MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, correction of the Votes and Proceedings of the First Special Sitting of Parliament, Monday, 22nd August, 2011. Page l 6-
Mr Speaker, page 5, paragraph 6, number 20 -- Hon Nana Amoakoh Was here yesterday; I spoke with him here.
Very well. Page 6, yes, Hon Member forAblekuma South --
Mr Speaker, page 6, number 65 --Hon Daoud Anum Yemoh, he was here yesterday and so I just want to correct it.
Very well. Page 7... 12 --- Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of the First Special Sitting of Parliament, Monday, 22nd August 201 1, as corrected, be adopted as the true record of proceedings.
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Monday, 18th July, 2011
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 19th July, 2011.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 20th July, 2011.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 21st July, 2011.]
MI Speaker, on column 18 of the Official Report of yesterday, Hon Kwaku Agyeman-Manu was not in the House, meanwhile, he has been captured here as having contributed and I think the contribution came from Hon Oppon-Kusi.
It is true because Hon Agyeman-Manu never spoke. Even if he was in the House, he never spoke yesterday. Table Office to take note. Hon Members, the Official Report of the Special Meeting dated Monday, 22nd August, 2011 as corrected be adopted as the true record of proceedings. At the Commencement of Public Business, item number 4 ---
Mr Speaker, item number 4 is deferred for the meantime. I think the joint Chairmen of the Finance and Poverty Reduction Strategy Committees will advise us later in the day.
Mr Speaker, to contribute to the Motion on the floor, I urge all Members to vote massively for this. Mr Speaker, I happen to be a member of the Committee which dealt with this and in the course of our deliberations, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhlPSS) informed the Committee that the Germans were in Ghana, they came to carry out a survey and they saw the work that GhIPSS was doing and how effectively they were running the thing, so their decision was to assist the country and the body handling this issue to perform better. Speaker, it would interest you to note that the amount is 7 million euros, there is a grant of 500,000 euros, the grace period is ten years and the maturity period is forty years. In -fact, giving the total period --the repayment period is forty years giving the total maturity period of fifty years. Mr Speaker, I want to again say that the work of the e-Zwich is very, very beneficial to the country. As I am talking now, with what they are doing, all over the country, the students of Ghana who are accessing loans from the Students Loan Trust, every payment to them is done through the e-Zwich even in the remotest corner of the country. Therefore, if we can access this facility to expand the system, it would be better for the country and the country would be a better place to live in. With these points, I urge all Hon Members to let us see with the eye of faith, because what is in stock for the country is good. Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) Mr Speaker, Without doubt, listening to Hon Colleagues, I think we are all united that this is a good facility and that Parliament without much hesitation may approve of it. But Mr Speaker, I am not too clear in my mind looking at the purpose of the credit captured in item 3.0 on page 3 of the Report. We are told that and with your permission, I quote:
Do you have a point of order, Hon Minister?
He was not at the Ministry, Mr Speaker. I wonder how he is going to answer this question.
Mr Speaker thank you very much. I am standing on a point of order and information to my Colleague. The matter of the loan approved for ambulances is well in hand. So KtW knows that things have moved very fast and all the processes have been taken through and soon -- [Interruption] - before the end of the year, you will get --
Hon Minister, that is not a point of order; it is point of information-
I thought you have concluded. _
I want to conclude.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for allowing the Hon Minister for Health to confirm my point. Ten months down the line, this same KfW has not been able to grant us the money for the ambulances. How are we sure, ten months further up front, KfW will give us money for such a national important issue?
Hon Members, I will take brief comments from two more, I think the Hon Kan-Dapaah and Hon Member for Sege. Hon Kan-Dapaah very brief (NPP-- Afigya-Sekyere West).
Mr Speaker, this is a facility for 7 million euros, 500,000 euros grant element and grace period of ten years, and repayment period of 40 years for such a very important project. I have no problem with it at all, but Mr Speaker, I have a problem with the procedures that we are following. Mr Speaker, the requirement for Parliament to approve loans to be contracted by Government is a very important accountability mechanism in the financial management of this country and I believe that when we are called upon to approve such loans, we need to be given enough information for us to be able to make up our minds. And I think we must only do so after serious and painstaking scrutiny of the data that is given to us. Mr Speaker, we are going to approve this loan-I am going to have to approve it in my capacity as a Member of Parliament and yet I ask myself, after this loan is contracted, what would be the stock of public debt? Mr Speaker, this is not given in the document and I wonder whether it was given to the Committee. Mr Speaker, I am being asked,.as- a bank manager, to approve a loan and nobody is in the position to show me the debt sustainability analysis that has been done. Let us forget about the amount of the loan, but I need to know this before I can approve. Mr Speaker, even more important, in this country, we have approved that we will ensure proper transparency and accountability of the public resources through what is referred to as the "budget cycle". Mr Speaker, under the budget cycle, we cannot undertake any project which has not -been captured either in the medium-term plan or in the annual Budget. Mr Speaker, I have checked-- this Project is not in the annual Budget, it is not in the medium-term plan, so Mr
I will take one each, then put the Question. Hon Member for Ashaiman and --
Mr Speaker, as one of the contributors have said, this is not a controversial matter; it is something which all of us should agree to --he said both sides of the House agreed that this is a necessary facility and we should all support it and I urge Hon Members to do same. Mr Speaker, it is said that, this facility will be suitable for the rural areas and for the less-educated people. Mr Speaker, that is a very good statement because most of our people coming from the rural areas and less educated are not happy going to banks to secure money, hence some of them are tempted to keep the money under their pillows. Any facility that would come to their aid in the rural area, for them to access easily, Mr Speaker, is something that all of us must support. Again, Mr Speaker, it is said that this will also enable people not to carry large sums of money on them, thereby falling prey to armed robbers as they travel along. Of late-armed robbers are attacking people on the roads suspecting that they are carrying money. Mr Speaker, this facility is going to eliminate this situation where e-Zwich banking will be a matter for all of us who attempt to travel not to carry large sums of money. Mr Speaker, I wish to urge all Hon Members to support this facility and vote massively for it.
Mr Speaker, the e-_Zwich is a payment system; it is a payment system that I am pretty certain that very soon, most countries in our sub-region will come and copy and emulate from Ghana. Mr Speaker, it is a payment system aimed at bringing more money out of the informal system to the more formal system. The aim of e-Zwich should not only be to target seven million people, every Ghanaian probably should carry e-Zwich card, may be, in the next five or six years because it will help us tremendously in our payment systems in the country. I support the Committee when they say that national service personnel, pensioners, students and everybody should try and be on the e-Zwich system so that payment systems can be more facilitated in this country. Mr Speaker, my only worry- now that I see one of the Ministers for Finance and Economic Planning around, is where we are getting this funding from. Mr Speaker, this House in November, last year, passed a loan Agreement with KfW as the money givers, and that loan was a very vital issue of national importance. Mr Speaker, that loan was to give this country ambulances and it was funded by KfW. Mr Speaker, you know that ambulances are of such crucial importance When armed robberies and deaths, as my Friends are saying, are occurring on our highways. Mr Speaker, I asked this question when this loan agreement was laid first, that, where are the ambulances supposed to be provided by KfW? This KtW gave us money to provide ambulances and those ambulances, nearly eight months down the line have not been delivered. How are we sure KfW can give us money for the e- Zwich?
Mr Speaker, I believe that the objective of the facility is to make formal financial services available to persons resident in our country. I think it is a very good objective. However, for the committee to reach the Conclusion that this particular facility would improve the economic circumstance of people living in the rural areas, I think that one is very far-fetched. This singular loan cannot improve the economic conditions of the people living in the rural areas. There are many other things that we ought to do in order to attain that particular goal which all of us strive for. But Mr Speaker, I would have wanted to see the effects of the e-Zwich system in the areas where it has been applied over the last few years and I believe that the e- Zwich probably has not been as successful as was" initially planned. However, the objective of banking the un-banked, especially in the rural areas is something I believe all of us can support. But I get worried, Mr Speaker that; it appears we are getting ourselves caught in a loan strap where everything that we need in this country, we have to borrow money from somewhere. If one looks at the quantum of money for this one 7 million euros, it is something I believe could have been found within the banking sector in our country. After all, this is to support the financial sector of our country and then link it up with the rural areas of our country. I think 7 million euros we could probably have found it .within our country. So my worry is that, let us not get into a loan strap because that will also lead us into a debt trap. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member, you have the floor.
