Debates of 17 Feb 2005

PRAYERS 10 a.m.


Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings.
Mr. F. K. Owusu-Adjapong 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just thought that this would be the right time to inform more importantly, the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the need for them to complete their budget and let us have it by next week so that we can work out how we are going to resource the committees this year. And for that reason, I will consult my colleague, the hon. Minority Leader, to see what time we can meet, at least the Chairmen and the Ranking Members and if possible, their deputies tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Hon. Members, this is for the attention of the Chairmen and the Ranking Members. We will continue with the debate, That this House thanks His Excellency, the President for the Message on the State of the Nation, which he delivered to this honourable House on Thursday, 3rd February 2005.
MOTIONS 10 a.m.

Mr. K. Osei-Ameyaw (NPP -- Asuogyaman) 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I find the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President, J. A. Kufuor very stimulating. [Hear! Hear!] It is, for me and all Ghanaians with the right volition quite thought-provoking and inspirational.
Mr. Hodogbey 10 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I do not think the President's Address is a Sessional Address, but the hon. Member says it is a Sessional Address, so we should correct that.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
A Message on the State of the Nation. Please, go on.
Mr. Osei-Ameyaw 10 a.m.
Thank you. So that each one of us in this honourable Parliament and our constituents, would
take the credit for it. Mr. Speaker, I think I echo the feelings of all of us here -- [Interruptions.] When I say that the time has come for bipartisanship approach, I mean it is time for us to approach nation- building on bipartisan basis.
Mr. Speaker, partisanship ended with the swearing-in of this Parliament. Now is the time for consensus-building and single-minded focus on the enormous task of nation-building that lies ahead of us.
Mr. Agbesi 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, this Address which was delivered to this House at page 2, the third paragraph says, and with your permission, I quote:
“It is on these priorities that the NPP Government is basing the implementation of ‘Positive Change Chapter 2' which is for accelerated growth . . .”
Mr. Speaker, it is a wrong information for the hon. Member to say that this Address is not based on partisanship. Positive Change Chapter 2 is a political statement made by the NPP Government. It is based on Positive Change Chapter 1 which the President said has succeeded and that he is bringing Chapter 2. It is a political statement, partisan statement, by the NPP Government. So the hon. Member must withdraw that statement.
Mr. Osei-Ameyaw 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the objectives of the NPP, like the NDC Government of yesteryear, is to build a happy and prosperous
nation. Permit me, Mr. Speaker, to quote a few sentences from the 1997 Sessional Address delivered to the honourable House by the Ex-President Rawlings.
Mr. Speaker, I quote from page 1 of that Sessional Address 10:30 a.m.
“This is a time of great national pride for our country, but we must also be humbled by the knowledge of the responsibilities that we bear as a consequence.
This House will be one of the focal points of the international spotlight; your deliberations will no doubt receive attention as the world seeks to determine if indeed we are maturing as a nation. The world, particularly Africa, will be asking Ghanaians what we have made of the 40 years of our independence and what is the promise of the next 10 years leading to our golden jubilee.”

Mr. Speaker, you will realize that fortunately for us Ghana's Golden Jubilee will be celebrated during the NPP's term of office. I have every confidence that the House will project onto the international stage a positive image of Ghana as a just, humane and prosperous nation.

Mr. Speaker, a few aspects of the Address captured my imagination. First, Private Sector Development. As I said earlier, the President painted the big picture and clearly set out roles toward achieving the goal.

Mr. Speaker, I notice that the banks are not very much in tune with the President's vision of the Golden Age of Business. For most of them, particularly the state-owned banks, it is business as usual. They do not seem to want to go the extra mile to nurture nascent Ghanaian businesses.

Mr. Speaker, as we all appreciate, a
Mr. Speaker, I quote from page 1 of that Sessional Address 10:30 a.m.
huge percentage of businesses are new and inexperienced. They need education in the art of borrowing and management of loans when secured. The Banks should not just expect the customer to come in and pay the loans whether the business is making it or not. I think, Mr. Speaker, project officers of the banks must follow up, constantly monitoring the performances and assisting where and when necessary.
Mr. Speaker, I think perhaps in the long-term, Ghana should think of having a data centre covering all businesses such that personal and corporate profiles could be assessed with ease. This way, Mr. Speaker, the apprehension which banks entertain in lending money will be minimized, because there will be adequate information on customers and their business standing.
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that this scheme will need massive capital investment. The nation can at least look at the long-term benefit and give it some thought, if we are to have the private sector as the engine of growth.
It is indeed gratifying that the Government is facilitating access to credit for the sector and the lowering of interest rates and a stable currency.

Mr. Speaker, good governance is the guiding principle of the Government. In Positive Change Chapter Two, the NPP Government moves from management, which is basically a bottom-line focus, to leadership, which is a top-line focus on governance. It is a shift from how best we can accomplish certain things to what are the hings we want to accomplish.

Mr. Speaker, the ladder provided by His Excellency the President is tall and firm. But to get to the top, as we all wish to do, we must make concerted efforts. We need to lift our foot on to the ladder. And by climbing one rung after the other, looking up with confidence, drawing sustenance and inspiration from the Sessional Address, we will be amazed how easy it will be to get to the pinnacle. This way, our dream of a just humane and prosperous nation will be ours for the enjoyment.
Mr. Dan Abodakpi (NDC -- Keta) 10:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to join my Colleagues in thanking the President for delivering the State of the Nation Address in fulfilment of his constitutional obligation.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that our country has achieved sound, relative macro-economic stability over the last couple of years. However, as a nation, we should be slow in congratulating ourselves, especially weighed against the fact that the overall terms of trade is heavily weighted against us. That shows a certain weakness in the fundamentals of the economy; therefore we must be wary of congratulating ourselves when the expectation are not real.
I am happy that the President has decided to adopt the Ghana Incorporated concept that was nurtured as a result of
the all-party meeting that we convened in North Carolina in 1997, and which concept has been the base of engagement that we have had with the private sector over the years. I, however, want to propose that there are a lot of things that we need to do to bring this very important concept to real fruition.
I want to propose, Mr. Speaker, that Government sets aside resources to further build and deepen the capacity of the Ghanaian private sector to be able to bring a out policy development. What is happening currently is that even though the Ghanaian private sector groupings have been making great efforts in contributing to policy development, they are dependent upon our development partners.
We cannot expect our development partners to help build the capacity of the private sector for it to contribute to the policies that inure to the benefit of our country. It is in this regard that, as a nation, we must find resources internally to help deepen the capacity of the private sector to play the role that we expect it to play.
Secondly, I think the Government should, in collaboration with the political parties, trade associations, academia and others, create a mechanism that will be used for behind-the-scene consultations, away from the glare of the media. This mechanism can be the base for agreeing on very important issues before they even become public. That way, we shall limit the conflict that seems to be associated with issues that are important for the development of the economy.
Again, Government should, together with the civil and public institutions, promote an in tens ive awareness programme that will be the base for
ensuring behavioural change within the Public Service and within the Civil Service.
Mr. Speaker, still in our Civil/Public Service today, many of our civil public servants when they offer services to the public sector, for example, think they are doing a favour to the private sector. They do not think that it is a partnership responsibility that needs to be offered to build this country. And we need to work at it with a view to developing the synergy that His Excellency the President spoke about.
Mr. Speaker, I agree with the President on the need to enhance revenue mobilization as captured in the last paragraph of page 4 of his Address, with a view to reducing Government's domestic borrowing. However, Mr. Speaker, I wish to suggest that this should be done through a further broadening of the tax base.

The tax base needs to be broadened. Already the ‘‘peripheral'' taxes we have in the system are strangulating both industry and the productive sectors of the economy. At this point I would want to propose the following:

(a) Government should reduce the existing corporate tax levels from the current rate of between 30 and 32 per cent, to between 23 and 25 per cent;

(b) scrape the 2.5 per cent Deve- lopment Levy; and

(c) abolish the 7.5 development withholding tax as these result in the locking up of capital for the private sector.

