Debates of 1 Nov 2019

PRAYERS 10:26 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:26 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 31st October, 2019.
Page 1, 2, 3 … 8 --
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza 10:26 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Ho West, Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, was here yesterday; but he has been marked as absent.
Mr Speaker 10:26 a.m.
Thank you.
Page 9, 10, 11 … 14.
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of 31st October, 2019 as corrected is hereby admitted as the true record of proceedings.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, 19th July, 2019.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:26 a.m.
    Hon Members, item numbered 3 - Business Statement.
    Hon Chairman of the Business Committee.
    BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE 10:26 a.m.

    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 10:26 a.m.
    Arrangement of Business
    Formal Communications by the Speaker
    Mr Speaker, you may read any available communication to the House.
    Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has scheduled the following Ministers to respond to Questions asked of them during the week:
    No. of
    i. Minister for Trade and Industry -- 1
    ii. Minister for Agriculture -- 1
    iii. Minister for Communications -- 1
    iv. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice -- 1
    v. Minister for Education -- 1
    vi. Minister for Health -- 2
    vii. Minister for Roads and Highways -- 5
    Total number of Questions -- 12
    Mr Speaker, in all, seven (7) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to twelve (12) Questions during the week.
    Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70(2), Ministers of State may be
    permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by Mr Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members, in accordance with Order 72.
    Bills, Papers and Reports
    Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First

    Reading in accordance with Order 120. However, those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119.

    Pursuant to Order 75, Papers for presentation to the House may be placed on the Order Paper for laying. Committee Reports may also be presented to the House for consideration.

    Motions and Resolutions

    Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week.

    Committees with Referrals

    Mr Speaker, the Business Committee takes this opportunity to once again urge Committees with referrals to kindly identify those that are critical to the respective sponsors of those businesses and thereby expedite action on them. Committees are further entreated to present their reports on those completed businesses for consideration by the House before the introduction of the Budget in the second week of November 2019.

    The foregoing recommendation, if complied with, would avail the House enough space to transact on all
    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 10:26 a.m.
    The Business Committee commends the Standing Orders Committee for commencing work in earnest on the review of the Standing Orders. The Committee is implored to endeavour to speedily round up its work and to present a report for determination by the House as soon as practicable.
    Joint Caucus Meeting
    Mr Speaker, a Joint Caucus meeting is proposed to be held on Thursday, 7th November, 2019 after adjournment. Urgent pertinent matters would be discussed. In this regard, all Hon Members are encouraged to avail themselves at the meeting.
    Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160(2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week under consideration.

    Questions --

    *642. Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (Nsawam-Adoagyiri): To ask the

    Minister for Trade and Industry what plans are underway to revive the Nsawam Astek Company Limited to give job opportunities to the youth of the area.


    Presentation of Papers —

    (a) Annual Report of the Na- tional Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) for the year 2018.

    (b) Annual Report of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for the year



    Second Reading of Bills --

    Corporate Insolvency Bill,


    Consideration Stage of Bills --

    Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019.

    Committee sittings
    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 10:26 a.m.
    Questions --
    *643. Mr Ekow Hayford (Mfantseman): To ask the Minister for Agriculture what plans are in place to re-activate the Mankesim Irrigation Project which has been abandoned since 2008.
    *644. Mrs Angela Oforiwa Alorwu-Tay (Afadzato South): To ask the Minister for Communications when the following communities in the Afadzato South District will be provided with mobile telephone network connectivity: (i) Liati Soba (ii) Liati Wote (iii) Tafi Agome (iv) Goviefe Todzi (v) Leklebi Agbesia (vi) Xorse Kope (vii) Salami Kope (viii) Adzigbo Kope.
    Presentation of Papers—
    (a) Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Inter- national Development Asso- ciation of the World Bank

    Group (acting as implementing entity of the Forest Investment Programme under the Strategic Climate Fund) for an amount of seven million United States dollars (US$7,000,000.00) being additional financing for Enhancing Natural Forest and Agroforest Landscapes Project (FIP-ENFAL).

    (b) Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL/ GETFund Levy, AU Levy, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of five million, nine hundred and eighty-three thousand, five hundred and forty dollars ninety-seven cents (US$5,983,540.97) on the purchase of equipment and materials for the completion of the University of Ghana Medical Hospital - Phase 2 under a turnkey project involving expansion works at the University of Ghana Medical Centre.

    Consideration Stage of Bills —

    Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019.

    (Continuation of debates)

    Committee sittings --

    Questions —

    *632. Mr Mohammed Abdul- Aziz (Mion): To ask the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice the status of the investigation of the complaint made by H. E. the President against Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, the former President of the Ghana Football Association


    *645. Ms Francisca Oteng Mensah (Kwabre East): To ask the Minister for Education how many of the ‘E-Block schools' have been completed from 2017 to date.


    Motions —

    (a) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Inter-

    national Development Asso- ciation of the World Bank Group (acting as imple- menting entity of the Forest Investment Programme under the Strategic Climate Fund) for an amount of seven million United States dollars (US$7,000,000.00) being additional financing for Enhancing Natural Forest and Agroforest Landscapes Project (FIP-ENFAL).

    Consequential Resolution

    (b) That the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019 be now read a second time.

    (Moved on Monday, 29th July, 2019 by the Hon Attorney- General and Minister for Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo. Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Ben Abdallah Banda presented the Report on the Bill.)

    Decision to be taken pursuant to Standing Order 110(a)

    Consideration Stage of Bills --

    Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019. (Continuation of debate)

    Committee sittings.

    Questions --

    *650.Mr Kwadwo Nyanpon Aboagye (Biakoye): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when the Teshie Link, that is the road from Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Centre to Spintex Road will be completed.

    *651.Mr Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye (Odododiodioo): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways what the Ministry is doing about the following deplorable roads in the Odododiodioo Constituency: (i) Agbogbloshie road (ii) Galloway road (iii) J. O. Ocquaye road (iv) Okaitei Nettey road (v) Amamomo close.

    *652.Mr Fuseini Issah (Okaikwei North): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when Logistic Support Services Limited, the contractor who was
    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 10:26 a.m.

    offered contract number DUR/


    OKN/2015/01 to construct selected roads in Okaikwei North, will commence work.