MrSpeaker, to admit that it is not contentious and that both sides of the House agree to the facility. However, I would want to point out one or two observations that we made at the committee meeting. Just before recess, I was privileged to be in the team of Members of Parliament that went for a West Africa Monitory Zone meeting in Guinea, Conakry, to be precise. Mr Speaker, if there Was one thing that Ghana was praised for implementing, then it is this particular project that Ghana has implemented since 2008. We are told that the focus of this project is the rural areas and the target group is the rural banking industry. The definition of a rural community by the project, is a community which is 4 kilometers away from a branch of a commercial bank or a community with an inhabitant of not more than 5,000. We think that this should be looked at. This is because if indeed, the rural banking industry is the target, then I must admit that most of these rural banks are located in areas with populations more than 4,000 and indeed, most of them too are in the peripheries of cities. So, if we go by this definition, most of them would be left out. Apart from that, we also have a problem with the interest rate at which the money would be on-lent to the institutions which will take this facility.- This is because if Government is going for the facility at 0.75 per cent, for 40 years, then some of us think that, giving it to the banks and institutions at 6 per cent is on the higher side. This is because Government's aim is not necessarily to make profit, it is just to facilitate the Project and indeed, the difference between 6 per cent and 0.75 per cent, some of us think it is too high. So, we actually pleaded with the implementers to see if it will be possible to reduce the interest rate. This would encourage more and more banks to come in and indeed, if Government is taking the facility for 40 years and then adding the grace period of 10 years to it, it means that the facility is going to be in Ghana for 50 years. But then, the banks are taking it for four years. Which means that the repayment period too for the banks, would be too short; so at least, if it can be extended. Mr Speaker, I am convinced that the 6 per cent interest rate is high, especially now that we are even claiming that our cedi is stable against the Dollar. So, if the cedi is stable, Why are we then saying that a Cedi denominated facility should attract a higher interest rate. I am not too much convinced by the argument for the increase in the interest rate. On the whole, I believe strongly that this facility will help reduce the circulation of cash in the system and make Ghana move towards a cashless country. In my view this is something that we should all give our support to. On this note, I urge Hon Members to second the Motion. Thank you. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, on the floor. I think this loan facility is a very good one as has
Some Hon Members advised the Bank of Ghana and GhlPSS to put in place effective mechanisms to ensure that unscrupulous persons do not take advantage of rural dwellers to defraud them under the pretext of providing them with services connected to the Rural Branch-less Banking Project. Hon Members of the Committee advised the GhlPSS Management to intensify public education on the e- Zwich, particularly, in the rural areas so as to enable especially, the less educated to understand and take advantage of the facility. They further suggested that the e-Zwich be used to pay pensioners, student loan beneficiaries, national service persons, National Youth Employment Programme beneficiaries and other like groups for enhanced convenience and to help reduce banking charges. The Committee observed that the e- Zwich facility would help rural dwellers, especially, traders to avoid travelling with large sums of cash and the attendant robbery attacks. Some Hon Members of the Committee expressed the opinion that the loan, amounting to 7.0 million euros, should have rather been sourced from the local financial market rather than from the KfW, a foreign entity. Deputy Minister Finance and Economic Planning, Hon Seth Terkpeh however, explained that even though borrowing from the local market was desirable, most of the local banks were unwilling to lend funds beyond five years and additionally were unable to lend to Government on concessionary terms. Anti-Corruption Pursuant to article 8.1 of the Loan Agreement, the Government of Ghana (Borrower) is required to "ensure that the persons charged by the same with the preparation and implementation of the project, the award of any contract for the supplies and services to be financed and with requesting disbursements of loan amounts do not demand, assume, render, grant, promise or obtain a promise of unlawful payments or other advantages in connection with these tasks." 6.0 Taxes and Public Charges Article 5 (1) of the Loan Agreement stipulates that "the Borrower shall make all payments to be effected under this Agreement Without any deduction for taxes, other public charges, or other costs, and shall pay the transfer and conversion costs . accruing in connection with the disbursement of the loan." Again, the Government of Ghana (Borrower) is required to bear all taxes and other public charges accruing outside the - Federal Republic of Germany in connection with the conclusion and execution of this Agreement" (article 52). The Committee entreated the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to endeavor to bring a formal request to Parliament for the waiver of the relevant taxes and duties associated with the project for consideration and approval. 7.0 Conclusion In view of the foregoing observations, the Committee recommends to the House to adopt this Report and approve by Resolution, the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Kredistanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) Frankfurt AM Main, Germany for an amount of seven million euros (7,000,000.00 euros) for the implementation of the e-Zwich Rural Branch-less Banking in accordance with article 181 of the Constitution, sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 33 5) and the Standing Orders of the House. Respectfully submitted.
on revolving basis to enable them to acquire e-Zwich infrastructure for the implementation of the e-Zwich Rural Branch-less Banking Project. 4.0 Terms of the loan The terms of the loan are as follows: Euros Grant amount -- 500,000.00 Loan amount - 7,000,000.00 Grace period -- 10 years Repayment period - 40 years Maturity period - 50 years Interest rate - 0.75 per cent Commitment fee --maximum of 0.25 per cent per annum Closing date -- 30th December, 2016 5.0 Observations The Committee observed that the loan shall be used exclusively to finance the RCF under the e-zwich Rural Branch-less Banking Project. The project activities to be financed from the loan include the investment cost of e-Zwich infrastructure including Point of Sale Devices, Merchant Cards, customer cards and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) mainly in the rural areas. As to what constitutes a "rural area" for purposes of the project, the Committee was informed that under the project, rural areas are defined as "areas in communities of less than 5,000 inhabitants, which are located further than one hour walking distance or 4 kilometers from a branch of a universal bank", and that at least 80 per cent of the e-Zwich infrastructure purchased from the proceeds of the loan shall be invested in such areas. The technical team informed the Committee that the CRF would be established by the Bank of Ghana] GhIPSS on behalf of Government of Ghana from which loans would be provided to financial institutions on revolving basis in order to acquire the e-Zwich infrastructure. Hon Members sought to find out how much the rate of interest would be on the on-lent loans to the rural financial institutions, especially considering that the rate of interest on the Euro loan from KfW is 0.75 per cent. To this, it was explained to the Committee that, loans from the RCF to the financial institutions would be cedi denominated, therefore the interest rate would be pegged at 6 per cent, a rate far lower than the BOG prime rate, to enable as many financial institutions as possible to take advantage of the facility to bring the e-Zwich services to rural dwellers. The Committee noted that the project would contribute to the development of the financial system and improve the economic circumstance of people living in rural areas. The Chief Executive Officer of GhlPSS projected to the Committee that seven million people are expected to be using the e-Zwich by the year 2015; about seven million of whom would be in rural areas. The e-Zwich system would allow merchants" and card holders easy and secure access to their money. The Committee was further informed that the project would target rural sectors such as cocoa, fruit processing, fish farming, palm. oil extraction, et cetera, to help enroll more people onto the e-Zwich in groups.
the Report of the Committee on Finance on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Kredistanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (l<lfW) for an amount of 7.0 million euros and a grant of 0.5 million euros to finance the e-Zwich Rural Branch-less Banking Project. Mr Speaker, l present the Report of the Committee. 1.0 Introduction The Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Kredistanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), Frankfurt AM Main, Germany for an amount of seven million Euros (7,000,000.00) for the implementation of the e-Zwich Rural Branch-less Banking was laid in the House on Tuesday, 12" July, 2011 in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Pursuant to article 103 of the Constitution and Order 171 (l) of the Standing Orders of the House,Madam Speaker referred the Agreement to the Committee on Finance for consideration and report. The Committee met and considered the Agreement with the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Hon Dr Kwabena Duffuor and his Deputy, Hon Seth Terkpeh as well as officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems '(GhlPSS) and hereby presents this Report to the House in accordance with Order 161(1) of the Standing Orders of the House. 2.0 Background The GhIPSS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana tasked to implement a countrywide biometric payment system, popularly known as "e- zwich". The system allows the delivery of quality financial services to the population of Ghana, especially the un-banked and the under-banked. The e-Zwich technology permits off-line transactions and fingerprint recognition making it highly suitable for rural areas and for less educated people. The e-Zwich product came to the market in April, 2008 and has since operated mainly in urban areas. After three years of operations, the need is felt to bring it to the rural areas. The strategy of GhlPSS (known as the Rural Branch-less Banking Project) is to deploy, in partnership with financial institutions, the e-Zwich infrastructure in rural areas through networks of agents and merchants. The objective is to make formal financial services available to all persons resident in Ghana. As the cost of investment for the e- Zwich infrastructure is high in comparison with expected revenues in rural areas, Government approached Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) to consider providing this facility which would operate as aRevo1ving Credit Fund (RCF) to financial institutions interested in deploying e-Zwich infrastructure in rural areas through networks of agents and merchants. The 7.0 million euros loan would therefore be used to finance the RCF facility which promises to be a strong incentive to support the deployment of e- Zwich in rural areas. 3.0 Purpose of the credit The purpose of the Credit is to procure funds to establish RCF from which loans would be provided to financial institutions
Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, not all banks have branches in all towns and villages of this country and even the rural banks do not have branches in all villages. But this infrastructure equipment are going to be sited in those villages that the banks or the rural banks do not have branches. With those equipment, the use of the e-Zwich can be effectively promoted. So we would not see the preserve of a branch of a bank in that community but with this equipment, we can use our e- Zwich facility and that is the branch-less project they are talking about.
Mr Speaker, listening to the Chairman, I am not too sure that the Chair is persuaded by this explanation at all. Maybe, we may have to live with it, but clearly, it does not explain the intent that it wants to capture.
Mr Speaker, if I may give an example, the Automatic Teller Machines (ATMS) are equipment that can be installed at a point where a bank would not have a branch. But with the ATM, you can go and transact business with your e-Zwich. That is what We are talking about.
MrSpeaker, I think the Hon Chairman does not understand what I mean. The intent, the principle is clear to me, but the description does not capture what he is telling us as "Rural Branch-less Banking Project". What does it mean? So that is the point I am making. I understand the principle behind what he is saying but the description does not-really capture what they want to portray to us.
The good news is that you understand the principle. [Laughter] Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the debate- I will put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved: That this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Kreditansalt fur Wiederauibau (KfW) for an amount of 7.0 million euros and a grant of O.5 million euros to finance the e- Zwich Rural Branch-less Banking Project.
Hon Members, item 8 on the Order Paper?
Mr Speaker, may I kindly apply for permission for the Hon Deputy Minister, Mr Seth Terkpeh to move the Motion on behalf of the substantive Minister who is not in the Chamber this morning?
Hon Minority Leader? Hon Minority Leader? [Laughter] ll.10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague was giving me some vital information -- [Laughter]
Your Hon Colleague has made an application to allow the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to move the consequential Resolution on behalf of the substantive Minister.
Mr Speaker, we cannot have anything against that.
THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Mr Speaker, we go to items numbered 9, 10 and thereafter--
BILLS --SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,
In moving the Motion, I wish to explain that there are four parts to the Bill. The first part is dealing with the Center for Plant Medicine Research which is going to replace the Long Title of the other center, that is, the Center for Research into Plant Medicine. It makes it easier. Secondly, it distinguishes it from the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). But the main point is that we want this Bill to focus on its main function of doing research into the various plants that we have in Ghana and which are of medicinal value. The Act that we will be seeking to repeal also has regulatory functions because at that time the Food and Drugs Board was not in place. Now that the Food and Drugs Board is there regulating the standards of products, it is appropriate to delink the regulatory functions and focus on the research into plant medicine. We are also collaborating with other countries to build the capacity for us to make use of our plant medicine that we have. Over the years, the Center has done quite a lot of work and has produced very good results. Some of them are being put into use. The second one is the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and we are going to repeal Act 165, more or less, incorporating what exists there now. The purpose again is for us to train specialists, to deal with the brain drain that we normally have when we train people outside. And I can say that over the past few years, we have retained quite a number of the people and some of the residents who are undertaking these courses are also serving in district hospitals where they may have specialists. It is important that as a country, We further legislate to improve the conditions that are there. The West African sub-region cherishes particularly this College because many of them seek admission for the training here and the standards are quite high, as a result of which we have been collaborating with a number of colleges from America, Europe and many other countries. That is why the re- enactment of this is very important. The College of Nurses and Midwives is also one of the colleges that we need to have specialized training for those who are going to be midwives, those who do mental health nursing, community health nursing and public health nursing. Again, each of these professions needs to upgrade themselves, go through professional training, and this could be distinguished from the pre-professional qualification that is undertaken at the various universities and colleges. It is professional development and we specialize to get the people retained. Again, it is going to serve the same purpose of maintaining the human resource that we have in the health sector if this is taken through. Finally, the College of Pharmacists also is to help train professional pharmacists in the various disciplines and this will again retain the number of people we need in industry, in community practice and those into research and the rest of them and also those who do clinical pharmacy. That is why I will urge this House to agree that this Motion be carried today. Question proposed
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion and in doing so, present your Committee's Report. 1.0 Introduction In accordance with article 103 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Hon. Minister for Health, Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh on st March, 2011 , laid before the House, the Health Training and Research Bill. Pursuant to article 106 of the Constitution and Standing Orders 125 and 178, Madam Speaker referred the Bill to the Committee on Health, for consideration and report. 2.0 Consideration of the Bill The Committee on Health as part of its mandate under article 106 (4) of the Constitution of Ghana and Standing Orders 125 and 178 published in the media requests for Written memoranda on the Bill. Subsequently, opportunity was provided for those who presented memoranda on the Bill to meet with the Committee for further deliberation on their proposals. The Committee further met for six (6) days with stakeholders from the health Sector to examine the Bill in detail. The Committee is grateful to the following for their inputs and support during the deliberations: 1 . Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister for Health; 2. Chief Executives, Registrars, Rectors, Directors and officials from: Ministry of Health; Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons; West African College of Nurses; Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association; Nurses and Midwives Council; School of Public Health; Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana; Pharmacy Council; Center for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine; Attorney-General's Department. 3 .0 Reference Documents In examining the Bill, the Committee made reference to the following documents: 1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; 2. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana; 3. Memoranda from the public 4. The Medical Training and Research Bill. 4.0 Background Government has decided that laws in the health sector should be consolidated as appropriate into group legislation with common focus to reduce the number of laws relating to the sector. The Health Research and Training Bill therefore combines the laws for the Center for Plant Medicine Research, the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Ghana College of Nursing and Midwifery as well as the Ghana College of Pharmacists.
The Center for Plant Medicine Research law seeks to review the law which established the Center for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine Decree, 1975 (NRCD 344) which was amended in 1976 by the Center for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine (Amendment) Act (S.M.C.D.12). The Center was mandated to conduct and promote scientific research which relates to the improvement of plant medicine. The law was enacted when the Food and Drugs Board was not in existence and was therefore given some regulatory functions which are now being performed by the Food and Drugs Board. This has led to duplication of functions. The current law does not also provide for a deputy director of the Center and the tenure of office of a director. It does not further differentiate between phyto- pharmaceutical and other pharmaceuticals, medicines and related substances. It is further necessary to change the name of the Center because it is often confused with the "Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research". Ghana over the years, experienced the exodus of doctors to other countries to either seek greener pastures or specialist training. The establishment of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons seeks to curb this trend. The training of specialists locally will save the foreign exchange expended on foreign training. The availability of specialists locally may further attract foreign exchange to the country as non-Ghanaians in the sub- region seek specialist service in this country which is not available in their home countries. The Bill provides a legal framework for running of the College. The College will also develop and oversee structured post- graduate training programmes in various medical and surgical specialists. This will lead to the production of specialists to serve in the regions and districts, thereby making medicine and surgery readily available and accessible to ordinary citizens. It will again assist in reducing the patient to doctor ratio to an appreciable level. There has never been a postgraduate College of Nursing and Midwifery in the country. This therefore resulted in the mass exodus of nurses from the country. The establishment of the Ghana College of Nursing and Midwifery will promote specialist education in nursing and midwifery. The College will also conduct and organize specialist examinations in nursing, midwifery and related disciplines. This will ensure the production of adequate nurses to serve in the regions and districts as well as ensure effective and efficient care of patients in our hospitals. The Ghana College of Pharmacists will promote specialist education in pharmacy by organizing and supervising specialist training in pharmacy and related disciplines. Graduates from the schools will assist our hospitals as well as industries in the purchasing, dispensing and manufacture of drugs. 5.0 Object of the Bill The object of this Bill is to establish four postgraduate colleges. They are: l.The Center for Plant Medicine Research for the promotion of scientific research, knowledge and development of the field of plant medicine.
2 The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons as a national post- graduate medical college for the training of specialists in medicine, surgery and other disciplines. 3. The Ghana College of Nursing and Midwifery to promote specialist education in nursing and midwifery. 4. The Ghana College of Pharmacists is expected to promote specialist education in Pharmacy. 5.l Parts of the Bill The Bill is divided into four parts. Part one of the Bill deals with the Center for Plant Medicine Research. Part two deals "with the establishment of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and Part three provides for the establishment of the Ghana College of Nursing and Midwifery. Part four also deals with the Ghana College of Pharmacists. 6.0 Observations and recommendations 6.1 Ghana college of physicians and surgeons The Committee noted that the establishment of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons would assist in bridging the doctor/patient ratio in rural Ghana. This is because the law provides for specialist doctors to serve in rural areas for a period during their training. The provision would bring specialist training to the doorstep of the rural poor and to areas where doctors would otherwise not offer their services. The training of specialists locally will also save the foreign exchange expended on Ghanaians who seek foreign training abroad. The availability of specialists locally may further attract foreign exchange to the country as non- Ghanaians in the sub-region may seek specialist training and service in this country. The Committee recommends that after the passage of the Bill, the College should ensure that specialists serve in the districts as proposed in the law because the concentration of specialists in the capital does not help in promoting health services of our people. 6.2 Center for scientific research into plant medicine The Committee further noted that the establishment of this College would boost research into plant medicine and also bring sanity to bear on traditional medicine practice in the country. This is because it would regulate and transfer information on research findings to stakeholders for the benefit of the country. The Committee recommends collaboration between the Center and other traditional medicine practitioners to ensure growth in the practice of traditional medicine. 6.3 Ghana college of nurses and midwives The establishment of the College as proposed in the law would provide for specialist nurses and midwives. These nurses would serve in the districts as support to medical specialists in their work. This in the opinion of the Committee would ensure maximum care in our hospitals. it would also serve as a boost to the profession of nursing and midwifery. It may even assist in the reduction in maternal mortality.
The Committee is pleased with the proposals made and hopes that it would mark a new phase in the profession of nursing and midwifery. 6.4 Ghana college of pharmacists The Ghana College of Pharmacists would also promote specialist education in pharmacy. It would ensure professional development as well as support research in pharmacy. This in the opinion of the Committee, would promote development in the pharmaceutical industry in Ghana. It would also ensure that genuine pharmaceuticals are dispensed and the issue of fake drugs is brought to its barest minimum 7.0 Amendments The Committee after careful consideration of the Health Training and Research Bill recommends the following amendments: 1. Clause 33 --Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (1) line (1) after "good" insert "Standing". 2. Clause 41 --Amendment proposed - paragraph (c) delete. 3 . Clause 65 -Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (4), delete. 4. Clause 69 ---Amendment proposed-- Sub-clause (1) paragraph (a) after "nursing" insert "and". 5. Clause 77 -Amendment proposed - delete. 8.0 Conclusion The Medical Training and Research Bill would be of immense benefit to the health sector and the country as a whole since it would provide the public with efficient and effective specialists to handle medical cases both in the cities and the districts. The Committee, having examined and satisfied itself with the provisions of this Bill, recommends to the House to adopt its Report and the passage of the Bill subject to the proposed amendments.
(on behalf of Ranking Member of the Committee) Thank you. Once you learn not to respond when not called-- Mr Speaker, this is one of the most important Bills that has been laid in the reorganization of the health care system in this country. I wholeheartedly endorse and support what the Minister for Health and the Chairman of the Committee has accepted. Mr Speaker, on record, there are more amendments probably that would follow later when we reconvene. Mr Speaker, it is of vital importance that Ghana takes the training of specialist health care workers very seriously. It is not just enough to establish these specialist training institutes and find out there is no funding for them because as soon as we start talking about no funding for these institutes, Mr Speaker, what it then means its that, we are sending a strong message to doctors, nurses and pharmacists who intend to undertake postgraduate specialist training to leave this country. So l would urge the Hon Minister for Health that once he is happy and he is proposing the establishment of these institutes, he should put his thinking cap on and tell Ghanaians how these institutions are going to be funded. Mr Speaker, it is not easy a task that we are undertaking for ourselves to train
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague, yes, I agree with most of the points that he is making, but to say that the Hon Minister should put on his thinking cap, I honestly believe that this is unparliamentary. It means that the Hon Minister is not thinking but I know that, that is not what he means. So he should use the right parliamentary words.
Mr Speaker, indeed, l did utter those words, but I do not think the Minister listening to me thought it was derogatory. It was not derogatory; I withdraw those words if the Hon Member thinks -
Hon Member, withdraw the "thinking cap".
I have withdrawn.
Very well then continue.
Mr Speaker, I have withdrawn but it is not derogatory, if that is what the Hon Member thinks. I am saying that it is just not enough to propose this institute and forget about how they are going to be funded. This is because it is wrong and it is unethical that in the middle of surgical or health training specialists, you say there is no money. So even though I wholeheartedly support this, albeit, for a few amendments that will follow later, l am just asking that the Government should find some money to fund these institutes for specialist training in this country. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minister, wind up.
Mr Speaker, l thank my Hon ‘Colleagues for their understanding and the suggestions they have made. Indeed, our intention is not only to pass the Bill but to make these Colleges functional. We are operating in the West African zone and they look up to Ghana in terms of our ability to turn out quality professionals. Therefore, whatever it will take to raise resources, we will jointly have to do that and l urge all Hon Members to vote for this Motion. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, that brings us -to the end of the debate. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Health Training and Research Bill, 2010 was accordingly read a Second time.
Motion 10, Mr Speaker.
