Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to the debate.
Mr Speaker, I rise to vehemently oppose the Motion that was moved by the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee. Mr Speaker, I call for total rejection of this Motion because fundamentally, the Motion in question breaches the University of Environment and Sustainable Development Act of 2015 (Act 898).
Mr Speaker, I beg to refer you to the Committee's Report and read paragraph 7.7 at pages 6 and 7:
“The Minority was of the view that Section 3 of Act 898 which provides that “the University shall be established in Somanya, with campuses in Donkorkrom and any other place as the Council may determine” …”
Mr Speaker, “as the Council may determine” -- as we speak, there is no council in place. We wanted to get a report that the supposedly council that is supposed to set up a university council has conducted -- But we were told that as we speak, there is no council in place.
I would want to find out the basis on which that university was established, and the Minority further argued that even though the Hon Minister for Education informed the Committee that he has an Executive authority to act in the absence of both the governing council and the interim council, there was no documentary proof to support his assertion.
Mr Speaker, again, the Minority added that a documentary proof was necessary in order to determine whether or not the Hon Minister for Education had the power to establish a campus of the university.
Mr Speaker, the argument is that, the university does not have a council in place and we were told that the Hon Minister indeed, has executive powers to be able to establish a council. When we inquired, we were told that the President had asked the Hon Minister to act in the absence of the council.
Clearly, I am of the view that the Hon Minister responsible for Education does not have the power to establish a university campus. I say this because
clearly, the Act that governs the establishment of the university and the governance and operations of the university do not allow that.
As Hon Members of Parliament, we approved this Act, and Act 898 is a product of this Honourable House and we cannot allow the Hon Minister for Education to disregard the Act that governs the establishment of the university. Mr Speaker, we would not accept that.
Clearly, the Hon Members of the Minority Side disagree with this and we would not support this Motion.
Mr Speaker, again, you would notice that the original campus which is the main campus at Somanya is being constructed with a loan facility of up to £45 million and we are now constructing a sub- campus from the main campus at the cost of US$107 million.
Mr Speaker, in the document attached, you would notice that we are making references as if the Bunso campus would be the headquarters of the university. Clearly, you would notice in paragraph 1.5 -- the university building -- headquarters school. As if the main campus is being moved from Somanya to Bunso. Mr Speaker, this is sad and we should not allow this Motion to be carried.
I am of the strong view that if this Honourable House approves this loan, we would do a disservice to the people of this country. Mr Speaker, so I beg you not to accept this Motion and call on all my Hon Colleagues not to support this Motion.
Mr Speaker, we support the expansion of the tertiary education for Ghanaians, but clearly, I am of the view that the Hon Minister's action is indeed an affront to academic freedom in this country and so we should not allow it.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister cannot take up the responsibility of a governing council and so I call on my Hon Colleagues on both Sides of the House to reject this Motion, not because of anything but clearly, it breaches the law that establishes the university itself.
Mr Speaker, this is an illegal Motion and so we should not carry it.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.
M Frederick Opare-Ansah (NPP -- Suhum): Mr Speaker, firstly before I proceed, I would want to correct something on the first page of the Report; item 3 of paragraph 2.0 -- Reference. Mr Speaker, it reads:
“The Universtity of Environment and Sustainable Development Act of 2015 (Act 878)” Mr Speaker, it must be corrected to Act 898 instead of Act 878.
Mr Speaker, a proper interpretation of article 58 is clear, that everything we do in this country as far as executing the Executive authority of this country is concerned thus resides with the President. Mr Speaker, for emphasis, let me quote article 58 (1):
“The executive authority of Ghana shall vest in the President and shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(2) The executive authority of Ghana shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitu-tion and all laws made under or continued in force by this Constitution.”
Mr Speaker, Parliament did enact the law which brought the university into being and indeed, anything that is executable under it is done on behalf of the President per this provision.