Debates of 19 Feb 2013

PRAYERS 10:50 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Members, com- muni-cation from His Excellency, the President.
“14th February, 2013

STATE HOUSE 10:50 a.m.

OSU-ACCRA 10:50 a.m.

Minister-designate 10:50 a.m.
Hon Helen Adwoa Ntoso -- Volta Region.
Kindly accept, Rt. Honourable, the assurances of my highest consideration.


Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Members, Cor- rec-tion of the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 15th February, 2013.
Mr Collins Owusu-Amankwah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes—
Mr Owusu-Amankwah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, page 7, item number 38, Owusu-Amank- wah Collins, Manhyia North. I am sup- posed to be part of Members who were absent with permission.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member, wait. What page?
Mr Owusu-Amankwah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, page 7, item number 38 --
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Which item? Which number under 4?
Mr Owusu-Amankwah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, “The following Members were absent”, page 7, item number 38.
Mr Owusu-Amankwah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Owusu-Amankwah Collins, Manhyia North. I was part of the delegation that went to Prof Fobih's daughter's funeral and my name was on the list. So, I find it difficult -- Why am I found on the list of those who were absent without permission?
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, was he on the list of the people you took permission for?
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I know he was at the event but whether or not his name was on the official list, I cannot really remember. I would want to plead —
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Very well. We will cross- check the records and then correct it. Table Office --
Page 7…8.
Mr Govers Kwame Agbodza 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, page 8, item number 8. The
Statement tried to draw attention to the slow pace of works on the Adomi Bridge and the alternative routes. The works have already started. So, instead of having the sentence “. . . Highway Authority to com- mence construction works…” it should read: “…Highway Authority to expedite construction on the alternative routes…”
Dr Anthony A. Osei 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is not entirely accurate. It says “to commence construction of alternative routes”, not “rehabilitation.” So, it is correct. [Interruption.] Yes, I agree with him; rehabilitation is going on but the commencement of the construction of alternative routes has not started.
Mr Agbodza 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this pro- ject is in my constituency; this project is on-going. So, I would want it to be corrected to say; “. . . to expedite action on the existing contract”, not “to start work”. Two different things.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Members, we would look at the Statement. Table Office should look at the Statement.
Were you in the House that day?
Dr A. A. Osei 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my point is that —
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Were you in the House that day?
Dr A. A. Osei 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes. And even though I am not from that constituen- cy, it does not mean that I do not know the accuracy of the Statement that was made. The point is that, alternative—
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Dr A. A. Osei, I know where you are coming from. I get your point but he is also right. The alterna- tive routes, the one you are talking about is different from his. It is different from his.
The road that he referred to is different from the one for which the loan was taken
sometime in the last Parliament. Yes, so they should just look at the Statement and have it properly captured.

Hon Members, the Votes and Proceed- ings of Friday, 15th February, 2013 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
  • [No correction was made to the Offi- cial Report of Wednesday, 13th February, 2013]. Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Thursday 14th February, 2013 for correction.
  • Mr Ebenezer O. Terlabi 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Column 644, the second paragraph. I used the word “virulent” not “violent” -- V-i- r-u-l-e-n-t, not violent.
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    Emmanuel Nii Ashie-Moore: Mr Speaker, Column 613, paragraph 2. “Adenta”, it should read “Adentan” with the “n”.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    Any other correction?
    Nii Amasah Namoale: Mr Speaker, what the Hon Member for Adenta was referring to -- Yes, in the Ga Language, it is “Adentan” but the one that has been gazetted in Parliament is “Adenta.” So, if the Hon Member wants it changed, maybe, he has to go through the process, so that the Electoral Commission will know and then Parliament will know it is “Adentan” and not “Adenta.”
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Have you seen the writ
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member, I have been advised that the correct one is the one with the “n” at the end. I learnt the official one is the one with the “n” at the end and that is what is captured in the Votes and Proceedings. That is the advice I have got from the Clerk-at-the-Table.
    Hon Members, the Official Report of Thursday, 14th February, 2013 as correct- ed, is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
    Hon Majority Leader, are you ready to make your application or I should go ahead to Statements?
    Dr Benjamin Kunbuor 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can take one Statement while the Members receive the second copies of the Committee's Report.
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    STATEMENTS 11 a.m.

    Mr Joseph Y. Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 11 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the oppolrtunity to make a Statement on childhood cancers in Ghana and the need to include this in the national health insurance package.
    The month of February this year will once again remind us about the scourge of the dreadful disease cancer as the 4th
    and 15th February, 2013 will be observed as World Cancer Day and International Childhood Cancer Day respectively. These days have already past. Cancer is a major public health problem worldwide and in Ghana, the considerable increase in the number of cancer patients is gradually becoming a cause for great concern.
    Dr Anthony Akoto Osei 11 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member, it is a Statement. You are out of order.
    Mr Chireh 11 a.m.
    What is childhood cancer?
    Last year, various activities were un- dertaken to commemorate the above-men- tioned days but one foundation hyped up the awareness of childhood cancers through its activities covered by most of the major electronic and print media houses. This is due to the fact that the phenomenon and its devastating effect on children and their families in the country, hardly attract attention from the general public. Cancer has become a taboo in
    our society and most people do not want to associate children with this dreadful disease. The reality, however, is that child- hood cancers refer to neoplastic disorders affecting individuals aged less than fifteen years who are part of the age group that constitute approximately 40 per cent of the population of Ghana.
    Health experts maintain that childhood cancers can be cured provided prompt and essential treatment is accessible. It is however, noteworthy that 80 per cent of children with cancers live in developing countries where treatment is not effective, and as a result, four out of five of these children diagnosed with cancer will die.
    In our country, there is no compre- hensive statistical data on the magnitude of childhood cancers but using estimates from incidence data in more developed countries, about one (1) in 500 children will be affected. In other words, it is estimated that over 1,000 children below the age of 15 years are affected by cancer yearly in Ghana.
    Even though survival rates of the dis- ease in developed countries go as high as 75 per cent more in some cases, the chances of survival in Ghana are usually lower than 20 per cent of most cancers. This is as a result of various challenges faced here, which include the following:
    The general lack of awareness about childhood cancer, compounded by adverse socio-cultural practices. Due to ignorance and superstitious beliefs, childhood cancer is attribut- ed to the work of witchcraft or other evil forces and so many children are either sent to prayer camps or herb- alists for healing. After unsuccessful treatment by these so-called healers, the children are then brought to the hospital where about 70 per cent to 80 per cent of them arrive with
    an advanced stage of cancer and invariably lose their lives.
    Other limitations include inadequate diagnostic services, unavailability or irregularity in the supply and unaffordable costs of chemothe- rapeutic agents, limited access to suitable protocols and inadequate supportive care. The fact is that sup- port for cancer treatment is limited in Ghana and the cost of treatment is left in the hands of families and a few donors for their children.
    There is limited access to services with a few health workers trained in paediatric cancer management.
    Currently, there are only two Paediatric Cancer Units in the country and these are located at Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals in Accra and Kumasi respectively. The commonest cancers in order of incidence are Lymphomas, Leu- kemia's Retinoblastoma, Wilms tumor Rhabdomyosarcoma, Neuroblastoma and Brain tumors.
    The effects of childhood cancer
    The word “cancer” stirs up deep fears of a silent killer that creeps up on a patient without warning. It evokes such despera- tion that it has become a metaphor for grief and pain, a scourge that strains intellectual, social and emotional resources of children. When cancer effects a child, family mem- bers, friends and the patient are touched with such emotions and frustrations that cannot be described.
    Cancers in children are supposedly rare and therefore, do not get as much attention as other diseases like malaria, diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS et cetera. However, the extent of sickness and pain caused by cancer, places a high burden on individuals, fam- ilies and their communities.
    Apart from the enormous emotional strain, the high treatment cost of childhood cancer also places heavy financial burdens and hardship on families, especially since the National Health Insurance Scheme
    Mr Chireh 11 a.m.
    does not cover the treatment of the disease. In some countries, however, treatment of all forms of cancer is covered by health insurance and other forms of support are provided by corporate bodies and benev- olent individuals.
    The picture is, however, not all gloomy; for according to health experts, some types of childhood cancers can be treated at a cost of as low as GH¢500.00 provided it is detected early. This may be far less than the treatment cost of some diseases covered by the NHIS.
    Support for childhood cancer patients under the NHIS
    Contrary to the belief of most people, children are also affected by cancer and even though they form a small percentage of people with cancers, they are our future and must be protected. It is very encourag- ing to know that with early detection and appropriate treatment, most childhood cancers are curable. There is, therefore, the need to intensify public education about the disease to demystify it while reducing risk factors such as exposure to dangerous chemicals, consumption of unhealthy food and infections.
    There are early warning signs for par- ents to look out for in their children and with prompt report to the hospital, many children can be saved.
    We are moved by what is facing these unfortunate children afflicted by the dreadful cancer and we are seeking the support of Parliament to advocate for coverage of the treatment of childhood cancer by the National Health Insurance Scheme, as is being done for breast and prostate cancer patients. We are also seeking the support of Hon Members for the childhood cancer awareness campaign

