Debates of 15 Feb 2013

PRAYERS 10:55 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Members, Correc- tion of the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 14th February, 2013.
Page 1 …. 12 --
Mr Justice J. Appiah 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on page 8 of the Votes and Proceedings -- “The Hon Member for Ablekuma North, Justice Joe Appiah also made a Statement in commemoration of Valentine's Day which falls on 14th February each year.” The “Chocolate” did not come. So Mr Speaker, they should amend the records.
Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
“Valentine Day and Chocolate Day”; two in one?
Mr J. J. Appiah 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Ms Alijata Sulemana 10:55 a.m.
Page 11, item xii. The name is “Ms Alijata Sulemana”, not “Mr Alijata Sulemana”.
Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well.

Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 14th February, 2013 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Tuesday, 12th February, 2013 for correction.
Mr David T. Assumeng 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 530, the second paragraph, line 6. What has been captured there reads as follows: “. . .whether people who are sitting fence today. . .” I think it should be “. . .sitting on the fence today”.
Mr Mutawakilu Adam 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on that day, I made mention of ratio. I said that in the previous document, we had 55: 45. But in this document, we have 45:55 and I made mention if it could be consistent. We know the 55 relates to the Majority --
Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Which column?
Mr Adam 10:55 a.m.
Column 432, “2.0 Delibera- tions”.
Mr Adam 10:55 a.m.
In the previous document, the ratio was 55:45; 55 for Majority and 45 for Minority and it has changed to 45:55. So there is no consistency in the ratio.
Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
What is the problem with that?
Mr Adam 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the previous document, when the ratio was done, it was 55:45. Fifty-five for Majority, 45 for
Minority but it has changed to 45 11:05 a.m.
55. So, there is no consistency in the ratio.
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
But is that what the Report captured? That is the point. If that is what is in the Report submitted to the House, then that is what is in the Hansard.
Mr Adam 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that day when it came up, I made the correction but I did not see it reflected in the Report.
Also on column 446, number 6, I made correction in respect of my name “Adam”. It was spelt “Adams” and I made the correction but it is still “Adams”.
Mr Dominic Bingab Aduna Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 438, numbers 24 and 25. I had the occasion to do that correction but it looks like it has not been effected by the Hansard Department. So, I will again repeat what I said, that number 24 should read Hon Moses Anim and 25 should read Hon Osei Kennedy Nyarko.
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Then it is only 25 that we are changing?
Mr Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes.
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Do you get the point?
Mr Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes, I get the —
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
We are only correcting
Mr Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, 25; all right. This is because 24 appears —
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Mr Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, then no problem. Then 25, instead of Hon —
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
So, we will retain 24 there, then 25 —
Mr Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, 25 should be Hon Moses Anim.
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon Moses Anim.
Mr Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Any other correction?
Mr Emmanuel Nii Ashie-Moore 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 437, number 4, the “Emmanuel” has been omitted. It is “Ashie-Moore, Emmanuel Nii”. The same thing appears again in column —
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
It is consequential. Table Office to take note.
Mr John Kwabena Bless Oti 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my surname is “Oti” but it is captured here, “Bless” —
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Which column are you referring to?
Mr Oti 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 473, number 6. It is “Oti, John Kwabena Bless,” so —
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon Members, if it is correction of names, I will direct the Table Office to crosscheck and correct all the names as captured in the Votes and Proceedings, so that we can save some time. Table Office, I so direct.
Any other correction that is not one of name correction?
Table Office, please, go through the official list and then correct all the names, get them properly in order.
Hon Members, the Official Report of Tuesday, 12th February, 2013 as corrected is hereby adopted by the House. Of course, subject to my directives with regard to the correction of the names.
Item number 3 on the Order Paper, Business Statement.
Hon Chairman of the Business Committee.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Business Committee had been called to an urgent business outside the House. As the Vice Chairman of the Business Committee, I would want to present the Committee's Report on his behalf.
Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Very well.

Chairman of the Business Committee) 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 14 th February, 2013 and arranged Business of the House for the Fourth Week ending Friday, 22nd February,
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 11:05 a.m.
Arrangement of Business
Members may be allowed to make Statements admitted by your goodself in the House.
Bills, Papers and Reports
Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Standing Order 119. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House.
Motions and Resolutions
Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week.
Message on the State of the Nation
Mr Speaker, H.E. the President of the Republic will deliver a Message on the State of the Nation on Thursday, 21st February, 2013, in accordance with article
67 of the Constitution. Hon Members are accordingly entreated to attend upon the House punctually for the event.
Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House, the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week.


Presentation of Papers --

Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for ministerial appoint- ments.


Committee sittings.


Presentation of Papers


Committee sittings.