    *653. Mr Fuseini Issah (Okaikwei North): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways when additional footbridges will be constructed on the N1 stretch from Apenkwa to Lapaz to avert the number of pedestrian accidents.

    *654. Mr Andrew Dari Chiwitey (Sawla/Tuna/Kalba): To ask the Minister for Roads and Highways what is the status of the construction of the Tuna - Kalba road, which was awarded on contract in 2016.

    *648. Mr Ekow Hayford (Mfantseman): To ask the Minister for Health when the Mfantseman Health Centre, which has a very large catchment area in terms of number of patients, will be upgraded to a polyclinic.

    *649. Dr Clement A. Apaak (Builsa South): To ask the Minister for Health whether funding has been secured to upgrade the Fumbisi Health Centre to a district hospital.
    Mr Speaker 10:36 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Majority Chief Whip.
    Mr Andrew D. Chiwitey -- rose
    -- 10:36 a.m.

    Mr Chiwitey 10:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was scheduled to ask Question 654 today. I was on a Committee programme in the Ashanti Region, Bono Region and Ahafo Region. I had to pick a flight from Kumasi to ask this Question, only to realise this morning that my Question has been rescheduled to next week Friday.
    Mr Speaker, is it not fair for Hon Members to be informed about the rescheduling of their Questions to save us from all these inconveniences? I would want the Hon Leaders of the House to say something about it because it inconveniences us and wastes resources. It comes with a lot of negatives.
    Mr Speaker 10:36 a.m.
    Hon Members, just for your information, there is a Cabinet retreat that often happens in this country for good reason. We are advised to accommodate the Hon Ministers.
    Yes, any comments?
    Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza 10:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we thank the Hon Majority Chief Whip for presenting the Business Statement. Based on
    what happened at the beginning of the week, where some of our Hon Colleagues who are Ministers were scheduled to be here but could not come for one reason or the other due to communication gap, may I encourage the Hon Leader to ensure that our Hon Colleague Ministers, who have been scheduled to be here next week, are duly informed so that Hon Members whose Questions have been listed would get the opportunity to ask them?
    Mr Speaker, I also would want to take the opportunity to ask Hon Colleagues to pay attention to what the Hon Majority Chief Whip said in terms of a joint caucus meeting. I believe Hon Members have significant concerns, and we can only address them when we avail ourselves at these meetings. So colleague Hon Members should take note and avail themselves for the joint caucus meetings as well.
    Mr Speaker 10:36 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo- Markin 10:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have gone through the Business Statement ably read by the Hon Majority Chief Whip. I had an indication earlier in the week, that the Electoral Commission would be programmed to brief us in respect of their preparation towards the District Assembly elections.

    Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, going through the programme for the ensuing week, it appears that is missing. I am just pointing that out for same to be addressed.

    Secondly, Mr Speaker, you have a directive for the Business Committee to ensure that a commitment made by the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry in respect of the value chain effect of the pharmaceutical companies that had a dispensation on some 47 drugs was actualised, so that the printing firms -- Assembly Press, Graphic Communication Group Limited and others in Ghana that have the capacity -- could also benefit from the value chain in respect of the labels. This is because we have had this dispensation given to our pharmaceutical companies to enable them produce locally; yet, the labels come from overseas. The Assembly Press is doing well.

    Mr Speaker, unfortunately, again, that is not captured here. I would plead that same be --
    Mr Speaker 10:36 a.m.
    Hon Member, now you are going the full gamut of whatever is possible to be discussed in the Chamber. If you feel strongly about this particular labelling matter, just make a Statement, then we follow it up and make appropriate recommendations.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I take a cue; but just for the records?
    Mr Speaker 10:36 a.m.
    Take the cue and do not add “but”.
    Any other matter?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes. The last matter, which I would strongly appeal to the Business Committee to consider incorporating same in the agenda for the ensuing week, is a possible invitation to the Hon Minister for the Interior to come --
    Mr Speaker, I have discussed it with the Hon Majority Chief Whip already.
    Mr Speaker 10:36 a.m.
    Please, if you had been here and heard some of my rulings last week, you would not pursue this pathway. Please adopt parliamentary procedure; Questions, Statements or whatever, and bring it to the Floor.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect --
    Mr Speaker 10:36 a.m.
    Hon Member, that is the end of the matter.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, very well.
    Mr Speaker 10:46 a.m.
    Any other comment?
    Hon Members who feel strongly that a particular issue should be brought to the attention of the House should kindly adopt our established practices. Otherwise, it would be a conversation time, and any Hon Member might raise any matter from A to Z, no matter what.
    You may ask a Question; make a Statement or you may write to me, the Leadership or the Business Committee. All these are available to us. If you write and they do not respond, then you are entitled to say that what you wrote about and expected to appear did not, so you seek an explanation.

    Then we proceed from there, please.

    Hon Members, any other?

    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip, you may continue.
    Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 10:46 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I would want to apologise to our Hon Colleague who had to cut short another parliamentary duty out of Accra to come back to ask a
    Question, only to learn that it has been rescheduled. I think there was a gap in communication; it would not happen again.
    Mr Speaker, the issue raised by Hon Afenyo-Markin with respect to the Electoral Commission -- Page 13 of the Votes and Proceedings of 31st October, 2019 indicates that the Special Budget Committee met the Electoral Commission.
    The agenda for the meeting was on the preparations towards the District Assembly Elections. We are yet to be fully informed about what transpired between the Special Budget Committee and the officials of the Electoral Commission.
    His concern may be addressed at that forum. So, we would need to consult with the Committee to know what was really discussed. If his issue was not sufficiently discussed, then probably the Business Committee could schedule the Electoral Commission to meet with the House.
    An Hon Member -- rose --
    Mr Speaker 10:46 a.m.
    Hon Member, do you want to comment on the Business Statement? You are caught by effluxion of time.
    Hon Members, the Business Statement as presented accordingly is adopted.
    Mr Speaker 10:46 a.m.

    Hon Members, item listed 4, Statements. Hon Kwabena Mintah Akandoh has a Statement on attempted suicide and possible decriminalisation thereof.

    Hon Dr Clement Apaak will read the Statement on his behalf.
    STATEMENTS 10:46 a.m.

