Debates of 30 May 2013

PRAYERS 11:30 a.m.


Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
I have been informed that yesterday you did not correct the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 28th May, 2013.
Hon Members, so, we start with the Correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 28th May, 2013.
  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 28th May, 2013.]
  • -- 11:30 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I noticed that you ran us through the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 28th May, 2013. I do not know which version it is because there are two of them before us.
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    My information is that, yesterday the arrangement was not correct, so the decision of the House was that they should withdraw that one and

    Hon Member for Sekondi?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:30 a.m.
    That was the decision. And I am sure the Hon Majority Leader can confirm it.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, that is it.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was not in the Chamber at the very outset yesterday, so, I go along with what they said. This is because indeed, what I saw -- the order of arrangement -- appeared quite strange and since you said it was not approved and you wanted us to do it, I believe you did not really tell us about this. I did not really know which one we were talking about. But now, I am assured.
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Very well. Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, we have a number of Official Reports for correction. We may have to take them today. They keep on piling.
    Yesterday, I learned the House decided to defer them again. So, today, I intend going through all the Official Reports, starting from that of Tuesday, 19th March
    So, we start with the Official Report of Tuesday, 19th March, 2013.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 19th March, 2013]. [No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 20th March, 2013.]
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, 22nd March, 2013.]
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 26th March, 2013.]
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 27th March, 2013.]
  • Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    The last Official Report I have here for correction is for Tuesday, 28th May, 2013.
    Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at column 22, second paragraph, last but one line, it should read “consumers” and not “farmers”.
    Mr Speaker, let me read the whole sentence. “Constantly throughout the twelve months of the year, we hear about food being stuck in producing areas which cannot reach farmers. . .” But it should read, “which cannot reach consumers. . .” So, if this could be corrected.
    Mr Ebenezer O. Terlabi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on the list of Deputy Ministers, the Hon Deputy Minister for Defence has been reshuffled. His name is not there.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    On the list?
    Mr Terlabi 11:40 a.m.
    Yes, page i, “Deputy Ministers -- Defence, reshuffle”.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Whose name is not there?
    Mr Terlabi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my name. [Laughter.] I have not had any informa- tion from the President yet.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Very well.
    Any other correction?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is not really a correction. I was consulting with the Hon Majority Leader, because I clearly remember that when the House met at the special recall to approve of the President's nominees, the House, by majority, approved of thirty-three Deputy Ministers and not thirty-two. So, I was looking at who the thirty-third person is. So, I called for his own document. But I think the man has seen
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.

    himself and if he has any assurance from the Presidency that he has not been shuffled out, then perhaps, we can reinstate him.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, any other correction?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I notice the list of Cabinet Ministers, conspicuously missing from that list of Cabinet Ministers is the Leader of Government Business in Parliament. The person who carries the weight of Government Business and funnels same in this House, is conspicuously missing from the list of Cabinet Ministers. Mr Speaker, I believe the person to answer to this question --
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, is that a correction?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is about the record. I would want to assure myself --
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    We are doing correction of the Official Report.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to assure myself that what I am seeing is the correct thing. [Pause.]
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Well, since it is an observation, I would leave it at that.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that observation is very, very important for the conduct of business in this House.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, I agree that it is a very important observation, but it remains an observation.
    It is a very important observation but it remains an observation which, maybe, we may want to take at another level at the appropriate time in the House, if that is the thinking of the House.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Are you making a correction or an observation, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader has raised -- [Pause.]
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what do you want to say?
    Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I guess that in matters like this, I should not be making a comment. But we know constitutionally, the composition of Cabinet is the preserve of the President, and I do not think it would be appropriate to discuss it here. Other available legal channels are there for the House to ascertain. But I find myself personally constrained because I should have been the conduit to go and ascertain and I am supposed to be the subject of that ascertainment. So, I would use other channels and the Offices of the Speaker to get it clarified.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    I agree with you.
    Hon Members, the Official Report of Tuesday, 28th May, 2013 as corrected, is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
    Hon Members, I have admitted one Statement standing in the name of the Hon Member for Effutu. Is the Hon Member around?
    Hon Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin, have you been advised by the Hon Minority Leader about your Statement?
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Very well. You have the floor.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:54 a.m.
    Hon Member, please, proceed.
    STATEMENTS 11:54 a.m.

