Debates of 19 Feb 2019

PRAYERS 10:30 a.m.


Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper; Correction of Votes and Proceedings of 15th February, 2019.
Page 1…8
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Komenda/Edina Eguafo/ Abrem?
Mr Atta-Mills 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was here last Friday but I have been marked absent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well. The Table Office would make the appropriate correction.
Page 9…11.
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 15th February, 2019, as corrected is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Thursday, 31st January, 2019.
Any corrections?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.

Item numbered 3, Questions. The first Question should be answered by the Minister for Communications.

Hon Minister may take her seat now.

The Question is in the name of Mr Peter Yaw Kwakye Ackah, Hon Member for Amenfi Central.
Mr Daniel Ashiamah 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Hon Ackah is not in the House and I would like to seek your permission to ask the Question on his behalf.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well. Leave is granted for you to ask the Question on his behalf.


Minister for Communications (Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful) 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I seek leave to use the Answer published in the Addendum to the Order Paper instead of the Answer published in the Order Paper itself as we got some additional information that we included in the Answer.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Communications exists to facilitate the development of a reliable and cost- effective world-class communications
infrastructure and services, driven by appropriate technological innovations and accessible by all citizens to enhance the promotion of economic competitive- ness in a knowledge-based environment.
It is indeed Government's policy and desire to expand access to telecommunication services to all parts of the country and it is making efforts in collaboration with Mobile Network Operators to provide coverage to all communities particularly those in the rural and underserved parts of the country.
Some measures have been put in place to facilitate wider coverage to improve telecommunication connectivity in Amenfi Central.
The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), an agency under the Ministry has the responsibility of facilitating the provision of universal access to electronic communications to unserved and underserved communities in the country.
As part of the strategies to ensure universal access, GIFEC is implementing the Rural Telephony Project.
The Rural Telephony Project is intended to extend the coverage of mobile services into areas where acccss to such services is not adequately available due to unwillingness or inability of Mobile Network Operators (MNO's) to expand their networks as a result of commercial or other considerations.
Essentially, the project aims at closing the void created by Mobile Network Operators in their roll out.

Mr Speaker, the project involves the erection of telephone mast/towers in unserved and underserved communities to provide or improve telecommunication service. These masts/towers are also available for co-location by all network operators to encourage the extension of their services to these areas by the operators.

The ultimate objective of this programme is to achieve 100 per cent mobile telephone service coverage as well as increase telephone subscribership to as many citizens as possible.

Interventions undertaken by GIFEC in the Amenfi Central Constituency include the following:

A drive test has been undertaken in the constituency to assess the communities without mobile network connectivity.

Within the period July 2017- September 2018 mobile network connectivity has been provided for Beposo, Sompre, Bonsiekrom. Ankase. Woratrem, Agona camp, Akekyere and Anakom.

The National Communication Authority (NCA) has the responsibility of ensuring good quality service from Mobile Network Operators as specified in the Electronic Communication Acts (Act 775).

