Debates of 5 Mar 2019

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.
Hon Members, we would take the Votes and Proceedings of 1st March, 2019.
  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 1st March, 2019.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, we have the Official Report of 7th February, 2019 for correction.
    Hon Members, any corrections?
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    [Pause] --
    Hon Member, is there any difficulty? Is the microphone near you not working?
    Mr Richard Acheampong 10:05 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, in column 532, on the seventh to eighth line, a phrase reads 10:05 a.m.

    “The Committee was informed that the amount was as a loan…”

    It was captured as “the amount was as a loan…” So, the word “as” should be deleted for the correct form of it to read:

    “The Committee was informed that the amount was a loan facility and it is to be disbursed on the remaining GH¢200 million quay wall”.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member.
    Hon Members, any other?
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa?
    Mr Ablakwa 10:05 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would want us to note a few corrections, and I would run through them very quickly.
    Mr Speaker, in column 535, the first paragraph, says 10:05 a.m.
    “…we ought to be doing to ensure that our country also begins to produce or innovates…” I believe we could have ended there because we cannot comprehend what the paragraph is talking about. So, the Hansard Department could have a second look at that.
    Mr Speaker, again, in the fourth paragraph of column 537, it says, “These are the source of things we should be harnessing.” The phrase should be captured as “These are the sort of things we should be harnessing…” Therefore, the word “source” should be changed to “sort”.
    Mr Speaker, in column 538, the second paragraph, we have the word “post- harvest loses”, but we should pay attention to the spelling of “loses”. We would need to correct that to “losses”.
    Mr Speaker, in column 542, the first paragraph, we have the phrase, “it is also not lost to us…” This phrase should rather be captured as “it is also not lost on us”. That is the appropriate expression.
    Mr Speaker, in the last paragraph under that same column, we have a phrase that reads; “We should be the generation that inspire…” The word “inspire” should be changed to “inspires.” So, it should be corrected accordingly.
    Mr Speaker, finally, in the last but one paragraph of column 547, a phrase is captured as “economy of scale”, but it should be “economies of skill”, and not “economy of scale”.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa.
    Hon Members, any other corrections?
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Dr Apaak 10:05 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, while at it, I would want to make reference to column 542, the second paragraph. In the second sentence of the second paragraph, the phrase should read: “you could issue instructions to your bank”, instead of “you could issue instruction to your bank.” So, the word “instruction” should be corrected to “instructions.”
    Mr Speaker, again, following that, in the same paragraph, it goes on to say, “to your bank while sittin”. The “sittin” should be corrected to “sitting”.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Any further corrections?
    H o n M e m b e r s t h e Official Report of 7th February, 2019 as corrected be hereby admitted, as the true record of proceedings.
    There is an Urgent Question addressed to the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture. Is the Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture in the House?
    10. 15 a. m.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is information that the Hon Minister for Education submitted a communication to us that he would not be available. He has to be in Tamale to oversee preparations for the celebration of the Independence Day tomorrow so he and his Deputies are not available.
    The Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture is on her way. So, I guess we could deal with item numbered 6 before the Hon Minister enters the Chamber.
    Mr Iddrisu 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a critical moment such as this, we certainly would have no problem understanding that the Hon Minister for Education has to support the President in an event outside Accra. Therefore the request of the Hon Majority Leader can be respected. If it is your pleasure, we could take item numbered 6.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, I think that we would quickly deal with a few issues and move on to the conclusion of the debate.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.

    Item numbered 6; Presentation of Papers -- By the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, for item numbered 6(a), we have the Hon Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation here with us to deputise for the Hon Minister in the presentation of the Papers listed.
    I understand that there is an emergency relating to the Ministry and the Hon Minister is attending to it now.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Item numbered 8 -- We would clear the other matters and then come to the conclusion.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, item numbered 8 is not ready today, so we could conclude the Motion numbered 9.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Item numbered 9 -- Hon Minister, you may move the Motion.
    [Interruption.] [Hon Members of the Minority walked
    BILLS -- THIRD READING 10:05 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, are we in the position to move on to the item numbered 10?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we could deal with item numbered 6(b).
    [Interruption.] [Hon Members of the Minority
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, we have a lot of Businesses ahead of us. The Hon Leaders would conclude the debate. Let us go on seriously with this Business.
    Item numbered 7 -- Conclusion of the debate.
    The Leadership has agreed on half -- Hon Minority Leader, you would commence.
    [Pause.] -- Is there any difficulty?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance is in the Chamber, so she would handle item numbered 6(b) on the Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Item numbered 6(b), by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance.
    PAPERS 10:05 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Item numbered 7 -- Motion.
    Hon Minority Leader, Hon Leaders have 30 minutes each, so you would speak till three minutes to 11'oclock.
    Hon Minority Leader, you may proceed, and the same would apply vis- a-vis.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the understanding I had with the Hon Leader of Government Business is that the leadership, subject to your --
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Members, let us maximise the use of the time. This had been agreed on last Friday - 30 minutes - - but then, I would add five minutes to the Hon Minority Leader's time only.
    Mr Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is agreeable.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, please proceed.
    MOTIONS 10:25 a.m.