    Dr Clement Apaak (on behalf of Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh) (NDC -- Juaboso) 10:46 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting me the opportunity to read a Statement titled the Call to Decriminalise Attempted Suicide in Ghana, by Hon Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, Hon Ranking Member on the Committee for Health and Member of Parliament for Juaboso.
    Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to make this very important Statement on the call to repeal section 57(2) of the Criminal Offences Act of 1960(Act 29) on criminalisation of attempted suicide.
    Mr Speaker, suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death; and suicide attempt is an attempt to intentionally cause one's own death but which he survives.
    In Ghana, studies have shown that suicidal behaviours are associated with mental disorders, poverty-related issues (example financial crisis, loss of jobs, et cetera), parental neglect, romantic crisis, alcoholism and drug abuse. As can be seen from the limited examples of the causes of suicide, they are mostly psychological than criminal in nature.
    Mr Speaker, the worldwide suicide rate is estimated at 13.42 per 100,000 individuals. Therefore, averagely 123 suicide deaths are recorded in a day with men likely to be involved at a rate of 3.5 times more than women.
    In Ghana, most of the suicide cases are not officially reported. The suicide rate of reported cases is 5.4 per 100,000 of the population. Also, about 1500 suicides are committed on a yearly basis. Such high fatalities are clear indications that suicidal behaviours can now be described as a public health problem for our country, and this calls for immediate attention of which decriminalisation of attempted suicide is a key priority.
    Mr Speaker, section 57(2) of the criminal and other offences Act of 1960 (Act 29) classifies attempted suicide as a misdemeanour. Thus:
    “A person who attempts to commit suicide commits a misdemeanour”.
    Act 29, however, does not prescribe the applicable sentence. Reference to the Criminal and Other Offences (procedure) Act of 1960 (Act 30) at section 296, however, shows that where an offence is described as a misdemeanour, and the offence creating provision does not stipulate the punishment, a person convicted of that offence is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three (3) years. Section 297 of Act 30 gives the court the discretion to substitute a fine for a custodial sentence or to add a fine to a custodial sentence with some limitations.
    Mr Speaker, our laws thus treat a person with suicidal tendencies as a criminal. This is part of the colonial realist with the introduction of English criminal jurisprudence that we have to deal with rather than live with.
    It is insightful to note that in England, attempted suicide was decriminalised in 1961,only a year after it was codified in Ghana as a crime under the Criminal Offences Act,1960 (Act 29). In some of our sister African countries, the act is not considered a crime as we have in Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, our call for the decriminalisation of attempted suicide is neither an acceptance nor endorsement of a person's desire to take his or her own life, but is grounded on scientific evidence and reason. An attempt to criminalise it cannot constitute a tool for effectively dealing with it. Attempted suicide or the ambivalent expression of the desire to commit suicide -- “I want to die” -- is actually a cry for help and neurotic expression of the need for help or feeling of desperation and helplessness.
    Mr Speaker, criminalisation of attempted suicide encourages persons who have suicidal tendencies to take every measure to ensure that they do not fail. Also, criminalisation discourages suicidal persons from reporting suicidal crises early enough for help. It also encourages underreporting and leads to underestimation, which is not good for planning for suicide prevention. Criminalisation of suicide does not encourage the Government to commit funds for suicide research and preventive programmes to curb the rate in the country.
    Mr Speaker, I would call on my fellow Members of Parliament to join hands with the centre for Suicide and Violence Research(CSVR), Univer- sity of Ghana Mental Health Authority
    Mr Speaker 10:56 a.m.
    Thank you, Hon Member.
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu (NPP - Bekwai) 10:56 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, looking round, it does not appear that this subject excites the interest of Hon Members. That truly is my view.
    I have done 30 years in law practice now. Even during my younger days, I do not remember that I heard or saw somebody prosecuted for attempted
    suicide. There are some matters that should be allowed to lie.
    I think that in everyday jurisprudence, it is not one of the things that any prosecutor is interested in. Ghanaians generally sympathise with people who attempt to commit suicide. Growing up, those people in the small communities actually helped. The victims are taken to informal counselors.
    It would probably be ideal to facilitate and give such people formal counseling, as would be desired.
    Frankly, however, where are the formal counselors?
    I have heard Dr Joseph B. Asare complain often, but I also know that he is heavily overburdened with the psychiatric cases that are before him.
    What I suggest we do is to pretend that it does not exist. This is because truly, that is how we have looked at it in the past few years. We should rather focus on more pressing things.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:56 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 10:56 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would commend the Hon Member who
    made the Statement. What he has brought to us is a crime that the international community looks at every year.
    The important thing is that suicide or attempted suicide is an offence in our law books. We have urged for its removal. It is not a constitutional provision, so it is easy for us to bring an amendment for its removal altogether.
    Yesterday, we discussed a related matter of victims of drug abuse, who have become a liability to the public. Similarly, there may be other factors why people attempt to commit suicide, but many of them are related to the intake of drugs.
    It is therefore, important that we amend our laws because even though it is rare that somebody would be prosecuted for attempted suicide, the police and the other security agencies that are aware that it could be punished are likely to act on it.
    The moment a person attempts suicide, however, we know that the person may not be himself. There is, therefore, no way such a person could be prosecuted, imprisoned or anything like that.
    Every year, Amnesty International holds symposia, workshops and
    seminars to call on the Ghana Government to remove this legislation from our books. I would therefore, support that call, so that we initiate action in that regard.
    I believe that if there is anything at all that we could do as a Parliament, a Private Member's Bill in this direction would be adequate. This is because it would require a deletion of that portion of the law, which would not involve extra expenditure.
