The Appointments Committee begun Thursday’s session with Deputy Energy Minister-designate Mohammed Amin Adam informing the Committee about how he will assist the second administration of President Akufo-Addo.
The nominee, a strong and experienced petroleum and energy economics professional, holds a PhD. in Petroleum Economics from CEPMLP of the University of Dundee in the UK, an MPhil (Economics) and B.A. (Hons) Economics from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana and is a Fellow of the Institute of Certified Economists of Ghana (ICEG).
The public policy industry player stated Ghana’s unique geographical position, democratic stability and security require that we provide leadership in building an integrated infrastructure to serve the sub-regional petroleum industry to provide the platform to promote business, policy, and stakeholder’s relationships in the downstream petroleum markets.
He said energy and energy sources have become very important sectors of the economies of modern societies because it provides life to the other productive sectors of the economy, hence the need to engage competent and well trained pair of hands and minds who can help shape the right energy policies for the progress and prosperity of the society.
According to him, since Energy is the capacity to do work, it facilitates all other economic endeavours including how the services, manufacturing and the industrial sectors and even the health sector will function.
Hon. Amin Adam believed the energy sector is an important part of Ghana’s economy because of its linkages to industry and society. He therefore invited investors in the sub-region to take advantage of Ghana’s favourable petroleum market environment and invest in infrastructure such as oil jetties, pipeline and distribution infrastructure, refineries and gas processing plants, storage and loading gantries.
He said the National Petroleum Authority Act, passed in 2005, has also created a reliable legislative and regulatory regime that has delivered for the country a downstream industry, whose contribution to the economy has grown more quadrupled with both local and international private players forming a major part.
The Member of Parliament for Pru West Constituency Stephen Pambin Jalulah heading to the Roads and Highways Ministry introduced himself to the Committee as an old student of Accra Academy and an Alumnus of the University of Ghana, Legon who first worked as a pupil teacher.
He told the Committee Government has begun a dualization exercise on some major roads in the country to reduce the rate of road accidents indicating that works have begun on some of the roads as part of efforts to ensure safety, improve the roads and reduce accidents.
The minister designate advocated for increasing road toll to increase revenue and urged well-to-do individuals to give back to society by building roads, adding that Public Private Partnership (PPP) can be another way to generate funds to augment the inadequate funds from the Road Fund.
In response to a question on the menace of residents within his constituency fleeing for their lives due to increasing armed robbery attacks and insecurity along the Eastern Corridor of the Bono Region, he admitted the extreme negative economic impact of these armed robbery activities on the lives of the people.
He however gave the assurance to prevail on the substantive Minister to call on the National Security, Interior Minister and the Inspector General of Police to intensify security operations and safeguard the corridor and flush out such criminals from the area.
The MP for Abuakwa North, Gifty Twum Ampofo, pencilled for the Education Ministry was the next to appear before the Committee.
The nominee holds BSc. in Biology from the University of Cape Coast, BSc from the University of Ghana, Legon and MBA in Strategic Management and had earlier served as Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.
She told the Committee that adoption of the career-focused education module was the way to go if the country wants to build a generation of graduates who will be agile and fit for purpose for the industry.
The nominee disclosed to the Committee she does not support comprehensive sex education which provides children with knowledge of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) community on the basis of her culture and being a Christian.
According to her, systems have been put in place to provide modern washrooms and changing rooms in schools as some girls become sexually active too early and some do not find it prudent to be in school while menstruating and added that she provided members of her constituency sanitary pads through the Girl Child Unit.
The Deputy Minister-designate revealed that data between the double-track system and teenage pregnancy are incompatible to suggest that when girls return home, they get pregnant when school resumes due to the double-track system as a result of the free Senior High School.
She explained that some persons including old students requested to take over the administration of the SHS during the onset of the Covid-19 however, she declared, Government oversees its running and taking over will be a tedious task since it requires a lot of financial investment.
The Deputy Minister designate further indicated that in collaboration with the Gender Ministry and UNICEF, some policies such as Going Back to School policy will encourage sex education with both boys and girls and tackle teenage pregnancy.
She specified that the perception of Ghanaians on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has been a challenge as, according to her, most people think TVET is for the less intelligent and added that another challenge had to do with financing.
The nominee submitted that although it was good for students to have a grasp of theory in school, it was more important for them to balance it with practical skills needed for work and said two educational bills had been sent to Parliament to enable TVET beneficiaries benefit from the free SHS policy.
In her opinion, Inclusive Education was crucial in addressing the plight of children with disability which includes addressing the different needs that children have to ensure every child in Ghana gains access to education, irrespective of their circumstances.
The Deputy Minister-designate for Transport, thirty-six-year-old geo-scientist Frederick Obeng Adom who made history for the NPP on December 7, 2020, when he snatched the Upper West Akyem seat from the NDC since the return to democratic rule in 1993 was the last to face the Committee on Thursday.
The Cocoa farmer first-time MP who holds MSC Geo Information Science, BSc Marketing and HND in Marketing told the Committee he will not opt for the dualization of roads to the neglect of construction of an airport since both are necessary.
He disclosed reports before him show work on the Boankra inland port in Ashanti Region is going on smoothly and added that there are some engagements whether to legalise the Okada business but as it stands now, he stressed, it is illegal.
He gave assurance to assist fix the challenges posed by the bad road network confronting the tourism industry which is the fourth-best contributor to the Gross Domestic Product, nonetheless, he admitted he was not privy to statistics to know the percentage of road accidents caused by bad roads.