  • [Continuation of debate from 01/03/ 2019]
  • Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Message on the State of the Nation, 2019, which H.E., President Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo-Addo --
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, for the avoidance of doubt, the time is 10.28 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just so that we would be on course, the Hon Ranking Member for the Foreign Affairs Committee just drew my attention to something that we promised to do. It has to do with the Report from the Hon Minister for National Security.
    Mr Speaker, the ruling from the Chair was that the Hon Minister should come to this House today before we conclude the debate on the State of the Nation Address.
    I must indicate that the response from the Hon Minister has come, and because this is the first time we are having this Report -- I had a discussion with the Clerks-at-the-Table as to how to go about it, and that is why it was not listed on the Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    We would conclude our debate, and other matters would follow accordingly.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would be guided and have further consultation with the Hon Majority Leader on the Report of the National Security pursuant to the Security and Intelligence Act, which requires that the Report be submitted to Parliament. We would all appreciate the fact that these matters must be treated with utmost confidentiality.
    Mr Speaker, it is an opportunity for me to contribute to the debate on the Message on the State of the Nation, 2019,
    which was delivered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to this august House on Thursday, 21st February, 2019.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, and in extending my thanks to the President, I observed that you maintained orderliness and decorum in the Chamber in an extraordinary manner, that we as a House, must commit to maintain at all times.
    This is how we should treat the First Gentleman of the Republic of Ghana when he appears before the House, pursuant to article 67 of the Constitution, to deliver the Message on the State of the Nation.
    We should accord him every respect. Therefore, if it is the rule of thumb, as it should be, there should be no placards, no boos, and no shouts. We must allow him to flow. After all, governments struggle; and this Government is struggling.
    Our nation is in a state of growing unemployment, a banking crisis resulting in unprecedented loss of jobs, growing insecurity where there are unexplained murders, and where contractors and private sector businesses are given haircuts even against the Hon Attorney- General and Minister for Justice's advice. Many of these contracts are being renegotiated and negotiated -- not respecting the sanctity of contract.
    Mr Speaker, in thanking the President, I would want to recognise that he took his time to address us; but when I seconded the Motion, I reminded him -- And it is for those who contributed to the State of the Nation Address.
    When the President said that there were uncompleted houses in Ho, I asked him to say that again because no housing projects have been started in Ho, let alone completed.
    Therefore it took the Hon Minister for Works and Housing to appear on the Floor of Parliament, purportly to correct it. He cannot correct it. I dare repeat that, no Hon Minister could stand on the Floor of the House to make an application that he would correct the President, when the President on his authority came to deliver the Message on the State of the Nation.
    Next time, the Hon Minister must appropriately apprise the President of the facts, so that he would speak in a candid manner and we would respect the credibility of his Message. This time around, the President was not verbose and he kept it precise; brevity. This must be honoured, and he should be praised.
    Mr Speaker, the President started off with my own Dagbon and the efforts he had made to reconcile it. Undoubtedly, I would give him my flowers on it. The courage and tenacity with which the Dagbon crisis was resolved, he deserves a support nationally in order that the pride, the dignity and the honour of the Dagombas, with an established Dagomba State as far back as the 14th Century, would be respected.
    Mr Speaker, in the last few days and weeks, I have seen further movements and thanks to the Ya-Na who is the royal highness and the head of the Nam-ship of Yani, I have seen him give what we customarily call ‘'kola'' in Dagbon to a regent to occupy the Mion and to occupy the Savelugu gates.
    When the Hon Majority Leader said that he saw me nodding, I nodded because, at least, on Dagbon, the President got it right, and we would grant him that.
    The Dagombas can restore the time tested values and traditions of a rotational
    Mr Iddrisu 10:35 a.m.

    Mr Speaker, I join the President to thank the Committee of Eminent Chiefs who facilitated this process, as well as the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of the Interior for making this happen. We feel challenged, and I am sure the Dagombas would live to it.

    Mr Speaker, just going forward, I would withdraw my flower from the President because he is not maintaining the primary role and obligation of a President and a Government, which is protection. Public safety and public security remains eminent, and there are threats to national security, our peace and stability, and our national democratic process.

    I am not satisfied at all with the steps that the President is taking to manage the process of guaranteeing security, particularly, with reference to the murder of Ahmed Hussein-Suale, a respected journalist who contributed with Anas. This is conspicuously lost in his speech. Corruption hates sunshine, and journalism and the media play a role in it.

    For a journalist to be murdered openly — as a country, we are yet to account for the murder of Hon J. B. Danquah, a respected Member of Parliament. If there is a need for criminal reforms, let us do so in order that we can punish crime when we recognise it.

    Mr Speaker, on that note, I withdraw the flower that I gave the President for getting things right in Dagbon. He must assure every Ghanaian on the safety of our lives and our businesses. Kidnapping of young girls should not happen in Ghana. The President was silent on it; that should not be. That is not acceptable in our country.

    The President sought to make reference to Washington in America and Ghana now getting well rated.The Domestic Workers' Regulation is still not a law. I recall that as the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations far back in the year 2016, we sought to deal with these issues, so that Ghanaians could travel abroad by way of export of labour, but that has not been done.

    Mr Speaker, on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the President has lined, what he calls, his blue print; Ghana Beyond Aid -- no time limits. When do we start or end this particular exercise? How much resources is he committing to it?

    The Hon Minister for Finance is here - even budgetary allocations to Ministries do not respect a commitment by Ghana to the Sustainable Development Goals, even though the President plays a high international role with the Prime Minister of Norway on this.

    Mr Speaker, I am aware of your personal effort to strengthen Parliamentary oversight in monitoring and exercising oversight over the Sustainable Development Goals, and how Parliament could use its power over the purse and budget scrutiny in order that we could monitor the performance of Ministries.

    Mr Speaker, the President in this Message — I rather wished that he had not even gone there — He said US$1million per constituency. Let any Hon

    Member of Parliament stand up boldly and courageously indicate to me that from 2017 to 2019, US$1million has been spent on their constituencies, particularly, when we multiply it at the “Dr Mahamudu Bawumia's economic management exchange rate”.

    It would not be 4.2 per cent; it would be 5.5 per cent heading to 5.8 per cent. The US$1 million would work out to GH¢ 5million per constituency. Let them stand; which of them has received US$1 million?

    Mr Speaker, in the appendix to the Budget Statement, a list was provided on the Eradication of Poverty initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives, and they listed some of them as boreholes, toilets and warehouses.

    Hon Members of Parliament (MPs) were not even consulted on many of them, and many of them do not even know where these projects are being undertaken in their constituencies. Hon MPs must have ownership of their projects and, for that matter, this project.

    Mr Speaker, the President, in this Message on the State of the Nation, again made reference to the establishment of Development Authorities. The President must be interested in investigating how one of the Chief Executives of the Development Authorities resigned; he should be interested. Why did he resign?

    It was because the Development Authorities have been made dysfunctional by the creation of the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives.

    I daresay that the creation of new bureaucracies is not a panacea to solving the problems of those affected areas. We should let resources go to the Development Authorities, and let them have the autonomy and independence to spend those resources. My own

    Savannah Development Authority -- what has happened? They are keeping the money at the Jubilee House when we are decentralising; they are still centralising in this particular age.

