Debates of 29 May 2019

PRAYERS 10:24 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 28th May, 2019.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the volume of your microphone is low. We can hardly hear you. So could the technical men take care of it?
Mr Speaker 10:24 a.m.
The Table Office may take note accordingly. In the meantime, we would make some progress with the volume of work we have got.
Mr Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Any corrections?

Official Report of Wednesday, 27th March, 2019?
Mr Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Yes, Hon Ablakwa?
Mr Ablakwa 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 3750, the first paragraph, on the Global Swift System -- “Swift” should be an acronym. It stands for the Societies for World-Wide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT). That was what I meant. So that should be corrected. It is not the word “swift”, which means being in a hurry or something.
Mr Speaker, then, column 3751, the “Securities and Exchange Commission” should also be corrected accordingly.
Finally, column 3752, second paragraph, the word there should be “lapses” not “lacks”.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Mr Speaker 10:34 a.m.
Thank you very much Hon Ablakwa.
Any further corrections, Hon Members?
In the absence of any further corrections, the Official Report dated 27th March, 2019 as corrected is hereby admitted as the true a record of the proceedings.
Hon Members, item listed 3, Statements.
Hon Dr Marfo has a Statement regarding Ethiopia National Day, on behalf of the Ghana- Ethiopia Parliamentary Friendship Association.
STATEMENTS 10:34 a.m.

Dr Emmanuel Marfo (NPP-- Oforikrom) 10:34 a.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker. I beg on behalf of the Ghana- Ethiopia Parliamentary Friendship Association to make this Statement to commemorate the national day of the People of Ethiopia. In the spirit of inter Parliamentary cooperation and the promotion of intra-African d e m o c r a c y. P a r l i a m e n t a r y
Associations were set up by this Parliament to foster friendships with sister parliaments and as platforms for knowledge sharing and the exchange of ideas.
Mr Speaker, 28th May of every year is the national day for the people of Ethiopia and it marks the anniversary of the overthrow of the Dergue Military Regime in 1991 and the establishment of the federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The Dergue regime, a military junta ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987 after ousting Emperor Selassie 1.
Mr Speaker, Ethiopia and Ghana have strong historical relations which go back to the period of liberating Africa from the yoke of colonialism. Our political leaders of those days, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, played major roles in the establishment of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the present African Union ?(AU). Since then, the two countries have enjoyed excellent diplomatic relations, working together to fulfil the objectives of the African Union, particularly committed to the realisation of the socioeconomic transformation of the continent through Agenda 2063, with a view to bringing real difference in the lives and wellbeing of the people of Africa.
Mr Speaker 10:34 a.m.
Hon Member, thank you very much.
We would have one contribution from each Side, since we have two other Statements.
Dr Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem (NDC--Binduri) 10:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by Hon Dr Emmanuel Marfo on behalf of the Ghana-Ethiopia Parliamentary Friendship Association.
Mr Speaker, around the year 2000, Ethiopia was the third poorest country in the world. Today, as we speak, by the year 2025, they would become the second largest economy in Africa.
Mr Speaker, the question is, how did Ethiopia achieve this? Ethiopia adopted the government-led development model, that is, government facilitating the development of the country.
So, we are not talking about the private sector as the engine of growth,
Dr Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem (NDC--Binduri) 10:44 a.m.
but the government as the engine of growth. A clear example is Ethiopian Airlines. It is owned by the government of Ethiopia but managed by the private sector.
Ethiopia realised that telecommunication was a huge source of income, so in Ethiopia, government controls telecommunication not only as a source of income but also as a source of protecting national integrity.
Mr Speaker, no country can develop until that country has a development plan which is followed religiously. What can we learn in Ghana from the successes of Ethiopia?

Mr Speaker, with reference to the Komenda Sugar factory for example, we still talk about how the factory does not work, but we do not talk about how the factory should work, yet this is an investment by Government and the people of Ghana.

Mr Speaker, even though we still talk about how the factory does not work, could we imagine the amount of foreign exchange that we could save as a country if the Komenda Sugar Factory works? Could we imagine the number of farmers, who

would be comfortable if they make some income through the sale of raw materials to this factory?

Mr Speaker, why does the factory not work? It is because we do not have a national plan, as to how we would want to see Ghana develop. If for example we had planned that in the next ten years Ghana would not import any sugar from any country, I believe that the factory would have been put to good use, and we would have moved the country forward as Ethiopia is doing.

Mr Speaker, we need to have a national development plan. A plan that outlives any Government, as in the case of Ethiopia. We need to know that in developing countries, yes, we would need the contribution of the private sector, particularly, if the private sector involves investors from our own country. But we also know that in our own country, we cannot have private people who have the requisite capital. Therefore, to move this country forward, we would need Government to facilitate the development process.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker 10:44 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Hon Members, I would take another contribution from the Minority Side.
Mr Ras Mubarak (NDC -- Kumbungu) 10:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would keep it as brief as an old lady's dance.
Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for a well- researched Statement.
Mr Speaker, Ethiopia adopted a new Constitution in 1994, and clearly, Ghana by all standards is way ahead of Ethiopia in terms of our acceptance of democracy. However, if we look at some of the successes of Ethiopia, it gladdens one's heart to imagine that in spite of the challenges that they have had as a country - for instance, they have the issue of draught. Year in, year out, peasant farmers lose their livestock because of the draughts but in spite of that they keep rising up as a country that is interested in rising above its challenges, and I believe that is very impressive.
Mr Speaker, there are a couple of things that we could learn from them. Firstly, Ethiopia has a population of over 200 million. In spite of the diversity and the huge number of people who are in Ethiopia, they have only one national language, which is an indigenous language called
“Amharic”. It is the official language of Ethiopia, and it is a local language.
Mr Speaker, we talk of a country with a population of over 200 million. [Interruption] --
Mr Speaker 10:44 a.m.
Hon Member, the figure you quoted is what is being drawn to your attention.
Mr Ras Mubarak 10:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it rather has a population of over 100 million. What is impressive is the fact that they have one language. There are several tribes in Ethiopia but they have been able to agree on one common indigenous language. I believe that as a country that wants to have a population that is very educated, that is where we should also gravitate towards.
Mr Speaker, I say so because, if we look at the area of science and technology, we find difficulty in translating into local languages, some of the things that we find in that area. It is important to bring these things home to our people, and we could best do that if the people have one common language that they could all be proud of.
Mr Speaker, Ethiopia has also done so well in driving tourism to their country. Ghana has a huge potential to access the benefits that come from tourism but unfortunately, today, if one
Mr Speaker 10:54 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Hon Members, we have another Statement on the regulation of churches by Hon Ekow Hayford, Hon Member for Mfantseman, a very crucial Statement.

