Debates of 18 Jul 2019

PRAYERS 10:38 a.m.


Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 17th July, 2019.
Pages 1...20
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have been going through the list of Hon Members who were absent yesterday. I noticed that some Hon Members were here who have
been marked as absent. I would mention, in particular, Hon Fuseini Issah, Member of Parliament for Okaikwei North, Hon Vincent Sowah Odotei and Dr Anthony Akoto Osei. Indeed, Mr Speaker, Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah was here in the Chamber yesterday.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
I do not remember seeing Dr Twum- Nuamah; unless anybody can confirm it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, he was here yesterday.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 10:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to contradict the Hon Majority Leader. Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, my bosom friend -- [Inaudible] -- as a matter of fact, he will not be here today too. [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
Very well.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was referring to the Hon Member for Kwadaso; I think I got it wrong. He is also Dr Nuamah.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
He is Dr Samiu Kwadwo Nuamah. Has he also been marked absent?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, he has not been marked absent. It appears I got the identities wrong.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
That is right.
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza - - rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Adaklu?
Mr Agbodza 10:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Hon Yussif Issaka Jajah was here and we later went for a site inspection, but he has been marked absent -- [Interruption.] No, he came; we left after 11 o'clock.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:38 a.m.
Hon Member, you came to the Chamber; I saw you. Before you went on the trip to Tema and the other side, but Hon Jajah did not come to the Chamber. The Committee decided to go straight to Tema at 10 o'clock; Parliament sat after 10 o'clock. So he was not in the Chamber. He has been properly marked absent.
Mr Agbodza 10:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we actually left after 11 o'clock. But I saw
him around. If he did not mark -- [Interruption.] There is only one Mr Speaker at the moment -- [Interruption.] No, I am not.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:48 a.m.
Hon Jajah did not come to the Chamber; he went for a committee work. The Committee's Report captured him.
Pages 21...29---
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of the 30th Sitting of the Second Meeting of Parliament held on Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Thursday, 20th June, 2019.
Any Corrections?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:48 a.m.
Hon Members, I have admitted two Statements. The first one is a Statement on the year of return, Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and celebrating African
STATEMENTS 10:48 a.m.

Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture (Ms Barbara Oteng- Gyasi) 10:48 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the year 2019 marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans were transported from Africa to North America landing at the fledging English colony of James Town (Port Comfort), Virginia.
The Ghanaian coastline is today dotted with imposing European forts harbouring harrowing reminders of the intense and complex history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in our land over centuries. This on its own makes Ghana a focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalisation by tracing their ancestry and their identity. However, even more important is the recognition
of Ghana as a beacon for African people living on the continent and in the Diaspora. This status has been earned not by coincidence, but by conscious efforts to validate the struggles, strengths and links between African Descendants on a Pan African scale.
Mr Speaker, in September 2018, after a successful local launch, the President of the Republic, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo proclaimed 2019 as the Year of Return at the Washington Press Club, with business, political and media leaders in attendance. In the US, Congress passed HR1242 to establish a commission and develop activities to commemorate the 400th year. Despite the torture of our Ancestors and the inhumane conditions they endured, we celebrate the resilience of the African spirit and the achievements of our African brothers and sisters in the new world order.
Mr Speaker, in sports, politics, entertainment, business and religion, leading African figures have blazed the trail. Barack Obama, Jesse Owens, Michael Jackson, Usain Bolt, W.E Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Carl Lewis, Rev Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Mohammed Ali, amongst several others are Africans who have stood out for outstanding achievements.
Mr Speaker, the Year of Return shows proactive sensitivity of this country to the importance of show- casing resilience and achievements of African descendants living outside the continent through the ages to the present and into the future. This year, the steering committee of the ‘‘Year of Return'' coordinated by the Ghana Tourism Authority has endorsed over 78 events to welcome our brothers and sisters.
Other members of the Steering Committee are the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, the Panafest Foundation, and the Adinkra Group amongst others. The Year of Return secretariat is housed at the Accra Tourism Information Center and a special website, has been set up to provide information and updates. Through the efforts of the steering committee and collaboration with other Ministries and Agencies, we have used the Year of Return to address some of the teething issues around our visa processes.
Mr Speaker, between the 3rd--6th of July, 2019, the Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Home coming summit was held in Accra. The summit, which was addressed by H.E the President, was one of several platforms provided for business networking, investment match- making and dialogue on the Right of
Abode and Citizenship. The summit has been institutionalised in recognition of the great impact Diasporan Communities have on the growth and development of their countries.
Mr Speaker, in a few weeks, Ghana will host Panafest and Emancipation celebrations which are expected to attract attendance by several African diaspora. Panafest, which was first celebrated in 1992, has endured as a reminder of Ghana's Pan- African legacy- together with the celebration of Emancipation and the Joseph project, initiated by the late Hon Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, former Minister for Tourism and Diaspora Relations. A film ‘JOSEPH' will be premiered in his memory in November this year as part of the Year of Return activities.
Mr Speaker, in August 2019, we will also be welcoming members of the NAACP at Jamestown Accra to signify the exact 400-year date from 20 August 1619 to 20 August 2019, when the first arrival of slaves occurred in Jamestown Virginia.
Mr Speaker, the implementation of the Year of Return programme has helped position Ghana as the key market for the diaspora and tap into the growing African diaspora investment and travel market. Most leading International media outlets
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:58 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Okaikoi Central?
Mr Patrick Yaw Boamah (NPP -- Okaikoi Central) 10:58 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make a brief contribution to the Statement ably made by the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture.
Mr Speaker, last year I recall that we approved a facility of about US$40 million to help improve the tourism sector. I want to believe that that facility has been applied and used well to improve upon some of these tourist sites that the visitors would be visiting during this Year of Return which is after about 400 years since the Slave Trade began.
Mr Speaker, I would also use this brief contribution to enquire whether our tourist facilities have been put in a very good state; and whether they
have been given the needed training to welcome these tourists who would be visiting our country. I mention our hotels, our bars, our restaurants, our lorry stations and other facilities that would be used by these tourists.
Mr Speaker, are we ready in this Year of Return when we talk about sanitation, which we are grappling with? Mr Speaker, it is very important, not because I am the Hon Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:58 a.m.
Tell us whether we are ready. [Laughter.]
Mr Boamah 10:58 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are doing our part; we want the Districts, the Municipal Assemblies and all the townships where the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture would be hosting some of our visitors to be put on high alert and readiness to clean their various communities and to ensure that we report clean cities and townships during this period of the Year of Return.
Mr Speaker, talk about security; we have encountered certain unpleasant events lately with the unfortunate kidnapping of those Canadian ladies which put this country in a certain light. I want our security agencies to be up and doing during
this period so that the tourists would have the right security measures in place to protect life and property.
Mr Speaker, Ghanaians are accommodating people and we would entreat them to be in their best mood and position to welcome the huge number of tourists who would be visiting our country.
The Hon Minister also spoke about sustainable programmes and activities and we would want those programmes to be year-long and also, to be on our tourism calendar so that, every year, tourists from across the globe would know that these are the activities that would be taking place in the country for Ghanaians or African-Americans living in the diaspora.
Mr Speaker, with these brief comments, I thank the Hon Minister for the Statement.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:58 a.m.
Hon Dr Heloo?
Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo (NDC -- Hohoe) 10:58 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would also like to talk about two main issues: the first one is to commend our brothers and sisters in the diaspora for their resilience. In fact, when I looked up for the word resilience, I felt very proud as an
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:08 a.m.
Yes, Hon Reverend Fordjour?
Rev John Ntim Fordjour (NPP--Assin South): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am grateful for the opportunity given me to comment on the Statement ably made by the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture on the Year of Return commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade and celebrating African resilience.
Mr Speaker, whenever we get to that part of the year, where we are preparing ourselves to receive our brothers and sisters of African descent in the diaspora to celebrate PANAFEST and in particular, Emancipation, one very popular
scripture that comes to mind is Psalm 126:1 (King James Version). With your permission I quote:
“When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream”.
Mr Speaker, we are celebrating 400 years when the first phenomenon, rather regrettable, rather inhumane, was first recorded in the history of mankind. And we also recall that for the past 154 years in respect of USA and 186 years in respect of England, we also marked the abolishing and outlawing of slavery as a phenomenon in the human race.
It is rather sad, whenever we recall the inhumane, gory treatments that our forefathers were subjected to when they had to be carried away from the confines of their homes and communities and culture across the Atlantic Ocean to foreign homes.
But over the years, I have always admonished that we look at this phenomenon not from a negative point of view; not from a point of view that would bring about bitterness, but we also look at the positive narratives that this rather unfortunate phenomenon has occasioned.
I have always maintained the argument that, perhaps, it was necessary for there to be an even distribution of one of the finest brains; the finest talents and the finest integrity of persons on this earth across the world perhaps, for which this phenomenon had to take place.
As the Hon Minister rightly stated and noted in her Statement, she made mention of some notable personalities who have in no small way contributed significantly and indelibly in various spheres of influence, particularly, in the USA. Notable among them are; Malcom X, Mohammed Ali, Oprah Winfrey, Barrack Obama and the rest who have also very eminently contributed to nation building and global unity.
Mr Speaker, Assin Manso holds a historic monument for emancipation. The Assin Manso Donkonsuo, to wit, slave river, was the place where all the slaves that had been put together from the northern part of the country; the middle belt and even the southern part were assembled and given their last bath prior to shipment to the foreign countries or foreign destinations.
There are still monuments present today in Assin Manso Slave River, where day in day out, tourist flood to see where their ancestors took their


last bath. It is not only the Slave River that is a monument of emancipation of Assin Manso. We do also have the Slave Market, where rather regrettably, human beings had become a commodity and had to be sorted and sold.

Mr Speaker, as I earlier indicated, we recount these not in bitterness, but where this phenomenon had come from and the emotions carried by our brothers and sisters from the diaspora of African descent when they come back, this is to assure our brothers and sisters in the diaspora that this year is the year of return, so as they come particularly to Ghana, they are welcome home.

This is home. We do not see them as friends but we see them as brothers and sisters.

Particularly, on behalf of the good people of Assin South, we have made arrangements and allocation of some sizeable piece of land where we have requested that when they come from the diaspora, not only must they be treated as tourists but they must file for citizenship and invest in Ghana. They must build homes in Ghana, live and dwell with us.