    Mr Speaker, as for One District, One Factory, again, another promise; in Hausa, we would say it is about ya mutu (it is dead). The Hon Minister for Finance, in his Budget Statement to this House, mentioned 191 One District, One Factory Projects, and the President came here to mention 79.

    The President must be aware that the Budget Statement was presented on his behalf and authority. Which one should we believe? The 79, 191, 0 in Upper East Region, 4 in Upper West? We should know; how many jobs have been created through this? The Hon Minister for Trade and Industry came here to say that they were relying on US$400million to come from China to finance the One District, One Factory programme.

    Mr Speaker, today, macro-economics — When they talk about the indicators, they are dead silent on depreciation but it affects the cost of borrowing. It increases the cost of borrowing, scares investors and it would even affect the Hon Minister's Eurobond that he wants to pursue, and he knows that for a fact.

    Therefore, it is important that we arrest the epileptic fall of the cedi against the major international currencies such as the
    Mr Iddrisu 10:45 a.m.

    pound sterling, the US dollar and others because the costs of borrowing and debt servicing have increased, and the Hon Minister for Finance knows this from research from his Office, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and from his own words to this august House in 2017.

    Their financial Achilles heels are debt service, wage bill and statutory payments. What have they done since then in order to take advantage?

    Mr Speaker, Ghana is not meeting even the minimum requirement of the convergence criteria. Yes, there may be growth in the economy, but that growth cannot create jobs.

    Mr Speaker, I daresay and add that public investment has declined. That is affecting the creation of jobs, and it further affects addressing unemployment in our country.

    To be fair to the President, he indicated in his Message on the State of the Nation that this country spent GH¢12 billion on the banking crisis. Could we not have avoided this crisis through better regulations and supervision? We have had to spend GH¢12.1 billion to save private banks.

    Mr Speaker, as I speak to you today, the National Investment Bank (NIB) and the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) are in distress and require some capitalisation from the Government. The Government is not interested in it. They want to witness a collapse, and they would then say they have gone in to support them.

    The Government must take a bold and courageous decision, and not come to this House with Ghana Amalgamated Trust; no — The NIB can stand by itself and so can ADB. Indeed, for NIB, they have an

    investment with Nestle, and even just as we do -- when the Government wanted money in 2008, did they not sell Vodafone? They should allow NIB to offload its shares in Nestle to recapitalise.

    They should not force them into their new banking arrangement of an Amalgamated Banking Trust. [Hear! Hear!] Both ADB and NIB are capable as standalone financial institutions.

    Mr Speaker, we would not look on to hear that those two banks have collapsed and the Hon Minister for Finance has brought them to be amalgamated. We are not interested in the amalgamation of these banks. Let them stand alone, and let them perform their duties in respect of that.

    Mr Speaker, the President also made reference to a national identification exercise that is going on by the National Identification Authority (NIA). It is reported that the national identity card will cost the State US$1.2 billion. Where is the NIA getting its finance from? That will mean that for a country with a population of 30 million people, it would cost US$42 per person to do an identity card. India, with its population, did not do an identity card even for US$20.

    We are calling for a forensic audit into the operations of the NIA; its financing and how a colossal amount of US$1.2 billion will be dedicated to a national identification exercise. We are aware they came to Parliament to ask for some tax exemption on US$76 million. That is all we know about it.

    We need to know how the national identification exercise is being financed by Government. Is it a loan or a public

    cost the State and the taxpayer? We need to know.

    Mr Speaker, that leads me to my next point. To the Hon Minister for Finance, if he wants to help the President, he should please help him. But he should not help him with semantics. He was here in the year 2017 to say that tax exemption was his major problem. What has he done between 2017 and 2019 to reduce the tax exemption for economic groups and income groups? This is because people have demonstrated vested interest in tax exemptions.

    Mr Speaker, my statistics indicate that 1.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) flows away. That is a steady cost to the State. We would support the State to review, realign the tax exemption regime noting the role of this august House. This is because when we passed those contractual agreements embedded in them there was always a provision for tax exemption which allowed those businesses to escape it.

    Mr Speaker, for a President, it is not to come and state the problem; he must be seen solving the problem. We would remind the President that he is no longer in opposition. Gone were the days when with ease, the NPP Manifesto could say “the suffering of Ghanaians”.

    They have elevated “the suffering” to misery or near misery and they must be reminded. [Hear! Hear!] Therefore, if they said they were going to end the suffering of Ghanaians, they should let us see them doing that.

    Mr Speaker, may I come to the wage bill. As a country, we have a wage bill which is for almost 700,000 workers, compared to Ivory Coast which has less than 200,000 workers. We need to have a national conversation on the size of the

    wage bill because the wage bill contributes significantly to the overrun. It contributes to the fiscal pressures of the Ministry of Finance.

    Mr Speaker, but if the same Minister who is saying that he has problems with the wage bill comes with a novelty of Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) and adds 100,000 to 688,000, he should expect an increased wage bill. However, no provision is made for the NABCO trainees. No social insurance is provided for the NABCO trainees, yet they would want to provide jobs.

    Mr Speaker, let me remind the President that allowances for those workers are in arrears. And this is the only Government which says that “praise me when I am accumulating arrears” since they would say it is fiscal prudence or fiscal discipline. The accumulation of arrears cannot be referred to as fiscal discipline in any economics.

    The fact that you are not spending and there is no expenditure does not mean that you are disciplined. So Government must endeavour to pay the outstanding arrears of teachers, NABCO employees, Forestry recruits, and Youth in Employment agency recruits. They must deal with those arrears and not praise themselves that they have done well.

    Mr Speaker, since this Administration assumed office -- In opposition, they were very brilliant that they had ideas on debt management and debt sustainability. In Government, let them demonstrate to the Ghanaian people and to us that they have superior debt management strategy; they do not.

    Since the introduction of Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA), nothing has been done

    Mr Speaker, every day, we hear their argument that the NDC Administration accumulated arrears as if they as a government has never left arrears behind. I would share with you that in the year 2009, based on the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), we paid arrears over a four-year period, from 2010 through to 2015. So they should not come and say that the Government left any debt.