BILLS ---SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Mental Health Bill, 2010 be now read a Second time. In doing so, let me explain that, our legislation so far on mental health, has lacked certain essential features. This Bill seeks to integrate mental health into the
general health care of the country. Mental Health has been left neglected for a long time in terms of facilities that they used to have. Again, we want to make it an integrated system into all the health structures within the Ghana Health Service. Apart from that, the better thing to do is also to have community care and not necessarily put everybody into an institution to be taken care of, as if all the. persons who have mental diseases are supposed to be in facilities. What will hap en is that, more training of mental health nurses and health workers would be done and some posted to districts and the regions and where the diagnosis shows that the person can just be treated as an outpatient, then, that would be the case and it would be integrated. The second part is to ensure that those who are treated and cured or whatever mental ailments they have, are reintegrated into society and accepted by families. We can only do so when we all disabuse our minds about the superstition regarding mental health. Mental sickness, like all sicknesses happens to everybody and they can be cured. Where it is not cured, the person remains in an in-house facility. There are only three mental health institutions along the coast, so what is he talking about those far away? It is important that we also in this Bill create more facilities. The last but most important thing is the respect for mental patients in terms of their human rights. You will recall and many of you would have read in news- papers about the fact that some people are sent to prayer camps and chained, they are part of this Bill. We want the Bill to take account of them and these places should be properly monitored and supervised and advice given to them instead of the inhumane manner in which they are treated. It is very important that we also have people who move from institution to institution to inspect the kind of care that is being given to mental health patients. This is an area that all Ghanaians would be urged to support. Indeed, in discussion with the Committee, we are looking at the possibility of creating a fund that can help us build more institutions that will support mental health care. Mental Health is just like any other health situation and all of us are urged to Support it so that we put this new Bill into place. The most important thing is also to mention that, instead of a Mental Health Service, the view is that, in the Constitution we have one Ghana Health Service and therefore we think that it should be an Authority given enough autonomy to operate; given resources and the sources of funding should not be confined to only Government. There are many, many institutions outside which may want to contribute towards the proper functioning of our mental health system. That is why once again, I urge all of you to support this Motion. It is long overdue and this is also in fulfillment of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Manifesto. If you want you can look at the appropriate page, we are fulfilling that in respect of this, the page on Health. I once again, thank you for the opportunity. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker I beg to support the Motion moved by the Hon Minister and in doing so, submit your Committee's Report. 1.0 Introduction On l6thNovember, 2010, the fonner-Hon Minister for Health, Mr Benjamin Kumbuor, in accordance with article 103 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana laid the Mental Health Bill before the -House. Pursuant to article 106 of the Constitution and Standing Orders 125 and 178, Madam Speaker, Justice Mrs. Joyce Bamford- Addo referred the Bill to the Committee on Health for consideration and report. 2.0 Consideration of the Bill As part of its mandate under article 106 (4) of the Constitution of Ghana and Standing Orders 125 and 178, the Committee on Health published in the media requests for written memoranda on the Bill. Thereafter, opportunity was provided for those who presented memoranda to meet with the Committee for further deliberation on their proposals. The Committee in January, 2011 commenced deliberation on the Bill but discussions stalled because of the provision in article 190 of the 1992 Constitution that promotes the establishment under the Public Services of Ghana, "the Health Service". The proposal for the establishment of another independent Mental Health Service, apart from the Ghana Health Service, was therefore an issue that needed further consideration. In view of this, the leadership of the Committee on Health visited the United Kingdom and other relevant jurisdictions to study their Mental Health Laws in order to arrive at a definite decision on the type of mental health institution to be established. The Committee upon the return" of the leadership from the study tours resumed deliberation on the Bill. The Committee met for three days with stakeholders in the health sector to examine the Bill in detail. The Committee is grateful to the following for their inputs and support during the deliberations: a. Minister for Health, Hon Yieleh Chireh; b. Deputy Minister for Health, Hon. " Robert Mettle-Nunoo; c. Officials of the Ghana Health; d. Officials of the Psychiatric Hospitals; and e. Official from the Attorney- General's Department. 3 .0 Reference Documents In examining the Bill, the Committee made reference to the following documents: a. The_ 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; b. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana; c. Memoranda from the public;
d. The Mental Health Act, 1972, (NRCD3O); and e. The MentalHealth Bill, 2010. 4.0 Background Ghana has had legislation on mental health since 1888, when the Lunatic Asylum Ordinance, Cap 79 became law to provide for custodial care for the mentally ill. The first asylum was thereafter built in 1906 to decongest the prison where arrested. mentally ill people were kept. The Ordinance remained in force with little modification until the Mental Health Act, 1972 (NRCD 30) was enacted. The Act was an improvement on the Ordinance and NRCD 30 which focused mainly on institutional care, the patient, the property of the patient and voluntary treatment. ln 1996, there was an attempt to revise the law but it was not feasible. This Bill has become necessary because the 1972 legislation is outmoded and is not in line with best practice in the management of mental health. New standards for mental health legislation, aim to protect, promote and improve the lives and well being of citizens with mental disorder. A legislation to acknowledge international instruments and obligations on human rights is therefore necessary to promote and protect the rights of people with mental disorder, as well as provide access to mental health care. This Bill adopts a human rights based approach in accordance with international agreements (WHO 2001, UN Charter) for the health care needs of a person with mental disorder. This would prevent discrimination and abuse and also offer equal opportunities to people with mental disorder. The Bill further applies to both the private and the public sector. This covers charismatic churches that specialize in -healing mental disorders as well as traditional healers. It ensures that standards, conditions and rights are relevant to all facilities in order to avoid the abuse of people with mental disorder. The Ministry of Health's policy is now to shift the focus of mental health treatment from institutionalized care to the integration of mental health with general health care at the community level. The Ministry also advocates multi-sectorial liaison with the education, social welfare, criminal justice and non-governmental systems. 5.0 Object of the Bill The object of this Bill is to promote access to basic mental health care in the least restrictive environment which is one of the basic mental health care principles. It is also to encourage early identification and prompt treatment of mental disorder in primary care at the district, regional and general hospitals. 6.0 Highlights of the contents of the Bill The Bill contains a total of ninety-four (94) clauses. These clauses are in nine groups. Clauses 1 to 10 of the Bill provide for the establishment, objectives and functions of the Mental Health Service as well as its governing body. Clauses 11 to 23 deal with the establishment of mental health services at the regional and district level and states the conduct and regulations of the business of the Authority. Clauses 24 to 33 make provision for a quasi-judicial Mental Health Tribunal. Clauses 34 to 38 of the Bill state the provisions relating to visiting committees. Clauses 39 to 41 recognition voluntary treatment thereby replicating provisions_ in the NRCD 30. Clauses 42 to 53 deal with involuntary treatment to promote community- based care and rehabilitation. Clauses 54 to 63 define the rights of persons with mental disorders. Clauses 64 to 79 address issues relating to the protection of vulnerable groups such as females, children, the aged and mentally retarded. Clauses 80 to 93 provide for miscellaneous matters. 7.0 Observations and recommendations 7.1 Establishment of a service The Committee noted that the Bill proposes the establishment of a Mental Health Service. However, article 190 of the l992 Constitution of Ghana provides for a "National Health Service" which presupposes that there cannot be another health service. The establishment of a Mental Health Service would therefore contravene the law. It may also bring to bear, a new charge to the Consolidated Fund. To align the Bill to the requirement of the Constitution, the Committee recommends the establishment of an "Authority" under the Ministry of Health with its own Board. The Authority would have the ability to seek funds from other sources to ensure that mental health receives the requisite attention and support it deserves. 7.2 Structure of the Authority The Committee also realized that the Bill creates structures parallel to that of the Ghana Health Service. The Committee, however, recommends an integrated form of administration where the structures of the Mental Health Authority would be part of the structure of the Ghana Health Service. It is for instance recommended that the Regional and District Mental Health Directors be part of the Regional and District Health Management Teams. They would also be appointed by the Board in consultation with the Regional Health Management Team. 7.3 Extension of mental health care The Bill further advocates the extension of mental health care to include private mental health care, charismatic churches that specialize in healing mental disorders as well as traditional healers. The Committee lauded the decision to include all these institutions because of their propensity to abuse mental health patients. It would also ensure that standards of mental health care are sustained and the human rights of mental health patients are protected. The Committee recommends that the Mental Health Authority when established should ensure that all private mental health care providers bring their facilities to the required standard. 7.4 Creation of a mental health fund The Committee proposes the creation of a fund in line with what was provided for in the Anti-Drug Trafficking Act. This
is necessary because mental health has for many years been neglected and the sources of funds provided for in the Bill are inadequate. The creation of the fund would assist the Authority to bring mental health facilities to standard and also establish community mental health centers as envisaged in the Bill. 8.0 Amendments Having regard to the observations made above, the Committee proposes the following amendments for consideration by the House: Head note - Amendment proposed - after Mental Health delete "Service" and insert "Authority" and do same where ever it appears in this Bill. A Clause 1 - Amendment proposed --- Sub-clause (2), lines (3) and (4), after (Act 125) delete "and the cost shall be borne by the Service". Clause 2 -- Amendment proposed -- Paragraph (a), delete and insert "advice the Minister on mental health policies". Clause 2 -Amendment proposed - insert a new paragraph (b): "implement mental health policies". Clause 2 - Amendment proposed -- Paragraph (c), line 3, delete "service" and insert "care". Clause 3 - Amendment proposed --- Paragraph (a), delete and insert the following: "consult persons with experience as service users as well as family members for the formulation, development and implementation of mental health policies". Clause 3 -Amendment proposed - Paragraph (d), line 2, after "care" insert "district". Clause 3 --- Amendment proposed - Insert a new paragraph: "provide for the safety of staff of the Authority". Clause 3 -- Amendment proposed - Paragraph (1), line 2, delete all words after "care". Clause 4 -Amendment proposed - insert a new sub-clause (3) as follows: "The Board shall ensure the proper and effective performance of the functions of the Authority". Clause 5 --Amendment proposed -' Sub-clause (7), closing statement, line 2, after "vacancy", insert "for the unexpired tenure of office of that member". Clause 1 1-Amendment proposed - Paragraph (a), line l, before "utilize" insert "create and". Clause 14-Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (1), line 1, delete "The Board shall" and insert "The President shall in accordance with article 195 of the Constitution". Clause 15-Amendment proposed-- Sub-clause (1), line 1, delete "The Board shall" and insert "The President shall in accordance with article 195 of the Constitution" . Clause 17--Amendment proposed -- line 2, delete "Regional and District Mental Health Committees" and insert - "Sub-committees of the District and Regional Health Management Teams to be known as: (a) Regional Mental Health Sub- committees; and (b) District Mental Health Sub- committees. Clause 17-Amendment proposed- insert a new sub-clause:
"The sub-committees shall be responsible for mental health at the regional and district levels". Clause 18 --Amendment proposed - Head note, after "Health" delete "Committee" and insert"Sub-committee" and do same wherever it appears in clauses 19 to 23. Clause 18 -Amendment proposed-.- Sub-clause (2), line 2, after "Board" insert "in consultation with the Regional Health Management Team". Clause 2O-Amendment proposed --- Head-note, delete "of the service". Clause 21- Amendment proposed-- Sub-clause (2), delete and insert "The members of the District Mental Health Sub-Committee shall be appointed by the Board in consultation with the District Health Management Team". Clause 23--Amendment proposed - Head-note, delete "of the service". Clause 25- Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (2), paragraph (a), line 1, after "a" delete "private legal practitioner often years" and insert "legal practitioner of not less than ten years". Clause 3 O --Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (1), line 4 delete "Hospital Director" and insert "Head of facility". Clause 33 ---Arnendment proposed-- line (2) after "Minister" insert "through the Board". Clause 35 --Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (1), paragraph (a), line 2, after "Director" inserts "who shall be the Chairperson". Clause 35 -Amendment proposed-- Sub-clause (l), paragraph (c), line 1, after "one" delete "private legal practitioner of ten years" and insert "legal practitioner of not less than ten years". Clause 35 --- Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (1), paragraph (e)line 2, delete "Committee" and insert "Team". Clause 35 --Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (1), paragraph (F), after "representative" insert "one with interest in mental health matters". Clause 38--Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (2), paragraph (b), delete and insert the following: "Despite Sub-clause (2), a relative, a member of the visiting committee or a person with legal authority who wishes to enter the room shall state in writing that although a warning has been given that the patient is dangerous the person still wishes to enter the room". Clause 44 -Amendment proposed -- Sub-clause (1), line l, after"patient" delete "and" and insert "or". Clause 44 --Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (5), line 2, after "patient" insert "or the personal representative of the patient". Clause 50 --Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (2), line 3, after "admissions" delete "that" and insert "the psychiatrist or head of the facility shall report to the police and". Clause 50 --Amendment proposed- insert a new sub-clause "Where the patient leaves the hospital without the consent of the psychiatrist or head of the facility before the expiry of the period specified on admission, any relative of the patient shall report to the . police and the patient shall be arrested by a police officer without warrant and returned to the hospital for the specified period".