    Mr Speaker, we need to make sure that people who have become susceptible to suicide are taken as mental patients. It should be a condition that must be treated fairly, just like any other physical ailment, and should not be punished.
    This must be the way it should go; we should remove it from our books, and look at it more humanely. We should rather see the person as a victim of a psychological condition, and not somebody who has committed a crime. One cannot commit a crime against himself, and that is why invariably, it is hardly prosecuted. We should not leave it to be the same in our books.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:56 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member.
    Mr Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze (NDC -- Central Tongu) 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is a truism that suicide among the youth in Ghana, in particular, is on the ascendency. This was highlighted by the Mental Health Authority a few years ago. The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority attributed it to lack of social support, but Prince Andrew Livingstone identified eight causes of suicide among the youth.
    He identified stress as being one of the causes. According to him, when students get to school, their decision to make good grades and to make sure that they meet standards
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    Hon Member, you may make a contribution, but do not interrupt the person who is on his feet.
    Mr Amankwah 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, I wanted to seek clarification because this is a House of record and --
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    If you would want to contribute to the Statement, you may do so. Otherwise, give the opportunity quickly to another Hon Member.
    Mr Amankwah 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for this unique opportunity to contribute to the
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    You are commenting; you are not contributing.
    Mr Amankwah 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker has given me the opportunity to --
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    He said you should comment, not contribute.
    Mr Amankwah 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a House of records, so when an Hon Member says that suicide is on the ascendancy, what statistics did he refer to? Has he done any research?
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    Hon Member, you do not have a contribution to make.
    Hon Afenyo-Markin, you may make your contribution.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, do you want me to comment briefly?
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    I do not want you to. I thought you stood up.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have nothing to say at this moment.
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    Were you on your feet by accident?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wanted to draw the attention of the Chair to a certain infringement on the rules.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy now; you have given me a smile. This morning, it was as if there was an issue.
    Mr Speaker, this morning, you drew my attention to the rules and I complied. I noticed that my Hon Colleague referred to suicide being on the ascendancy, and there is no record to that. So, I wanted to catch your eye and remind him of Standing Order 72. I would read --
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    You could not catch my eye because he has finished.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have given me the chance.
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, is it too late?
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    There is a time for interruption.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker, I take a cue.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:06 a.m.
    Very well, I take a cue.
    Mr Chireh 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who last spoke on the Statement referred to Dr Osei, and he attributed the incident. In this House, an Hon Member from the Ashanti Region -- I cannot remember the exact constituency -- made a Statement on suicide cases among students. Suicide is on the ascendancy -- [Interruption] It is not a shouting match.
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Chireh 11:06 a.m.
    All I am saying is that the more people we have --
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    The Hon Yieleh Chireh is a senior senator.
    Mr Chireh 11:06 a.m.
    It is not a matter of shouting. The evidence you are looking for -- Otherwise, we cannot make any Statement in this House. What he said is relative. The Hon Member quoted -- [Interruption] It would not stop anybody from making Statements because the more we are -- Yesterday, we debated drug abuse and people in mental homes. Mr Speaker, why can he now say that there is no depression?
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    Hon Member, now, you may speak in response to Hon Yieleh Chireh.
    Mr Amankwah 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Yieleh Chireh is a senior Hon Colleague in this House and he knows by the rules of engagement that one has to research thoroughly if he wants to make a Statement on the Floor.
    Mr Speaker, for an Hon Member to have made a Statement to the effect that suicide is on the ascendancy, we want to challenge him to prove his source. Here we are; the Hon Yieleh Chireh also made reference to the fact that --
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    Hon Member, do not say “we”; say “I” if you would want to. You are not speaking for anybody; speak for yourself.
    Mr Amankwah 11:06 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to read Standing Order 70 (2).
    “A Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of government policy. Any such announcement --”
    Mr Speaker 11:06 a.m.
    The Standing Order does not apply, so go on.
    Mr Amankwah 11:16 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is rather Standing Order 72.
    With your permission, I quote:
    “By the indulgence of the House and leave of Mr Speaker a Member may, at the time appointed for statements under Order 53 (Order of Business) explain a matter of personal nature or make a statement on a matter of urgent public importance. Any statement other than a personal statement may be commented upon by other Members for a limited duration of time not exceeding one hour. The terms of any such proposed statement shall first be submitted to Mr Speaker.”
    So Mr Speaker, there is no debate. The Hon Member just wants to provoke debate and create controversy. We would want to subject the Hon Member to show prove of the statistics that shows that suicide is on the ascendancy.
    Mr Speaker, this is a serious House and the Hon Member is a senior Hon Colleague. Students are sitting in the gallery. [Laughter] I am surprised that the Hon Member wants to pollute their minds.
    Mr Speaker, I am surprised that a whole senior Hon Member of his stature would make a Statement without any authentic source.