    They left a debt when Ex-President Kufuor announced the SSSS; it meant that public sector base pay was to increase and that increase was to mean that there would be stress on the wage bill. Therefore when they wake up everyday and say the NDC Administration left debt -- Yes, we left debt. But we accounted for it. [Interruption.] They should go and read about the debt portfolio of the United States of America.

    Mr Speaker, I have brought out the airport project so that the Minister for Finance would appreciate that with Terminal 3, they have every reason to sleep because it is not burdening the public debt. Our superior debt management strategy was to allow the
    Mr Iddrisu 10:45 a.m.

    Mr Speaker, we also introduced ESLA. Whether consolidated or not, to quote the Hon Minister for Finance, “That has made a significant contribution into addressing the legacy debt and getting energy for SOEs to be on their feet.” What have they done beyond the ESLA?

    Mr Speaker, so we would want to thank the President; it is at least, encouraging on governance. Except to add that the President in his State of the Nation Address came with new numbers, GH¢1 billion for housing, some GH¢250 million for sanitation -- Where were those numbers in the Budget Statement for 2019?

    They would come and present the Budget Statement with numbers; we approved appropriation for them and then in the 2019 State of the Nation Address, the President comes to refer to new numbers. That makes reconciliation difficult for us; and that makes trusting and believing what he is saying difficult for us.

    It is affecting young girls; I have encouraged Joy FM and Multimedia to conduct their own research as the information reaching my desk is that a lot of the young girls are getting pregnant out of sitting at home. [Uproar.] I said “my information”, which I am challenging the Ghanaian media to investigate. Double track system -- yellow, red, green -- where they sit at home for two to three months.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, did you mean “most” --
    Mr Iddrisu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, not “most”. I am just saying that the media should take interest that rising out of the implementation of red, yellow, green - double track system, a few --
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    “A few”?
    Mr Iddrisu 10:45 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    A few -- are you changing, “most” to “few”?
    Mr Iddrisu 10:55 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. [Laughter.] Some of the girls are reported to be casualties by way of the extended stay at home. That itself would add to the social problems of our country.
    Mr Speaker, as I said, we would support the President on any matter of tax exemption.
    Mr Speaker, where are we on small scale mining? Why did the trial of those persons stop? We would want to ask questions. When one says one is committed to fighting small-scale galamsey and lifting the ban, what informed the lifting of the ban and the current occurrences in respect of that?
    Mr Speaker, I would also recognise and thank the President. At least, it is to his credit for creating new regions in addition to the old ones pursuant to articles 4 and 5 of the Constitution.

    Mr Speaker, again, after the Justice Brobbey Commission Report, in a country where transparency and rule of law are our guiding bulwarks, we did not have access to the Report until those -- I raised it here in Parliament.

    Hon Daniel Botwe held a copy here, but would not make it available to me although it was an important document which could guide my inputs into the demarcation and the determination of those regions.

    Mr Speaker, as I have said, I would want to recognise what he has been able to do in respect of the Free Senior High School Education (Free SHS) that has expanded access to education; I cannot vouch for the quality of it.

    Mr Speaker, the President also talked about universities having a central admissions system. I do not know what that initiative means for the autonomy of the universities and for academic freedom, but University of Ghana is UG; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is KNUST.

    I do not see how a centralised admissions pool would solve their problems. Their problems are inadequate funding and that is why we introduced Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund),

    but to say that all the universities must have a common admissions pool, I would want to raise a fundamental objection to it. I do not think it would improve to education.

    Mr Speaker, what we need to do as a country is to remind the universities to keep to their core mandates and missions. There is departure from the core mandate of UG; same as KNUST and the University of Cape Coast (UCC). Even with the University for Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), we raised issues on this Floor that they should keep to their core mandates.

    They have already started pursuing those courses that would render some of our young people unemployable, and yet they would come and blame the State. Mr Speaker, I think the President should rethink about it.

    Mr Speaker, there is nothing wrong with the President saying that he has guaranteed free education from basic school to senior high school but there is everything wrong if the President says that he is adding senior high school to universal basic education.

    That is against common and best practices. Nowhere in the world is secondary education allowed to be part of basic education. Basic education is where people learn -- [Interruption.] I said, it is against best practices. You can read. Show me other countries where that is practised.

    Mr Speaker, have we amended the Constitution? The Constitution makes provision for Free, Compulsory, Universal, Basic Education (FCUBE) and gave the then incoming government two years to do a blueprint. They cannot just therefore say that they have extended universal basic education to senior high

    school. They can say that they have provided free SHS and no one would contradict them. It is wrong to merge the two in building the human capital of a country.

    Mr Speaker, then also, they are talking about removing Religious and Moral Education from our basic schools. That is also wrong. We should further consult with the churches and religious leaders. More importantly, corruption and matters of ethics must be taught at the basic schools. It is not for them to say that they are coming to do away with that subject.

    Mr Speaker, undoubtedly, we are a peaceful and stable country because President Nana Addo Dankwa inherited a peaceful, stable and viable democracy. [Hear! Hear!] That is what he inherited. Therefore, if he is adding on to it, let him do so.