The Regulation of Churches in Ghana
Mr Ekow Hayford (NPP -- Mfantseman) 10:54 a.m.
Thank you Right Honourable Speaker, for the opportunity to make thisstatement on the regulation of churches in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, the right to religious freedom has been a perpetual feature in our laws, post-independence. Article 21(1) of the 1992 Constitution provides thus, “all persons shall have the right to freedom to practise any religion and to manifest such practise”. Again, article 26(1) states thus, “every person is entitled to enjoy, practice, profess, maintain and promote any
culture, language, tradition or religion subject to the provisions of this Constitution”. These articles, read together, solidify the right to religious freedom of every citizen under Ghanaian laws.
The constitution, therefore, prohibits religious discrimination and stipulates individuals are free to profess and practice any religion and manifest such practice. These rights may be limited for stipulated reasons, which include “restrictions that are reasonably required in the interest of defence, public safety, public health or the running of essential services, on the movement or residence within Ghana of any person or persons generally, or any class of persons.”
This notwithstanding, it has become necessary in recent times to consider the introduction of some form of regulation on the activities of churches due to their adverse impact on the lives of people.
Mr Speaker, under the Companies Act, 1963 Act 179, religious groups which are classified as companies limited by guarantee must register with the Office of the Registrar General to receive formal government recognition and status as a legal entity. However, there is no penalty for not meeting this requirement. The
registration requirement for religious groups is the same as for other non-governmental organisations. Most indigenous religious groups do not register. According to the law, registered religious groups are exempt from paying taxes on non-profit ecclesiastical, charitable, and educational activities. Religious groups are required to pay progressive taxes, on a pay-as-earned basis, on for- profit business activities.
The International Religious Freedom Report 2017 (Ghana) indicated that there were over 10,000 churches and faith-based groups which claim allegiance to Christianity. This ever-growing number unfortunately, has attracted charlatans and imposters who parade on the streets and fill our media space peddling their false wares to unsuspecting Ghanaians.
Mr Speaker, this situation is a sad reflection of the state of the country in terms of persons abusing the rights and freedoms guaranteed them under articles 21 and 26 of the 1992 Constitution.
The adverse effects of the proliferation of these churches include noise pollution and fraud.
The immediate past General Secretary of the Christian Council of
Mr Speaker 10:54 a.m.
Thank you, Hon Member, for this very well- researched Statement.
Mr Speaker 10:54 a.m.
Hon Members who have spoken should not bother to stand.
Dr Augustine Tawiah (NDC -- Bia West) 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is a
timely Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague.
In one direction, the religious situation in this country is a huge blessing to our country. If you look at all the institutions of state: the Peace Council, the education councils, social services, medical services that are provided, religious groups continue to play very important roles. And so, we are very careful when we say something about the other side of the issue.
However, we have been compelled by some of the things we see around us, that we cannot just ignore some of the negative things of religious groups. As we are aware in this country, we have groups that come under umbrellas as denominations, groups that come together as sects, but we are increasingly getting groups that are independent of anybody, and they operate on their own terms -- a blend of both Christianity, African traditional religion, and Islam.
Mr Speaker, they are allowed to operate in this country as long as they do not abuse the rights of citizens and they do not contravene any of our laws in this country.
11. 04 a. m.
Unfortunately, a lot of these religious groups are borderline
Mr Speaker 10:54 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Ebenezer G. Nii Narh Nartey (NPP -- Ablekuma Central) 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity. I would like to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for coming out with this very important Statement.
Mr Speaker, you are a Reverend Minister yourself and I believe strongly that you have been monitoring our TV and radio stations, and we all see the attitudes and behaviours of some pastors and some churches.
Mr Speaker, if one is not careful and draws the attention of some pastors, they would only quote that the Bible says that ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm'. Meanwhile they are touching people and destroying people's lives.
Mr Speaker, I know for a fact that if a lady or a gentleman wants to go to church and they dress up, Mr Speaker, excuse me to say, they either put on a white pant or a black pant or
Mr Ebenezer G. Nii Narh Nartey (NPP -- Ablekuma Central) 11:14 a.m.
the noise that they would be making. If one picks a trotro from Kaneshie to Odorkor and one sees somebody standing in the bus, they would preach from Odorkor to Mallam Junction and at the end of the day, he would ask the people to do offering.
Mr Speaker, it is high time that --- just as recently, some radio stations were shut down, we could do the same thing to churches that are creating nuisance in our country. Mr Speaker, some of these churches are supposed to be under the Christian and the Charismatic Councils of Ghana but none of them -- I have heard some of the heads of these institutions coming out to say that some of these churches are not under them and therefore, they cannot control them. So, everyone decides to do whatever they want.
Mr Speaker, I would not be surprised that very soon we would see somebody entering this Chamber and start preaching and asking us to do offering because now, people can do whatever they want in the name of God. But that is not what the Bible tells us.
Mr Speaker, I know you are a reverend minister, the Bible says that because of the way the disciples talked, the way they behaved, the way they related to others, the people in Antioch said that their lives are like
Christ's. -- [Hear! Hear!]- Mr Speaker, today, let us ask ourselves whether indeed, our life is like Christ's or we are into business.
Mr Speaker, today, the Church now is a business and many of them even do not pay tax. Recently, when there was a debate whether churches should be allowed to pay tax, the Charismatic churches; ‘One-man Churches' castigated the Government and people who were raising issues of tax in Ghana.
But Mr Speaker, I am a strong Presbyterian, a proud Presbyterian -- Mr Speaker, I know you were once a Presbyterian -- [Laughter] --but once a Presbyterian, always a Presbyterian. And I am not surprised that you went to Presec because the Presbyterian blood is in you.
Mr Speaker, there are a lot of facilities hospitals, schools and training colleges built by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church. Today, what could these our “one man churches” boast of? What have they contributed to this country? They would only have radio and television stations. Sometimes, when we watch some of them, we ask ourselves whether, indeed, this is truly
Christianity. Some of them would say that one should get a calendar and if one is sick, the person should just put it on the stomach and they would be healed. For goodness sake, is the calendar medicine?
Recently, I tuned in to Some Television Station and I watched somebody say that he had a dream that the pastor gave him bread -- paanoo -- and when he ate the bread; I cannot really understand. We have pastors that give lottery numbers.

On Friday, they would call and give, for the example,64/85 or 70/82 as lottery number. Where in the Bible did we see or hear Jesus Christ give lottery numbers? What I know, as a Christian, is that he performed genuine miracles but today, it is not like that in our churches.

Mr Speaker, I plead with you to call on all of us to see how best - I know that there are religious ministers and pastors among us here, including myself. We need to come down on these churches. The saddest of it all is that on weekdays, such as Wednesdays and Fridays, when you expect people to be in their offices or markets, they would be in church.

There are about four churches around my residence, two in front and two behind, which prevent us from sleeping. On Fridays, they organise all-nights. We are not saying that they should not go to church or organise all-nights. However, as Christians, believers and children of God, we need to follow a process and not do anything in the name of preaching.

Mr Speaker, I visited a church one day and the pastor said that, “ene mepe aa me preachi, mepe nso aa me prophesy”, meaning, “Today, if I like, I would preach, and if I like, I would prophesy”. I do not think that it is the minister who would decide whether to preach or prophesy, because the Bible says that, “in the last days, I would pour out my spirit upon all flesh”.

