Debates of 25 Jun 2019

PRAYERS 10:32 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:32 a.m.
Hon Members, there is this correspondence from His Excellency, the President.

Mr Speaker 10:32 a.m.
Hon Members, correction of Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 21st June, 2019.
Mr Speaker 10:32 a.m.
Hon Members, correction of Official Report of Thursday, 2nd May, 2019.
Any corrections therein?
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa -- rose
-- 10:32 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:32 a.m.
Yes, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa?
Mr Ablakwa 10:32 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. I have noticed that on column 7386, last paragraph, last line, it should have been ‘The Chartered Institute of Taxation Act, 2016 (Act 916)' and not ‘the Taxation Act'. There is no such act. So, let us insert ‘Chartered Institute of...'
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker 10:32 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, any further corrections?

Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Official Report of Thursday, 2nd May, 2019 as corrected, is hereby adopted as true record of proceedings.
Mr Speaker 10:32 a.m.
Hon Members, item listed 3 -- Questions.
Hon Minister for the interior, would you please take the appropriate seat?
Yes Hon Member for Garu, your Question?
ORAL ANSWERS TO 10:32 a.m.

QUESTIONS 10:32 a.m.


INTERIOR 10:32 a.m.

Minister for the Interior (Mr Ambrose Dery) 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Government is very much committed to the fight against the armed robbery menace in the country and this is demonstrated by its relentless efforts
Mr Alalzuuga 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, paragraph 2, indicated that Government has approved the recruitment of 4,000 personnel into the Ghana Police Service of which 2,000 are currently undergoing training in various centres: I would want to find out from the Hon Minister what the status is or the plans are for the remaining 2,000 that Government wants to recruit.
Mr A. Dery 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the unprecedented number of recruitment
that has been approved were met with challenges of facilities to train all of them at once. So what is happening is that we want the 2,000 to pass out and the next 2,000 would get into the facilities. We are also exploring other innovative ways of making sure that we meet the large numbers that we intend to recruit. This year, we want to actually go for same number or more. This is because the deficit in personnel is so much. Every Member of Parliament would want a police station or post.
The numbers are just not there. We currently have 34,000 which works out to one police to 848, which is far above the one police to 500, which is the minimum that the United Nations (UN) has recommended. What is even more is that even the countries which have made the UN mark need a lot of technology which is what we are also doing here. So, yes, the other 2,000 would come on board but we are exploring ways to make sure that we keep them the next time we are able to take more than the 2,000 at once.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Alalzuuga 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minister for the clarification but once Government has approved 4,000, there must be some
kind of financial commitment for the recruitment. So I was expecting that maybe he would say that in 2018 or 2019 they are taking a particular number so that we know that this is the plan of the recruitment. But I did not get that clear.
Mr A. Dery 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I had said that the 2,000 were in and when they come out, the next 2,000 would go in. the processes are ongoing and they actually commenced in 2018 but after the 2,000, the next 2,000 would go for training.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Alalzuuga 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the fourth paragraph, the Hon Minister's response indicated that there are plans to deploy some men to take care of these highway robberies and he mentioned the Bolgatanga-Bawku- Garu highway. I would like to draw the Hon Minister's attention to another form of robbery that is targeted at smaller markets in communities. This is because it is very rampant within that area, where we see that towards the close of the market, robbers attack some targeted places. Is the Hon Minister aware of this and what are the plans to deal with that?
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr A. Dery 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I had said that we are intensifying the highway patrols but what he has
Dr Augustine Tawiah 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he showed that the numbers are going up. There are some hot spots within the country. What is the plan to address the deficit and how is it going to affect the hot spots?
Mr Speaker 10:42 a.m.
Hon Member, I do not get you myself.
Dr Tawiah 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, there are hot spots in different parts of the country and we have a general deficit in Police numbers but we expect that the hotspots where the armed robberies are taking place could be addressed based on the planning of the deployment that they have against those who are in training. So I would like to know how that is being done
to ensure that those immediate places are addressed adequately.
Mr A. Dery 10:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Police have data on those hotspots. For instance, if we take the route from Wenchi through to Kintampo to Sawla and going up to the Upper West Region and other parts of the country, we do have that. So what we are doing to address that is making sure that the patrols do cover those places. But we think that we need to do more and that is why we are making sure we are training more and we are going to continue to give resources. This 481 is just part of it. As I speak to you now, we are expecting more equipment to be brought in. But the important thing is that we need a lot of timeous information.
Mr Speaker, there has always been the allegation that when certain persons are involved, the Police reaction is faster. That is not so. It is when we have information timeously that we are able to act and get results. Those hotspots are taken into consideration in the operational plans.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Andrew D. Chiwitey 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister travels through my constituency and for that matter the people of the Upper West
Region travel through Sawla/ Tuna/ Kalba Constituency on a daily basis to their constituencies and so I know he knows what I am talking about.