This, if we do, would be providing a real impetus for the development of
Dr. K. K. Apraku (NPP -- Offinso North) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to listen to the debates, the contributions of some of my hon. Friends and I would particularly like to congratulate the hon. Member who spoke before me, hon. Dan. Abodakpi, for his tremendous contribution to the debate. His commitment to the private sector is not something anybody can doubt. I succeeded him in the Ministry and he had initiated quite a few projects that we have built upon -- [Hear! Hear!] And so I know his commitment.
Nevertheless, I would like to state and to clarify the fact that, yes indeed,
the Export Development Investment Fund initiated by the NDC had been built upon, improved upon and is making significant contribution to the private sector. However, it is not entirely true that the proportion of the resources allocated to the PSI far exceeds that which goes to the other sectors of the economy. Indeed, when we came into office, we identified sectors that we believed could push our exports programme and it just so happened that many of the sectors that we identified also were consistent with what the President has identified as his priority in respect of the PSI; and so I would like to clarify that point.
The areas that we have identified have made significant improvement and contribution to our export sector growth. Salt development, an area that we have identified for special treatment; the textiles and garments, the agro-processing, many of those sectors that we believe will make the greatest contribution to our export sector development have been given priority.
Indeed, when people talk about the PSI, we are almost invariably inclined to believe that it is the emphasis on this cassava initiative that the President has embarked upon, or that it is this initiative that has had a lot of attention, but that is not the case. The special programmes cover quite a broad area including palm oil, textiles, salt and many of the other sectors that Ghana enjoys tremendous comparative advantage in and needs to be emphasized.
I would also like to comment on a presentation that was made far earlier in this debate by my hon. Colleague, Member of Parliament for Bole-Bamboi, Mr. John Mahama. In his presentation, he tediously emphasized the inability of
this Government to move the economy forward with particular emphasis on the fact that this Government may have focused too much on stabilizing the micro- economy without attention to growth. With all respect, I would like to disagree with my good Friend that indeed, that is not the case. While we believe that micro- economic stability is necessary for economic growth to take place, we also know that it is not a sufficient condition for economic growth to take place.
But in an economy such as ours, where we have had so many difficulties with inflation and high deficits, no credible government pursuing credible economic policies can make any impact without first laying a solid foundation; and this is what we have done in the first few years of our Administration. But even in spite of that, we have made significant improvement in the rate of growth of the economy. Last year, 2004, we registered 5.8 per cent. I know that it is provisional data; and I know that is why my hon. Colleague may be waving his head, but nevertheless, we have built a consistent track record of growth.
Mr. J. Yieleh Chireh 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member is misleading the House because the comparison he is making about Canada, Japan and our situation are completely different. Indeed, if our economy was growing and we were doing so well, we would not be fighting
about deregulation of petroleum products. So he should stop misleading the House.
Dr. Apraku 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if my hon. Colleague will be patient enough I will get to the point that he is raising. We are not complacent; we do not believe that we have done enough. We have laid a solid foundation for growth; we have laid a foundation for the private sector to now come on the scene and take off. We are not satisfied with the level of unemployment in our country and we are working hard to address that.
In fact, if you read the President's Address, it comes across very clearly and strongly that there are concerns that we share, concerns that we are going to work hard to address during the second phase of this Administration. So it cannot be the case that we are not concerned about expanding the rate of growth in the economy, that we are so preoccupied with macro- economic stability. We cannot go forward unless we have addressed that; and we have addressed that.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my good Friend is misleading this House and contradicting himself. He stated that the last Administration has laid the foundation for a take-off. He also said that he thought they have done well, which has not translated into our pockets. If you have just laid the foundation, it means that you have not even finished the
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, we will give you opportunity to make your point, but at this stage you are out of order.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought I heard the hon. Member say that the President in his Address stated that there would be three priority areas to be tackled in their “Chapter II”. I think he has misunderstood the President's statement. The five priority areas are still there; they are only being sharpened through a three-prong strategy. Strategy is not a priority area.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member, your time is not up, let him continue.
Dr. Apraku 11 a.m.
I thank my hon. Colleague for the correction. That is exactly what I meant. We have five priority areas but we are focusing on three areas which are human resource development, private sector development and good governance; these have been outlined at page 3 of the Address.
Mr. Speaker, to establish the fact that the President had a vision where he wants to - To have a clear vision one must understand the reality today; and the President understands the reality today.
It was on that basis that he defined those sectors that can help us move forward. By so doing, he has already provided the vision and he has an end in mind - “Where do I want to take Ghana to?” At page 3, he says -- and with your permission, I quote:
‘I want to establish a just, “humane and prosperous society for all.'
That is the end product. When he would have been successful in carrying out the vision, the end result is that Ghana would be a just, humane and prosperous society. How does he intend to accomplish that? He lists it very clear; he said, “to emphasize on human resource development”. That is what is moving nations today all over.
Countries that do not have natural resources, some of the countries that have exhibited the greatest growth within the last two decades - China, India and Singapore and many others are countries that do not have significant resources in respect of natural resources. But they have been able to develop their human resource to the point that they are running competitive economies. The President's vision is to get where they are; you cannot say that the man has no vision.
We ta lk abou t p r iva te sec to r development; and again I would like to concede to hon. Dan Abodakpi. Yes, there is a lot to be done. I am just as committed to the private sector development as he is. We need to create more jobs; we need to provide more incentives for our private sector, not just to grow but to grow competitively; we have to open market access overseas for them to do well; but it is a process and not an event. And we are making down payments towards that.
He talks about resources that ought to be available to the private sector. In
our Government, last year and the years before, we have worked very closely with the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to establish significant proportion of the loanable fund there to go to farmers, and the private sector entrepreneurs in this country, more than it has ever been done before.
The success that has been enjoyed in agricultural production is a direct product of the resources that we have made available to farmers through the women's programmes, the banks and many other sources. So one cannot say that we have ignored the private sector. Yes, there are challenges to be met; but we continue to work; we are finding solutions on a daily basis; and we have given them the impetus for growth by creating the environment in which individuals feel free to be enterprising; and that is very important.
Mr. Speaker, the third area, which is very much close to my heart - Good governance -- I will not talk about the rhetorical aspect of good governance; I want to talk about the practical aspects. There is no single country on the continent today that is recognized for doing all it can to ensure that the principles of good governance are not just practised but are inculcated in all the systems of government; that the structures are deepened.
We were the first African country to embrace or accede to the African Peer Review Mechanism; and under this process the Government allows itself to be vulnerable and to open its books, to open the country to individuals who are not from our country to come and assess us in four broad areas - political democratic governance, defining the extent to which democratic governance and the rule of law and all the basic inalienable rights are guaranteed -- not just guaranteed in the
Constitution but also enforced.
Mr. Bagbin 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just heard my hon. Colleague say that the review by the African Peer Review Mechanism has been completed for Ghana. I think it is untrue, unless the Government is reviewing itself and sending reports, because so far as I am concerned we are part of the people to be consulted in the review and we have not been consulted yet.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member, I hope you are also winding up.
Dr. Apraku 11 a.m.
Yes, sir. Unfortunately, with all respect to the hon. Minority Leader, he is just one of the many groups of individuals in this country who are being consulted - [Interruptions] - Please, I am prepared to come back to the House, Mr. Speaker, at your indulgence, to provide for the House the processes that we have gone through to do the review - [Interruptions.]
Mr. Pelpuo 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point
of order. Mr. Speaker, I heard my hon. Friend so eloquently making references to economic policies and he faulted the hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi, Mr. John Mahama for a point he raised about the economic policy direction of this Government which he thought did not agree with the so-called growth in our
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Order! Hon. Member
for Offinso North, continue and wind up.
Dr. Apraku 11:10 a.m.
I will just quickly define
the other areas and come back to respond to my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader in respect of the processes we have gone through to do the report. But Mr. Speaker, the fieldwork has been completed and I will be pleased to share with him and the entire House what has gone into the process; if they have concerns we will be pleased to address them.
But the other two areas that I quickly want to mention, indeed, involve the social economic governance which measures the degree to which the Government is sensitive to developing the social sector, health, education, and seeking national integration rather than polarization; and again, we have opened ourselves for this evaluation to be done.