They may take advantage of some flagship policies of the Government, for example the One District One Factory, to site investments and settle in Ghana.

Mr Speaker, as I commend the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Committee put in charge of this year's Year of Return and the remarkable manner in which they have discharged their duty and the number of events they have organised and even promoted business, culture and tourism, I also signal our preparedness as the good people of Assin to welcome our brothers and sisters on 1st August,


Mr Speaker, this would be the eleventh emancipation that would be hosted in Assin Manso, since its first inception in 1998.

I have always wished that on the occasion of the eleventh anniversary, not only should we go and read speeches and recount the histories and repeat them, but we should also have some real monuments that should be established in Assin Manso to, indeed, be a signal that this phenomenon, however regrettable, must have taken place but we move on and we leave these developments as monuments that we shall site.

There was some very remarkable commitment that was made and it found expression in the State of the Nation Address that was presented by the President this year and in that was a great commitment to develop Assin Manso Slave Yard.

I would want to implore the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture to kindly follow through the commitment made and the steps that have been taken so far to be fast- tracked to ensure that even if we may not have any monumental structures to commission in commemoration of this 11th emancipation in Assin Manso, perhaps, in the course of the year, we should see completion of these commitments.

I have said that the enormous tourism potential that Assin Manso and many other tourist sites that have historical links to emancipation and slavery do have, could be developed in a manner that the country would benefit enormously from.

When one visits the streets of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth, there are real time monuments that are developed for one to pay and even see the foot prints of Jesus and King Herod and other notable personalities in the Bible.

I know we could do same in Assin Manso and ensure that not only would we have an influx of tourists around 1st August, every year, but every day of the year, people shall travel to Assin Manso to see where their forefathers took their last bath.

They shall see in real time the monuments, prototypes and other artefacts that would tell the story.

Mr Speaker, I cannot end without saying that we have come a long way as a global village in overcoming the struggle slavery brought to us and the pains that it inflicted on the black race.

I would admonish that we should rise above the challenges that this rather regrettable phenomenon has particularly inflicted on the black race. We should rise above these challenges and embrace the spirit of unity and ensure that we chart another narrative.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would want to state again that all is in place for our brothers and sisters to come and enjoy the hospitality of Assin Manso, and in particular, that the security agencies also do their best to maintain that consistent image of security for this year's Year of Return.

Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (NDC -- Ho West) 11:08 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to commend the Hon Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture for bringing to the fore and alerting us about this year's celebration of the return of our brothers and sisters from the diaspora some 400 years on.
Mr Speaker, one of the issues that I grasped from the Hon Minister's Statement has to do with the right of abode and citizenship, and that is the key thing we should drive at as a country. We should have laws and regulations that would allow our brothers and sisters who come from the diaspora to be integrated into our system.
There are all manner of people who claim to be of African descent and do all manner of things outside this country -- not only in the United States of America, but other parts of the world as well. We may not be able to contain some of them when they come to this country because they do not have good records.
However, we want people with good records, people who would add value to this county and add to the
growth and development of this economy. To that extent, let us screen as many who want to become Ghanaians and integrate them into our society.
We should not just open a blanket door because they come from the diaspora and that we would want to integrate them in our society because they may bring things that we may not want our children to learn from.
More especially, when we know that our culture as Ghanaians and blacks differ from the cultures of where they come from. I would want to plead with the Committee that is working on this to look at that.
Yesterday, I received a call from my friend from Canada who has been installed a queen mother in Todze which is one of my communities in the Ho West district. She does very well and has even built a library for the community. She called to tell me that when she got to the airport, she was told she had overstayed.
She is a professor who has been coming to Ghana for the past six years. She said she wants to integrate to become a Ghanaian. She even asked me to do some design for her to build a house in this country but because we do not have any rules and regulations -- she said she tried to
call the chairman or whoever is in charge of the diaspora integration only to be told that the man had travelled.
She reported this to me last night and I told her I would follow it up for her, so that next time when she comes we would see how best we could take that matter up. She is somebody who has contributed to our community and these are the kind of people we want to come.
Mr Speaker, Ghanaians are hospitable, so even as they come to Ghana, let us welcome them; it should not just be a fun fair because most often than not, these celebrations are just fun fairs and no economic benefit would be derived.
Could we quantify the economic benefit and make sure that when they come we would derive those benefits from them, so that they would not just come and do whatever they want to do, enjoy and go back.
I thank you very much for the opportunity. I also thank the Hon Minister for making the Statement.
Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei (NPP--Dade Kotopon) 11:18 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for
the opportunity to contribute to this very important Statement ably made by the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture.
Mr Speaker, let me commend the Hon Minister and the Committee put in place; the events that have been outlined nationally and my Hon Colleague Member of Parliament (MP) from Assin Manso, for what they have put in place to ensure that we welcome those who live in the diaspora.
Mr Speaker, it is important that we commemorate this very sad history of humankind where the black race was moved from their motherland to other places of the world.
Mr Speaker, the time has come for us as a country, to look beyond just the proceeds of tourism and to see the huge opportunities that our colleagues who live in the diaspora provide, to enable us design specific targeted programmes that would encourage their integration.
Mr Speaker, our Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda could be accelerated and attained if we are able to design specific programmes aimed at tapping into the huge human competencies that have been developed by our colleagues living in the diaspora.
Mr Kwame G. Agbodza (NDC-- Adaklu) 11:18 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement made by my Hon Colleague. The history of this country and indeed, Africa suggests that at a point in time, there was forced migration where a lot of people, especially able bodied men and people who were considered by slave masters as economically viable, were shipped abroad for various reasons.
Mr Speaker, but there is another part of the history which we must all remember and make sure that it does not happen again. The slave masters did not go to every part of the country themselves to arrest and export people. It appears that some local people also got into the business of arresting their own colleagues or family members and sold them to the slave masters.
Mr Speaker, it could not have been the story that the Europeans just came and went to Adaklu and everywhere and arrested everybody. The local people played a role in that and we should be ashamed of that part of the history when we are talking about it.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister drew our attention to the economic benefit of this homecoming but are we actually ready for this? We started this
through the Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) in 1992 but how far did we go? What are the state of the things we want these people to come and see? What are the quality of the things we want the people to come and see?
Mr Speaker, it is not just a matter of coming to look at the castles and other things. Sometimes --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:18 a.m.
Hon Member, you are the Ranking Member of the Committee on Roads and Transport. What is the state of the roads to the tourist sites? Do you have any idea you would want to share?
Mr Agbodza 11:18 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the routes to some of the significant tourist sites are actually bad. Going to Kakum National Park and other places, one wonders if we are asking people to come and see those things; so you have made a very good point.
Mr Speaker, I believe we need to actually identify these places and make better the quality of what we want people to see. Other countries that wanted to maximise their revenue through tourism, ensured that there are even courses --
Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:18 a.m.
Mr Speaker, for the record, the Kakum National park road is under construction. The company is First Capital Construction -- [Interrup- tion.] First Sky Ltd.
Mr Speaker, so he knows that First Sky Ltd is constructing the road yet in his submission --
Mr Speaker, with all respect, under Standing Order 70 (2), one is supposed to make a brief comment and not introduce controversy. It becomes worse when one even tries to mislead the House, that the road is bad and nothing is happening. When I got it wrong by saying First Capital, he said, First Sky. He knows First Sky Ltd has been on the road and he is a consultant.
Mr Speaker, I will refer to the rules; when a Member knows the facts and attempts to mislead -- [Interrup- tion.] Under the rule of contempt, he is trying to mislead.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:18 a.m.
Hon Member, I have heard you long enough. I invited him to tell us the state of the road. The Hon Member knows that as of today if he were to get visitors and she had a choice, he would not send them there because of the road. Even if there is a
Mr Agbodza 11:18 a.m.
Mr Speaker, indeed, there is a contractor on the road but sadly, the contractor is not active at the moment. That is a fact but the main point is that we need to identify them --
Mr Speaker, those countries that would want to maximise revenue from tourism actually introduce courses at higher levels where people can learn how to preserve artefacts and other things. It is an important point for us to think about.
Mr Speaker, it is not good enough for us to say that we are friendly people, so, people should come. We should also do more than that.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague already talked about hygiene. When we even have visitors, some of the places we would have to pass through with them in this country are sometimes terrible.
If we want to attract revenue from tourism, the way we organise our communities in terms of hygiene is one of the most important things.
Mr Agbodza 11:28 a.m.
They use insurance -- I do not remember the last time there was a hijack on an aircraft leaving or coming towards Africa. It is more in Europe. So this idea that it is simply because of the cost of insurance does not work.
Secondly, British Airways, the only direct route from Accra to London, is almost always full. So it does not make sense where they say that it is because we do not have passengers on the route. I do not know what we would do as a country on the cost of air transport to and from Ghana because, it is just too expensive.
If we want to attract people to visit this country -- They work hard throughout the year for their money. They would not want to use half of that money on one route. They would want to do something else, so we need to look at that as well.
Mr Speaker, the third one is the cost of hotels. One can sleep in a hotel in China and other parts of the world for US$100 or US$200 but look at hotels which charge US$600 to US$1000 in Accra. Which British would want to come and sleep in a US$1000 hotel in Accra? What exactly is in that room?

Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture must also work on this. What is the cause of the unreasonable cost of hotels in Ghana? I think that is one of the things we can --

Also, of concern is the way we maintain some of the facilities. I suspect that if Stonehenge was a tourism site in Ghana, some pastors may go and ask it to be demolished because they will tell you that it is a site of idol worship. What is London Wall? It is a scruffy wall somewhere in London but the whole world goes there to look at it.