NATION 11:05 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon Members, any comments on the Business Statement?
Hon Members, in the absence of any comment, the Business Statement for next week is accordingly adopted by the House.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader and Vice Chairman of the Business Committee, do you want to make any statement touching on the Business, not directly on the floor but related to the Members of Parliament for next week?
Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. We would want to inform the House about the arrangement towards the State funeral and burial of the late Henry Ford Kamel, the former Volta Regional Minister.
Mr Speaker, we have submitted the arrangements to Members of the House but just to inform the House further that the body of the late former Volta Regional Minister would be taken from the 37 Military Hospital to his residence on Friday, 22nd February, 2013 for family and other ceremonies.
Mr Speaker, at 7.00 a.m., the casket would arrive at the Forecourt of the State House for the State burial to begin. The public and Members of Parliament are expected to file past the body and the funeral arrangements begin.
Mr Speaker, there would be wake after the body leaves Accra for Ho and to his

hometown Guaman near Jasikan. Mr Speaker, as I have said, the casket leaves for Ho, Guaman, near Jasikan at 4.00 p.m. on Friday, 22nd February, 2013 for the wake and on Saturday, 23rd February, 2013 at 6.00 a.m. the casket would be conveyed to their funeral grounds for the filing past, burial service and private burial that would follow at 1.00 p.m.

Mr Speaker, that would be followed on Sunday at 9.00 a.m. for a Thanksgiving Service at the same venue.

All Members of the House and the public are invited to pay the last respects to our departed Colleague, Member of Parliament for Buem and former Volta Regional Minister.

Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
Mr Assumeng 11:15 a.m.
Mr Speaker, may I know if there would be an arrangement for Hon Members of Parliament who would want to leave here to the hometown for the funeral? Would there be any arrangement for Members who would want to go?
Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as it is normally done, Parliament would arrange for those who would want to attend and may not be in a --
Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Do you have the details? I think the details would be communicated to the House next week.
Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
Very well.
Mr Assumeng 11:15 a.m.
Mr Speaker, these arrangements are very necessary for us to know. For instance, this morning, there has been an arrangement for Hon Members to join the family of Hon Prof. Fobih but this arrangement is not known
Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as we have been informed, detailed arrangements would be conveyed to Members early next week.
Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
No! But he was talking about the case of Prof. Fobih, that they heard the announcement only this morning and they thought in future, information should be given to them on time. You should just take it on board.
Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. We shall take the concern raised on board.
Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Any other comment? [Pause]
PAPERS 11:15 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon First Deputy Speaker, are the Reports ready?
Mr Ebo Barton-Odro 11:15 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Reports are ready. They have been distributed. But I am informed that not all Members have got copies -- [Pause] -- I believe, Mr Speaker, we can go ahead and move the Motion.
Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Yes. But it is important that Members have the Report. If they have the Report, then you can go ahead and move item 6 on the Order Paper.
MOTIONS 11:15 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee 11:15 a.m.
(Mr Ebo Barton-Odro): Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for ministerial appointments may be moved today.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's
nominations for ministerial appointments
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) 11:15 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this House adopts the Sixth Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's nominations for minis- terial appointments.
Mr Speaker, I present the Report of the Committee.
1.0 Introduction
Mr Speaker, pursuant to articles 78 (1) and 256 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama communicated to Parliament for prior approval, the nomination of the following persons, among others, for appointment as Ministers and Regional
1. Mr. Samuel Sarpong -- Minister- designate for Ashanti Region.
2. Mr Ebenezer Kwodwo Teye Addo -- Minister-designate for the Central Region.
3. Mr Bede Anwataazumo Ziedeng -- Minister-designate for the Upper West Region.
4. Hon Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (retd) -- Minister of State-designate at the Presi- dency.
5. Hon Alhassan Azong -- Minister of State-designate at the Presidency.
6. Hon. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo -- Minister of State-designate at the Presidency.
7. Hon Fifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey -- Minister of State-designate at the Presidency.
8. Hon Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah -- Minister of State- designate at the Presidency.
9. Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru -- Minister of State-designate at the Presidency.
Mr Speaker, in accordance with Order 172 of the Standing Orders of the House, referred the nominations to the Appointments Committee on Tuesday, 29th January, 2013 for consideration and report.
The names of the persons nominated were subsequently published in the media in accordance with Order 172 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House and memoranda were invited from the public on the nominees.
2.0 Reference documents
The Committee referred to the following documents during its deli- berations and public hearing of the nominees:
a. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
b. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
c. Curriculum Vitae of the nominees.
3.0 Procedure
On appearing before the Committee, the nominees subscribed to the oath of a witness and answered questions relating to their records of office, the positions to which they have been nominated and issues of general national concern.

REGION 11:15 a.m.





DENCY 11:15 a.m.



KWETEY -- MINISTER OF 11:15 a.m.