    Mr Speaker, even though he is exiting, he is still an Hon Member and some of us rely on his judgement.

    Mr Speaker, so respectfully, when he said suicide among the youth is on the ascendancy, what evidence does he have and from which source? Which statistics is he referring to? Has he done any research on that? What was the earlier figure? We would like to know the figure he is relying on.

    Mr Speaker, he is a pharmacist and he should know the danger when he makes such comments here -- He is a Lawyer and he should know that we would want to know the source so that we would be guided by such concerns. This is a house of records, for Christ's sake.

    Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would like to appeal to the Hon Member that with all humility, he should withdraw and apologise.

    --[Hear! Hear!]--
    Mr Chireh 11:16 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
    For the guidance of us all, the Standing Order that the Hon Member quoted -- it is somebody who made his Statement. Is the Hon Member saying that the Hon Member who
    Mr Chireh 11:16 a.m.
    made the Statement did not research? The Hon Member who commented was only commenting on the Statement and was as well citing another person, attributing his statement to Dr Osei of the Mental Health Authority.

    Mr Speaker, the issue I raised was that it was not about figures. So, unless people have figures here and have statistical information, can we not contribute? Is that what the Hon Member is saying? If that is so, we should write it into the Standing Orders, not when the Hon Member takes it -- instead of commenting, he is now chastising people for expressing their opinions and views. He is wrong and he must be told that the Standing Order he read was wrong.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:16 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, not too long ago, you gave a conjunctive effect to Standing Orders 70(2) and 72. Mr Speaker, we were all here in this House.
    Mr Speaker, for the avoidance of doubt, I shall read Standing Order 70 (2), which reads:
    “A Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of Government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which it is deemed necessary to make known to the House and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. Any Member may comment briefly subject to the same limitation.”
    Mr Speaker, you have in a ruling, interpreted this together with Standing Order 72 to mean -- Mr Speaker, let me use the appropriate Latin expression; mutatis mutandis to Standing Order 72. Mr Speaker, that was your ruling. Therefore all that we say -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, I would like Dr Apaak to be quiet and respect my right; he is disturbing me.
    Mr Speaker, all that my Hon Colleague Collins Owusu Amankwah is saying is that the Hon Member who made the comment should be mindful of the rules and your ruling. He should not provoke any debate; he should not raise issues that are outside the original Statement. That is the contention of Hon Owusu Amankwah and that is in accord of your ruling, Mr Speaker.
    To say suicide among the youth is on the ascendancy is a serious matter. And today, we are being told that if it is one and it is not zero, it is an ‘ascendancy'. No source? The Hon Member is introducing a controversial matter when he was only to comment in accord with the Statement.
    Mr Speaker, I would strongly urge my very respected senior, Hon Yieleh Chireh -- Mr Speaker, we take a lot of inspiration from him; on this occasion and on this occasion alone, we think that he is about misleading us by endorsing someone who has breached the rules by and telling us that if it is even one, it is on the ascendancy. Really? What is the correlation? What is the metaphor he is trying to create? What is he telling us? When is zero to one an ascendancy?
    Mr Speaker, I would like to distance myself from this statement from Hon Yieleh Chireh; I would not support him, and our records should reflect that those of us to your right hand side --[Interruption]-- Mr Speaker, my people seem to agree with me so I am speaking for them. We disagree; that is not the law, that is not the fact.
    Mr Speaker, I know you enjoy debates; this debate must flow. Mr Speaker, you earlier ambushed me when I wanted to raise a matter of national interest but now, the debate
    has brought itself. Mr Speaker, the same thing they did yesterday when they tried to raise an issue about security services' recruitment when they knew they were wrong. They were raising that in the media and today, they want to raise a similar debate, no!
    Mr Speaker, this is a House of records, we need to correct them. So they should retract, withdraw and let us make progress.
    I thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:16 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 11:16 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I did not have the opportunity to be in the Chamber as the Statement was made but for the record, I am not aware that there was a Statement from an Hon Minister as my Hon Colleague who just spoke said. There is no Statement. My Hon Colleague quoted Order 70(2); he should read Order 70(2). If he wants to quote the appropriate Order, he should quote Order 72, which is the mandate -- [Interruption] --
    Mr Speaker 11:16 a.m.
    Order! The Hon Minority Leader is on his feet; he may guide the House. You would never know.
    Please, go on.
    Mr Speaker 11:16 a.m.
    Order! Hon Members, let us not engage in a shouting match; let us be intellectual in these matters. You all want a House of record, so let us buy that which would extract matters of record.
    Hon Minority Leader, you may please go on.
    Mr Iddrisu 11:16 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was reporting, and I should get the caption right for the records -- ‘Mental Health Authority Calls for Resources to Tackle Suicide Cases.' And in that report, they hinted that there were increasing report of the case. If it does not happen, it would not be reported. It even went further to give evidence that, out of every four suicide cases, only one case is reported.
    I just thought I should share that so that Mr Speaker would guide the
    debate forward onto this matter so that we do not have to overindulge on the matter.
    And because Mr Speaker has given Hon Afenyo-Markin the opportunity, he even said Mr Speaker ‘ambushed' him.
    Mr Speaker 11:26 a.m.
    Hon Members, the conjunctive ruling regarding Standing Order 70 (1) and 70 (2), refers to the fact that even though in Standing Order 72, there is no clear expression of the guidance of not provoking debate, when you are guided by Standing Order 70 (2), you see clearly the rules that should guide the engagement in the making of Statements. So, it is a fact that it affects both cases, whether it is by an Hon Minister -- [Hear! Hear!]
    No, it does not justify your stand. Whether a Statement is from an Hon Minister or a contribution to any other matter in the Statement by an Hon Member, it should not provoke debate. Nevertheless, we should be careful how we define the parameters of “not provoking debate” because
    this is essentially, a debating Chamber. So long as we contribute to these discussions, we come here to debate.
    Maybe, the Standing Orders Committee should take note, that certain debates are provoked unnecessarily -- we did not adjectivise it. The moment you discuss these matters, you are debating and that is the business of this House. So, we must be very careful.
    You would notice that even though all matters of fact should under normal circumstances be justified or withdrawn, there are certain issues which those persons who may want a confirmation themselves are not sure of their facts, by way of saying that which the other member has said is wrong. So, you may just want substantiation and not that you are challenging it, because what has been said could very well be right, but maybe, you do not know.
    Incidentally, that which I was going to say anyway, which I have written down, has in effect been substantiated by the contribution made by the Hon Minority Leader, by being just patient so that the debate could go on. He has made it clear that from the official source, we could see, that he said there are increased reports on this
    incidence and that is good enough guidance for us.
    So in future, Hon Members can be guided this way. You make your own contribution, but you are a good Member to draw to the attention of the Hon Member who made the Statement that you would be very glad.
    Could the Hon Member who just spoke make a substantiation of this, just for the records? Sometimes you could humbly admit that you might not be aware of the details, truth or otherwise. However, if it is to be substantiated, we would be glad. That is a more mature way of going about the debate which is actually common in the House of Commons for example.