Mr Speaker, how do we maintain the tourist sites we have in this country?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:28 a.m.
Hon Member, hold on. Yes?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 11:28 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is grossly misleading the House. He says that hotels in Ghana charge US$600 to a US$1,000. The Eastern Premier Hotel in Koforidua charges GH¢450. -- [Interruption.] So, what is he talking about? [Laughter.] --
Mr Agbodza 11:28 a.m.
Mr Speaker, somebody shouted “short time”; I do not know what it is. -- [Laughter] However, the fact is that the cost of renting a decent hotel room in Ghana is far too expensive. We have all gone elsewhere and realised that the quality of those rooms are far better than what we get in Accra for a cheaper price. I believe that we can do better for ourselves.
The last point I want to make is that as a country, we have a culture and when people visit this country, for God's sake, they must respect our culture. Those that we know are forward looking people should not come to this country and assume that whatever we do is of less value in terms of culture and want to impose things on us.
When you go to other countries, you are not allowed to impose Ghanaian culture on the people. Some people in this country consider dog and cat meat as delicacies but when you go to other countries like Britain,
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:28 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Madina?
Alhaji Abu-Bakar S. Boniface (NPP-Madina) 11:28 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
When you hear the word, emancipation, it brings joy and sadness. It is a day when people celebrate. Some celebrate with joy while others celebrate with sadness. In fact, from the year 1857 when slavery was abolished, our brothers and sisters who were sent to the Americas and the Arab world, had a central point, especially in Ghana, where they were taken like commodities. Places like Cape Coast and Assin Manso were transit points.
In Ghana, the major and largest slave market in West Africa was Salaga. When you go to Salaga today, you will find slave baths and wells. The slaves were not only taken from Salaga but were brought from places like Navrongo to Salaga. Those going to the Arab world were then sent through Yendi, the Sahara Desert and Sudan and then to the Arab world.
Mr Speaker, Sudan as we know, is the land of the blacks. This is because the blacks were the last people to be left in Sudan when slavery was abolished. That is why the place came to be called Sudan, which is an Arabic word which means the land of the blacks.
Now, those going to America and Europe from Salaga, they took them to a place called Kaffaba and from there, they took them to Akamade and then to Kintampo. From Kintampo, those going to Europe were passed through Kumasi to Accra.
That is why we have the Salaga Market here in Accra because they wanted to identify “commodities” from their origin. So they were sent through Ussher Fort and then to Europe. Those going to America, from Kintampo they passed behind Kumasi to Assin Manso which is the point of no return. This is because they went through the stream.
In Salaga, we have a stream called Wankanbaayi in Hausa, to wit, the bath of the slave. The same thing is in Assin Manso and the one there, was the last bath of our great-grand parents and then from there, they were taken to Cape Coast. They went through the dungeon and then they did not know where they were.
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, in Ghana today, we see people come from the Americas and everywhere to view the Cape Coast Castle or Assin Manso as where they were taken from but we need to tell them the history to enable them identify and find their
roots. This is how we should relate and tell them the real story of how we lost our origin because people become so sad and homes are broken.
Today, if you go to Salaga, we have communities based on where they came from because when slavery was abolished, those people did not know where they were coming from but established families.
Mr Speaker, one of my Hon Colleagues asked “why insurance”; Insurance is not only for hijacked planes but for our own health. One can get sick in the plane. So all those things are components of the prices.
However, I subscribe to his point that Ghana in particular, our airfares are very expensive, therefore, in order to attract more tourists -- We have different types of tourism such as business, cultural, religious and economic which we have to look at.
Most tourists are backpackers; who carry bags and just jump on a plane to for instance, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan or Cameroun to find out what actually pertains in those countries. So it is very important.
Alhaji Abu-Bakar S. Boniface (NPP-Madina) 11:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, first of all, their coming will attract revenue for the economy because tourism in itself is one of the advantageous sectors of every economy.
It is the only sector where the product that is sold still remains intact and is inexhaustible at any point in time, Yours is to build it well to attract more tourists. If we are able to convince somebody that our great- grandfather used to drink from a particular cup which is what made him very great, everybody would want to drink from or see that cup.
So, I would encourage the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to do its best. From the time we had Pan African Historical Theatre Project (PANAFEST) to date, we must have seen either arithmetic, if not geometric progression because certain countries depend on tourism to survive.
The Great Britain alone makes more than £8billion in a year because it is one of the busiest central points where almost every flight connects. So, this is an opportunity. Tourism goes far as it gives a lot of employment to a lot of people such as tour guides and people who produce artefacts. This will reduce the unemployment in the system.
Mr Speaker, we have places like Mole National Park, though it is not a slave site, people go there as well as the Kakum National Park in the Central region. These are ways that we can attract a lot of people to our country.

I am very happy that this Statement has been made today and I thank the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, but much has to be done. I know that the Hon Minister is limited as far as resources are concerned, but I believe that the system must do well to empower the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to be able to go far.

I would still emphasise that we should not restrict Panafest to one particular place, we have to spread it. If we want to go deep into details, it was just a transit point for the transportation of people. We are not happy when we talk about it because we feel very guilty whenever we meet blacks in America or Europe because sometimes when they see us they get angry that we sold them.

They have forgotten that our great grandfathers were the people who in some cases, were attacked and overpowered, before the people were

taken away. Sometimes, people who seemed arrogant and rude in the system were also punished in that way.

So, this message must go to our brothers and sisters in the diaspora, that those of us alive today are not the ones who sold them. It was by circumstance that they got themselves there. However, the two rivers might still connect. When we connect then we could identify our roots properly, and so they should not feel disowned.

I am not surprised that the son of a black man became the President of the United States of America and so one day, most of them would become Presidents. They were children of slaves but we are proud of them.

Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:38 a.m.
I would take the last contribution and then move to Leadership.
Mr Magnus K. Amoatey (NDC -- Yilo Krobo) 11:38 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity. I would like to congratulate the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture for making this important Statement on the occasion of the Year of Return.
Mr Speaker, Panafest, a Pan- African and historical festival, was instituted in 1992 or thereabout, and as we speak, one would have expected that Panafest would be a major world tourism programme which people would aspire and save towards.
Mr Speaker, if we compare Panafest to the Fespaco; the film festival of Burkina Faso, you would realise that Fespaco has actually grown in leaps and bounds as compared to Panafest.
The challenge we face with Panafest is that we have been unable to sustain it. I believe that Panafest was instituted with the prime aim of getting the private sector and the public sector as well as our brothers and sisters in the diaspora to come together and ensure that we build a formidable festival which would attract our brothers and sisters in the diaspora.
Unfortunately, around August for some time now, one would hardly hear about Panafest. I believe that we have not been able to work together as private and public sector to build a festival that would attract people.
Mr Speaker, as we welcome our brothers and sisters and take them to Assin Manso, I am happy that the
Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini (NDC -- Tamale Central) 11:48 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this very important Statement made by the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture. I would like to also commend the Hon Minister for the presence of mind and the willingness to work and bring back Africans to their mother continent.
Mr Speaker, this year's theme is Beyond 400 years; Reaching across Continents into the Future”. Indeed, this year also marks the 400th year that the first African slaves were taken from the continent of Africa to the Americas. Mr Speaker, it is reported that between 1650 and 1900, about 10.24 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic to the Americas; largely to the Caribbean because the economy then depended on slavery.
Mr Speaker, for a very long time, we have by our own initiatives as Africans, particularly our govern-
ments, seen that we need to reach out to these people. Firstly, to assure them that whatever hardships that their ancestors faced for which we were willing collaborators, we are prepared to pacify.

We also assure them that Africa remains their homeland. So, since 1992, we have organised Panafest, where music, dance, art and culture were performed largely to encourage them, reach out to them, pacify them and also own them as Africans.

This year's Year of Return is significant because from 25th July to the 3rd August, it is critical. It is four hundred years in the history of the slave trade where our brothers and sisters were transported. Indeed, we as a people must have a strategy for the PANAFEST, or for the Year of Return.

What do we hope to achieve from the PANAFEST and the Year of Return? Are we going to tap into the knowledge, experience and wealth of the people whom we are seeking to attract to return to our continent?

There must be a strategy, but even before the strategy, I share in the views expressed by the Hon Member for Madina, that slavery was not
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:48 a.m.
Majority Leadership?
Ms Sarah A. Safo (NPP -- Dome/Kwabenya) 11:48 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I commend the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture for this very important Statement.
Mr Speaker, many have spoken on the historical background to the slave trade that occurred years ago. This year, 2019, we are told, marks 400 years of that painful encounter.
I believe Ghana can make a lot of earnings and create a lot of opportunities in the Tourism sector if, firstly, we plan well; secondly, if we have the right data and information; and thirdly, if we are able to invest in that sector.
Mr Speaker, if we do not do this, we would forever have these rich tourist sites, monuments and rich history, yet the country would not be able to tap into those resources, both capital and human to the benefit of this country and mainly its youth.
Mr Speaker, I have very interesting statistics that would interest you and the Hon Minister as well. If you go on the internet and search, there is a finding or data provided by Global Edge. The findings reveal countries that earn so much from tourism.
They give us the breakdown of how many international tourists touch their countries every year and how much they are earning from these international visitors or tourists.
Mr Speaker, I think that for us to start gaining revenue from our tourism sector, we should start implementing such things in Ghana. Let us build that database of how many people visit this country for tourism purposes and how much we are earning from these international visitors that come in.
Mr Speaker, it has named the United States (US) as the first country, followed by Spain, France, China, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom (UK), Turkey et cetera. I would just focus on three countries and how much they earn as well as how many tourists visit them.
We are told that in 2017, the US gained US$211 billion from tourism, from 77million international visitors to the US. Spain which holds the second position, earned as income from tourism, US$68 billion from its 82 million international visitors. They are followed by France which received more tourist visitors of 87 million but earned US$61 billion.
Mr Speaker, these are the figures. As a country, we should be able to tell how many visitors come into our country for tourism purposes, and how much we are earning. If we are able to build this database and have the numbers, then as a country, we would have the basis for saying that we need to invest in this sector to be
Ms Sarah A. Safo (NPP -- Dome/Kwabenya) 11:58 a.m.
able to get this revenue for our country. My brother, the Hon Odotei mentioned the President's vision of Ghana beyond aid which could be attained if these are the figures from only tourism.

Mr Speaker, in the United Arab Emirates, many people are under the impression that they are rich because of oil. No, they get about 60 per cent of their revenue from tourism. Even Dubai--- let us consider the number of Ghanaians and other Africans who troop there just for tourism. It is there. So we could actually realise that immense revenue, if we get the right data and make a justification for investment in that sector.

Mr Speaker, again, we also have to look at our tourist sites. What could we add on to these tourist sites to make them more lucrative? I visited Boston, and was taken to John F. Kennedy Museum. We spent three hours in that Museum, and even the pen that he used to sign official documents was something we had the narrator take us through.

Mr Speaker, many people come to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum. They just go round the grave and in less than ten minutes, they are out.

What they get for their money or the returns on why they flew all the way to Ghana? We left J. F. Kennedy Museum with a lot of souvenirs. Where are the souvenirs at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum? They are not there. T-shirts, mugs or something memorable to come home with and show friends as something from Ghana.