Mr Speaker, in order to ascertain the quality of service (Coverage, Data. Voice and Speech) in Amenfi central, the NCA conducted two (2) Field test-monitoring exercises in March and August 2018 at Manso Amenfi, the District Capital of Wassa Amenfi Central District.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, if you have any follow-up question, you may do so.
Mr Ashiamah 10:40 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minister for explaining deeply. But with the Amenfi Central and the problems identified, I would want to know when we are going to hear from the Ministry and how we are going to solve this network problem between the Airtel, Tigo and MTN, so that the people would be assured that very soon, they would get the network. I would like to know from the Hon Minister, what would be done about that.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, under the license obligations of the MNOs, they are required to provide service with fair quality to district capitals. As the findings of the NCA indicates, they all have coverage with fair voice quality in Manso Amenfi, which is the district capital.
Mr Speaker, in terms of the remote parts of the district, they are not obliged to, but they are encouraged to extend their services to the remote parts.
The Government itself, through GIFEC, is working to ensure that all the remote parts of the entire country are covered, since that falls under the universal service obligations of GIFEC.
So as at now, since the findings indi- cate that they have fair voice coverage in the district capitals, not much can be done other than to encourage them to increase their coverage in the other parts of the dis- trict, while working through GIFEC to en- sure that all unserved and underserved parts of the district and the country as a whole are covered.
Mr Speaker, where they do not have the proper quality of service standards,
they have been sanctioned until the next drive test confirms whether they have improved quality in those areas or not.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Ashiamah 10:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, at this point, I do not intend to --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Minister, you should please resume your seat.
Mr Ashiamah 10:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, but at this point, I would like to thank the Hon Minister. I am not going to ask any question again, but I would want to just urge her to speed up the project, so that the One District, One Factory objective could be achieved.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Whip?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, I would like to inquire from the Hon Minister whether after the drive test, she can give us the number of communities that are without access in the Amenfi Central Constituency?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I cannot.
Mr Speaker, the answers that were supplied to the Ministry from its agencies indicated which communities have service.
It did not indicate which communities did not have service. So if a substantive Ques- tion is asked, then I would endeavour to get that information and provide it to the House at a subsequent date.
Thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Leader?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, finally, if the Hon Minister cannot give us the number of communities without access, then I would want to inquire from her— she said she intends to provide two masts this year 2019, but after these two masts, is she telling us that the whole community would have access?
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, those are MTN's roll out plans for the Amenfi Central District for 2019.
As I indicated early on in my Answer, GIFEC is working to provide total coverage in all rural areas; unserved and underserved areas, and I am happy to announce that Cabinet has already given approval for the Government to provide additional financing to GIFEC to undertake that exercise.
Mr Speaker, where it is not commercially viable for the network operators to extend their services, they would be reluctant to, but this industry is very capital intensive, so if the State provides that network infra- structure, they would extend their serv- ices to the unserved and underserved parts of the country, and it is that responsibility that we have sought and received approval for from the Cabinet.

