Debates of 9 Feb 2005

PRAYERS 10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Hon. Members, there is some communication from the President.






ACCRA 10 a.m.


CASTLE, OSU 10 a.m.


MOTIONS 10 a.m.

Mr. A. N. Tettey-Enyo (NDC - Ada) 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor, especially, because this is my maiden contribution since I entered this House. Various views were expressed yesterday about the President's Address. I agreed with most of them, particularly that it was not exciting and thought-provoking.

I was indeed, disappointed half-way through the Address because I thought after the “So far so good” campaign slogan of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the President was going to tell this House in the first year of the Positive Change Chapter 2 Programme, the actual level of attainment. For example, where we have reached so far on poverty reduction, the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme, the Education for All Programme, the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2003- 2015, and especially the annual educational sector operational plan --

Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd.): On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I want your guidance. I think that the hon. Member for Ada (Mr. A. N. Tettey-Enyo) is reading his speech. And Mr. Speaker, if he is reading then he must as well put it in our pigeonholes so that we will collect them and read.

Mr. Speaker, the rule is that he must speak ex tempore. He must avoid reading.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, if I may come to his aid, he is a new Member and so I will grant him latitude to do that. Kindly go on, hon. Member.
Mr. Tettey-Enyo 10:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am doing exactly what the mover of the motion did a few days ago.
Mr. F. K. Owusu-Adjapong 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is dangerous if you are to allow this statement to run. If somebody is doing something which is wrong, it does not mean that he must copy it. The Speaker says, yes, he is granting him indulgence, fine. But for him to say that because others have been doing it like that, that is completely wrong.
Mr. Speaker, it is an accepted rule that we try not to read but if Mr. Speaker has granted him indulgence, then he should rather be grateful to the Speaker than say that he is doing it because somebody did it the other day. I do not think this is the right approach in this House. We all know that for movers of motions and those seconding, we have our own convention on the matter. All other Members are expected not to read. Of course, I can give him a guide; what he can do is to make continuous reference to his notes. That one is allowed, but he cannot read.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member on his feet making his contribution never actually said that the mover of the motion was reading his
speech. He said he was doing what the mover of the motion did. We should have allowed him to move ahead for us to know whether he was talking about the mover referring copiously to his notes.
That is accepted by this House, that you can refer copiously to your notes. And maybe, that is what the mover of the motion did because I know the mover of the motion very well, that he is not a man who would be reading his speech. Therefore, he was simply following that good example that was set which is accepted in this House -- that you can refer copiously to your notes.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ada, go on with your maiden speech.
Mr. Tettey-Enyo 10:10 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As I was saying, the issues of poverty reduction and education are major concerns of the people in my constituency. My hopes were dashed but I took consolation in the recommendation made by the President that we should study the report of the Education Review Committee and the White Paper on it. And that will enable us to understand the issue of policies, objectives and the way forward which he dealt with in his Address. I took the recommendation seriously and I had recourse to the document he referred us to.
Mr. Speaker, it is now clear to me that some of the radical decisions taken by Government as contained in the White Paper and as contained in the President's State of the Nation Address to us will not address the key concerns of the stakeholders in education.
Mr. Speaker, it is, for example, hard to believe that in looking for positive change in education, the Government has found it necessary to change the nomenclature of junior secondary school (JSS) and senior secondary school (SSS). We already have ‘high schools' in the system -- Accra High
School, Kumasi High School, Methodist High School, Wesley Girls High School and so on and so forth; and their levels of performance are linked to the levels of endowment, the quality of teaching and the administration of the schools.
The problems with the present JSS system reside not in the name of the schools and the designation of the schools; the weaknesses relate to poor teaching and supervision; poorly equipped schools; ill-prepared and ill-motivated teachers, inappropriate pupil-teacher ratios and inadequate guidance and counselling; issues which were clearly spelt out in the Report of the President's Review Committee. The view that the JSS should be made a department of SSS is also not feasible since there are only 475 SSS as against 5,394 JSS.
Mr. K. A. Okerchiri 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to assure the hon. Majority Leader that this is not an attempt to usurp his powers whatsoever. Mr. Speaker, it is a point of clarification. I heard the hon. Member saying that the Government White Paper said that the JSS must be made a department of the SSS. Mr. Speaker, I have read the report myself and I do not seem to have that impression. If he can clarify that point -
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ada, please continue with your contribution. You kindly take note that because of the number of hon. Members who would want to contribute we should restrict timing and I would suggest a maximum of 10 minutes for each contribution. Would you kindly go on.
Mr. Tettey-Enyo 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was referring to the discussions held at the review committee session and the area
Mr. Tettey-Enyo 10:30 a.m.
“Government's position on high school education is that it will comprise 2 distinct sections”
And I remember the discussion on this idea of high school education - junior high school and senior high school. The junior high school will be of 3 years duration and shall lay emphasis and so on and so forth. So the concept is what I am describing and I would suggest that the hon. Member on the other side should also do a detailed study of the White Paper and the report itself which the President recommended that we all do.
Mr. Speaker, on the 4-year Senior Secondary School Programme, the review committee made a strong recommendation for the retention of the 3-year period of the SSS. The report states on page 29 of the “Executive Summary” - and with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to read that section of the report:
“A lot of public concern expressed during the regional tour and oral presentation made to the committee indicated that a number of people wanted an extension of the senior secondary school education to 4 years. The Committee has discussed these concerns at length and noted that factors accounting to the low achievements at the SSS are multi- faceted.
Some of them are lack of adequate teaching and learning facilities, poor infastructural facilities, lack of well motivated and committed teachers , absence of proper guidance and counselling services, poor management and supervision, inadequately prepared JSS leavers, absence of performance standards for each subject.
If these deficiencies are addressed, there will be no need to increase the duration. Results from some senior secondary schools demonstrate that it is possible to achieve high standards within the 3-year period given adequate resources, human material and financial.
Recommendation: as a result of the mainstreaming of kindergarten, teaching and learning at the basic level will improve. In addition, the Government's decision to provide one well-resourced SSS in each of the 110 districts will further improve the quality of education. In view of the above, the Committee recommends that the current 3-year duration should be maintained.”
Mr. Speaker, the Address dealt with the White Paper in which it has been decided that the period of SSS education should now be 4 years. Mr. Speaker, we all accept the fact that education is a human right and that Government has a responsibility to ensure that every citizen enjoys that right.
Education is indeed more than a right. It is the fundamental lever for social mobility and change. It is a weapon for achieving good health and poverty reduction. Investment in education is an essential feature of the national development; therefore where resources are scarce, the investment must be carefully planned
alongside other national development needs.

The Address is full of appeal for support for our educational development plans and for other areas of social and economic development. I want to believe that without credible plans and particularly without a credible plan for the education sector, the support we are expecting from within and without may elude us.

Mr. Speaker, I heard the President say that the second cycle would radically be transformed to offer four different strands of education - technical, agricultural, vocational and grammar type of education. I do not really understand the focus on grammar type of education at this time of our educational development. In the White Paper and of course in the report itself, mention is made of general education as one of the four areas recommended by the committee; and general education means arts and science education. And I think if we are moving now from the science education which is the weapon that would help us to cope with the technological and scientific changes in the world, then we are missing the boat forever.

The plan that by 2015 all primary and second cycle schools will be staffed with professionally trained teachers is a good plan but I beg to say that it is rather grandiose. It is good but grandiose. Considering the current attrition rate among teachers in the first and second cycle schools, if we should make any appreciable achievement in this regard, then the Government, in the next three years, should fulfil the promises made in the Address in respect of training and motivation. I would also suggest that the progress made in this area should be made public in the State of the Nation Address next time we have it in this House.
Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom (CPP - Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abirem) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the motion moved by the hon. Member for Akim Oda (Mr. Osafo-Maafo) and seconded by the hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi (Mr. John Mahama).
Mr. Speaker, I make my contribution considering the fact that the President is required by the Constitution to present to this House his co-ordinated programme of social and economic policies which I believe will give further clarification and provide some more details as exactly where he wants to lead this country to in the next four years.
I am also guided by the fact that the 2005 Budget will also be provided to this House to give further detailed expression of what the Government intends to do in 2005. But Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the point made by the mover of the motion that indeed, this is a good time to be a Ghanaian. Mr. Speaker, look at us, all of us in this House. I am a CPP Member; there are NPP Members; there are PNC Members and there are NDC Members. Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the recognition given by my hon. Colleagues as -
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend made a statement that we took objection to the last time, that this is the time to be happy that we are Ghanaians. We have always been happy that we are Ghanaians and we will always be happy that we are Ghanaians.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, I did not really hear the point of order you were raising.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, he was misleading this House by saying that this is the time that you should be proud that you are a Ghanaian. I am saying that there
has never been a time in our history that anybody did not want to be a Ghanaian.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, this is not a point of order. Hon. Member, kindly go on.
Dr. Nduom 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to know that the hon. Member is indeed proud to be a Ghanaian. I am only acknowledging the point made by the mover of the motion that this is a good time to be a Ghanaian. Mr. Speaker, I was going further to make a point and to explain that point further, that looking at all of us here -
Mr. John Tia 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, a point of clarification. I want to be sure from my hon. Colleague whether it was the President who made the statement that this is the time to be a Ghanaian or it was somebody else. Who takes the credit?
Dr. Nduom 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if you consider all of us coming from different political parties and being able to be here to debate in an environment where indeed, my hon. Colleagues from wherever they are sitting can indeed express themselves, one sees a further expression of what we have been doing in this country since 1993. I think it is one of the points we should all look at and again appreciate the fact that we are here and also make further contributions to ensure that, that point made -
Mrs. Alice T. Boon 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am on a point of clarification. Mr. Speaker, just as I said, I want the hon. Member to tell me whether when the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was in power he did not feel like a Ghanaian. I also would like to know whether this is the only time he feels like a Ghanaian. I was there and I felt like a Ghanaian and I think that it is possible that he too felt like a Ghanaian, and that
is why he is an Nkrumahist.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, you will have your time to contribute. In the meantime, let our hon. Friend, our hon. Brother, the hon. Member of Parliament continue.
Dr. Nduom 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is the thirteenth year of multiparty constitutional democracy in this Fourth Republic, and all that I am saying is that all of us must take heart and do our part in ensuring that we create even better times for all of us here in this country.