The last area is corporate governance in which we assess the degree to which Government policies are creating the
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
I hope you are now
winding up.
Dr. Apraku 11:10 a.m.
It is going very well.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, I want to quote an article that appeared in The Economist, demonstrating that the decisions of this
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 11:10 a.m.
On a point
of order. I am very interested in the author, just in case it is not a recycled government policy that The Economist is reporting; I want to know who the author is because it is a lead story.
Dr. Apraku 11:10 a.m.
This is another quote
that says G7 Finance Ministers meeting, the Agenda that are going to be discussed -- [Interruptions] -- There is no name there. Mr. Speaker, I hope my hon. Colleagues do not think I wrote this article. But it talks about the programme for the meeting, the issues that will come up for discussion at the meeting, the isolated issues and a look at Africa in general; and Ghana is very honourably being mentioned for the progress we are making and many other things including the limitation of the APRM Programme.
Mr. Speaker, this is something worthy of support. The President is laying a solid foundation for recognition of Ghana. I could have touched on what we are doing within the ECOWAS region, but for lack of time, I thank you for the opportunity. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Michael Teye Nyaunu (NDC
-- Lower Manya): Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a short contribution to the State of the Nation Address.
Mr. Speaker, when you take the booklet, the State of the Nation Address, delivered by His Excellency the President, from the beginning to the end, one will see the effort His Excellency the President made to give some hope to Ghanaians and particularly my constituents. Mr. Speaker, I had to go and discuss this with my constituents and I am privileged to bring up their message here on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, after a lengthy discussion my constituents concluded that they had become more apprehensive about the future than the hope that the President sought to give them. [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, in the first place, according to my constituents, by all fundamental standards of management, in order to achieve an objective you have to plan. Mr. Speaker, plan is among the other considerations and you have to plan and plan very well to achieve your objective. But when we went through the State of the Nation Address, Mr. Speaker, we did not get the plan at all.
This plan must be broken into short and long-term programmes; we have not seen anything like that. What we realized was that the thing started from the beginning and went just like that to the end. Now the question we begin to ask is, the State of the Nation Address, how are we going to review it? How are we going to see whether it is falling off track or it is on track? Or do we have to wait up to the end of the year before we come to make comments about the review? And this is our problem.
Mr. Speaker, secondly His Excellen- cy's Address mentioned an increase of one year to the current senior secondary school educational period in spite of the Educational Reform Review Committee's Report to the Government stating that the extra one year will not be so convenient or comfortable for this country. And if

Mr. Manu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point
of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading this House. He started by telling us that he took the Address to his people in Lower Manya and he discussed it with them and they told him something for him to come and tell this House. Based upon that he draws a conclusion in the last statement he just made that many Ghanaians are being apprehensive about the Address.
Mr. Speaker, I want to believe that the hon. Member knows a little bit about the
population of Ghana; and having conferred with the people of Lower Manya, I think he will revise his statement that many Ghanaians feel apprehensive about the State of the Nation Address because the people of Lower Manya in no way form the “many” of the Ghanaians that he is talking about.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, you have
no point of order.
Mr. Nyaunu 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I really do not intend taking his comment on board, but the fact is that having discussed it with my constituents at Lower Manya, I share the view with a lot of my hon. Colleague Members of Parliament here; and you will agree with me that they are all apprehensive about it. I hope he has got me right.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is talking about there not being any plan in the State of the Nation Address. Perhaps, he may need to be educated on what the State of the Nation Address is and what it should encompass. However, what I would want to know from him, Mr. Speaker, since he said that he had taken the document to his constituents and had a discussion with them and arrived at some conclusions -- I would want to know where that meeting that he was talking about took place, when it took place and how many people were there.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Lower Manya, kindly continue.
Mr. Nyaunu 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke is my good friend and he knows I really do not take this on board. But Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that I met with my people in the constituency -- [Uproar.]
Mr. Osei-Mensah 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, from what the hon. Member is saying, you would realise he himself is already apprehensive. And I doubt if he gave the document to most of the constituents to read; it is likely he explained it to them. And as somebody who is already apprehensive, what better thing is he likely to tell his constituents? So it was not the view of his constituents but he is imposing his views on his constituents.
Mr. Nyaunu 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, with your kind permission, I quote from the document -- page three, paragraph two:
“Significantly, the GDP growth rate which was projected at 5.2 per cent by the close of the year 2004 has exceeded all expectation and achieved a rate of 5.8 per cent.”
Mr. Speaker, the way it has been couched here tells us that His Excellency the President is proud about this achievement. I do not see any pride here, Mr. Speaker. A high growth rate does not necessarily mean an improvement in the standard of living of our people. Mr. Speaker, it has not reduced unemploy-ment; it has not
reduced poverty. And so I do not see why they should couch it so significantly as if that growth rate has improved the living standards of our people. And I know the senior Member of Parliament knows that that is a fact. He knows it very well. It has not improved the living standards of our people.
It is also quite important to know which sectors have contributed to this growth, whether it is coming from agriculture where we have the majority of our people. In that case then we have something good to rejoice about. Whether it is coming from industry or from the manufacturing sector -- Mr. Speaker, so stated vividly like this, I do not think it has contributed so much to the development of this area.
Mr. Speaker, macroeconomic policy should aim to simultaneously and not sequentially achieve macroeconomic stability, economic growth and poverty reduction. This is why we should not be over blowing our trumpets in respect of this macroeconomic stability. This is because macroeconomic stability must achieve simultaneously -- and not sequentially -- economic stability; and economic growth and it must also reduce poverty.
Mr. Speaker, my next point is on the youth. His Excellency the President said -- something all of us have been saying when it comes to youth matters -- that the future belongs to the youth. Then some of us will add, “Oh! the youth are the window of hope.” Mr. Speaker, with your kind permission, I will quote page 10, under “Youth”, line eight -- He said the future belongs to the youth --
“Government is putting in place all the necessary measures to enable young people prepare themselves
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, kindly refer to your notes. [Laughter.]
Mr. Nyaunu 11:20 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am not reading; I am making references to the points I have noted down; and I know my sister is aware of that.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Try to wind up.
Mr. Nyaunu 11:20 a.m.
All right, Mr. Speaker. I am just about finishing with my contribution.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to conclude that His Excellency the President's State of the Nation Address falls short of our expectation. It has rather made a lot of people apprehensive and confused. Mr. Speaker, he told us where we are and he also told us where he wants us to be, but he did not tell us how we are going to get there.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu- Ansah (NPP -- Kwabre West) 11:20 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak to the motion praying this honourable House to thank His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to this House on 3rd February, 2005.
Mr. Speaker, I hold the view that in thanking His Excellency the President, this House also needs to thank His Excellency the President not only for honouring his constitutional obligation but also to thank him for the coolness and calmness with which His Excellency the President went about his constitutional duty.

Mr. Speaker, as well written and well delivered as the Message was, a few criticisms have shot up. Mr. Speaker, that is natural. That should be expected and that is the beauty of democracy.

With your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, I will make reference to two of such criticisms. The first one is that the

Message of His Excellency the President was not detailed enough. Mr. Speaker, any such criticism will be begging the question.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Lawra/Nandom, do you have any point of order?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:20 a.m.
That is so, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am not very certain about the sweeping statements the hon. Member has just made as if there are guidelines and rules governing the Address somewhere that have been followed. I am not aware of such rules.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, for example, when His Excellency the President talks about inflation which is coming down to about 11 per cent or thereabouts, His Excellency the President is not expected to go into the money market, pick the rate of money supply, pick the rate of demand for money and then come and tell each and everyone of us the percentage we have chalked. He takes all the factors in the money economy
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading this House, creating a wrong impression that they do not expect His Excellency the President to go into the money market. The impression he is creating is as if His Excellency the President sat down and wrote this Address all by himself; that is wrong.
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, I will call you at the appropriate time, but let him continue.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, when His Excellency the President talks about the rate of inflation, the simple understanding is that His Excellency the President is giving us the aggregate of all the factors which will go into the computation of the rate of inflation and that would give us an indication as to what the state of the nation is. The same thing goes for the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Once the President tells us about the rate of growth of the GDP which is at 5.8 per cent, he would have put in all the factors which would go into the computation of the GDP before coming to tell us. So it means that he paints for us a picture of the state of the economy, so everybody -- [Interruption.]
Mr. E. K. Salia 11:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, from the way my hon. Friend is speaking, is he working in the Office of the President, so that he is outlining the process through which he went to write the Address? Was he contracted to do it? The way he is talking, he is misleading us.
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon. Member for Jirapa, you may kindly explain “he is misleading”.
Mr. Salia 11:30 a.m.
He is misleading us in wanting us to be convinced that there was a special process that His Excellency the President went through to which he was
a witness; and I do not think that is true.
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, you would have your turn in due course so let him continue.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the next criticism that I want to make reference to is the one that was made by an hon. Member of this House on the fact that the President did not consider agriculture in the Message.
Alhaji A. B. Sorogho 11:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend said that a Member of this House said the President did not touch on agriculture. He must be able to tell us which hon. Member -- because as far as I am concerned I have sat here throughout and I have not heard any hon. Member say that the President did not mention anything on agriculture. He has to let us know which hon. Member it is or withdraw that statement.
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, are you in a position to substantiate what you said?
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I said that one of the criticisms that has been levelled against -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
One of the criticisms?
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
All right, go ahead if you said so.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it cannot be denied that in this country agriculture is in the private sector. Indeed, Mr. Speaker -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Joe Gidisu 11:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague seems not to have anything specific to address on his own observations on the President's Address other than to be addressing
criticisms from the House. He has nothing new to add to those things that are in the President's Address which is the theme for discussion.
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, continue please.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
I am grateful, Mr. Speaker. As I was saying, the mortal remains of the State Farms Corporation were laid to rest in this country in the dim and distant past. The dirge for the Workers' Brigade was sung so many years back. Since then there has not been direct state participation and ownership of agriculture so agriculture remains in the private sector. And Mr. Speaker, the President in his Message, made reference to this state of affair -- and with your kind permission, I would want to read from page 13 of the President's Message, that is the third paragraph:
“Mr. Speaker, the importance of this informal sector is in the fact that it encompasses a host of activities including agriculture, commerce, catering, manufacturing, construc- tion, music and entertainment.”
So Mr. Speaker, for anybody to say that His Excellency the President did not make any reference to agriculture or did not consider agriculture, with the greatest respect, that person would be misleading this honourable House.
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
I hope you are about to wind up.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I would want to consider three main areas.
The first is about good governance. It is again an undeniable fact that good
Mr. T. A. Ibrahim 11:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, if I heard my hon. Colleague on the other side, he said that the rule of law is actually working in this country. He is actually misleading us. A clear example of the inability of the security service to put law and order in action is the case of Issa Mobila in Tamale.
Mr. Speaker, of course, he was a responsible citizen. When the police went round looking for him, he heard of it and later went to report to the police himself. Nobody went to cause his arrest. The police were supposed to go into investigations; they are mandated by the Constitution to go into that matter but they handed him over to the military, which was illegal. Is that the rule of law we are talking about? Mr. Speaker, he is misleading the House and he has to withdraw that.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, so there is absolute peace and stability in this country and the rule of law is being practised seriously. Even though the Judiciary has not attained the optimum, they have made significant inroads into the administration of justice in this country. I would only cite a few because of time -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Yes, your time is up.
Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:40 a.m.
I would only cite a few instances. Mr. Speaker, during the last legal year, that is, 1st October, 2003 to June