Clause 52 --Amendment proposed -- Head-note, delete and substitute "Temporary discharge of involuntary patient". Clause 52-'Amendment proposed - delete and insert "The psychiatrist or head of a facility may temporarily discharge an involuntary patient other than patients detained by a court order for a maximum period of thirty days". Clause 63 -Amendment proposed-- Sub-clause (2), line 3, after "may", delete "advise" and insert "assist". Clause 67-Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (3), line 1, after "Intrusive" delete "or irreversible". Clause 6'7 --Amendment proposed- insert a new sub-clause (4) as follows: "irreversible treatment for mental disorders shall not be administered on a person with mental retardation". Clause .71 -Amendment proposed - Sub-clause (l), delete and insert "A mental disorder shall not be used as a reason for sterilization". Clause 73 --Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (3) line 2, delete all the words after "custody" and insert "for a period not exceeding forty-eight hours if the person cannot be transferred immediately to a facility". Clause 76 -Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (10), line 2,. after "assessment and", delete "if found mentally healthy may be prosecuted" and insert "before prosecution and if found mentally healthy". Clause 8O-Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (1), delete and insert "In- patients and out-patients with mental dis order are entitled to health-care benefits as specified under the National Health Insurance Scheme". Clause 83-Amendment proposed-- Sub-clause (2), line 1, delete "A" and insert "The". Clause 86 --Amendment proposed- delete. Clause 87-Amendment proposed-- delete. Clause 90 ---Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (1), line l, delete "Chief Executive of the Mental Health Service in consultation with the". Clause 90 --Amendment pI‘Op0SG(l-- Sub-clause (1) paragraph (j), delete and insert "provide for further matters in respect of the Tribunal". Clause 90--_Amendment proposed- Sub-clause (1), paragraph (k), delete and insert "provide for further matters in respect of visiting committees". Clause 91-Amendment propo_sed-- "In patient care" "includes provision of quality housing, sanitation, food, lighting, beds, mosquito nets and essential medicine." Clause 91---Amendment proposed- "service user means a person who has received or is receiving mental health care,." 9.0 Conclusion The Committee has carefully examined the provisions of the Bill in the light of its object and purpose and is of the view that its passage would address mental health issues in accordance with international best practice for the health care needs of mental -health patients.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support comments made by the Hon Minister for Health and the Chairman of the Committee.
Hon Members, Order! Order!
Mental health care in this country has stagnated and not evolved since the 18th or the early 19th and 20th Century as it was set up in this country. So there is the need for reforms in the practice of mental health care in this country. Mr Speaker, because there is not enough funding for -an agency, one cannot then begin to form an Authority in order to get more resources. If the resources are not there, whether you form a commission, an agency, an authority or a council, Mr Speaker, the resources are just not there. V Mr Speaker, there is a danger that on considering this Bill-1 will bring to the notice of the Hon Minster for Health and the Chairman of the Committee. If you claim that this law or this Bill is going to extend mental health care to include private mental health care- Mr Speaker, listen to the second one- "Charismatic churches that specialize in mental health disorders as well as traditional healers", Mr Speaker, you are opening a can of worms that we probably are not adequately resourced to - how are we going to regulate charismatic churches where some pastors even claim are causing physical disability and mental health? So when we get there we will address that issue carefully in the light of certain revelations coming into this country. . Mr Speaker, the definition of health, like I said, includes mental wellbeing and so we have to integrate health care in this country and that was why I supported my Chairman when he said that we should not create parallel structures. Mental health should be funded and funded adequately. That is the single most important problem with mental health care practice in this country. I urge Members of the House that when we come to the Consideration Stage, they should support the Hon Minister and the Committee to make the necessary changes when and where necessary. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, very much -_ [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker said I should wind up. Nobody caught his eye.
Nobody caught my eye. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, Mr First Deputy Speaker Only on the I thought some others were going to contribute.
Very well, you have the floor.
Mr Speaker, the Committee informs us that they "noted that the Bill proposes"-and I am reading from page 5-- "the establishment of a Mental Health Service. However, article 190 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides for a Health Service, which presupposes that there cannot be another health service." Mr Speaker, I totally disagree with the Committee on this.
"The Public Services of Ghana shall include . . ." and among other outfits, mention has been made of the Health Service. It does not close the door at all. It does not say that the Public Services of Ghana comprises these outfits. That is not the language of the Constitution. So, for them to ave come to that determination, Mr Speaker, I totally disagree with them. In any event, if you read article 190 (1) (d), it provides another window: "such other public services as Parliament may by law prescribe." So, Mr Speaker, I do not know where they are coming from. I totally disagree with them. So, that is the remise and I thought that they should advert their minds to.
Hon Member, I thought we were concluding the debate but the Hon Minority Leader has raised an issue.
Mr Speaker, I do not know if you would indulge me to contribute to the debate?
Only on the issue raised by the Hon Minority Leader.
Rightly so. Let me respond.
Mr Speaker, I entirely want to associate myself with the concerns raised by the Hon Minority Leader and that if you look at the Committee's Report, particular reference has been made to page 5, and even page l, the first paragraph - the consideration of the Bill subsequent to their travelling abroad. Mr Speaker, article 190 - if you look at the head note there, it is "The Public Services". It is what composes of the "Public Services of Ghana" and that should not allow for any ambiguity in Parliament exercising its authority to create another institution to be known as the "Mental Health Service. So, I think that the Committee got it wrong. We still can have a Mental Health service which will concentrate on the core objectives associated with this particular Bill. And I rather thought that the Committee should not mix matters of public service with Parliament exercising its mandate to create another institution even as it is allowed under article 190 (1) (d) ". . . such other public services as Parliament may by law prescribe". Once we give approval to this Bill, Parliament has by law prescribed the establishment of a new institution to be known as the Mental Health Service. I think that I associate myself with those concerns. The Committee can deal with the other recommendations that they made.
Mr Speaker, I want to draw the attention of my Hon Colleagues that, it is not only the issue of article 190 that we raised in our Report. We raised additionally the issue of creating parallel institutions and the difficulty of running them in our country. And that is why the Committee was of the view that --
Hon Member, the Hon Minority Leader quoted from your Report as a basis for his argument and you quoted article 190. There are two separate things. The institutional point is different from a parallel institution being created. There are two issues. He is not taking issue with the parallel institution. His concern is with regard to article 190. That is What the issue is about now. Hon Chairman, have you finished?
Mr Speaker, if I may, they go further to state categorically under bullet point 7.1 on page 5, that "The establishment of a Mental Health Service will therefore ' contravene the law," that it will contravene the Constitution.
That is the point I made, that it is the constitutional leg of his argument in the Report that you, the Hon Minority Leader, is raising.
Mr Speaker, maybe, to guide the Committee further, the Ghana Health Service is the umbrella body. Therefore, when we create the Mental Health Service, it will be subsumed under the Ghana Health Service per the hierarchical organizational structure at the Ministry of Health. It should not cause any problem at all.
Well, that is a different matter you are raising. But they have made a categorical statement that it is going to offend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and I think that that should be our concern.
Mr Speaker, I just want to associate myself with the constitutional position taken by the Hon Minority Leader and I agree that he is entirely right. This is because what has been captured in the Committee's Report, it is not correct, as far as the Constitution is concerned. It reads: "However, article 190 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides for a ‘National Health Service which presuppose that there cannot be another health service." That is where it is wrong. So, to that extent, I think that we can change. But fortunately, Mr Speaker, this is only a Committee's Report; it is not law. That is why we are in the process of transforming this Bill into law. So, we will I take note of that when it comes to the Consideration Stage. I hope that it is not a provision in the Bill anyway. I also want to allude to the earlier statement made by the Hon Deputy Ranking Member when we criticized the idea of our inability to supervise charismatic churches and other institutions outside the health institutions that deal with mental patients. I think that as a country, it is important for us to have a system that affects all other structures in the country. And if you look at the indignity that some of these patients go through in some of these spiritual churches, at cetera, I think it is important that we have a legal framework.
Hon Minister, wind up. But I want to hear more about how you are going to handle the spiritual churches and the shrines in this country.
