Debates of 14 Nov 2019

PRAYERS 10:33 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:33 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 13th November, 2019.
Page 1…9 --
Mr Speaker 10:33 a.m.
Yes, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa?
Mr Ablakwa 10:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, please, on page 9, with regard to the special dignitaries you acknowledged yesterday, one name has been omitted - the chairman of the People's National Convention (PNC), Mr Bernard Mornah. I recalled you acknowledged his presence, so if that could be added to the list?
Mr Speaker 10:33 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Ras Mubarak 10:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, still on page 9, I noticed you mentioned Mr Freddie Blay as the chairperson of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), but it has been captured as ‘'Mr F. Worsemao Armah Blay''. I do not know whether it should be as you mentioned, or the full name should be inserted.
It also applies to the former Hon Minister for Finance -- I did not hear you mention ‘'Mr Emmanuel Seth Terkper'' -- what you mentioned was ‘'Mr Seth Terkper''. So, if there could be some consistency in how they are captured.
Mr Ablakwa 10:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I respectfully disagree with Hon Ras Mubarak. These are official records. Though you said ‘'Mr Freddie Blay'', as a former Hon First Deputy Speaker of this House, the records would show his official and full name, so that is what should be documented.
I do not believe there has been any wrong doing on the part of those who captured the records. To the extent that it is the same person, ‘‘Mr
Freddie Blay,'' it is his official name per the records of this House and that is what has been captured.
Mr Speaker 10:33 a.m.
Hon Member, the other day, I made this matter clear. Certain corrections can be made by the Table Office itself. So if you call a person ‘'Freddie'' and the person writes ‘'Fredrick'', et cetera and that is the real thing, we do not query it because that is the fullness of that name.
With that explanation, do you have any more difficulties?
Mr Ras Mubarak 10:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is not in doubt. The name in my passport, for instance, is ‘'Abdullai Mohammed Mubarak'' which is my official name and ‘'Ras Mubarak'' is equally --
Mr Speaker 10:33 a.m.
We are not talking about peculiarities on a passport. We are talking about the popular parlance on the records.
Mr Ras Mubarak 10:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my position is that “Freddie Blay'' is equally not wrong. It is to assume as if by writing “Freddie Blay'', the name
is inaccurate. ‘“Freddie Blay'' is equally his official name, so is ‘'Seth Terkper''. What I said was, if they were captured as you mentioned them, there would have been nothing wrong with that.
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh 10:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was also in this House yesterday, and I believe that where we use common names, when we deal with official names is not right. This is because the full names must be known.
I know some people who have shortened their names to ‘‘Sammy'' or ‘‘Tony''. That is not right because once we deal with official names, the person's full name should be captured.
There could be aliases, but as for the name -- [Interruptions] That is why I am happy to see the last name -- I did not know that she was a retired Major but now I know.
Mr Speaker 10:33 a.m.
Let us not worry too much about these names. Mr Tony Blair was Prime Minister, and that “Tony'' was “Anthony''; but he preferred to be called ‘'Tony'' and that became the popular parlance. He would not want to quarrel with that as part of the Hansard of the House of Commons.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 10:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I recalled that yesterday, Mr Bernard Mornah, the national chairman for PNC --
Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
That has been corrected. You are welcome. We welcome you with that information; we have made progress.
Hon Minority Leader, it was corrected in your absence.
Page 10 --
Mr Samuel N. George 10:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yesterday, I stood up to notify the House with my presence, and so did the Hon Second Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah. I see that the correction of my presence has been done but hers has not been effected.
She also drew the attention of the House that she was present. So could that correction be effected?
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
Page 11…19.
Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 13th November, 2019 as corrected be hereby admitted as the true record of proceedings.
The Official Report of 1st August, 2019. --any corrections, please?

The Official Report of 31st October, 2019. Hon Members, any corrections?
Mr Ablakwa 10:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in column 623, the second paragraph, the fifth line, the Hon Majority Leader must have said “meeting”, so if it could be corrected accordingly?
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
Hon Members, any further corrections, please?
Hon Members, the Official Report of Thursday, 31st October, 2019 as
corrected is hereby admitted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, item numbered 3, Questions.
The Hon Minister for Youth and Sports should please take the appropriate seat.
Question 627 stands in the name of the Hon Member for Mion.
ORAL ANSWERS TO 10:43 a.m.

QUESTIONS 10:43 a.m.


SPORTS 10:43 a.m.

Minister for Youth and Sports (Mr Isaac K. Asiamah) 10:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on 6th April, 2018, this matter was referred to the Ministry of National Security for investigations.
Mr Speaker, I will therefore not be in a position to speak further on it.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Abdul-Aziz 10:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to seek your guidance on the Answer given by the Hon Minister before I can proceed on the matter.
The matter, as he indicated, is before the Ministry of National Security and not the court. Nothing bars him from speaking on a matter that is before the Ministry of National Security.
Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
Perhaps you should ask the Hon Minister whether the Ministry of National Security has made available any indication of a finding to him, so that he can speak on what is within his competency.
Hon Minister, do you have anything --if you can please answer him?
Mr I. K. Asiamah 10:43 a.m.
No, Mr Speaker.
Mr Abdul-Aziz 10:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I humbly request that you rule, that the Hon Minister answers because the matter is not before a court. The Ministry of National Security is like any other Ministry. So I would like you to give guidance on it, so that I can proceed.
Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
Hon Member, you have been told which State organ is seeing to this matter, which you yourself described as a scandal. So it is a very sensitive matter and it is before the Ministry of National Security.
The Hon Minister has told you that he is not seized with the report yet from the Ministry of National Security. How then can he comment?
So please, address any queries you may have through the relevant Minister responsible for national security.
Mr Abdul-Aziz 10:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, do I take it that your guidance or ruling is that the Question be redirected to the Ministry -- ?
Mr Speaker 10:43 a.m.
No, I am not saying so. I am advising because of what he said. You may not want to. If you however, wish that the appropriate forum is where the matter is seized now, it is a very simple matter.
You have been told where the matter is now lying; the matter that you described in very serious terms is with a serious authority. So direct your Question to that authority if you so desire. It is very simple. If you intend to do so, I am assisting in advising as to the appropriate channel.
Mr Ras Mubarak 10:53 a.m.
Mr Speaker, when would the Hon Minister make a follow-up on the matter from the Ministry of National Security and apprise the House?
Mr Speaker 10:53 a.m.
Hon Member, you have been told where the matter, which has been described by the owner of the Question as a scandal is lying.
Mr Ablakwa 10:53 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful.
On 13th September, 2019, the Daily Statesman Newspaper published that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) --
Mr Speaker 10:53 a.m.
Hon Member, I am not seized with Daily Statesman matters, please.
Mr Ablakwa 10:53 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to tender it --
Mr Speaker 10:53 a.m.
No; do you want to tender from your mobile phone?
Hon Member, please you are a lawyer; are you not?
Mr Ablakwa 10:53 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not.
Mr Speaker 10:53 a.m.
Well, let the lawyers advise you. [Laughter.]
Mr Ablakwa 10:53 a.m.
Mr Speaker, you have been liberal in times past --
Mr Speaker 10:53 a.m.
I direct the owner of the Question to advise himself accordingly.