30, 2004, for instance, 100 cases were filed in the Supreme Court and 37 cases were pending. The Supreme Court was able to hear and dispose of 108 cases, leaving only 29 pending. That is a significant improvement in the administration of justice.

Mr. Speaker, a division of the High Court that is the Fast Track Court, did significantly well. There were 423 cases ripe for hearing at the beginning of the legal year. At the end of it all, that court has been able to dispose of 298 cases representing 70.4 per cent. That is a significant achievement.

Mr. Speaker, time will not afford us the opportunity to go through, otherwise we would have gone in to show how this Government has been able to consolidate our position in good governance.

Mr. Speaker, before I bow out, there is one area I would want to crave your indulgence to refer to, briefly. It is about sports and the youth. Mr. Speaker, I want to appeal to the hon. Minister for Education and Sports that this time round, we must try to catch our sportsmen young, in line with the education policy of getting education started at age four. Let us catch them young.

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the Olympic Games for instance, you will find that we are only interested in the traditional track and field events -- just a few of them. Swimming, probably, is a no-go area for Ghana. We would wish to plead with the hon. Minister for Education and Sports that this time, we should not wait till it is about a month or two for an Olympic Games or for an international event before we start preparing. We must do it now; we must catch our young athletes and then take them through the

drill. By the time the event is on, we would have prepared them to bring a few gold, silver and bronze medals home.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much and lastly, I will say that long live Ghana, long live this vibrant Parliament, and long live President J. A. Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government.
Alhaji Collins Dauda (NDC -- Asutifi South) 11:40 a.m.
I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity.
Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I want to focus my contribution on lands and forestry, which was conspicuously missing in the State of the Nation Address delivered by His Excellency President Kufuor.
Mr. Speaker, I have a difficulty appreciating how His Excellency will carry out his programmes in the area of agriculture, rail transport and housing which are directly contingent on land, without addressing the problems that have bedevilled the land sector.
Mr. Speaker, one of the good things that can happen to Ghanaians as individuals, as investors and even as a Government, is when one can feel secured when one acquires land, either for development or for investment purposes. Mr. Speaker, when I was the Chairman of the Committee on Lands and Forestry between 1997 and 2000, I made five attempts to buy lands from private people and for the five times, I lost hold of these lands.
Mr. Speaker, I am raising this to show how difficult it is for people to secure land in some parts of this country, particularly in Greater Accra. You pick up a land today and the next day, somebody is on it developing it. Mr. Speaker, this is because
of a couple of factors that I want to deal with. I will just restrict myself to only two of the factors.
Mr. Speaker, one of the factors has to do with uncertainty of boundaries in this country. Mr. Speaker, as I speak now, in Greater Accra, it is difficult determining where the lands in Osu end and where the lands of La begin. So it is with the lands of Teshie and Nungua. Mr. Speaker, because of the difficulty in determining boundaries, it affects the investment opportunities of the country.
I remember when the Aveyime Rice Project began, one of the problems that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government was confronted with was the issue of boundaries. Mr. Speaker, because the land spans over four traditional areas, it was difficult determining where one traditional area began and where the other ended; and it therefore, affected the commencement of that project. Mr. Speaker, if the State of the Nation Address fails to address such an issue, then only heaven knows where we are going.
Mr. S. K. B. Manu 11:40 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, on the first point he raised, he ended by saying that there is nothing being done about land policy and that the President should have said something in the Address. Mr. Speaker, by that statement, he is misleading this House and the entire nation because he rightly said he was out of Parliament for some time. For his information, a land policy is in the offing, so if he does not know about
it, that is information with which he should work in future.
Alhaji Dauda 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that my hon. Colleague is beginning to suffer some difficulty in hearing, as he himself said on this floor of the House because I never said that there is no policy. I never mentioned policy; I only said that there was no mention of land and forestry in the State of the Nation Address. He may advise himself to see somebody to clear his ears for him.
Mr. Manu 11:40 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I take his advice in good faith. I am vindicated that some hon. Members in this House really need to see an ear specialist. [Laughter.]
Alhaji Dauda 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the second issue I raised was insecurity of title, which is so important that it has to be addressed. Mr. Speaker, sometimes, it is very, very difficult even determining who to deal with in terms of land acquisition, and it is not easy getting information from the records section of the Lands Commission to ascertain who has the right to convey title, to the extent that, Mr. Speaker, in Nungua for instance, it is difficult whether it is the Mankrado who has the right to convey title or the Gyasetse.
Mr. Speaker, therefore that problem continues to be with us, and if that is not addressed, the President's Programme on Housing would seriously be affected because of the problem I have already alluded to. And as individuals, I think that if these bottlenecks are addressed, we would be encouraged to secure land to provide roofs over our heads so that what Government will provide will be additional to what the individuals will provide for themselves.
Mr. Speaker, because the President did not find it prudent to address issues
Mr. Okerchiri 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Colleague is making a very dangerous proposition that would undermine the independence of this House. Mr. Speaker, the voyage of discovery that he wants you to embark on -- a special initiative on land -- would not help us at all. He must leave you alone to concentrate on the work of this House. It is very dangerous.
Alhaji Dauda 11:50 a.m.
I thank you very much. I do not know when Mr. Speaker appointed hon. K. A. Okerchiri as his spokesperson; but I will continue.
Mr. Speaker, I said that the other worrying aspect of land management in this country is where landowners are denied the right value of their lands. Mr. Speaker, Government under article 20, has the right to compulsorily acquire land for public purpose; and Mr. Speaker, some lands have been acquired in this regard for public purposes. For this purpose, I will restrict myself to the Ghana Railway Corporation (GRC) where lands have been
Alhaji Dauda 11:50 a.m.

acquired for railway purposes --
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Assin South, are you raising a point of order?
Prof. Fobih 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is saying that landowners in this country are denied the right to their property. And I am saying that he is not taking into cognizance the fact that these lands need to be secured, to be established in terms of their boundaries, in terms of whatever is needed to add value to them; and that is exactly what Government is trying to do to help them. So Government is not denying them and Government has gone to the extent of softening these loans to assist in the proper demarcation and title so that the value could be enhanced. So Government has not in any way denied them. Besides, we are also increasing the payment of royalties to these stool lands and chiefs, so I think my hon. Member's contribution is misplaced.
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, take that into account.
Alhaji Dauda 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think that the hon. Minister for Lands and Forestry (Prof. Dominic Fobih) is impatient in listening. If he had waited patiently for me to land, he would have seen the import of my submission. The issue I am raising is the fact that when lands are acquired for public purposes -- and I said I was just using Ghana Railway Corporation as an example, where a parcel of land was acquired in 1958 under Certificate of Title No. 246 for the lands that come between the Produce Buying Company (PBC) Headquarters at Dzorwulu, running through the Airport Residential Area and then coming out of the Aviation House

near Shangri-La.