    Any further contributions to the matter before us? Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu 11:26 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to
    Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu 11:36 a.m.
    contribute to the Statements. While I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, I have difficulty accepting some of his recom- mendations.
    Mr Speaker, you are a good academic. The best sociologically researched paper on suicide is that of Durkheim, 1897, when he sought to establish the relationship between social factors and suicide. In this writing, he described three types of suicides; anomic suicide, egoistic suicide and altruistic suicide. Therefore, in reading about it, we need to understand in each of these individual cases, what the motivation was to cause suicide. We also need to appreciate why under Ghanaian law, suicides have been criminalised.
    I support its criminalisation because it is not normal or acceptable behaviour. We should not think that when we have depression or are distressed, the ultimate thing is to take our lives. The life cannot be recovered. If we do not criminalise it as a country, then we are saying that it is normal and good behaviour. It cannot be.
    Any person who has researched deeply on suicides -- the only type of suicide that we may want to say is
    behaviourally rewarding is the altruistic suicide, where the individual places societal values over his or her personal values. However, when it is egoistic and lawless, it can lead to suicide.
    Mr Speaker, while I agree that we should resource the Mental Health Authority to deal with it -- only a month ago, while I was preparing for Maghrib (6.00 p.m.) payers around New Town, a gentleman came to greet me with his brother, Tunde. The next day, Tunde argued with his sister over Fanta, a carbonated drink. I think that he went to buy drinks and he had an argument with his sister. The next moment, he was found hanging on a rope in his room.
    His colleague who came to greet me with him, came the next day and said: “Haruna, Tunde killed himself”. Yet, do we want to say that behaviour is right and acceptable? No. Therefore I disagree with the Hon Member who made the Statement that we should decriminalise it. Unacceptable behaviour must be punished and deterred. We do not want a society where we encourage young children to resort to killing themselves if they have problems. Which society develops that way?
    I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, but funda- mentally, I disagree with him. There
    is a basis for our criminal law -- Mr Speaker, you are a good Lawyer and the source of law is morality. That behaviour is immoral, therefore, if it is punished with legislation, you would say we should-
    As a country, we should find out what is responsible for the recent reported cases of increases in suicide. What is it attributable to? Then we can as a country deal with it. But when we do not know the causes and ask that it should be decriminalised - It is not normal behaviour and those who studied Social Psychology like the doctor -- If they look at the relationship or the social circums- tances, the situational behaviour is what informs this kind of conduct.
    So, I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, but I disagree with him that it should be decriminalised, as I understand it from portions of the Statement.
    What we need to do as a country is to look at unemployment. There are many people without jobs and in that distress they get hopeless. As they get hopeless, they throw up their hands in despair. These are potential candidates of suicide. As a country, we must look deep into how to find employment opportunities for people.
    When the economic theorists come here, they talk about economic growth. In my view, the strongest measure of well-being is employment. When at the end of the month, you have electricity and water bills as well as children's school fees to pay, and you need milo and bread for them to start life for the day, but you are not working and there is no income, that is a tragedy that can compel you.

    Mr Speaker, with these words, I thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker 11:36 a.m.
    Thank you very much. Hon Majority Leadership?
    Mr Matthew Nyindam (NPP -- Kpandai 11:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity to also contribute to the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague.
    Mr Speaker, I am not a lawyer, but why would somebody decide that he would want to kill himself or herself? It tells you that the individual is facing serious challenges that he or she thinks that their world has come to an end.
    Mr Speaker, often when you hear of such individuals, they make statements such as; “If you joke, I am going to kill myself oo, life is not worth living”. These are comments that such individuals start with and if
    Mr Speaker 11:36 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon First Deputy Majority Whip.
    That brings Statements time to an end.
    At the Commencement of Public Business, item listed 5(a)(i) by the Hon Minister for Finance?
    Mr Nyindam 11:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, items listed 5(a)(i), (ii) and (iii) are not ready and the same applies to 5(b). If we could take item listed as 5(c) on the Order Paper. The Hon Chairman is here to lay the Paper.
    Mr Speaker 11:36 a.m.
    Do you mean to say that it is not because of any absence, but it is just that they are not ready?
    Mr Nyindam 11:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, no, those items are not ready.
    Mr Speaker 11:36 a.m.
    Are the items of 5(a) not available for us?
    Alright. Item numbered 5(b) by the Hon Minister for Energy.
    Mr Nyindam 11:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, item numbered 5(b) is also not ready. If we could take item numbered 5(c)?
    Mr Speaker 11:36 a.m.
    Item numbered 5(c) (i) by the Hon Chairman of the Committee.
    PAPERS 11:36 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:36 a.m.
    Item numbered 6 - Motions.
    Mr Nyindam 11:36 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, item numbered 6 is not ready. If you look at the Order Paper, we have advertised a lot of Committee Sittings and today too, being a Friday, Hon
    Members will be preparing to go to their various constituencies.
    So I would want us to -- [Interruption] -- the Hon First Deputy Speaker has indicated his readiness to take the item numbered
    Therefore I withdraw my first application. Could we please take the item numbered 6?
    MOTIONS 11:36 a.m.

    AU 11:36 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:46 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    We would take a contribution each from both Sides and then the Hon Leaders.
    Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa (NDC -- North Tongu) 11:56 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to second this Motion.

    Mr Speaker, I commend the Hon First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, for the presentation of the Report by the representatives of the Parliament of Ghana. The Report is very comprehensive and it gives us great insight into what took place at the Second Ordinary Session of the Pan-African Parliament.

    Mr Speaker, the leader of the delegation has raised a number of salient issues. One of those issues stresses on the lack of stability on our membership at the Pan-African Parliament and that it was a matter that came up for discussion. I believe that moving forward, we should encourage Leadership of the House to pay closer attention to the selection of our Hon Members who represent us at the Pan-African Parliament. This institution, as we know, is the legislative arm of the African Union and it is very important to the integrational efforts of the continent; it is the body that carries the hopes and aspirations of the people of the continent. So, we know that the challenges have largely been about ministerial reshuffles and when this happens, we have no choice but to take a second look at the membership.

    In this recent case, Hon Yaw Afful has been appointed to serve as an Hon Deputy Minister at the Ministry of

    Aviation and this means that he had to relinquish his membership of the Pan-African Parliament. Mr Speaker, so I sometimes understand the challenge that the Leadership of the House faces because there could be a certain inevitability about these developments, but I believe that moving forward, we could fashion a way out to see how we could probably reduce the high attrition rate which has been pointed out.

    Mr Speaker, the theme for the Second Ordinary Session; “2019, the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa” is what I intend to focus on.

    Mr Speaker, the theme is timely and it is a matter I know that your good self has raised at a number of fora, either in this House or when some delegations have called upon you and I have been privileged to join you -- where you have expressed concern about the wave of immigration where young Africans perish trying to seek greener pastures. We would not have this tragic situation if we build a continent of opportunities and create jobs and a vibrant economy for Africans and our young people to live in.

    Mr Speaker, the reality is that Africa now has the youngest population in the world. The African

    continent could boast of some 400 million young people who are below the age of 35 years. This is an opportunity and also a threat. So, the theme is a very important one, and as we speak, there is talk about the global immigration crises. Europe says they have had enough, right wing governments have closed their entry points and some of them would not have anything to do with immigrants largely from Africa. Clearly, we cannot blame them and as leaders we must fashion a way out to solve this voyage where young people die in the Mediterranean; some are swallowed by the high seas and others fall victims to terrorists and all the other harrowing experiences that we have come to know of.