Hon Members, Order!

Question 644? [Pause]--

Hon Majority Leader, are you aware of the communication I have here? I have sent something to you.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:53 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister was required to come to the House to respond to this Question sometime last week. Unfortunately, when the Question was slated, the Hon Minister had travelled outside the country, so we requested she appears before us today.
Unknown to us, the Ministry had arranged a programme prior to our request that she should come to Parliament today. It appears our directive coincided with the
programme that the Ministry had fixed for today. So, the Hon Minister is unable to be here.
Mr Speaker, from here, we have a Cabinet meeting. I would communi- cate the sentiments of the House to her, in order for us to determine when it would be appropriate for her to come and respond to the Question next week.
Mr Speaker, my humble plea is that, we stand this Question down until sometime next week, subject to discussion with her after I leave here.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:53 a.m.
Hon Leader, so when will the Hon Minister come? [Pause]
Hon Majority Leader, so when can we have the Hon Minister, so that we can -- ?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:53 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought we would be able to deal with item numbered 5. Unfortunately, it appears there is a small challenge, so we cannot deal with it now.
Mr Speaker, because the Hon Minister for the Interior is not here --
Mr Speaker 10:53 a.m.
We have State- ments.

Speaker, I am sorry. I did not get the communication very well.

Mr Speaker, I said that from here, I would attend a Cabinet meeting with the Hon Minister. I would have the discussion with her, so that we know exactly when to take it next week.

Mr Speaker, if it is possible, we could even take it tomorrow if the Answer is ready. The Business Committee meeting today has determined that next week, we would accord prime space to the debate on the Budget Statement, and we would not allow for Questions to be asked. So subject to my discussion with her, we may take it tomorrow. Otherwise, it may have to go to the ensuing week and not next week.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:53 a.m.
Yes, Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Chireh 10:53 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
The Hon Minister wrote a letter to you the Rt Hon Speaker, through the Clerk to Parliament. In that letter, if she would not be available, she should have indicated when she would be
available. This is because the issue is not for her to say she would not be available on a particular day, but there should be an indication to when she would be available.
Mr Speaker, because the letter was not addressed to the Hon Majority Leader but he decided to read it, he is not in the position to answer exactly what the issue should be.
So in future, I believe that Hon Ministers who are not able to come and they have good reasons, should also indicate when they would be available so that you the Rt Hon Speaker could then relay it to the person who has asked the Question.
The information they passed on to the Hon Majority Leader may not be adequate for him to assign when the Question would be answered.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:03 a.m.
Mr Speaker, first of all, I would like to stress that I have not read any letter from the Hon Minister. The Hon Member said that I decided to read the communication from the Minister; I have not done so.
Second, I was made aware of the content of the letter that was given to the Rt Hon Speaker even before you submitted same to me for my perusal.
Mr Speaker, notwithstanding, if an Hon Minister gives an indication as to when he or she would be available, that information would be subject to the indulgence of the House.
So assuming that the Hon Minister had indicated to us that she would be prepared to appear before us on next Tuesday and the Business Committee has decided that next week, no Questions would be answered in the House.
So if the communication was to the effect that she would be available any time next week, the Business Committee has decided that next week, we would emphasise the debate on the Budget Statement and no Questions would be allowed in the Chamber.

That was why I said that if I meet her today at the Cabinet meeting, I would have a discussion with her. If she could avail herself tomorrow, the House would stand ready to take the response from her. Otherwise, it would have to go to the week after next week. That was the response I gave.
Mr Speaker 11:03 a.m.
Very well, then the Hon Minister should come tomorrow, so that at least, we would have
something on record. We would expect the Hon Minister as the Hon Majority Leader has indicated.
Hon Members, Statements.
Today is World Diabetes Day and Hon (Dr) Bernard Okoe Boye would make a Statement on that.
STATEMENTS 11:03 a.m.

Dr Bernard Okoe Boye (NPP -- Ledzokuku) 11:03 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a Statement on the World Diabetes Day, a day set aside on the 14th of November every year to raise awareness, and create that kind of partnership that promotes education , prevention and treatment of diabetes as well as diabetes related health complications.
Mr Speaker, diabetes Mellitus, commonly called diabetes, is a condition of the body characterised by the inability of the human body to control sugar levels in the blood as a result of inadequate insulin production, insensitivity of receptors to insulin present in the blood, or total lack of insulin in certain conditions where the pancreas (insulin producing organ) has a pathology.
Dr Nana Ayew Afriye (NPP- Effiduase/Asokore) 11:03 a.m.
Mr Speaker, before I talk on the Statement, I would commend my Hon Friend and a member of the Committee on Health for his Statement.
Mr Speaker, between 2016 and 2017, a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked the prevalence of diabetes in Africa and Ghana as number six on the table.
Mr Speaker, the issue to do with the prevalence of diabetes --
Mr Speaker 11:03 a.m.
Hon Member, could you be more audible? We would want to hear you.
Dr Afriye 11:13 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the WHO in its 2016/2017 ranking, has reported that Ghana is number six in terms of the prevalence of diabetes. What is particularly worrying is that this could be classified as a stress- related illness...
Mr Speaker, many of us sitting here who are bombarded by issues to do with the socio-economic status of persons living in our constituencies all the time, plus the herculean task we go through with our committees, predisposes ourselves to the issue of stress. Many of us here would be caught in the web if we were to do a screening of sugar.
One other thing about diabetes, which is worrying is that many women who have type one -- we have two types of diabetes; type one and type two. For the type one diabetes, many women who have it end up experiencing a lot of miscarriages, and many women with the type two diabetes also end up with a lot of heart-related complications.
Mr Speaker, my interest, particularly, has to do with the issue of sin tax. It is contentious, but there has been some arguments in the past, where persons advocated for the taxing of sugar related products, cigarettes and all products that put people at risk of having diabetes.

Mr Speaker, with your good self as a reverend minister and a professor who likes research, if there is a way that we can push this through a Private Member's Bill or get policy makers

to stop talking -- these are issues that they have advocated for well over 10 years. Every one person who works in the area of diabetes talks about it. What are we doing to tax these areas and raise money for prevention of non-communicable diseases?

Mr Speaker, it would be revealing for you to realise that the budget for non-communicable diseases that we face in every cycle of estimate reviewing is close to nothing. So, this is a good opportunity.