We get serious reports from the stretch between Sawla and Wa. My issue is that the Sawla station is under- staffed. To worsen the situation, they have no means of transport, so it becomes very difficult for them to respond to situations.

Is there any indication that the Hon Minister would at the moment post some more officers there to solve the situation and also provide the people of Sawla with the means of transport to curtail the situation?
Mr A. Dery 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes, I am very much aware of that stretch of road which leads to my own Region. The challenge initially was that Sawla was part of the Northern Regional Police Administration area, and yet so far removed from Tamale. It is closer to Wa than Tamale.
With the creation of the Savannah Region, we are going to set up a centre in Damango which would be closer to Sawla, and they would get better coverage. We would give vehicles as they come along. We
expect more vehicles, and I take it that he has drawn my attention to Sawla. It would be on the waiting list, and we would deal with it as soon as we can.
As much as possible we want every station to have a vehicle. That is what we are working towards. We should not wait and give it on request, but we need thousands of vehicles. It is on course, and we shall get there.
Mr Thomas N. Ampem 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's response on page 6, the last paragraph, he gave an indication that the recorded robbery figures are going down. I would like him to give us an indication of the recorded robberies for the same period last year; January to June last year, as compared to January to date this year, because I see that he is comparing June to December and January to June.
What was the indication from January to June 2018, compared to the recorded figures now?
Mr A. Dery 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member wants the specific data from January to June, I would have to bring it, but let me explain to him why we have done the analysis this way.
You would recall that even from January to June last year, that was the
Ms Angela Alorwu-Tay 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would refer the Hon Minister to the first paragraph on page 7. In fact, he stated clearly that security is a shared responsibility, and urged the public to continue to give the Police vital information about the activities of criminals.
The public feel that the Police do not protect them enough any time they give the Police information, so that is not encouraging those who have information to go to the Police.
What training is he going to give them to be professional and to zip their mouths to protect the informants?
Mr A. Dery 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Member has introduced a very important terminology. I recognise the passion and commitment she has for the matter. It is a very serious matter that she has raised; that informants must be protected.
I can assure her that as a general principle, we make sure we do that. Should anyone have any information that any such thing has transpired, I would be very glad if they could even give it to me directly, but for now, we have phone numbers that people can call. When you call and give the information by phone, your bio data is not known. But it is a matter of serious concern if it is the case that informants are not protected. I would be very glad if she could give me instances of that so I deal with them.
Mr Ras Mubarak 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer in paragraph 3, he mentioned the provision of 481 vehicles. Key to the
problem of the Police Service in making good use of these vehicles is the problem of fuel.
How is the Ministry dealing with the problem of vehicles parked at pool without fuel, and would he consider getting more boots on the ground, where police officers could go on motor bicycles, horsebacks and others?
Mr A. Dery 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Member has stated a fact, that the solution should go beyond vehicles.
I can assure him that in the past few months especially, we have stepped up the supply of fuel to ensure that the vehicles are used. We are getting some motorbikes and bicycles. What I am not familiar with is the horseback.
The Hon Member for Kumbungu might have some special horses which would be useful to the Police. I would be glad to get in touch so we see what we can do.
Mr Sampson Ahi 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is refreshing to note that in the last 18 months, Government has provided 481 vehicles to the Police Service. I would like to know the criterion available for the distribution of vehicles to the Police Command, because you
would realise that some districts have two vehicles, but others do not have at all. For instance, Bodi does not have a vehicle at all. So what criterion does he have to distribute vehicles to the Police Command?
Mr A. Dery 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the Hon Member of Parliament would want some consideration as far as his constituency is concerned. We can deal with that, but for the criterion, until we get vehicles for all stations, it is based on what one Hon Member raised about hotspots and the need.
For instance, currently, we are getting threats from Burkina Faso, so you would expect that the allocation of vehicles would be more towards the north to make sure that we are able to block the threats, but for individual stations, it is based on the needs and also the status as far as crime is concerned. Very soon, it would be enough to go round all the stations.
Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's submission, he provided us with evidence to back his position that indeed, armed robbery is declining, but very often, the impression is created in the media by certain political figures that it is the opposite.
Mr Dery 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, let me say that security matters must be discussed devoid of partisan considerations. Criminal liability is personal. And I am not aware -- So, when we begin to have a partisan approach to issues as far as security is concerned, we are not going to make any progress.
What I know is that crime is reduced; if one is arrested as an offender, one is arrested in their personal capacity. And we would continue to deal with offenders as offenders; suspects as suspects and I call on all of us to approach security matters with the national interest as key, and we need to bond together.
When we argue along partisan lines, there is only one beneficiary; the criminal and it is not going to be in
our interest to do so. We all need to protect our country and we would do so better when we deal with offences as offences per se.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he is relying heavily on vehicles and personnel to combat crime. Mr Speaker, particularly on that road, recently, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, on his way to the funeral of Alhaji Yussifu Ali that the Hon Minister is aware of, was shot at by armed robbers.
The notorious road is from Techiman through Banda, coming through Bole to Sawla. The Hon Minister says he wants information, therefore, we expect that he would increase the patrol and presence of security on that road.
More importantly, be assured that we would cooperate and support the Hon Minister to police and combat crime but the background of the persons committing crime in that area must be of interest to the Hon Minister and National Security.
I thank you.
Mr Dery 10:52 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Yes, I am aware of that occurrence and it comes to support the earlier intervention about how the
crime situation is on that road. And yes, we are actually determined to make sure that we meet the criminals on that road.
Mr Speaker, you would recall that not far from there is a place that is called Dollar Town. And in the past, it was one of the areas that we even had foreigners coming in. Therefore, the question as to who are the criminals there, is a mixed one; they are both foreign and local. And yes, it is a very important part of the Police's operational plan. We would fight it.
And you would realise that recently, when we were not sure we imposed a curfew in Bole and we are going to make sure that that route is safe as any other route in this country. All we need is support, and timely information.
Mr Speaker 10:52 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister for attending to the House and answering our Questions. You are respectfully discharged. And we appreciate your timeous presence this morning. [Hear! Hear!]
Hon Minister for Defence, you may please take the appropriate Seat.
Hon Member for Atwima- Nwabiagya South?
Mr Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi 10:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is faced with some issues in the Constituency and has asked me to seek your permission to ask the Question on his behalf.
Mr Speaker 10:52 a.m.
Please proceed.

Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Any further questions?
Mr Owusu-Aduomi 11:12 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Minister whether the sub- contractors, Messrs M Barbisotti and Sons (MBS) and Messrs HANISA, were named in the contract or they were sub-contractors selected by the main Contractor, Messrs EDI.
Mr Nitiwul 11:12 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the contract was signed between the Government of Ghana, as stated in paragraph 1, and Messrs Euroget Da Invest SA (EDI). The sub-contractors would normally not be named in the
Mr Owusu-Aduomi 11:12 a.m.
Mr Speaker, there are times that sub- contractors are named in contracts because of their specialities. That notwithstanding, I want to know from the Hon Minister if the issue that cropped up between the main contractor and sub-contractors could be made known to the House because that is one of the reasons the project has delayed.
Mr Nitiwul 11:12 a.m.
Mr Speaker, there were contractual issues that had to do with money. The sub-contractors insisted that due to the delay of the project for six years, between 2008 and 2014, they were due increases that the main contractor did not have. As such, they decided not to work for close to seven months, and the main contractor decided to terminate their contract; otherwise, the project would be stalled.
That was why he also terminated the job; but in the main contract, there
Mr Owusu-Aduomi 11:12 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the facility was acquired in November, 2008 and a lot of delays have occurred, such as tax exemptions, problems from sub-contractors, among others. In view of the delays, would the funding that was acquired at that time still be adequate for the job? If not, what could the Ministry do to ensure that work done by the contractor would be paid accordingly?
Mr Nitiwul 11:12 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the contract sum was US$180 million. The contractor has put in a request for variation in the tune of US$30 million because his claim is that after six years, prices, among other things, have changed and he would not be able to complete the project with US$180 million.
The Ministry looked at it, through the Entity Tender Committee, and felt that we could not give that amount of money. We were in discussions with him, and he has brought it down to US$19 million. That is currently the figure that we are looking at. This is a project that the Entity Tender Committee alone cannot just award. It has to go through all the processes up to the Central Tender Review Board, so it is going through the processes until if there is a need to give the variation, it would be given.
The processes are ongoing to see whether the contractor qualifies because it has to go to the Attorney- General's Department for their advice; to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for them to also put in their advice; and finally to the Central Tender Review Board, and all these are being done.
I know that the last time it was at the Central Tender Review Board, they had approved it; but the Entity
Tender Committee is yet to meet again to give the final seal at US$19 million. However, the Contractor had insisted that he needed an extra US$30 million because of all the delays, especially because of several changes that have come as a result of the contract's delay for six years and other issues that have cropped up.
As for the issue of the contractual problem between the contractor and the sub-contractor, they cannot charge us for that because it is between both of them, as they delayed. We should look for money from the contractor because he has delayed us as a result of the issue between him and his sub- contractor. Concerning the issue of the delay from 2008 to 2014, the Government would have to look at it.
Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister, for attending to the House and answering our Question. You are respectfully discharged.
Item numbered 4, Statements. We have a Statement by Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on the urgent need for legislation to regulate assisted reproductive technologies in Ghana.
Hon Member?
STATEMENTS 11:22 a.m.

Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (NDC -- North Tongu) 11:22 a.m.
Mr Speaker, may I express my gratitude for the opportunity to make this Statement on a matter that is becoming widespread in our country, but our society will rather prefer to keep hidden and, therefore, remains a forbidden subject for open discussion.
Mr Speaker, many childless couples have found refuge and solace in Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs), also known as fertility treatment, which have brought them success and great joy. Yet despite its existence and attendant benefits, little has been done by the Ghanaian society and this august House to raise awareness and to ensure that Ghana passes comprehensive legislation on matters pertaining to ARTs which include surrogacy, In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and the proliferation of fertility clinics offering several modern interventions.
Mr Speaker, for reasons that have been with us for centuries, society
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (NDC -- North Tongu) 11:22 a.m.

Mr Speaker, it is time for Ghana to have its own debate, decide on where we belong and pass our own unique legislation based on our cultural values, philosophical underpinnings and ethos to regulate the phenomenon of surrogacy and other ARTs.

Mr Speaker, urgent action is required in guiding what should pertain. For example, in the UK and the US, in the case of IVF, a doctor is not allowed to transfer more than one embryo per treatment cycle because of the high risk associated with multiple foetus pregnancies. In our case, a 2015 report published by on 12, January, 2015 captured the ordeal of a 23- year old Denise Vanga, a surrogate mother. According to the story, she was engaged to carry quadruplets in a most risky enterprise for a childless couple. In addition to the risk Denise was exposed to, she was cheated, denied of her agreed entitlements and was found living in abject squalor with no legal protection.

Mr Speaker, in contrast, South Africa is a shining example in Africa. South Africa has employed a practical and pragmatic approach and has had ART Legislation since 1975, which was amended in 1998; and works in conjunction with the ART Regulations of 2010. The same country has A

Family Act that deals with surrogacy and related matters, and also has the Research into Human Embryos Act of 2002.

The example set by South Africa is worthy of emulation. It encourages transparency, and ensures that the rights and obligations of both patients and hospitals are clearly defined. The fact that the fertility industry is well managed and effectively regulated by the South African Government gives assurances to patients who avail themselves for treatment and ensures that their rights are well protected.

Mr Speaker, I wish to humbly suggest that the Health Ministry and the Attorney General's Department begin vigorous engagements with sector players including — fertility clinics, researchers, medical and health associations, support groups, lawyers, et cetera, to develop the needed framework for an urgent and comprehensive legislation.