PRESIDENCY 11:15 a.m.


MUNIRU -- MINISTER OF 11:15 a.m.


PRESIDENCY 11:15 a.m.

Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion ably moved by the First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committee and urge Hon Members to also support and approve the nomination for ministerial positions.
Mr Speaker, the Report calls for approval of these nominees by consensus and I believe that the House would give them the nod.
Mr Speaker, one issue that I would want to comment on, is the issue raised by one of the nominees, Mr Bede Ziedeng, who is nominated as the Upper West Regional Minister. Mr Speaker, the nominee identified issues that had been in existence, creating the condition for people to move or drift from the North to the South.
Mr Speaker, I think that he actually identified the issues and promised that when he becomes the Hon Minister, he would make conditions favourable in the North to let the people remain and work there, so that the drift to the South would be a thing of the past. I think that it is a good undertaking. I would want to urge him that when he gets to the North, he collaborates with other Ministers in the area to see to it that there are conditions favourable in the North, so that the drift to the South would be a thing of the past.
Mr Speaker, it is not only a drift from the North down South, but it has been a thing that is existing now for people; immediately they finish with their education, they drift down, particularly to Accra and Kumasi to seek non-existent jobs. Mr Speaker, one thinks it necessary that all those we are urging the House to approve should make conditions favourable in any area they find themselves, so that the drift to Accra and Kumasi and other urban areas would be a thing of the past.
Mr Speaker, having said these, I urge the august House to support the Report of the Committee.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Question proposed.
Mr Murtala M. Ibrahim (NDC -- Nanton) 11:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion, that the nominees of His Excellency the President should be
approved. But I would like to also make these comments on some of the nominees, specifically the nominee for the Upper West Region, Hon Bede Ziedeng. He made certain statements that actually touched not only me, but I believe, most of us who are here seated.
The issue is of the kayayei or if you like, the exodus of young men and women to the southern parts of the country to look for jobs that are not available. In my constituency -- the Nanton Constituency -- many of the young girls and boys that you find in Accra are coming from there, particularly those who are coming from the Northern Region. The extent to which -- and as a nation, we need to do something about it. I do not think that the solution is to provide hostel facilities for those who come looking for jobs that are non-existent.
I think that we need to start looking at providing growth posts in these communities. I believe that once those growth posts are provided, nobody would like to leave his or her home, looking for jobs that are not available, in circumstances where accommodation is even a challenge, in circumstances where some of them, unfortunately, are taken advantage of by wicked people.
I was a witness to a growth post that was provided in the Upper East Region when I was working with the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP). There is a sheanuts factory that was established in Paga. I went there as the Deputy National Co-ordinator (DNC) for the NYEP and I was amazed that about 18 young girls who were working or looking for jobs, if you like, doing kayayei in Accra and upon hearing that that factory was established in Paga, they returned.
Clearly, it is a demonstration to everybody that if you provide those opportunities, the people would not want to come to Accra or Kumasi looking for jobs that are non-existent.
Mr Kobena Mensah Woyome (NDC -- South Tongue) 11:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to add my comments to approving the Report of the Appoint- ments Committee.
Mr Speaker, having read the Report, all the nominees appear to have very impeccable backgrounds and I believe they would be able to assist in executing the mandate of His Excellency the President.
But let me dwell on Hon Fifi Kwetey. In response to a question on what he perceived to be one of the greatest challenges facing Ghana's economy, the nominee identified inadequate resources as the greatest challenge. He emphasised on the need to put in place strategies to increase the revenue generation base of the country.
Mr Speaker, I would want to dwell on the revenue generation aspect -- For instance, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) concept that was started sometime back. Right now, we have three agencies: the Value Added Tax (VAT), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), two of which collect domestic taxes -- the VAT and the IRS.
CEPS does the international taxes, but then in implementing that, there seems to be some creeping problems with CEPS. This is because of the way the implementation process is being handled. As a result, if we are not very careful, it would affect our revenue generation in that regard.
I would want to use this occasion to urge our dear Colleague that he takes a look at that sector, investigate what has been done so far. Probably, he would come to the realisation that this whole concept has to be looked at all over again. Providing a one-stop shop for taxpayers, is a good idea and I think that can be achieved by providing the ICT platform, integrating the collection.
But where the human resource, people who have been trained in a very special discipline or aspect of collecting taxes are currently being designated to certain areas, would not help in actually getting
the revenue that is needed for development. It is very important that we look at it.
With these few words, Mr Speaker, there is the need to look at that aspect. And I believe, with the background of these nominees, we should not have problems approving this Report to enable His Excellency the President proceed with his good work.
Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 11:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the Report of the Appointments Committee and to congratulate the President for nominating these people. I would want to make some comments on two people, that is, Mr Bede Ziedeng and Hon Dr Mustapha Ahmed.
Mr Ziedeng has touched on a very important and vital aspect, that is, the living conditions and problems that we encounter in all the three northern regions, that is, the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions of our country -- migration of our youth to the southern sector, especially Accra and Kumasi, notwithstanding the fact that there are non-existent jobs.
Most of these youth are people who have completed just the basic level, that is, junior secondary school (JSS) and because they do not have support or might have not made it to the next level, they just believe that when they go to the southern sector, more specifically, Kumasi and Accra, they will get jobs.
Mr Speaker, in this respect, I think the Government, fortunately, has put in a lot of interventions to support, especially under the NYEP, LESDEP and temporary appointments into the health sector, teaching and security -- I would want to urge that we put it in such a way that
Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 11:35 a.m.
Government would make sure that all those who have been appointed into these temporary jobs should be taken on, fully employed to stop the problem of having to go back to the same problems that they had left two years behind.
Mr Ziedeng also touched on other things that could be done in our various places. For instance, skills training, where pupils or most of these dropouts or people who have not gone to school at all could be trained in the areas of carpentry, masonry, barbering, hairdressing and whatever. If they are given training, I think it would support them very much.
This notwithstanding -- For instance, if one comes to the Pusiga Constituency, most of the youth are engaged in dry season gardening, where we produce a lot of onions. At the time that they harvest their products, the products are in abundance on the market and become so cheap that one could easily buy a bag of onion at GH¢12 or a basin of tomatoes at GH¢5, which is very bad. This is because they go to the gardens at about 5.00 a.m. and return at about 9.00 in the night.
They have to buy fertilizers from moneys that they got through loans to enable them work on the gardens, only to come out and sell them at prices that do not even pay for the seedlings, much more to pay for the fertilizers that they bought with loans they had taken with exorbitant interest.
Now, to touch on Hon Mustapha Ahmed on the English/Arabic schools -- I know very well that the NDC Government has taken on most of the proprietors and the English/Arabic instructors, so that at least, they could also earn a living through the NYEP. I