I know very well that you are so much into seeing that a Private Member's Bill is sponsored throughout, and these are the cardinal areas that we can make impact on to raise money that would be available for fighting diabetes.

One of the cardinal areas of fighting diabetes is through education, generating awareness, decreasing weight, watching food consumption and behavioural change.

Mr Speaker, as my Hon Friend mentioned, we must commend you and your Board, including the Hon Majority Leader, for getting us a gym which is working, although many of us still do not patronise it.

Mr Speaker, as I sit down, we would commend you and ask if there

is a way that a private member's approach could test the availability of a law that would make money available to fight non-communicable diseases in the country?

Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity given me to speak on this issue.
Ms Angela Alorwu-Tay (NDC -- Afadzato South) 11:13 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the Statement made by Hon (Dr) Okoe Boye.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who made the Statement gave you an assignment, that you should talk to the men about the need to take their medications.
I believe it is not only the men since it is us the women who are able to determine whether performance is alright. You should also consider talking to us, because we are in a position to force the men to go to the hospital because we live with them. In carrying out the assignment, please do not forget to talk to the women also.
I believe the theme for the celebration of World Diabetes Day: “Diabetes and Family” is in place. The family is made up of women and
Mr Francis Kingsley Codjoe (NPP -- Ekumfi) 11:13 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I wish to thank my Hon Colleague, Hon (Dr) Okoe Boye, for bringing this issue up.
Mr Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of all of us, that one of the end diseases of diabetes is kidney failure. If you go to the renal unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital today, for the last few years, the rate of patients that report with kidney failure, which was caused by diabetes, is very high.
Apart from the rate being high, most of the time, when the patients go to the hospital, they might have already gone to herbal centres and taken in a lot of herbal medicines. They take in a lot of herbal medications because they had been promised that it can cure the disease. These claims have been made on national television and radio stations.
People believe them and take the herbal medicines. The consequence is that, the taking of herbal medicines actually leads to the failure of the
kidneys. Many people also go to the cardio unit with heart diseases as a result of diabetes.
Here in Ghana, we believe so much in herbal cure. A lot of claims are made on radio and television, that herbal medicines cure diabetes and other illnesses. Instead of people going to the hospitals to seek medication when they are sick, their first course of resort is to go to some of these herbal facilities and take in herbal medicines, which in majority of cases worsen the situation. This ends up with people getting kidney failures and many other diseases.
Mr Speaker, as a House or as a country, we need to introduce regulations that would reduce the number of claims that people make on radio and television, that the medicines they have discovered can cure all diseases. I can assure you that it has taken more people to their graves than the good that they claim it can make. This is what I would want to bring to the attention of the House.
Just last week, Hon Apaak made a Statement on the effect of energy drinks. Mr Speaker, I tried to catch your eye to make a comment on the Statement, but I could not. One of the things that contributes to diabetes in this country is the high amount of
sugar or sugar alternatives in some energy drinks, and this causes a lot of damage to our people. I was very happy when Hon Apaak made that Statement and I wanted to comment.
Mr Speaker, if we do not make policies and laws to control this, it can lead to the destruction of many of our otherwise youthful population.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement, and I wish to ask that we make laws to control the number of claims in advertisements that are made on radio and television about some of these herbal medicines which have become harmful to the health of the citizens of the State.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Dr Clement A. Apaak (NDC -- Builsa South) 11:13 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to comment on the very timely and well-delivered Statement by my Hon Colleague, Dr Okoe Boye.
Mr Speaker, as the Hon Member rightly pointed out, there are several causative factors, but I believe beside
the one that has to do with one's family history, the rest of them are related to our lifestyles. Mr Speaker, it is within that context that I believe it is also important that we extend public education to the rural parts of this country.
Not long ago, diseases like cancer and diabetes were considered to be urban, but with the global village that we live in today, we have seen these afflictions rear their ugly heads in the rural parts of this country.
It is for this reason that I would like to suggest that we do not only confine public education to urban areas, but we also ensure that our brothers and sisters in rural parts of the country, health workers particularly, should be aware that illnesses like diabetes and cancer are no longer urban diseases.
Mr Speaker, on this note, I would want to thank you for giving me the opportunity.
Mr Speaker 11:13 a.m.
Hon Member for Adaklu, you are at the front bench. Do you want to contribute?
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (NDC -- Adaklu) 11:13 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank Hon (Dr) Okoe Boye for consistently leading the House in drawing attention to very important things in terms of healthcare in this country.
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza (NDC -- Adaklu) 11:23 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to use the opportunity to thank health professionals in this country for what they have done so far in managing very challenging situations.

Mr Speaker, the middle class of this country is growing and sadly, that means that certain lifestyle diseases are becoming common as well. This is partly because we have other ways of doing things that people should ordinarily be able to do physically. So we, including Members of Parliament (MP), hardly engage in physical activities.

Mr Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for your efforts in ensuring that Parliament now has a gym which is one of the ways by which we can reduce the risk of certain lifestyle diseases. Sadly, that attendance book appears no different from what you see in the Chamber sometimes. It is very sparse, as majority of MPs are not even aware of the location of the gym as a matter of fact.

I would like to thank the Hon First Deputy Speaker who has been leading us. We have seen him there a couple of times and wish we could see both the Hon Majority and

Minority Leaders there often because that is an investment in helping us improve on our health and reduce the possibility of certain lifestyle diseases.

We also want to thank Parliament for making sure that we have a primary level health facility, which is the clinic, which gives us the opportunity to do the basic checks -- [Interruption.] The Rt Hon Speaker commissioned it and does not need to be there all the time. All these are ways by which we can make our lives better.

It is evident that Ghana continues to spend more money on healthcare. Every year's budget shows that there is an increase in the vote available to the Ministry of Health, yet the conditions of our people in terms of ailments keep getting worse.

One of my Hon Colleagues just cited something. Sometime ago I drew the attention of the House to the fact that we need to do something about the way we allow certain groups of people make emphatic statements about how certain diseases are cured in this country. It is not unusual to watch television and see either a spiritual healer or somebody, confidently telling us that he has the ability to cure all diseases, including diabetes.

There is no evidence to what they are saying but this is on television. Somebody gave that person the licence to do that. How can we not control that content? Somebody would watch that television and feel that when you have diabetes, you do not have to go to the hospital because there is a spiritual healer at Pokuase or elsewhere who can heal you, which we actually know it is not true.

Mr Speaker, I encourage whichever Ministry is responsible for content of this nature to revisit that. I am not sure, that if a lawyer goes advertising certain services which are not proper, he or she would be allowed to do that. How can we allow spiritualists to advertise some of these things? They encourage our people not to seek proper medical care and instead, seek care where it would not work.

I also want to encourage everybody to watch their diets. There are too many tropical diseases that are becoming an issue. Maybe, the Committee on Health should work with the Ministry and look at whether these things are genetic or based on our diets.