Thank you very much- I thank my Hon Colleagues for the comments they have made. But in respect of the shrines, spiritual churches and prayer camps, we want to bring them under the ambit of the law and in doing that, people will visit the sites and see the congestion. Some of the people may not be chained as they do. They may be given medication after careful professional examination has been done. They lump everybody together and treat everybody as suffering from a spiritual disease or some other thing. We are in a scientific country and we must do things properly. We are not encouraging more of them to be opening prayer camps. Indeed, we have to zone out and ensure that at least a mental health Worker supervises a number of them and makes reports and under the law they will be regulated. Currently, they are not. And if we do not bring them under the ambit of the law, there is no way we can regulate them. Mr Speaker, the other issue they raised about the constitutionality is, if you recall, in the 1990s, there was the issue of the Ghana Education Service and the decentralization process. The argument they made was that it was written there "Ghana Education Service". So all these that have been listed, they jealously guard these positions. But in the case of the Mental Health Service, in the Health Service generally, you can have laboratory services, you can have other services provided, that one with small S, as a service established. The principle of this law is to integrate the Mental Health Service into the general Health Service. Apart from that they are going to share facilities in a way because they may be in the regional hospitals, with wards reserved for mental patients and therefore you cannot have two separate services, each of them claiming, "I am a service" of my own, I can give instructions and all that. Indeed, if they are talking about constitutionality, of course, as Members of Parliament, we all have our views whether something is constitutional or not. But it is because we do not want duplication that we think enough autonomy would be given to them in terms of funding and resources such that the Ghana Health Service may not control the release of funds to them. They would be autonomous sufficiently to do that. But it is because if today you want to set up another Statistical Service, they would say the Constitution says "Statistical Service". So all of us, once we have the Constitution in our hands, we are right to interpret it the way we think it is. But the Supreme Court is the one which would say we are all wrong or right. But in the view of the Committee we did not want controversy. This is because
Hon Members, let us move quickly to item number 13 on the Order Paper. Hon Minister for Transport? Suspension of Standing Order 128(1)
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 128 (l) which require that when a Bill has been read a Second time, it shall pass through a Consideration Stage which shall not be taken until at least 48 hours have elapsed, the Consideration Stage of the Ghana Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 2011 may be taken today.
Hon Minister, which motion are you moving? I said item number 13 - Ghana Maritime Security (Amendment) Bill. Item 13 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, I think Hon Members are confused. They are confusing the Maritime Authority (Amendment) Bill with the Maritime Security Bill. That is why you hear Hon Members-- But you rightly said item 13 and that is the Motion he moved. MR First Deputy Speaker: You know, with regard to item ll, there are some issues I want to discuss with some of my Hon Colleagues before we take it. This morning, I discussed with Leadership when we met in the Speaker's lobby. That is why we are taking item number 13 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, very well. But for him to say Hon Members are confused, the Majority Leader did not tell us that we are not taking item number 11. So it is a legitimate question for us to ask Why we are moving to 13 without considering ll. And he says we are confused; he is confused. [Laughter]
MrSpeaker, you are determining the order. of proceedings and you have mentioned item 13. If he thinks that you have forgotten to mention 11 - No, but it is taking this common -
The Hon Member for Sekondi is right.
I was making a general - [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, nobody is confused at all. I think the Hon Minister, in reading the Motion numbered 13, ended up instead of talking about Ghana -
He ended up with 15 .
Yes, he ended up talking about Ghana Shipping instead of Ghana Maritime Security (Amendment) Bill. So 13 does not have shipping inside its and that is why the Hon Minister for Transport might have misled the House.
Hon Minister, move the Motion again.
MI Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions under Standing Order 128 (1) which require that when a Bill -- [An Hon Member: Where is item 13?]
Mr Speaker, he said Motion number 13. Mr Speaker--
Item number 13.
Yes, not Motion No. 13.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, -- [Interruption_]
Mr Speaker, with respect, the order of Business in this House is set out in Standing Order 53. Order 53 provides and and with your permission I read: "The business for each Sitting day, as decided by the Business Committee shall be set out in the Order Paper, and shall whenever possible be transacted in the following order .. ." Mr Speaker, you may alter the items listed on the Order Paper, but that one is guided by Order 53 (2) which provides: "(2) By leave of Mr Speaker, the Order of Business set out in the Order Paper may be altered on any particular day." So Mr Speaker, I believe that a request would have to be made to you and then you would grant the request; that is where your leave comes in. So the request ought to have come from the Majority Leader. He did not make any application.
Hon Minority Leader, earlier in the day, if you checked the Hansard, when he said We were not going to take item number 4, he mentioned the other items that we were going to take.
Mr Speaker, I heard him live, he said items 9, 10, 11. Mr Speaker, 1 heard him, 1 was here.
Well, Hon Minority Leader -- This morning, we had an understanding that we want to make sure the Bill there-- There is a small issue with items 11 and 12. It is a very small matter that we thought we want to resolve and I have asked the Table Office to get in touch with the Hon Member for Sekondi, the Deputy Minority Leader and the Majority Leader and others, so that we see the best way to go about it. It is with the issue of the penalties that have been imposed. They imposed penalties in the Bill without defining the offence. I was thinking whether we should treat the whole matter in the Bill or all should go into the regulations. It is a question of style and that is what l thought we should try to resolve before we take that item. That is why we are moving -on to item number 13 on the Order Paper. So the leave has been -
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader told me about that and I agreed, except that I thought the request ought to have come from the front bench of the Majority for you to grant leave.
You thought it had been done but if it has not been done, please, move the Motion. That is a strict interpretation of the rules.
Mr Speaker, by your kind permission, may We move to item numbered 13 on the Order Paper. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much. When it comes to other areas, you must also be ready for the strict application of the rules. Hon Minister for Transport, you have the floor. Suspension of Standing Order 128 (1) Minister for Transport (Alhaji Collins Dauda): Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 128 (1) which require that when a Bill has been read a Second time, it shall pass through a Consideration Stage which shall not be taken until at least forty- eight hours have elapsed, the consideration stage of the Ghana Maritime Security (Amendment) Bill, 201 1 may be taken today.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Ghana Maritime Security (Amendment) Bill. Very well, Hon Minister for Transport, item number 15. Suspension of Standing Order 128 (1)
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 128 (1) which require that when a Bill has been read a Second time it shall pass through a Consideration Stage which shall not be taken until at least forty- eight hours have elapsed, the Consideration Stage of the Ghana Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 201 l may be taken today.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly. 12.1Op.m.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, sub-clause (IA), paragraph (2), subparagraph (a), delete "Director-General" and insert "Minister". paragraph (2), subparagraph (8.), delete "Director-General" and insert "Minister".
Hon Chairman, why the Minister and not the Director-General?
Mr Speaker, the Committee observed the need for applications for permit to be forwarded to the Hon Minister for Transport instead of the Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority. Reasons being that it is the Minister who has the ultimate powers to grant permit and not the Director-General of the Authority.
Mr Speaker, if you will indulge me, is it also not possible to marry the two, that the Minister would have given approval on the basis of recommendations made by the Director- General? Would the Chairman be averse to an improvement of that particular clause?
Mr Speaker, in practice, that is what it is but in giving authority you may not create dual authority. One person has the authority but we know that in practice, the Director- General will receive "and vet" the applications and upon his recommendations the Minister would grant the authority. That is the consideration we gave to this Bill. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause l, sub-clause (IA), paragraph (3), subparagraph (b), delete and insert "the Registry of the ship". Mr Speaker, the observation of the Committee was that application for permit should indicate the registry of the ship and not the flag of the applicant's State. Reason being that, the flag of the applicants State does not indicate where the foreign vessel is registered. For the purposes of clarity the expression should rather read as follows: "The registry of the ship to indicate where the foreign vessel is registered."
Hon Chairman, what is the difference. Why do you not add the flag to the registry of the ship?
Mr Speaker, that was the resolution of the whole Committee Members.
Mr Speaker, we were in serious consultation with the stakeholders and the expert advice we received was that it is a term of art, that is the industry practice. It is the registry of the ship that determines the flag of State it is carrying.
ls the flag of the applicant's State inherent in the registry of the ship?
Mr Speaker, that is so.
Are you sure of that?
Mr Speaker, we were so advised. We looked at all the international conventions in that regard.
Mr Speaker, I wonder Why they want to delete the flag of the ship.This is because under both public and private international law, the nationality of the ship is determined by the flag that it flies. I have not got the Bill but looking through the Bill, we have another item which is required to be disclosed when one is applying for permit,
Mr Speaker, the flag you carry is determined by the registry. If a vessel is owned by a Ghanaian and he registers it in Nigeria then it is registered as a Nigerian, ship but it can only carry the flag of Nigeria. You cannot register a ship in Nigeria and let it carry the flag of Ghana. That is why the registry of the ship determines which flag it carries.
Hon Members, if the fact is that the flag of the ship is inherent in the registry of the ship, then I can put the Question now. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause l, sub-clause (lA), paragraph (3), subparagraph (g), delete "description" and insert "nature". Mr Speaker, it was observed that the paragraph does not provide the understanding of the provision. It became necessary therefore to delete that paragraph and insert the following: "The nature of the intended trade in Ghanaian waters and to ensure clarity to the provision." Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, sub-clause (lA), paragraph (3), subparagraph (i), delete and insert the following: "evidence that indicates the applicant's commitment to social responsibility in relation to the training of Ghana seafarers and cadets". Mr Speaker, this was so because it was noted that a new paragraph be inserted to indicate an applicant of a foreign ship intending to trade in Ghanaian waters to show commitment to social responsibility in the area of training of seafarers and cadets. The reason being that there has been lack of training and exposure for these professionals and the amendment now requires that the foreign ships should be mandated to train these professionals. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, sub-clause (lA), paragraph (4), delete and insert the following: "An applicant may provide evidence that shares in the foreign ship are owned or controlled by a citizen, the government or a company or partnership registered by law in the Republic; and". Mr Speaker, the reason is that, a foreign ship intending to trade in Ghanaian waters should show evidence of local participation in its stock-holding and ownership.
Mr Speaker, t if the Chairman can give some further explanation - I understand that he is proposing this to promote local participation. But how come somebody
Mr Speaker, I do not think there will be any difficulty in this issue so, in fact -
But excuse me, what are you deleting?
Mr Speaker, the evidence of commitment.
But we have dealt with evidence of commitment and I have put the Question on that one. Hon Chairman, the evidence of commitment, I have put the Question on that one. What exactly is your amendment? I am having a problem with the amendment as it appears on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, I am very sorry. It was removed entirely but it has been omitted -
This is because, the amendment there -
Mr Speaker, so we are dropping that amendment.
Hon Chairman, the amendment there is to delete sub-clause l(A), paragraph 4. Paragraph 4 is talking about the Board and you are deleting paragraph 4, not even paragraph 4(A) or 4(B) and ending it by "end" and what is the "end"?
Mr Speaker, paragraph l(A) (iv), following the earlier approval that you gave that the permit should be addressed to the Minister will have to change automatically, in terms of who grants the permit. So, if the Chairman can take his time and read a new rendition which captures a role for the Minister in granting the permit, that would be worthwhile.
Hon Chairman, I think you are creating problems for the Chair.
Mr Speaker, We Wish to drop that amendment.
It is not a matter of dropping it. If you drop it and leave it like that, then the power you have given to the Minister, you have taken it away; this is because the Board will be the one granting the permit. It will be inconsistent with What you have agreed on earlier.