congratulate the Government on that. This is because these institutions actually lead these pupils to also write the same examinations as our regular schools.

I, therefore, wish and hope that with these issues coming up, we would pay more attention to this aspect of our education and make sure that we give our English/Arabic schools more chance to come on board and also support the Arabic instructors who are not properly paid but work throughout like any other teacher. This would enable them have better living and continue to do their work as expected.

Mr Speaker, with these, I associate myself with the Report.
Alhaji Bashir F. Alhassan (NDC -- Sagnarigu) 11:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, in making my contribution, I would first and foremost, want to touch on the issue raised by the Hon Minister- designate at the Presidency, Mr Alhassan Azong. He touched on a very important matter of rice cultivation in this country.
Mr Speaker, there is absolutely no doubt and there is a lot of wisdom in the saying that “a man who has his mouth at another man's kitchen cannot assert his independence” -- [Hear! Hear!] -- If one has to go and eat at somebody's kitchen, one has to kowtow to the person's demands and whims and caprices.
This country is very rich and abounds in fertile lands that can position us to produce rice, not only for domestic consumption but even for export. But sadly enough, as a result of a combination of a number of factors which have conspired to reduce us to the status of importers of rice, this country has had to spend in the excess of US$500 million annually to import rice.
Mr Speaker, this is a colossal amount that otherwise could have been used to give fillip to the developmental aspirations and interest of our people. Yet, these moneys are used to import rice and to fuel the economies of other countries. For every dollar that we spend to import goods from outside this country, we are giving employment to other people in other countries at the expense of the generation of our domestic economy and giving a boost to our farmers. So, this is a very important matter.
Mr Speaker, I remember in the last Parliament, this august House had the opportunity to attempt to address the issue by the imposition of tariffs on rice and some other products. Unfortunately, I think, owing to the lack of political will, we had to come back and reverse it. And I found that a very sad commentary on our ability to take care of national interest where we would put our farmers and our economy first before all others.
I would want to urge, Mr Speaker, that all attention be given to this particular issue. I am aware that the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) under the auspices of the NDC Government is doing a lot to, as it were, give some attention to this issue of helping our farmers through acquisition of tractors, combined harvesters and others. But I think that it is not enough. Government itself must have a clear-cut policy. In my opinion, that must discriminate between our farmers and other farmers outside this economy.
We must use adverse tariffs to address a situation in which the cost of production -- This is because, Mr Speaker, if one goes outside the country, there are other countries which subsidise their economies to the tune of hundreds of
millions of dollars annually. So, if in economic terms -- they have achieved economies of scale; it is possible for them to sell cheaper and for that matter, they put our farmers at a disadvantage.
I think that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) recognises that where there is a possibility of dumping in one's country and one can provide evidence, it is possible for one to also take up some measures of tariffs to ensure that one addresses those inequalities in trade.
So, I would want to believe that it is possible for us to also institute those tariffs to make those items, at least, on a comparative basis, higher priced to what our farmers produce, so that our farmers will become competitive.
The Hon Members who contributed earlier had made mention of the fact that the phenomenon of kayayei -- that is, young able-bodied women and men leaving life from the three northern regions to the South, to migrate for non-existent jobs, is partly, Mr Speaker, as a result of the collapse of the rice industry in the North.
I am sure that if we are able to take these steps to revamp the rice industry and ensure that the industry produces to its optimal capacity, we would have reversed that trend, giving them opportunity to stay home and work and some of them would become rice producers and in time, even become entrepreneurs themselves.
So, Mr Speaker, on this note, I would like to support the Motion and urge that this House unanimously approves all the Hon Nominees.
Mr Mathias K. Ntow (NDC -- Aowin) 11:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Motion on the floor.
Mr Mathias K. Ntow (NDC -- Aowin) 11:45 a.m.
I urge all Hon Members to support the Motion on the Hon Nominees of His Excellency the President -- more especially, my good Brother and Friend, Hon Joe Appiah, who is just throwing the hands into thin air -- and the able-bodied Hon Deputy Minority Leader -- so that the Hon Nominees of His Excellency the President are all approved.
Mr Speaker, I must also thank the Hon First Deputy Speaker who happens to be the Hon Chairman of the Committee. In fact, they sit for long hours trying to quiz these Hon Nominees and make sure that they are really capable for the job that is ahead of them.