People ask how our forefathers ate banku for breakfast, fufu for lunch and ampesi for dinner but did not get

these diseases.After they finished that banku breakfast, they would walk a certain distance before they get to the farm to work. Even if they ate fufu for lunch, by the time they walked back, I am sure that it would have started digesting.

However, when you are an MP who comes here at 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m., ate banku for breakfast, ate fufu for lunch and ampesi for dinner, and sit here, eventually, you might get a type 2 -- [Interruption] If you do not take time, I am not saying it emphatically. This is because you are not able to digest these foods effectively and physical work is not available.

Mr Speaker, nobody is against eating fufu and palm nut soup but I am sure, that God did not make fufu and palmnut soup to be eaten in such a lifestyle. He expected that if we ate that, our physical activities would commensurate the volume of food we eat and naturally, it would disperse in our system unlike what we do today.
Mr Speaker 11:23 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Majority Leadership?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:23 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I want to yield to Hon Catherine Afeku.
Minister of State Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku (MP) 11:33 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Hon Member for Ledzokuku, Dr Okoe Boye who made the Statement on World Diabetes day so eloquently.
The statistics that he shared with us are quite alarming. It is an important day for all of us to start the awareness campaign, especially with
what is happening now with our lifestyles. There is the trend of more young people being diagnosed with diabetes and it is good to know that we have a lot of young people today visiting Parliament. I am sure they have learnt something new today, that diabetes has no age limit.
We have read a lot about it, Hon Dr Boye has shared some statistics with us and we are beginning to see the impact of the debilitating effect it has on society. Not only does it affect the eyesight but eventually the liver and other organs. Diabetes can make you invalid, so to speak.
Mr Speaker, we are very grateful for his Statement and I have a few comments in terms of access to testing. A lot of our people, even in urban areas are not aware and do not have access to these testing equipment which are so expensive. There is also the underlying stigma around the disease and those who have it do not share their statuses with family members.
This is because as the Hon Member said, it tends to make men impotent. This stigma affects the treatment because when people go out of their way to share with family members or practitioners of medicine, they tend to shy away from sharing the intimate issues that diabetes can bring unto the family.
Our sedentary lives as MPs who sit all day in the offices, at home or wherever, also impact us and we are at risk of contracting this debilitating disease. Exercise is one of the most cardinal things that we can also do as MPs to avert, minimise and avoid the scourge of diabetes. It is no longer a dangerous disease but a lifestyle disease and it is incumbent on all of us to take it seriously because we are not exempt.
Mr Speaker, interestingly, I read something in the Ghanaian Times yesterday. It was written by a Pharmacist from the Cocoa Research Clinic who was advocating that those who have been diagnosed with diabetes should try a cup of our natural cocoa.

As a nation, utilising our natural resources to curb some of these lifestyle diseases will go a long way to complement the pharmacies and pharmacological way of solving diabetes.

Mr Speaker, another threatening side effect of diabetes is the lack of communication between spouses.

When the men are diagnosed with diabetes, because of the stigma associated with their impotence, they tend not to talk about it. They do not test and they end up leaving their wives widows and their children fatherless. This is because it affects them and they do not discuss it.

With women and friends who have been diagnosed with diabetes, we have support groups who help each other, but we are worried about the men because they do not talk about this debilitating disease which ends up costing the society and family.

Mr Speaker, we would use your platform; the legislature, which is the biggest platform in our country, to share with all and sundry that we should be our brother's keeper. If a person is diagnosed with diabetes, he or she should not be ashamed of it.

As we celebrate this day today, we should test, get our little kits, educate ourselves about it and learn the preventative measures to save a family head. Diabetes is no longer a stigma as well as HIV, which is also no longer a stigma but a lifestyle disease.
Mr Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister.
The Statement would be referred to the Committee on Health, for further consideration on what possible legislation would come out as suggested in the contributions.
The second Statement on Negative practices in the airline industry and the need for improvement would be made by Hon Tina Mensah who is the Hon Member for Weija/Gbawe and also the Hon Deputy Minister for Health.
Negative Practices in the Airline Industry and the need for Improvement
Deputy Minister for Health (Mrs Tina Gifty Naa Ayeley Mensah (MP): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make a Statement on negative practices in the airline industry which makes travelling experience most unbearable and uncomfortable for passengers who mostly travel across the globe.
Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that the airline industry is one of the most important modes through which movement of persons, goods and services are facilitated around the world.
In the absence of good and efficient airline services, people cannot commute from one place to another in the manner they do now. In view of the fact that it takes some time for an aircraft to travel from one place to the other, there is the need for aircrafts to be safe and comfortable. It is also important that services provided by airline companies are of high standard, such
that these would meet the internationally acceptable rules and regulations and also meet the generally accepted codes of conduct that governs operations in the aviation industry.
Apart from the above, airline companies need to ensure that the aircrafts they use to convey passengers are in good shape, while airport terminals are safe and commuter friendly. Internationally accepted rules and best practices worldwide, which stipulate that airlines must be spacious, and must have enough leg room for passengers to stretch their feet and limbs when seating for long periods must be strictly adhered to on all flights.
The safety of belongings must also be guaranteed such that the moment one arrives at their destination, they have access to all their luggage. Also, unnecessary delay characterised by very cumbersome screening processes must be avoided as much as possible.
Mr Speaker, there is the need to handle passengers on transit properly by making them comfortable and ensuring that they receive the requisite information while waiting for their flight, so as to avoid the situation where passengers may be stranded at places which are not their final destinations.
Mr Speaker, let me at this juncture come to the crux of this Statement, which is the vast difference between the conditions prevalent on flights in the developed world, and that of those used by airline companies for African routes. It is sad to observe that aircrafts which ply the African routes are usually outdated with faulty seats that have little leg room for passengers to stretch their limbs.
Though unnoticed, this causes various terminal disease conditions such as pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. These are mainly due to the irregular sitting positions for long periods without stretching, which affects blood circulation and promote clot formation.
Mr Speaker, I had a personal experience in the business class of a British Airways (B/A) flight some few months ago in which the airline crew had to use rags to wipe water that was leaking from an electrical device above my sitting position. That was a mind boggling and unforgettable experience.
Another equally bad experience was on a Turkish flight to Turkey in which I had to make do with faulty seats which made it virtually impossible for me to vary my sitting
Mr Speaker 11:33 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Minister, for this well researched Statement.
Can we have one contribution from each Side and move on?
Mr Rockson-Nelson E. K. Dafeamekpor (NDC -- South Dayi) 11:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to comment to the Statement made by the Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, the airline industry is one of the most important industries globally, not because of the speed with which it makes movements around the globe but because of the economic value it has.
Mr Speaker, the African population is about 12 per cent of the global population, but if we look at the number of global passenger annually in terms of air travel, Africa only contributes just about two per cent. Even though our contribution is still
negligible as stated in the Statement of the Hon Member, we are still discriminated against.