    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) 11:54 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to make a Statement on the floor of this august House on the calamity that befell the fisher-folks in my constituency as a result of a torrential rainstorm.
    As you are aware, fishing is the main occupation of the people in Effutu Constituency, which has Winneba as its capital. About 20,000 households in the area largely depend on fishing business.
    Apart from the indigenous Winneba- rians, there are also people from other parts of the country, especially from Chorkor, Anlo, Prampram and Teshie among others who have settled in Winneba to ply their fishing trade.
    Mr Speaker, for the past few years, the Winneba area has been experiencing torrential rainstorms, which result in the destruction of the tools being used by these fisher-folks. However, it is unfortunate that the usual promises by Government officials to assist the victims are always not fulfilled.
    Mr Speaker, I, therefore, make a humble appeal to Government and other stakeholders to consider it a matter of urgency to come to the aid of my people,
    for whatever they feel dispositioned to give shall be thankfully received and faithfully applied.
    The rainstorm that hit Winneba and its environs in the early hours of Sunday, 19th May, 2013 had brought in its wake the destruction of 50 canoes, some outboard motors and an unspecified number of fishing nets. The total value of items destroyed is estimated to be in the region of GH¢400,000.00.
    Mr Speaker, while portions of some of these canoes were broken, others were totally swept away by this torrential rainstorm.
    It is anticipated that, since the rains had just started and this is also the period for fishing, a lot of these calamities would be witnessed and there is, therefore, the need for measures to be taken to minimise the effects of such storms on our cherished fisher-folks.
    Mr Speaker, it is rather unfortunate that when such incidents occur, our fisher- folks are left to fight their own battle for survival since there are no measures to compensate them in such situations. The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development should mobilise the various insurance companies to come out with an insurance policy that will suit the fisher- folks across the country, so that in the event of such incidents, they will be compensated to enable them reorganise their activities.
    Mr Speaker, in the meantime, I am appealing to the Government to come to the aid of the affected fisher-folks to enable them go back to sea to continue with their activities. Most of these fisher- folks have been operating with loans from money lenders with high interest rates. These affected fisher-folks are the breadwinners of their families and need
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) 11:54 a.m.

    assistance to enable them continue to provide for their households.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to use this opportunity to appeal to the Government again to put in measures to solve the issue of the diversion of premix fuel once and for all, since the problem has persisted for far too long. I would wish also to remind the Government to quicken its decision on the development and construction of landing beach sites along the coastal communities in the country since the construction would provide a decent environment for the work of the fisher- folks. It would also provide anchorage for the canoes and make them safe from such rainstorms in future.

    Mr Speaker, you would agree with me that the construction of such landing beach sites would boost the fishing industry and increase the incomes of our fisher-folks. It would attract more people to the area and economic activities in general will be increased.

    Over the years, fishing activities in the Winneba area have been dying out gradually as a result of the perennial rainstorms and any further inaction or delay in the construction of the landing beach site would have dire socio- economic consequences in the livelihood of the fisher-folks in Winneba in particular and other fishing communities in Ghana who experience such calamities.

    Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you for the opportunity so granted.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:54 a.m.
    Hon Members, the floor is open for contributions.
    Mr Joe K. Gidisu (NDC -- Central Tongu) noon
    Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the comment, especially with the Statement made by the Hon Member for Effutu on the disaster that has occurred in his constituency.
    Mr Speaker, as he rightly pointed out, the Effutu area is not only inhabited by indigenes but also migrant fishermen from all over the country and some also from my region.
    Mr Speaker, talking about the major accident of that type, it is not only limited to the sea but has become a national calamity that affects fisher-folks both in the sea areas and those in the inland fishing areas.
    Mr Speaker, there is the need for us to look at this situation comprehensively and see how best we can address them. As an emerging economy, there is the need for us to access some of the practices of our countrymen and women in terms of their economic development.
    Mr Speaker, when these things happen, the appeal goes to Government and unfortunately, it is not always very possible and feasible for Government to effectively address this situation. That is why insurance companies have come up to see how best they can assist. And it behoves us as representatives of these people to aggressively mount educational programmes that would go a long way to serve as a means of ameliorating some of the changes and challenges that they face.
    For example, the recent fire disaster that occurred in some markets, the situation becomes a bit relieving among
    those market-folks who have insured their stores. This is coming up situation that we should all address by way of educating our people wherever they are located. I do agree that Government, being the first point of call, there is the need for us to see how it could address this situation.
    However, the ultimate solution would be the emerging institutions that would go a long way to help alleviate the situation of people in such calamities.
    Just this morning, the NADMO Co- ordinator was on air on one of the radio stations talking about the limitations that they have in addressing especially the challenges at this time, not only those fisher-folks on the high seas or the inner lakes but also other areas within the country herself.
    This is a situation that calls for a high level of education and commitment. As Members of this august House, Mr Speaker, it would be prudent for us to begin in a small way organising our fisher- folks on the type that the Hon Colleague has spoken about, in groups, to take some group insurance for their activities before we resort to Government for some of the major ones that we should be addressing.
    I am hoping that with a country that has now come up, it should be possible for us to empower NADMO in particular to take up some of these challenges on behalf of Government and I wish to associate myself and appeal to all those concerned not only the Government but other private individuals and organisa- tions that could go to the aid of the Effutu people and other areas that are suffering from that type of national calamity at this time.
    With these few comments, Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Daniel Nii Q. Titus-Glover (NPP -- Tema East) noon
    Mr Speaker., I rise to support the Statement made by my Colleague, Hon Alexander Afenyo-Markin. Tema is equally a fishing community and we can equally be affected by this force majeure and all those constituencies along the Gulf of Guinea, our Hon Colleagues in the river belt areas, can also have this sort of accident.
    Mr Speaker, having listened to the Statement of my Hon Colleague, I can imagine the kind of financial difficulty that the families of these affected fishermen may be going through. I would therefore implore, like he has suggested, NADMO to come to their rescue. And Mr Speaker, I am not talking about the normal sharing of blankets, and cups of r ice but something that the fishermen can really have a feel of.
    This is because coming from a fishing community and a grandson of a fisherman, I can imagine the kind of difficulties that they are going through at the moment. I would therefore, implore Government to come to their rescue and any other fisherman that has gone through this same disaster.
    Mr Speaker, what also comes to mind is the insurance; and most of the insurance companies are reluctant to go into risk areas. They always want to make money very fast and I think that it is high time as a House, we looked at some of these areas and implored these financial institutions to come to the aid of our fishermen who are contributing so much to national development of our country.
    Mr Speaker, what also comes to mind is the construction of the landing beach sites of which Winneba, Teshie and other
    Mr Daniel Nii Q. Titus-Glover (NPP -- Tema East) noon

    areas are to benefit. I would want to appeal to Government to fast track the construction of these landing beach sites so that they can serve as panacea to make sure these future force majeures could be solved.

    Finally, Mr Speaker, I would want to commend my Hon Colleague for making this Statement on the floor of the House and also appeal equally to other non- governmental organisations while Government looked at the long-term support for these people and other non- governmental organisations can also come to their rescue to put smiles on the faces of our affected fishermen.