Mr Speaker, on a more serious note, I would want to make a little comment on a statement made by Hon Fifi Kwetey, which is on the fuel subsidy. Mr Speaker, I think I would not advocate for the removal of fuel subsidies. This is because if that is done, it is the poor farmer at Fawokabra, which is in my constituency that would suffer.

Hon Members of Parliament, by God's Grace, may be able to afford the prices even if they go high, but a farmer at Fawokabra and Nyamedema in the Western Region, specifically the Aowin constituency --

Mr Speaker, if the subsidy on fuel is removed, drivers will be made richer and the rich will continue to be rich because they are the owners of these cars that ply our roads. So I would urge, if there is a different and better way of trying to move the economy forward, I think that should

be applied, rather than removing the subsidy.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion for the approval of the nominees by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana.
Mr Kwabena M. Akandoh (NDC -- Juaboso) 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that we would have to commend the Vetting Committee for a good work done. Not only do they sit for long hours, but I think that they ask the relevant questions.
It would interest you to note that if you do not know the Hon Members on the Minority side personally, you may not realise they are not on the Committee. I think that the Hon Members on the Vetting Committee are doing very good work; they ask salient questions. All the sensitive questions are being asked on the Vetting Committee. [An Hon Member: Appointments Committee.] Appointments Committee, sorry. I thank the Hon Member for the correction.
Mr Speaker, I would want to touch on debt sustainability. It is refreshing to hear from Hon Fifi Kwetey who has been in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, that the debt position of this country is healthy. I was very happy to hear that most of the loans contracted by this country are directed to areas where maximum returns could be yielded and these loans, the very projects that they are used for, could pay themselves.
So I am very happy that our debt position is very healthy.
Mr Benjamin K. Kpodo (NDC -- Ho Central) 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Report which was presented and seconded.
I would like to, however, comment on the issue raised by Hon Fifi Kwetey regarding the challenges facing the economy. He identified inadequate resources as the greatest challenge. I would want us to address this issue very critically. The question is, why are the resources not forthcoming?
Many of our small-scale enterprises have not been known to pay taxes commensurate with their business operations and tax personnel do not really follow up these companies and enterprises to make them pay the appropriate taxes. Normally, they levy standard assessments, collect them once either at the beginning or somewhere along the year and that ends it. They do not pursue them to report on their business operations, which would enable the tax authorities to levy the taxes commensurate with their business operations.
I think we need to urge the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to help the Internal Revenue Service and other wings of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
I would also want to urge this House to institute a legislation or to bring up a legislation which would ensure that almost all these small-scale enterprises get the services of professional accountants who would report their actual incomes and expenditures based on which taxes can be levied. When we are able to raise income from our own sources within the business and other communities, we would have so much that even the loans which we contract from external sources can be brought down for the enhancement of income.
So I think that we should get the tax authorities to do much more work than
they are doing now, so that we can raise the necessary resources to meet our expenditure.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Baba J. M. Ahmed (NDC -- Akwatia) 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in supporting this Report and also acknowledging the fact that the sitting of the Appointments Committee is only by Hon Members from the Majority side, I think that it is important we take advantage of this debate to continue to urge our Hon Brothers on the other side to reconsider their position in the interest of mother Ghana, because two heads are better than one.
I would want to assure them that even though those of us on the Appointments Committee are doing our best, we still think that their presence would add some value to the process. So I would want to take advantage, that when we come to debate here, the way I see them sitting down quietly, their body gestures do not really portray what is -- I wonder what is going on in -- [Interruption.] They would want to but they cannot say. They long to be part of it and I think that it is time for them to rescind their decision.
I would assure them that when they come, we would welcome them with open arms and work with them as we are supposed to work in the interest of mother Ghana.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 12:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate with and contribute to the Motion, that is currently before us which
Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon Members, accor- dingly, the following nominees have been approved by the House:
Mr Samuel Sarpong for Ashanti Region,
Mr E. K. T. Addo for Central Region,
Mr Bede A. Ziedeng for Upper West Region,
Hon Dr Mustapha Ahmed, Minister of State at the Presidency,
Hon Alhassan Azong, Minister of State at the Presidency,
Hon Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of State at the Presidency,
Hon Fifi F. F. Kwetey, Minister of State at the Presidency,
Hon Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah, Minister of State at the Presidency, and
Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, Minister of State at the Presidency.
On behalf of the House, I congratulate all of them.
Hon Members, I have admitted one Statement for today. I call on the Hon Member for Adaklu to make his Statement.
STATEMENTS 12:15 p.m.