Mr Speaker, let us not make it a boring tourist attraction site. Let us add on. It would create a lot of jobs. Artefacts and eateries could be set up in all these places where after touring, a tourist could eat something Ghanaian. We do not have these things in our tourist sites. So how do we convince foreign visitors that besides the tourist sites, there is something valuable?

Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister should address her mind to these things and the job opportunities that it would create in the hospitality industry.

Mr Speaker, I have a diagram here. If we have to train narrators or people who take tourists round to narrate the history, that is job opportunity for our youth.

Mr Speaker, if we have waiters and waitresses in many of these eateries that we would have at our

tourist sites, it would create jobs for many of our unemployed graduates from the hospitality institutions. We have to provide security so that our able men and women would get jobs in those areas.

The real estate market as well -- if we bring in more foreign visitors, we would get a lot of our real estate developers interested in building not necessarily hostels, but short-stay apartments. In countries like Dubai and other advanced countries, they make a lot of money out of short-stay apartments and not necessarily hotels. Many have spoken about the rates of hotels. We would also create jobs for tour guides.

Mr Speaker, I could move on, and on but it comes back to the point that I want to make that, indeed, Ghana beyond aid could be achieved if we have the right statistics and are able to invest immensely in tourism. Let us not downplay what this sector can do for our country Ghana. Let all of us cherish our culture.

At the Kotoka International Airport, we have to get something that is Ghanaian to welcome people. I remember I was on a working visit with the Hon Minority Leader, and we

used Ethiopian Airline. Mr Speaker, I believe you were on that trip as well.

When we got to the airport, at the lounge, there were people displaying culture -- their food -- something that would make one remember and come back to Ethiopia.

What do we have at the Kotoka International Airport? A sign saying “Akwaaba”, and that is it. We then have adverts running here and there, none of which actually projects any product of Ghana. We need to look at all these.

We should have a rebate for Ghanaian local industry players producing on this market to advertise on these machines, so that at the first point of entry -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, first impression matters. If someone enters Ghana, he should see something Ghanaian.

Mr Speaker, we can promote tourism.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:58 a.m.
Thank you very much. I have allowed more than one hour for this Statement because of how important it is to our economy, and for the occasion that it represents.
Mr Collins O. Amankwah (NPP -- Manhyia North) 11:58 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for this opportunity to make this Statement on the involvement of foreigners in Ghana's local retail trade and its implications.
Mr Speaker, this Statement has been necessitated by recent occurrences in the Ashanti Regional Capital, Kumasi, Suame Magazine to be precise, where Nigerian nationals who engaged in local retail trade and have shops at Suame are accused by the local traders of violating the stated provisions of the Ghana Investment Promotion Law (Act 865), a section of which provides that “foreigners are not allowed to engage in retail trade”.
For purportedly violating the law, the foreign nationals are forcibly evicted from the market by the local traders at Suame Magazine. This is in a bid to force authorities to enforce laws on the non-participation of foreigners in local retail trade.
Mr Speaker, let me at this juncture hasten to observe that the approach being adopted by the indigenous traders is unlawful and arbitrary and, to say the least, does not bid well for the long standing relations between the two sister countries. It also smacks of citizens taking law enforcement into their own hands when that is the sole duty of the security' agencies.
Relations between Ghana and Nigeria predate the period of the attainment of independence by both countries. Many Nigerians have lived in Ghana before independence, and continue to do so to date; while many Ghanaians also lived and worked in various Nigerian States, and some still continue to do so.
There are long-standing relations between citizens of both countries in different facets of life including businesses, politics, social relations, inter-marriages and sports, among others.
Mr Speaker, it is important to observe that anytime there have been attempts and actions to ensure the enforcement of various laws related to foreigners in Ghana and their involvement in the Local Trade, it has resulted in far-reaching implications that are sometimes negative. One is reminded of the chequered history between these two countries.
One rivalry that induces consi- derable passion is sports, which is very healthy and friendly, which is generally devoid of acrimony or violence. Informed estimates put the number of Ghanaians resident in Nigeria to be over one million while Nigerians in Ghana are close to two million. These huge numbers necessarily engender strong bonding between the citizens of the two countries.
Mr Speaker, there are very high numbers of citizens which must be well-protected in both countries. What we should not forget is that any attempt to mete out reprisals on Nigerians in Ghana due to the activities of a few of them will result in retaliatory measures on Ghanaians in Nigeria.
Mr Speaker, attempts at enforce- ment of the law on retail trading by foreigners should not be allowed to assume xenophobic dimensions for if it did, it portrays Ghana in negative terms. Besides, Ghanaians in other countries may suffer the same fate.
Ghana is a signatory to various Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols and Conventions on the free movement of persons, goods and services in the sub-region, and this enjoins all of us to abide by the tenets of the
internationally -- agreed protocols and conventions.
Mr Speaker, Ghana is not and cannot be against foreigners engaging in trading activities in our country. The point at issue is that foreigners in businesses have to adhere to our domestic law on retail trade.
Having said this, Mr Speaker, permit me to call on all the parties involved in the current disputations to exercise restraint in dealing with this matter and be circumspect with their utterances, actions and statements in order not to inflame passions, which may have the potential to escalate the impasse.
It may serve us well if we avoided stereotyping persons and groups with negativity and for that matter, assume that all Nigerians arc bad or that most of them are here to perpetrate fraudulent and criminal activities. We should also ensure that cases involving foreigners are thoroughly investigated, so that the real culprits are dealt with according to the laws of the Land.
The law Enforcement agencies and all the relevant national institutions must be up and doing to ensure that foreigners are protected from unlawful acts meted out by citizens who choose to take the law into their own hands.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:08 p.m.
I would allow one contribution each on this matter.
Hon Member for Ablekuma Central?
Mr Ebenezer Nii Narh Nartey (NPP-Ablekuma Central) 12:08 p.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
I would like to thank my Hon Colleague, Hon Collins Owusu Amankwah, for this important Statement.
Mr Speaker, most of us who come from constituencies that are perceived to be business oriented have this challenge. Two weeks ago, Abossey Okai spare parts dealers also issued a statement in respect of these Nigerians that have taken over their businesses.
The question we need to ask is, why are Nigerians taking over businesses in this country? From my investigation, it is because in Nigeria, when they buy things from outside, their port duty is very cheap. Their currency is the same, and, therefore, many of these Nigerians bring their goods by road and come to Ghana to sell at cheaper prices. Meanwhile, in our ports, the prices are high and
our people buy their spare parts but cannot reduce the cost. So they are in serious competition with the Nigerians.
Mr Speaker, one other thing we know is that there is a law that speaks against foreigners doing retail, but the problem is not only the Nigerians. The Ghanaians are also part of this. A Ghanaian owns a shop, he rents it to a foreigner, and the same person turns round to say that Nigerians are taking over their businesses.
It is time we investigate this matter. I have heard the Ministry of Trade and Industry on several occasions, talk about having discussions with both Nigerians and Ghanaians to see how best this would work, but we still have the same problem.

Mr Speaker, could you advise my Hon Colleagues?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:08 p.m.
Hon Members, order!
Mr Nartey 12:08 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I took my lovely wife to a salon to do her
hair, and the one who did the hair was a Chinese. I was really surprised. I asked myself, has it got to this? I do not know if it is true, but I have watched on television --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:08 p.m.
Hon Member, did you ask her whether she had a resident permit and a work permit?
Mr Nartey 12:08 p.m.
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I did not ask those questions; but I will go there next Saturday.
I saw a video circulating on social media where a Chinese drove a trotro. He plyed the route from Kaneshie to Darkuman, and I was surprised.
When we go to our markets today, it is not only the Chinese and the Nigerians. We also have the Japanese and the Indians, and I think that there is the need for us -- I would urge the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and I am happy the Hon Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry is here, to see how best they would meet with these foreigners to comply with our laws.
Mr Speaker, I have been to China about five times. It would be difficult to see any foreigner in their market places in China selling anything. It is only for the Chinese; but here in Ghana, they are all over.
Mr Nartey 12:18 p.m.
We recently talked about our waterbodies. Majority of these people we always arrest are foreigners. We are not saying that foreigners should not come and invest in this country, no.
What we are saying is that there are laws, so we must work according to law. The Ministry of Trade should insist that the right thing is done. My spare parts dealers in Ablekuma Central are always on me, asking what we could do about this.

Mr Speaker, when one goes to buy a spare part from a Nigerian and also buys from a Ghanaian, the difference is about 50 per cent or 60 per cent; it is very cheap.