    On this note, Mr Speaker, I thank you so much for the opportunity.
    Mr Fritz F. Baffour (NDC -- Ablekuma South) noon
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement made by the Hon Member of Parliament for Effutu. My constituency has the largest concentration of fishermen within a particular area in the whole of the country and therefore, this -- [Interruptions.] It is important that we look at the entire fishing industry in relation to what has happened.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    Hon Members, can we have some order?
    Mr Kofi Frimpong noon
    -- rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    Is it a point of objection?
    Mr Frimpong noon
    A point of order, please.
    Mr Speaker, you come from Cape Coast and yet you allow the Hon Member --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    You are out of order. [Laughter.]
    Hon Fritz Baffour, please, proceed.
    Mr Baffour 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, our fishermen -- because of that perception, are not given the full support by the general public and not Government. Government has made plans for landing beaches in various fishing sites along the coast: they are yet to be constructed. Government has supplied certain inputs to the various fishing communities along the coast. But the general public also have to be made aware of the importance of the finishing industry to the economy and development of the Republic of Ghana.
    When we talk about NADMO, it is not only about the inputs that they give in times of problems and disasters, but that they have to work with the fishermen for them to learn about their own public safety. We have to look at the ways they can berth their canoes and all that; all those things have got to be done as part of the support for fishermen.
    We also have to look at the co- operatives.
    When we talk about insurance and financial institutions that would give support to the fishing industry, that can be done only if the fishermen themselves are properly organised and the various fishing associations are effective enough to be able to attract the right kind of support from the private sector.
    We again have to look at public awareness in terms of the fact that when you have such vulnerable communities -- because they are by the sea and you
    know the sea is one of the most unstable of elements, when a storm comes and it impacts on the sea, you know that we are going to get casualties of a certain level. Therefore, the general public have got to be made aware that this is something that can impact on them, not only the fishermen but the communities around the sea and we have got to do something about that.
    So, really, what I am in short saying is that, it is about perception, it is about raising public awareness, and the organisation of the various fishing associations and the support of the public.
    On that note, I support the Statement made by my dear Colleague from Effutu and I think that we should do something about it.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Hon Adjoa Safo. Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo (NPP -- Dome/
    Kwabenya): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement -- a rather thought-provoking Statement made by my Colleague Member of Parliament for Effutu.
    Mr Speaker, I speak as a mother and as a woman and so, I would want to take it from a different angle out of what the men have said.
    I believe that a lot of us here would agree with me that if you look at the standard of living of the fishermen and their families, all across the country, it needs much to be desired. Indeed, if they should wake up one morning and by no cause of theirs, by natural force majeure, that is what we call it, a natural disaster, their source of livelihood, even at that level, is taken away from them, it is very, very disheartening and we need to share in the plight of all fishermen and their families out there.
    If you look at the level of education and accessibility of education of the fishermen and their families, I believe that as a country, we need to look at that again. Fishing is a major source of income for
    this country, yet our fishing areas have very little development in terms of education of children. You see our children roaming the beach shore during school hours and you will wonder where they would be in the near future.
    What future are we building for them? I believe that the appropriate authorities should take up this matter very dearly because the children are our future and by the mere fact that they are born in such areas, should not be a disadvantage in terms of accessibility to education.
    I believe that if we resource our fishermen well and in times of disaster, we make them feel that their contribution to this country is dear to our hearts, the excessive external or imports of fishes in our country now will be a thing of the past. We see vessels coming day in, day out of our harbours. Meanwhile, we have beaches, we have seas and we have fishes in Ghana.
    We need a national policy. We need to relook at our Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Ministry again and take a pragmatic step to ensure that these fishermen with the little tools, how can we best encourage them, support and to make them the source of our fishes for the general public and not to again, depend on external sources?
    I would on this note, wish to congratulate the Hon Member again for his Statement, and I thank you for this opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Hon Member.
    Mr George K. Aboagye (NDC -- Ahanta West) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Hon Member of Parliament for Effutu for this brilliant presentation.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Thank you.
    The last contribution.
    Yes, Hon Member.
    Mr Emmanuel K. Agyarko (NPP-- Ayawaso West Wuogon) 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    I beg to speak in support of the Statement made by our Colleague Hon Member of Parliament from Effutu.
    Mr Speaker, I would also want to say that I send my condolences to the good people of Winneba on this occasion.
    However, with all of these things happening, the clear indication is that the sign is telling us that something is happening, which is called “climate change”. If you talk about rainstorms, and the Hon Member spoke of an unusual rainstorm that hit Winneba, all of these are indications that climate change is real and it is affecting us.