Mr Speaker, at the Committee, there was an understanding that instead of the Board granting the permit, it should be the Minister who should do it and therefore, this should have been a consequential amendment. That is what this amendment I thought, should have been. With your indulgence, if you would allow the Chairman of the Committee to move a consequential amendment delete "the board" and insert "the Minister".
Hon Minister, yes, that one can be done but the amendment; we will have to battle with the amendment on the Order Paper. You see, that can be done because you can even say that it is consequential but the amendment on the Order Paper there is dropped.
Mr Speaker, the Chairman of the Committee has indicated that, that amendment is dropped.
So, what then happens to the amendment which you have deleted in (i)?
Mr Speaker, (i), if you would recall, the earlier amendment that was taken under item (iv), that one replaces (i), and therefore that should be it.
So, you do not need that information there as to who controls the shares? ls that what you are saying now? You do not need that information there as to who controls the shares?
Very well, then.
Mr Speaker, it is just as we have said, it was in place of that information. That is why we deleted the (iv).
Then somebody should move the consequential amendment and let me put the Question. Yes, to (iv), let me put the Question.
Mr Speaker, in respect of clause 1A (iv), I move that, the new rendition should read: "The Minister shall grant the permit on the recommendations of the board subject to (a) and (b)". Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minister, are you using "shall" or "may"?
Mr Speaker, well substituted, "may".
So what you are doing is that, we delete the words, "the Board of the Ghana Maritime Authority" and insert "the Minister? Mr H; Iddrisu: Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member for Bekwai, are you with us?
That is so, Mr Speaker.
Is that the thinking of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, it is in accord with the thinking of the Committee.
Very well. Hon Minority Leader, let me hear you before I pronounce on the voice vote.
Mr Speaker, I thought when the Minister for Communications intervened, initially, he said the Minister shall grant the permit. Once these conditions are fulfilled, the Minister shall grant the permit. So, the permit shall be granted upon the satisfaction of these conditions. Once these conditions are satisfied --
Hon Minority Leader, you see also that they make it subject to, which is (a) and (b). So it is not automatic and that is why they are dropping the shareholdings structure of the company. So there may be other information that might not be included here which may come out that they need other conditions.
Mr Speaker, with respect, if an applicant satisfies the conditions as prescribed in (a) and (b), does the Minister have the discretion to refuse the permit?
Yes, there is a discretion vested there and it is good for the discretion to be vested because it is subject to and those conditions are not - you do not know the conditions.
Mr Speaker, the Minister may grant the permit but you have now gone on -
It is subject to those conditions.
Subject to those conditions as established in "(a)" and "(b)". Once those are satisfied, the Minister cannot say that he still has a discretion to refuse the grant of permit. So he shall grant the permit subject to these conditions as established in "a" and "b".
Well, you have a point there. Hon Minister, do you get the point that he is making, that it should be that if they fulfill the conditions in "a" and "b" of paragraph 4, then you do not have a discretion on the matter.
Mr Speaker, I will plead with my Colleague the Minority Leader, once there are conditions that are to be satisfied, at that point in time, the flexibility of "may" and "discretion" is applicable. Impliedly, the "may" becomes "shall" once these conditions are met. So for this purpose, the "may" has to be maintained until those other conditions are met, so that the Minister can exercise a discretion subsequent to those conditions being met.
Mr Speaker, I may drop the gauntlet but not on the explanation given by the Minister for Communication. Mr Speaker, we are talking about the fulfillment of certain conditions and if the conditions are fulfilled as provided for under "(a)" and "(b)", the Minister will cease to have a discretion not to grant the permit. So we are saying that he shall grant the permit, subject to the fulfillment of these conditions. Once the conditions are fulfilled, he does not have that discretion again to withhold it. Once those conditions are fulfilled, he does not have that discretion any longer to withhold the grant of the permit.
Hon Members, I will put the Question. I Want the. Second Deputy Speaker to take the Chair sol want to -
Let me quickly finish this one. Mr Speaker actually, the Committee proposed "shall" and (v) was supposed to be removed and replaced with (vi). So if you read (vi) on the Order Paper, what has been suggested by the Hon Minister is actually what is captured there.
Hon Member for Bekwai, I asked you earlier whether the thing was in accord -- Now you say yes. So I will leave this matter to the Second Deputy Speaker to come and sort out. If he cannot, we can defer it and look at it well and see which one is better in the interest of the State.
[MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER IN CHAIR]
Hon Members - [Pause] The Hon Member on his feet may continue so that we will see whether we can complete that matter referred to earlier - [Pause] Chairman of the Committee, we are still on (V) of clause 1, if I am not mistaken- If it is creating any difficulty, can we stand that down and make progress? Mr Boampong; Mr Speaker, please, the Committee recommended "shall" so you may put the Question.
An applicant shall provide evidence that shares in the foreign ship are owned or controlled by a citizen, the Government or a company or partnership registered by law in the Republic. Definitely, the mandatory is better, is that not it? Hon Chairman of the Committee, if you may give us the full rendition with "shall" -
That one has been removed.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, the Minister shall grant the permit subject to then (a) and (b), is that correct? The issue now is whether the Minister "may" or the Minister "shall". So give us the final rendition and let us go on.
Mr Speaker, let us go with the "may".
Please, go on. Chairman of the Committee, the Minister may grant a permit subject to (a) and (b) or the Minister shall grant the permit subject to - But there is no automatic granting for which matter we will want to talk about "shall" and I think the "may" is the exercise of discretion or judgment in all cases. You cannot have a law -
Exactly so, Mr Speaker. That was why I said we should go with the "may". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, sub-clause (IA), add the following new paragraph: "(5) The Minister shall in accordance with the recommendation of the Board grant the permit subject to the payment of the prescribed fee." Mr Speaker, the reasons are that the permit ought to be granted by the Minister and not the authority after the appropriate fees have been paid by the applicants. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I thought the Minister for Communications had combined the two -- payment of the fee and the earlier one. So why are we repeating it in sub-clause 5?
Chairman of the Committee? Maybe, the Hon Minister may also want to -
Mr Speaker, please, I did not get him well.
Hon Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi, you may make your point.
Mr Speaker, in sub-clause (4), we had two conditions, one of which was payment of the prescribed fee. So I thought when we took care of that there was not even going to be any need for us to have sub-clause (5) which is talking about the fee.
The point is that (V), the amendment there takes care of the matter of fee, and the point is the amendment so appropriately
Mr Speaker, I agree with your position.
I thank you very much. So we take it that (vi) is abandoned accordingly. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause l, sub-clause (1A), add the following new paragraph: "(7) The Minister shall in granting the application take into account any evidence provided under sub-clause (4)"
Mr Speaker, in view of the amendments made to sub-clause (4) which has passed the House, this becomes superfluous in my opinion. This is because what this amendment seeks to say is that the Minister shall, in granting the application, take into account any evidence provided under sub-clause (4) which is already there. Therefore, it is superfluous in my opinion.
Mr Speaker, if we look at where we were coming from, probably, it would give us a clearer picture. The original Bill proposed that the license would be granted to ships which apply to foreign ships, and that if a foreign ship applied then it would be required to cede 10 per cent of its shares to a Ghanaian person or legal person. We proposed an amendment and requested that that may be difficult to operationalize. However, we were seeking to say that if a vessel applied for a license and there was evidence that-a Ghanaian had interest in that vessel, then that application would be given priority. I am not sure whether we have captured it as we wanted it and that is why it said that given evidence that ownership of the vessel had Ghanaian participation that application would be given priority. The intention was that the whole area was originally reserved for Ghanaians, but we are allowing foreign ships to come in, so what are we getting in return? That was the intention, and that was why it was originally proposed that people should cede 10 per cent. We found that impracticable. In place of that we are saying that, where a vessel had Ghanaian ownership or participation, then priority should be given to that vessel in considering the application. I am not sure whether we have captured it as described here but that was the intention.
Mr Speaker, I think he is talking about something that is not related to the amendment being discussed on the floor at the moment. The amendment being discussed now is (vii) of clause l on the Order Paper and it says that: "(7) The Minister shall in granting the application take into account any evidence provided under sub clause (4)". In sub-clause (4), you would recall that some amendments have already been made, particularly with regard to the deletion of "Board of the Ghana Maritime Authority" and the insertion of the "Minister". That has- passed and therefore, Mr Speaker, this in my opinion becomes superfluous.
That is exactly so. ln fact, Hon Member, you are speaking of something different that can be taken care of if it is being raised appropriately, but definitely, it does not take away what the Hon Minister is saying at the stage that we are now and the provision of evidence is already something that we have taken care of. The Hon Minister is therefore saying that, it is superfluous over here that is part of what the Minister takes into account in taking his decision. Hon Chairman, if you agree with the Hon Minister, let us abandon that and make progress. "
Mr Speaker, I agree that the numbers have been misplaced but actually, what we were talking about was in respect of sub-clause (3)(i), where the requirement of ceding of 10 per cent ownership of a vessel was a requirement for getting a license to operate in otherwise restricted waters of Ghana. In place of that, we are trying to propose that even in the absence of requesting for 10 per cent, if a vessel had ownership which a Ghanaian -was involved, then that vessel should be given priority. However, it appears we have misplaced that requirement under sub-clause (4) instead of putting it under sub-clause (3)(i). I do not know whether it is too late to find a way to bring it back. This is because I think it is a desirable legislation. w Mr Second Deputy Speaker: In fact, the issue of arrangement is something that can be taken care of by the draftsperson.
Mi Speaker, 1 believe the Chairman should take a clue from your guidance and abandon this particular amendment. Mr Speaker, we have earlier, with your guidance, given approval that the permit shall be given by the Minister on the recommendations of the Board. So whether there are Ghanaian interests or whatever interest, let it be part of the recommendations that the Board will make to the Minister.
I thank p you very much. Hon Chairman, you may proceed to abandon that and then we make progress.
Mr Speaker, we would drop the amendment. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House. Clause 1 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 2 - Section 40 of Act 645 amended.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2, line 2, delete "section .40 (l)" and insert "sub-section (l)".
Hon Chairman, so that your rendition will finally be what? We always want to be very clear on end results.
Mr Speaker, the rendition will therefore be "A Ghanaian ship under 24 meters in length or a gross tonnage of 150 and every vessel of whatever length or weight, trading or operating solely within the inland waters of Ghana shall be licensed."
Mr Speaker, I would like to get this clarification. Are we covering "dinghies" by which whatever something, something which would be operating in inland waters? Are they to be licensed?
