Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister who is responsible for Zongo Development -- I think that it is in order to say the Hon Minister who is responsible for Zongo Development. I may not have to add that he is also the Hon Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development, but if you want me to say Hon Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development, I so say.
Mr Speaker, I think that over the years, we have not had an appropriate legal framework for the organisation of Hajj. Indeed, Hajj has always been managed through the Office of the President. It is because of that sometimes a lot of money that, ordinarily, are for activities like Hajj that are passed through the budget of the Office of the President. This often leads to public outcry regarding the amount of money that is allocated to the Office of the President.
It is high time we farm out activities like the organisation of Hajj to the appropriate Ministries to oversee, so that the budget for organising these activities do not pass through the Office of the President and create an impression that over the years, Presidencies expend too much at the expense of other agencies,
when indeed the jobs that they do relate to specific agencies.
Mr Speaker, it is in that respect that I support the amendment, so that we would use this opportunity to assign to the Hon Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development, the responsibility to superintend over the organisation of the Hajj.
Mr Speaker, yesterday, we had a debate over the proper definition of “Zongo”, and we all agreed that a common thread and an important aspect of “Zongo” affairs is the religion of Islam. As indicated, the performance of the Hajj is the fifth pillar, and it is very important to the religion. So, we should use this opportunity to also assign to the Hon Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development, the responsibility of superintending over the Hajj.
Mr Speaker, that way, it would relieve the Presidency off this perennial problem of constituting committees. These committees, year after year, do not keep proper records. Sometimes, transitions are difficult, and we read issues of accountability from one committee to the other in the media.
Mr Speaker, it is neater and tidier if we have an Hon Minister who is accountable and responsible, and a Ministry that would have as one of its major programmes in a year, the organisation of the Hajj. Then we would have a more organised system.
Mr Speaker, for this reason, I think that we should consider this as a very important amendment. In my opinion, it does not go against the policy that informs this Zongo Development Fund.
Mr Speaker, if we look at the memorandum as the Hon Minority Chief Whip has indicated, we could see that the
issue of the organisation of Hajj could become a major aspect of the cultural activities and the community services that could be rendered to Zongo communities.
Mr Speaker, on that note, I support the amendment that is proposed, and call on this House that, on this day, we should take advantage of this moment and get this amendment to be passed.
This is so that for once, we would put in place a proper system under the Government of the New Patriotic Party to have the national annual Hajj properly organised under an Hon Minister who, in my opinion, is very capable and competent. I hope that this Hon Minister would support this move and initiate it.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.