Mr Speaker, I would want to urge the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as a matter of urgency -- Nigerians are our friends. Recently, just about two or three days ago, when the Ghana Black Stars team was scored in Egypt, all Ghanaians supported Nigerians. [Interruption.] Oh, yes; Ghana and Nigeria are like a husband and wife. [Uproar.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:18 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Nartey 12:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to urge the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Finance to meet with our business community, especially those in Abossey Okai and then possibly those in Suame, to see how best the issue could be resolved for the interest of this country and Nigeria.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:18 p.m.
Hon Member, have you heard this saying in Akan, Gya me kwan a, na wo san me ho? To wit, to see me off does not mean bypass me. The people of Suame made their Statement, you are contributing and you want Abossey Okai to rather invite the businessmen from Suame.
Mr Nartey 12:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, most of the time, with issues of trade, we always hear of traders in Abossey Okai more than those in Suame. That is why I have asked them to support them.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:18 p.m.
The Statement was made by the traders in Suame.
Mr Nartey 12:18 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker for giving me the opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:18 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Bawku Central?
Mr Mahama Ayariga (NDC -- Bawku Central) 12:18 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the Statement that has been made.
Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that this thorny issue has bedevilled us for quite some time now. In recent times, it has occupied the media, and we have often heard quite unpleasant exchanges between Ghanaian traders and voices that sound like Nigerian traders resident in Ghana and trading.
Mr Speaker, basically, at the core of the issue is an ECOWAS protocol that was signed as far back as 1979 by then Heads of State who committed to a programme of free movement, free right of residence and, ultimately, a right of establishment of community citizens.
That meant that all citizens in ECOWAS countries have been elevated to a higher level of citizenship known as community citizens. The Heads of State committed themselves to achieve the implementation of the protocol progressively within a period of fifteen (15) years.
If we count from 1979 till today, it is four decades. So, I believe that community citizens are now demanding their rights as agreed upon by their various Heads of States so many years ago.
Mr Speaker, I was pleased with the conclusions of the Ghana Police Service that a Ghanaian should not go and forcefully close the shop of a Nigerian trader. They should report the matter to the police, and they should go to court and seek an enforcement of the provisions under the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act legislation.
I believe if we did that, it would provide the courts an opportunity to pronounce their position in relation to what the applicable law in Ghana is.
Article 73 of the 1992 Constitution says that we would conduct ourselves in accordance with accepted principles of public international law and treaties that we have agreed to bind ourselves, to the extent, of course, that it is also consistent with our national interest.
Mr Speaker, I would want to see one of the traders, be it Ghanaian or Nigerian, go to court. We should give the court the opportunity to pronounce on it. The Nigerian traders claim they are community citizens and as such, they have the right to be in Ghana because their Head of State came to Abuja and signed the protocol as far back as 1979.
Within 15 years, the implementa- tion of that protocol was supposed to be achieved. We could go to
Mr Mahama Ayariga (NDC -- Bawku Central) 12:28 p.m.
Nigeria and claim the same rights; we do not mind. Here, they would also claim those rights, and they would want to hear what the courts would say. I think we should wait for that great day when the courts would make determination on the matter.
In the meantime, it is true that we have a lot of Ghanaians resident in Nigeria and doing business, and we also have a lot of Nigerians resident in Ghana and doing business. We also have our own domestic laws, such as the GIPC legislation, which imposes some restrictions.
In the interest of international peace and the security of our various nationals resident both in Nigeria and Ghana and also in the interest of the security of Nigerians resident in Ghana, we should approach the issue with some care, so that we do not spark off any hostility and retaliatory conduct by citizens on both sides of the political divide.
It is not just in Ghana. Many other West African countries have that major problem and challenge, especially Nigeria because it is the most populous and the country that has the capacity to reach the rest of the sub region and put pressures on the various countries.
Mr Speaker, as an Hon Member of the ECOWAS Parliament, of course, these matters come to our attention and we debate them. We would continue to urge the ECOWAS Commission to take steps to advance the frontiers of the commitments that we have made towards the creation of a common market.
We are working towards the creation of a common currency and a common defence force, and we want to create so many common things.
There is no doubt that whether we like it or not, in the not too distant future, our borders will cease to have much relevance because of the advances in telecommunication, transportation and so many technologies that make it easier for us to be closer to one another as citizens. So, those artificial borders will no longer hold as they did in the past.
We must learn to accept one another. How could we exploit investments that come from Nigeria? That should be the question, and not how to prevent them from coming to Ghana to participate in trade. How do we benefit from the human resources of Nigerians and vice versa?
How could we create a healthy culture of competition whether economic or otherwise, so that
competition would engender accelerated progress and the generation of wealth for all to share? I think that is the future. Whether we like it or not, that is what would happen unless we, policy makers and leaders, guide the process. We cannot resist it.
Mr Speaker, it has been said on the Floor that our own citizens would aid and abet that process. There would be Ghanaians who would rent their shops to Nigerians. There would be Ghanaians who would front for Nigerians, register companies for them, open bank accounts for them and go through every process to make it difficult for our law enforcement agency to enforce the provisions of the GIPC legislation.
So, it would be difficult for us to resist what is happening; but we should guide it. We should manage it and think through it together with other leaders in the sub region, and create one region that enjoys a common market, community citizenship and infrastructure.

Mr Speaker, we just approved the establishment of a common market for the entire continent.

Mr Speaker, a few days ago, we glorified ourselves because we would host the whole important continental architecture. It comes at a price, and these are some of the prices that we would pay. We should therefore, work towards that.

Mr Speaker, but in the meantime, I would want to urge the Nigerians who are here to comport themselves, and appreciate that genuine economic interests are being threatened. Such things happen even in America and Europe.

Anywhere in the world, when the economic interest of indigenous people are threatened, they protest. Naturally, they agitate and fight back. First and foremost, our mandate, as leaders, is to protect the interest of Ghanaians, and that is what we would do.

We would also reach out to our Hon Colleagues in Nigeria to see how we could amicably resolve this matter that is threatening to destroy the good relationship that has existed between Ghana and Nigeria.

Mr Speaker, on that note, I thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for bringing such a very important matter to this House for us,
Mr Ken Ohene Agyapong (NPP -- Assin Central) 12:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement issued by our Hon Member. I congratulate him for this.
Mr Speaker, I would want to take a different view of what has been said, although I support the Statement.
Mr Speaker, I urge our Ghanaian traders to tread cautiously in whatever actions they take. I say this because recently, I was in Strasbourg, France, and they asked me the same question; why Nigerians or foreigners have taken over our businesses.
Listening to my Hon Colleague from Abossey Okai, I would say that we are jumping the gun; we are not facing reality. The reality is that it is very easy for a Nigerian to knock a Ghanaian out of business completely because our interest rates are so high.
In India, China, and Nigeria, their interest rates are low. So, when they take a loan with a low interest and
they go out there to buy their products, the Ghanaian, who takes -- even today that interest rates have gone down, it is between 22 and 30 per cent; whereas in India, during one's first time, one may pay about 30 per cent. Our competitors take loans with interests as low as 5 per cent and 2 per cent.
Mr Speaker, they would auto- matically outwit us in the sense that because of their low interest rates, the cost of their products would be cheaper than that of the Ghanaian. Obviously, anybody who takes a loan with a higher interest rate would add it on to the total cost of his product, which makes the product expensive.
Wherever one goes to encounter the product of a Nigerian or Chinese, compared to the product of the Ghanaian, theirs is cheaper. The Ghanaian products are expensive just because our interest rates are so high. I have personally experienced it. We would have to therefore do something about it.
We should not continue to say that we do not want foreigners in our country. This is because Ghanaians travel outside the country to work and trade in other countries, more than any other African country.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:28 p.m.
We do not beat the Nigerians. [Laughter.]
Mr Agyapong 12:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, proportionately, if we look at the argument of the Hon Member, he says that out of a population of 30 million, we could get a million travelling outside the country. Today, with a population of 185 million, we could get two million people travelling outside the country. It means that the people of Ghana travel a lot. We would, therefore, have to tread cautiously.
Mr Speaker, I asked the Ghanaians in France whether the French man could come and tell them that they are taking over their businesses, even though they own African markets there. They could not give any answer to it. I therefore personally believe that we should find a way to protect Ghanaian businesses. The only way we could do that is to give them some loans with low interest rates.
Based on one's income, if one goes to buy a product and sees the same product being sold by a Nigerian at GH¢10, but sold by a Ghanaian at GH¢12, one would obviously buy at GH¢10 and save a change of GH¢2. That is, therefore, the crux of the matter, which needs to be looked at, to help the Ghanaian trader. Our
interest rates are ridiculous, and we cannot compete anywhere in the world with it.
Mr Speaker, again, Nigerians have money. When a Nigerian goes to Germany to buy engines, he buys them in volumes. When a Nigerian spends US$500,000 to buy, a Ghanaian may spend US$50,000. If I am the one who sells, because a Nigerian would buy in volumes, I would reduce the cost for him.
Therefore, he would have a cheaper cost compared to a Ghanaian who goes to buy US$50,000 worth. This is the issue that we would need to address to save Ghanaian businesses. If we, however, take the law into our own hands, my fear is that they could do the same to us, and then what would happen?
My Hon Colleague talked about an issue that relates to China; it is never true. Ghanaians are in China doing business. Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu could attest to it because he ships his products from there. The Ghanaians even charge him higher than the Chinese. Ghanaians do the shipping over there; is that also not business? We would therefore have to tread cautiously in the way we handle this issue. If not, they would also decide to retaliate, there would be serious repercussions on us.
Mr Frist Deputy Speaker 12:28 p.m.
Would Leadership want to contribute to the debate?
Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fusieni (NDC -- Tamale Central) 12:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would add my voice in thanking the Hon Member who made the Statement. I have known him to be the Hon Chairman for the Government Assurance Committee, and the Vice Chairman of the Defence and Interior Committee.
However, he has brought a very important Statement. It is important because few months ago, we recorded incidences of attack on foreign traders who, in the view of the Ghanaian trader, infringed the laws of the country.
Mr Speaker, even in 2006, when President Nana Akufo-Addo was an Hon Member of Parliament, this matter was on the Floor of the House. Why has it come to this? It is everywhere. Britain is leaving The European Union (EU) because of trade.
At what point do we want to take advantage of the larger numbers? Even now, we have executed the African Free Trade Continental Area. So at what point do we want to take
advantage of the larger market while protecting our small market? That is the crux of the matter.
I agree with the Hon Member who last spoke when he said we must make facilities available to the Ghanaians to be able to compete and compete well. But we also have a responsibility while we are moving towards creating a free continental zone; while we have signed the African Protocols to ensure that the laws that we have passed in this country work.
Mr Speaker, no one has said that a foreigner cannot trade in Ghana. Foreigners can trade and do business in Ghana and they have always done business in Ghana. Even before we got independence. At a point in time, they controlled the business in Ghana. But the law says that as for retail business, it is the exclusive preserve of the Ghanaian and that, if a foreigner wants to engage in retail business, they must be prepared to invest US$1 million and also, employ not less than twelve Ghanaians in that retail business.
So we have put some fetters on the involvement of foreigners in the retail business. So our brothers and sisters who are in the subregion and want to do business in Ghana, we say, they could do business; they could do
wholesale business. When they bring their goods, they should sell them to Ghanaians to do the retail business.
We would resist any attempt that foreigners would make in putting their wares in wheel barrows and pushing the wheel barrows themselves in selling the goods. That way, they are taking the jobs that we have reserved exclusively for Ghanaians for themselves. And that is the crux of the matter.
Mr Speaker, yes, while condemning the traders in Kumasi for taking the law into their own hands, sometimes, as I said before, I feel sympathetic towards their course because it appears to me that State institutions which have been established to ensure compliance with the law fail; refuse or neglect to enforce the law.
In a meeting of your Committee on Trade and Industry we met with some of these institutions and a fellow was asking us for a definition of market. This was because they did not know where to enforce the law; where is the market?
He had to be reminded that for the purposes of enforcing the law in the retail sector, market is Ghana. That wherever a foreigner is seen; whether he is seen trading on the hills of Aburi,
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:38 p.m.
Majority Leadership?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry is here but the epicentre of this whole Statement is also Suame so, if you may allow the Hon Deputy Minister to make some comments —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:38 p.m.
Very well, I would give a special dispensation to the Hon Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry.
Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Kingsley Carlos Ahenkorah): Thank you Mr Speaker for allowing me to share my opinion on this Statement that was made by my Hon Colleague for Manhyia North. I also thank all Hon Members who contributed to the Statement especially considering the fact that everything that has been said
here already borders on brotherliness; the love that ECOWAS countries have fostered to put us together as one region. I also thank the Assin Fosu Adam Smith for the economic theorem that he has propounded here which actually falls within the confines of solidifying the tenets of the ECOWAS Protocol.
Mr Speaker, it is important that everybody that visits any one's country —
Alhaji I.A.B. Fuseini 12:38 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, this is a House of record and it is a very serious House. Our respect as a Parliament depends on what we do in this House. This House —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:38 p.m.
Hon Member, what is your objection?
Alhaji I.A.B. Fuseini 12:38 p.m.
This House has formal ways of addressing Members of Parliament. There is no record anywhere in this House, is there somebody known and called Assin Fosu Adam Smith? There is nothing like that. So, Mr Speaker, he is totally out of order and he should withdraw that.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:38 p.m.
Well, I know the Hon Member said that in jest but because the Hon Member for
Assin Central did not object, I think that he took it in stride. If you want to refer to the Hon Member for Assin Central —
Mr Ahenkorah 12:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would rely on your judgement in this matter especially, when Adam Smith has been known world over to be a renowned economist or the father of economics, I am sure my brother from Assin Central would not refuse such a big accolade. But I rely on your judgement all the same.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:38 p.m.
Yes, proceed.
Mr Ahenkorah 12:38 p.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker. So, it is incumbent on any foreigner that enters any jurisdiction which of course, is not their natural nation to abide by the laws and of course, rules of engagement of that country.
It would be very unfortunate for us to sit in our country and allow foreigners to come into this country and of course, take the laws into their own hands and live as if there are no laws in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, what has happened or what is happening in Ghana today, is very unfortunate. And I believe this is about the third time this matter has come to the Floor of the House.
Mr Ahenkorah 12:48 p.m.