Mr Speaker, it is indeed true that for instance, if a person flies by British Airways on the Accra-London route, the nature of the aircraft materially differs from the same equipment that flies within the British Airways franchise from Heathrow to Dulles International Airport IAD in Washington.

Mr Speaker, if for instance, you are flying in business class, there are different types of business classes. Indeed, there is a full business class, a discounted business class and there is a partially discounted business class.

We are particularly placed, even though they will tell you that you are flying business class, if you understand the industry, you are often placed in discounted business class flying out of Accra. Meanwhile, we are told that we are flying full business class and we are levied for buying a full business class seat.

I recall that we were travelling to Ottawa on British Airways and when we got to Heathrow, we were made to fly in coach; that is economy. This

is because the airlines that partner British Airways flying to Canada at the time did not have business class. As we speak, we are yet to get our refund for that inconvenience.

Mr Speaker, so the matter that the Hon Member has brought to the attention of the House is a very critical and important one. We, as a nation, must begin to pay attention to some of these little things because it goes to the core of discrimination.

Thumbs up to the Emirates Airlines because for instance, when you are flying from Accra, Dubai or Honolulu they do not change their equipment. However, if you are flying on other airlines, which are particularly European airlines, they would normally not give you the same level of service delivery. This is an observation which we must pay attention to and ask the operators of the airlines to address.

Mr Speaker, in Africa, we have about 731 airports and 419 airlines but out of these airlines, just a few are owned and operated by either nationals of Africa or African countries themselves.

The routes are dominated by airlines that have their base in metropolitan Europe and if you look at the contribution of the airline industry to the economy of Africa for
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP--Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 11:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful for your kindness and I intend to be brief and not belabour the point.
Clearly, it is becoming a worrying trend, particularly in Africa, and it is
something we do not have to pretend about. I am sure, that many of us, on many occasions, have had cause to bring this matter up for discussion.
I admire the confidence of my Hon Deputy Minister, not just for the Statement, but for the specifics she went into, by naming airlines, which by her own assessment, fall short of the standards.
Mr Speaker, we have no reason to lament as a continent because the international bodies give us the upper hand and the ability to enforce - and so, we cannot go on that unending journey of always lamenting. Thankfully, we have a Ministry for the aviation industry.
I believe that the Hon Member who made the Statement is not just looking at the comfort that we are all desirous of, but particularly, in the area of safety. In recent times, we have heard reports of -- this is not to remind us of any pain but reports of a number of needless and avoidable accidents in the aviation industry.
So I just want to say that this is one of the critical matters that probably, with the greatest of respect to your select Committee, should investigate and know the extent of deterioration in the aviation industry.
Probably, the Hon Minister for Aviation may have to come to the House and apprise us of what is being put in place to ensure that standards are being respected; it is becoming unbecoming. The Nigerians have shown the way; when British Airways decided unilaterally to change the terminal in respect to Ghana, we kept mute but when they tried it on our Nigerian brothers, they resisted it with all force.
Mr Speaker, so we lament and regret the conditions but I believe that it is something that we can deal with and it has to be dealt with. We have institutions in this country such as an entire Ministry mandated -- we want to see some actions. We want to witness the standards being enforced; that is only when these industry players will take us seriously.
The oratory and lamentations will not resolve this matter and for once, Africa should stand up. I do not subscribe to the statement that it is one of those discriminatory attitudes against Africans. Mr Speaker, no.
The aviation industry is a big business and we have a choice. There is no airline that can compel any African to patronise it and so we have
the right to decide. I believe that the Hon Minister should particularly lead this crusade, and all Hon Members of Parliament, focal people as well as all Ghanaians and Africans should rise up.
For once, we should come to terms with the fact that Africans also matter and dehumanising conditions cannot continue to be meted to us.
On this note, I would want to commend the Hon Deputy Minister for bringing this matter up. I wish that we do not just comment on this Statement, but carry it on to ensure that eventually, the standards that we are all desirous of, are achieved in the aviation industry.
Thank you.
Mr Speaker 11:43 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, this brings us to the end of Statement time.
At the Commencement of Public Business, item numbered 5 -- Motion.
Hon Majority Leader, there is an indication that you want to make an announcement regarding tomorrow's event and then we will proceed with the Motion.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:43 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Motion is ripe; it will be moved, but the Hon Minister is at
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:53 a.m.
Cabinet and has delegated one of his Hon Deputies to come and move the Motion on his behalf.

So it would be moved accordingly, but Mr Speaker, I have to exit to attend a Cabinet meeting. Before I do, I would want to --
Mr Speaker 11:53 a.m.
Hon Annoh- Dompreh, an Hon Member who makes a contribution in the House does not immediately walk away when the next item is called. It is unparliamentary and it is not accepted. It is disregard for the Mace, if you read Erskine May.
So, Hon Member, please wait.
Hon Majority Leader, you were on your feet?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I just want to announce to Hon Members that tomorrow, Friday, 15 th November, 2019, we are expecting the Prime Minister of the Republic of Barbados to be in the House with us. It is intended for her to address the House.
Mr Speaker, the address would be made at 3.00 p.m. As you know, Fridays are not very good days, yet
we need to make time and space to listen to the Prime Minister of Barbados. Accordingly, Mr Speaker, when the House Sits at 10.00 a.m, we would continue Sitting until she joins us to deliver her Statement at

Mr Speaker, pursuant to that, we have some Statements that would be made just so that we occupy space. Also, we would attempt to continue with the Consideration Stage of the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019, to await the arrival of the Prime Minister.

Mr Speaker, I thank you, and I hope that Hon Members would be present in the House and indulge the Prime Minister. I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker 3 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 3 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. You may recall, H. E. the President made a request to you, which you generously accepted that his guest, the Prime Minister of Barbados, be allowed to address Parliament as a special guest in pursuit of parliamentary diplomacy.
We would have to get Hon Members to be available in our
numbers so that the foreign guest leaves this country with good impression of Parliament as an institution and of Hon Members of Parliament and the level of development of governance in our country.
Mr Speaker, I further recalled that in giving the directive, you requested the Women Caucus to be at their best to demonstrate to our guest, some solidarity that could be associated with the Parliament of Ghana. So the Leaders of the Women Caucus who are here should mobilise their Colleagues.
The pursuit of foreign policy, as I have observed, has not differed fundamentally in the last two decades, as a country. It is only fair that we accord that respected dignitary, the honour to address this House. So we expect that the Women Caucus, as gorgeous as they may dress, would share and reflect the Ghanaian values to her. The men normally have had cause to complain. I am recognising that the women have always made us proud.
Mr Speaker, so I join my Colleagues, but the 3 2 p.m.
00 p.m. as he said, is not a friendly time on a Friday, particularly for those who would travel. My Hon Colleague should
remember that the post-budget workshop is on the next day, Saturday. And so we must be available. What we may do is; when we start at 10:00 a.m., tomorrow, we should adjust the procedure such that Hon Members can exit early and probably reconvene at 12:00 noon.
We sit for one or two hours -- [Interruption.] Or we can start business in the afternoon. Maybe tomorrow we should start at 12.00 noon or 1.00 p.m. or 1.30 p.m. or

I would have preferred that we start at 2.00 p.m. and remain to see her through. So the Hon Majority Leader, being the Leader of Government Business, we are amenable to start tomorrow afternoon at 2.00 p.m. instead of 10.00 a.m. I think that is proper. If we were to subject it to a vote, the outcome would be interesting.