This is the land that was acquired under Certificate of Title No. 246 in 1958 for railway purposes. What I am saying is that these lands have been acquired for public purposes, but it so happens that these lands which are supposed to be managed by the Lands Commission, by virtue of the provisions of article 258 of the 1992 Constitution, end up in they giving to themselves the right to manage and to lease out these lands. That was what I referred to as some state institutions denying landowners. You acquire the land compulsorily for public purposes, that is for a railway development; you end up using the land outrightly and collecting money from it. Is that the purpose for which it was acquired? That was what I was referring to and that is why I said that my hon. Brother is rather an impatient listener.
Prof. Fobih 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member is still misleading the House because when you talk about lands that have been acquired by Government, there are series of them. In some cases, compensation has been paid, and once compensation has been paid, the Government moves to use in the interest of the public the purpose for which that land was acquired.
In any case, even if that purpose has not been the main reason for the acquisition of the land, the land is still to be used for the interest of the public, because Government expressed public interest; and that is what upholds. It does not mean that because it was meant for a school and the essence of building a school no longer holds, so the land should not be used for some other purpose in the public interest?
Besides, what Government is now doing is that where compensation has been paid, we are almost at the point of leasing some of these parcels of land --
by estimation what really Government requires for a particular public interest is the acquisition. And if my hon. Colleague would be patient, as he said, he will very soon see that this Government is being so generous as to address some of these problems which have been in the system for so long.
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, you may indeed wind up.
Alhaji Dauda 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much, but it is important to correct a statement that has been made by the hon. Minister for Lands and Forestry. If I got him right, he is suggesting to this House that when Government acquires land for a public purpose and it no longer wants to use it for the purpose, it could be used for some other purpose. That is what I thought I heard him say --[Interruption.]
Prof. Fobih 11:50 a.m.
For public interest.
Alhaji Dauda 11:50 a.m.
Yes, for public interest. But Mr. Speaker, this is not for public interest. Land was acquired for rail transport development and it is sold outright to individuals to develop into houses to the extent that people have developed into the railway tracks. If he likes, I can take him there. I have spoken a lot on the point that I have described. I came from the overpass and I noticed that people had developed even into the railway tracks. Is that what we want? Is that the public interest? Mr. Speaker, again, I want him to address his mind -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, you would appreciate that your time is really up, so kindly wind up.
Alhaji Dauda 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I cannot wind up without
referring the hon. Minister to this provision of the Constitution, if you would kindly permit me.
Mr. Speaker, the Constitution, in article 20 (6), says, and with your permission, I quote:
“Where the property is not used in the public interest or for the purpose for which it was acquired, the owner of the property immediately before the compulsory acquisition, shall be given the first option for acquiring the property and shall, on such re- acquisition refund the whole or part of the compensation paid to him as provided for by law or such other amount as is commensurate with the value of the property at the time of the re-acquisition.”
Prof. Fobih 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member is not using time to measure the allegation he is making. One would need to find out at what time all these things happened. It is the present Government which is trying to correct some of these mistakes that were made in the past. These are things that happened -- He is quoting a law which was passed in 1958 and the NPP Government came into power in 2001. All these malpractices had been taking place and this Government is trying to address them.
Alhaji Dauda noon
Mr. Speaker, I thought that my submission would be taken in good faith by our hon. Minister. Indeed, I have not accused any government. I was saying that it is a practice that is going on and we all need to deal with it. That is what I am saying. I may have to emphasise it: Land that has been compulsorily acquired by the State should not be used for private purposes. If it is for a public purpose, fine. But if it is for a private purpose, that is where the land would
Dr. Matthew K. Antwi (NPP -- Atwima-Kwanwoma) noon
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion that this House thanks His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation, as moved by the hon. Member for Akim Oda (Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo.)
Mr. Speaker, the President told the nation the policies and programmes he intends to follow in his last term of office after having laid a sound foundation for the economy. Mr. Speaker, his Message to the Nation cannot be faulted. He mentioned three approaches -- vigorous human resource development, private sector development and continuous emphasis on good governance. I believe these are the perfect ingredients for sustained economic development. Mr. Speaker, I would like to touch briefly on some aspects of Education and Sports.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana will be forty- eight years next month, and if previous governments had built on the educational structures laid down by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, we would have had an enhanced educational system and poverty would not be staring us in the face today.
Mr. Speaker, the President has taken the bull by the horns with these far- reaching reforms in education and we must thank him for that. Now, our children are going to have eleven years in school; they are going to have free compulsory universal basic education -- that is -- 2 years in kindergarten, 6 years in primary education and 3 years in junior secondary school. The beauty of this policy is that

those people who do not make it to the senior high school will be given one-year apprenticeship course, free of charge, under the National Council for Technical/ Vocational Education and Training to be established for this particular purpose. With this policy, Mr. Speaker, the problem of street children will probably be a thing of the past.

Mr. Speaker, all the targets set in the educational reforms cannot be met in the 4 years left for the President, and I do believe that subsequent governments, whether NPP Government or NDC Government or CPP Government, will continue with these reforms to their logical conclusion.

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to sports, Ghana can be described as a mono-crop country. All that we hear of is football. All other disciplines play second fiddle to football or probably they do not even exist at all. My hon. Friend from Sekyere mentioned swimming; he was cut off. But swimming, basketball, volley, wrestling do not just feature in our national sports calendar. Mr. Speaker, let us ask, in this Chamber, how many of us can swim. How many of us can swim across the Volta River, at Sogakope, from one bank to the other?

Mr. Speaker, swimming is one such discipline that has been neglected. If we take this thing up, even as a recreation, we do not have the pools. How many swimming pools do we have in this country? What I can think of is the one at Achimota Secondary School, which is semi-public. We have one at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; these I will consider as semi-public. Even in our sports stadia -- Kumasi Sports Stadium, Accra Sports Stadium, we do not have swimming pools there.

Now, when we go to Olympic Games, Australia would be collecting medals from swimming; England would be collecting from swimming and the USA would be collecting medals from swimming; we only concentrate on football.

Now, in the year 2008, we are going to host the ultimate in African football -- the Cup of Nations. Two stadia are to be constructed in Tamale, and in Secondi. In addition, the Accra stadium is to be renovated, while the Kumasi stadium is to be upgraded but no mention has been made of swimming pools in this exercise.

Mr. Speaker, what I would want to suggest is that we should not just concentrate on football. You turn on a radio and you only hear of soccer. If it is not politics, it is football. But if it is football, let us have other disciplines; and that is why I am suggesting that we have such disciplines. And what do we do? We do not have enough. But let us have a blueprint, a blueprint that we are going to use to develop the other disciplines that we have neglected for so long.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, my contribution is going to be brief. I am just winding up here for those in authority to look at those neglected disciplines of sports to be included in our national calendar for sporting activities.

Mr. Speaker, with these short remarks, I support the motion moved by the hon. Member for Akim Oda.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo (NDC -- South Dayi) 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am ready. Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to
contribute to the motion on the floor. I do not intend to take much time because much has been covered by many hon. Members in the House.
In appreciating the State of the Nation Address delivered by His Excellency the President, I would like to dwell on just a few points that caught my attention and I thought I should comment on them.
The first one is His Excellency's view of Ghana's economy as a corporate entity that he calls Ghana Incorporated. I find it to be very interesting because this is not the first time that this expression is being used or this view of Ghana is being taken. Indeed, I think in our Vision 2020, the economy or the economic system of Ghana was looked at as a corporate entity and it is also there that the expression “Ghana Incorporated” was used.
He explained what Ghana Incorporated meant to him and I think I agree totally with His Excellency the President that it is to emphasise the interdependence and common destiny among all stakeholders of the policy. He also went further to say that it is to generate a collective sense of ownership policies, programmes and indeed the entire development process.
This is quite welcoming because, hitherto, I think that Ghana's economy had been looked at by the current Admini- stration as an NPP Administration for which reason others should wait for their turn whilst policies and plans were promulgated and executed. This time around, the President is telling us that we should all come on board and see ourselves as stakeholders in a common economic entity called Ghana Incorporated. I hope that this new realization of His Excellency the President will continue, because it is one direction in which I think we all would have the shared responsibility in our common destiny; because it is obvious
Mr. K. A. Okerchiri 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, a point of clarification. Mr. Speaker, I just want to know from him whether addressing the inequalities, the disparities and reforms are exclusive processes.
Dr. Ampofo 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, they are not, but what I am saying is that a good planner would actually want to take one system to a certain level before moving on to what he might call, maybe, a superior system. What I am saying is that in my opinion -- and I have every right to my opinion as a Member of Parliament for the South Dayi constituency.
I am in total control and have knowledge about the problems in the constituency; and my constituency is not different from many other constituencies or all other constituencies including his -- the fundamental characteristics, the bottom-line of the problems of education in this country, be it from the primary, the basic up to the tertiary level is the lack of infrastructure. It is the lack of facilities, it is the lack of teachers. In fact, for every issue that you think of, the issue will be the lack of whatever you talk about and that is what is afflicting our educational system

now. So what I am saying is that, for now, His Excellency the President should not rush into identifying himself with a few educational systems where there will be the temptation to do that and say that it was the Kufuor Administration that introduced this marvelous educational system.