This intervention is needed to mitigate anticipated crises that may arise with the increasing number of fertility clinics and clientele. We should also, Mr Speaker, begin to sensitise our constituents on the benefits and challenges of ARTs

Mr Speaker, ARTs have no doubt brought amazing refuge to childless

couples as they strive to “be fruitful and multiply” as God admonished in Genesis 1:28; and who no longer have to suffer from the psychological effects of societal pressure when there are options. My plea, however, respectfully, is that we rise up to our responsibilities as leaders to ensure that ARTs are safe and truly beneficial to all parties and the larger society.

Mr Speaker, like adoption, which is quite well-regulated, it is imperative that ARTs, such as IVF and surrogacy, be legalised and a framework established to support the phenomenon.

I thank you most sincerely, Mr Speaker.
Mr Ras Mubarak (NDC -- Kumbungu) 11:32 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to commend Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa for a well-researched Statement on this very important issue.
Mr Speaker, regulation is, indeed, crucial. We have had cases elsewhere, for instance, in the United Kingdom (UK), as reported by The Daily Telegraph in 2012, a doctor had fathered up to 600 children using his own sperms. In the Netherlands, a doctor had secretly fathered 49 children at his own clinic. So, clearly,
across the globe, we see instances of abuse of this type of issue where doctors use their clinics to donate their own sperms, instead of that from the chosen donor, to inseminate people who are actuallly in need of this.

Mr Speaker, one of the challenges for countries such as ours is the cost involved in going through such a procedure. It is a very expensive procedure because of the amount involved. As indicated in the Statement, ordinarily, it would cost one about GH¢20,000.00 on the average, to go through such a process. There are very few Ghanaians who can afford GH¢20,000.00 just to have a baby.

So it is, indeed, crucial that we do away with the culture of bringing to bear unnecessary pressure, especially on young couples, to have children. In many communities in our country, as soon as a husband and a wife get married, they are asked when they are giving birth and the rest of it. It puts unnecessary pressure on young couples.

Mr Speaker, if we look at this particular procedure, a lot of Ghanaians cannot wrap their heads around the fact that they have to go and hide in a small room and get some
Mr Speaker 11:32 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Hon (Dr) Okoe Boye?
Dr Benard Okoe Boye (NPP -- Ledzokuku) 11:32 a.m.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on this Statement.
Mr Speaker, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is a procedure where mothers who are unable to carry pregnancy to the full term are helped to deliver babies. Those who are candidates for this procedure include those who are infertile and cannot carry pregnancy on their own, or those who have had hysterectomy to have their wombs removed as a result of medical conditions. ART allows these people to have children.
Mr Speaker, on a normal day, if one has the natural way of getting pregnant, we refer to it as an in vivo process, and when it is done outside
the womb, it is an in vitro. We have had occasions in Ghana where many women have had children through the in vitro process, referred to as the ART procedure.
Mr Speaker, there are a lot of advantages. The first being the ability to help couples have the best gift of their lives, which is children. In most cases, like one woman I know who about almost 52 years who had triplets for the first time, one could imagine the joy such a woman who has not had children get three at a go at about 50 years. Luckily, this is a woman who had the resources to take care of the children, unlike the one mentioned who had to struggle.
Mr Speaker, there are a number of downsides. The first major disadvantage has to do with cost, where one has to spend close to US$15,000.00 or an average of US$25,000.00 to have one try. It is important to mention that one does not get children at the first try. It is not automatic. The success rate is about 35 to 70 per cent, and some women have tried three to four times before they succeeded. In each try, one would have to pay about an average of US$25,000.00. So, one could imagine if a woman has to try about two or three times. It is not easy.
Mr Speaker, the second challenge has to do with the absence of
regulation or legal framework as, my Hon Colleague, the Hon Member referred to. In Ghana, we have been slow to adopting this technology. We are in the dark like the ostrich. As a State, we virtually assume that it is not happening; but these procedures are going on, and there is the need to regulate the system.
Mr Speaker, some research was done by Hudson et al, in 2011, and it revealed that a lot of women actually come to Ghana to have In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) done because Ghanaian doctors are very good at helping mothers to conceive. Let me take the opportunity to celebrate some of the fertility clinics that have made a lot of name in West Africa and Africa at large. We have the Provita Specialist Hospital, Finney Hospital and Fertility Centre, and Jubail Specialist Hospital in Sakumono. All these fertility centres are doing a wonderful job, and a lot of women are coming in.
We have the opportunity to create medical tourism. If we regulate the sector, then we could open up the space and make a lot of resources from this industry.
Mr Speaker, we need to take some action. The first one has to do with coming up with a Bill. The
Ministry of Health must lead the process and talk to stakeholders. The Committee on Health is ready to engage them to have a Bill. We do not have to start from the scratch. A lot of countries, including South Africa, have the legislation already, so we could copy from best practice.
Mr Speaker, to a large extent, participation in IVF in Ghana is only private. The State has comfortably kept itself from IVF. The irony is that a lot of the doctors who carry out the procedure are public doctors in facilities like the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. They have all the expertise and knowledge; but because the State does not have facilities, they go to private clinics to do the procedure. In the private sector, because they have to get their money back, the cost is high.
One of the ways to drive down the cost is to encourage the State to have, at least, some centres; one in the south, one in the middle belt and one in the northern belt. This is because the doctors are already skilled in IVF, and they carry out the procedure at the private clinics. It is important that the State gets involved. I am happy to mention that by the end of the year, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital would have an IVF facility and we can now provide the service at competitive rates. There would be opportunity to
Mr Speaker 11:32 a.m.
Thank you very much, Dr Okoe Boye.
Yes, Hon Sowah?
Mrs Della Sowah (NDC -- Kpando) 11:42 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement.
I congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement for bringing this issue to the fore of the House.
Mr Speaker, in 2016, the issue of assisted birth became so critical. Several young men went to fertility clinics to donate their sperms for GH¢500.00 per time. There were also young women who donated their eggs just for money without any control. So, in 2016, two important cases came up. One case involved a woman who was fertilised with a foreign sperm and midway into the pregnancy, it was discovered that she would to have a half-caste baby, which would create problems for the marriage.
There was another issue that came up where a surrogate mother carried four children when, in fact, the couple said they needed only one. The couple refused to be held responsible for the others that were growing. It created a health problem for the young lady as well.
So, in 2016, under former President Mahama and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, we held the first ever conference on assisted birth and brought together the Medical and Dental Council and all practitioners in the industry. We actually asked them to come up with regulations for the industry, so that people would not just do things and create problems for families in the future.
We wanted to find out who actually qualifies to donate a sperm. We found that a young man, we interviewed, had donated sperms in five clinics, which was not the best at all. So these are issues that we need to regulate, as a matter of urgency. I am very happy that Hon Ablakwa has raised this issue. This issue should not be taken lightly.
There are cultural issue when it comes to infertility. A lot of women go through unnecessary stress whereas in actual fact, just as was pointed out, most of the cases are rather the men and not the women; but the women bear the flag of not being able to carry children.

