you to enable you continue to preside over the affairs of this august House.
    Your able Deputies also deserve our commendation. They have presided over business sometimes late into the night and this is a sign of true patriotism and dedicated service. We are grateful to them.
    To my Hon Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader, I pray that he will continue to sacrifice his time and service for the benefit of this House and mother Ghana. I know the work of a Member of Parliament and for that matter, a Minority Leader is not adequately rewarding, if rewarding at all, and therefore, pray that he will continue to stay the course in this House. This also applies to my Hon Colleagues in the Minority bench in addition to the Hon Minority Leader.
    To Hon Colleagues, I applaud your strength and endurance, given the ungodly hours that this House had to Sit, particularly this week and the previous one. I have no doubt that Ghanaians appreciate our service and sacrifices in this season of Easter. They will say a special prayer for all of us.
    To the Clerk and his team, I thank you for providing quality service that enabled this House achieve remarkable success.
    To the Parliamentary Press Corps, I say thank you. You have been with us through thick and thin. Without you, Ghanaians would not hear or read and appreciate what we do in this august House. I challenge you to continue to provide this House with a fair, balanced and objective reportage of the activities in this House, notwithstanding the challenges you face. We in the Leadership and Madam Speaker will continue to offer you the needed support within our constraints and limitations, to enable you function well.
    I have met with your editors and commended you highly to them but appealed to them to address the high attrition rate among reporters.
    Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    I thank you very much. But I did promise to give the Hon Minority Leader the time to comment, if he still wants to, on one aspect, unless it has been overtaken by events.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:20 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I believe the main issue that I wanted to bring up, I would discuss with my Hon Colleague.
    Mr Avoka 2:20 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I just wanted to add that this is the first time that this House is closing in the early part of the afternoon during the end of the Meeting. I think I congratulate all of you and it is a good achievement. [Uproar.]
    Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Hon Leaders, I thank you for your words of wisdom.
    Hon Members, as I said, we have come to the end of yet another Meeting. We have been addressed by the Hon Leaders of this House and it is now my turn to make my remarks. After my remarks, the House will stand adjourned for Easter recess.
    I give thanks to God for the answered prayer as He has guided and guarded us to a successful end. It is my fervent prayer that He will continue to see us through our respective journeys to our homes and back to the House on resumption.
    Hon Members, I cannot gloss over the fact that collectively we have come this far, not without challenges; not at all. But amid the challenges, you have all worked hard to enable the House finish its business promptly for which I commend you all and expect that far greater commitment to the work of the House would be shown by you all come the next Meeting.
    I will be much pleased, Hon Members, if together, we will all stretch the extra mile, at least, to be always present in the House on time and apply ourselves even more to the Business of the House.
    As Hon Members depart from the