Mr Speaker, so we should convene at 2.00 p.m., tomorrow. We are available. Once Mr Speaker gives the approval, we would give her the needed support.

As for the Second Reading of the Tree Crop Development Authority Bill, 2019, the Table Office should ensure that Hon Members have copies. When they gave it to some of
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as we all know, Fridays are not very good days for doing serious Business in the House. If we should decide that we are going to Sit in the afternoon, I am wondering how many people would be here.
So I think we should Sit at the regular time. Other considerations would be taken care of in order for Hon Members to stay and continue Sitting until 3:00 p.m. so that we do not have a cause to leave or even suspend Sitting.
Mr Speaker, so I think it would be appropriate to Sit at the regular time and continue, bearing in mind that other considerations would be made accordingly.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
So can we start at 12:00 noon; some arrangement would mean not going and coming so that Hon Members would have some time to do other things earlier and come back fully charged to do our usual work and then rope in the coming of
the distinguished guest? This is because we are mindful of the fact that we do not want a half-empty Chamber. That is why we can re- arrange our times.
Hon Members, I would want this to be appreciated by all of us. Shall we start at 12.00 noon? Hon Members, you may want to contribute.
Hon Ablakwa?
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. The suggestion that we start at 12.00 noon sounds very plausible because if we start at 10.00 a.m., it would mean we have some five hours before our special guest is ushered into the Chamber. I am not sure we have adequate Business to cater for that duration in the House.
So, if we give ourselves 12.00 noon, which allows for our Muslim brothers and sisters to also pray and join us, then we go whole hog till H. E. the Prime Minister is ushered in. So I am inclined to go with the idea of starting at 12.00 noon. It sounds more workable.
Mr Speaker, if this could be considered.
Mr Speaker 12:03 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Majority Leader, I would be very glad if you would announce, when you arrive at Cabinet, that we expect all Hon Ministers here tomorrow; Hon Members and non- Members as if it was budget day or otherwise - where we oblige them.
It is actually at the instance of the Executive that we find it necessary to act responsibly by adjusting ourselves to come to give our visiting guests the relevant regard. So please let them be mindful of it.
I have just sent a message to the Director of State Protocols. I believe it would be very useful, if you also announce it there, that we would be expecting them tomorrow at the set time. In fact, we tried as much as possible to let the visiting Prime Minister come earlier, but it was not possible because of other engagements. So let them also assist.
Hon Members, please, let us do our institution the relevant honour by being in the House at 12 noon. So at the appropriate time we shall adjourn the House to 12 noon and then start and continue through for the visitor to come. Thank you very much.
Hon Members, we can move on now to the relevant item listed 5, Motions.
Yes, Hon Minister for Agriculture?
Hon Majority Leader, your pleasure, who takes this up?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:03 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have already applied for the Hon Deputy Minister to hold the fort for the substantive Minister for Agriculture who is at a Cabinet meeting now. So Hon Kennedy Osei Nyarko will move the Motion for the Second Reading.

Mr Speaker 12:03 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Who seconds the Motion?
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei) 12:03 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion ably moved by the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present the Committee's Report.
1.0 Introduction
1.0The Tree Crops Development Bill, 2019 was on Thursday, 4th July,
2019 presented to Parliament by Hon Kennedy Osei Nyarko, the Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture in charge of crops, on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, Hon Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto. In accordance with article 106 (4) and (5) of the Constitution and Standing Order 176, Mr Speaker referred the Bill to the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for consideration and report.
2.0 Acknowledgement
2.1The Committee met with the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hon Kennedy Osei Nyarko, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr B. Gyasi, Consultants to the Ministry, Professor Paa Nii T. Johnson and Mr Kwesi Korboe, the Chief State Attorney, Ms Fredericka Salamatu Illiasu and representative of all stakeholders during the consideration of the Bill.
3.0 Documents referred to;
3.1The Committee referred to the following documents in the consideration of the Bill:
i.The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
Mr Speaker 12:13 p.m.
Yes, Hon Bernard Ahiafor?
Mr Bernard Ahiafor (NDC -- Akatsi South) 12:13 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Second Reading of the Tree Crops Development Authority Bill, 2019.
Mr Speaker, the tree crops industry according to the Report has some challenges. Tree crops production is currently under- developed in terms of production and value addition. Tree crops production in Ghana is not competitive like cocoa, and this is undesirable.
Mr Speaker, to improve tree crops production and development in Ghana, a policy was developed in 2012 to guide the production and value addition of tree crops to achieve the full potential of the sector and its contribution to the growth of the economy of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, the purpose of the Bill is clearly spelt out in the Explanatory Memorandum, and it is to -- with your permission if I may read, it says:
“The purpose of the Bill is to establish the Tree Crops Develop-
Mr Speaker 12:13 p.m.
Hon Members, the Hon First Deputy Speaker would take the Chair.
12. 20 p. m. --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:13 p.m.
Hon Member, you may continue.
If you are done, then the Hon Member for Offinso North may give his contribution.
Mr Augustine Collins Ntim (NPP -- Offinso North) 12:23 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity given me to contribute to the Motion.
Mr Speaker, the economy of Ghana has essentially depended on cocoa for quite some time now. The Government of Ghana therefore seeks to introduce a Bill that seeks to establish the National Tree Crops Authority. As indicated in paragraph five, it would help to regulate about four major cash crops.
In doing that, the Government also introduced a programme of inter- vention, which we call the “Planting for Export and Rural Development” as captured in paragraph 7.2 of the Report.
Mr Speaker, the essence of the Planting for the Export and Rural Development is to bring about diversification in our agricultural economy, by bringing on board about six major cash crops to the level akin to that of cocoa.
Mr Speaker, the Planting for Export and Rural Development has three main pillars, and the first pillar has to do with an on-farm support. The on-farm support essentially deals with the provision of quality certified seedlings to farmers and other extension service activities. This is to help Ghanaian farmers expand their production efficiencies in the six crops.
Mr Speaker, the second pillar has to do with the business support that seeks to inculcate into the Ghanaian farmer the essence of appreciating that farming is a business. Therefore the farmers could be put together into cooperatives and federations, so that they position themselves for the private sector to establish the linkages or the right value additions.
Mr Speaker, the third pillar has to do with the regime that seeks to introduce the Bill that we call the “National Tree Crops Development Authority Bill.” Part of the object of the Bill is to position ourselves and the industry players and have regulating mechanisms in terms of the production levels, in terms of the export levels and in terms of all the value additions, so that we would have a standardised approach about looking at the entire tree crops spectrum.
We believe that it has the benefit of job creation, and it has the benefit of introducing a good environment in terms of the management, the marketing and the processing to the tree crops industry.