Mr. Speaker, there are about three points in the President's Address that I would like to make a comment on, beginning with the Long-Term Savings Law. Mr. Speaker, a lot of us have talked about poverty in this country. A number of governments that have come have talked about private sector development, but then we have not done some of the basic things that will really make the private sector flourish in this country. And I believe that one of those critical elements is the Long- Term Savings Bill which was passed by this House in 2004 and signed into law by the President.

Mr. Speaker, this Long-Term Savings Law is one that will provide us with long- term capital, long-term capital that will provide our enterprises the opportunity to get the essential ingredients for them to invest long-term, get benefits, pay our workers better than they are being paid and also for us to obtain the necessary benefits that we are all looking for as far as private sector development is concerned.

In this light, Mr. Speaker, I wish to urge the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning in whose area

this law resides, to speed up all the administrative mechanisms to ensure that the execution and implementation of the Long-Term Savings Law is expedited and comes on-stream as quickly as possible in conjunction with the National Identification System that has also been discussed, which will provide one of the essential pillars for identifying people, creating data banks for people in this country and providing all of us with the opportunity to now be able to go to the banks to borrow money a lot more easily and also allow us to go to the banks not carrying loads of cash with us, and also for people to accept our cheques because they will know who we are a lot better than they do today.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to make reference to the deregulation of petroleum products that the President talked about. In that matter, it is important to note that the deregulation did not start with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government. Indeed, deregulation started with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government where a number of the elements -- I have done my research and I am stating to the House clearly that indeed certain activities which were carried out by the National Petroleum Company were then passed on to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and allowed TOR to import petroleum products with certain tax advantages for TOR.

Mr. Speaker, in December of 2003, the Government took the decision to actually accelerate the process and so the deregulation had started on a stage- by-stage basis. Indeed, last year, the oil marketing companies were given the opportunity to import the refined products that TOR is not able to produce. So they have been importing refined products as part of the deregulation programme. What the President was alluding to is coming to the last stages of the deregulation
Dr. Nduom 10:40 a.m.

programme, which is going to provide for a number of things. And one of those elements, Mr. Speaker, is the process of bringing regulation that will allow the private sector to be able to import products into this country not only to gain tax advantages, but also to allow the private sector to invest some more in the petroleum sector.

Mr. Speaker, if you go to Korea today, they have a refinery which was built about the same time as the TOR. They are now processing over 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day whereas TOR is still stuck at 45,000 barrels a day. The difference is that their environment was deregulated to make it possible for the private sector to come in. They have invested a lot of money and it is my hope that with the deregulation programme, we would also grow and gain many of these benefits, have a robust petroleum industry coming into place in this country for some good jobs to come into place.

Finally, I wish to state that the point on human resource development presents a challenge to all of us because in my constituency, many of our children are not going to school. Some who are going to school do not finish. Of the others who remain, many are not passing to go to the next level. Human resource development will not happen if we do not create the environment to make all of our children stay in school and ensure that those who stay in school have all that is needed so that they can pass and go forward in their education.

So Mr. Speaker, human resource development is critical, it is important and it is a challenge to all of us. Given the points that I have raised on the Long- Term Savings Law, the deregulation and human resource development, I wish to encourage the Government to pursue

what the President has come here to tell us. Actively, with everybody involved -- building consensus -- and I believe that when that happens, the objectives and the goals that the President has set would then be met.
Mr. Edward K. Salia (NDC - Jirapa) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this motion that was ably moved by the hon. Member for Akim Oda, Mr. Osafo-Maafo, and seconded by the hon. Member for Bole/ Bamboi, Mr. John Mahama.
Mr. Speaker, essentially, the State of the Nation Address contains the vision of the Leader of the State and it is his fundamental right to present the State of the Nation to this Parliament. On the basis of that, one can say it is based on the nature of the President. If he is a success achiever, his ambitions will be big; if he is a failure avoider, his targets would be lower. It is for all of us to judge what sort of State of the Nation Address His Excellency has delivered to us on this occasion.
In my humble opinion, the Address is an improvement as far as its harshness and the nature of blames it has always heaped on previous governments is concerned. But I must say that it falls short of the others that were delivered before this one in terms of detail in respect of the State of the Nation. And I can say that all the previous Addresses made by those before him and his own Addresses often contained what, indeed, was the current state from which stage he would then go ahead to indicate what he wants to pursue during the Session.
Mr. Speaker, in this Address, one can say that there are very few specific targets that one can hold His Excellency to at the end of the first year. The Sessional Address is not for the entire period of his rule, but for the Session in which we are, that is the period between now and December. Mr. Speaker, at the end of December, what can
we say that the President has achieved or has not achieved, if he does not give us exactly what he expects to achieve? I had thought that some specific indicators or indices should have been targeted so that we evaluate him on the basis of those.
Mr. Speaker, I am also very disappointed with the choice of priorities. I thought that everybody in this country knew that our infrastructure is still very weak and that His Excellency would continue to choose infrastructural development as one of his major priorities. The way it is, it is not among the three and therefore it is going to play second fiddle to the rest of the priorities.

In the last four years, only $5 million was invested in the railway sector and yet there is a lot of noise about developing that sector. What are we going to do during the next year? Will it continue to be ignored just as was done in the last four years?

With the road sector, I can state without any contradiction that in the last four years, a lot of regions have not seen any road sector development. In the Upper West Region, for instance, in the last four years, not two kilometres of roads were tarred in that region. Maybe, the Upper West Region is an exception, but I am also sure that the rest of the regions are not far behind. We do not know why the Upper West Region was left out in the road development sector. Even ongoing projects of the previous government were stopped.

Mr. Speaker, apart from the road sector, there are a number of other infrastructural projects that need attention -- the provision of urban water in a lot of communities is still waiting for attention. For instance, in the Upper West

Region, the regional capital depends on underground water and their aquifer are drying up while there are surface water resources that ought to be developed. I believe that infrastructure should have received the priority of His Excellency the President.

Apart from that, when we look at electrification, in my constituency which is the Jirapa constituency, there are only four communities that are connected to the national grid, and this was done under SHEP III. We are now under SHEP IV and yet more than 95 per cent of the communities in my constituency are waiting for electrification.

I believe that the emphasis on human resource development is a reasonable priority except that His Excellency the President has not taken a good look at the true reason for the lagging behind of education in the country. The extension of the duration of senior secondary school (SSS) to four years is going to increase costs and remain burdensome to a number of rural and urban workers who are now finding it difficult to educate their children.

Mr. Speaker, it is not a radical introduction to say that there will be two more years for pre-school, because most of us sitting here, particularly those of us from the urban areas, had sent our children to pre-schools before they gained admission to the primary school. It is just a matter of extending it to the rural areas. A lot of hon. Members of Parliament (MPs), in fact, some of those who are even around 50 years went through kindergarten. Of course, it is only those who were in the villages maybe herding cattle or herding sheep, or those who were accompanying their brothers and fathers on fishing expeditions, as well as those who were going to the cocoa farms with their grandmothers and grandfathers who probably did not go through the kindergartens. So I do not think it is anything radical to extend it to the rural
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, he said that contracts are being awarded on partisan basis and credit also given on partisan basis; he should prove it. In my constituency, we are giving contracts to everybody who qualifies. And also monies are being given to women who deserve them. He should prove it, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Salia 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know he
does not award contracts so he will not know whom he gives his contracts to. Mr. Speaker, I know he is going to probably be a Deputy Minister and maybe he will come closer to it and know the reality. Mr. Speaker, I do know as a matter of fact --
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Majority Chief Whip, are you raising a point of order?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
That is so, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I really do not want to interrupt my hon. Colleague but what he stated is not factual. Mr. Speaker, in my own constituency, the Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was awarded a contract when he competed with my own chairman. Mr. Speaker, so what he is saying is incorrect.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Jirapa, are you winding up?
Mr. Salia 11 a.m.
I am just about to wind up. Mr. Speaker, I know as a matter of fact that all of us are committed to the concept
of Ghana Incorporated. All I am asking is that there should be a change.
Mr. Haruna H. Bayirga 11 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am from the Upper West Region and I normally pass through the Upper East Region when I am going to my constituency. The hon. Member is trying to mislead the House. I know a lot of NDC contractors who are working - [Interruptions.] I know them; if anyone wants the names he should come to me.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Members, let us hear him.
Mr. Bayirga 11 a.m.
It is rather during the NDC time that they awarded contracts to themselves.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Minority Chief Whip, are you raising a point of order?
Mr. Tia 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, that is so. Mr. Speaker, I am also from the Upper East Region and I am only aware that all those who have been given contracts are all converts to the NPP.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Jirapa, kindly wind up.
Mr. Salia 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say that private sector development is important for this country. But as I have said, there is a need to spread the benefits to capture all parts of this country. If about five hundred companies have benefited from the largesse of state and yet not more than one comes from the three northern regions, I believe that the Private Sector Minister should turn his focus in such a way that he can help companies and individuals outside Accra.
Beyond that, the President's Special Initiatives (PSI) in the North, in fact, of
Mr. Salia 11 a.m.

the five poorest regions in this country, only one is benefiting from the PSI in respect of cotton, sorghum and others. It has always remained as talk; not much has happened in respect of implementing the PSI in Northern Ghana.