    throughout the various constituencies with the distribution of posters and fliers about the early warning signs of the disease.

    One Foundation needs to be mentioned and that is the Dr Robert Mitchell Memo- rial Foundation (RoMMeF), which was established in 2008. It is a non-govern- mental, non-profit, non-partisan, non-sec- tarian organisation with its main objective of helping as many children as possible with special emphasis on children with cancer, access to affordable and quality healthcare.

    Our concern is that the numbers of these children may be increasing every day as their parents stay away from the hospital due to the lack of awareness of the disease and the inability to pay for the cost of treatment. In this regard, RoMMeF has launched a Childhood Cancer Fund in aid of the provision of a Childhood Cancer Treatment Centre at Cape Coast in partnership with the School of Medical Sciences of the Cape Coast University and with the collaboration of the management of the Central Regional Hospital.

    It is, therefore, our hope that with access to a good treatment centre and the necessary financial support, the incidence of childhood cancer can be reduced while survival rates of patients will be increased. Children with cancer and their families will be relieved with the support of the NHIS, which will help save the lives of many children and the contribution of Hon Members of Parliament towards achieving this goal, will be invaluable.
    Dr Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement made by Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh on advocating for inclusion of childhood cancers in the Na- tional Health Insurance Scheme.
    Mr Speaker, cost-benefit wise, it makes
    more economic sense to include childhood cancers than some of the adult cancers we have included in this House on the Na- tional Health Insurance Scheme, namely, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
    Mr Speaker, why I say so is that child- hood cancers are the only known virtually curable cancers in the world -- not man- agement; curable -- that if caught early, the necessary treatment may lead to a cure. I remember very well my days in Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital when children with Nestro Blastoma, which is cancer of the kidney, were put on medicine and the relief of the parents after weeks of treatment when these children could go home well cured.
    Mr Speaker, in that sense, the rate of childhood cancers that have been enumer- ated by my Hon Friend -- the Leukemias -- the early leukemias, some forms of leukemia, the Retinoblastoma, which is cancer of the eye, the lymphomas which are cancers of the lymph glands and the leukemias, which are cancers of the blood cells.
    They are very curable when detected in the early stages in children, and at least, if it is put on the National Health Insurance Scheme, the necessary public education then can be embarked upon to advocate for more of such cancers being detected early and brought for medical treatment.
    Mr Speaker, part of that as well would be the establishment of a cancer data base in this country that would not only tell us the survival rate of these children but would also tell us the incidence and preva- lence of childhood cancers in this country, so that the necessary budgets can be put down for the treatment of these cancers.
    Mr Speaker, already, there are a lot of clamour in this country for inclusion of certain disease states in the National Health Insurance. Mr Speaker, that was why the Committee, in the passage of the National Health Insurance Bill, felt
    or deemed it right that the amount of resources that are going to the National Health Insurance should be increased and increased immediately.
    Mr Speaker, we cannot put childhood cancers on the National Health Insurance if we do not think about increasing re- sources to the National Health Insurance Scheme.
    The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a good scheme . It is a scheme the whole nation should support for it to be well established and well-resourced to treat these cancers that unfortunately, affect the poor more than the rich. The poor man cannot afford the treatment of a childhood cancer even though it is curable and the rich man can.
    So Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement that we should think again as a House on whether or not we should im- mediately advocate for increased resourc- es to the NHIS for some of these laudable objectives to be achieved.
    Alhaji Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC -- Wa Central) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I also rise to contribute to the Statement. Before that, let me thank Hon Member who made the Statement for bringing up the issues about childhood cancers and the need for us to take some drastic action about them.
    Mr Speaker, several years ago, can- cers were a dreadful disease and when somebody caught cancer, it was thought of to be one's end. Once a pronouncement was made that a child was cancerous or a disease was cancerous, one was seen to be walking straight to one's grave.
    Mr Speaker, thankfully, today, various treatment centres have been set up to at- tack this disease and we have heard about institutes that are dealing with this prob- lem elsewhere in the world. The problem we, however, face in this country is the fact
    Ms Shirley Ayorko Botchwey (NPP -- Anyaa/Sowutuom) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to contribute to the Statement ably made by Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh on cancers, specifically childhood cancers.
    Mr Speaker, as has already been artic- ulated by Hon Members who previously spoke, these days cancers are no longer as dreadful as we used to view them. These days they are so common that we do not see them as something that is dreadful and therefore, once you contract it then you were on your way to the morgue.
    Childhood cancers, Mr Speaker, as has already been said, are treatable and most of these cancers, if they are caught early, the children go into long remission or are cured. What I think is important for us to
    do as a nation is that, we should be looking for the numbers to increase in terms of curing cancers, is for funds to be injected into research and development.
    Mr Speaker, what has happened in countries that have been able to advance in the treatment of cancer is that they have spent a lot of money -- They have set up research centres that look into cancers that are already in existence and those that they see traits forming.
    I think, Mr Speaker, that this coun- try should be looking at putting a lot of resources into research. I know that we do have the Nugouchi Centre, which is looking at mainly infectious diseases. But that we should commit funds in order that these cancers can actually be researched into. It is only through research and de- velopment that we would be able to have more effective treatment of this disease, especially in children.
    I would also advocate that cancer treat- ment centres set up support groups, so that families that have children, especially who have contracted cancer, would be able to have some kind of support, not just med- ical treatment support, but also support from other families that have gone through the same, so that they are able to share experiences and learn from each other.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to associate myself with the Statement ably made and to say that some- time back, Prof. Sai, I think, through the Ghana Health Service, headed a commit- tee that was looking into cancers. I believe there is a report that needs to be looked at and if there are any recommend-ations, these recommendations are supposed to be implemented.
    So, I think we should take this seriously as a nation. This is because we cannot afford to have our children go through the pain and families go through the kind

    of stress that they go through when their children have cancer.

