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28.07.2005 General News

Parliament passes two bills

GNA

Accra, July 28, GNA - Parliament on Thursday passed the Human Trafficking and the National Council on Women and Development (Repeal) Bills. The President is expected to give his assent to the two bills, for them to become operational laws.

The Human Trafficking Bill seeks to prevent, suppress and punish persons or groups of persons who engage in human trafficking. The Gender and Children Committee's report said trafficking in persons was a violation of many international laws and human rights protocols. "However, in Ghana, there is no specific legislation against this dehumanising practice, and therefore there is a need for a passage of this Bill," the report said.

The National Council on Women and Development (Repeal) Bill seeks to repeal the National Council on Women and Development Decree 1975, (NRCD) 322 and to convert the Council to a department of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs. The Council therefore, by the passage of this law, becomes the implementing agency for the Ministry, which is solely in-charge of policy formulation for women and children's affairs.

The House also approved two loan agreements to assist the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and support the Multi-Donor Budget. The 17.3 million Euros loan agreement between the Ghana and Barclays Bank Ghana Limited is for the execution of a commercial contract between the Information Ministry and M/S Sonny Business Europe for the supply and installation of equipment to rehabilitate and upgrade production equipment and other facilities for GBC.

The loan would assist GBC to focus on the provision of production facilities, requirements for news, production of an outside broadcast vehicles for radio and enhance radio broadcast facilities. Presenting a report of a joint committee on Finance and Communications, Mr Akwasi Afrifa, Chairman of the Committee, observed that the execution of the project for GBC would generally improve television reception in all regions of the country.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, NDC-Tamale South, who seconded a motion for the approval of the loan agreement, said it was important for GBC to give fair coverage to both the opposition and government to push the country's democracy forward.

The other loan, a 12, 500,000 million euros agreement between Ghana and Germany through KfW of Germany, is for the Multi-Donor Budget support. The Multi Donor Budget Support programme, which supports the Ghana Poverty reduction programme, would focus on five key areas of public finance, the budget process, decentralisation, public sector reform and governance. The loan facility has a 30 years repayment period, 0.75 per cent interest rate and 10 years grace period.

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