It would also create jobs, not only for the people, but also ordinary farmers and the teeming youth in the unemployed arena.
Mr Shaibu Mahama (NDC -- Daboya/Mankarigu) 12:23 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to make a few comments on the Tree Crops Development Bill, 2019.
Mr Speaker, I am particularly impressed with the fact that a fund would be established. More often than not, we create Authorities and then funding becomes a problem. One of the key areas of our economy is tree crops, and there is one particular tree crop that is missing as far as this Bill is concerned, and we had cause to discuss it extensively.
Mr Speaker, an emerging tree crop is mango, and if you look at the tree
crops that have been submitted, conspicuously missing is the mango tree. This has become very popular. Young farmers want to go into mango production. I would be happy if an addition could be made or an amendment could be brought immediately to add mango as part of the tree crops that have been outlined.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the Motion.
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP -- Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 12:23 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful for your kindness, and I rise to speak to the Motion.
I would want to first of all commend the Ministry for a well- thought out regulatory framework to regulate this sector of our economy. I could not have agreed more with the Hon Member from the other Side who spoke last and mentioned that in the future, mango should be drafted into the four already agreed tree crops because of its importance, and the fact that mango is reputed as the next green gold of Africa.
Mr Speaker, I would want to limit myself to a few parts of the Report of your Committee. With your permission, I would want to read a
few sections of the ‘‘Purpose of the Bill'' captured in paragraph 5.0 of the Report.
“Regulate and manage the production, processing and trading of tree crops.”
Mr Speaker, for a long time, the challenge of marketing what we produce in the agricultural sector has always been a problem. So putting in place a regulatory body, which would not just be in charge of enforcement of standards and other inherent functionalities, but by extension, would also look at marketing, which is also key. I hope we would be able to implement the provisions in the Bill to the letter --
Mr Speaker, paragraph 7.3 on page 6 of the Report captures a Tree Crops Fund. This is where we need to tread with a bit of caution because we tend to hasten to establish some of these funds and then the funding structure becomes a challenge. I hope that the sector Minister, the Ministry, your Committee and all the players would do a thorough thinking about the source of funding. The idea is to ensure that we have a sustainable flow of funds into such an important Fund.
Clearly, there is a concern of diversification. Experts have said that in about 50 years to come, if we are
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:33 p.m.
Alright, I would give you the last word.
Mr Eric Opoku (NDC -- Asunafo South) 12:33 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the Floor of the House.
I am particularly concerned about funding for agriculture in our country, knowing the critical role that it plays in job creation, the increase in incomes, and generally, the economic growth of our country. It is important for all of us to be concerned about how we could get adequate funding to enable agriculture take its rightful place in the development agenda of our nation.
Mr Speaker, as my Hon Colleague rightly said, in 2003, Ghana, as part of the African countries, agreed to implement the Maputo Declaration; but for a long time, we have not done that. We have not commited 10 per cent of our total expenditure to support agriculture. In some cases we commit one per cent and in other cases even less than one per cent, which seriously affects agricultural development in our country.
One of the purposes of this Bill is to ensure that adequate funding is
provided for agricultural development. This is because once we set up the Tree Crops Development Authority which is not subvented and they have the opportunity to generate revenue on their own, they would be able to generate enough revenue to support the development of that particular subsector which comes under agriculture.
So, if that Authority is properly established and the sources of revenue are clearly defined, they would be able to generate even more than the 10 per cent that we anticipate to commit to agriculture.
So it is important for all of us, as a nation, in our strive to diversify our efforts, to ensure that this particular Bill is passed to enable us overcome export instability and accelerate economic growth.
Mr Speaker, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has set the pace. Every year COCOBOD is able to rake in over US$1 billion into this country, and that is enough to give some relief to the exchange rate regime and the uncertainties that are associated with it. So, if this particular Authority is established and is able to rake in the same revenue of US$1 billion annually, it means that we would reduce the pressure on our Ghana cedi and stabilise the exchange
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:33 p.m.
Mr Iddrisu 12:33 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
I was going to yield -- My Hon Colleague on the Majority Side wants the Floor for some purpose, so I would yield to him.
Mr Anyimadu-Antwi 12:33 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to draw your attention that the Hon Vice Chairman of the Committee wants to contribute.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:33 p.m.
Yes, you could give him yours when it is your turn.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:33 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion.
I urge Hon Colleagues to wholeheartedly and fully support the
development of the Tree Crops Development Authority.
The President is reported in some forum earlier this year, to have announced the development of the Tree Crops Development Authority to regulate tree crops in Ghana. Reading through the Committee's Report, may I respectfully refer to paragraph 7.4, which reads:
“The Committee finally noted that countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and La Cote d'Ivoire have well developed and matured tree crops industries that Ghana can learn from.”
Mr Speaker, I am saddened by this turn of events and this Report that today, Ghana is to learn from Malaysia what Malaysia learnt from Ghana. Malaysia learnt the cultivation and planting of oil palm from Ghana, but they have gone to further develop their industry as a multi-export foreign exchange earner.
So if today, Ghana would go back to Malaysia to learn what we taught them, then it means there is something fundamentally wrong with the pursuit of our agricultural development policy relative to crop development. If we take cocoa for instance, we have
over 3.5 million hectares of it. I will get my records right. Maybe, for rubber plantations, we have about 450,000 hectares.
Mr Speaker, let me come to Kumasi and the Ashanti Region. In this Report, what would happen to timber? It is a tree cash crop; but because agriculturalists want to call it timber, it is not even in the Report.
The development of the Ashanti Region was not necessarily based on gold. The timber industry made life very viable and enterprising, so people took advantage of timber in the Ashanti Region, Brong Ahafo Region and other parts of the country.
We have consumed our timber resources, and what are we doing to replace it? We must be mindful as a country. What are we doing? That is why commercial and business activities in the Ashanti Region, particularly in Kumasi, are on the decline.
This is attributable to the decline in the development of the timber industry, minerals and other associated entities. That is why I fully support this, but we must be serious as a country, when it comes to what we want to do with food crops.
Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:43 p.m.
Mr Speaker, one of the Hon Members who spoke mentioned mango. Even the pulp of mango has an advantage, and is exportable. It is not just mango as a fruit, but its pulp. What have we done as a country?
I have repeatedly said that in Ghana, every other day we struggle to correct the depreciation of the Ghana cedi with fiscal and monetary policies, but it is not sustainable and would not work. The correct solution lies in expanded export, and we could take advantage of this Tree Crops Development Authority and invest in it.
The Hon Ranking Member of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, Hon Eric Opoku, mentioned it. This Parliament must hold itself responsible for not doing enough.
What is the Maputo Protocol on agriculture? It says that a certain percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should be spent on agriculture. In the last 10 years, this Parliament has allocated less than 10 per cent of our money for agriculture; yet, we say we are committed to agricultural development.
So, we should keep to the spirit of the Maputo Declaration which is a good thing to do.