    I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the op- portunity.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Members, I would take one more contribution from each side. Hon Kaleo--what is the name of the constituency? I have been struggling with the -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin (NDC -- Nadowli/Kaleo) 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, thank you Mr Speaker, I quite understand. It is Nadowli/ Kaleo Constituency.
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    I have been with you for a long time; it has been only Nadowli from the north to the west.
    Mr Bagbin 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to add my voice to the Statement and to commend the maker of the Statement for drawing the attention of the whole nation to the issue of childhood cancers.
    Mr Speaker, it is a truism that cancers are curable once they are detected at a very early stage. In my comments, I would want to look at the issue of the basket of items we are putting on the NHIS. We also have to look at the issue of funding and also the current state of the Minis- try's agenda in deciding on what kind of diseases or ailments to put into the basket of the NHIS.
    Mr Speaker, we are adding onto the basket -- We have added breast cancer;
    there is a proposal now to include prostate cancer and child leukaemia. It does not cover all the cancers involving childhood. Mr Speaker, that is under consideration now at the Ministry and according to the new law, it is the Minister that would give an indication whether they should be cov- ered. But the Authority has submitted a proposal on these matters which are before the Ministry for consideration.
    But we all know that what we have in the country is that we are operating a third party insurance scheme. Third party in the sense of the amount of premium we pay, and we are asking it to be compre- hensive in its coverage. So, when you pay a third party insurance scheme and you want a comprehensive coverage, you definitely would have to face problems and that is why there is that huge financial gap between the requirements for quality healthcare and the amount that is given to the National Health Insurance Authority
    So, that is the crux of the matter. We know that childhood cancers cost less in treatment than even breast cancer. In fact, according to the information from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, they cost one-third less than the cost that we incur in trying to handle breast cancer and cervical cancers. We know that if they are included in the National Health Insurance Scheme and attention is focused on them, about 80 per cent of the childhood cancers would be treated by the country.
    But it is not the case that prostate cancer has been included as made in the Statement. It is still a proposal. It is not yet approved and I am sure that if it comes before the House, the House will look favourable to it.
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    The last comment.
    Mr Henry K. Kokofu (NPP -- Ban- tama) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy and grateful that I have the opportunity to add my voice to this.
    The Hon Member who made the State- ment, a former Hon Minister for Health, has done us good by bringing to the fore, this dreadful disease that afflicts our chil- dren. However, there are two major things that he advocates: One, the migration of the disease onto the National Health Insurance Scheme and then advocating distribution of leaflets and others to create awareness.
    But then, the National Health Insurance Scheme itself needs to be looked at, just as the Hon Member for Manhyia said.
    The Scheme itself, one wonders if it is not under convalescence. Just recently, it was reported in the print media that the National Health Insurance Scheme owes so much money to the Government hos- pital at Cape Coast, to the point that the hospital is about collapsing. So, therefore, if we succeed to have this disease placed under the National Health Insurance Scheme, what is the guarantee that it would be able to do what is expected of it.
    Particularly, in the Ashanti Region, where we have the capitation on the National Health Insurance Scheme, it is doing more harm than good and Govern- ment and the National Health Insurance
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:30 a.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    What is your point of order?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the point of order -- I am coming on a point of relevance. We are talking about childhood cancer; he is talking about the National Health Insurance Scheme which is doing so badly in the Ashanti Region.
    I have to tell him -- [Interruption.] I am equally from the Ashanti Region. We are talking about childhood cancer. He is talking about whether the National Health Insurance Scheme is doing well in the Ashanti Region or not.
    He is completely out of order because it is doing well. I am also from the Ashanti Region and precisely from the same place with him. We are all from Kumasi. So, he should speak to the relevant issue, which is childhood cancer.
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, the point being made is whether we should load the National Health Insurance Scheme with additional cost. That is the point, and he is saying that -- My understanding of the point he is making is that the National Health Insurance Scheme is overstretched and the point has been made by the former Minister for Health, Hon Alban Bagbin, that we are operating third party insur- ance and we want to get comprehensive benefits.
    But the point is, he should not go into details in terms of capitation and all those

    things, which are likely to provoke debate. But so far, I think he is within the rules.
    Mr Kokofu 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, I will proceed.
    Mr Speaker, I am coming from an area, Bantama Constituency, where we have the largest hospital, that is the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, one of the largest aside the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in the country. We are very much aware of the problems that have been created under the running of the National Health Insurance Scheme. With respect to you, I will not go there.
    But then, it is very necessary that we look at the National Health Insurance Scheme itself, so that we would be able to take on board what the Hon Member who made the Statement said.
    On the second leg of the advocacy, I would want to assure the Hon Member that we at Bantama, we are ready and prepared, wherever there are posters and all those things, to go out there to distribute and then to try to create awareness. We are ever prepared.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, we would --
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, do you want to say some few words?
    Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin Kunbuor) 11:40 a.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker. Also, as part of my nostalgia of having been a Health Minister--
    Mr Speaker, I guess that the Statement is timely inasmuch as the Statement ad- dresses this very important facet of our health delivery system. The inclusion or exclusion of particular health conditions from the national health insurance list has been one that is dated and it is one that
    is sometimes not based on any empirical evidence, and is also one that is not in tune with the times. Epidemiologically, over the period, there has been a major shift in terms of the disease burdens in the country.
    Areas like so-called non-communica-
    ble diseases that used to register very low percentages of fatalities have changed over the past decade. The conception about cancer over the years has been that, there is a very thin line between a person diagnosed of cancer and the grave. So the exclusion of childhood cancer and other cancers and non-communicable diseases within the framework of national health insurance was informed by that type of perception.
    Increasingly, we also must be looking at the text for inclusion and exclusion in relation to the percentage of our popula- tion that is being affected by the so-called excluded medication conditions.
    I am particularly also happy, that this
    Statement has touched on a very signifi- cant situation which I use to put in rather terse words that the Ministry of Health actually addresses health and not sickness, and that if they intended to create a Minis- try of sickness, they would have done so. Health, certainly, has wider connotations and require wider interventions than issues of sickness.
    But we have found in terms of per- centages, that we have committed more resources over the years at the clinical level and at the curative level and yet if we could put one-third of those financial resources at the preventive level, the public awareness creation level, then we would not even have the large numbers downstream, which require cure and clinical attention.
    With these few words, I would like to
    associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Member.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the first part of Statements.

    We would take Motions and after that come back to Statements.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like us to take Motion numbers 4 to 9.
    MOTIONS 11:40 a.m.