    Mr Speaker, personally, I have travelled to Spain to see and talk to some of our young patriots who have survived, and they speak about very harrowing stories that sometimes, out of 20 people who began the journeys only about two or three would survive. So this is a matter that must engage our attention and that is why I would commend African leaders on the progress that has been made on the African Continental Free Trade Area which gives us a common market for the first time in the annals of our history.

    It appears to be the second, and probably, the most important trading zone after the World Trade Organisation (WTO). If we operationalise it in good time and all the potential that this has for us is really exploited, then we could improve manufacturing, intra-African trade, and in the process, create opportunities for young people on the continent. I commend Ghana for securing the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area. We must make sure that all the employment opportunities that come with that benefits Ghanaians and our young people.

    Mr Speaker, as I conclude, the hosting of the Pan-African Parliament by South Africa is a matter that I intend to raise because of South Africa's own conduct in recent years; especially the waves of xenophobic attacks that has sadly been targeted at Black Africans.

    A few months ago, our own compatriots who are Ghanaians living in South Africa were affected. Fortunately on our part, no one died, but there were injuries. However, sadly, citizens of other African countries were killed. Waves of xenophobic attacks have led to some of us questioning whether South Africa should continue to host the Pan-African Parliament. It is a matter that I believe we should probe further. The African Union and all of us should
    Mr Speaker 11:56 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa. That is very elucidating.
    Hon Ablakwa has seconded and made a useful contribution. I would have one contribution. Hon Minority Leader, then we come to Majority Leadership.
    Question proposed.
    Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 11:56 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion and in doing so commend the Hon First Deputy Speaker, the Leader of our delegation to the Pan- African Parliament. I have seen him in some instances managed to combine the role as he engages in some Parliamentary diplomacy against this statutory role and against his role in the Chamber.
    Mr Speaker, advisedly, it is for a good reason that we have had to change our membership on the Pan- African Parliament. Even if that does not help our governance course, we have respected the rules and the practices. That is what is required of us as a country, that when one is an Hon Member of Parliament (MP), and he goes into the office of the Executive, mandatorily, he has to relinquish this role at that level. Probably, as a Parliament, we should think through how we constitute this delegation, going forward.
    Mr Speaker, it is estimated, particularly, on the theme “2019, the year of the Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa”. It is reported that there are 34,000 persons displaced globally in a day. It is also reported that there are 10 million stateless people across the globe, but we should look at the causes of refugees in Ghana. It is attributable to war, internal conflicts, drought, and more importantly, poor economies.
    Mr Speaker, it is a positive thing in disguise. At least, today in Africa, we do not have refugees as a result of increased number of political asylum seekers. That has been a dividend of the democracy that no persons run or leave their countries because they are subjected to political torture or some
    Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:06 p.m.
    political danger. Even the numbers - What has contributed significantly to the refugee status in Africa has largely been the internal conflict in Sudan. Uganda and Ethiopia have been commended by the United Nations (UN) for maintaining an open-door policy. We have also done so as country, and Ghana needs to be recognised, from the days when we hosted Liberian refugees. Many times, when there are disturbances affecting our neighbouring countries, we give the needed assistance.

    Mr Speaker, again, the Pan- African Parliament is modelled on the EU model, which united 28 countries of Europe. Can we say the same thing of the AU? I would beg the issue. Even as we debate the Report, there are reports that Nigeria has closed its borders to its West African neighbours. That cannot be best practice, if we want to promote continental trade -- if we want to promote African unity, and if we want to promote Pan-Africanism. It defeats the ideals of Nnamdi Azikiwe and company.

    Mr Speaker, how do we, the poor economies integrate our economies as a continent? I am sure the Hon First -- We would have to look at the

    matters. I have seen a paragraph on trade which is relative to migration.

    Mr Speaker, even in this House, we must demand that the Immigration Service of Ghana gives us update of statistics of persons entering and leaving our country for good reason for us to anticipate matters of terrorists' threats.

    A number of Agreements have been laid before Parliament on visa waivers. We need to know how many of their citizens enter our country and how many of ours enter their country. We do not just grant a visa waiver when there are disproportionate entry in terms of the countries and we need to be very careful. I know that we have a migration policy.

    Mr Speaker, our borders are still very porous. Again in Africa, we could see the cascading effect of the conflict in Libya and in Burkina Faso. This is an opportunity for us to call on the national security apparatus of Ghana to wake up, particularly on the borders in the northern part of Ghana; from Hamile through Paga and others. At all the towns that share borders with Burkina Faso, we need to be alert. The outcome of the conflict in Libya and the displaced persons are looking for opportunities somewhere. Some of them are not looking for

    opportunities; they are looking for trouble and they will be a source of trouble. We need to marshal our resources right to make sure that our country remains peaceful and we safeguard the security of our citizens.

    Mr Speaker, I would conclude with paragraph 7.3 on page 9 of the Report. With your permission, I beg to quote:

    “The African Governance Architecture (AGA) platform has therefore prioritised five governance assessment areas, which are:

    i) Transformative leadership,

    ii) Constitutionalism and the rule of law,

    iii) Peace, security and gover- nance;”

    Mr Speaker, this is my conclusion,

    “iv) The nexus of development and governance.”

    Mr Speaker, because our economies are not doing well, because we do not respond to the aspirations of the people, there is some erosion of faith and public confidence in the elected by the

    electorate. It means that the dividend of democracy must manifest in economic development. It should not just be that there is rule of law and investment. What is the benefit of democracy to ordinary people?

    Mr Speaker, with this, I commend the Leader of the delegation and our delegation.

    Hon Ablakwa raised an important issue, but that is still a matter of debate. I have not seen a fundamental departure in the pursuit of foreign policies of the Government of Ghana in the last two decades; it remains same.

    Mr Speaker, if you would recall, at the time your delegation was in Zanzibar for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the attacks happened in South African. As I listened to their Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs, she did not even want to use the word ‘xenophobic'; she said, African phobic in order to appreciate it. It means we must prepare to manage a refugee emergency if it happens.