Mr Speaker, we are talking of commercial vessels.
Mr Speaker, it says, "and every vessel of whatever length or weight, trading or operating solely within the inland waters of Ghana."
Hon Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi, what is the difficulty? You have read what is there, but what is the point you want to make so that the Chairman can -
Mr Speaker, I only felt that the dimension given, "whatever length or weight" is rather vague. This is because a dinghy may be a small vessel, normally taking about two people for research and that sort of thing. I do not think We are interested in licensing those. if we are, then they may say so.
Mr Speaker, I think if we went to the definition section, we would look at what is defined as a ship. But if a dinghy qualifies as defined and it is trading then yes, it is required to register. Mr Speaker, the amendment is dealing with ships that are trading or operating solely within the inland waters of Ghana. So if a dinghy is trading or operating then it ought to be registered. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clauses 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 3 to 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 6 _ Section 481 of Act 645 amended.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6 --- Paragraph (b), definition of "‘Ghana's maritime jurisdiction", line 2, after "coastal state" insert "in the various maritime zones" and in lines 5 and 6, delete "in the various maritime zones". Mr Speaker, these changes are being done for the purposes of clarity of the clause.
Mr Speaker, I just Wanted the Committee Chairman to explain line 3. Why is he using "important information" on "safety, security pollution". Why is he qualifying with "important information"? Mr Speaker, the Clerk read 4 (7) (a), "The Authority may issue maritime circulars for the purpose of disseminating to the shipping and fishing industries and mariners important information on ..." Why the word "important" qualifying the word "information"?
Mr Speaker, that is what we are saying, that it is for the clarity of the clause and they are the sort of information which are very important to the seafarers too.
Hon Minister, is that satisfactory to you?
Mr Speaker, I was wondering Whether he would not accept "any relevant information" instead of "important". What is important and what is unimportant? Or, it could just stand as "information on safety".
So that whether the information is "important" or "relevant"? Definitely, for legal wording, it should be "relevant" rather than "important". "Importance" brings all manner of relativities. Anything that is relevant, you must bring it.
Mr Speaker, no objection; 'We would go that way.
So it should be "relevant information".
Yes, Mr Speaker. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 6 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, we have clause 7.
Mr Speaker, the suggestion made by the Hon Minister for Communications which you just recommended to us and was approved is on clause 5. Therefore, the Question on that should also be put and accepted.
Very well; that was on clause 5.
Clause 5, 479 (l) line 5. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 5 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Chairman of the Committee, where are we now? The Schedule --
"Mr Speaker, I beg to move, the Schedule -- Item 2, delete "Flag of State" and insert "Registry of the ship".
Very well. So that the entire rendition would be what? So that the rendition on the entire clause 7 now will be what, so that we know exactly where we are and what we are doing?
Mr Speaker, it would be two -- the registry of the ship. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, the Schedule -- Signature line, delete "Director-General" and insert "Minister" and also delete "Ghana Maritime Authority" and insert "Ministry of Transport".
MrSpeaker, just to straighten the second leg of the amendment. The insertion of "Ministry of Transport" to be in line with current practice. It should be "Ministry responsible for Transport" so that if there is any change in designation, it will not affect the law.
Thank you very much, "Ministry responsible for Transport". Any further amendments, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, they are not there yet. I do not know whether they considered it, but the Long Title has not been advertised and I noticed series of mistakes. First of all I think they are talking about "constellations" and not "installation" so maybe, you correct that.
Chairman of the Committee, you are agreeable?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, the other more important thing that I want u-s to advert our minds to is -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I am told they are yet to do it and if they are yet to do it, let them consider that. I propose that instead of saying "An Act to amend the Ghana Shipping Act, 2003 (Act 645) to extend the definition of ' Ghanaian waters", he may just say, delete "extend the definition of and insert "to redefine Ghanaian waters "or" define Ghanaian waters to include" instead of saying you wants to extend. It may involve some misunderstanding, Mr Speaker.
Yes, because what we are doing is definitely not a physical extension of the waters, but a redefinition of what constitutes waters.
Mr Speaker ,thank you, I think it is well noted and we will go with the Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, I want to find out whether you were going to put the Question on the proposed amendment by the Minority Leader before I proceed with my -
Very well. Hon Minority Leader, if you will please restate, so that we capture it fully.
Mr Speaker, so I may want to wait for you to call the Long Title, and then maybe, I will proffer that amendment.
Chairman of the Committee, is the Long Title ready for consideration?
Mr Speaker, it is with the Table Office.
Mr Speaker, as I said, I noticed on the Order Paper that there is no amendment from the Committee, so I said that, if you call it out, "Long Title", then I will proffer the amendment and then we go, so that after it, you can then put the Question on it.
Hon Members, Long Title - An Act to amend the Ghana Shipping Act, 2003 (Act 645) to extend the definition of Ghanaian waters to include the waters in the safety zone around offshore installations and to enable foreign registered ships to trade in Ghanaian Water and for related matters.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Long Title, delete "extend the definition of and insert "define" so that the rendition will read: - ". . .To define Ghanaian waters to include the waters in the safety zone around the offshore". In line 3, the word "constellations" should - be deleted and insert "installations".
Thank you very much. Hon Members, the proposed amendment is for the consideration of the House. "Define Ghanaian waters" and also "installation". Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I will go with the Hon Minority Leader's amendment.
Any further contribution? Hon Minister, is that satisfactory to you?
Mr Speaker, I agree with the proposal. Question put and amendment agreed to. The Long Title as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I want to crave your indulgence to take advantage of your flexibility to revisit the Schedule, item 8, description of the approved trade in Ghanaian waters. Mr Speaker, I just Want to propose a consequential amendment. Earlier under clause 1 (a) paragraph (3)(g), the word "description" was deleted and in its place the word "nature" inserted. So for consistency, I am proposing an amendment that under the Schedule, item 8 we delete the word "description" and insert "nature".
So that we had earlier "the nature of the intended trade in Ghanaian waters" and the proposal is that We should have "nature of the approved trade in Ghanaian waters". Is that so, Hon Boafo?
That is so, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Boafo. Alhaji Dauda; Mr Speaker, it is a consequential amendment and I support it.
Mr Speaker, I think in the same breadth, because in sub-clause l (A), they have said that the application for a permit shall be made to the Minister and not to the Director- General any longer. Then the Schedule which is more or less the application form should bear the name of the Minister and not the Director-General. So the Schedule should also have that amendment, that it should be the Minister responsible for Transport and not the Director-General. So we should have a further amendment to that.
Mr Speaker, that has been done in the amendment.
That has been taken care of? Very well. So the amendment proposed by Hon Boafo, under Schedule 8, "Nature of the approved trade in Ghanaian Waters". I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker, I know that for reasons of consistency, the Hon Member for Akropong is proffering this amendment. But Mr Speaker, I thought that if we say "the description", I think it is more specific and more wider in scope than just saying the "nature of the approved trade". Yes, Hon Minister, that is Where I am coming from. The Hon Member for Akropong is drawing our attention that for purposes of consistency, we may have to amend this one, "description" and insert "nature" to be consistent with what we did earlier. But I am suggesting that, upon second thought, perhaps, we may have to look at it again. This is because "description" is more relevant and more specific in this case than just saying "The nature of the approved trade". What is the nature of the approved trade? So I think we should ponder over it a while to see which is a better terminology. I think "description" is a better terminology in this context than "nature" and I will suggest to them that if they should resort to the terminology "nature" they may need to add "character"; "the nature and character of the approved trade" and that will make it more verbose. So why not say the "description"?
Mr Speaker, what we realized was that, it is stated that the description of the intended trade in Ghanaian waters was not given a clear meaning of that portion and rather, we thought that by the use of the words "the nature of the intended trade" that was given a clear picture of what they intend to portray. So that was why the experts, l think; we had the Attorney-General's outfit advising us to use "nature" because we realized that it was not giving us a clear picture of what they intend to portray.
Mr Speaker, this is a question of interpretation and the normal formula that we find is the nature and form or the nature and the characteristics which add more details to what is meant by nature. Unless they are trying to say that in maritime language the expression "nature" has a special meaning then we will concede. But if they are using the ordinary language of "nature", then it is not full. They should add something to make it fuller, like what the Hon Minority Leader has suggested.
Hon Boafo, you want "nature and character" to come in 1(A) (g) and also be repeated under the Schedule under 8, "nature and character".
Precisely so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the "nature" alone is limited in scope.
Very well. I think for the avoidance of doubt, it is definitely always good in a law - "nature and character".
Mr Speaker, I find it a bit difficult to understand the use of "nature and character" especially with respect to what we are talking about; that is, if we should substitute it here, it would read: "The nature and. character of the intended trade". It is a bit ridiculous. So I think that we should maintain the "nature".
W Speaker, this has to do with the grant of permits and it is where an applicant applies for a permit, there are conditions stated under 3 of l(A).that we will look out for and one of the conditions is that, he must state clearly the type of trade that he wants to have in the Ghanaian waters. For us, that is what we are looking for, We proposed "description of the intended trade in Ghanaian waters". At the Committee meeting, the proposal was made to delete "description" and insert "nature" to make it specific. That is where we got to and that is what we stand by, "The nature of the intended trade in Ghanaian waters." l think that it satisfies us.
Hon Minister, for the sake of consistency, when it comes to the Schedule under 8, we should still maintain "nature" as proposed by the Hon Minority Leader. You agree with "nature"?
That is so, Mr Speaker. And I crave your indulgence to.put the Question on this one. _
The Schedule, 8 - Nature of the approved trade in Ghanaian waters ---
Mr Speaker, I want to engage in honest enquiry. The Hon Minister --- 8th April, 2011, was he a Minister at the time with Ministry of Transport?
April 2011, yes, I was.
You were the Hon Minister?
Yes, I was.
All right. Mr Speaker, it is interesting because I now understand. The Hon Minister, a very experienced legislator in forestry business, knows that the grant of timber rights is given by the substantive Minister for Lands and Forestry. Now, he comes, he does not want the Director- General to do it, he wants the Hon Minister to do it. I now understand.
"Nature of approved trade in Ghanaian waters" is the amendment. Question put and. amendment agreed to. The Schedule as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. A Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I think we have done a lot of work today and I commend your good-self, the Hon First Deputy Speaker and Hon Colleagues for the commitment. Now, I beg to move, that we adjourn proceedings for today till tomorrow at ten o'clock.
Mr Speaker, I think it is a day well spent as the Hon Majority Leader has indicated. I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.24 p.m. till Wednesday, 24th August, 2011 at 10.00 a.m.