Let me also say that in the previous Addresses of His Excellency the President, a lot of things were mentioned to have been done; four years later most of them are still-born. I will therefore recommend that in subsequent State of the Nation Addresses, there should be a recap of outstanding priorities, of programmes that His Excellency meant to implement, such as the case of ICT connectivity to all senior secondary schools. Four years down the line, less than half of the schools have any ICT connectivity. And even in towns where there are telephones, the senior secondary schools are not connected to those things.

In addition to that, the intention or the vision of H.E. the President to establish a model school in every district, four years later, less than half of the districts have benefited from this initiative. I think that these are the things that His Excellency should take a look at.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as I said, I hate to interrupt the hon. Colleague; but he has made another statement which is an untruth. He said that the President promised ICT connectivity to schools. Mr. Speaker, he goes on to say that four years down the line nothing has happened as though the President made this statement in 2001; but the hon. Colleague knows that that statement was not made in 2001. So it cannot be four years down the line, as he said.
Mr. Salia 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, actually the purpose of all this is to draw our attention to outstanding matters that we all agreed

were priorities but which for various reasons are now suffering. To move to new priorities and ignore those earlier ones could mean that those particular visions or targets would not be achieved. So I am just drawing attention to the need to go back and take a closer look at other priorities that were set some years ago.

Mr. Speaker, on this note, I wish to thank the mover of the motion and the seconder and to say that we should all be grateful to H.E. the President for taking the time to come to make a statement on the State of the Nation to all of us.
Ms. Rita Tani Iddi (NPP -- Gushiegu) 11 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the Message on the State of the Nation by His Excellency the President.
Mr. Speaker, knowing very well that education is the key to development, I would like to dwell on the educational sector which is part of the vigorous human resource development outlined in the Address of H.E. the President. Mr. Speaker, I see the Government's approach to effect radical changes in the educational system of this country as being a step in the right direction. Formal education now starting at age four, two years of kindergarten, will enable the child to begin learning earlier and faster.
At this tender age, parents readily send their children to school partly because they cannot assist them in their household chores, in some areas, unlike the old system whereby parents were tempted to use their children at home because they were old enough, especially the girl-child for collecting water, firewood and others. When the child completes junior high school, which is the last stage in the first
Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, it looks like the Member is copiously reading from her notes. Mr. Speaker, I refer to Order 89, and with your permission I quote:
“A Member shall not read his speech but may read extracts from written or printed documents in support of his argument and may refresh his memory by reference to notes.”
Mr. Speaker, for the first five minutes that the hon. Member has been speaking, she has been reading copiously.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
The hon. Member for Gushiegu (Ms Rita Tani Iddi), I presume, is a new member; and this is her maiden speech. If that is the case, she can still go on.
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether given the height of the hon. Member, he can see exactly what the hon. Member is doing.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, that is not a point of order. Let us go on.
Ms. Iddi 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, when the child completes the junior high school, which is the last stage in the first cycle institution, at age fifteen, he or she is branded useless if he or she is unable to pursue further studies to the senior high school. The technical and vocational education being put in place for them would also help curb the rate of unemployment in the country.
Mr. Speaker, this is a laudable idea but, in my opinion, I would wish the length of time would be increased to two, instead of one. This will allow them to have
maximum skills training that will enable them to work effectively when they come out and also take on apprentices, if any.
Mr. Speaker, the duration of the senior high school which is being increased to four, in my view, cannot be faltered as it will allow adequate preparation of at least one year for the preparatory stage or remedial studies, before embarking on serious academic work. By this period, they would have been well prepared and matured and could take their studies seriously for the rest of the three years.
His Excellency the President also mentioned in paragraph 6, page 6 of his Address, and I quote:
“The success of all these reforms will depend on the quality of our teachers and their commitment. Teacher education and skills training are therefore at the heart of all the proposed reforms. It is planned that by 2015, all primary and second- cycle schools would be staffed with professionally-trained teachers. To ensure effective teaching, the current teacher incentive scheme will be reviewed and expanded to benefit more teachers.”
As a teacher, the most important thing for me is that since an empty barrel can never impart something good to the child, incentive packages if reviewed for teachers will make the service enticing. Our teachers will accept postings to rural areas to avoid a situation where the whole six-classroom school block is handled or run by two or three teachers. In some cases, especially in the rural areas, these teachers are untrained and therefore lack the requisite skills to teach. The District Assemblies can also as well support teachers in their districts to encourage them to stay, especially in the rural areas. I was able to provide the Rural Education
Volunteer Teachers (REVT) with bicycles, as the District Chief Executive, which really motivated them to stay back in the district, even though they were not coming from my district.
Accommodation facilities can also be built to house teachers, not only for their safety and comfort but also to allow them to continue to work after school hours.
In conclusion therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is my humble view that “Positive Change Chapter 2”, as highlighted by the President in his Message, is not a mere talk show. It marks the beginning of positive action. So let us all, as one people of one nation with a common destiny, put all hands on deck to support the policies of His Excellency the President for the good of all.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for this opportunity to make my contribution on the President's Message to the House and the nation.
Mr. Speaker, the Message has been described in various terms. Various people and some hon. Members who have made contributions to the Message on the floor of this House have given some definitions to it.
Mr. Speaker, it is my view that whatever description, whatever name is given to this Message on the State of the Nation, what is necessary for us and for me is the content.
Mr. Speaker, I am saying that this Message is a message by a President who has served a four-year term and is about to assume another four-year term and, for me, it should be a Message which should contain the state of the nation. What has happened previously, where we came from, where we have reached and where we are going?
Mr. A. K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I find this Message to be devoid of all these things that I have mentioned.
Mr. Speaker, my constituents and I want to hear what the President has achieved in the previous year, what the President is going to do in the coming year for them, so that they know that this is their President for the next four years.
Mr. Speaker, I am so happy that this Message, at page 16, talked about export processing zone. Mr. Speaker, the Message stated, and with your permission I quote:
“Mr. Speaker, the other PSI in textiles and garments and many components in this are already located in the export processing zone.”
Mr. Speaker, the export-processing zone is located in the Tema Municipality, and my constituency forms part of it.
Mr. Speaker, before this initiative was brought in we had some garment and textile factories in the Tema Municipality. I am mentioning GTP, Tema Textiles Limited (TTL), Ghana Textile Manu- facturing Company (GTMC), and if I may go further I will mention Juapong Textiles, Akosombo Textiles, in that order.
Mr. Speaker, these factories I have mentioned are either out of production or are producing at a very low capacity.
Most of the workers in these factories have been laid off. And my constituency, Ashaiman is an area, which is referred to as the labour market of these companies in the Tema Municipality.
Mr. Speaker, most industries sited in the Tema Municipality are no more in
production. I am happy that the President has referred to the ALCOA, the World's leading aluminium producer that is also coming into the free zone area. I am happy because if these companies take off, most of the workers who have been laid off from Volta Aluminium Company Limited (VALCO), particularly from Aluworks, TTL, GTMC are all going to benefit from this.
Mr. Speaker, whilst we are talking about this PSI in textiles and garments, I would also want to make reference to the fact that apart from these companies we are talking about, the initiative should also be extended to people who are engaged in the batik and tie-and-dye industry, most of whom are located in my constituency.
Mr. Speaker, these enterprises create a lot of employment avenues for the unemployment who have been laid off from these factories I mentioned earlier. Mr. Speaker, I would wish that this is extended and that the Minister for Private Sector Development would seriously consider my constituency as a test case for the batik and tie-and-dye industry.

Mr. Speaker, I would also want to move to sports and I link this one to the textile industry. Sometime ago, in the late 1970s and 1980s, we heard of Akotex, Dumas - Those were teams which were linked to the textile industry. In fact, they were giant killers in those days. Kotoko and Hearts were nowhere near these teams. With the phasing out of these companies, these teams are no more in existence. It is my hope that if these companies start production, they would also look at the sports aspect and establish some of these things for us.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, a point of order. He mentions
two clubs, Akotex and Dumas; he refers to them as teams. First of all, they are no teams; they are clubs. And secondly, he says that when they were at the height of operation, Kotoko and Hearts were nowhere near them. Mr. Speaker, at the pinnacle of their performance, the leagues were won by Kotoko and Hearts and not by Dumas and Akotex. So the statement that he has made is inaccurate.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, that cannot be a point of order.
Mr. Agbesi 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that information, but what I meant was that at that time they were giant killers, and the giants in the football field at that time were Kotoko and Hearts; and Akotex and Dumas and Juantex were beating them. That is my point.
Mr. Speaker, this Message also contained an issue on housing. I am so worried about the fate of our teachers, particularly in the villages and the urban areas. Some of these teachers who are posted from the training colleagues, when they get to their stations, accommodation is their first problem. They pay Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions and when SSNIT puts up houses, some of them are unable to access those houses. I believe, and it is my hope, that with the President taking care of this situation, teachers would be given priority in the allocation of the houses that would be put up.
I would also go further to say that our Assemblies, both Municipal and Metropolitan should take care of our teachers in the rural areas. If we are talking about improvement in education then we have to look at the conditions, not only the classrooms, not only the books, but also the people. The personnel, the teachers, the staff who take care of our
children must be looked at seriously.
Mr. Speaker, it is my hope that this Message which is before us would form the basis of our assessment, come next year. I say so because when I looked at the previous year's Message to Parliament, the President made a lot of promises, and in this year's Message I was expecting an improvement and an assessment of what had happened to those promises. This, Mr. Speaker, I find not to be so.
Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I want to refer to page 3 of the President's Message to Parliament in the year 2004 -
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, you may be winding up at this stage.
Mr. Agbesi 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is said that it has been instructive to hear the debate that has been going on in phone- in programmes, that allows the current media pluralism in the country play a good role in promoting accountability and transparency in public life. Whilst enjoying the freedom that this brings, I ask only that the nation does not lose its soul. I make this point in reference to CIT. As at now, we have a lot of programmes on FM stations. We have a lot of programmes where people phone in -
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, are you raising a point of order?
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is nothing like CIT; it is ICT. And the hon. Member will be misleading this House if he continues to mention CIT.
Mr. Agbesi 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe sincerely, the hon. Member did not hear me well.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, you may be winding up now.
Mr. Agbesi 11:20 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am just winding up. The word I used was “ICT”. Mr. Speaker, I am saying this because a lot of people make phone-in calls to FM stations and the language they use is not the best. Sometimes people who have served in various capacities in this country, people who have earned their reputations, are maligned on these stations. Some stations, I want to admit, try to call them to order but some allow this to go on. It is my belief that this system must be controlled. While we should not lose our soul, we should also take care of the reputation of people who have served in various positions.
On this note, Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much and I say there is no meat in this Message for us to swallow.
Mr. David Apasera (PNC - Bolga- tanga) 11:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to support the motion on the floor to thank the President for the Message on the State of the Nation.
In doing so, may I say that the Message was gratifying to me and as I read through the Message I had cause to believe that we have come far in our democratic practice and nation building. Right now, we can all agree that there is an atmosphere of freedom that has resulted in the vibrant media activities that we have. We have freedom of speech, we have freedom of association which is the hallmark of any real democratic society and a pointer to the fact that we are on the path to building a modern society. I think it is important to commend the Government for embarking on a system that generates or engenders this freedom that we have.
One particular word that has been lost in Ghanaian parlance now that I am so much happy about is the word, “against”.
In fact, in the past any little bit of criticism against government policy could easily make you get branded “against”; and when you got branded it was enough to frustrate you and crowd you out of life.
But today we have all come to a position in our democratic practice where we understand that we are all struggling to build mother Ghana. Nobody is against anything. If you have diverse opinions, it does not mean you are against anybody; you are simply trying to achieve something good for Mother Ghana.