    Mr Speaker, I should be winding up --
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    You have five minutes more.
    Mr Iddrisu 10:55 a.m.
    I should thank you and in doing so, public investment in agriculture has been on the decline. A World Bank study has revealed that in 2010 through to 2016. How do we create jobs? I have said that the solution to having a strong cedi lies in expanded export.
    Therefore, the President should give the export sector some attention. We have seen some stimulus package going on -- We should know whom it is going to; what it is being used for; and how much jobs are being created in that respect.
    Mr Speaker, I am concluding on energy. The President stood here happily and said that major oil discoveries only happen under the NPP. Interesting! That is not what the Ghanaian people are interested in. The Ghanaian is not interested in who discovered oil; NPP or NDC. It is the optimum and judicious use of the oil resources for the collective good of the people of the country.
    For the records, let anybody show me any petroleum agreement of Aker Energy which came to this Parliament and was ratified by same in accordance with the relevant constitutional article. Aker Energy simply bought into Hess Ghana. There was nothing more. Hess Ghana got that petroleum block and Aker Energy bought into it. To come here and ask when Hess Ghana was signed -- He should go into the records. It was certainly not the case when the NPP Government was in power. It was in 2010. As I said, my interest is not who discovered oil.
    Mr Speaker, again, there is a World Bank study which states that by 2036, we may even deplete our oil revenue. Therefore, we should take note, “of the transient revenues from oil and manage it well”, quoting from the World Bank Report.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance could consult further and maybe have a conversation with the President. My own thinking is that, Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) --
    Again, the President talked about railway line from Accra through Techiman, Kintampo, Yendi to Ouaga- dougou.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    And in conclusion?
    Mr Iddrisu 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, to go and get this railway line, we should commit the ABFA to collateralise it and
    get somebody to build the railway line to Ouagadougou, then, the people of Ghana would know that this was a judicious use of our oil resources and not when they keep spending it on consumption.
    Mr Speaker, our country remains a stable democratic one. The President must wake up in assuring us of the safety and security of the Ghanaian people and applying the law.
    Mr Speaker, we welcome the invitation to disband vigilantism but there are provisions in the law today which could deal with threats but cannot deal with actual condemnation of those offences.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    One Hon Member on my left is asking for an adjournment. [Laughter.]
    Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader, for your brilliant contribution.
    Hon Majority Leader, you have thirty minutes.
    Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Before I commence -- as you used to write love letters in those days --
    The Hon Minority Leader has indicated and strongly asserted to us that the National Identification Authority (NIA) has already spent US$1.2 billion for which reason he says that he is calling
    Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:05 a.m.

    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader is telling the world that the National Investment Bank (NIB) and the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) are in distress.

    That definitely amounts to signalling imminent collapse of banks and he knows that by that singular statement, he is sending fear and panic into the financial system. That statement must be interrogated and the intention of the Hon Minority Leader must really be assessed -- doomsday sayers.

    Mr Speaker, he talks about skyrocketing wage bills, and I do not know of any landmark resource that he applied himself and this nation to when he was the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. For any reason, he kept adding to the employment stock in this country and today, he says that the wage bill is skyrocketing.

    He then says that pregnancy is afflicting the Free SHS students. In those days when we were schooling and we had three terms of which system the Hon Avedzi was part of -- [Laughter.] For the first and second terms, we had one month holidays each, and the third term which was the long vacation, we had five months holidays.

    Did it add to pregnancy? People should not contrive what they do not know, especially when it comes from the Hon Minority Leader. He should be leading a responsible opposition in this country.

    Mr Speaker, the obligation imposed on the President to proceed at the beginning of each Session of Parliament to deliver to us a Message on the State of the Nation is provided under article 67 of the Constitution.

    A Session of Parliament usually commences in January because of the fact that we ushered in our Fourth Republic on 7th January. The State of the Nation is, indeed, the situation or set of circumstances that pertains in the country at a given time and the President's Message is the account of the state of the situation where the country at any particular time finds itself.

    The President's Address is supposed to identify the defects in the existing system and the remedies proposed to deal with them to enhance national development.

    Mr Speaker, after the vision contained in the Message of the State of the Nation has been unveiled, the work programme which is the Budget of Government is to implement the objects of the vision and then that would follow; sequentially, that is how the arrangement should be.

    Unfortunately, our Constitution compels the President to cause the Budget to be laid in Parliament, at least, one month before the expiry of a financial year.

    So usually, when the President comes to Parliament to deliver a Message on the State of the Nation, the Budget would have already been presented.

    Mr Speaker, as a House, we need to align this -- article 67 of the Constitution is an entrenched one but article 179(1) which deals with the presentation of the Budget is not entrenched. I believe that as a House, we have to look at it, so that we do some re-alignment of the two provisions, such that in my view, the Budget would follow after the presentation of the State of the Nation Address.

    For over a decade, I have been a lone ranger in dealing with the content of the Message of the State of the Nation. Article 67 which deals with the Message on the State of the Nation does not provide us with enough ingredients of what the content should be. I remember that in those days, I was vehemently opposed by the Side to the left of the Speaker when they were in the Majority.

    Today, we have Latter-day converts, including the Hon Minority Leader who thinks that we should underpin the President's State of the Nation Message with the imperatives of the article 34(2) and I agree with him. The Hon Ayariga so argued and I believe that these should be the benchmarks for us to measure the performance of the President.
    Mr Speaker, article 34(2) provides, and I quote 11:05 a.m.
    “The President shall report to Parliament at least once a year all the steps taken to ensure the realisation of the policy objectives contained in this Chapter; …”
    In that regard, Chapter 6 of the Constitution which is on the Directive Principles of State Policy.
    “. . . and, in particular, the realisation of basic human rights, a healthy economy, the right to work, the right
    Mr Speaker, article 34(2) provides, and I quote 11:15 a.m.

    to good health care and the right to education”.

    What it tells us is that whenever a President delivers a Message on the State of the Nation, at least, these five ingredients should be part of the menu that the President provides to this House.

    Mr Speaker, the events of article 67 is a once-in-a-year one and that of article 34(2) is also a once-in-a-year event; both of them are obligations imposed by the Constitution on the President.

    So as I said, we should find a way to juxtapose both articles 67 and 34(2) and that should provide us with the benchmark -- I know that the Hon Eric Opoku who is the spokesperson on the Minority side on agriculture, is also a convert of the Latter-day saints fraternity and he agrees that this should be the benchmarks --

    Mr Speaker, the President began his Message acknowledging the transition of some heroes of this nation beginning with former Vice-President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur; the former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan; former Senior Minister, Mr J. H. Mensah; former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice V. C. R. A. C. Crabbe; P.N.D.C Secretary, Mr K. B. Asante and the renowned poet; Professor Atukwei Okai.

    That recognition of the effort by the President symbolises the recognition of the nation to the role played by these individuals in their respective sectors of endeavour.

    These people represent the conglo- meration of the Ghanaian society; politicians, academics, public office holders and plebeians who climbed to the

    upper ranks of society and served in all three Arms of Government as well as acclaimed Ghanaian international diplomats. That recognition is also an acknowledgement of the collectivity and togetherness of the Ghanaian people.