    Minority Leader(Mr Osei Kyei-Men- sah-Bonsu) 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Constituton of the membership of the Pan-African Parliament
    Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin Kunbuor) 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the Pan-African Parliament.
    1.1 The Pan-African Parliament was established in March, 2004, by article 17 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, as one of the nine organs provided for in the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community signed in Abuja, Nigeria, in 1991.
    1.2 The establishment of the Pan-Afri- can Parliament as stated in the preamble of the Protocol to the Treaty relating to the establishment of the Pan-African
    Parliament, was informed by a vision to provide a common platform for African peoples and their grassroots organisations to be more involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent.
    1.3 The seat of the Pan-African Par- lia-ment is in Midrand, South Africa.
    2.0 Aims and objectives of the Pan- African Parliament
    2.1 Article 2 (3) of the Protocol states that:
    “The ultimate aim of the Pan-Af- rican Parliament shall be to evolve into an institution with full legis- lative powers, whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage. However, until such time as the member States decide otherwise by an amendment to this Protocol, the Pan-African Parliament shall have consultative and advisory powers only.”
    2.2 The objectives of the Pan-African Parliament as set out in article 3 of the Protocol are as follows:
    (i) Facilitate the effective imple- men-tation of the policies and objectives of the African Union.
    (ii) Promote the principles of human rights and democracy in Africa.
    (iii) Encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in member states.
    (iv) Familiarise the peoples of Africa with the objectives and policies aimed at integrating the African Continent within the framework of the establishment of the Afri- can Union.
    (v) Promote peace, security and
    (vi) Contribute to a more prosperous future for the peoples of Africa by promoting collective self-re- liance and economic recovery.
    (vii) Facilitate co-operation and development in Africa.
    (viii) Strengthen continental solidar- ity and build a sense of common destiny among the peoples of Africa.
    (ix) Facilitate co-operation among Regional Economic Communi- ties and their Parliamentary Fora.
    3.0 Functions of Pan-African Parlia- ment
    The following are the functions of the Pan-African Parliament:
    (i) Explain, discuss or express an opinion on any matter, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Assembly or other policy organs and make any recommen- dations it may deem fit relating to inter-alia, matters pertaining to respect of human rights, the consolidation of democratic institutions and the culture of democracy, as well as the pro- motion of good governance and the rule of law.
    (ii) Discuss its budget and the budget of the Community and make recommendations thereon prior to its approval by the Assembly.
    (iii) Work towards the har- monization or co-ordination of the laws of member States.
    (iv) Make recommendations aimed at contributing to the attainment of the objectives of the OAU/
    Mr Speaker, Ghana's representation in the Pan 11:40 a.m.

    We have Hon Ebo Barton-Odro, First Deputy Speaker, as Member and Leader of the delegation --

    Hon Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, Chief Whip, as a Mem- ber.

    Hon Juliana Azumah-Mensah (Mrs), a Member.

    Hon Dominic B. A. Nitiwul, Mem- ber.

    Hon Elizabeth Agyeman, Member.

    7.0 Recommendation

    Mr Speaker, Leadership recommends to the House for approval, the above listed Hon Members as Members of the Pan-Af- rican Parliament.

    Respectfully submitted.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speak- er, I believe we have done the necessary consultations and I would beg to second the Motion moved by the Hon Majority Leader.
    Question proposed.
    Minister of State (Alhaji Abdul- Rashid Pelpuo) (MP) 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I stand to comment on the Report and to support the Motion, especially because I am an immediate past Member of the Pan-African Parliament, taking over from Hon E. T. Mensah who also took over from His Excellency John Dramani Mahama.
    Mr Speaker, I was in Parliament with your goodself and I noticed that the Ghanaian delegation at any point in time, had always demonstrated a lot of fire power when it comes to deliberations on the floor of the House and this is a very important Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, at the moment, the Pan 11:50 a.m.

    rican Parliament is not a legislative body yet. It is advisory, it is able to comment on very pertinent important issues that are then sent to the Secretariat for onward discussions with the Heads of State.

    Mr Speaker, it is important that in choosing people to represent Ghana, you would pick on very, very important, in- telligent, committed individuals who can represent Ghana and give us the kind of image we often cut out anytime we rep- resent Ghana outside the country. I would want to say that the people so far indicated here, to represent us in the Parliament, are well qualified.

    I have taken note that, except for two of the Hon Members here, the three of them are coming as new Members. Hon Ebo Barton-Odro, who is the First Deputy Speaker, we know what he stands for, what his qualities are, how much he addresses himself to the work of Parliament, how committed he is, and so, we are very con- fident that he is going to represent us well.

    I already have experienced the work of Hon Muntaka. This is because I was with him when he replaced the former Member of Parliament for Nabdam, Hon Moses Asaga. So, Mr Speaker, I know that he has the calibre, the drive and the commitment.
    Mr Speaker, the two other Members 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Juliana Azumah-Mensah and Hon Dominic B. A. Nitiwul -- I believe are new, also, who would bring their experi- ence to bear with the deliberations at the Pan-African Parliament. Hon Elizabeth Agyeman has already played very im- portant role in the Women Caucus. So, I believe that with her new renewed mem- bership of the Pan-African Parliament, she would take up the leadership of the Women Caucus of West Africa.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the Leadership for coming out with these names, and I would want to call on all of us to support them and to make sure that, at the end of the day, they too would respond to the goodwill we would have demonstrated here by choosing them to represent us.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker and I wish them all the best.
    Dr Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Report that has been put here, but with a few observations.
    Mr Speaker, not long ago, we heard an Hon Member speak about gender on committees.
    Not long ago, we heard others speak about regional balance on committees. Not long ago, we heard about ethnic balance on committees. Mr Speaker -- [Inter- rup-tions] -- regional; sex -- regional, not ethnic.
    Mr Speaker, the number of membership in the House has grown exponentially with almost every election, with 275 Members of this august House. Some of the privi- leges inherent in certain positions should not be at the detriment of those who have come and are struggling to be around. We have demonstrated that in this Session of Parliament, we are going to make the House Committee a very vibrant one.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    I would want to put the Question --
    David T. Assumeng (NDC -- Shai-Osudoku): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I would be very brief.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion. I would only want to indicate that during your tenure, Mr Speaker, you presented a number of reports from the Sittings. So, I would want to also urge the new group to also do well to emulate that good example that you set, such that reports from the various meetings would be submitted to Parliament as well.
    Thank you for the opportunity.
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion. But I would want to ask Leadership and your goodself for the House to begin to con- sider other matters when it comes to this selection. In particular, I notice that you, having been here since 1993, going to that Parliament, is no problem. But we have just had a new First Deputy Speaker who is
    very brilliant, and if he goes, it means that the work would have to be shared between you and the Second Deputy Speaker who is also new.
    So, I think in these matters, we should begin to look at these considerations such that we do not constrain ourselves in this House. If the person has been here as long as you, I do not think there would be a problem.
    Hon Muntaka, who is the Majority Chief Whip talked about -- now that he is the Majority Chief Whip, the House Committee is going to work and how is the Committee going to work when he is in Abuja? [Laughter.] So, I think that it is all right. But as we consider these things, we should begin to be looking at them, so that we are not hurting ourselves as a House.
    Hon Muntaka -- rose --
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    The Hon Member said you should be here, so that the House Committee would be effective. So, is that a point of order?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I cannot remember the Hon Member and I having any discussion about the House Committee going to be very active because I am a member. So, I think the Hon Mem- ber should advert his mind to it.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, but on a lighter note, on page 4, the third person is “Hon Juliana Azumah-Mensah”. I do not know any Azamah-Mensah in this House. The Hon Majority Leader has not offered any amendment. So I would want to know who we are talking about in this case. I do not want to vote for anybody that is not in this House.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Member very much for drawing our attention to the typographical error. We
    actually are talking of Hon Juliana Azu- mah-Mensah and it ought to be rendered as “Azumah” and not “Azamah”.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with that amendment, I wholeheartedly support the Motion.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Consequential Reso- lu-tions -- Item number 6 on the Order Paper.
    Hon Majority Leader, you may have to amend it, insert the names before you move the Resolution.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:50 a.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, before I move the Resolu- tion, I would want that we insert after item 3, third paragraph, Hon Ebo Barton-Odro, Leader of the Delegation, Hon Moham- med-Mubarak Muntaka, Member, Hon Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Member, Hon Dominic B. A. Nitiwul, Member and Hon Elizabeth Agyeman, Member.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    You may now move the consequential Resolution.
    RESOLUTIONS 11:50 a.m.