That would be done at the expense of what today's children would need right now; and what they need are desks, library books, buildings, playing grounds. All these are needed. If we have been able to bring some level of equity, it is not difficult to make everywhere equal, but at least, some reasonable level of equity between rural and urban folks, for example, then after a period of time when we are satisfied that the gap has been appreciably closed, we can move into the second generation of policy which perhaps the President wants us to get into.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would just want to save some time by cutting my presentation short. And I think the only other thing I would want to talk about is what His Excellency put under “Infrastructural Support”. Under “Infrastructual Support” he talks about energy; and I am interested in that aspect.

Unfortunately, under energy, His Excellency the President fell short of what ought to be done other than what is already there on the ground. For example, he mentions the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project and the West Africa Power Pool -- I believe it is Power Pool Project. He has it here as Power Pool Protocol but I think it is Power Pool Project; and these are both electricity-related projects.

But the point is, these two projects have been initiated by the previous Administration and it has to get to a certain point. There have been several difficulties

along the line and I expected H.E. the President to tell us which new direction we were going to go, to make these wonderful projects come to fruition and integrate them into the Ghanaian interconnected system so that electricity supply will become more reliable than it is now.

It is unfortunate that the legacy that we left behind in terms of electricity infrastructure has rather deteriorated and the country is all full of power shortages, power cuts and even the traffic lights are off, not functioning and causing a lot of accidents all over the place. These are fundamental infrastructural aspects of our power system or energy system that H.E. the President ought to look at seriously.
Mr. K. O Agyapong 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is deceiving the House because on deregulation, the first point is the pricing formula that will determine how much a gallon of fuel should be sold. So if he says that the President cannot link the two, Mr. Speaker, I think that is not the truth.
Dr. Ampofo 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I usually do not talk about myself but I have a PhD in Energy Management -- [Interrup-tions.]
Mr. K. O. Agyapong 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am a member of the National Petroleum Tender Board and I am giving him an information. We are doing the deregulation and the pricing -- [Interruptions.] So PhD does not come in here.
Dr. Ampofo 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, if he does not like those credentials of mine I want him to know that I was also a Commissioner of Energy.
Mr. K. A. Okerchiri 12:20 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I get the impression that the hon. Member is saying that the President was equating deregulation to price increases. That is what he said.
Dr. Ampofo 12:20 p.m.
Well, I am saying
that yes, H.E. the President construes deregulation to be price increases. Mr. Speaker, my understanding is what I have said. But I am saying that deregulation and price increases are two different things; otherwise the hon. Member on the tender board would not tell me that because there are price increases, that is deregulation.
Mr. Okerchiri 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the President in the Address never said so, he is misleading the House.
Mr. Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon. Dr. Ampofo, can you draw attention to the particular page and line in which the President said so?
Dr. Ampofo 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I did not say that the President said so, I said the President to me appeared to link the two together and I said that that linkage is erroneous. And I am saying that, for example, now that the price of fuel is being proposed to be hiked, when that
Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah 12:20 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. PhD holder in Energy is actually misleading this House and concocting some words for the President which the President never said. Mr. Speaker, what the President said in relation to the deregulation is that after the deregulation there is the possibility of price changes upwards. Mr. Speaker, I want to quote the exact words of the President --
“At the moment the unrealistic pricing makes our petroleum products the cheapest within our immediate neighbourhood and prone to smuggling.”
The President never said because of deregulation, automatically, prices will have to go up; no. All that the President said was that the price of our petroleum products is cheaper in Ghana and so after the deregulation, with other companies going to import either the crude oil or the finished products, there is the possibility that prices will go up. He has never misconstrued anything; it is a misunder- standing of the English that was used.
Dr. Ampofo 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, what I said is what I maintain, that I, from reading this, think that the President is linking price hikes to deregulation. And I went on to say that deregulation is a planned activity and that it can be done in such a way that it will not necessarily bring those price hikes. That is all that I said. So on that note, since we will have opportunity to take this matter up again in the Budget, I will end by thanking you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to make this quick contribution.
Mr. P. A. Sarkodie (NPP -- Mampong) 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I deem it an honour to be given the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the State of the Nation Address delivered by H.E. President J. A. Kufuor on the 3rd of February, 2005.
Mr. Speaker, even though most hon. Members on the floor have expressed reservations about the State of the Nation Address, one cannot water down the import of it. Indeed, a good number of hon. Members in the House would agree with me that the Message did focus on all facets of life in contemporary democratic governance.
Mr. Speaker, the Address delivered by H.E. the President, the man endeared to most Ghanaians, sought to adopt the most scientific and pragmatic strategy of the three-pronged method, notably, vigorous human resource development, private sector development and a continued emphasis on good governance, a strategy which has widely been acclaimed across the length and breadth of the country.
Mr. Speaker, this strategy, as the Address sought to portray, is not a mere agenda of continuity but a very powerful tool whose efficacy can undoubtedly be used to implement the “Positive Change Chapter 2”, a scheme whose vision and objectives are most certainly achievable. No wonder, Mr. Speaker, the Message has brought hope to most Ghanaians. [Hear! Hear!] Though I am not inclined to talk about every aspect of the presentation, I shall make a conscious effort to comment on the import of some aspects of the Address that dealt with human resource development and perhaps add a few.

Mr. Speaker, human resource devel- opment has been tackled by previous governments. However, the approach enshrined in the President's State of the Nation Address vis-à-vis “Positive Change Chapter II”, had been so well crafted to give the youth of this nation a new sense of direction. Mr. Speaker, prominence was given to the youth who are academically not good and for that reason cannot make it to the senior high school. Mr. Speaker, this is a critical stage in the life of the youth; a stage where the youth become most vulnerable to all manner of social vices such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, streetism, and in some extreme cases, armed robbery.

Furthermore, this is the stage where the youth develop a high propensity for undertaking adventures. Mr. Speaker, from the rural point of view, the youth's curiosity becomes so heightened in a way at this stage that he would like to move to the cities in search of non-existent jobs.

Mr. Speaker, a human resource development strategy that places emphasis and attention at this stage of the life of the youth, such as that enshrined and employed in “Positive Change Chapter II”, therefore, must be seen or judged by all as very effective. At this juncture, I wish to state that the one-year apprenticeship course, the cost of which will be borne by the State, is in the right direction. With this scheme, parents who are key stakeholders in human resource development will be at peace.

Mr. Speaker, the establishment of a National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training as spelt out in the State of the Nation Address will undoubtedly be a recipe for reducing the rate of unemployment in Ghana.

Mr. Speaker, still on human resource development, the revision and perhaps the
Mr. P. A. Sarkodie (NPP -- Mampong) 12:30 p.m.

vigorous pursuance of the current teacher incentive scheme towards the success of the educational reform in “Positive Change Chapter II” is most welcome. The teacher, who is an important stakeholder in any educational reform scheme, must be well motivated in order for him to give of his best. Mr. Speaker, the fact is that, students themselves feel happy and are always determined to reciprocate the quality teaching offered by a committed teacher. Thus, by motivating teachers well, the end result will be good academic performance and a widened scope of skill development. Mr. Speaker, this way, the manpower needs of the various sectors of the economy would be met and the brain-drain canker bedeviling the country mitigated to some extent. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, with this revised scheme in the educational sector, the youth of Ghana shall have the hope of making a meaningful life in future.

Mr. Speaker, one area in the health sector that the State of the Nation Address sought to emphasise is the establishment of the Accident and Emergency Centres and the extension of the National Ambulance Service to health institutions in all the regions in the country. Mr. Speaker, these schemes together with the Health Insurance Scheme and other health management practices catered for in the Message will make a more reliable health delivery service accessible to Ghanaians. More lives would certainly be saved under this Scheme; and with an effective health delivery system, economic growth would be attained.