Mr Speaker, if you would recollect, you have set up a Committee to look into these matters and submit a Report but even before the Report is ready, it is important that we continue to speak about these issues for our brothers and sisters outside this House to understand that we take special importance to whatever happens.

Mr Speaker, yes, it is true that foreigners who enter Ghana would have to abide by the rules of engagement and it is also a fact that laws in Ghana would have to be couched in a way that people could understand.

In Ghana today, our trade and investment policies are bound together and for that matter, there are investment laws that talk about trade and trade laws that also speak a bit about investment yet the investment organisation refuse to come under the Ministry of Trade and Industry for direction.

I would not blame the agency because this House couched these laws and it is important that at a point, we agree that to make some of these laws work, we need to sit as a House to see how we could bring them together.

Mr Speaker, as I speak, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, Act 865, today, is the very law that traders who come into this country have to live by. These very people who go outside Ghana to seek for investment could not be enforcers to push out those who go against the very law that have been enacted.

Part of the law claims that foreigners cannot do retail in Ghana. The question is, when they do the retail, do they have the right to go out and enforce? No!

This is because the law does not give them the power of enforcement, so what anybody could do when he or she finds a foreigner going ultra vires is to take the person to court to seek the court's intervention as to how to handle this matter but it is becoming increasingly impossible for our traders to go to court and take a direction to follow.

Mr Speaker, I would want to recommend that this House should look at this law once again and how we could patch up --
Mr Afenyo-Markin 12:48 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague has raised a legal issue. Section 27 of Act 865 of the GIPC Act, restricts retail trade to only Ghanaians, but we have ratified the
ECOWAS Treaty on Free Trade and to the extent of that ratification, my limited understanding of the provision in our Constitution is that, those protocols that we ratified had become part of our domestic laws. If that has become part of our domestic laws and we have again enacted this, which of the two laws --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:48 p.m.
Hon Member, it is alright. You wanted to make a contribution and you locked the space, so let the Hon Member continue. I am worried about the suggestion on the fact that there is nobody to enforce the law. I thought you would address that.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 12:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is not late, I could address that for you -- [Laughter] -- because it was my second point.
Mr Ahenkorah 12:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I did not know the direction my Hon Colleague was going but as far as I am concerned, the ECOWAS Protocol does not leave room for every foreign citizen to enter into another jurisdiction and start trading. Even though there is a non- discriminatory clause in that law, if a foreigner enters another jurisdiction, the foreigner is allowed to live for 90 days.
Mr Speaker, as a nation, we would have to consider that situation where our investment and trade laws are muddled together and when there is a situation then its enforcement becomes impossible to operationalise. This is because in the law, GIPC was not given directions as to how to enforce, but I would be glad to pronounce on that.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:48 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I just want to caution my Hon Colleague to be careful about where he is going. The policy matter lies in his bosom and not in the bosom of this House.
I agree with his sentiments but we have to be careful of how we go about it. I urge his Ministry to do what is necessary to get the Executive to amend the law, so we could move forward.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:48 p.m.
Hon Ahenkorah, my real worry is why GIPC cannot enforce the law and that is what I want to hear you address because GIPC is under your Ministry.
Mr Ahenkorah 12:48 p.m.
No, Mr Speaker,
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:48 p.m.
Hon Member, which Ministry is it under?
Dr A. A. Osei 12:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is under the Office of the President.
Mr Ahenkorah 12:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the answer is very simple. If you are an agency that goes out to bring investment into the country and you tend to get some investors out because they have flouted some laws, potential investors outside may not understand and therefore, would not see you as a credible person to bring their investments.
That is the reason GIPC would not want to be seen in the lead as enforcing this law, but in any way that we look at it, we could use administrative and diplomatic methods to solve this problem.
Let us for example, look at our rental laws and see if we could input certain requirements therein, which would make people a bit more committed to it, as it were requiring some more documents in getting foreigners to rent their place. Do they have resident and work permits? That should be enforced.
If one goes to the Makola Market, there are land lords who would not rent their stores to Ghanaians but to only foreigners because they pay readily and could also pay double the
price and this has become a challenge. If we could look at the rental laws, this could be controlled. We could also use immigration in this matter to see how we could enforce these laws.
If the immigration would control people who come into this country who are only allowed by way of our protocol to live here for 90 days and they have over extended their welcome. I think it is also another way that we could consider controlling this canker.
Again, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) must be also called upon to check how these foreigners are able to sell their goods cheaper than what the Ghanaian counterparts are able to sell.
Of course, some arguments have been advanced to the fact that interest rates in these countries are different. That is true but there could also be some remote causes on why these foreigners are able to sell cheaper than their counterparts in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, we could use these methods to check and control these matters but I believe that the most important thing to do in these things is to look at the law again and see how we could bridge wherever gaps are, to get it to work well. The law has some gaps that we need to attend to.
Mr Speaker, in all these, we should also understand that, yes, it is the traders that complain but some of the manufacturers of Ghana are also not happy with what is going on.
Some of the manufacturers of Ghana see Nigeria as a big market for them and that is where they take their products to, if they have been given that leverage to come to Nigeria to sell their wares and their people would come to Ghana and face this problem, it would be a very serious challenge to some of our big manufacturers like Kinaphama and Kasapreko.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:58 p.m.
Are they overlooking the laws of Nigeria? If they are, then they have the right to be worried.
Mr Ahenkorah 12:58 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in situations like this, they might not be overlooking the laws of Nigeria but Nigerian citizens might rise up because they think that Ghanaian citizens have taken the laws into their own hands. I am only drawing that line of caution for us to be careful because the very day that shops were closed in Suame, Alomo Bitters was being promoted on the streets of Port Harcourt.
I saw it on social media where a Nigerian followed and filmed them through the streets of Port Harcourt and asked if Ghanaians wanted them to also bring these people back.
In that instance, they would not consider what the law of Nigeria says but that we are attacking their brothers and we also have -- That reprisals and reciprocity is what I am cautioning us against. In order for our manufacturers to gain that space to have their leeway in the Nigerian market, let us thread cautiously on these matters.
Mr Speaker, as far as I am concerned, even though we do not have direct control over the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) law, everything that has to do with investment and trade policy and investment and trade law cascades back to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
My Hon Minister is trying to find a way to soften the grounds a little for retailers to see how we could even grant them soft loans to be competitive when it comes to the kind of interests they have to pay in doing their businesses.
Mr Speaker, these are some of the things that we are doing to --
Mr Ahenkorah 12:58 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am just on my final point. I would like to also mention that when the traders made pronouncements on this matter, the kind of words they used for people in government especially the leadership of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the GIPC, especially, myself -- I am an endangered species -- as if we are the laws unto ourselves and we hold the key to solving this problem.
Mr Speaker, I would like to pronounce that the insults that the leadership and spokespersons of the trade associations meted out to us must be condemned because if one sees us --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:58 p.m.
Hon Deputy Minister, thank you very much. This is very personal.
Hon Majority Leader, I will hear you.
Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) 12:58 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to support the Statement made by the Hon Member of Parliament for Manhyia North, Hon Collins Owusu Amankwah.
Mr Speaker, in our dealings with other countries and, indeed, foreign nationals, the Constitution in article 40 (a) is very explicit. It provides and with your indulgence, I may read:
“In its dealings with other nations, the Government shall -
(a) promote and protect the interests of Ghana.”
Mr Speaker, that is the language. I have heard people say that Ghana has ratified conventions. Yes, we have ratified conventions but they cannot supplant our Constitution.
It is as simple as that. In the subregion, the ECOWAS protocol provides for free movement of goods and services.
When the goods arrive at any destination, the laws of the countries provide that, retail business should be in the hands of the citizens. It is so in Nigeria; it is so in Ghana and in La Cote d' Ivoire.
So let nobody say that because we have ratified the ECOWAS protocols, we should allow citizens from other countries including the subregion and even elsewhere such as Chinese, Turkish and so on to engage in retail business. That is not so.
Mr Speaker, as my Colleague, the Hon Member for Tamale Central related, as far as doing business is concerned, the GIPC law is explicit. A foreigner comes and invests at least a minimum of US$1 million and employ at least 12 Ghanaian citizens. So, when it comes to these matters, we should not compromise with them.
Mr Speaker, again, if one wants to enter Ghana and do business, one must regularise his or her stay in this country. One must also register the business that one wants to deal in.
What happened in Suame Magazine recently which called for the involvement of various institutions of state, came to the fore, for instance, that many of the foreigners engaged in -- and I am not talking about Nigerians alone but from various places outside Ghana including even Chinese -- retail trade have registered businesses to deal in certain defined items and they have reverted to deal in the sale of spare parts.
Two prominent citizens from some countries have registered to deal in hospital equipment and they are using the same registration number and certificate to deal in spare parts. Who would accept that? That is very fraudulent.
Mr Speaker, when the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) were called into the picture, it came again to the fore that many of the spare parts and equipment that are sold by foreign nationals are substandard; drugs that are sold are substandard. Why do we allow these things?
Mr Speaker, the Ghana Immigra- tion Service (GIS) has a function to perform. The GSA has a function to perform.
Mr Speaker, I hear an Hon Colleague saying that I am passing judgement; I am not. When this matter happened at Suame Magazine, the GRA, GIS, GSA and Customs Division were all invited and they have their own reports. I am quoting from their own reports; I am not passing judgement.
Hon O. B. Amoah, I am not passing judgement. I have mentioned your name because you made that passing comment.
Mr O. B. Amoah 12:58 p.m.
Mr Speaker, indeed, I asked the Hon Colleague whether the matter is in court and that he should be careful not to be commenting on a matter, if it is in court. Indeed, it would sound like we are passing judgement. He overheard me and took it out of the statement I made and responded directly.
Mr O. B. Amoah 12:58 p.m.
I was asking if indeed the matter was in court, then, we should be cautious of the comment because I heard him saying that it is fraudulent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:58 p.m.
Well, you do not know that it is in court and because you cannot say that it is in court, I would not bring his attention to that part.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader, you may continue.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:08 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am speaking to facts that I know of. I have been in engagement with my people in Suame. I am not in any way criminalising Nigerians. That is not the import per se, and the issue does not even relate to Nigerians alone but to other foreigners as well.
Mr Speaker, so, the GSA promised a report and they have done it and yet, the report has not come out. The GRA was invited and they have done their own report; it has not come out. The GIS also investigated those of them who are involved in this as to whether they have regularised their stay.
Again, they have their own report. Let them come out with these reports to inform the appropriate decisions that must be taken. We do not investigate these matters and keep those reports.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Trade and Industry would require that. Indeed, it was the Ministry that had this platform created in order for all these institutions to go into this matter.