    Majority Leader(Dr Benjamin Kun- buor) 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that
    WHEREAS under article 4 (1) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, each member State shall be represented in the Pan-African Parliament by five (5) Members of Parliament, at least, one of whom shall be a woman;
    UNDER article 4 (2) of the said
    Constitutive Act, the representation of each Parliament shall reflect the diversity of political opinion in the national Parliament;
    UNDER article 5 (1) of the said Constitutive Act, Members of the Pan-African Parliament shall be elected or designated by the re- spective national Parliaments of the member States from among their Members.
    N O W T H E R E F O R E T H I S 11:50 a.m.

    HONOU- RABLE HOUSE HERE- 11:50 a.m.

    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speak- er, I would want to second the Motion for the adoption of the Resolution.
    But Mr Speaker, in dealing with this, I think this House should be very consistent in whatever we do. This is because, Mr Speaker, some 12 years ago, when we came to constituting these delegations, there was this insistence in this House that, this House should propose leaders of the delegations -- that we should allow the Members themselves to elect from them- selves who should be the leader.
    Mr Speaker noon
    Hon Minority Leader, I think we have changed that position long ago after the events of Abuja -- [Inter- ruptions.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speak- er, with respect, I am not disagreeing. I am saying that we should not be shifting the goalpost as and when we deem appro- priate. Let us be consistent and I wholly support this position that, that is how it should be and we should move on.
    Mr Speaker, with that, I beg to sec- ond the Motion for the adoption of the Resolution.
    I thank you.
    Mr Bagbin noon
    Mr Speaker, I would want to remind my Colleague, the Minori- ty Leader that it was not during our tenure that the goalpost changed. It was during the time that Hon Malik became a Mem- ber and holding the position of a Deputy Speaker. He had to lead the delegation and it is from that tradition that we are always insisting that the Deputy Speaker should lead the delegation, and the Rt Hon Speak- er himself was one. That is why we are now here with our good Friend the First Deputy Speaker leading the delegation. So, we are not shifting any goalpost to suit our circumstances -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr Speaker noon
    Hon Member, he was referring to what happened in Abuja when the Minority Leader became a victim --
    Mr Bagbin noon
    Mr Speaker noon
    Mr Bagbin noon
    When your kingdom, not ours here -- we were not part of what
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speak- er, for the records, that the leadership of Hon Malik was discussed on the side lines, it never featured as part of our re- cords -- you remember that was the issue. That is what I am referring to but we have moved on. Mr Speaker, that indeed, was the position. But Mr Speaker, as I said, I am not against what we have done. I am just saying that we should be consistent and be supportive of this course and then move on from here. That is the point that I am making.
    Dr Kunbuor noon
    Mr Speaker, we have done some crosschecking on the prece- dence and we noticed that this issue that the Hon Minority Leader is talking about had to do with ECOWAS Parliament.
    We do know clearly that, the Constitu- tion of Pan-African Parliament, in terms of the challenges and that of the ECOWAS Parliament, have varied tremendously over the period and without preempting any discussion, you would see that a sub- sequent Motion addresses this problem to show the difference in the constitution and composition of the leadership in the next Motion. I have cross-checked from the previous official records on this matter.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Dr Kunbuor noon
    Mr Speaker, we may take item number 7.
    Mr Speaker noon
    Yes, item number 7 on the Order Paper.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
    Dr A. A. Osei noon
    Mr Speaker, I do not think I heard you put the Question on the Motion. You just said it is adopted. I did not hear you put the Question -- [inter- ruptions.] We concluded the debate on the historical precedence -- there was no Question put -- [Interruptions] -- he did not! Check the records -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr Speaker noon
    Hon Member, I have put the Question. I did.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to move item number 7 --
    MOTIONS 12:05 p.m.

    Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin Kunbuor) 12:05 p.m.
    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 Report of Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the Community Parlia- ment of ECOWAS may be moved today.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Mem- bers, this is a procedural Motion, so I shall put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Constitution of the Community Parliament of ECOWAS
    Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin Kun- buor) 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of Leadership on the constitution of the membership of the Community Parliament of ECOWAS.
    1.0 Introduction
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the inaugura- tion of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, the need arose for the reconsti- tution of the membership of Ghana's rep-
    resentation at the ECOWAS Parliament.
    2.0 ECOWAS Parliament
    The ECOWAS Parliament was formed in the year 2000 with a total membership of 120 representatives from member States. Ghana has eight (8) representatives at the Community Parliament.
    3.0 Functions
    The functions of the ECOWAS Parlia- ment are basically advisory, as it is yet to have legislative powers conferred on it.
    Currently, membership of the ECOW- AS Parliament is through election by national Parliaments or their equivalent institutions from among its Members. The Parliament of Ghana is required by article 7 subclauses I and II of the Protocol estab- lishing the Community Parliament to elect Ghana's representatives from among its Members to the Community Parliament.
    4.0 Tenure of office
    The tenure of office for members of the ECOWAS Parliament is four (4) years commencing from the date the Parliament is sworn-in. According to the Protocol relating to the Community Parliament, a Member must be a Member of the nation- al or an equivalent institution and must not hold any governmental or Executive position. A member of the Community Parliament must also not be a Judge of the Community Court of Justice or the Arbitration Court or serve on any other institution established by ECOWAS or serve on any other position in an inter- national organisation. Public servants are also barred from being members of the ECOWAS Parliament.
    In addition, a Member not re-elected as a Member of his/her national Parliament remains in office until a new member is nominated to replace the said Member.
    Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin Kun- buor) 12:10 p.m.
    5.0 Formula for composition of delegations
    The composition of Ghana's represen- tation at the ECOWAS Parliament was based on the formula for the composition of committees and delegations approved by the House on 9th January, 2013, vis-a- vis 151:123 or 55:45 for the Majority and Minority Caucuses respectively.
    In accordance with the above formula, the Leadership proposes the following Members as Ghana's representatives at the ECOWAS Parliament:
    1. Hon Alfred Kwame Agbesi -- Member
    2. Hon Sampson Ahi --Member
    3. Hon Ahmed Ibrahim -- Member
    4. Hon Dominic AzimbeAzumah --Member
    5. Hon Daniel Botwe -- Member
    6. Hon Frederick Opare-Ansah -- Member
    7. Hon Simon Osei-Mensah -- Member
    8. Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey -- Member
    6.0 Conclusion
    Leadership respectively recommends to the House to adopt its Report and ap- prove the re-constituted membership of Ghana's representation at the ECOWAS Parliament for the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana.
    Respectfully submitted.