So, Mr Speaker, this is good; it brings hope and joy to families, but it must be regulated because with the way it is going, it will create problems for us in future. Anybody who, for economic reasons, finds that they can donate an egg or sperm just go to clinics that do that and collect the money. That is not the best. We need to go back and regulate the industry.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker 11:42 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Yes, Minority Leadership --
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 11:42 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Let me equally commend our Hon Colleague for bringing this to the attention of the House.
Mr Speaker, before I contribute directly to the Statement, let me urge you to still pursue your desire to get this House a drafting office. I know the effort you made with the late VCRAC Crabbe. Unfortunately, after his demise, I know it has been very difficult for you to continue that. I would want to encourage you to help us have the drafting office. The reason is that my Hon Colleague could simply pick the Adoption Act and propose an amendment, and that could solve the problem faster. It is not very easy for policy makers or Governments to take time to do this. So, when people come in, sometimes the Government is able to complement them.
Mr Speaker, this is a very important Statement made by my Hon Colleague. I would be very happy if you either refer it to the relevant Committee or a Ministry to look into
Mr Speaker 11:42 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minority Chief Whip.
Yes, Dr Afriyie and then the Majority Leader.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie (NPP -- Sefwi Wiawso) 11:42 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought that the Leadership had deferred to me -- they can answer to that.
Mr Speaker, first of all, I would want to thank Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa for bringing to this august House such an important subject.
Mr Speaker, I would want to state that this is not a medical subject. In its essence, it is an ethical, moral, and sometimes even a religious subject, which plays out in the medical arena.
Mr Speaker, science or tech- nology, which is not subject to moral and ethical regulation, is a very dangerous area. For example, the frontiers of medicine have expanded so much that almost everything is possible.
The only thing that can hold the frontiers in check, as far as human reproduction is concerned, is morality
Dr Kwaku Afriyie (NPP -- Sefwi Wiawso) 11:52 a.m.
and ethics. In this arena, it has not as well been that we have not made any movement in the area because we can get the principles right.
Mr Speaker, I would suggest that this House takes this subject very seriously and throw it to the general populace for a serious national debate on it, so that we get our moral and ethical settings right before we even embark on legislation.
Mr Speaker, this is because there is the wider subject, Eugenics, which is the science in biology where there is the movement toward improving the population -- the genetic stock -- through reproductive manipulation.