    Mr Speaker, since the delivery of the Presidential Message, we have lost three former Hon Members of Parliament in rapid succession; the Hon Joe Donkor, former Deputy Minister for Employment and Social Welfare; the Hon Lee Ocran, former Minister for Education and former Ambassador and the Hon David Henric Yeboah.

    That cannot be comforting at all. Mr Speaker, our condolences to their respective families.

    Mr Speaker, the President then related to the restoration of peace at Dagbon, and paid a glowing tribute to the Committee of Eminent Chiefs; Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene; the Nayiri, Naa Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, Overlord of Mamprugu; and the Yagbonwura, Tutumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa, Overlord of Gonjaland.

    Mr Speaker, earlier at another ceremony, the President had cited the new Ya-Na, Mahama Abukari II, the Andani and Abudu Gates, and the Dagbon people in general for allowing for the settlement of what otherwise would qualify to be described as a family feud.

    The culmination of recent events has been the successful organisation of the funerals of two former Ya-Nas and the subsequent installation of a new Ya-Na. As a nation, what else could we hope for? Peace up north to facilitate real socio- economic development. Mr Speaker, we should say ayekoo to all.

    The pivotal issue in the Dagbon imbroglio is security; it is a human rights matter and the Constitution compels the President to speak to human rights and he did just that. Some of my Hon Colleagues on the other Side have critiqued the President as far as security is concerned, that he did not make any reference to the Ayawaso West Wuogon events.

    Mr Speaker, I believe that the President did not mention the Ayawaso West Wuogon events, not out of spite, but because he has already caused a Commission of Inquiry to be set up in that regard.

    Mr Speaker, by the provision of article 278, Parliament may, if it determines that a matter is of public importance, by a resolution request the President to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the subject matter contained in the resolution.

    The President did not wait for Parliament but he, having satisfied himself that such a Commission was required in this matter, appointed one. Mr Speaker, that is a mark of responsibility.

    Mr Speaker, the nation has witnessed dastardly acts committed in the name of elections, and of bye-elections at Chereponi where a Castle operative opened fire point blank on seven persons, the bullets maimed these seven persons and instantly rendered them unconscious. Mr Speaker, the then President did not deem it appropriate to set up a Commission to investigate.

    The Castle operative was never apprehended but on the other hand, the officer in charge of the operating theatre at the Yendi Government Hospital was the one who got accosted for rendering the

    facility accessible to Prof Frimpong Boateng who operated on all seven persons to remove the bullets which were firmly planted in their bodies and thereby saved their lives.

    Mr Speaker, in the conduct of the outstanding elections in seven polling stations in Akwatia, party thugs came and unleashed on NPP members and sympathisers a reign of terror and the only crime of the NPP members was that they were attending a Sunday rally at Akwatia.

    Mr Speaker, many people, including Hon Members of Parliament, were injured and several vehicles including those of some NPP Hon Members of Parliament such as Hon Isaac Osei and the current Hon Deputy Regional Minister for Ashanti Region, Hon Elizabeth Agyemang, were attacked and damaged by some goons.

    Mr Speaker, no Commission of Inquiry was set up by the then President, and Parliament, unfortunately, did not call for the setting up of one; at least, by way of showing solidarity with our own Hon Colleagues. Mr Speaker, the then President did not consider it worthy to appoint a Commission of Inquiry and nobody got apprehended.

    In Atiwa and Talensi, accounts relating to gory events were told and the Presidents then did not deem it necessary to appoint a Commission of Inquiry and the nation was left in a state of suspended annihilation. Today, a sitting President has deemed it appropriate for us as a nation to bring such despicable misbehaviours to a halt.

    Let us all have patience for the Commission of Inquiry. It is sad to recount that a Hon Member of Parliament on the other Side of the political divide stated that the Commission of Inquiry is

    powerless in such instances. Mr Speaker, such a statement which comes from a Hon Member of Parliament, who is also a lawyer, could only be described as unfortunate and the reason is quite simple.

    The finding of a Commission of Inquiry has the effect of a judgment of a High Court. Mr Speaker, that is so.

    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague, the former Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, is shaking his head that that is not so. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would read the Constitution to his hearing and article 280(2) provides:

    “Where a commission of inquiry makes an adverse finding against any person, the report of the commission of inquiry shall, for the purposes of this Constitution, be deemed to be the judgment of the High Court; …”

    Mr Speaker, so where is this misreading of the Constitution coming from, that the Commission of Inquiry is toothless? It is only sad to listen. Mr Speaker, so in the face of this, how could any Hon Member of Parliament argue that the Commission of Inquiry is toothless and by implication a waste of time, energy and resources? God should save Abraham.

    Mr Speaker, while we are at this, it is important to call on the Ghana Police Service not to relent on the pursuit of the assailants who went to the NDC Ashanti Regional party headquarters and shot and killed in cold blood some of their own compatriots.

    Mr Speaker, a group is trying to put some bodybuilders, popularly referred to as machomen within Kumasi together. The intention, to all intent and purposes

    may be devilish. In 1996, Ashanti Region witnessed gruesome activities which were orchestrated by some people who found relevance in political violence. It is the reason why the Ghana Police Service in Ashanti Region and Kumasi in particular must act with speed to bring the perpetrators of that heinous crime to justice.

    Mr Speaker, the next issue that the President addressed was the health of the economy as required by article 34(2). Mr Speaker, I want to quote what the President said at the last paragraph on page 4:

    “Mr Speaker, production in the economy as measured by real GDP growth has picked up very strongly in the last two years. From 3.4 per cent in 2016 …”

    Mr Speaker, to be very honest, the President was even very charitable because the rebasing of the economy has sent the 3.4 per cent GDP growth rate in 2016 to 2.2 per cent growth rate, which makes it the worst growth rate in the country's history over the past 30 years. Mr Speaker, even the 3.4 per cent is the worst GDP growth in 22 years, yet people think that they must be applauded.
    Mr Speaker, the President said 11:15 a.m.
    “From 3.4 per cent in 2016, real GDP growth increased to 8.1 per cent in
    Mr Speaker, as I said, GDP growth rate in 2017 was 8.6 per cent but the rebasing sent it down to 8.1 per cent.
    “In 2018, provisional data for the first three quarters indicate a strong real GDP growth rate of 6.0 per cent, higher than the annual target of 5.6 per cent. Real GDP growth for 2019
    Mr Speaker, the President said 11:25 a.m.

    is forecast at 7.6 per cent. Ghana's recent GDP growth has placed it amongst the highest in the world.”