    Mrs Irene Naa Torshi Addo(NPP

    -- Tema West): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

    Question proposed.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    We would take two contributions each from either side of the House.
    Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion for the adoption of the Report of Leadership on the reconstitution of the membership of the ECOWAS Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, I trust that this august House would give approval to what Leadership has presented. But just to urge -- and while congratulating the nom- inees, that in particular, the core objectives of ECOWAS, we need as Members of Parliament to reflect our national values and our own national objectives. I say so because, Mr Speaker, today, currently, there is some misunderstanding sometimes even between Ghana and Nigeria over issues of trade.
    I hope that our very respected Members would also be ambassadors to promote trade between and among ECOWAS countries, in giving true meaning to the core objective of promoting regional integration. What Ghana needs, particu- larly at ECOWAS level -- only yesterday, Mr Speaker, I had cause to meet with the Nigerian High Commissioner, His Excellency Ademola and he asked for a Ghanaian trade delegation visiting Nigeria to discuss matters of mutual trade interest in order that Nigeria would have a better understanding of some of the issues af- fecting them.
    Mr Speaker, our position as a country is very simple. We have a moral duty to protect indigenous Ghanaians and Ghana- ian businesses, even as we promote free movement of goods and services. What we require of our representatives is to

    make clear to other ECOWAS countries that, one, in entering Ghana, they must be prepared to register with the Regis- trar-General's Department, register with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for purposes of tax, in order that we can ap- preciate what contribution they are making to our tax revenue.

    Mr Speaker, there are some other pro- tocols as a result of which there would be some benefits. For instance, if there is some minimum threshold for traders. By the ECOWAS protocols, we may overlook what is required of our Nigerian counter- parts but we insist that we want fair trade and we insist that they would be able am- bassadors of promoting and strengthening bilateral relations between us and many other countries in the ECOWAS.

    “Overlook” -- maybe, I would with- draw the word “overlook”. We may allow ECOWAS member States some window of opportunity in terms of meeting the thresh- old in order to promote regional trade.

    But what we expect our distinguished Members of Parliament to do is to reflect our national objectives -- fair trade. Ni- gerians can trade in Ghana; they must also permit Ghanaians to be able to trade within their markets, where open market means both sides, open Nigerian markets, and let Ghanaian traders have access to Nigerian markets, just as we do for them.

    With these few comments, Mr Speaker, I beg to associate myself with the Motion and to congratulate the Members so ac- cordingly nominated to serve us in the Regional Parliament.
    Ms Shirely A. Botchwey 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speak- er, this is just an observation. I am not going to talk on issues since I am on the delegation.
    But I have made an observation that, out of the eight Members, I am the lone ranger so to speak, the only female Mem-
    ber of Parliament; this is unfortunate. To think that Ghana is the second largest in terms of population of the ECOWAS countries after Nigeria, it would have been very nice if we had a female Member on the Majority side of the House, so that as usual, we can make a point to the rest of West Africa that Ghana leads the way in all things to do with democracy, including female representation or gender issues.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker. This is just my -- I know you would say dzi wo fie asem but I think it is very important for the image of Ghana to see more than one female Member of Parliament on a mem- bership of eight.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was ac- tually on a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the representations by the Protocols of ECOWAS and Pan- African Parliament are very clear. They are nation- al representations and immediately you leave the borders of Ghana, you are repre- senting the national Parliament of Ghana and not Majority or Minority. What we are doing here is an in-House constitution and we believe that the Hon Member is capable of representing Ghana's national interest and not the interest of the Minority.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    One more contribution from the Majority side of the House.
    Minister of State (Maj (Dr) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed)(retd) (MP) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Report and to congratulate the Hon Members who have been selected to form the delegation of the ECOWAS Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, I had the privilege and op-
    portunity in the recent past to be a member of the ECOWAS Parliament delegation from this august House. And I recall with a lot of nostalgia some of the discussions that took place on the floor of the Parlia- ment of ECOWAS in Abuja.
    Mr Boniface G. Adagbila (NPP -- Nabdam) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have a couple of observations while I support the Motion on the team to represent Ghana.
    I believe these are very experienced Members who are going to represent us at the ECOWAS Parliament. I also believe the Hon Members so constituted would be very conversant with the problems we

    face with our neighbouring countries in terms of Fulani menace in the North and the southern part of Ghana. I believe our Members, before departing for any sitting, would be able to tell us the experience lev- el of all these problems to be able to make cases for us at the ECOWAS Parliament.

    I believe also that would have been better than if these Hon Members so constituted would have been allowed to run a sort of campaign here to tell us the agenda they would be pushing forward, so that we would have together voted for them and we can question them and hold them when they fail to deliver.

    This is just my bit of contribution I would want to put in and suggest to this House that they should be nominated and run a campaign here for us to confirm them to go, so that we can hold them responsible for any failures or any under performances or under achievement.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, we have come to the end of the debate.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, more clar- ification. On the Memorandum, paragraph (3), and here, I need your guidance, Mr Speaker. I would want to make sure that in the second paragraph, the statement that is, “through election”, that what we are doing constitutes election, so that they are —
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Dr Kunbour 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like that we take ttem number 9 on the Resolution.
    I would want us to make a slight amendment by inserting the following names in item number 3, third paragraph, as follows:
    Hon Alfred Kwame Agbesi
    Hon Sampson Ahi
    Hon Ahmed Ibrahim
    Hon Dominic Azimbe Azumah
    Hon Daniel Botwe
    Hon Frederick Opare Ansah
    Hon Simon Osei-Mensah
    Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
    RESOLUTIONS 12:20 p.m.

    Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin Kunbuor) 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that article 5 of the Protocol relating to the Community Parliament of ECOWAS, a total of eight (8) seats have been allotted to the Parliament of Ghana out of a total of one hundred and twenty (120) seats for the entire sixteen (16) member ECOWAS Community:
    UNDER subclause (ii) of clause 1 of article 7 of the said Protocol, elected representatives to the Community Parliament of ECOWAS shall be drawn from the national Assemblies of member States or their equivalent institutions or organs which shall elect such Members from among themselves;
    UNDER subclauses (i) and (ii) of clause 2 of article 7 of the said Pro- tocol, the term of office of represent- atives to the Community Parliament
    of ECOWAS shall be four (4) years, except where a repre- sentative ceas- es to be a member of his/her national Parliament, whereupon he/she shall remain in office during the transition until a new member replacing him/ her takes his/her seat.
    N O W T H E R E F O R E T H I S 12:20 p.m.

    HONOU- RABLE HOUSE HERE- 12:20 p.m.

    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speak- er, I beg to second the Motion for the adoption of the Resolution.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Mem-
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Mem- bers, we will take the second Statement, which is by Hon Emmanuel Kyereman- teng Agyarko, Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon.
    STATEMENTS 12:20 p.m.