We must advise these “one-man churches” that are not regulated to be guided, and at the end of the day, those churches which are not part of organisations should be closed down, so that they would stop making money. We have people who are suffering in their various homes. We have people who go to functions such as harvests at churches and would give amounts such as GH¢50,000 and GH¢100,000, yet there are people suffering in their homes.
Mr Samuel Nartey George (NDC -- Ningo-Prampram) 11:14 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I wish to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement.
I have listened to the discourse and contributions so far. As a Charismatic Christian, I would like to urge this House to tread with a certain level of caution. The reason is that, we are guided by the Constitution of this country and article 26 (1) enjoins and entitles everybody to freedom of religious expression. However, as a Charismatic Christian, I am also guided by 1 John 4:1 which tells us to “test all spirits and be mindful, for in the last day, false prophets would be unleashed on the earth.”
Mr Speaker, we admit and accept the fact that there are some people we could call charlatans, who might be bringing the Christian faith or church business into disrepute. I have always maintained that there is a difference between a church and church administration. We can choose
Mr Speaker 11:14 a.m.
Hon Member, concentrate on regulation as it is the issue before the House. If you do
philanthropy, yet commit a lot of damage -- That is not the issue.
Mr George 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, absolutely. I agree with you that we must place their actions on a scale and that should guide the regulation that we pass. We must look at the philanthropic and good work they do, as well as the excesses, and use the powers of State to regulate --
Mr Speaker 11:14 a.m.
No amount of philanthropy would justify the abuse of Ghanaian women or children. Let us -- otherwise, we would get confused. No philanthropy can justify the abuse of our people.
Mr George 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as a reverend Minister yourself, I agree 100 per cent with you. I have sat under --
Mr Speaker 11:14 a.m.
So, comment on the Statement within that and let us make actual progress.
Mr George 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am all for regulation.
In fact, many senior men of God in this country would want to partner with the State to bring some sort of regulation that would bring sanity. If you speak to many of the senior men of God in this country, they have
brought themselves under some form of self-regulation. However, because they do not have the powers of State, to enforce this self-regulation --
We have people who claim to be Charismatics and Pentecostals, but are not members of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC). What we need to see is a progressive move to add State power to their self-regulatory powers.
Mr Speaker, Rwanda is a very good example, where the State has stepped into religion and given certain benchmarks and minimum requirements for operating a church. So, we need to be able to say that we are for regulation but also for consultation in the regulation. The church as an institution today, has self- regulation and how can we strengthen it.
How can we ensure that if Sam George leaves Parliament today and wants to start a church, the same way I cannot go and start a pharmacy shop without being licensed by the Pharmacy Council or start a hospital without being licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons? There must be some certification I must get to regulate myself and ensure that I stay within the remits of the law.

Mr Speaker, I agree with you. The abuses we see on our television stations and churches today are highly unacceptable. However, I only urge that we tread with caution.
Mr Ahmed Arthur (NPP -- Okaikwei South) 11:24 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague.
This issue about regulation for religious organisations which we are all discussing this morning, is not just about Christianity. This affects all religions like Christian, Muslims and Buddhists.

Recently, what has happened in this country has awakened some of us to speak about this particular issue, in order to make sure that there are regulations put in place to ensure that people who call themselves pastors and would want to lead a congregation are people who are qualified to do so.

Mr Speaker, what we see on our televisions are abuses. People who call themselves pastors abuse our women and sometimes men and women who are educated and are
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC-- Banda) 11:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much, for giving me the opportunity to make a few comments on the Statement on the Floor.
Mr Speaker, the discussion on regulation of religious bodies has come to the Floor and I believe, reading through the Statement, this is an issue which discussion was started by heads of some religious bodies within the country.
Mr Speaker, those heads of these various religious bodies called on Parliament to bring a legislation in order to regulate the activities that are not good as far as those religious practices are concerned.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC-- Banda) 11:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, clearly speaking, the issues of faith or religion are issues of the heart. When we read the Bible, -- clearly, Hon Members have quoted certain portions -- I remember the discussion I had with you, Mr Speaker, when we were in Egypt about the good upbringing that you had in those good days by your basic school teachers and that is how the Methodists were able to train their children methodically. Therefore, by the things they do, we are able to know that these are people who had very good training in their youthful days. That is why the Bible says train up a child the way he should go and when he grows, he would not depart from it.
Mr Speaker, we are in an era where some people just specialise in a single chapter or quotation in the Bible and call themselves masters and carry themselves out as pastors. However, when Christ called his disciples, he had to mentor and teach them certain things for a number of years. They learnt under him, so one cannot just come on the scene one day and call himself a pastor and do other things.
Mr Speaker, I am a member of the Church of Pentecost. We have the tenets and doctrine of the church. If one goes against it, even if he or she
happens to be a financier of the church, that person would be disciplined.
Mr Speaker, it is not as if there are no regulations in the churches; the well-organised ones have certain standards that they expect of their members. It is on that note that people sometimes refer to us -- When it comes to church administration, one cannot count the Church of Pentecost out.
Mr Speaker, other churches must be enjoined to self-regulate. When we ask for Parliament to regulate through legislation, we know the power of government institutions; if an independent institution is to be enacted to regulate the activities of churches and pastors, who would make appointments in those independent institutions and how would it be eternally independent?
There may come a time that we would have a leader who may not even be a Christian or have faith in any religion. It is possible. So, when we are talking about regulations, we could make an appeal; the Methodist Church must self-regulate in such a way that they walk the talk; the Pentecost Church must self-regulate to walk the talk and the Presbyterian Church must self-regulate to walk the talk. The Bible must be our highest standard. However, if we want to make a national law creating an
independent body where the statement is calling on the National Communications Authority (NCA), the National Media Commission
(NMC) --
Mr Speaker, how best is the NMC able to self-regulate or regulate the activities of all journalists in this country? There are issues with national regulations. Are we able to enforce the laws to the letter? These are critical issues but it is good that such a debate has come up in times like this.
Mr Speaker, it is not only the churches; our brothers in the Muslim fraternity are also calling for an institution of Islamic Council where the Chief Imam, who belongs to a certain sect, would have all other sects within the nation to have a council to regulate the activities of all Muslims within the country. It is a call in the right direction.
Mr Speaker, calling for an internal regulation should be coming from the religious bodies themselves but to call for a national independent body -- I am a politician -- Mr Speaker, you know the role that even the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) play of late and the role that all other religious bodies have been playing.
Mr Speaker, this may be an issue of much importance to you and I believe that if only you would preside on issues of this nature, it may be for the better. However, it is a call that we must all join to discuss thoroughly. We should not go elsewhere and be speaking differently -- because, Mr Speaker, you are a believer, how can issues of Holy Spirit be regulated?

Mr Speaker, Apostle Paul, who was a learned lawyer and a Jew by tradition, was well versed in everything concerning Judaism and so on and he was one of the legal luminaries in those days when the Holy Spirit arrested him. At that time, he forgot of the law and everything and lost his sight.

So, when we talk of issues of the Holy Spirit -- Can you imagine that if not for the activities of the charlatan pastors that my Hon Colleagues are mentioning -- When Jesus Christ wanted to open the eyes of the blind man what did he do? In this day, can a pastor spit into the eyes of a blind man that he wants to give him sight?

Mr Speaker, these are issues that you cannot interrogate with your carnal conscience. There are very serious issues as far as the Bible is concerned and therefore, when we
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC-- Banda) 11:34 a.m.

discuss issues of faith, there are issues we must discuss holistically and with some kind of moderation. We agree that there are bad ones and it is against that background that before one becomes a Roman Catholic Priest, -- Can you imagine the number of years that they are subjected to training so that when they come out, they do not disgrace them? That is why they have been able to hold the Catholic faith and the religion to date. All other churches must have that kind of regulation so that the few ones will not go and disgrace themselves.

As my Hon Colleague from Ningo- Prampram said, in the last days, there will be false prophets who will be -- this is in fulfilment of what the Scripture says.

Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity. [Laughter] --
Mr Speaker 11:34 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minority First Deputy Whip. Hon Majority Leader, any contribution?
Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make a few comments on the Statement that is on the Floor now.
Mr Speaker, the freedom of thought, conscience and belief as well as the freedom to practise religion and to manifest such practice are fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Indeed, they are anchored in article 21(1) (b) and (c) of the 1992 Constitution.
As we all do know, every right is fettered in a way. There is no right that is absolute and so, even though they are guaranteed by the Constitution, we must have them fettered in a way.
Mr Speaker, churches are social organisations and the Constitution provides in article 37(2) (a) what they are required to do.
“The State is required to enact appropriate laws to assure
(a)the enjoyment of the rights of effective participation in development processes including the rights of people to form their own associations free from state interference and to use them to promote and protect their interests in relation to the development processes …”
So, above all, these churches should relate to development processes in the communities and countries where they exist.
Mr Speaker, I think that there is “the freedom to form organisations to engage in self-help and income generating projects; and there is also freedom to raise funds to support those activities.
Matters of theology are matters of depth which are not picked from the streets. Theology is studied and indeed it, must be studied. As far as some of us Christians are concerned, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, when he was on earth picked 12 disciples, and for three continuous years, schooled them in theology. How can anybody wake up one day and tell us that he has been vested with the spirit and that, he must be speaking for God.
Mr Speaker, in the Old Testament, for instance, when Samuel was asleep and a voice called him. He responded, but he thought it was his master who was calling him and so, he rose up and went to consult the master whether he was calling him and he said no. The second time the voice called him, he went again to see his master, his master said he was not calling him. His master then said to him that if the voice comes calling again, he should respond in a Particular way, which he did. What it means is that sometimes, voices that come to us, we are not even sure whether they are evil spirits
or they come from God. We should have that assurance.
As I was saying, even Jesus Christ schooled his disciples for three years. The followers of Mohammed were also schooled by him over a certain number of years before and after the death of Mohammed, so they could position themselves to spread his own concept of worshipping God.
Mr Speaker, so we should be careful. Today, we are talking about regulating the environment, noise pollution, people forcing people to be in churches seven days in a week. How does it affect productivity in this country?
People go to churches because they want salvation in one form or the other in their lives, whether it is an affliction of poverty, illness and so on. A person walks to a church and he or she is already in a state of deprivation but we have pastors calling on them to give whatever they have to the Lord by way of collections on a daily basis after the Word of God has been preached to them. However, they earn money; they are not interested.
This is not to say that all the churches in the country are bad. There are many of them who are doing good things by contributing to the development of the communities where they thrive and so on.
Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:44 a.m.

Mr Speaker, however, above everything, the Constitution again in article 41 imposes obligations on all of us citizens. For purposes of emphasis, let me read what the relevant provision in article 41 provides;

“The exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations, and accordingly, it shall be the duty of every citizen --”

Mr Speaker, I said that there is no freedom that is unfettered and Article 41 anchors that belief. It goes on that;

“It is the right of every citizen to foster national unity and live in harmony with others”.

Mr Speaker, in other words, “the citizens” in this context it includes the churches. They should respect clause 41(d) which says;

“to respect the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of others, and generally to refrain from doing acts detrimental to the welfare of other persons;”

Mr Speaker, I was talking about noise pollution. When we go to our
Mr Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader.
The Statement is duly referred to the joint Committees of Youth, Sports and Culture, and the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. As we have clearly seen, there are very clear legal and constitutional implications.
They should work and report to this Honourable House within one month. They must consult widely, and they should work in cooperation with the Hon Majority and Minority Leaders as well since this is a very
important national issue. We cannot have a Constitution and operate outside its parameters, and in an ostrich fashion, pretend as if there is nothing wrong.
If they have to make certain declarations as provided by law, or fulfil certain obligations to the society in which they live, as provided by law and or if they have to file returns as the Constitution duly provides, we should ensure that what has been provided for is done.
Among other things, a Committee of this nature must seriously consider our development difficulties and our non-development; notwithstanding any political parties, but that which is an issue in this nation of ours, and make recommendations whether we would want people, in the name of religion, to use hours of work -- 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. -- to worship anywhere?
The Lord God himself created the world in six days and rested in a day, and we all, whether Muslim or Christian know the need for a sabbath. So, we are expected to work. It is dishonest that someone employs you, but you use the hours he pays you to go somewhere else, whether it is a church or otherwise, to worship. There are times for worship; Saturdays and Sundays are there, and the evenings are also there -- but definitely, not man hours. Otherwise,
Mr Speaker 11:54 a.m.
we cannot develop as a people. We cannot pretend anymore over some of these important matters.
Hon Members, we live in a state where we all know priests would keep people in camps purportedly to heal them and when they get worse, then they rush them to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. The doctors are accountable for their profession; yet, these people cannot be held responsible for malpractice. What kind of unbridle liberty could that be? In fact, in England and other places, if you bring a person to the hospital under such circumstances, the doctor, nurse or other health worker, is mandated by law to report the circumstances to the police and for action to be taken. This is how a nation develops.
So, we may want to think whether we should also have some of these things clearly established; so that when people are rushed to hospitals in suspicious circumstances, the law would apply accordingly. It is very important that if others could be dealt with for professional malpractice, no one should get away with it.
In fact, it is an interesting coincidence that this morning, I had a message from someone whose daughter's foot has become miserably
gangrenous. I can share this with Leadership later. It is heart-breaking where the young girl is. She is in a prayer camp. I have asked to see the parent and see what could be done about it. We need the prayers; but we also need not have it unbridled in such a way that they become a money- churning machine for others to the detriment of our people. We expect the Committee to work seriously, as we see total commitment from both sides of the House on this particular matter.
I thank you very much.
Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa, we shall have a short Statement on a matter of importance -- a tribute to Major- General Francis Sanziri, a worthwhile Ghanaian.
Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa?

Tribute to the Late Major- General Francis Vib-Sanziri
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa (NDC -- North Tongu) 11:54 a.m.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker.
Sincerely, may I express my heartfelt gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to pay tribute to a departed illustrious son of the land and, by all accounts, a fallen hero—Major-General Francis Vib-
Sanziri, Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights, who passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack on Good Friday, 19th April, 2019, while on duty at the southern Israeli port city of Eilat.
Mr Speaker, I render this tribute on a day set aside by the United Nations to observe the “International Day of UN Peacekeepers.” This year's commemoration is marked with the theme “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace.”
Mr Speaker, according to the United Nations, more than 3,800 peacekeepers have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 98 who died last year, bringing to the fore the risks and remarkable sacrifices of peacekeepers in their quest to secure global peace.
Mr Speaker, not too long ago, specifically on 30th January, 2019, I made a Statement in this august House celebrating some outstanding sons and daughters of our nation on their respective appointmen into high international offices.
This statement, which you kindly admitted, featured that distinguished and exceptional Major-General Francis Vib-Sanziri who was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on 13th October, 2017 as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). It is indeed, tragic, that few months after this House celebrated the Major General and his other remarkable colleagues, we should now pay tribute to his memory; but alas, so is life. William Shakespeare wrote: “Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.”
Mr Speaker, Major-General Francis Vib-Sanziri was born in 1957. He held a master's degree in Military Art and Science from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in the United States of America, a post-graduate certificate in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and Rural Resource Development from the University of Ghana.
He was a graduate of the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and General
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa (NDC -- North Tongu) 11:54 a.m.

Staff College, Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College and the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

He joined the Ghana Armed Forces in 1985. In a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years, he became the Assistant Director, Ghana Army Operations from 1996 to 1998. He was the Deputy Head of the Ghana Military Academy from 2002 to 2004. Later he was the Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion from 2004 to 2009, and then he became the Director for International Peacekeeping Support Operations in 2009. From 2010 to 2011, Major-General Vib- Sanziri served as an Army Secretary at the Army Headquarters here in Accra.

In the year 2014, he also served as Director-General for Joint Operations at the General Headquarters until his June, 2015 appointment by H.E John Dramani Mahama as Director- General of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NAD- MO). In April, 2017, he served as Director-General of the International Peace Support Operations at the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces.

Major-General Vib-Sanziri's extensive peacekeeping experience includes deployments to the United
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa (NDC -- North Tongu) 11:54 a.m.

should we overlook the fact that Ghana currently provides the United Nations with its present distinguished Secretary- General. These are all proud achievements.”

Mr Speaker, we duly convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved family especially the widow, Commissioner of Police Beatrice Vib-Sanziri and their two daughters. May the Good Lord grant them divine strength and solace.