We are working with the Ministry of Finance to secure the necessary funding for this project to be undertaken.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Minister, thank you for attending upon the House to answer the Question. You are discharged.
The next Question is for the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry to answer.
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we have been served with a letter from the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry indicating to us that the Hon Minister had a pre-arranged commitment to meet with the Council of State today and therefore would not be able to appear and answer the Questions.
He has asked for a rescheduling of the Questions to Friday, but we do not agree that the Questions should be deferred to Friday; it should be tomorrow for the Hon Minister to come and answer them. His meeting with the Council of State is today and so, we do not see why the Questions should be deferred to Friday.
Mr Speaker, it is quite unfortunate. Last week, the Rt Hon Speaker cautioned all of us, especially the Hon Ministers, that we must show commitment to Parliament and unfortunately, we have recorded this mishap this morning. We will make sure that the Hon Minister appears and answers the Questions tomorrow. Thank you
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we take a lot of consolation in the comments flowing from the Hon Majority Chief Whip. Mr Speaker, like I have reiterated several times on this Floor, it has become a norm that almost every week, we come here and see that Hon Ministers ask permission not to come and answer Questions.
Mr Speaker, this is a Ministry that has two Hon Deputy Ministers. I do not think it was said anywhere that we will permanently not receive Hon Deputy Ministers. If truly he is scheduled to meet the Council of State and there is evidence to that and he asks an Hon Deputy Minister to come, why not?
Mr Speaker, to even choose when he wants to come -- I agree with the Hon Majority Chief Whip that it should be tomorrow so that we add the Questions to the existing ones.
Let the signal be sent to him that we would be happy to see him here and he should learn to prioritise the activities of Parliament and always try to appear to answer to Questions. We take consolation from what the Hon Majority Chief Whip said.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member, after your Hon Leader has spoken, what more do you want to say?
Mr Sulemana 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, one of the Questions that were supposed to be answered by the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry stands in my name and I would want to use this opportunity to withdraw it. I do this because this Question was filed in February last year.
Thereafter, some activities have taken place. The President has inaugurated the Commission's Board. So there is some work being done. On that note, I would want to withdraw the Question.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, let me also take you to Question 512 on the provisional Order Paper. It is also in my name. The Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture was here to answer this Question and it has been repeated. I thought that we should --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
The provisional Order Paper would become the regular Order Paper tomorrow. Let us deal with what is before us today.
Mr Sulemana 10:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Very well in respect of Question 513, let the record reflect that the Hon Member who filed it has withdrawn same so please notify the Hon Minister.
The remainder of the Questions intended to be answered today would be rescheduled to be answered tomorrow. Please notify the Hon Minister and make sure he appears to answer the Questions.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Majority Leadership, what next?
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, if you direct that we enter Public Business, then we can take -- [Interruption]. We are not in Public Business yet if --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
I am sorry I cannot hear you.
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we can take Presentation of Papers. Item numbered 5 (a) is to be laid by the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources. Mr Speaker, we seek your leave for the Hon Deputy Minister who is an Hon Colleague of ours to lay the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister.
Mr James K. Avedzi 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister is here and looking into my face expecting that I agree to the request. Mr Speaker, you can grant him the leave to lay the Paper.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Item numbered 5 -- Presentation of Papers.
Item numbered 5 (a) -- by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, your referral went to the Committee on Lands and Forestry but these are Regulations and so, it should go to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Yes, you are right.
Referred to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation with assistance by the Leadership of the Committee on Lands and Forestry.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Item numbered 5 (b) -- by the Chairman of the Finance Committee.
(b) Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the African Development Bank for an amount of ten million units of account (UA10.00 million) [Equivalent to US$14.00 million] to finance the Ghana Incentive- Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSALP) Project.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Item numbered 6, Motion.
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Chairman for the Public Accounts Committee is here.
MOTIONS 11 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr James Klutse Avedzi) 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this Motion is actually for the debate to continue because it was moved and seconded. The issue was on the sanctions to the various officers involved.
So the Committee met and revised the sanctions that were recommended. If you would permit me, I would read those recommendations of the Committee.
Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Unprofessional Conduct of the Auctioneer Mr Alexander Adjei
Considering the unprofessional conduct of the Auctioneer, Mr Alexander Adjei in the process of the auction sale, the Committee recommends to the Ghana Auctioneers Registration Board to suspend his licence for a period not less than two years and re-examine his competence at the end of the suspension term prior to granting him licence to operate in Ghana.
Furthermore, the Auditor-General should initiate the process to recover the undeserved Commission he paid to himself in the process and charge interest for the period he held the money and any other relevant money outside the stipulated time given by law.
The Ministry should reimburse Mr Alexander Adjei, the transport, accommo-
dation and any other incidental costs he incurred by traveling around the country to examine and evaluate unserviceable vehicles on behalf of the Ministry.
The Committee further recommends to the Ministry of Agriculture and the GRA to ensure that Mr Alexander Adjei (Alex Mart) meets all his tax obligations under the transaction, file his tax returns accordingly and report to the Committee through the Auditor-General.
Violations of the Public Procurement Act and the Financial Administration Regulations
Considering the numerous violations of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act and the Financial Administration Regulations, 2004 by the Heads of the entities and officials of MOFA and the GHS, the Committee wishes to recommend to the Head of Civil Service to sanction the officers involved in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of the Financial Administration Regulations, 2004 (L.l. 1802).