The repeal of the Criminal Libel Law and the pursuit of the Right of Information Bill and the Whistleblowers Bill are highly commendable. It is our prayer that those who exercise the right to information, those who exercise the right to free speech may do so with responsibility, because some of us had a very bad taste of it in the last Parliament when after we had voted for a particular loan arrangement in this House, a press house or a newspaper, the following day, reported that the PNC Members, the previous day before voting, were ensconced in the Vice President's Office for the most part of the morning and when they were coming out their faces were beaming with smiles and that made them to vote for that motion.

That was a big lie because on that day I remember clearly that I came to the House a bit late, I did not see the rest of our Members and it would have been impossible for this man to report this indicating that he was there, seeing us coming out of the Vice President's Office with our faces beaming.

The other time when I was also unfortunately involved in an accident, one radio station reported that I had been involved in an accident and my two legs

and one arm were amputated to save my life. It even appeared on the Internet and people outside saw that and were calling in to find out. These are very irresponsible kinds of freedom of expression, and we are hoping that as Government is giving a liberal status to freedom of expression, we would do so with some responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, the gain so far made at the macro-economic level, that is, declining inflation rate of 11.8 per cent, lowering of lending interest rate to 26 per cent now and stable local currency must be appreciated. These are no mean achievements and I think we can maybe commend the Government for having done so.

It is my hope that these achievements will translate into the pockets of the ordinary people; and I would say, more grease to the elbows of the President for stating or indicating that his Government will continue to maintain strict financial discipline and monetary policy. I am also happy to learn from the President's Statement that they will continue to generate revenue and as they do so, I have the belief that the lending interest rate will come down to a better level for every Ghanaian to be able to access loans from the banks without suffering severely for it.

Mr. Speaker, the Government's direction or intention to embark on vigorous human resource development is in the right direction. In fact, we in the PNC believe that if you want to develop a nation, the best thing is to develop the people. Nobody can come from anywhere to develop Ghana for us; it is Ghanaians that have to develop Ghana. If we have to develop Ghana, then we have to concentrate on the human beings who are in Ghana, and I think that the Government's indication to embark on a vigorous and accelerated programme towards developing the human resource base must be encouraged.

Mr. Speaker, the present educational system leaves much to be desired. If you go to the hinterlands or the rural areas, you will realise that you have a primary school of six-classroom block with school children and with only two teachers. In fact, it is happening in my constituency. So I have been wondering where we are going because the last time we changed to this present system, we were sort of fast- tracking our human resource development. So if you are doing that and you do not have the capacity to maintain it, you are simply cutting off a whole lot of people out of the system; because the children will sit in the classrooms for six years without teachers. It is just like saying that they have not gone to school; and such children cannot catch up.

So as we look towards Vision 2015, as the President indicated, where the schools would be adequately staffed with trained qualified teachers, may I call on the Government to do something for the moment to relieve the pains of parents and to give hope to the younger ones who are coming out as future leaders, by allowing the Ministry of Education and Sports to employ pupil teachers. At least, a classroom with an unqualified teacher is better than a classroom without a teacher at all. Let the Ghana Education Service move and fill the classrooms with teachers, whether qualified or unqualified. It will be better; it gives some hope.

I would also say that honestly, we have not been furnished with the required figures from which we can make proper assessment as to what the future would be like. But Mr. Speaker, one can conjecture that if we have to meet Vision 2015, there must be a vigorous and accelerated approach to education in Ghana. We have to put in place infrastructure.
Mr. David Apasera (PNC - Bolga- tanga) 11:40 a.m.
Already, in some communities, we do not even have the classroom blocks, and if we now have to build them and put in place day-care centres so that education can start at the age of four, then it means it has to be an accelerated programme; otherwise by the year 2015, we would be facing another Vision 2020 that was espoused some years back but which I may suggest has not seen the light of day. The Senior Minister, Mr. J. H. Mensah, described it as a “Vision” having cataract in one eye and glaucoma in the other. I am hoping that this Vision 2015 will not suffer the same fate.
In the area of agriculture, I am gladdened to realise that the President has a vision to modernise agriculture and pick the drudgery out of it. In fact, honestly, agriculture now is not an attraction to anybody. That is the backbone of our economy, but if you look at the people who are in agriculture, the peasant farmers, they are the poorest in our society; so what attracts anybody to agriculture? And if we are continuing this way, I think at the end of the day what we will have is that our towns would be filled with migrant people from the villages and that does not help any economy.
Diversifying the mono-crop economy is a very important step, and I believe that if Government could take on the marketing and fixing of prices for sheanut, it would have done a lot of good to the economy. Sheanut has become an international crop that can be exported, but the way it is handled, nobody fixes the price for it; there is no encouragement for the production of sheanut and I think this is not good. If we had embarked on this area, I think that it would have done a lot of good to the
people -- the poor people in the North.

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the Government on its foreign policy and to state that its policy of good neighbourliness in the ECOWAS subregion must be encouraged and nothing must distract our attention from that. We need to maintain a position of a senior brother in the region so that when there is instability somewhere, the senior brother or the big brother goes there and says, “please, hold it and let us see how we can handle this issue.” That is what we need to do.

In fact, no democracy can develop outside; democracy is from within and where there is no democracy, you do not even have institutions that can build up a democratic situation overnight. So what we should be concerned about is stability. Where we do not have stability, there cannot be democracy. So Ghana as it is should maintain its position of neutrality, a position of good neigbourliness in order to keep the subregion stable.

With this, Mr. Speaker, I will commend the President and say more grease to his elbows and to his Government.
Prof. A. W. Seini (NDC -- Tamale Central) 11:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the President's State of the Nation Address.
Mr. Speaker, the general opinion is that the President's State of the Nation Address was highly conciliatory. I would like to add that it would have been even more conciliatory if the President had just added one sentence to acknowledge people who have contributed to bring this country to this stage. Everywhere we go, we talk about the freedom that we
are enjoying, the democracy that we are enjoying. Sometimes it is humane, albeit Godly, to acknowledge even an enemy if he does a little bit of good.
We all know that this country has been guided from a very high plateau of brutal dictatorship to the democratic dispen-sation that we are now enjoying. It does no harm for the President to reconcile this country by just acknowledging in one sentence the former President for skilfully guiding this country from a brutal dictatorship to this democratic dis-pensation. It will encourage reconciliation and perhaps, when the President eventually retires, he can amicably form an association of past Presidents from which this country will benefit.
Having made this general remark, Mr. Speaker, I am a little bit disappointed that the State of the Nation Address addressed the issues of agriculture under the general topic “the private sector”. If you are talking about the economic situation of Ghana, essentially you are talking about the agricultural sector and I would have wished or I would like to see agriculture being given a special treatment just as the macro-economy has been given a special treatment in this Address.
Having said that, even the issues on agriculture in the Address are a little bit patchy and dispersed. So if all these had been collected together in one section, maybe the President could have done more justice to the agricultural sector, which is the mainstay of our economy.
I am disappointed that no mention has been made of the fact that our small-scale farmers need to be encouraged because they are the mainstay of our economy. The
small-scale farmers produce all the food that we consume -- about 95 per cent of it. The small-scale fishermen -- that is the artisanal canoe fishermen produce around 80 to 90 per cent of the fish that we consume in this country. Yet we are facing problems when it comes to food security. We are still not food secured and the President ought to address this issue. We need as a country to define exactly what we want.
The policy on agriculture these days talks about commodity systems so that you can holistically address the problem of a particular commodity. It has moved away from farm-level policy to trying to address the whole system in order to encourage farmers to produce competitively because we are in an era where international competitiveness is highly relevant.
I am also disappointed in one other way that the President has talked a lot about human development; he has talked about private sector ---
Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah 11:40 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke is misleading the House for saying that the President never mentioned anything about small-scale -- If you read page 14 of his Address, he said and, Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I quote:
“Government has set up micro- financing schemes with affordable terms for the small-to medium- scale enterprises to promote their development.”
Mr. Speaker, it looks as if other Members from the other side of the House are not looking at this as the framework but they rather want detail. But they should know that this is a framework and the actual budget will come. So Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon. Member, kindly confine yourself to the objection you want to raise.
Prof. Seini 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will still maintain my point. The President refers to the tigers of East-Asia and others and I will still maintain the point that this economy is based on agriculture and those targets -- If you look at the way they developed, they all developed through agriculture and they developed through the small-scale farmer; we can learn a lot from them. So a broad policy statement addressing the problems of the small-scale farmers who are feeding us would have been appropriate in this context.
The same thing goes for the small-scale fishermen and the fish processors, which include a lot of women in our society. So treating agriculture the way it has been treated in the State of the Nation Address, I am really disappointed. That is why I keep on maintaining the point that it should have been addressed -- pushed out and addressed completely as a sector. So let us face the facts; it was not addressed but I do hope that it would be properly addressed.
I would also like to add that I have a little problem with the President's Special Initiative (PSI) particularly with regard to agriculture. Executives of governments initiate policies -- special policies; that is what they have been elected to do in order to push the country forward. Many governments have done that in the past, right from the time of independence to date.
But I remember when Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown, many people described him as having built a niche around himself; that he promoted personality cults and
it seems to me that this PSI seem to be attracting the same connotation, no matter how well intended they may be. So I will say that presidential initiatives are required to guide this country but they should not necessarily be labelled PSI and all those things because that is what the President, in any case, is elected to do -- to initiate policies that will move this country forward. So if he initiates a policy, it is to the credit of his Government and everybody will see that.

