Mr Speaker, I do not want to be a spoilsport since you seem to be arriving at a conclusion of some sort. But, unfortunately, I have to intervene and appear as a hardliner.
This is because, I even believe that the proposed compromise is wrong. It is wrong in the sense that I believe strictly that it should be the Minister.
Mr Speaker, when you look at article 58 (1) of the Constitution, it talks about Executive authority. Article 58 (2) also talks about it:
“The executive authority of Ghana shall extend to the execution and
maintenance of this Constitution and all laws made under or continued in force by this Constitution.
Then 58 (3) says that:
“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the functions conferred on the President by clause (1) of this article may be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him.”
Mr Speaker, when you go to article 76 it talks about Ministers, the Cabinet and so on.
Mr Speaker, if we have one set of laws which says that, Regulations shall be made by the Minister and that has been our usual formulation, and in another law, we say that it shall be made by the Minister in consultation with the Authority, then what is the difference? Is there a difference, and why is there a difference between the two?
It would seem that, arguing before a court of law, one might say that there is a difference. Parliament intended a difference. I am saying that, it is part of our law that the Executive authority is in the Minister, but the fact that we have stated the Minister does not mean the Minister acts by himself.
No Minister acts by himself. People are saying that the Minister could start Legislative Instrument (L. I.). Does he want to tell me that even the Attorney- General and the Minister for Justice for example could make an L.I. by himself, siting in his office? Does he want to tell me that when the Ministry of Health is coming to do L.I.s which have to do with the Pharmacy Council and the difficult L.I.s that they do, because the Minister might be a doctor, and the Act says he
should act in consultation with the Pharmacy Council or the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) he would get up and do an L.I. by himself? Can the Minister for Trade and Industry because he has some expertise in trade would get-up and do an L.I. by himself?
If we have one set of laws which says “the Minister” and we have another set of laws which says “in consultation with”, and it is examined in the light of all the arguments that have gone on here, since our Interpretation Act tells us that in interpreting an Act, we must look at the argument that has gone on here -- If I were a judge, I would say that, “in consultation with” raises the highest standard than just “by the Minister.”
What do we want to achieve? We must be strict and stay with the law. The law says, it is the Minister, and we should not compromise for the sake of compromise.
I regret that, on this occasion, Mr Speaker would be a hard-liner, and urge the Hon Majority Leader not to shift his position to stay with me, and that he is on safe and solid grounds. It should be the Minister, simpliciter.