    I share the view of Hon Ablakwa that South Africa must reflect the values that it is the proud host of the Pan-African Parliament. It therefore must extend courtesies to all African citizens in South Africa and do same.
    Mr Speaker 12:06 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader.
    Yes, Majority Leadership?
    Mr Nyindam 12:06 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would cede the Leadership opportunity to my Senior Colleague, Hon Kobina Tahir Hammond.
    Mr Speaker 12:06 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, you may.
    Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond (NPP -- Adansi Asokwa) 12:16 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    I have not really had the opportunity to peruse the document properly. It is a 35 page document, but it is the Hon First Deputy Speaker who headed the representation to the Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament on the date indicated.
    Mr Speaker, when we were in secondary school sixth form, or our early years in the university, during the political science lectures, we were taught some of these principles of politics. As a professor of both law and political science, it was a prominent question that mostly reared its head, I think mostly at the advance Level stage. It was to this effect, was the United Nations (UN) a talking shop or it was worthy of its name? A lot of factors have conspired to create a very bad image for the UN. It was always thought that it was a talking shop; people went to the General Assembly and spoke their minds — they spoke about all sorts of things. Then ultimately, the veto powers vetoed everything and everything went downhill.
    Mr Speaker, I think the concomitant reflection of that would have been whether the then Organisation of African Union (OAU) was worthy of anything, if not simply a replication of working and talking shop which we thought the UN had become.
    Mr Speaker, it was on the basis of that or a review and introspect reflection of the procedures, the activities, and indeed, the effect of the organisation that led to its rebranding and indeed it being rechristened as the
    AU. Does it make the question moribund? Is it now the case that because it is called the AU, it is more effective than it used to be?
    Mr Speaker, you would want to compare the AU in its current state to, even if not so closely,then approximately, institutions and structures like the EU. I used that as a classic example. I accept that the United Kingdom (UK) wants to leave the Union.

    Mr Speaker, for those who constitute the fabric of the AU, they would not complain that it is entirely a talking shop. If it were, then new countries like the newly independent former Soviet colonies would not struggle to become members of the institution; the bloc.

    Mr Speaker, I think that it is because of its palpable economic effects on them that most of these countries now choose to want to become members of the organisation. I take cognisance of the fact that a country like Turkey, even though a member of NATO, has tried to become a member of the EU to no fruitful effect.

    We sit back and ask the question of what the AU is really doing for its
    Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond (NPP -- Adansi Asokwa) 12:16 p.m.

    constituents. As I said, in the EU, one would hear of the benefits; one sees its influence on agriculture and fishery, there is freedom of movement of the individuals, and also in trade among constituent parts of the countries.

    Mr Speaker, we ask ourselves what we really see among ourselves. What are some of the tangible benefits, apart from the obvious fact that we belong to an organisation called the


    Mr Speaker, in the classic case of Ghana, what do we get? In the Report, there was a seminar on energy and others. When we look at Europe as it is now, they have all these trans-national and international pipelines that supply various countries with facilities for the production of electricity.

    Mr Speaker, we heard that there was an effort to construct a big dam on one of the rivers in South Africa, with the hope that power would be produced. A gargantuan amount of power was expected to be produced by that particular country for the purpose of distribution among the rest of Africa. However, nothing has become of it.

    Mr Speaker, with respect to trade, we see nothing. We rather trade more with the European countries. In Ghana, we trade more with Britain and the others than our own continental colleagues; and we ask ourselves why.

    We have institutions like the African Court of Human Rights. I am sure some of our Hon Colleagues are hearing some of these names for the first time. We do not really see the impact of the organisation on our nation.

    Mr Speaker, it is that bad. My Hon Colleagues who spoke before me talked about specific instances that pertain in Nigeria and South Africa. It is appalling and rather disgusting to think about the case of South Africa for example.

    Mr Speaker, we all lived through the era of the apartheid and knew what happened. Decades after the apartheid, we should look at what is happening. The worse of it now is that it is no more a matter of white on black; it now seems to be black on black. This is because our brothers in South Africa would now not tolerate the presence of their own continental brothers in their country. We sit back and ask why it is so.

    Mr Speaker, we might also want to put ourselves in their shoes and ask ourselves if it is justified because the claim is that we are taking over their jobs. However, that is what all this business about continental organi- sation is about. The fact that we have decided we are one continent, one people with one destiny, that is the reason we all have come together.

    It is documented and everybody seems to know about it. Even though I am not the greatest fan of Kwame Nkrumah, I think one of the things that he said during those days of Pan- Africanism was that ‘the indepen- dence of Ghana itself was nothing else, unless it was linked up with the total liberation of Africa'.

    Africa is liberated and so we should come together to do things for the sake of our destiny; for the good of all of us. South Africa would now not let any of their continental brothers enter their country, and they are even killing them now.

    Mr Speaker, three miles away to the east -- Nigeria -- Mr Speaker, it is not showing any leadership. I understand that a few people cried in Kumasi that they disturbed them and did not allow them to trade. That is infinitesimal on the scale of what is being talked about.
    Mr Speaker 12:16 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member.
    Yes, Hon First Deputy Speaker?
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu (NPP -- Bekwai) 12:16 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to thank Hon Members who contributed on the Report.
    I would want it to be on record that this Report covers the period before the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. This was in May, and the homophobic attacks occurred sometime in September. That is why this Report says nothing about it. In the subsequent Report we would discuss what the Pan-African Parliament's decision and discussions on those incidents were, and the conclusions they have come to.
    Mr Speaker, otherwise, I thank Hon Members for the support.
    Mr Speaker 12:16 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon First Deputy Speaker.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Nyindam 12:16 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as said earlier, we have advertised some Committee meetings. Today is also Friday and Hon Members are preparing to go to their constituencies.
    Mr Speaker, I would therefore want to move that this House stands adjourned till Tuesday at 10.00 a. m.
    Mr Iddrisu 12:26 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment, and to inform the Clerks-at-the-Table that the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019, having passed through Second Reading, is expected to be properly tabled for us to go through the Consideration Stage. As we do not
    have other public Business, we could do justice to that Bill and get it passed.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:26 p.m.