Mr Kwame G. Agbodza (NDC -- Adaklu) 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to draw the attention of the nation to the proposed rehabilitation of Adomi Bridge and alternative routes.
The Adomi Bridge was built across the Volta River at Atimpoku around 1956; the bridge is now about 57 years old. The bridge has provided tremendous services to the people of Ghana.
It is estimated that over one hundred and twenty thousand (120,000) people, workers, traders and tourists cross the Volta River, using the bridge daily; it is

also a major link between our national capital, Accra and parts of the Eastern, Northern and Volta Regions. It is also a major link within the landmark Eastern Corridor road project initiated by the Government.

Mr Speaker, Adomi Bridge is a significant revenue generator in terms of tolls to the Road Fund. It is estimated that on the average, over three thousand (3,000) vehicles cross the bridge daily.

Mr Speaker, the bridge is old and requires major rehabilitation; failure to carry out the works could cause further decay and an inevitable result that will impact negatively on the country.

A Daily Graphic report of Friday, 29th June, 2012, quoted an official of Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) elaborating on the dangers of failure to carry out the repairs. Even though he could not give the exact date the project could commence, Mr Owusu Sekyere Antwi, the Director of Bridges of the GHA stated that, the bridge risked collapsing if the rehabilitation works were not done.

The GHA has imposed a weight restriction on haulage vehicles. This is a great inconvenience and also increased the cost of doing haulage business across the Volta River to the other areas.

Mr Speaker, this is not the first time the bridge has been scheduled for rehabilitation. In 2008, the Roads and Highways officials carried out inspections and indicated that one of the steel beams supporting the bridge had collapsed, while two others had developed serious cracks, resulting in the slumping of a

section of the bridge. This is a looming disaster; I do not think we should wait to see a catastrophe of this magnitude happen on our watch.

This bridge is one of the finest engineering pieces on our landscape, we should never allow it to fall victim to the infamous phrase, “Ghanaians have a poor maintenance culture”.

Mr Speaker, the bridge has been scheduled for maintenance again. The bridge will be closed for traffic while the rehabilitation works are carried out. As a result, alternative routes have been considered. This includes re-routing vehicular traffic through the Ho-Adaklu- Adidome-Sogakope road, and a ferry provided at Senchi to cross the Volta River.

Mr Speaker, I am reliably informed that the alternative route rehabilitation has been awarded on contract. Work on a major section of the road which involves Mafi-Asiekpe-Adaklu to Ho is ongoing but at a rather slow pace. The slow pace of the woks has significantly impacted negatively on the economic activities in my constituency.

I wish to suggest to the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways to take a critical look at these projects to ensure that the quality of work can withstand the heavy vehicular traffic that is being re-routed through the constituency. It would be helpful if the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Highways and the Members of Parliament of the affected areas be briefed regularly on progress of works.

I would also suggest to the Hon Minister to ensure that we have pedestrian walkways along the road when it reaches towns and villages. I believe this would help minimise the pedestrian

and vehicular conflict points along the road.

Mr Speaker, the slow pace of works on the road is of another concern to my constituents. Dust from the work is exposing my constituents to respiratory diseases. It is also putting the lives of my constituents at risk.

