Mr. Speaker, I wish to lend my support to the House to thank H.E. the President for the State of the Nation Address that he delivered.
Mr. Speaker, as I sat and listened to the President, indeed, I felt very proud to be a Ghanaian - [Hear! Hear!] Indeed, if you even observed what took place in the House, everybody was silent and absorbed and listened and believed that it is possible Ghana can make it. I have listened to the debate on both sides of the House and it appears that we all agree with the vision that the President envisaged, that Ghana would get to a just, humane and prosperous nation; and I think we have laid the foundation for it.
His Excellency the President did say that Chapter One of Positive Change has laid the foundation for the lift-off of the economy and Chapter Two will build on those foundations; and he articulated those in his three-pronged approach.
In his three-pronged approach, he mentioned human resource development, private sector development and good governance. Mr. Speaker, the President also talked about Ghana Incorporated, that we can together as a nation develop this country without fighting among ourselves.
I am very much impressed with the way His Excellency in his first term has helped to build consensus especially through the National Economic Dialogue of which, Mr. Speaker, I happened to have been the co-ordinator until my elevation to become a Deputy Minister.
The National Economic Dialogue is a very useful tool for consensus-building and I recommend to this House to make all efforts to push the appropriate buttons to make sure that we build on what we have started and that we all actively take part in it. I notice some people just come there and show their faces but it is a forum which, if we all put our brains on and begin to push it, would really help us to build this Ghana Incorporated.
I notice the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, my senior brother, hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu talking about taking the National Economic Dialogue to the regions. I commend him for that and I believe Moses and I would be able to travel with him and improve on the National Economic Dialogue in those regions.
Mr. Speaker, another area that the President spoke about was the economy, in terms of savings, how the stock market is performing and how people can also take active part in saving through the stock market. Mr. Speaker, Ghana's Stock Exchange as we all know is performing extremely well, especially when you look at the performance of all the mutual funds that have come on the market. I also lend my support to the President's suggestion that Ghanaians should patronize the Ghana Stock Exchange and make some earnings out of the monies that they put in the stock market. It will help all of us, it will help the country cultivate the habit of savings.
Mr. Speaker, another area that I am glad
the President mentioned and emphasized was education. Education is very important to our economic development. Without education, most of us would not be where we are and so what we do to our children must concern all of us. Sometimes, Mr. Speaker, we think that education is just to produce children or young people to the workplace.
Whilst it is true to some extent, I believe that education should be a process of stimulating curiosity and that it should not be a means for an end, in itself, but an end in itself. If you stimulate the curiosity of somebody or the people of a nation, at every level where they find themselves, they will contribute to the development of the nation.
One area I want all of us to consider and to make sure that it happens is that employers and those who have established businesses in the private sector should also take training seriously. Whilst it is important for us to educate our young ones and to make them responsible citizens of this nation -- sometimes they tend to forget what they learnt at school. So when they go to the workplace, I would imagine that the continuous learning that we all say and advocate would be something that the employers would also take on board, and that we can begin to benefit even whilst working, through training.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that people should be treated not for the cost they incur to a company but that they are a resource to a company and that what they produce or yield must be of concern, it must be of importance to the employer not just employing people, paying them their wages and salaries and of course when they finish with their training they all shirk that responsibility. So whilst we talk about education, I will encourage all employers to take training very seriously.
Mr. Speaker, one other area that I was glad that the President mentioned was the National Identification System. Mr. Speaker, although I have been involved, one would say that is why I am mentioning this, but they are key to our national development and I am glad that hon. Member for Ayawaso East, Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed, did mention that; and I lend my support to that.
The National Identification System should be brought on stream very quickly. Whislt we do that, we obviously are mindful of the pitfalls in it. I have had the opportunity to talk to some of my hon. Colleagues and we are fully aware of what the hon. Member for Ayawaso East mentioned and we will take all necessary precautions so that people do not misconstrue that to imply that the Aliens Compliance Order is being brought back through the back door, which is not true.
The National Identification System will give us a database for us to build the economy, plan properly. It will help the banks in particular to be able to know what is going on, and it will help our economy in terms of even the liquidity in the system. Mr. Speaker, you go to the bank, almost always, and you take huge sums of money from the bank, the bank will note that you have taken 20 or 30 million from the bank but what you do with the money, the economy cannot capture. And so we cannot plan not knowing where people are investing. What is it that people are engaging themselves in? Of course, the informal sector being that large, it is very difficult to monitor. The National Identity will help us to capture people going into the formal sector and streamline our activities. I am very much in support of the National Identification System coming on stream.