    Mr Emmanuel K. Agyarko (NPP -- Ayawaso West Wuogon) 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speak- er, I would want to thank you for this opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, it is a very sad circum- stance that has occasioned the making of this Statement. Within the week of the 18th to the 25th of January this year, three Level 100 students of the premier university of our dear nation, the University of Ghana, Legon, which is situated in my constituen- cy, lost their lives through road accidents.
    Two of them, females, are Debbie Be-
    naye and Lordina Fobih. Debbie happens to be the grandniece of Hon Joe Gidisu, MP for Tongu Central and Lodina is the daughter of Hon Prof. Dominic Fobih, MP for Assin South. They died when a taxi cab they had boarded was crashed by a refuse truck at the traffic light at Okponglo Junction. Debbie was buried three weeks ago, and Lordina last Friday.
    The third Kojo Boampong Agyepong, a medical student, was knocked down while crossing the road at the same Okponglo Junction.
    With your kind permission, may I send my condolences to the bereaved families and to the University of Ghana community.
    portant issue of road safety and I do hope and pray that all of us, when it comes to some of these things, we would leave our political colouration and tackle it
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, I prefer that you stick to your script as much as possible.
    Mr Agyarko 12:30 p.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker. I would end by saying that I would want to thank you for your indulgence and I am most obliged.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    I shall now invite contributions.
    Mr Joe K. Gidisu (NDC -- Central Tongu) 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to associate myself with the two Statements made by my Colleagues on a very important nation- al situation as road safety in the country.
    Mr Speaker, with regard to the first Statement, the Hon Colleague rightly pointed out the fact that the facility for the construction of that road came from the Millennium Challenge Account. Howev- er, what is very important to note is that, the amount for the full completion of that road was inadequate and at the time of inaugurating that road, a number of very important road safety measures were still outstanding. It was expected that the Gov- ernment of Ghana, through the Ministry of Roads and Highways, would be able to accomplish those outstanding facilities.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, is it on a point of order?
    Mr Asamoah Ofosu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have been listening to the contributor, the Hon Joe Gidisu, who happens to be the immediate past Minister for Roads and Highways.
    Brilliant as his submission may be, I just heard him say that at the time of in- augurating the road, it was uncompleted and that they were left with some safety measures including this overpass.
    As a Minister, he joined the President to inaugurate an uncompleted project and today, if people are dying on the road, he is here making a statement --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Mem- ber, please, you are out of order.
    Mr Ofosu 12:40 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. I am out of order but what he is saying --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Joe Gidisu, please, continue. You have the floor.
    Mr J. K. Gidisu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it may interest my Hon Colleague to know that the concluding understanding between the American Government and the Ghana Government was that, outstanding features that were not accomplished by the time of inauguration would be taken up by the Ghana Government and this was clearly stated as part of the concluding memoran- da on the road. So when I said that the road was inaugurated with the intention of --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Mem- ber, can you move on to something else?
    Mr J. K. Gidisu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, one very important thing which many people have not taken note of, is the fact that, that road is a highway; a highway which
    Dr Richard W. Anane (NPP --Nhyi- aeso) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I also beg to associate myself with the Statement of our two Hon Colleagues. And Mr Speaker, in so doing, to draw attention to the frightening statistics as shown with respect to the inau- guration and even before the inauguration of the George Bush Highway.
    Mr Speaker, even when one says it is frightening, it is an understatement be- cause for within a short span of less than two years, for a corridor to be associated with 339 accidents, 248 injuries and 43 mortalities, is not something to gloss over. And I think that as our attention has been drawn to it, we have to take this issue very seriously.
    Mr Speaker, if we are taking this seriously, then it means that whoever or whichever department and unit are in
    charge of the construction of our roads must also take cognizance of the worries that are expressed both by the public and this House.
    Mr Speaker, why do I say so? It ap-
    pears sometimes, installation of certain facilities may not have been considered. It appears, when you look at the road sector, there is some unfortunate allergy to the installation of certain safety measures.
    Just last December, Mr Speaker, I had to draw the attention of the then Hon Minister to possibly even withdraw a loan Agreement for the installation of overhead pedestrian bridges, so that we can have rather underpasses or subways, which subways, Mr Speaker, are safer for the people and easier for the people to travers and therefore, one could easily pass across such corridors.
    But Mr Speaker, on our blind side, this was passed because I happened to have also been engaged at some stakeholder conference on National Health Insurance Authority.
    Mr Speaker, one would have asked 12:40 p.m.
    was there any safety audit on these cor- ridors before they were constructed and after they had been constructed? Mr Speaker, I do know they were done. So, question -- Why is it that in spite of the safety audits, we are still having these problems? And that is why I think that we have to draw attention to our road authorities to take special note and to get away from their allergy by way of install- ing safety measures that really keep our people safe.
    Mr Speaker, on our corridors and as far back as 2006/2007, we called for the installation of one, subways; two, direc- tional signages. This is because for these road corridors, one expects that as vehicles
    are traversing, they must, depending on where they are going, go into particular corridors and not create the confusion, which sometimes occurs when because drivers may be thinking about what to do, may just be going into different lanes at different times.
    Mr Speaker, if we do have overhead directions sign, it would make it easy for a driver moving in a particular direction to know which lane or corridor the driver must use. And this can also create some sanity on the corridor. But we do not see this. In spite of the fact that as far back as 2006, we called for these things to be installed. We even saw some structures placed on some of the road corridors but they still have not been done.
    Mr Speaker, there is also the question of education. The education is normally done through the National Road Safety Commission. But education without the installation of specific physical safety measures can still not help. This is be- cause if even the people are educated, they still would want to cross. And it becomes even more disturbing when one finds in- stallation of what the former Hon Minister was saying with respect to the installation of what they call -- Well, a concrete structure, which is normally placed in the midline of the road. It is placed there to ensure that people do not cross.
    Now, the question is, why do we have to do that after accidents occur and what costs do we incur putting these concrete structures in the midline of the road? And how do we compare that with the installa- tion of subways? How expensive would that have been if we had done that? Even when our engineers tell us, that because of safety, because of criminals and others, they are afraid of these --
    Mr Speaker, if we do have shops even under these subways, there would be some safety for people who would want to use
    Mrs Benita Sena Okity-Duah (NDC -- Ledzokuku) 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Statements made by my Hon Colleagues and also add my voice to this national challenge.
    Mr Speaker, the issue of road accidents in Ghana is now of an attitude challenge and it is mandatory on all stakeholders to come on board to help curb this situation.
    Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
    I believe my Hon Colleague on the other side is making a comment to a Statement that has already been made. And it is so obvious that my Sister on the other side is reading, and that is not -- [Interruption.] Copiously reading and that should be discouraged in this House per our rules. [Interruption.]
    Mrs Okity-Duah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I guess my Sister is guilty of using mobile phone while driving.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    No, please. Withdraw that.
    Mr Okity-Duah 12:50 p.m.
    I withdraw that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Proceed. [Interruption.]
    Hon Members, it has been withdrawn.
    Ms Safo 12:50 p.m.
    She should withdraw that and apologise, Mr Speaker. It has been put on record. She cannot be seen to be speculating in this Honourable House. So she should do the honourable thing --She should withdraw the statement and apologise.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Mem- ber, the issue has been taken care of.
    Ms Safo 12:50 p.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker. Apology!
    Mrs Okity-Duah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, our security services, especially the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) should step up and deal with the situation.
    Mr Speaker, most of our roads have no speed limit on them. An example is the George Walker Bush Highway. Mr Speaker, one writer once said and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Germs do not kill Africans, but cars do.”
    I believe that it is not far from the truth. Mr Speaker, statistics show that an average of 2,000 Ghanaians are killed every year through road accidents. It is about time the Ghana Road Safety Commission, the GPRTU, drivers and indeed, all stakehold- ers took up their responsibility to ensure safety for all on our roads.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to add my voice.
    Dr Anthony Akoto Osei (NPP--
    Old Tafo): Mr Speaker, for a while, I did not know if I was listening to a third Statement. But I would want to invite my Hon Colleague, that I think it is a brilliant Statement and she should formally present it as a Statement.
    Mr Speaker, first, I would want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for bringing this important mat- ter to our attention. Second, I would want to sympathise with my Hon Colleagues on both sides who have lost their families as implied in the Statements. Last week, I was at the Hon Fobih's daughter's funeral and I met with my Hon Colleague, Mr Joe Gidisu. I did not even know that the other deceased was his granddaughter.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to take this opportunity to sympathise with them for this unfortunate loss.
    Mr Speaker, I have not passed that N1 corridor for quite a while, so I did not know what had happened until this past Friday when we were on our way to see Mr Forbih. It is a nice place -- I read the paper and I got mad. Why? A Consultant on the project -- And if he is correct, that is why I got mad. He was indicating that the design said there must be seven overhead bridges. That is the Consultant. And it was not done because somehow, we were waiting for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) money to do all the seven, which was not sufficient. Mr Speaker, we do not have to have deaths on both sides to take the decision that this is so important that we would find the money.