Mr Speaker, however, we must also concede the complicity of Ghanaians when we come to dealing with these matters. We have the law in this country that foreigners, for instance, should not be engaging in sawmilling but when we go to the various places where sawmilling is done in this country, it is foreigners who engage in sawmilling.

About 90 per cent of the sawmills in this country are owned by foreigners and the registration of these companies have been in the name of Ghanaians; that is how it is.

So, we have been very complicit; foreigners are not supposed to engage in galamsey. Ghanaians do register for them and then they use the identities of those Ghanaians to do their trade. Foreigners are not

supposed to engage in the sale of petroleum products and yet they do so, using Ghanaians to engage in the sale of petroleum products.

From Accra to Kumasi, and indeed, to Bawku, along the wayside, we see those doing that and we know that they are not Ghanaians as the law prohibits them from doing that. When you go asking them, they say that they are manning those stations on behalf of a Ghanaian. We all know that what they are doing is wrong, yet, we do not enforce the law.

Mr Speaker, here in Accra, many parcels of prime area lands are being sold to foreigners. They just sell to the highest bidder and do not even want to know whether the person is a proper resident of this country; because a person outprices a Ghanaian, he parcels out that parcel of land to the person. So, we are also very complicit in these matters.

That is why I am saying that the problems of transhumance - they enter from the northern part of Ghana, set our Savanna foliage on fire just for their cattle and that is ritualistic. Many of these bushfires are at the instance of those people who engage in transhumance coming from outside

the country; they are destroying our forest cover and reducing our Savannah foliage to Sahelian foliage and nobody is talking about that.

Mr Speaker, we must act proactively and yet, we should concede that it does not lie in the hands of Ghanaians to pounce on foreigners and do with them as they please. We should allow the law to take its course and due process to intercede for us.

You cannot just walk to the retail business of a person who you suspect to be an illegal resident in this country and decide to close down their shop yourself. You cannot do that.

However, you must also admit that maybe, in many occasions, people report such situations, they do see an action taken and then in frustration, take the law into their own hands. That still does not regularise or legitimise that conduct.

Mr Speaker, all in all, we are telling ourselves that what is happening is not the best; let the law enforcement agencies and agents be much more proactive than they have been doing. My Hon Colleague, the Hon Member for Assin Central alluded to the fact that they have these goods cheap which they bring.

What is of interest is that when goods get imported to Nigeria, they do not transit them back to Ghana using our ports. Why is it so?

Regardless of how much they get them, if the goods land in Nigeria and they have to pay taxes and they have to bring them to Ghana and pay another tax, the goods will be higher in price than the price of the goods in Ghana. What it is, is that they use the roads; they know the routes where there is laxity and our own custom officers allow them to bring them into this country almost unnoticed.

They take something from them and allow them to Ghana and that is how come their goods are cheaper. Otherwise, if they are paying taxes in La Cote d'Ivoire, Benin and Togo before shipping them again to Ghana and paying taxes at the ports, they will end up being at higher costs than what our Ghanaians are bringing directly from China and other places. That is the issue.

Mr Speaker, so, as I keep saying, we are our own enemies. Let us do what is right and also ensure that we live within the protocols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). We must comply with the laws but there is no country

in the sub-region that will allow retail business to be taken over by foreigners; officially, at least, Nigeria as well as La Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Benin do not allow that. Why should it be Ghana? We should enforce our laws but in the process of enforcement, we should allow due process to take its course.

Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:08 p.m.
That brings us to the end of Statement time. Today, we have used over three hours for two Statements. Now, at the commencement of Public Business, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:08 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are not going to do items listed as 4, 5, 6 and 7. We shall do item listed 7 tomorrow. I had some consultations with the Hon Minority Leader before he left yesterday and this morning, with the available Hon Leader in the person of Alhaji Inusah Fuseini and we will take it tomorrow.
Mr Speaker, I understand the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Education is not in the House now and so, we can begin the consideration of the Statistics Bill, 2018 to be led by the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:08 p.m.
Very well.
Item numbered 8, is that right?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:08 p.m.
Mr Speaker, item numbered -
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:08 p.m.
Item numbered 9 is the Statistics Bill. Is that what you are suggesting? Very well. Item numbered 9?
[Pause] --
Is there a consideration on the Statistical Bill, 2018? We will start with the Consideration of clause 1.