Mr. Speaker, the President, talking

about good governance has stated that the Right to Information Bill will be paddled --

Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): On a point

of order, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has made a fatal statement. He has likened the President's Special Initiative to the personality cult of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He said that when Nkrumah was overthrown, they made several allegations against him to the effect that he built a personality cult, et cetera, and that we too are doing President's Special Initiatives which some people are seeing as a kind of return to personality cult. Mr. Speaker, this is a dangerous statement.

Mr. Speaker, the President has never even attached his own name, “J. A. Kufuor”, to any of the special initiatives and in fact even he himself is not personally involved in those initiatives. They are broad-based initiatives that have been initiated and for the hon. Member to associate them even in the remotest sense, to a personality cult, Mr. Speaker, is dangerous. He must withdraw.

The hon. Member, I understand, was a

university professor, so he knows what he is talking about; and if he can make this dangerous assertion, it must not go into the Hansard at all.
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Berekum, you will have your chance. In the meantime, let the hon. Member for Tamale Central continue.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just
want you to say that you ignore my hon. Colleague when it comes to these sorts of spurious points of order.
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, you
are also out of order. Hon. Member for Tamale Central, you do not have much time on your side.
Prof. Seini 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, I think information is one of the cornerstones to build democratic governance, particularly so when the information is a correct one. So I do hope that the Right to Information Bill will improve the sources of information we have in the public domain, as stated by the last hon. Member who spoke.
We all know that when a Minister for Information turned his Ministry into a Ministry of Disinformation, it distracted a lot from the democratic system. If his party is a rightist party or a leftist party he is likely to end up in Communism or Trotskyism. So that is why it is extremely important that we have correct information to guide us.
Alhaji Boniface 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has made a serious statement that if a Minister turns his Ministry into a Ministry of Disinformation -- I want to know which Minister has turned his Ministry into a Ministry of Disinformation.
Prof. Seini 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of my inattentive Colleague, I would like to repeat what I said. I said everywhere in this world, if a Minister of Information turns himself into a Minister of Disinfor-mation he pushes his party two ways. If it is a rightist party he will have rightist dictatorship; if it is a leftist party it can end up in Communism or Trotskyism.
After this clarification, I would like to add that on Foreign Policy, the President dwells on good neighbourliness; it is good to have a policy of good neighbourliness but I do feel we should go beyond good neighbourliness and have a clear vision, particularly with our ECOWAS countries. We should have a clear vision as to exactly what we want in ECOWAS. I remember Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had a vision for Africa. We can also have a vision for a united West Africa because we have a very common culture and have many things in common.
Mr. Joe Baidoe-Ansah 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member said something like if a Minister for Information turns himself into a Minister for Misinformation and his party belongs to the left, it becomes an extreme leftist dictatorship; if it is rightist, it becomes a rightist dictatorship. I want clarification. In the case of a person who moves from NPP to NDC and becomes a Member of Parliament --
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Effia- Kwesimintsim, you are also out or order. Hon. Member for Tamale Central, are you winding up? Your time is up.
Prof. Seini 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will just like to add a footnote by saying that democracy is so beautiful, particularly multiparty democracy. It is only a fool who does not change his mind when circumstances demand. That is why in developed democracies you can get people like former President Reagan and
Prof. Seini noon
President Bush starting as democrats and ending up as Presidents of the Republican Party.
I just want to conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying that it is good to have a vision of a just, humane and prosperous nation. I do hope that that just society will cover the whole country because as I speak, we all know our traditional state of Dagbon lies in ruins and we Dagombas have lost our collective image. And I do hope we will strive hard with the help of the President to redeem our name. It is the name of Dagbon that has been battered not the name of any individual person. We need the help of the President to resurrect that name.

Minis ter for Pr ivate Sec tor Development/President's Special Ini-tiatives (Mr. Kwamena Bartels): Mr. Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the motion thanking His Excellency the President for the State of the Nation Address delivered on the 3rd of February.

Mr. Speaker, for obvious reasons, the focus of my contribution will be on the private sector and the President's Special Initiatives. Mr. Speaker, the private sector has been delineated as one of the three priority areas on which the agenda of His Excellency the President's second term is going to be based. The others are human resource development and continuing emphasis on good governance.

Mr. Speaker, the Government, since 2001, has emphasized the pivotal role of the private sector in the growth of the economy and the need for the Government to support the private sector to play that pivotal role. This nation, after Independence, decided that the State itself should directly intervene and be active
Mr. J. Y. Chireh noon
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, he is mentioning Members by name and he engaged in dialogue against the clear provisions of our Standing Orders.
Mr. Bartels noon
Mr. Speaker, the greed of the individual for maximum profits tends to make the individual a lot more efficient in the use of resources for production and for the delivery of service.
Maj (Dr.) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (Rtd): On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, if the hon. Member could make available copies of his speech for hon. Members so that we can peruse and --
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member, which speech are you referring to?
Maj. (Dr.) (Alhaji) Ahmed(Rtd.): Mr. Speaker, the one he is reading from.
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member, I hope that you are not reading from any prepared speech.
Mr. Bartels noon
Mr. Speaker, I am entitled to copiously refer to my notes. Mr. Speaker, not too long ago in this country,
it was almost criminal to be seen or to be known to be rich. It was almost criminal to be seen to be successful. Indeed, some businessmen were vilified --
Alhaji Sumani Abukari noon
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is seriously misleading this House. Mr. Speaker, we all know the time that he is referring to. We have all along in our history had very successful economists, very successful lawyers like Mr. Speaker, very rich people like the mechanics in Suame and nobody ever vilified or attacked them for anything. Unless the Member of Parliament for Suame says his people are not rich, he should get up and contradict this. So Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister is trying to mislead the House.
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member, I do not see the point of order raised.
Alhaji Abukari noon
I know that Mr. Speaker was a very successful lawyer --
Mr. Speaker noon
I have given a ruling on that; may he continue, please?
Mr. Bartels noon
Mr. Speaker, some businessmen were vilified and attacked and their products were supposed to be literally avoided like the plague -- no, like AIDS.
Mr. E. K. Salia noon
On point of order. Mr. Speaker, I would like the hon. Member to substantiate this point he has made over and over again. He said businessmen; at least, he should name two businessmen who suffered this.
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member, I am
sure there will be opportunity for you but this does not appear to fall in line. There is no departure from any of our Standing Orders.
Mr. Bartels 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I can easily talk about Kwabena Darko. I can even talk about our own friend, hon. Sumani Abukari. I can talk about B. A. Mensah whose products were to be avoided like AIDS. But Mr. Speaker, this Government would like to celebrate the success of private entrepreneurs and, indeed, the Government will facilitate their work irrespective of their political colour.
Mr. Speaker, I can say here, being in the Ministry of Private Sector Development, that this Government has been able to facilitate the work of the private sector operators who are on the other side of the political divide, some of whom have gotten the biggest amount of money by way of facilities. Mr. Speaker, we believe that if the Government facilitates the work of the private sector and they end up being rich, they will employ a lot more people and the Government would be able to get a lot more taxes out of them for development. It is for this reason that the Ministry was set up.
Mr. Speaker, in the State of the Nation's Address, the President urged the Ministry to help accelerate the growth of the private sector and in this a few issues were raised and highlighted by His Excellency the President. One was capacity-building, the need for the Government to facilitate the movement of that large number of people in the informal sector to migrate from the informal into the formal sector with basic courses in book-keeping, banking and other modern business management techniques and entrepreneurship so that they can also take advantage of the facilities that are available, particularly in the banks, et cetera, to be able to grow.