If we do not get it right, there could actually be a movement in this country where some people feel that some superior genetic traits should be perpetuated.

Mr Speaker, this is a very important subject which is full of possibilities to solve individual problems. On the other hand, at the population level, it has a potential to distort everything that we hold dear, morally and ethically.

That is why the Hon Member who made the Statement brought to the attention of this House that some countries have even put a ban on surrogacy. This is because that is where we could make choices -- especially when the genetic material in the human population has been splashed up. People could make choices into whatever traits they want in a human person.

Mr Speaker, so in this light, I would want to say and go back to where I started that we should have a proper structured national discourse to regulate it according to our moral values and the ethics that we cherish.

In this wise, we would say that as far as the regulation of the practice is concerned, it is not a difficult area. This is because if we have set up systems in areas which does not conform to standards, that one, we can regulate.

The medical establishment in Ghana is fairly well-advanced compared to other countries in Africa that I am very certain that we could put all the regulatory processes to make sure that we deliver quality services to the good people of Ghana.

But let us not trust medical personnel alone, and I would not recommend that we entrust it in the hands of medical personnel to make pronouncements on questions on ethics, morality and religion. If we do not take care, we would be assigning roles to people who are, in my perspective -- the paradox is that we are not even well-positioned to make those decisions.

Mr Speaker, I would urge this House to go by the recommendation made by the Hon Member who made the Statement, Hon Ablakwa and to make sure that we have regulations in place to regulate this emerging industry, which has got potentials for so many people to get fulfilment in life, which nonetheless has the potential, if not well regulated, could cause problems in our society.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for this bold initiative.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 11:52 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for your indulgence and to add my voice in commending the Hon Member who made the Statement, Hon Ablakwa for a brilliant elucidation on an
important matter as captured by the former Hon Minister on “Assisted Reproductive Health”.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to take from the last Member who contributed. It raises fundamental questions on ethics, morality, the management of stress and psychology associated with the inability to give birth -- what the doctors call infertility.
Mr Speaker, it is estimated that approximately 13 to 14 per cent of reproductive age couples as defined, has the inability to conceive after one year of properly timed unprotected intercourse. They belong to those who suffer that infertility.
Mr Speaker, the doctors have a way of measuring what they call cumulative probability of pregnancy in couples.
Mr Speaker, if we allow technology, these doctors, men and women of medicine, if they had their way, would want to challenge God as if they could add on to life. That is why God in his infinite wisdom does not give any other person the opportunity, including doctors, to add on to life.
He decides when to take it. At birth we come helpless and in death we go helpless. So, when we are born, we
Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:02 p.m.
are assisted to come and when we die we are assisted to go so that we would respect the moral omnipotence and the Power of God.
Mr Speaker, Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) is a panacea to the psychological stress of men and women who were told years ago that there was no opportunity for them to give birth, and therefore, they lacked self-fulfilment.
Indeed, in our society, many of them could not even coexist because it was considered a social psy- chological humiliation that the person cannot give birth. Indeed, it is one of the causes of divorce, beyond the matter of infidelity as an issue. The second most important cause of destroyed homes has to do with the inability of men or women to give birth.
Mr Speaker, it is a natural calling. If God has not given someone the opportunity, he has not given him but, at least, he could rely on science. That is why the last Hon Member who contributed brilliantly captured it.
It raises a moral issue -- whether a good Christian or a good Muslim would subject himself to it without subjecting himself to faith in God and faith in his Maker.
Mr Speaker, I listened to Hon Boye -- the doctors call it intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or cryopreservation of embryos and fertility medication.
So, Mr Speaker, we could not agree more with the Hon Member who made the Statement that we should have a national conversation on this matter. What is the rate of infertility in Ghana? Do we have statistics to support it?
Mr Speaker, we are lucky and this is because as a country, if we compare our population today and its growth to many European countries, they are not able to give birth. For many of them, they have refused to give birth. They are not the same.
I am not able to give birth and I am not willing to give birth are not the same. For many people in Europe, it is a personal decision that they would not give birth. Maybe they do not want to add the burden onto society or to add on to their own burden.
Mr Speaker, sociologically as you taught us in the University --
In Ghana, family life provides for risk and future risks and therefore the size of families were respected in many social groups in Ghana. Therefore, while commending the
Hon Member who made the Statement, I believe that you should be directing the Ministry of Health to work with allied institutions and governments, including your own effort, to get Parliament itself to work on this.
I wish that the Hon Ablakwa could begin working on a motion on a Bill -- a private member's bill to promote this, but it must be informed as the Hon Member advised him, how would that Bill or that regulation respond to the moral and ethical questions associated with this?
Mr Speaker, in Ghana, men and women were condemned that if they could not give birth, they almost became a kind of outcast. They are given the status of a persona non grata. They are not respected within their society and therefore they are humiliated.
We have seen men attempt to be in need when they are not in need and are not capable of being in need because they cannot live with the psychological challenge that they are either impotent or weak.
Mr Speaker, there are categories. There are men who could perform which would not result in fertility. They may go in for this. But there are those
who perform for purposes of ending in fertility who would refuse deliberately to do it like the example I gave for Europe.
There is currently a crisis in eastern Europe regarding their population and numbers and number of births that are given. This is because the men are just not willing and women are also not willing.
Mr Speaker, let me commend the Hon Member who made the Statement once again.