Our sympathies go out to the United Nations, the Ghana Armed Forces and all institutions the Major General was associated with.

May the gentle soul of this great soldier and others departed rest in eternal peace.

On this day, Mr Speaker, we salute all 2,777 troops and police on various peacekeeping operations as of 30th April, 2019 in Western Sahara, Central African Republic, Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon and South Sudan. We are proud of their exceptional bravery and professionalism, which continues to bring our nation much renown. Let them know that they occupy a special place in our hearts and thoughts for

we shall never take their sacrifices for global peace for granted.

I thank you most sincerely, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:54 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Can we have a contribution from each Side and pay a minute's silence as a sign of respect?
Mr Dominic Nitiwul (NPP -- Bimbilla) 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let me first thank the Hon Member who made this Statement for paying tribute to the late Major-General Francis Vib-Sanziri, who was the head of mission and force commander in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria.
Mr Speaker, on that fateful Friday, and by Christian standard a Good Friday, the day that our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified and died on the cross, we lost a very fine distinguished soldier who had made himself, his family, Ghana and the entire black population proud.
Mr Speaker, in a telephone conversation with the President of the Republic and Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, the UN General Secretary said, and I quote:
“He was a fine military officer who distinguished himself with distinction”.
The President himself, when he visited the widow in my company and that of the Hon Minister for the Interior as well as the Hon Foreign Minister, said;
“Our nation has lost a fine dedicated professional military officer who served his country and the global community with distinction. He was certainly a distinguished military officer and had a good career”.
Mr Speaker, these two statements amply describe the military officer we mourn and pay tribute to today, and I cannot but agree fully with the maker of the Statement for the accolades that he has bestowed on the late military officer.
He was the first person from Africa, in fact the first black man, to have occupied that position. If we understand what UNDOF stands for -- Israel, Syria and Lebanon all put together -- for the UN - Secretary General to have appointed somebody from Ghana and entrusted the entire peace process there; that gentleman, we have lost, had some qualities. For the international community to in the first place agree to make him the Force Commander, Ghana should be proud of him.
Mr Speaker, I got a call on that fateful Friday from the Ambassador to Israel. She was in South Africa, and she told me the Government of Israel had asked her to call me and officially inform me of what had happened; but before then, she had told me that her Government views the General as one of the best things to have happened to them. Now they understand why the UN sent him there because he had distinguished himself very well. He was a liked man in that place, both by the Israelis and the Syrians. Everybody liked him.
The Hon Foreign Minister, was told the same thing. I thought, perhaps, I was the one they said that to because I was the Hon Defence Minister; but they told our Hon Foreign Minister the same thing about him. When he died, the Israeli Government took it upon themselves to inform me and the nation that this was what had happened, and they were saddened by the loss. They also wished they would get somebody of his calibre to occupy the position.
Mr Speaker, as a House and a country, we certainly have to mourn with the widow of the late Major- General Vib-Sanziri, Commissioner of Police, Beatrice Vib-Sanziri. She has risen to the top of the Police Service, and he also rose to the top of the military ranking. Together, they have paid their dues to Ghana.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister for Defence.
It shows the benefit we have when we have Hon Ministers attend to the House regularly, which we know is typical of you.
Dr Kwabena Donkor (NDC -- Pru East) 12:04 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this very touching Statement on the Floor.
Mr Speaker, Major-General Francis Vib-Sanziri represents the best of Ghanaian military tradition, following the footsteps of General Erskine and other pioneers before him.
Mr Speaker, even though this is meant to be a tribute, I would see this as a celebration of life of the Ghanaian military officer on the international scene.
The departed Major-General has made this country proud, as the Hon Minister for Defence rightly alluded to. He did not only epitomise bravery, intelligence and tactical superiority, but also the strategic thinking that is embodied in the Ghana Armed Forces.
Mr Speaker, if we look at the number of command colleges that he graduated from, it is not surprising that he became the Army secretary.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Majority Leader, any comments?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:04 p.m.
Shook his head.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Members, we shall observe a minute's silence as a sign of respect for the deceased General.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Members, we would now move on to the Commencement of Public Business, the item listed as 4 --Presentation and the First Reading of Bills.
Hon Members, we would take item numbered 4 (a) on the Chartered Institute of Marketing Bill, 2019 by the Hon Minister for Education.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister responsible for Education is not here; but in his place, we have the Hon Minister of State at the Ministry of Education. I would, therefore, pray you to indulge him to do the presentation and First Reading of these Bills on behalf of the substantive Hon Minister. He is in the person of Professor Kwesi Yankah.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Minister of State responsible for Education, you may present the Bill.

Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Members, we would move on to item numbered 4 (b), by the Hon Minister of State at the Ministry of Education.
Ghana National Research Fund Bill, 2019
An act to establish the Ghana National Research Fund, to support national research in tertiary and research institutions to provide for the management of the Fund and for related matters.
Presented by the Hon Minister of State at the Ministry of Education (Prof Kwesi Yankah) (on behalf of the Hon Minister for Education). Read the First time; referred to the Committee on Education.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Members, we would move on to item numbered 4 (c), by the Hon Minister of State at the Ministry of Education.
Ghana Communication Technology University Bill, 2019
An act to establish the Ghana Communication Technology University as a public tertiary institution and to provide for related matters.
Presented by the Hon Minister of State at the Ministry of Education (Prof. Kwesi Yankah) (on behalf of the Hon Minister for Education). Read the First time; referred to the Committee on Education.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Members, we would now move on to the item listed as 5 -- Motion.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Iddrisu 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister responsible for Tertiary education, who is here, to note that the Tertiary Education Bill and the Education Bodies Regulator's Bill were all laid on 2nd May, 2019; but as we speak, copies are not available to Hon Members and, particularly, for the Committee and the Table Office to work on it.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
The Hon Minister is duly notified, and together with the Table Office, to ensure that appropriate copies are made available as soon as possible.
Hon Members, item numbered 5 -- Motion.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee on Health?
Mr Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee is unavailable, but the
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, any assistance to let us make progress? There is very little or no difficulty about this matter.
Alhaji Muntaka 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister is not here and the Hon Chairman of the Committee is also not here. So, I do not know whether the Hon Majority Leader would be minded to allow it to be stood down. This is because even if we move the Motion, the Hon Minister would not be there to move the Resolution, unless he has developed another alternative to deal with that one.
Mr Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Motion before us is for the House to adopt the Report of the Committee on Health, and that has nothing to do with the Hon Minister.
Mr Speaker, the Resolution is not argued. Once we debate the Motions, the Resolutions are not argued or debated. However, if the Hon Member feels disabled, then we could stand it down and do it the day after maybe tomorrow. This was a non-controversial matter that came before the Committee, and the Report was unanimously adopted.
Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, this is a unanimous decision by the Committee, and it is a non- controversial matter. In fact, in the absence of any strong issues, this becomes a formality by way of this ratification. Hon Yieleh Chireh is here, and I know he is very capable of contributing to let us formalise this process.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who I thought would second the Motion after it has been moved by the Hon Minority Chief Whip has said to us that he has not really seen the Report.
Mr Speaker, the Leadership of the Committee had your permission to travel to Geneva for a world conference, so, they are not here with us. And if that would pose a problem, I would plead that we stand the Motion down.
Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, it appears there is agreement, so, let us go by your first option and make progress.
Who moves the Motion? There is agreement on it now.
MOTIONS 12:24 p.m.