Mr Speaker, just recently, an accident was recorded in my constituency. A month ago, another young teacher returning from school was knocked down and killed instantly on his motor bike. Mr Speaker, the young man was not even riding on his bike; he parked by the side of the road in one of the towns. The driver of the vehicle who caused the accident said he could not see the biker because of the dusty nature of the road. This was avoidable. His demise is a loss to the family and a great loss to the constituency where we are finding it difficult to attract qualified teachers.

Mr Speaker, I also would want to take the opportunity to ask the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways to speed up works on the Adaklu section of the District Capital Roads Improvement Project


Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement on the floor and to say that, this is a very, very important Statement, which concerns all of us as Ghanaians.
Mr Speaker, one important issue I heard from the Hon Member who made the Statement is that, “Ghanaians have poor maintenance culture.” And I cannot agree more with him on the issue of we, as a nation, having poor maintenance culture.
Mr Speaker, there are a lot of structures in this country which have been constructed years ago, which many people do not think of how we should maintain them. Mr Speaker, I can mention some of these. For instance, the old Parliament House in Accra, which is now serving as the headquarters for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). We have until recently Job 600 which they are now rehabilitating as offices to contain Members of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, when you drive on the motorway between Accra and Tema, you will hear noise, you will see clearly that there is something which must be done about the motorway.
Mr Speaker, I believe we are also thinking about the Sogakope Bridge, which was constructed years ago -- 1965 or 1966 thereabout. I do not know whether the authorities are also looking at the maintenance of such architecture.
Mr Speaker, even if we come to our own homes, in some homes, electr ical connections have been done years ago and nobody goes to see whether we should maintain them until there is a disaster. Mr Speaker, poor maintenance culture is an issue which Ghanaians must take seriously. Adomi Bridge was built years ago and according to the Statement, it needs to be maintained to save lives. We need to support such a situation and look at other businesses in this country, so that we do not wait until disaster befalls the nation.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the authorities are wide awake and they are listening to such statements, particularly the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing which is concerned with all the structures we have in this country and we need to urge everybody that we need to have a culture to maintain our structures, so that we do not invite disaster to our homes and structures.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Statement.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements --
Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would seek your indulgence to contribute to this impor tant Sta tement i f you would let me --
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Very well. I know the bridge is in your constituency.
Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw (NPP -- Asuogyaman) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I was not here to listen to the maker of the Statement. That notwith-standing, I would want to contribute to the Statement.
Mr Speaker, the Adomi Bridge is situated at Atimpoku, my birthplace and also Asuogyaman Constituency.
Mr Speaker, as you would see, the bridge links the Eastern and Volta Regions and if the bridge is in such a poor condition that it needs to be rehabilitated, then we welcome that rehabilitation.
However, Mr Speaker, the information we are receiving is that they are seeking to construct a road through Asutsuare rather than construct a wharf that will ferry people and vehicles from the Volta Region through Atimpoku so that we can maintain the thriving trade and business by the people of Asuogyaman, especially
those who sell one man thousand, abolo and bread. That is the only occupation or trade that the indigenous people have been engaging in.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Do you have a point of order?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 12:25 p.m.
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
What is your point of order?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member at the beginning said he was not here to listen to the Statement and rightly --
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Member, I have listened carefully to the Member and what he has said so far is relevant to the Statement that has been made.
Mr Osei-Ameyaw 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the people of Asuogyaman are suggesting that we should rather have a pontoon or a ferry that would carry vehicles from Atimpoku, that is from Small London -- and Mr Speaker, you know what I mean when I mention “Small London”. “Small London” is on the other side towards Juapong and then from the Atimpoku side, it means, people coming from Peki, Anum, Boso, Frankadua would all come through a ferry that would take them from the bridge side at the other side to Atimpoku, so that they can join the asphalt road to Accra.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Member, where are you getting this Asutsuare from -- are you sure of your facts?
Mr Osei-Ameyaw 12:25 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Member, last year, in the last Parliament, we did approve a facility for the rehabilitation of the bridge and for the ferry that you are talking about, it was not Asutsuare. If I recollect, it was at Senchi. It is at Senchi -- what was put before the House and approved is at Senchi but not at Asutsuare.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is true, the Finance Committee members duly approved a facility to rehabilitate the bridge. So, it is also true, like you said, that there is no plan to collapse the bridge. But Mr Speaker, the Finance Committee has been briefed on the plans for the Eastern corridor road and the Hon Member is right. If you watch the plans very well for the Eastern corridor roads, what he is saying is also equally right as well.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
You mean the alternative route and the ferry will be put at Senchi or Asutsuare? [Interruptions.]
Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
No. The asphalted roads for the Eastern corridor -- he is right when they say that they would want to put an alternative route through that side to come and link the other road.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
That was not what he was talking about. He was talking about where the ferry would be located --