Mr. Speaker, additionally, the President
Mr. Bartels 12:10 p.m.
talked about his Government doing everything to facilitate access of the private sector to funds and credit. This House some time in 2003 approved some facilities for the small and medium-scale entrepreneurs, which are currently being disbursed -- the Italian facility.
In addition, there has been African Development Foundation facility which is a joint project between the Government of Ghana and the United States of America to assist small and medium-scale entrepreneurs. Mr. Speaker, I must say I am proud to have been a participant and a facilitator in ensuring that not less than 32 small and medium- scale Ghanaian companies have accessed these facilities and are expanding their businesses.
Mr. Speaker, addi t ional ly, the President talked in his State of the Nation Address of the need for us to support the Government, to support the training of young entrepreneurs and for which reason he urged the Ministry to set up a department within the Ministry to ensure that this training is undertaken. A lot has been achieved in the past and we believe there is quite a lot to be achieved in the future. We believe that there is a huge spotlight on the future as far as the private sector is concerned.
He talked about the Venture Capital Fund and he talked about the Long-Term Savings Law, which this House passed. Additionally, the Government itself has undertaken various activities, which have resulted in investments coming into this country steadily rising. What the Government has achieved in the last four years with respect to the macro- economic stabilization of the economy is an achievement that actually impresses the private sector. For four years, inflation has been falling and this is great for the private sector. Interest rates have been steadily coming down and this is fantastic for the private sector. We will like to see it fall

even more. The currency has also been very stable and this is also superb for the private sector; it allows the private sector to actually plan.
Mr. Alfred G. W. Abayateye 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. It seems to me that the hon. Member is just repeating verbatim what the President highlighted in his speech.
Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon. Member, you may have your turn later. This is not a point of order.
Mr. Bartels 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am terribly sorry because I have not quoted anything from the President's Address.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about the President's Special Initiatives (PSIs), which were commented on by the hon. Member who spoke earlier from the other side. For quite a long time this nation has been moving, the economy has really been standing on three legs -- cocoa, gold and timber, all of which are subject to the vagaries of the commodities market. I remember in 2000, the then hon. Minister for Finance, Mr. Kwame Peprah came to this House and one of the issues that he raised was the fact that the price of crude oil had gone up, the price of cocoa had gone down, the price of gold --
Mr. Lee Ocran 12:10 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. It was the Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr. Victor Selormey who came to this House and not Mr. Kwame Peprah.
Mr. Bartels 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that correction. He raised the issue of the falling prices of Ghana's two major commodities, cocoa and gold whilst at the same time the price of crude oil was going up. This nation has been standing on these three planks
and we find that the timber is getting finished, gold, especially surface mining is destroying the environment and cocoa, even though the price has been stable for some time now and rising in volumes, is totally out of control. There was therefore an urgent need for the diversification of the economic base of this nation; and for that reason, the President decided that we needed to promote other commodities for which value would be added --
Mr. Dan Abodakpi 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the point is about misinformation. It is true that cocoa, gold and timber constituted the main export base of the economy. The hon. Member knows that between 1992 and 1993, the non-traditional export sector moved from about 82 million to 400 million as at 2000.
Mr. Bartels 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, the
non-traditional sector had actually moved, as he said, and currently up to around even 700 million. But Mr. Speaker, there was the need to diversify the economic structures of this country, hence the introduction of the PSIs in cassava starch, in textiles and garments and in oil palm; and on the plan for the future, cotton and sorghum.
I have just noticed from my notes that the President added also sugar as well as salt, which was one of the four original ones that the President launched.
Mr. Speaker, the facilitation, the
development and the expansion of these commodities for export are going to enhance the economic future of this nation and ensure that our susceptibility to the world commodity prices would be minimized. Whilst one goes down, one would cushion the other.
Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
I hope the hon. Minister
is coming to the end of his contribution.
Mr. Bartels 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. The
support that the Government intends to give to all these products, which are --
Mr. John Mahama 12:20 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister for Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives is misleading the House. Nowhere in the President's speech did he mention a PSI on sugar. Indeed, when he was delivering the Address, I thought I heard “sugar”, but when we got the script and looked through, he might have been talking about sorghum and made a mistake. So unless the Minister himself is coming out with a new initiative on sugar, I cannot tell where he is coming from.
Mr. Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon. Minister, deal with
the point raised.
Mr. Bartels 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the President
actually on the floor of this House did mention -- [Interruption] -- Yes, maybe, it was an oversight. Mr. Speaker, all these put together is expected to accelerate the growth of the economy using the private sector as the main engine for growth. And I believe the President ought to be commended for giving us this vision which, I must say, and I believe all hon. Members would agree with me, is one that is to be commended.
Mr. Joe K. Gidisu (NDC -- Central Tongu) 12:20 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to be associated with the motion on the floor. Mr. Speaker, I would equally want to thank the President for the Address he came to present to the House. But Mr. Speaker, in doing so, I have some reservations -- reservations in the point that the Government prides itself in repackaging existing programmes and activities, giving them new names and
Mr. Joe K. Gidisu (NDC -- Central Tongu) 12:20 p.m.
presenting them as masterpieces.
Mr. Speaker, human resource development has been the pivot of all governments since the colonial times and the educational system has variously been used as the principal instrument for achieving this. Mr. Speaker, in reflecting on the development of education in this country, one would realize that the Christian missionaries who first introduced formal education into the country had a fundamental objective of using it for basic literacy to assist them to evangelize. Later on, the missionaries were followed by various commercial interests and colonial education also served the interest of the merchant class.
Mr. Speaker, when Ghana achieved sovereign status in 1957, the educational system was designed to promote the development of the human resource base. And from 1957 to the early 1960s, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's accelerated development plan expanded in quantitative terms the provision of education to the mass of the people of the country. Later on, one would follow and see that the Kwapong Experiment on Continuation Schools was also an attempt at providing vocational and technical schools to support the human resource base of the country.
Mr. Speaker, the most fundamental and definitive approach towards the complete overhauling of the educational system towards the manpower needs of the country was provided by the Dzobo Report of 1972. The PNDC's and the Educational Reforms of 1987 was nothing more than the political will of that Government to lift sections of the Dzobo Report for implementation under the educational reforms.
Mr. Speaker, what were the objectives

of that reform? One was the provision for a more diversified educational system and making education accessible, especially to the disadvantaged segments of the population. Mr. Speaker, what was the driving force?
Mr. Samuel Adu-Gyamfi 12:20 p.m.
Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think my hon. Colleague opposite said that the Dzobo Report of 1972 -- I wish to say that it is not 1972; it is 1974.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:20 p.m.
Well, it might be 1974; I thank him for the correction. Mr. Speaker, what I want to say is that the Dzobo Report was one very definitive policy and, for that matter, it was not until 1987 that the PNDC had the political will to implement the recommendations of that Dzobo Report. Mr. Speaker, what are the results of that situation? It provided the most comprehensive, substantial educational programme in the history of the country.
Mr. Speaker, it is most unfortunate that for the past four years, it is only now that the NPP Government would realize the human resource development base as a very principal instrument for the human resource development of the country.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a
point of information. I think it is very clear that on the 17th of January, 2002, about a year after we came in, we established a committee to do the study. You just do not stand up one day and come up with a policy. You must study, analyze and get the necessary facts. So to say that it is only after four years is not correct. We had to get the data down before using the data to make a decision; and that was exactly what President Kufuor's Government did.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the point I want to make is that after the four years there was nothing new the
NPP added in terms of those things that needed to be done by the Government. For example, the pre-school situation they are talking about is very relevant in this country. The most ignorant parent in this country now knows that the type of kindergarten his or her child attends determines the future; the pre-school had been in existence. What is needed is the political will which was exercised in 1987 by lifting portions of the Dzobo Report. The same political will is now needed for the take-off of those other areas which form the challenges of the existing educational reforms which had been in existence for the past 15 years.
Mr. S. K. B. Manu 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I acknowledge the fact that the hon. Member was a GNAT Secretary and therefore privileged to know the history of education of this country. But if he wants to use the history of education in this context, he should use it so that it will reflect the Address by the President. The way he is using the history, talking about Dzobo Report and all that, he is far from home and he should be drifting home.
Mr. Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon. Manu, let the hon.
Member for Central Tongu go on, please.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
point I am reflecting is that when one goes to the archives of the country, the archives are loaded with a whole lot of educational reports from commissions and committees. So what is needed now is the political will to lift those areas that have not been fully addressed for effective action. Mr. Speaker, this is the point I want to establish.

And in doing so, I want to say that if one looks at the various situations that have gone on, challenges have been identified with the implementation of

the educational reforms. What are these challenges? There is that poor marketing of the reforms, poor resourcing and ill- timing and then the training of teachers. We have teachers who have not been adequately prepared for the educational reforms and this has affected the quality of the educational process. One would have therefore expected that the Government would take on this and effectively address the situation.

Mr. Speaker, in doing so one should be wary of developments on the educational front, especially with the training of teachers. Initially, Cape Coast University was a principal professional university for teachers but as at now, it has turned itself and is no more the pivot for professional teacher training in the country.