Chairman of the Committee) 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Report of the Committee on Health on the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present your Committee's Report.
On Thursday, 11th April, 2019, the “Protocol for the Elimination of illicit Trade in Tobacco products” was presented in Parliament by the Honourable Minister responsible for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.
The Protocol was referred to the Committee on Health for consideration and report in accordance with the Constitution and Order 178 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Officials from the Ministry of Health and Food and Drugs Authority were invited to join in the deliberations of the Committee on the Referral. The Committee expresses gratitude to them for their assistance.
Reference Documents
The Committee, during its deliberations, referred to the following documents:
i.The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament.
iii. Public Health Act, 2012 (Act
iv. Tobacco Control Regulations,
2016 (L.I. 2247).
Background Information
Illicit trade in tobacco products undermines legal restriction, health regulations and tobacco control policies and results in increased accessibility, affordability and consumption of tobacco products, thus fuelling the tobacco epidemic. These give rise to increased prevalence of tobacco use and
Chairman of the Committee) 12:24 p.m.

Key Provisions of the Protocol and Implementation Plan

The Committee observed that the implementation of the Protocol would require the establishment of a global tracking and tracing regime within five (5) years of entry into force and this will comprise national and regional tracking and tracing systems and a global information sharing point located in the Convention Secretariat. Other provisions to ensure the control of the supply chain cover licensing, due diligence, record-keeping, security and preventive measures as well as measures relating to the internet and telecommunication.

The Protocol also covers very important matters concerning offences, liability, prosecutions and sanctions, seizure payments and special investigative techniques as well as the disposal and destruction of confiscated products.

Other key provisions in the Protocol address the issue of international cooperation such as measures on information sharing, technical and law enforcement cooperation, protection of sovereig- gnty, jurisdiction, mutual legal and administrative assistance and extradition. Further to the afore, the Protocol establishes the reporting obligations of the Parties linked to the

reporting system of the WHO FCTC as well as the financial and institutional arrangements necessary for its implementation.

The Committee was also informed that the implementation of the Provisions in the Protocol will start immediately after ratification by Parliament. The Ministry of Health will liaise with the Ministry for Justice and Attorney-General and for the necessary processes to be followed for the implementation of the Protocol and it will be financed through the budgetary allocation of the Ministry of Health.

Inter-Ministerial Consultative and Stakeholder Engagements held in Pursuance of the Protocol

The Committee was informed that the Ministry of Health has had wide range of discussions with relevant stakeholders to solicit their views and suggestions on the ratification of the Protocol. Internal consultations have also been held with all the Directors within the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service and the major key ministries involved were as follows:

i. Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General.

ii. Ministry of Interior.

iii. Ministry of Information.

iv. World Health Organisation, Ghana Office.

v. Ghana Health Service.

vi. Parliamentary Select Com- mittee on Constitu-tional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The stakeholder engagements sought to do the following:

i. Ensure cooperation and understanding of all stake- holders on the need to ratify the Protocol to stop illicit tobacco trade and use because of the dangers they pose to the health of people.

ii. Inform the general public of Government's commitment towards ensuring Universal Health Coverage.

Communication Plan

As already mentioned, the dangers and risks pose by illicit trade and the use of tobacco products to individuals are enormous. They also have serious negative socio-economic impacts on the nation as a whole and therefore it is very critical that the general public is engaged to appreciate all the issues
Chairman of the Committee) 12:24 p.m.

ii. Ensure sustainable financing for health care delivery and financial Protection for the poor.

iii. Improve quality of health services delivery including mental health services.

iv. Enhance national capacity for the attainment of the health related goals and sustain the gains.

v. Intensify prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and others.

Communicable disease

With the issues afore discussed, the ratification of the Protocol will enable the Ministry of Health to implement initiatives and programmes to help actualise Government's priorities in the Health Sector. It is therefore, anticipated that the Protocol will complement the efforts of the Ministry and its agencies to deliver quality, affordable and equitable healthcare services to all people living in Ghana whilse ensuring the reduction of revenue losses to Government and also the reduction of the funding of transnational criminal activities.

The Committee therefore recommends to the House to adopt the Report and ratify by resolution “Protocol, for the Elimination of Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products”.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion.
Question proposed.
Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
Any contributions on this ratification process?
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I am very happy to say that this protocol we are considering is as a result of a Question that I filed arising out of our attendance to the conference on tobacco. This matter was raised by some officials for a long time, Ghana had not ratified this.
Mr Speaker, I am very happy that at long last, this Protocol is being ratified. There were issues involving the documents that were presented, and I know that some Hon Members of the Committee have not received copies of the document. There was an error in the earlier report and the documentation, but now that it has been rectified, I believe that it is good.
Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
Any further contributions?
Dr Sebastian N. Sandaare (NDC -- Daffiama/Bussie/Issa) 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion that this House adopts the Report of the Committee on Health on the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
Mr Speaker, I support the Motion. At the Committee level, it was a unanimous decision that we should approve it because we all know that the vision of having a healthy and productive people in this country would help in the developmental agenda of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, we know that tobacco has harmful effects. It can cause cancer of the lung and other health problems. Therefore, there is the urgent need to ratify this Protocol to enhance a healthy population in this country, and to ensure that we achieve the goal that we ourselves set.
In fact, we all agreed and contributed that surveillance should be enhanced, and the necessary departments should be supported to work effectively to prevent illicit trading of tobacco products in this country.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
Hon Members, item listed 6 -- Resolution.
The Hon Majority Leader, who is an Hon Minister may move the Resolution in the absence of the Hon Minister for Health?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as I indicated, the Hon Minister for Health is outside the jurisdiction, and I may want to seek the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues to move the Resolution on his behalf .
RESOLUTIONS 12:24 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
Any seconder?
Mr Haruna Iddrisu (NDC — Tamale South) 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Resolved accordingly.
Hon Majority Leader, item listed 7, Motion?
MOTIONS 12:24 p.m.

Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business (Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House rescinds its decision taken on the 2nd day of May 2019 in respect of the third reading of the State Interests and Governance Authority Bill, 2019.
Mr Speaker, and in doing so, I would like to invoke Standing Order 93 (3) which provides:
“It shall be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific Question upon which the House has come to a conclusion during the current Session, except upon a substantive Motion for rescission.”
Mr Speaker, in moving this Motion, I am mindful of the fact that we are in the same Session of this Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic. Indeed, we are in the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament. Mr Speaker, as our rules provide, I am coming by a substantive Motion for rescission of the decision that we took in the first Meeting of the same Session.
Mr Speaker, that decision is in respect of the Question that was put on the Third Reading of the State Interests and Governance Authority Bill, 2019 which decision was made by the House on Thursday, 2nd May,
Mr Speaker, the Motion for the Third Reading was moved by my Hon Colleague, Mr Kweku Kwarteng, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance on behalf of the Substantive Hon Minister, for Finance.
Mr Speaker, we are moving the Motion for the rescission because of an error that was committed by the House rather inadvertently, which I would address if the Motion is carried, and I have to plead that we take the Bill through another Second Consideration Stage. For now, it is a Motion for rescission of the decision that was taken on the 2nd May, 2019.
Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Haruna Iddrisu (NDC -- Tamale South) 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Leader of Government Business has invoked Order 93 (3) of our Standing Orders. I further recognise that we are masters of our own rules.
Mr Speaker, -- we all need to look within the Standing Orders whether, having passed the Third Reading and having granted, if at your pleasure, put the Question, we are able to mandate the rescission of the Bill; whether the Standing Orders and the Constitution permit us to drive to a Second Consideration Stage again. That is where I think would be contentious.
But as masters of our own rules, we would look at it because I do not think that having passed through Third
Mr Speaker, article 106 (7) states 12:24 p.m.
“Where a bill passed by Parliament is presented to the President for assent he shall signify, within seven days after the presentation to the Speaker that he assents to the bill or that he refuses to assent to the bill, unless the bill has been referred by the President to the Council of State under article 90 of this Constitution.”
Mr Speaker, ordinarily, I would have been counting the days from 2nd May to yesterday; seven days have since lapsed. Whether we convey this communication to the President or not, if by virtue of the fact that the Hon Majority Leader owns Government Business and has fore knowledge that
no communication went to the President, then, our rules would be significant for the purpose of cleaning the Bill and sending it to the President. But if there was a communication to the President, within the remit of article 106 (7), then, we should explore provisions of our own Standing Orders.
Mr Speaker, ordinarily, there should be no problem except that, even with that Bill -- I see the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation; there was a policy conflict as to which Minister should supervise it. Those matters must be resolved in Cabinet; the President must resolve it in Cabinet and not in Parliament. We are not to take policy decisions for him; we are to interrogate policy.
Mr Speaker, with these words, I would be guided by the Question that you would put, reminding you of our sworn Oath to the Constitution and your authority over the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
I thank you.
Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
And of course, Parliament being master of its own procedures—
Mr Iddrisu 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I second the Motion. -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker 12:24 p.m.
Duly adopted by the Supreme Court.
Yes. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:24 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minority Leader for seconding the Motion. I think it is instructive because he wanted us to be assured whether we are operating within time.
Mr Speaker, the article that he quoted in the Constitution, article 106 (7) stipulates:
“Where a bill passed by Parliament is presented to the President for assent he shall signify, within seven days after the presentation to the Speaker that he assents to the bill or that he refuses to assent to the bill, unless the bill has been referred by the President to the Council of State under article 90 of this Constitution.”
Mr Speaker, the issue now is when does a Bill passed by Parliament is transmitted to the President? Unfortunately, the Constitution does not stipulate any time but we are to act within reasonable time. I acknowledge that. The Constitution unfortunately does not stipulate any such time. So we are not caught by time.
Mr Speaker, it is usually when we finish with Bills, the Table Officers and the Attorney-General's Department would clean up the Bill that Parliament would have passed. Then an omission is realised that indeed, we want to attend to.
Mr Speaker, I intend, when we get to the Second Consideration Stage, to really relate to the substantive matter. So, as I said, ultimately, he came round to second the Motion so, it can be considered by the House and we can go on.
I thank you.
Mr Speaker 12:44 p.m.
Obviously, the Motion is competently before Parliament, and within the parameters of our own Standing Order 93 (3), we are not hindered by article 106 (7), particularly, in consideration of Parliament being the master of its own rules and even more particularly, since Parliament is acting timeously within the timeframe and session requirement provided under our rules. I have not heard from the two Leaders.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker 12:44 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, do we move to a Second
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:44 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Bill now be passed through as Second Consideration Stage. In doing that, I want to come under Standing Order 130 (1) which provides:
“If any Member desires to delete or amend a provision contained in a Bill which has passed through the Consideration Stage, or to introduce any new provision to it, he may, at any time before a Member rises to move the Third Reading of the Bill, move that the Bill do pass through a Second Consideration Stage (either wholly or in respect only of some particular part or parts of the Bill or some proposed new clause or new schedule.) No notice of such motion shall be required. If the motion is agreed to, the Bill shall immediately pass through a second Consideration Stage.”
Mr Speaker, as I said, I want us to pass this Bill through a Second Consideration Stage in respect of Standing Order 130 (1). The reason I call for this Second Consideration Stage is that in the Bill, the object of
the Authority includes to acquire, receive, hold, administer or dispose of shares of the State in state-owned enterprises and joint venture companies.
These are matters or functions that are performed by the State Enterprises Commission under the State Enterprises Commission Law - 1987 (PNDCL 170). Clause 37 of the Bill repeals the State Enterprises Commission Law - 1987 (PNDCL 170) as well as the Divestiture of State Interests (Implementation) Act
-- 1993 (PNDCL 326).
Mr Speaker, what it means is that if we left out the acquisition, reception, holding, administration or disposal of shares of the State in state-owned enterprises and joint venture companies, it would create a vacuum which would not be filled by the repeal of the State Enterprises Commission Law - 1987 (PNDCL 170) and the Divestiture of State Interests (Implementation) Act - 1993 (PNDCL 326). It has then been deemed necessary to come back and reinstate this, which was part of the original Bill that came before us, so that we have a much more Wholistic Act and an Authority that would then be able to respond to the object and vision as encapsulated in the Memorandum of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, as you said, with the repeal of the Divestiture Implementation Committee Law, there would be no dedicated State agency to deal with divestiture. The only function of the State Interests and Governance Authority regarding the disposal of State interests, would be in section 4 (a) (m) of the Bill which states that they are to coordinate the sale or acquisition of State interests in specified entities and advice the Hon Minister accordingly.
This reduces the State Interests Governance Authority to a level lower than the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) which it replaces. This is because the DIC has the power to implement decisions of Government regarding the disposal, although it is not a body corporate.
Mr Speaker, as I indicated, it relates to objects of the Authority, that is clause 3 of the Bill which says: “The objects of the Authority are to” --
Mr Speaker 12:44 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Iddrisu 12:44 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I appreciate the trajectory the Hon Majority Leader is pursuing but he needs to carry the House along and
in doing so, he must situate the amendments and the corrections within our Standing Orders. He has accordingly invoked Standing Order 130 (1) which provides that he be specific about the clauses we are subjecting to the Second Consideration Stage.
As I listen to him, I have heard clauses 37, 3 and 4, referenced in his communication. So, he should let Mr Speaker get the particular clauses and if it is clause 37, we would subject it to -- It cannot just be his commentary because even the mace and how it is to be placed, would be subject to a decision.
Mr Speaker, procedurally, if I want to be an obstructionist, I would have reminded him again why I stood up on the Third Readings and the things that he said.
Mr Speaker 12:44 p.m.
Be positive.
Mr Iddrisu 12:44 p.m.
Mr Speaker, so I am consulting. He should respect the rules and tell us which clauses he wants us to subject to the Second Consideration Stage, and then we would do so.
Mr Speaker 12:44 p.m.
The Hon Minority Leader is being very cooperative and approves of the process. He only wants specificity, so we kill it. So, Hon Majority Leader, if you could --
Mr Speaker 12:54 p.m.
(PNDCL 326).
I said that because we have done that, we need to migrate the functions unto this Authority. We have now left out clause 3 (c) and that is what I spoke to. The objects of the Authority are to acquire, receive, hold and administer or dispose of shares of the State in state-owned enterprises and joint venture companies. I said that we have left that one out, so we want to reposition it at clause 3 (c). Of course, the draftpersons would know exactly where to situate it.
Mr Speaker, that is what I said and it appears the Hon Minority Leader who has taken it upon himself to cause some internal bleeding for whatever reason is a co-sponsor of this Motion -- [Laughter] -- so, he must know where he belongs.

Mr Speaker, the point I am making is that, it relates to clause 3. We left out clause 3 (c); it was deleted

completely. [Interruption] Yes, that is what I have said. So, we would want to migrate it back to clause 3 but as to where they would situate it, I am not in a position to tell.

Mr Speaker, so, we must speak to the principle. [Interruption] - Mr Speaker, Hon Members will not listen. The Hon Minority Leader just landed from Kotoka International Airport and migrated to this House. He is always in a hurry and would not listen to me.