Mr Speaker, I do not want to draw you into the debate; but how many farmers in Bekwai or Tamale South can acquire a combine harvester or even a tractor? We should be realistic. The government however, says it wants to assist farmers. I do not know a farmer who could raise GH¢1billion to own a tractor. A combine harvester would be about GH¢2 billion or more. Yet, everyday, we say modernised and mechanised agriculture, but we do not do enough for the ordinary farmer in this country.

What has the Government done? The tractors have been brought in, we have set up mechanisation centres and given them out at a certain percentage, but over the years, they have not worked because repayment and maintaining them are difficult.

Mr Speaker, yes, it is true that this could contribute to foreign exchange earnings. Ghana could take advantage of its geographic location -- regional and European markets are opened to us, as a country, and emphasis on this Report says ‘'food security''. One of the first Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was on food security,

and Ghana did not fare well. Now, on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where are we?

Mr Speaker, I support the view that there must be increased support and investment for agriculture. This Parliament must be mindful of the allocation we make to that sector to support it.

Mr Speaker, apart from mango, Ghana's rubber plantation in the Western Region have all been privatised, and that is why Ivory Coast does better than us. The current company, which operates around the Western Region, is owned by an Ivorian and yet we have it. What have we done to develop it? What associated industries could take advantage of it?

Mr Speaker, I would want to end with coffee. In the Report, the emphasis was on cocoa -- what about coffee? What have we done about coffee and its expanded production in Ghana?

The Brong Ahafo Region is noted for two things -- policy must respond to agriculture. The young people in the Brong Ahafo Region have enterprise for poultry farming and its development, but what have we done to support poultry farming in that

corridor of the country? Added to it is cashew, which is also mentioned as part of the crops meant for development.

Mr Speaker, I would want to refer to paragraph 3 of the Report. Even though the Committee made reference to documents, it is stated in the opening paragraph that there was reference to some policy of 2012. GPRS 1 and 2, which were pursued up to the end of 2008, were all reference documents for the Committee, but no reference was made to them.

The Committee just made reference to the Standing Orders, the Tree and Timber Act, 1974 (NRCD 273) and the Forest Plantation Development Act of 2000, (Act 583) and brought the Report.

Next time the Committee must work further. GPRS 1 and 2 under Former President Kufuor, had some policy blue prints this before it manifested in 2012 under the late President Mills, and further to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Mr Speaker, in principle, I support the development of the regulatory body, but my worry in the Bill is that it made reference to the private sector. We must define what we want
Mr Iddrisu 12:43 p.m.
Mr Speaker, one of our Hon Colleagues is on his feet.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:43 p.m.
Yes, Majority Leadership?
Yes, Hon Member for Okaikoi Central?
Mr Boamah 12:43 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader made a very important point at the concluding part of his submission. The definition of ‘'tree crops'' in the Bill is not exhaustive. It includes oil palm, rubber, cashew and shea.
Mr Speaker, we all know the trade rules and how it affects poor sub- Saharan Africa, which includes Ghana. So I would want the Committee to also advert its mind to the European Union's Trade rules and regulations --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:43 p.m.
Hon Member, I gave the Floor to you; if you wanted to contribute, you should have just sought leave of your Leadership. I hope you would be in the House during the Consideration Stage, so that your suggestions would be taken into account.
Yes, Majority Leadership?
Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi (NPP - Asante Akim Central) 12:53 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful to the other Hon Members who have spoken, and commended the Ministry and the Government for bringing this all important Bill to make a law on tree crops.
Mr Speaker, as it has been noted, the Authority, if set up, has a number of things to do. Under “Purpose of the Bill” in page 4 of the Committee's Report, it says that to “domesticate the 2003 African Union Maputo Declaration on agriculture and food security'', which the Hon Minority Leader made reference to.
Mr Speaker, the jurisprudence of this country is such that if there is a Treaty or an international Act that Ghana accedes to, we have to take steps to make it part of our law, and that is why this is very important. Everybody who spoke almost recognised the fact that we have actually acceded to this Maputo Declaration, and it is important that we domesticate it.
Mr Speaker, among other things, especially on the second point in paragraph 5, which says that ‘‘the Authority if set up would regulate and manage the production, processing and trading of tree crops,'' one would have thought that looking at the title of this Bill, “Tree Crops”, we would include cocoa, coffee and mango, but I am sure that at the Consideration Stage, we would look at these things into greater detail and then come to a conclusion as to whether we need to add coffee and mangoes, as has been suggested by other Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, the Committee also noted that we have to learn from other countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and La Cote d'Ivoire. Mr Speaker, for instance, if we compare cocoa, La Cote d'Ivoire has also grown cocoa over the years, but the difference between La Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana is that they produce the
cocoa through plantations, whereas in Ghana, we put them through subsistence farming.
So, if we are to learn from Malaysia, La Cote d'Ivoire and these other countries, the suggestion we would want to make is that we should rather develop into plantations in order that we could achieve what the Committee said.

We all agree that agriculture is the engine of growth in this country. That is why the Government, through its flagship programmes, has highly welcomed the ‘Planting for Exports and Rural Development' Programme to develop this economy.

Mr Speaker, the Government, in the year 2019 Budget Statement, set up an amount of GH¢1billion for this Authority. So it tells us that the Government is highly committed to all these important arrangements of Planting for Crops and Exports.

I believe that it has been long overdue that this Bill be passed and implemented. The fact that the Government proposed, through the Ministry that it would set up a whole Authority, as I have already said, to
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 12:53 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the outstanding Business for today is the Consideration Stage of the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019. The understanding is that there is the need for winnowing of some of the provisions. So, we may have to take an adjournment now.
In the light of that, I beg to move that the House be adjourned till tomorrow at 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr Iddrisu 12:53 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. I, however, wish I knew the time we would convene tomorrow.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:53 p.m.
Did we say 1. ‘O' clock or 12 noon? [Interruption.] 12 noon?
Very well.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:53 p.m.