    Mr Speaker, only two years ago, Ghana's GDP growth rate was one of the worst in the world. So we should be candid with ourselves. Mr Speaker, the President spoke to what the economic indicators reveal; dramatic increase in GDP growth from 3.4 in 2016, as I said, that is the worst in 22 years, to 8.1 in 2017.

    He spoke about the declining Debt to GDP ratio, inflation dropping, interest rate declining, reduction in fiscal deficit, trade balance accounts recording a surplus for the first time in more than 10 years, consumer and business interest soaring to signify growing confidence in the economy. Mr Speaker, this is evidence- based.

    Within the economic sector, agriculture, industry and services all grew phenomenally. Agriculture grew from 2.9 per cent in 2016 to 6.1 per cent. Crops grew from 2.2 per cent in 2016 to 7.2 per cent and cocoa grew from negative 7.0 per cent in 2016 to positive 9.2 per cent in 2017. Livestock grew from 5.4 per cent in 2016 to 5.7 per cent in 2017.

    Forestry and logging grew from 2.9 per cent in 2016 to 3.4 per cent and fisheries, which grew by negative 23.3 per cent in 2014, just recently, sprung up by negative 1.4 per cent 2017. They are both negatives, but it is negative 23.4 per cent in 2014 to negative 1.4 in 2017.

    Mr Speaker, industry grew from 4.3 per cent in 2016 to 15.7 per cent in 2017 while services grew from 2.8 per cent in 2016 to 3.3 in 2017.
    Mr Speaker, the President said 11:25 a.m.

    Mr Speaker, somebody was asking for my source. The source exists in published material and our Standing Orders. For the avoidance of doubt, it is the Budget. The Hon Ras Mubarak is asking which published document. He should go and read his Budget. He does not read.

    Mr Speaker, it is on page 27 of the 2019 Budget Statement; he should go and read.

    Mr Speaker, in both 2014 and 2015 in the 10 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convergence Criteria, Ghana could not attain even one of the 10 criteria made of four primary criteria and six secondary criteria.

    In 2016, the criteria got composited and rationalised such that we now have six criteria. In 2017, Ghana attained four out of six of the Convergence Criteria. That represented 66.7 per cent as against zero per cent.

    Mr Speaker, they keep saying that it is not true. Do they read the Budget Statement? Let me take you to page 18 of the 2019 Budget Statement. They should go and read. The evidence is there. Because they decided not to read, they are always challenging facts.

    Mr Speaker, the President related to how farther the integrated bauxite and aluminium industry could propel Ghana's economy. Parliament has passed the Integrated Aluminium Authority Bill, which has since been assented to by the President.

    Inaugurating the Board for the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation last Friday at the Jubilee

    House, the President charged the Board, and I beg to quote:

    “The time has come to make a concerted effort not only to bring the raw materials into play, but to establish the full value chain of the product so we can have vibrant aluminium industry in Ghana.”

    Indeed, Mr Speaker, the construction of the Akosombo Dam was premised on the establishment of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) to produce aluminium for both local and international markets. VALCO was to readily buy electric power generated by the Akosombo Dam.

    Mr Speaker, the vision of the first President, Dr Nkrumah, for the country towards an integrated aluminium industry got jeopardised along the line. VALCO, for purely business considerations, imported alumina for its production to maximise profit. To VALCO, it made a lot of business sense to lift alumina into Ghana for further processing instead of refining the raw bauxite mined in the country.

    Thankfully, Mr Speaker, notwithstanding the long almost non-profitable exploitation of bauxite for close to eighty years, the country still has over 600 million metric tonnes of bauxite deposits at Nyinahin, Kibi and Awaso, which is a national resource for the country and not for any individual.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    You have five minutes.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Integrated Aluminium Industry must reposition Ghana. The deposit of iron ore at Sheini in the north, Pudo in the Upper West Region and Oppon Manse in the Western Region provide another huge potential. That far, we know that the three
    finds could yield not less than 1.7 billion metric tonnes of iron ore.
    The Bill on the Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation has been gazetted. It would be in the House next week. The joy from the reappraisal is that if we are to apply the quantum of 1.7 billion metric tonnes on the construction of a single railway line that the yield could go round the earth 40 times.
    Mr Speaker, what it means is that, it offers huge potential to transform the economy of this country and be a game changer for our national economy especially the economy in the north.
    Mr Speaker, the nation is going to be hugely propelled on the trajectory of massive development. Accordingly, we must act together to cut out corruption from this period onwards.
    We must doubly resolve on this to secure for ourselves and for posterity the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity as the preamble of the Constitution enjoins us.
    Mr Speaker, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has now been firmly planted. There are teething problems but there is still so much belief, trust and good will.
    Mr Speaker, article 34(2) of the 1992 Constitution stresses the rights of citizens to work. In 2017, when the President addressed the nation, he said, “If I were to ask any one of you in this Chamber today to tell me what the number one problem in your constituency is, I suspect there would be a uniform answer: “JOBS”.
    To address the challenges associated with unemployment, the President enumerated 13 key elements on pages 7
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:25 a.m.

    and 8 of the 2017 Message on the State of the Nation. In 2018, the President emphasised that he was determined to work to guarantee and secure the future of the young men and women of our country.

    He mentioned the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) which was to employ about 100,000 young persons in 2018. The Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship Programme was to recruit over 3,000 young unemployed.

    The Development Authorities are coming up in full throttle to generate thousands of jobs in 2019 plus the newly created districts and regions.

    The Youth Employment Agency in 2018, engaged about 107,000 youth in various employment models and in 2019, additional 125,000 would be recruited.

    Add to the number of trained teachers, nurses, policemen, soldiers, fire service and immigration officers, and forest brigades. The conclusion is, certainly, that within three years, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration would generate in the region of 400,000 employment.