Mr Speaker, so, that is the import of the amendment I am proffering -- [Pause] --

If I should continue --
Mr Speaker 12:54 p.m.
Please, continue and conclude.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:54 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the omission leaves a gap. It reduces the State Interests and Governance Authority to a level lower than the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC).
Mr Joseph Y. Chireh 12:54 p.m.
Mr Speaker, what the Hon Majority Leader is doing is wrong. First of all, he should just get up and tell us that he wants a Second Consideration in respect of clause A or B, after which you would put the Question before
he rises to now move the amendments. He is combining all; which is wrong. We have not voted for him to do that. There must be a Motion in which he lists the items, then, we vote on it, after which he could then take each one of them in turn.
He just got up and started lecturing everybody and reading to himself -- [Laughter] -- It is not right.
Mr Speaker 12:54 p.m.
Hon Member, he is laying the foundation for the justification of the granting of the permission.
Hon Majority Leader, your Hon Colleagues are with you but they would want you to hasten slowly. So, go step-by-step and let us kill it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:54 p.m.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I came under Order 130 (1) and said, when we move a Motion we move it so that a Bill be passed through a Second Consideration Stage either wholly or in respect of only some particular parts or some proposed new clause. No notice of such Motion shall be required.
I have said that the notice is not published because it is one that comes without notice. I have spoken to this and relating to the particular area of
the Bill that, I am moving this Motion. That is exactly what I have done. The Hon Yieleh Chireh says that I am combining too many things. I do not know the many things I am combining.
Mr Speaker, you asked me to conclude and I have concluded on that.
Mr Chireh 12:54 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is not getting my point. If what he has said is only in respect of clause 3, it is fine. This Bill is going through this confusion because before the Third Reading, they raised a number of items for Second Consideration. If he now wants us to consider only clause 3 (c), it is all fine but if the others would not be affected, then we should vote and then he moves what he is now saying.
We do not care whether he wants to move a Second Consideration on the item he is trying to explain to us or not. So, we would vote on it, agree with him and then he moves the Motion. When that is done, it would be in respect of what he wants to reinstate. It is not for him to be giving us that when we have not given him the permission to move the Motion.
Mr Speaker 12:54 p.m.
So do you second the Motion being that it should go through a Second Consideration, Hon Yieleh Chireh? [Interruption] -- If that is so, then, I would put the Question.
Mr Speaker 12:54 p.m.
So, Hon Minority Leader, you second it, so that I can put the Question.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker 12:54 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, now, we would move into a second Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- SECOND 12:54 p.m.


Mr Speaker 12:54 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, you may now tell us what exactly you want to do now that we are in a consideration stage and all matters regarding the clause 3 aforementioned and then the
justification, thereof, then we would vote on it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:54 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as I indicated, when one moves a Motion for a second Consideration to be had, one relates to the particular part of the Bill that must go through a second Consideration, whether it is that particular part or the whole of the Bill. I related to a particular part of the Bill; I said clause 3 (c).
Mr Speaker, I am enjoined to do that under Order 130 (1), so, when Hon Members get up and say that I am wrong, I do not know what they are talking about.
Mr Speaker 12:54 p.m.
We have just broken the process into two. So, now, just tell us what you want and the House considers it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:54 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I already started addressing what I want; the object which is stated in clause 3 (c) of the Bill which originally provides, and with your permission, I quote:
“The Objects of the Authority are to, among others;
(3)(c) Acquire, receive, hold and administer or dispose off shares of the State in State-owned Enterprises and Joint Venture Companies.”
Mr Speaker, this is part of the objects of the state-owned enterprises. Now, the state-owned enterprises Act is being repealed by this Bill and it is captured under clause 37. If we do not migrate that object into this new Bill to be an object of the Authority, it would be left hanging. So, it is important that we migrate it to this Bill and that is what we inadvertently, as a House, omitted to do. So, we are just reinstating that original clause 3 (c) to read:
“The Objects of the Authority include; Acquire, receive, hold and administer or dispose of shares of the State in State- owned Enterprises and Joint Venture Companies.”
Mr Speaker, I believe that I have already spoken to the reason and I do not need to further canvass support for that.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support that, the Objects of the State Interests and Governance Authority shall include, as read by the Hon Majority Leader, “Acquire, receive, hold and administer or dispose of shares of the State in State-owned Enterprises and Joint Venture Companies.”
Mr Speaker, in doing so, I do not intend to go to the clause 37, even though he has offered an explanation. That is why there is always a clause 38 and we have “Transition and Savings”. When a particular Act was not covered, one anticipates that the “Savings” clause would deal with it.

I second the amendment.

Mr Speaker, the next time, we should not rush through some of these processes to come back to this. Sometimes it works as an indictment against us as a House.
Mr Chireh 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, while supporting the amendment, the Hon Majority Leader has moved, I still think that he should not do this and later on, because of the policy conflicts -- If he is sure that it is only clause 3 (c) that he wants to reinstate in order that they can be recovered by clause 37, I fully support that and we should go for it, but if there are other things, -- this is because I remember that we were talking about which Hon Minister was responsible for this Authority.
So, if he is clear about it, the amendment is to be supported because it will now make sure that what is captured in clause 37 is fully
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, you may --
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, for the avoidance of doubt, there is no other proposed amendment and which is specifically related to clause 3. I have not related to any other provision in the Bill. I also wish to assure the Hon Member for Wa West that there is no policy conflict anywhere and he should not conjecture one. There has never been, there will not be and there has not been.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Clause 3 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, does that bring us to the Second Consideration Stage?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is so.
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
This brings us to the end of the Second Consideration Stage accordingly.
[Pause] --
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
Hon Members, item numbered 8 -- Motion by the Hon Minister for Finance.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to plead with the House that even though we could take the Bill through the Third Reading today, we stand this Motion down and allow for at least, a day to pass so we could take it tomorrow.
Mr Iddrisu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I could not agree more with the Hon Majority Leader. This is to make way for some further reflections. Even at policy level, they can reflect and tomorrow, if there are any new introductions that will make the Bill serve our purposes as well as that of the people of Ghana -- I agree with him that we defer this till tomorrow.
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, since we are inclined towards taking the Third Reading tomorrow, is there any further indication? The Third Reading will be duly considered in due season.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, so we can now take item numbered 9.
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
Item numbered 9?
I said that, we will take that Consideration Stage tomorrow.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Yes. The Third Reading will be taken tomorrow.
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
The Third Reading?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Third Reading will be taken tomorrow but we will now come to item 9 to do the Consideration Stage.
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
The Consideration Stage for the National Road Safety Authority Bill will be taken tomorrow.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in that regard, if we are not taking it today then we have come to the end of the Business for today, save for the holding of the meeting of the Committee on Defence and Interior.
Mr Speaker, in that regard, I believe that we can --
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, Motion for adjournment?
Mr Iddrisu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for -- [Interruption] -- Hon Majority
Leader, that is the direction I got from the Speaker.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have always said that my Hon Colleague is always in a hurry. I have not even moved any motion yet he rises to second the motion. [Laughter.]
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this House do adjourn until tomorrow at 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr Speaker, I want to remind Hon Colleagues before the Motion is seconded and the Question is put on adjournment that tomorrow, we shall have the Joint Caucus meeting soon after adjournment. Fortunately, the Hon Minority Leader has just arrived and we need to confer on a few things before the meeting starts. I am ready, but we need to confer on some issues before the meeting kick starts.
So, I believe we can have the Joint Caucus meeting tomorrow.
Mr Iddrisu 1:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment and to urge Hon Colleagues to endeavour to participate in the Joint Caucus meeting as major issues affecting us will be discussed tomorrow.
Mr Speaker 1:04 p.m.
I will be available for further development after your relevant discussions and to brief you on matters arising whiles you were not here.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1:11 p.m. till Thursday, 30th May, 2019 at 10.00 a.m. in the forenoon.