A medical facility to address infertility is welcome, but it raises those fundamental ethical and moral questions.

We are happy to hear that Korle- Bu would want to initiate it, as the Chairman of the Board has indicated. We should have a national policy on it. It should not be left to private health practitioners.

What is the position of Government or the State in promoting this to assist persons who would otherwise be in psychological distress arising out of it, and what would be our position?

Mr Speaker, we are credited as a good religious country with good
Mr Speaker 12:02 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, thank you very much.
Majority Leadership, any concluding remarks?
Mr Matthew Nyindam (NPP — Kpandai) 12:02 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I associate myself with all the comments made by my Hon Colleagues on this Floor.
Unfortunately, we are born into a society where childlessness is a big problem. The social and family pressure on couples who are not able
to give birth cannot be measured. The stress and frustration involved when one is not able to give birth cannot be quantified.
It is in this regard that I think the Hon Member who made the Statement has brought a very interesting subject as to our policy as a country towards the new direction, that such individuals could be assisted to have children.
Mr Speaker, like the Hon Minority Leader rightly said, we need to find a regulation, because we cannot allow these vulnerable couples to continue to go out there and be exploited.
As a nation, if we decide to come out with a policy to regulate those who want to have children, I strongly believe that there are Christians who would stand against this policy.
There are muslims and even some traditional believers who think that if one is not able to give birth, it should be so. They believe that somebody should not carry another ‘s baby yet I should not be assisted to have a child.
These are beliefs that -- but couples who are willing and interested to have children should be assisted to have children, and as a nation, we should have clear guidelines or policy
to regulate this sector such that it does not become another way for somebody to exploit such vulnerable parents.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank the Hon Member who made the Statement, and I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the statement.
Mr Speaker 12:02 p.m.
Hon Members, thank you very much for this very lively debate on this important issue. The matter is referred to the Committee on Health together with the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for further consideration and Report.
It would be appreciated if notwithstanding anything else, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa as well as Hon Dr Afriyie would join in coming to some useful deliberations and report to the House.
This would be a very useful matter for Private Members Bills, to show the House's concern regarding matters of national interest. Thank you very much Hon Member.
At the Commencement of Public Business, Presentation of Papers.
Hon Member, are you able to present?
Mr Nyindam 12:02 p.m.
Mr Speaker, yes. On behalf of the Hon Majority Leader, I could lay his Paper with your permission?
PAPERS 12:02 p.m.

Mr Matthew Nyindam 12:02 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have Committee meetings listed, and I would move that this House adjourns to tomorrow at 10 o'clock. I so move.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:02 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:02 p.m.