STAGE 1:08 p.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah) 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are on clause 1 of the Statistics Bill, 2018 and there is no advertised amendment to clause 1.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:18 p.m.
I heard the Hon First Deputy Speaker say so and I can see that there is no advertised proposed amendment to clause 1 and so I would move to clause 2, which also has no advertised amendment.
Clauses 1 -- 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clause 3 -- Object of the Service
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:18 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I must admit that I have not read the Bill. I have just started to read it, and for clause 3 which is the Object of the Service, would we rather not say that the object of the Service is to provide quality, relevant, accurate and timely statistical information for the purposes of national development planning?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Majority Leader is right. The data collated is used in planning, so I have no objection if it reads “national development planning”.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:18 p.m.
Is it all the data that is generated that is used for planning?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in the end, be it Gross Domestic Product, inflation data, census data and so on, all the data compiled by the Service would ultimately be used for development planning.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:18 p.m.
Actually, you have raised a good point but I think that the ultimate purpose for development is actually for development and not just for planning purposes. I was a staff of the Central Bureau of Statistics and it was at my time that we made efforts to transform it. [Interruption.]
The former name for Statistical Service was the Central Bureau of Statistics and it was at the Ministry of Finance. We worked on this for it to be captured at the Consultative Assembly to be transformed into a Statistical Service. So, a lot of the data that is generated there is used for planning, but basically all of it is towards development. So, we would have to choose whether to say development planning or we would just end it at the word “development”.
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Dr Anthony A. Osei 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that you are correct because if we leave it at “planning” then it would appear that we do that for only planning purposes. So, we could end by saying “including planning”.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I did not say “for planning”, but I said “for development planning”.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:18 p.m.
But the statistics that they generate are not only for development planning. That is the issue.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, what I meant was that “development including planning” because if we leave it at just ‘‘development planning'' it is as if it is exclusive.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, development planning is really planning for development. It is for purposes of planning for development. Mr Speaker, but maybe I am latecomer in this because after all there is no advertised amendment, but, really, development planning is for purposes of planning for development.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:18 p.m.
The fear is to limit it, because when we say “development planning” we are limiting the statistics that are
generated by the Statistical Service to be used only for development planning. We are saying that it goes beyond that and I believe that is why they ended at “national development”.
Hon Members, if you are insisting on a proposed amendment then I would put the Question again.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you would realise that I inquired from the Hon Chairman if they had given consideration for that, and he supported what I said.
But if in the opinion of others who are former Hon Ranking Members -- [Laughter] -- they think that we should leave it at “development” then I have no fixation with that.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:18 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, thank you so much.
Clause 4 -- Functions of the Service
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:18 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move that clause 4 -- delete and insert the following:
“Functions of the Service
4. To achieve its object, the Service shall
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Since there is nobody either supporting or opposing the position, I would put the Question.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I support the amendment.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Thank you so much.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
The Hon Majority Leader is always a late comer. What is the problem today?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is because I am now reading through as I indicated to you.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Yes, you earlier mentioned that you had not gone through it, so you are now doing so. We would create some room for you.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, for paragraph (b) which reads:
“4. To achieve its objective, the Service shall
(b) collect, compile, analyse, abstract, publish and disseminate statistical information related to commercial, industrial, financial, social, demo- graphic, economic and other activities and conditions of the people of this country through the conduct of surveys and national censuses …”
Mr Speaker, statistics may not relate only to the people, it may relate to the country. So, if you look at the original, in paragraph (b), it says:
“(b) collect, compile, analyse, abstract, publish and disseminate statistical information related to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, demo- graphic, economic and other activities and conditions of the people or this country…”
I would just want to know from the Hon Chairman whether it should rather be “or this country” or “of this country”. This is because, statistics
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, clearly, this was listed from the Bill, and “of” must have been an error. It should read “or”.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Are you sure you got the point he raised?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, what was lifted from the Bill onto the Order Paper has “conditions of the people or this country”.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
The “of” there should be “or”.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if you listen to the Hon Majority Leader carefully and you go to the original, you have “of the people or this country”. He says “or this country” should also be there”.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
That is why I said the second “of” should be “or” --“of the people or”.
Hon Members, are we together? The Hon Majority Leader has fine tuned it and he has drawn our attention
to an error. I think it is a typographical error which is in line 5 of clause 4 (b). The second “of” should be “or”.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Clause 4 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was just conferring with the Hon Chairman whether we would just limit the collaboration with the Ministries, Departments, Agencies, District Assemblies and only statutory bodies, in paragraph (c).
This is because, there are institutions that are created by the Constitution including Parliament, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Judiciary, that are not mentioned anywhere. I was just conferring with them whether we can leave it as it or find a way to fine tune paragraph (c) to include the constitutional bodies.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
In this situation, we should guide against being specific because we are likely
not to be able to include all. That is the danger. So, what is the proposal?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if we delete “statutory” and insert “other bodies”, it would include both “statutory” and “constitutional bodies”. His concern is that if we left it as “statutory”, we would be excluding constitutional bodies like Parliament, CHRAJ and the Judiciary. That is his concern.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
But is Parliament a statutory body?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:28 p.m.
He says it is a constitutional body.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
What is a statute? Statutory means law. It is not just Acts of Parliament.
Hon Ranking Member of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, this is not my field. That is the arena of debate and the Speaker is not to participate in debates.
So I just raised them for you to take them on board. If you do not, I would simply go back to what the Hon Majority Leader said and put the Question.
Alhaji I.A.B. Fuseini 1:28 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you are right. All creatures including Parliament are statutory bodies, but because the Constitution uses “constitutional bodies”, in Parliament, we have developed the practice where we have distinguished constitutional bodies from other statutory bodies.
CHRAJ is established by the Constitution, and indeed, the Constitution is a higher statute, but because we have developed that practice of separating those established by Acts of Parliament from those established by the Constitution -- that is what lends credence, but I agree with you.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Do you mean in common usage or in law?
Alhaji Fuseini 1:28 p.m.
No, in common usage.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Have we legislated constitutional bodies anywhere?
Alhaji I.A.B. Fuseini 1:28 p.m.
It is in common usage not in law because the constitutional bodies are statutory bodies.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Yes, in law, they are statutory bodies,
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:28 p.m.
Your Leader is on his feet again.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:38 p.m.
Yes, the Constitution, indeed, is the prime statute of the land, but in many parts of the Constitution, they try to make distinctions between constitutional creatures and enactments made by Parliament including even decrees. That distinction is often made.
That is why I am saying that, just so we can carry along every creature, whether of the Constitution or maybe by enactment of Parliament or a decree, is it not appropriate to do that? That is the reason I am saying that, because right from article 11, a distinction appears to be made.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
There is a danger of deleting “statutory” and substituting it with
“other”. This is because the “other bodies” is too wide and could cover things like “associations” which are also bodies. That is my fear but it is still open to debate, if it is the wish of the House that we do so, “other bodies” is what is being proposed.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, having already put the Question on clause 4, maybe we can proceed and if at the second consideration we want to revisit it --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
Well, it is a good option, if people feel strongly that there is a need for us to expand it and include other bodies, then we would have a Second Consideration Stage, so that we can move on.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you are right when you say that if we just leave it at “other bodies” we may be casting the net too wide. But there is a reason I am saying that if we said “Constitutional and other statutory bodies”, the thought would be ad idem and indeed be closing the net while giving due recognition to those statutory creations.
Again, if the softer option is to move on and go for a Second Conside- ration, Mr Speaker, you are in the Chair.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
Well, this is an informal stage of the processes of a Bill, and as masters of our own rules, we have time to take on other inputs. If it is the view of the Leader that we now talk about “constitutional and statutory” --
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you were saying that if it is his view --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
Yes. So we put it across for --
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are discussing and debating the matter but in debating, we are equally guided by what the law says. So, even if it is so and by the nature of what we know it to be, it is not so, I think that the Hon Chairman of the Committee must, as he knows how to do best, consult the Hon Majority Leader.
They should work together rather than pull surprises on the Floor of the House. It is not healthy, because I expect him to move closer to the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, when we were in opposition and we were on the other Side, we always got closer to the Leader to learn more. I do not see why he is working on such an important Bill, yet is far away from
the Hon Majority Leader and it looks like there is a debate. That should not be the practice. He should get closer and learn more. It looks like he is debating the Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
No, that is not it.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is what he is doing. He is challenging the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
No, he is not challenging the Hon Majority Leader. In fact, he even moved to the Hon Majority Leader to have a word with him and then went back. Nobody here is the epitome of knowledge or wisdom and so when one is on the Floor, one is led by the Leaders but it does not mean that what they say is the law and one is bound by it.
If you have a different opinion, you would have to express it. In fact, research has shown that when it comes to the processing of Bills in this House, we have always done the right thing by working together.
We do not hear of partisanship and contributions or proposals for amendments from either Sides of the House are equally debated and supported by all. So, I think we should encourage that spirit.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there is an adage that “obiara wo ne master”; to wit: “the servant cannot be bigger than the master”. Mr Speaker, I am fortified by my boss to my left and my Leader to my right, so I move and consult. That is why Dr Akoto Osei is here.
I even told the Hon Majority Leader that we should end at clause 6, so that we can confer and do winnowing. I have indicated that to him already, so we can proceed to clauses 5 and 6.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
The situation on the Floor is one of primus inter pares. There is no master and servant here. -- [Interruption] Which good book?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Bible says that the servant can never be bigger than the master.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
Yes, but this is not the situation we are in. We are in the situation of primus inter pares -- first among equals.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there is nobody like Messi. You are the Ronaldo -- [Laughter.]
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
Well, comic relief is allowed in the
House, so let us move on. I said that if the Leader of the House feels strongly about it, I would put it across for you to debate, so that we can take a decision.
This is because we have given guidance that it could be done at the Second Consideration Stage but he made an additional submission, that is why I said that.
Hon Majority Leader, do you feel strongly or you want to come during the Second Consideration Stage?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you know that because I admit that I have not read the Bill thoroughly, when I come up with any suggestion, I look in the direction of the Chairman and that is by way of seeking his opinion. Perhaps, even at the level of considering the Bill clause by clause, it might have featured.
That is why I turned to look at him whether perhaps it featured. If it did not feature and we have to consider it, fair and fine. But if the majority feels that we should go along, I cannot be an impediment. I just raised it for consideration.
If generally, we believe that we are on good course and we are doing what is right, I cannot be an impediment and I have never been an impediment.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
No, Hon Majority Leader, you did the right thing. He is just trying to see whether we could get a second bite at the Consideration Stage.
After you have conferred and also consulted the promoters of the Bill and there is a need for us to go the way you are proposing, why not? But as of now, we want to move on to clause
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let us make progress.
Thank you very much.
Clause 5 -- Governing body of the Service
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
I am just giving room for a possible proposed amendment because there is no advertised amendment on the Order Paper.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:38 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to add that this provision is lifted from article 185 of the Constitution.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:38 p.m.
I was an assistant secretary of the Board, and we converted it into the
Statistical Service. So, I am aware of those provisions, but we are improving upon the law, and the Hon Majority Leader may need some more time to go through it. That is why I am giving him room. You know he is very meticulous.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to also add that he is a Member of the Finance Committee.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:48 p.m.
That is not raised in good faith. [Laughter.]
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, since the Hon Chairman referred to the Constitution, the appointment of the Board to be done by the President is not provided for in the Constitution to be done in consultation with the Council of State.
It is rather the Government Statistician who should be appointed by the President in consultation with the Council of State.
The Board should be appointed by the President.
-- [Pause] --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:48 p.m.
Hon Chairman, you heard your Leader. What do you have to say?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Majority Leader could advert his mind to article 186.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:48 p.m.
Read article 186 (1). It says:
“There shall be a Statistical Service Board which shall consist of --
(a) a chairman and not more than five other members all of whom shall be appointed by the President having regard to their expert knowledge, in consultation with the Council of State…''
The one dealing with the government statistician is article 185 (3), so the Committee is right.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader knows the Finance Committee does a very good job, and he knows the Chairman is competent.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:48 p.m.
Early on, the Chairman of the Finance Committee told us that the Hon Majority Leader himself is a Member
of the Finance Committee. I think that was said deliberately for a purpose, and then I stated that this was not said in good faith. I think some people did not take notice of that, but you see it is exhibiting itself.
Yes, Hon Member, I saw you on your feet?
Mr Francis K.A.Codjoe 1:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I just referred to article 185. I agree with Mr Speaker, but the Constitution actually said that a chairman and not more than five other members who shall be appointed by the President having regard to their expert knowledge, but in this Bill, the term “expert knowledge” is missing.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:48 p.m.
Have you looked at clause 5(2)? It is a learning process, and we should give room for people to learn.
Mr Codjoe 1:48 p.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:48 p.m.
Hon Members, clause 6? If there is going to be an amendment then let me put the Question on clause 5.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Clause 5 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:48 p.m.
Clause 6?
In view of the nature of business on the Floor, I direct that business be held outside the prescribed period.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:48 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have conferred with the Hon Majority Leader, and we would want to end the Consideration Stage for today at clause 5.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:58 a.m.
Well, there is clear indication that the House is not well prepared to consider the Bill, and so if mid-way you are drawing my attention to it, we would end the Consideration of the Statistics Bill, 2018 for today, and continue in the near future.
So I direct that we end the Consideration Stage of the Bill.
Hon Majority Leader, any guidance?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:58 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman agrees with me that we should suspend the Consideration at 2 o'clock for further consultations so that we end transaction of business, as far as the Consideration Stage is concerned.
Mr Speaker, with the time reading 2.00 o'clock in the afternoon, we could suspend the Consideration Stage of this Bill until tomorrow at 10.00 a. m. in the forenoon.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:58 a.m.
In other words, you are requesting that we adjourn the House.
We have already ended the Consideration Stage, and the Mace has been properly positioned. I would, therefore, proceed to adjourn the House.

  • The House was adjourned at 2.00 p. m. till Friday, 19th July, 2019, at 10.00 a.m.