Now that we have the University of Education, Winneba, as the principal educational and professional training ground for teachers, one would expect that to equally improve upon the quality of education at the basic school level there should be the need to encourage subject- area specialization on the part of teachers, so as to augment the situation that we have in terms of the quality of teachers, alongside other things that could --
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
I recognize an hon. Member who wants to presumably raise a point of order.
Mr. Adu-Gyamfi 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member said the University of Cape Coast is diverting its focus on teacher education. I think when you go to the University of Cape Coast, the biggest faculty is the Education Faculty and they have not shifted attention; it is only that there is expansion or room for other faculties. And we also acknowledge that the University of Education, Winneba is focusing on teacher training. That is the point I want to make.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon. Member, I do not see your point of order at all. Kindly go on.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, for his information and education, hitherto anyone who went to the University of Cape Coast attained the post-graduate certificate in education. Mr. Speaker, looking at the situation of the various programmes, especially for the junior high school and the senior high school, I would say the bane of the system does not reside in the name but the multiplicity of factors that have been affecting the educational sector need to be addressed rather than changing the name from junior secondary school to junior high school, and senior secondary school to senior high school.
What are these problems? Mr. Speaker, the poor quality teaching by ill-prepared and ill-motivated teachers, ineffective guidance and counselling of teachers, especially at those levels, have equally affected the situation in terms of education delivery. Mr. Speaker, I would want to suggest that there is the need to strengthen the teaching staff, resource schools, provide basic infrastructure such as workshops, junior science laboratories --
Mr. Manu 12:30 p.m.
On da point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House by saying that the Address of the President did not touch on teacher education. If you look at page 6, the last paragraph, and with your indulgence, I beg to quote:
“The success of all these reforms will depend on the quality of our teachers and their contentment. Teacher education and skills training are therefore at the heart of all the proposed reforms.”
What else does he want?
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it has taken the President four years in office to recognize them and as I said that these challenges are already inherent in the system; there is nothing new they have added to identifying these as problems, after four years. What was needed was for the Government to have gone back, looked at those challenges rather than waste the four years before coming to this realization. This is the point I am trying to make.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon. Member, time is not on your side, so you may wind up.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have so much I would want to comment on for others also to have time to comment on the educational situation.
Mr. Robert Sarfo-Mensah 12:30 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member on the other side is misleading the House by saying that the first four years were wasted. They have not been wasted because as the hon. Minister for Education and Sports said, a committee was set up immediately the NPP Government took over and the Government needed time to study the committee's report before acting on it. So they were not wasted years. So I think he should withdraw those words that the four years were wasted.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:30 p.m.
There is nothing new that has been added to existing challenges in the educational system, and that is the more reason why we are saying that what is needed is the political will.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon. Member, are you winding up or have you wound up? A point has been raised that you were misleading this House; kindly deal with that and let us go on.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have not misled the House in any way, because if one reflects on the implementation of the educational reforms since 1987, all the
challenges that have been recapped by the President's Educational Commission are nothing new; they are the very problems or challenges that have been in the system. What is needed is the political will which they deferred until this fifth year of their administration, to begin to identify them as challenges for Government to implement and to face those challenges. This is the point I am making.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to say that the Government's creation of 28 new District Assemblies is a welcome idea but, Mr. Speaker, the location of some district capitals in some districts has bred tension among some of the people in some of the districts. And it is very, very important for the Government to go back to the drawing board and look at how best to reconcile some of those situations in order to propel them into effective participation in the decentralization that they have talked about.
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, there is the situation created by the President's State of the Nation Address that more than 50 per cent of towns with senior secondary schools or training colleges have telecommunication services. Mr. Speaker, I am from the North Tongu district where we have seven higher institutions. If you take the whole of the northern sector of the Volta Region, where we have a large pool of educational institutions, not even one of them is connected to any form of telecommunication. I do not know whether it is a very selective situation the President is referring to. It is a welcome idea that he took that ambitious step in terms of that, but the situation on the ground is different from what has been postulated.
Mr. Speaker, I hope, and as noted by one other hon. Colleague, the subsequent Addresses that he will present will serve as the yardstick with which we will measure his administration, at the end of his second
term. I hope all will be done to meet some of the expectations raised in the State of the Nation Address.
Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah (NPP -- Asokwa) 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want your indulgence to express my sincere gratitude to the residents of Asokwa for voting me into this august House. Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I am speaking so I also would want to request the indulgence of Members here. I am likely to have stage fright; it has already started, Mr. Speaker. As the outgoing Mayor of Kumasi -- and I want to stress that it is an urban city -- I want to take this opportunity to thank the traditional leaders of Kumasi, especially Otumfuo, the Asantehene.
Alhaji Abukari 12:40 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I would want to say that what the hon. Member is saying is not relevant to the debate on the floor of the House. So the point of order is in terms of relevance to the topic.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Members, when a point of order is raised, I think I must give a ruling before anybody else gets up. At this stage, I will call on the hon. Member for Asokwa to go on and speak to the motion.
Mr. Jumah 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, as a former President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), I am very happy to see a lot of former NUGS Presidents in the House.
Mr. Speaker, allow me to congratulate His Excellency the President for his splendid and visionary Message on the State of the Nation to this Parliament, on Thursday, 3rd February, 2005. Mr. Speaker, his Message was calmly delivered and it touched on all the salient points that
Mr. Tia 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, a point of order on factual misrepresentation. The hon. Member has just stated that the President's Message was delivered in the best atmosphere and captured the decision of Ghanaians in the 2004 elections. What I would want to point out is that this Message was not delivered before the Elections in 2004 and therefore the President was not elected on the merit of this Message.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member, please continue.
Mr. Jumah 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Message of the President could be likened to a traveller who knows where he is going and also knows he is on the right route.
Indeed, this is an exciting time to be a Ghanaian. Looking back as a Ghanaian who lived outside the country through
several regimes, I remember with sadness the anecdotes that I picked through private conversations and at different cocktails and public fora that ridiculed us as Ghanaians and Africans. Indeed, these jokes covered areas like the squalid living conditions, military dictators, stagnant economic situations and especially preventable diseases and a sense of hopelessness among our people.
Mr. Speaker, this President has joined other leaders to change this perception and I am excited to be a Ghanaian. What makes this period even more exciting is not because we are out of the woods. Mr. Speaker --
Mr. H. Iddrisu 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am raising a point of order on the comment the hon. Member made to the effect that this is an exciting time for Ghanaians. I believe strongly that the most exciting moment for our President was when he was elected the President of our Republic some time in December 2000.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member, I thought you have had your time. This is not a point of order at all.
Mr. Jumah 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to know that my hon. Colleague accepts that this is an exciting period. What makes this period even more exciting is the fact that pragmatic steps are being taken to get us out of the economic and social quagmire that we have been stuck in for years.
Mr. Speaker, the President introduced a new concept in Ghana's political governance. He described Ghana as Ghana Incorporated. What I sense is that the President is visualizing a country that is run with efficiency, leanness and productivity of a business entity. By designating Ghana Incorporated, I immediately visualize the efficiency and pragmatism and profitability of the
Microsofts, the Toyotas and the Darko Farms. I see a country that is run --
Mr. A. G. W. Abayateye 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, a point of correction. I think the hon. Member is misleading the House. This Ghana Incorporated came in 1996 during the NDC era. It was not His Excellency the President who has introduced it. I would want a correction there. He should not mislead the House.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member, continue.
Mr. Jumah 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, this President has introduced a new concept in the definition of political governance in Ghana. The idea may not be new but he has introduced it into the political governance of this country.
Mr. Speaker, I want to focus my presentation on a few areas. Since the President's Message on the State of the Nation touched on all the elements that are critical in the development of this country, there are people who may not have --
Alhaji Sumani Abukari 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I know my hon. Colleague was the great Mayor of Kumasi and as such got experience in reading from texts. But our rules here do not permit him to copiously read from the notes.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member, this is a matter I have already given a ruling on. This is his maiden speech and he is entitled to do that.
Mr. Jumah 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, there are people who may not have grabbed the full import of the profound statements made by the President and would want to reduce this debate to what was said and what was not said.
Mr. Speaker, I understand their inability to get it. Some were said but some were
not said, or were never said but were implied in the Message that was given by the President. I would want to pick on the National Health Insurance Scheme which will indeed revolutionize Ghana's health system and at one stroke help deal with medical staff flights from our shores --
Mr. A.K. Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
On a point or order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has cast an insinuation on the understanding of the concept of Ghana Incorporated. I think it is a serious insinuation he has cast on the people who are making comments on that concept. I think that it deserves to be withdrawn.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member, I do not really get the point you are making.
Mr. Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, he said that people did not understand the concept. He made a statement to that effect and I said he was casting insinuation against those who are making comments on the concept. It is an insinuation imputing that if you are talking contrary to what he is saying then you do not understand the concept.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Let him go on. Hon. Member, you will realize that you do not have much time.
Mr. Jumah 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the President's vision of developing the human potential of this country and doing what the old adage -- a healthy mind in a healthy body -- says, embraces this system that he is introducing; and I mean the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Ghanaians die of diseases that in the 21st century should only be read in history books. There is no reason why we should be talking about intestinal diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery and cholera in the 21st century. This Government is not shouting slogans; it is grabbing the bull by the horns. It is dealing with the root causes, whoever caused them, so that
Mr. Jumah 12:50 p.m.

these problems would be resolved once and for all.

Mr. Speaker, let me use this oppor- tunity to congratulate our sports authorities for their good work. For the first time in Ghana's history, two Ghanaian teams played the CAF Championship final here in Ghana. More grease to their elbows; we expect more successes as a result of the solid foundation being laid.

Mr. Speaker, the concept of Ghana Incorporated as introduced by the President, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, calls for a change in Ghana's politics of fiery, podium-hitting speeches that characterized our past politics, to pragmatic, slow but steady process of development that is deeply rooted in our basic foundations. Mr. Speaker, the new politics being espoused by Mr. President is moving away from slogan shouting.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I am extremely honoured to be associated with the thought-provoking and visionary Message by this great leader, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga (NDC -- Bawku Central) 12:50 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak to the motion before the House. Whilst thanking the President very much for his Message, I wish to comment on two critical issues.
Mr. Speaker, one is his operation- alisation of the concept of Ghana Incorporated. What has happened in the past four years has been this: The share price of Ghana Incorporated has astronomically risen to a point where the poor and ordinary cannot own any part of it.
One stark evidence of this is what happened yesterday when the Accra
Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) boss led a team to sack the people away from the streets because they are no longer shareholders in the new Ghana Incorporated.
Mr. Speaker, another startling evidence of the astronomical rise in the share price of President Kufuor's Ghana Incorporated is what has happened to school fees in terms of tertiary education.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Colleague has made a very serious statement. Yesterday, what happened in Accra was that market women who had taken over the streets that had been made for vehicular traffic were sacked from the place to allow for vehicle flow. The hon. Member is saying here that for the simple reason that people were driven away from the streets, they have not been made shareholders in Ghana Incorporated.
Mr. Speaker, is he by any stretch of imagination saying here that streets that are made for vehicular traffic should be allowed to be taken over by hawkers and market people? Is that the inference that he is giving?
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon. Member for Bawku Central, may I hear you on the point which has been raised?
Mr. Ayariga 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, there are alternatives. The Ghana Incorporated that His Excellency President Kufuor is operationalising should have all of us being shareholders, and the point that I am making is that the past four years have increased the share price to a point where the ordinary person has ceased to become a shareholder; and a classic illustration is the fact that they are being sacked from the streets where they earn their living, without alternatives. The street is a public place where every citizen has a right to --
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Order! Hon. Member,

it does appear you are treading into a dangerous territory by making such a very wild statement. I do hope you realize the seriousness of that statement. Kindly take a certain course on that.