    Public workforce as well must be motivated, and Government in 2018 increased salaries by 11 per cent. At the beginning of this year, we have increased it by another 10 per cent. In addition, pensions have also been increased.

    Mr Speaker, the Constitution makes education a right, not a privilege. That is the language of article 34(2), which the President must report on.

    Mr Speaker, article 25(a) of the Constitution provides --
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    And in conclusion?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, so the President spoke about making Free Senior High School accessible and free.
    My Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader was talking about the import of the President making senior high school as part of the basic education. What he was not getting is that free senior high school is now according --
    What the President meant was that, free senior high school, after it has been made free, is going to be made universal and compulsory. No parent would have any excuse for not sending his child to senior high school. That is the import of it.
    Mr Speaker, on the right to housing that the president mentioned.
    Let me conclude, that I believe, like the President Nana Addo Dankwa believes, Ghana still has challenges, but our nation is in good health. Ghana is rising again, Ghana is beginning to work again, and Ghana, our beloved country, is poised for an accelerated growth.
    What we can and must do as responsible citizens is to come together acknowledging that we are one nation, one people with one destiny. We may criticise, and indeed, we must criticise because we are not angels in Government, but let us criticise to reform and not to destroy, remembering that God is always on the side of optimist and not pessimist.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to bring down the curtain on this seminal Message on the State of the Nation so masterfully delivered by H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Majority Leader, for your brilliant contribution.
    Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved:
    That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 21st February, 2019.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Members, I think it is incumbent upon us as a House to take steps to amend the timing of the Budget presentation as provided by the Constitution, since that part is not entrenched, so that it would be coterminous with the entrenched provisions of the State of the Nation Address so that it would align with the State of the Nation Address, and in fact, derive from the State of the Nation Address, that is, the Budget Statement, for our future guidance.
    This is one of the best opportunities for this Honourable House to test its capacity for initiating legislation and constitutional amendment for that matter.
    So the Clerk would want to refer this to the Legal Department, and I refer it to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to consider this and report accordingly so that we can take steps regarding the matter. Thank you very much.
    Hon Majority Leader, any indication at this stage?
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Do you mean Questions?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker,
    the Urgent Question. The Hon Minister got stuck somewhere, but she is here. It is just one Question, so if we can engage her, she would do that, and then we would see what to do.
    Mr Iddrisu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, without prejudice to Government Business, we should be inching towards an adjournment, because you and many others may have to travel to Tamale for tomorrow's Independence anniversary.
    As I watch, the Clerk has guided us that the Hon Majority Leader and I, led by him, might have to engage with law students who are here to present a petition, so we may have to perform that while we accommodate just that Question.
    The Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is saying that she is here. I must respect her because she is the only Minister mentioned in the Constitution and she knows that I have always respected that, except that when she comes here -- seat her well. Do not go and be hanging her --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Members, the matter regarding the Minister has already been adjourned. We put that to next week. The Hon learned Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, if so disposed, would be heard.
    Please, let us move to item listed 9.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have already dealt with item listed 9, and I make this special application because the Hon Minister for --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    I meant item listed 10. I
    have ruled on that application.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am just submitting an application to you for reconsideration because --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    I have ruled on that earlier.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, I know you have. I am saying that --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    An explanation and excuse was given to this Honourable House for the Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture. We expect her far away in Tamale, and I have dealt with her matter accordingly.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, I think there is a mix-up. What I said was that the Hon Minister for Education and his Deputies were up north in Tamale, and that the Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture was on her way to the Chamber. That is what I said. There was a mix-up.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    And for that matter it should be stood down, not postponed? -- [Laughter.]
    I am very clear in my mind that this one was postponed. Hon Minister, with all due regard to you, the matter concerning you has been postponed, adjourned, and the date would be duly fixed by the Table Office.
    We would hear Motion listed 10.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, are we then taking item listed 11?
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Did we conclude with item listed 10?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is a minor amendment that we want to do to take it through Second Consideration Stage. Unfortunately, I do not have the Bill here.
    I have an agreement with the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. It is just one item that the Minister, as mentioned in the Bill, should be the Minister Responsible for Information and not -- but I do not have the Bill here, so I am not in the position to move it.
    Mr Speaker, I am being threatened by the Hon Member for Tamale Central that this is a right. Education is a right; work is a right; we are not there yet.
    11. 45 a. m.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, please proceed. What is your pleasure at this stage?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my pleasure has been overruled, so I would submit to you.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Then it is no more a pleasure. That pleasure has been rendered otiose. [Laughter.]
    We would now move to any further pleasures.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Iddrisu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as you have observed, item listed 10 is Right to Information Bill, 2018. Apart from the amendment that the Hon Leader has referred to even though he would not have consensus on that because we think the appropriate Ministry should be the Ministry of Justice and not the Ministry of Information.
    Mr Speaker, but the Coalition on the Right to Information Bill themselves— I
    was going to invoke Order 130 to arrest the Third Reading if you even permited the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to call for further amendment to clauses 2, 23 and probably, 13 at the instance of the Coalition to enhance the legislation as they so wish.
    Mr Speaker, but it appears that the next item is the Companies Code. That is major and therefore the Second Reading of it should be done in an environment where all of us have our hearts and minds here.
    With our hearts and minds travelling towards Tamale, if the Hon Attorney- General and Minister for Justice would be in the country and would not feel bad, I think that we should be looking at that next week.
    The Companies Code is a major item today and the Second Reading would elucidate comments that would help and guide the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice into the future.
    So, if the Hon Majority Leader could inch towards adjournment, then we would do the petition on behalf of the Speaker.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I take a cue from what the Hon Minority Leader has said, knowing that indeed his mind is not here. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, if at all, it is at this stage of proceedings, we cannot take it today.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, at this stage, his mind is not here.

    Mr Speaker, on that note, I beg to move that we take an adjournment and resume tomorrow -- [Interruption.] -- His mind is not here. [Laughter.]

    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that we take an adjournment and resume on Thursday, 7th March, 2019, at 10. 00 in the forenoon.
    Mr Iddrisu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion. And in doing so, for the Hansard to note that I was referring to the Companies Bill, 2018.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 11:35 a.m.