    Indeed, our Hon Colleague from Ahanta West speaks of the receding coastline and the sea virtually taking over
    the towns. Again, this is a very clear indication that climate change is bringing —The changing patterns of the sea are all indications that climate change is real and it is beginning to affect us. It is not a phenomenon that happens somewhere, it is a phenomenon that is confronting us. The imperative is that I think the time has come for Government to take science and technology as a solution to the problems of this country, from the backburner to the frontburner.
    Mr Speaker, we speak of force majeure, act of God, but I would want to place on record that very many of the things that we describe as act of God have come up because the act of man has been so irregular. We are always talking about the way we dispose of plastics and we are talking about all the other things that all of us as human beings do and it is these things that we do that have an effect, ultimately, on the environment and bring up all of these things.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to say that in the light of all of these things that are happening, it is important that we begin, as I have said, to consider that the solutions to all of these things is not just asking, for instance, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to go and do something about them -- they are temporary.
    We must begin to ask the question, why are these things happening? And if we begin to find solutions to these, I would want to believe that in the long- term, we would reduce the impact of climate change on all of these things and we would live a better life.
    The second thing I would want to associate myself with in this Statement, is that, we must begin to encourage
    insurance. Mr Speaker, it is not possible for Government to meet every need that comes. Recently, there was this unfortunate incident in Kantamanto and it keeps happening. If it is not in Kumasi Central Market, it is in Kantamanto, if it is not in Kantamanto; it would be in Agblogbloshie and nobody knows where it is going to happen next. May it not come.
    The reality is that, Government would not be able at every point in time to give handouts to all of us. I would want to believe that for instance, if one's outboard motor gets carried away, it might cost you GH¢8,000.00 or GH¢9,000.00. It is impossible for Government, at every point in time, when all the outboard motors are carried away, to replace them.
    I would want to believe that if we would begin to encourage a culture of our people taking insurance, it might take all or some -- These days, I hear there are issues about micro-insurance. If we would begin to encourage, educate and lead, so that the very ordinary people would begin to have insurance, when such disasters strike, there would be a fall-back position.
    I believe that as a people, we would be able to find the way to do this and the severe impact of these unfortunate events would be mitigated.
    On this note, I would want to thank you once again and congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement for a Statement well made.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, this brings to the close of the proceedings with regard to the Statement.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Second Deputy Speaker, you have something to say?
    Mr Ghartey 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am very sorry. My name is indicative of the fact that something for Winneba should concern me. I plead with you to allow me to just pass one or two comments to support my younger Hon Brother on the Statement on Winneba, whose Chief is called Nenyi Ghartey VII.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Very well, please, go ahead.
    Mr Joe Ghartey [NPP -- Esikadu/ Ketan): Mr Speaker, I must commend the Hon Member for Effutu for the Statement he has just made.
    Mr Speaker, the fishing community, we are told, is about two million people in total. Ghana, we are told, is about 25 million. If you look at the people who are indirectly affected by fishing, one can say, perhaps, at least, a fifth or a fourth of our country is affected directly or indirectly by fishing. So, it is important that it is organised in such a manner that these disasters are shocks that the fishing community and the fishing industry can withstand.
    The time has come when Ghana should start looking at how other countries developed their fishing industry. For example, we know today, that the fishermen are poorer because there is a depletion of the stocks in the sea. In countries such as Norway and the northern countries, when they were faced with such problems, they started creating fish farms in the sea. They did not wait for the fish to grow naturally; they decided to grow the fish.
    Mr Speaker, we need as a country to take on board the very good suggestions that have been made on insurance and so on and to start treating the fishing industry seriously. All of us must start thinking about this and we must start developing strategies in order to improve the fishing industry. This is because if the economy of the fishing industry improves, the economy of Ghana will also improve. If one-fifth of your people are lifted out of poverty, the country would be lifted out of poverty.
    Mr Speaker, I intervened at the time when you were bringing this part of today's proceedings to an end, so, I would not speak for a long time.
    I would just thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement of my Hon Colleague from Effutu.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much. I believe you are a descendant of Nenyi Ghartey?
    Hon Members, we would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader about the way forward.
    Mr Albert K. Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the business for the day has been done with and I beg to to move, that the House adjourns to tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
    Ms Irene Naa Torshie Addo 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:20 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.27 p.m. till Friday, 31st May, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.