The point I am making is that it seems as if you are going further than you ought to and I wish you take a certain course to enable us to proceed.
Mr. Ayariga 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am addressing critical issues that the President mentioned in his Message on the State of the Nation.
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon. Member, an objection was raised and I thought I was directing attention there to enable you take a certain course.
Mr. Ayariga 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, my concern is that they were sacked from the streets without alternatives.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Members, this is a very serious matter, and we should not give very bad impressions to outsiders. Hon. Member, this is quite a very explosive matter and I do not think we should deal with it in the way we are dealing with it at this stage.
Mr. Ayariga 1 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I take a cue from your advice. Mr. Speaker, about five years ago -
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
And then what therefore do you do if you take a cue?
Mr. Ayariga 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rethink my position on the sacking of the hawkers from the streets but I hope that alternatives will be found for them. Mr. Speaker, in this respect, I withdraw the connection between the share price increase and the sacking of the hawkers from the streets.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member for Bawku Central, be transparent on this and let us go on, please.
Mr. Ayariga 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the statement.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Thank you very much for that; and then go on, please.
Mr. Ayariga 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the President's Sessional Address has been applauded by hon. Members on the other side as revealing a new vision of where -
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. Colleague is talking about another thing altogether. We are here dealing with the State of the Nation Address. He keeps referring to Sessional Addresses. I do not know whether we have heard a Sessional Address in this House this year; we have not. So he should please address the State of the Nation Address if that is what he wants to address, and spare us the ordeal.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member, please let us leave him alone; let him go on with it. He has time. Let him go on.
Mr. Ayariga 1 p.m.
Thank you very much, for that correction. Mr. Speaker, hon. Members on the other side have applauded this Address on the grounds that it reveals a new vision of where the President wants to carry this country. Mr. Speaker, the truth of the matter is that there is nothing new and visionary about the Address. On the contrary, what I see is a badly constructed roadmap as to how we will achieve visions that are clearly spelt out in the Directive Principles of State Policy, in Chapter 6 of our Constitution.
Mr. Speaker, the concept of Free, Compulsory, Universal Basic Education is not new; it is adequately captured in article 38 (2) of our Constitution. Mr. Speaker, the right to education is not new; it is also captured in article 34 (2) of our Constitution.
Mrs. Grace Coleman 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on point of order. The hon. Member is misleading this House. Things in the Constitution are not just to remain in the Constitution. If a Government of the day is taking them out and implementing them to the letter, I think it is right and we should see it as such, rather than say that it is something that is already in the Constitution. The fact that it is already in the Constitition does not - it can be there forever - stop the President from taking it out and telling us that he is implementing it.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
This is not a point of order at all.
Mr. Ayariga 1 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Our concern is with the claim that the ideas are original. They are obviously not original and I am happy that it is being admitted here. Mr. Speaker, I want to focus on -
Mr. Kojo Armah 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member is misleading this House. The State of the Nation Address, and for that matter His Excellency the President did not claim that what he was giving us was a new idea. Indeed, all that he said was and I beg to quote -
“These eleven years will meet the constitutional requirement of Free, Compulsory, Universal Basic Education . . .”
The requirement is already there and he has given us certain indications of what he will do in the course of the year to meet
that requirement. It does not say that he is bringing a new concept. So I think the hon. Member should understand that simple English and carry us along that line.
Mr. Ayariga 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, one thing that is clearly lacking in the President's State of the Nation Address is a clear indication of how he is going to deal with the issue of funding for tertiary education. Mr. Speaker, apart from merely endorsing cost-sharing, there is no clear indication of how he is going to deal with funding for tertiary education.
Mr. Speaker, th is new Ghana Incorporated is benefiting only the rich and continuously depriving the poor; and this is reflected in the structure for the funding of tertiary education. Mr. Speaker, the current system is not pro-poor and this clearly contradicts our HIPC commit- ments and our commitment to eradicating poverty.
The reason why I say it is not pro-poor is that a large proportion of funding is going to our public universities and the evidence is that more people from well- to-do families who can afford to pay for tertiary education are gaining admission to the tertiary institutions as against the poor from many of the senior secondary schools all over the country. So in giving more money to these tertiary institutions that are not targeted at the poor, we are continuously widening the gap between the rich and the poor and creating a class society; so that if you are not a property- owning person, you will not be able, in these times, to benefit from tertiary education.

Mr. Speaker, my last point is that whereas developing education is key to developing our human capital stock, the question is, what type of education should we develop to achieve that? There has been some emphasis on first and second- cycle education to the gross neglect of

tertiary education and, in particular, to the gross neglect of the role that a technology- driven educational system can play in catapulting us to where we want to be.

If you read the State of the Nation Address, there is obviously no clear indication of the role of technology in this whole initiative, apart from the bit that touches on Information Communication Technology (ICT); but that is just one aspect of technology. Beyond ICT, we need more and this is clearly absent from the President's State of the Nation Address.

Mr. Speaker, with these few remarks, I wish to thank the President, reluctantly though, for such an Address that does not in any way communicate a clear strategy but worse still an Address that, in my opinion, reflects a very blurred vision of where we want to go to.
Mr. A. K. Mensah (NPP -- Abura- Asebu-Kwamankese) 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am highly grateful to the President for the State of the Nation Address. I am confining myself to the structure of apprenticeship in second-cycle education. The President makes a laudable suggestion here and Mr. Speaker, with your kind permission, I would like to quote -
Mr. John Tia 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I want to be directed on an earlier statement you made. Mr. Speaker, it seems that you have given express permission to all new Members or Members of this House to be reading copiously from their prepared speeches -
Mr. A. K. Mensah 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, one can find it in the second paragraph of page 6 of the State of the Nation Address, and I beg to read:
“ Those who do not make it to

the senior high school at age 15 will be catered for with a year's apprenticeship course, the cost of which will be borne by the State.”

And I move on to my comment. I believe that this laudable suggestion in the speech is a decision that aims at transforming the apprenticeship into a well-structured human resource development agenda. I say so because it seeks to link education to human resource development.

Mr. Speaker, hitherto, parents in the country were forced to grapple with the problem of finding money to pay for the apprenticeship fees of their children who could not make it to the senior high school and for that matter, many of them could not see their children through acquiring the necessary skills with which they could make a living.

Now that the President has incorpo- rated this in his speech, I am also beginning and, in fact, I have even shared the view with my Colleague, hon. Member for Gushiegu (Mrs. Rita Tani Iddi) that in fact, the one-year apprenticeship training is insufficient. And I am appealing to the Government to consider increasing it to two years so as to enhance training for acquiring the skills.

Mr. Speaker, in the Daily Graphic of Monday, 7th February, 2005, specifically page 19, which reads and Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I quote:

“. . . the apprenticeship sector constitutes about 60 per cent of the youth, who are interested in skills development.”

And I think since the President stated this in his State of the Nation Address, it means that the President has seen the need to address the unemployment problem

among the youth; and it is a step in the right direction.

Mr. Speaker, I fervently hope that even if there would be divergent views on his issue, the end result of this would be that the benefit will far outweigh the views against it, with the following reasons being considered. The Government, in fact, as a matter of urgency, should provide leadership -
Alhaji Sumani Abukari 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke is seriously misleading this House and the entire nation. He is giving the impression by his contribution - even though I find this a step in the right direction - that the thing is ongoing when it is not. In fact, it has serious defects and the defects are that this system will benefit only the Suames and the Kokompes. It will not benefit the rural areas, like my area which has no workshop or anything to train anybody.
So the way he is talking as though it is ongoing is misleading. It is for the Minister for Education and Sports and former Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to now set up institutions for training these youth. So he should not talk as though it is ongoing. He is misleading all of us.
Mr. A.K. Mensah 1:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I ask permission to go on with my work that it would actually be implemented. I am only airing my views on it. The Government as a matter of urgency should put in place a body that will see to the formation of associations of all the industries in the informal sector so that at the same time, the proper mechanism would be put in place for an effective tax collection system among these people. And by that, taxes would accrue to Government to enable
it embark upon different development projects in the country that would promote the growth of the country as a whole.
Now, I come to the benefit that will accrue from this when that is implemented. First of all, the Government will increase taxes from such well-organised informal sector for other developmental projects in the country, in the sense that when that happens there would be the necessary mechanism for the database collection for this tax system.
Secondly, the situation of many drop- outs as it used to be would be a thing of the past, since the Government will sponsor such people to acquire a trade in their various endeavours.
Thirdly, once such people have trained for their livelihood, there would be a reduction in the spate of armed robbery in the country, because the adage has it that the devil finds work for the idle hand. Thus this canker, if it is not removed totally from the society, at least it would be minimized.

Finally, streetsim that has been a social canker in our country will also be reduced if not eliminated totally from the country.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would also like to add my voice to those who have commended positively the President's Address with the reason that structural apprenticeship of this nature is the best decision ever for the deveplopment of the human capital for wealth creation.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, sequel to the agreement between the two leaderships, I would want to move that we bring proceedings to an end today and that we thereafter have a closed Sitting to discuss some outstanding businesses. In the circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this House do now adjourn till 10 o'clock tomorrow in the forenoon.
Mr. John Tia 1:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to

second the motion.

Question put and motion agreed to.