This is to ensure that the officers involved will not repeat the violations and also serve as deterrent to potential offenders.
Ghana Health Service
Non-Payment of Proceeds of Auctioned vehicles by Shelter Mart
The Committee recommends to the GHS to take steps including legal action to retrieve the sum of GH¢44,125 of auction proceeds under the custody of Mr Felix Aduadjoe of Shelter Mart.
The Committee further recommends to the Auctioneers Registration Board to revoke the License of Shelter Mart and prevent him from practicing as an auctioneer in Ghana with immediate effect.
Recommendation to Government
Establishment of Independent Auction Valuation Board or Authority
The Committee also wishes to recommend to Government to consider establishing an independent valuation Board or Authority to be responsible for the valuation of Government vehicles and supervision of auction processes in Ghana instead of relying on the State Transport Corporation (STC).
The Committee further recommends to Government to take a second look at the Financial Management System regarding the accounting for proceeds of auction sales.
In conclusion, the Committee recommends to the House to adopt its report on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the Disposal of Government Vehicles by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service and the recommendations made in accordance with Oder 165 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
Respectfully submitted.
Mr Speaker, with these new recommendations, we wish the House to adopt the Report for the recommendations to be implemented.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe that should be the procedure because the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) submitted its Report and we debated it. However, there were a few hurdles and challenges and we asked the Committee to go back, sanitise it and submit same to us.
So the Hon Chairman cannot rise up and read the recommendations to us without any recourse to plenary. We need to be served copies because now, it would be an adjunct to their Report. We need to be served with copies in order to know whether we are in tandem with him.
If we do not agree, we would tell him that we do not agree with the recommendations. I do not want to believe that the Hon Chairman would submit anything that we would disagree with anyway. I am just saying that it is important that he serves plenary copies of the now amended position, and then we could take it from there.
Mr Avedzi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Report is supposed to be distributed to Hon Members. I am not sure why that has not been done because to the best of my knowledge I was given a copy so I expect that Hon Members would also be given copies.
So if that has not been done, we would ask the Clerk-at-the-Table to make copies available to Hon Members.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Do you mean this was laid as an addendum and has been distributed to Hon Members?
It was during the debate on the earlier Report that Hon Members expressed dissatisfaction that there were no recommendations for sanctions against the officers found culpable, so you were asked to go back.
I do not have any information as to whether when you went back, the Report you just read has been laid before the House.
Mr Avedzi 11 a.m.
No, Mr Speaker, the Report was not re-laid. This is because we have it on the agenda as the debate to continue. So when we at the Committee worked on the Addendum and for that matter, the entire Report with the new recommendations, I expected that the new Report would be distributed to Hon Members.
It is however, not clear whether we should withdraw the original Report and re-lay this one or just distribute this one to Hon Members for the debate.
This is something that is new to us in the House. If we want to lay the Report again, we cannot have the Motion on the Order Paper which debate is to continue and then come and lay a new Report again. That is why we asked that copies should be distributed to Hon Members.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as I indicated on the outset, in the course of the debate, we saw that a portion of the Report was untenable and that we needed to conduct further investigations to present to this House an amended position which would be adopted by the House.
By what the Hon Chairman of the Committee has done, he seems to tell us that, that amendment has been done which means that, that particular section would have to be amended appropriately. Perhaps, even that paragraph be expunged for this new one to be inserted if that is the way to go.
Mr Speaker, so either way, we would not have a new document re-laid, but this would just re-enforce what discussion and deliberation went on in this House -- it is not for a new one to be re-laid, but that particular portion to be amended and that portion would have to be referred to by the Hon Chairman of the Committee which we do not know as of yet.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee has served sufficient notice and so, I guess we could stand it down and perhaps tomorrow, we could do the consideration and bring that matter to a closure.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
So, the suggestion is that we stand this down. Is that it?
Alhaji Muntaka 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, whereas I agree with the Hon Majority Leader that the original Report needs to be amended so that the few changes could be made -- sitting close to the Hon Deputy Minority Leader who is also the Hon Chairman of the Committee, I realised that the amendment is just about a paragraph away from what he already presented.
Mr Speaker, because it is just a paragraph -- and I have seen the Report being distributed, I believe he could be allowed to move the amendment and make
specific reference to that additional para- graph because this Report has been with all of us for long so that we could make progress.
If it were to be a page, I would have agreed with the Hon Majority Leader that it should be stood down, but since it is just a paragraph, Hon Members could easily read it and contribute.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Very well.
Further discussion of Motion numbered 6, is hereby stood down.
Hon Majority Leader, are we ready to continue with item numbered 7?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, not yet. It is being reconsidered in certain circles and has not been brought to a closure yet. I guess the meeting today should be able to resolve that matter so, we would not continue with the Consideration Stage of Payment Systems and Services Bill, 2018 which is item numbered 7.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
In the circumstance, what do you advice?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the next item is the Consideration Stage of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (Ghana) Bill, 2018, but I do not know whether the -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, the advice to me is that we rather begin it tomorrow.
So that means we have finished with the Business for today, safe the advertised meetings on the Committees on Youth, Sports and Culture and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to meet at the advertised times.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to sound to Hon Colleagues that we intend
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to sec- ond the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:10 a.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 11.17 a.m. till Wednesday, 20 th February, 2019 at 10.00 a.m.