whether the ferry would be located at Asutsuare or Senchi and I was saying that what we approved last year in this House was that the ferry would be based at Senchi.
Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. That is a temporal arrangement. If he is talking about the temporal arrangement, yes. That is a temporal arrangement but he referred to two things. For the temporal arrangement, what you are saying is right but he is also right when he is talking about asphalted roads -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Osei-Ameyaw 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the permanent road goes through Asutsuare and that would collapse the business activities of the whole constituency. That means, the permanent asphalted road would go through Asutsuare and through the Volta Region and so, what I am asking is that, the ferrying is a temporal arrangement. Now, if it moves to Senchi, even at Senchi, it would cause us grave inconvenience. This is because those from Akwamufie will have to go through Old Akrade and join the ferry there and come through Senchi and go back to Akosombo. So, Mr Speaker, these are issues that we need to look into seriously.
Mr Joseph Z. Amenowode 12:25 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, my Colleague is right to defend and protect the economic activities of our people there. But the point is that the Statement is about maintenance of the bridge and what should be done while the bridge is being maintained. There is no plan to abandon Adomi Bridge, it is an asset that should be protected.
Now, the other issue the Deputy Minority Leader is talking about is altogether. That there would be an Eastern corridor road extending through Asutsuare to Dorfor. Joining the road at Asikuma is another road adding to what we already have. So, it is your people and my people, two opportunities to do economic activities.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Osei-Ameyaw 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that notwithstanding, with the length of time the maintenance arrangement is going to take for the bridge to be rehabilitated, is an issue that we need to consider seriously. This is because if it is going to take two years, for example, it means that the people who are selling at Atimpoku bridge would have to go all the way to Senchi.
So, what we want to do is that, we should have two ferries, one at Atimpoku linking Atimpoku and Asikuma and then one from Senchi that deals with the Volta Region -- North Tongu, South Tongu -- they can use the ferry from Senchi and then Atimpoku, Akwamufie and Gyakiti and all those people going to Anum Boso can also go through Atimpoku.
What we are suggesting is that, true, in the olden days, we had the ferry at Senchi, but when they constructed the bridge, we moved it to Atimpoku and now it has become the commercial centre and the capital of the district. Now, to move it to Senchi without at least, having some form of ferry going from the bridge to the other side, is untenable, Mr Speaker. It is not proper and it is not in the interest of my constituents and Mr Speaker, this is something we need to seriously consider in this House.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Alfred Agbesi 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, by way of information.
As you have rightly pointed out, a contract Agreement had been approved by this House, and the Statement is on the maintenance of that bridge. So, the Member should be aware that a decision had already been taken in this House. If he is not happy with that decision, then he should come properly and a second look would be taken of that Agreement, which had been approved by the House. But he should be informed that something has already been done. Maybe, at that time, he was not in the House.
Mr Nitiwul 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think you ruled on this particular matter and said that -- I am surprised the Deputy Majority Leader is still going back against your own ruling.
In any case, Mr Speaker, that is your second home and if he does not know -- that is Mr Speaker's second home. So he knows the problems that are there and he has ruled and we should respect Mr Speaker's ruling.
Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements. I direct that the Statement and the comments made on it should be served on the Minister for Roads and Highways.
Mr Agbesi 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have the Motion listed item number 7 which should be properly listed as 8 on the Pan-African Parliament. The other one listed as Motion number 11 which should also be labelled Motion 12 on the membership of the Community Parliament of ECOWAS.
Mr Speaker, we would want to defer them for further consultation.
Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Yes, deferred accor- dingly. Leadership, this matter has been on the Order Paper for far too long and I believe that by next week, we should bring it to a close. I hope Leadership has got the point that I am making?
Mr Nitiwul 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think you should speak particularly to the Majority. Let us see how this thing can be done, so that the Leader of the House will bring that Motion. We are all eager to get that Motion done with quickly. So, I am sure by next week Tuesday, something concrete would have been done for us to carry on with the business of the House.
Mr I. K. Asiamah 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my concern is that, is there no deadline for Ghana to submit her nomination? It seems we are not going according to the
-- 12:35 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Well, once some of the Members are no longer Members of the House, it is important that we replace them. This is because under the ECOWAS Protocol, until you replace those
Members, they will continue to be Members of the ECOWAS Parliament. And the question is that, does the House have the right to spend on people who are no longer Members of this House? So, those are some of the challenges and that is why it is important that we get those things done, so that we can get our representation in those two institutions.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is almost half past noon and some committees would be meeting and today being Friday, I beg to respectfully move, that the House be adjourned until Tuesday at 10.00 a.m.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:35 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.40 p.m. till Tuesday, 19th February, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.