    I am saying it has happened to both of us. So, it pinches. And people should know that it is not because of deaths, that is why we are resolving. It is for Ghana.

    So, if it is true that they were seven that
    Mr J. K. Gidisu 12:50 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon and very good Friend was the Minister of State for Finance and Economic Planning who su- pervised the facility at that time. And he knew very well that the expenditure from Government side was not to run concur- rently in the construction of that road. It was only after the completion of the road that those outstanding works were handed over to the Government to do.
    So, for him to indicate as if it was Gov- ernment's responsibility to do those things concurrently with the construction of the road, is neither here nor there.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Mem- bers, I do not want us to drag this into a debate. Let us accept the fact that what ought to have been done was not done and let us agree that we need to take steps to remedy the situation.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon good Friend did not understand where I was going. He is a very good Friend, so I am not going to --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    That is why I do not want you to go back there.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, but for the records, I was not the Minister of State when the road was being implemented. There is no Minister of Finance and Economic Planning who is in charge of
    road implementation. The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Member, proceed with your contribution.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Just for the records, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Yes, you have said --
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think one of the key things we all must resolve to do, is to support the call for more public education. I think it is very crucial, and I am challenging this House, that if this matter is so important, when the budget comes, we should resolve that for both -- [Interrruption.] Ah! Mr Wiseman--
    Mr A.S.K. Bagbin 1 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, my very good Friend, Hon Dr Akoto Osei has misled this House and the whole nation.
    This is because he knows that if the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning does not release moneys, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways cannot implement his projects; he knows that. So, he cannot say that the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning does not implement roads -- it is not his responsibility. But he knows that the money must come from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and not from the Ministry of Roads and Highways.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he was an Hon Member of Parliament and he became a Minister. He knows very well that the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic
    Planning does not have any authority. It is this House, that through the Appropriation Act, gives authority to the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to disburse the funds. [Interruption.] No Minister for Finance --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Member -- Order! Order!
    Hon Members, I do not want us to get this segment of the proceedings to degenerate into debate.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you are right. I know the reason he is saying that. But because he is my Friend, I will not disclose those things in the House. He knows why he is saying that.
    Mr Speaker, on a serious note, this issue about public education, I think that we can find a way as a House to ensure that moneys are available for both the education and to correct those deficiencies that exist.
    I think that as the Mr Speaker, I would want you to challenge this Honourable House when the budget comes -- to give us guidance to make sure that -- And if it is not done, I will make sure I remind you.
    I thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    One each from either side.
    Minister for Roads and Highways (Alhaji Amin A. Sulemani) (MP) 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to add my voice to the Statement made by the two Hon Members. Before that, I would want to also express my condolences to the bereaved families on the tragic accidents that occurred on the roads.
    Mr Speaker, the two Hon Members both recognised in their Statements that indiscipline was one of the major issues that we have to deal with when it comes to our road traffic and other related issues. Absolute disregard for traffic regulations on the part of both drivers and pedestrians is an issue that we all have to take up as Hon Members when we get back to our various constituencies or wherever we find ourselves, to educate our people to be mindful of road signs and drivers to be also mindful of speed limits.
    I talked to the Urban Roads yesterday and I said that, we should try to increase the number of pedestrian crossings on our roads, particularly, in the cities and towns to limit the speed when we are driving in towns. People are driving in cities and towns and they do not have any sense that they are in a town. They go at 120 kilometres, 80 kilometres per hour and if anything occurs, it is difficult to brake. The roads are used at the same time by pedestrians, so they knock them down.
    I think, Mr Speaker, I would also want to -- even though Hon Dr Anane said we should stop making footbridges, in the interim, before we can design the tunnels, we still have to make do with them.
    On the N1 road, we are doing studies to put up six additional footbridges to -- And we would also make them user friendly. Many people are afraid of heights. When they climb and look down -- We would try to do them in such a way that when they climb them they do not see the sides, so that many people will like to use them.
    On the Okponglo road, investigations are almost completed with the view of constructing another footbridge there. Even though Hon Dr Anane does not like them, we would have to do with them for now.

    I think the core of the problem has to do with education, enforcement, and I would also want to use this forum, particularly this platform, to plead with Hon Colleagues -- When I used to be a Regional Minister, anytime somebody was arrested for a traffic offence, they would want to come to the Minister for him to intervene. I think those of us who call ourselves both “big men and women”, we should stop intervening when people commit road traffic offences, so that when the law takes its course, people will learn lessons and begin to go by regulations in this country.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to say that my Hon Colleagues on the other side who made the Statements and those who contributed should try to help with the education and when we come back we would --

    Thank you very much.
    Mr Samuel A. Akyea (NPP -- Abuakwa South) 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for this unusual indulgence. I have a few words to make -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    How unusual is it?
    Mr Akyea 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, about 15 Hon Members rose up. I am concerned about the sanction regime, when people -- [Interruption.]
    Dr Matthew O. Prempeh 1 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, in normal debates, when the Hon Minister speaks, it brings it to finality. So, maybe, I do not know, my Hon good Friend should realise that he is the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways and he should speak last, so that he can give the House an assurance and answer to some of these things. Else, the debate becomes a bit uneven.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Members, we have adopted a certain pattern -- One from the right and one from the left -- And that is why Hon Atta Akyea will be the next contributor.
    Mr Akyea 1 p.m.
    I am grateful to Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, my concern is this, that when people are reckless enough and through the acts of recklessness, they kill people with their vehicles, half the time, it is all recklessness, and they are not educated enough to realise that in trying to earn a few cedis as a taxi driver, a lot of people can suffer permanently, even resulting in deaths.
    What we should do as a nation is this, when somebody, in trying to use a gun or some other weapon and kills another person, the person can be charged with manslaughter and manslaughter is defined as reckless disregard for human life.
    I hold the humble view that, when you drive recklessly and somebody dies as a result of that driving, the Attorney- General's Department should charge the individual with manslaughter and not to come to this misdemeanour --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Member, this has been the practice of late.
    Mr Akyea 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful that indeed, that consciousness should be there and the drivers should know that if you disregard human life in a reckless manner, even when you are driving, this time round, it will not be a minor motor offence where you will be fined and you will go scot free.
    But if the consciousness is there and the education goes out there, that drivers should be very careful when they are driving because if in the event of your recklessness, somebody should die, this time round, you will not pay a fine and get
    off the hook, they would be very careful when they are driving.
    That is my little contribution to the Statement on the floor.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, this brings us to the end of the segment on Statements.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, committees have been advertised for meetings after adjournment. I beg to move, at this stage, that the House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10 o'clock.
    Mrs Irene Naa-Torshie Addo 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 1 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.11 p.m. till Wednesday, 20th February, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.
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    SPACE FOR APPENDIX - 1:11 p.m.