Mr. Speaker, with these few comments, I wish to state that the State of the Nation Address delivered by His Excellency the President J. A. Kufuor is a workable document. It is, in fact, a document which is capable of bringing smiles to the faces of Ghanaians and a document full of hope. I will urge hon. Members to all lend our support to the Message for a better
Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh (NDC -- Twifo-Atti Morkwaa) 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor.
Mine is a very short contribution. In his Message, the President indicated that the success of the proposed educational reforms would depend on the quality of teachers and how they will be motivated to do the work. During the President's first tenure of office, he spoke several times about how to give incentives to all category of teachers from basic to tertiary level to enable them perform their duties creditably. He has mentioned the same issue this time round. And one may ask whether the previous programme was successful? If it were, why is it that he is speaking of the same issue again?
The truth of the matter is that the teacher is not assured of a good future. On the quality of teachers, may I say that those coming out from the teacher training colleges after the year 2006 would be awarded diplomas instead of the three years post-secondary certificates. This presupposes that the new teacher would be better qualified than the previous one; and that, on the surface, is good.
However, Mr. Speaker, it will interest you to know that although more trainees enter the teacher training colleges, few of them pass out as teachers because many of them find their ways to the universities after the first year, the reason being that they do not find the prospect in teaching attractive and rewarding enough.
The President envisages that by the year 2015, all schools will be staffed by professionally trained teachers. May I ask, what mechanism has been put in place to
retain these teachers in the classrooms? Before the year 2000, first year students were paid their allowances three or four months after admission; these days, allowances are paid after their first year in college. This is not good enough; it is putting untold hardship on the trainees as well as the principals. Condition of service for teachers should be improved with schemes such as housing and car loans and a salary structure that will enable the teacher to live the life of contentment which the President wishes for teachers.
Mr. Speaker, I now want to talk about sports in our schools; others have already spoken on that. Whilst playing fields are being developed, it is important that equipment are supplied to the sports teachers to enhance sporting activities in the schools.
On the high-tech cocoa programme, and on the mass spraying of cocoa, it is important that the Government sends strong, non-partisan monitoring and evaluation teams to the cocoa-growing areas, especially Twifo area to sample views on farmers on the exercise.
Mr. Speaker, my appeal is that the main bridges to cocoa-growing areas in my district be rehabilitated to ease transportation of this major crop. Again, I am appealing for the completion of the Twifo Praso Market which was started by the previous Government. This will enable women to sell their farm produce.
Mr. Benjamin Kofi Ayeh (NPP -- Upper Denkyira West) 12:40 p.m.
Thank you, Mr.
Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor. Mr. Speaker, the President, in his concluding statement on page 23, said -- and with your permission, I quote:
“These are exciting times, we have a clear vision about where we should go as a nation and how we get there.”
Mr. Speaker, next month Ghana will be forty-eight years and if the country had remained focused for all these years and had not been disturbed by the self-styled liberators, redemptionists, revolutionaries and what have you, our situation would have been far better than it is today.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon E. T. Mensah, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has started on a bad note and he is misleading this House. [Laughter.] He should learn the politics of this country, the first people to intervene in the forward march of this nation happened to be from his tradition when Ghana was just one year old. So he should know what he is talking about and give us a break.
Mr. Ayeh 12:40 p.m.
I thank the hon. Senior Member; whether they were from my fold or wherever, if they had allowed the country to remain focused on the path of democracy, I insist our situation would not have been as it is today.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about politics; check the background of all the democracies and see where they are coming from. There was a French Revolution, if he cares to know.
Mr. Ayeh 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, if one came from a constituency which was as deprived as Upper Denkyira, then one could not but agree with the President, if he said these are exciting times. If one had lived over the years under such despondency then one would really have been excited by such a visionary leader who has not only been able to identify one's challenges but has shown where to go and how to get there.
Alhaji Sumani Abukari 12:40 p.m.
On a point of order. My hon. Friend made a statement but I thought I should not interfere; he has repeated it. The President did indeed spell out a very beautiful vision for this country. And for once he wanted all hands on deck. But he did not tell us how we are to get there. He never said it; it is nowhere in this document so he should not mislead us, please.
Mr. Ayeh 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the President, recognizing that the future belongs to the youth, called on them to take advantage of the numerous emerging opportunities which all those who have eyes can see around. Mr. Speaker, it may interest you to note that a lot of the youth, in their state of despair, have taken solace in drugs and alcoholic beverages and therefore the President's call or reminder for a mental and attitudinal training could not have come at a better time.

Again, his emphasis on the Skill Training and Employment Placement (STEP) strategy is welcome in places such as my constituency where upon the closure of the Dunkwa Continental Goldfields and AGC Ayanfuri, a lot of the youth were thrown onto the streets to join their brothers and sisters who dropped out of school for one reason or the other without skills.

I am at this point inviting the Government to come to Dunkwa to take advantage of the number of buildings that were left behind by the Dunkwa Continental Goldfields and which are being left to rot by a certain Chris Tampori who claims to have acquired these properties from the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), and use these buildings, if for nothing at all, to open a youth leadership and skills training institute to retrain our youth and thus have their hopes and aspirations restored.

Coming from a district that cannot boast of a single medium-sized company or factory, our excitement about the President's Message again is on his recognition of the significance of the informal sector and the steps outlined on pages 12 and 13 under private sector development to help them out.

Mr. Speaker, it is my sincere hope that if the youth change their attitude and mentality and embrace the Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP) Programme and utilize or take advantage of the macro-financing scheme mentioned on page 14 of the President's Message, then they will not only be excited but be proud of being Ghanaians developing in real freedom.
Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho (NDC -- Abokobi-Madina) 12:50 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to also add my voice to the numerous voices that have already been heard on the floor of the House.
Mr. Speaker, it is gratifying to note that all of us from both the other side and this side have agreed that this time round the President departed from the normal Message by not attacking previous regimes or Presidents. To me, I think it is normal because there is no previous President; he is handing over to himself. The previous four years was “Chapter I”; so he can only make reference to “Chapter I”; we are now in “Chapter II”. I understand and agree that the President has a very good vision if you take the three- pronged strategy that he talked about.
But Mr. Speaker, I think vision alone cannot do us anything. If you want to see the framework upon which the President wants to achieve that vision then I am afraid, we may not be able to get there even though he has a very good vision. The framework that he has outlined cannot support the vision. Why am I saying that, Mr. Speaker? I would want to touch on a few things; the first one is education. We all agree that education is very important if we are to make any strides in our economic development.
But reading through the Message, Mr. Speaker, I realised that one of the important sectors of education was completely left out; and that is the non- formal sector of the Ministry of Education and Sports which has helped a lot in educating adults and those who for one reason or the other could not go through the formal education.

Mr. Speaker, we are saying that the engine of growth is the private sector. The President has rightly pointed out that the informal sector is made up of so many small enterprises. Unfortunately, the reason why those enterprises cannot grow is that they lack certain basic information -- number one, accounting principles, how to be able to balance their accounts, “What is my cost? What is my profit? What is my selling price” These are all lacking.

Mr. Speaker, under the informal sector and with regard to the non-formal education, there was an opportunity created for our market women, the Makola women, our farmers and fishermen to be able to learn, at least, to read and write and to be able to balance their accounts and to know that if you buy an item for ten thousand cedis and you take transport to the market and it costs you two thousand cedis, you do not sell it for fifteen thousand cedis and say that you have made a profit of five thousand cedis. You must be able to include the cost of transportation to the cost of the item to you be able to arrive at a figure and say yes, you have made a profit of three thousand cedis.

Mr. Speaker, the President is completely

silent on non-formal edu-cation; and to me, it is a very big worry.
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon. Member, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Osei-Mensah 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is actually misleading this House in the
Mr. Osei-Mensah 12:50 p.m.

sense that he is saying that the President never mentioned anything like non-formal education in respect of private sector development. This is wrong because he is saying that people do not know simple bookkeeping -- [Interruption] -- Please, let me finish. But this is captured by the President and I quote from page 12, the last paragraph --

“This plan should entail provision of a basic programme aimed at awaken ing ind iv idua l s and enterprises of the sector to the potential benefits of submitting themselves to such basic disciplines, as bookkeeping, banking and other entrepreneurship skills.”

Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is actually misleading the House; the President did say something about non- formal education. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Alhaji Sorogho 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do
not know what my hon. Colleague is about. I know he is lobbying for a certain ministerial appointment. We all know that -- [Uproar.] Mr. Speaker, I want to assure him that this one cannot help him. [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, if you read what he just read, I said that the non-formal education -- how are they going to learn what the President had said? If the non- formal education had been mentioned and emphasised, people could benefit. Through what the President said, how are they going to learn? So the non-formal education has not been mentioned in the Message and it is a straightforward thing -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Osei-Mensah 12:50 p.m.
On a point of
order. Mr. Speaker, the statement my hon. Colleague on the other side made, that what I said was an attempt to maybe earn a ministerial appointment is an abuse on my integrity and he has to withdraw that statement.
Alhaji Sorogho 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon. Member, he has
not been nominated as at now.
Alhaji Sorogho 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, there
are some informal talks that go on which perhaps, you may not be privy to. I am saying that he is campaigning and so I am helping him in his campaign. It is not anything bad, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
I did not hear what you said. Are you withdrawing with an apology or what?
Alhaji Sorogho 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
The hon. Member has raised an objection to the way you described him. In fact, that is what the objection is about.
Alhaji Sorogho 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, anyway
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon. Member, do you
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.

have a point of order to raise?
Ms. Addoh 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member said that the President did not mention non- formal education. But if he says human resource development, it can be formal and informal.
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon. Member, please,
go on.
Alhaji Sorogho 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am

Mr. Speaker, this is serious. We have so many drivers who think like that. It is therefore not surprising that we have a lot of accidents because they do not even know what the signs are. It is one aspect on which the non-formal education can help us; and I am saying that if the President did not mention it, I am only recommending that we should revisit that issue.
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
You must be winding
up now.
Alhaji Sorogho 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
To my constituents, coming from an area which is partly rural and partly urban, good governance means, “I get up in the morning and I can eat; I can send my children to school; when I am sick, I can go to the hospital and pay the bill; I can get a place to sleep and I have good drinking
Ms. Addoh 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading us. If some people in his constituency do not work, they would not get up and get food to eat.
Alhaji Sorogho 1 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. But I am surprised that my hon. Sister asked that question because if there was work, I do not think the President would still be talking about all effort being put in place to create jobs and what not. She knows very well that there are so many of us who are roaming about because there is no work.
To conclude. Mr. Speaker, in sports -- In fact, if one comes to think about sports under “Chapter one” then it is the saddest time that one can call himself or herself a Ghanaian. This is because we all know how Ghanaians adore sports but under “Chapter one”, we are all witnesses; that one is unanimous. All the hon. Members here would agree that we performed very, very poorly and I think we have to wake up.
I end with a simple advice that the President has come, he has spoken but we in the House here must start showing exemplary examples. I am saying this because HIV/AIDS is real; it is knocking at the doors of all of us; indiscipline is everywhere. For the President's vision to be realized, we in this House must show good examples. We must make sure

that we take the HIV/AIDS campaign seriously; wherever we go we must make sure that we protect ourselves and we behave very well.

We must protect ourselves and behave very well so that at the end of the day we can curb the level of HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Eric Amoateng (NPP -- Nkoranza North) 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, as it is, I am a new Member in the House and I would ask for your indulgence to do the same thing as my other hon. Colleagues, have done, that is, to read copiously from my notes.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to thank His Excellency the President for his Message on the state of the nation. The three-prong strategy given by the President in his Address are simple yet they are very much resourceful and thus contain the real key to unlock the gates to the total development of the nation.
Mr. Speaker, no nation can do without vigorous human resource development, good governance and private sector development. Great nations like the United States of America, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, France, et cetera could not have reached the levels they are without this three-pronged strategy envisaged by the President.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi 1 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, even though you have granted the hon. Member the chance to copiously read his notes, I think it would be appropriate for him to raise his head, at least, for us to recognize him and identify his beautiful face. [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member for Ashaiman, you have not raised any point of order, so let him continue.
Mr. Amoateng 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a great sigh of relief when the President, in his State of the Nation Message to Parliament, emerged with such three-pronged strategy as the base of a “Positive Change Chapter Two”.
Mr. Speaker, “Positive Change Chapter One” has immensely succeeded in bringing inflation down to 11.8 per cent, brought interest rate to 26 per cent and the local currency has become stable. This is indeed a rare achievement. What else do we need to carry the nation into a middle income status in the next foreseeable future?
Mr. Eric Opoku 1 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House by creating the impression that the economic indicators chalked under Positive Change Chapter One have impacted positively on the lifestyles of the people of this country, which is not so. Mr. Speaker, when you look at the lowered interest rate, for instance, lowest lending interest rate of 26 per cent -- Lowered lending interest rate means that the cost of borrowing has become cheaper and prospective investors wanting to maximize their profits would take advantage of the falling interest rates, expand their business activities, thereby create employment opportunities for others.
But the President admitted that funding has been the major problem confronting the entire private sector. Why is it that we have lowered lending interest rates yet the private sector is not getting access to funding? This paradoxical situation means that the appropriate mechanism for realizing the full impact of the positive economic indicators are not yet established and therefore the lowered lending interest rate has not impacted positively on the

entire structure of this country.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Member, this is not your time to contribute. You are out of order.
Mr. Amoateng 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the added requirements for the nation to become a middle income nation are the three- pronged strategy approach the President talked about and this must be followed and accepted by all for the good of the nation.
Mr. Speaker, the premium placed on human resource development is highly commendable. Education which has hit its lowest ebb is to undergo genuine reforms. Even though technical, vocational and agriculture were part of the school curricula, the required approach that should have been accorded these subject areas was frowned upon.
A new approach to these core areas would give real meaning to these job- oriented subjects. I envisage that with the new educational reform or approach, more diploma teachers would be trained for effective handling of these core subjects to make them more attractive. Mr. Speaker, with the attention focused on these areas of education, the youth as well as the masses would be self-sufficient as many of them stand to gain mastery of the subjects to find jobs so easily.
The private sector for some time now, has suffered from lack of the required attention. This area of our economy is so vital that the neglect of it may cause the nation's downward trend of our economy.
Dr. A. Y. Alhassan 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the use of the hoe and cutlass in farming is not primitive. He should find another word for it.
Mr. Amoateng 1:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is laudable that the President has recognized the small-scale enterprise which forms the majority in the private sector mentioned in his State of the Nation Message. Mr. Speaker, I believe fervently that agriculture, in some parts of the nation will be mechanized to meet our food requirements and also export some to other countries for hard currency.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the President for recognising tourism as a sector to boost our economy. Mr. Speaker, today, there are many countries which rely on tourism as a booster to their economy and Ghana cannot be left out in this respect. Mr. Speaker, if I should give an example of this kind, my constituency, Nkoranza North, now boasts of a monkey sanctuary. Mr. Speaker, if one goes to Buabeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary, one would be amazed to see monkeys co- existing with human beings.

Mr. Speaker, Buabeng-Fiema sanc- tuary is a forest belt protected by the people against bushfires and this place is visited by hundreds of people from all walks of life each year. This generates a lot of revenue. Mr. Speaker, if this forest belt and the monkeys are well catered for, I believe it will attract more visitors or tourists and the nation will gain from it.

Mr. Speaker, the already extinct black and white colobus and Mona monkeys are found in this attractive forest. Mr. Speaker, I personally feel the President has taken a path that is walkable and I entreat all and sundry to uphold and cherish it for the successful development of our dear nation.

Mr. Speaker, I therefore thank His Excellency the President of the Republic
Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah (NDC -- Ho East) 1:20 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to enable me make my contribution on the motion to thank the President for the State of the Nation Message. Mr. Speaker, I shall do so in three areas -- health, human resource development and youth because a lot of contributions have been made in most of the areas already.
Mr. Speaker, health, indeed, is wealth and if we do not take this seriously the wealth creation policy that is being talked about will elude most of us in this nation. Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the President believes the National Health Insurance Scheme, the registration that is going on massively nationwide, will be the solution to the health problems of the nation. We must not lose sight of other very important factors that will make the nation's health delivery holistic, effective and efficient.
There are several areas that I would like to pinpoint, such as efficient telecom facilities reaching out to the rural areas. I know His Excellency mentioned that ambulance services would be introduced in the regional capitals. For these ambulance services to be effective in the regions, there must be good accessible roads; and this will improve the transportation system before the patient can be reached and brought to the hospital or the clinic.
Obviously, when the patient reaches the clinic or the hospital, there must be dedicated staff at post such as the doctors and the nurses who, as we all know, are going to the diaspora or going outside the country to chase greener pastures.
Mr. Speaker, in the Agenda for Growth
and Prosperity document under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Programme, it is stated that new model health centres would be built in all the districts in the country. Mr. Speaker, I would like to urge the President and the Ministry of Health to take a second look at this decision, especially where they are already fully functional mission health facilities.
Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I believe these missions or religious-based institutions, especially those of the Christian Health Association of Ghana are strategically placed in the remotest parts of the country already. They are established; they are credible; they give efficient and effective health delivery. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, these institutions offer close to 40 per cent of healthcare delivery to Ghana. Comparable to public institutions, they are well known to give efficient services with a human face.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, Govern- ment's allocation of resources, be it human, material or financial, are not shared accordingly; rather, these institutions are seen as competitors, although it is the same Ghanaians that they are treating. Health policies are formulated without their participation. Mr. Speaker, they actually need to be commended for the complementary role they play in the health delivery of Ghana. They should be fully supported, upgraded and designated as the district hospitals to continue to render the quality services that they render to the people in the rural setting already.
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to mention here and congratulate the people of Brong Ahafo because they have seen work of the mission institutions and have designated most of them as district hospitals.
Mr. Speaker, I move on to HIV/AIDS. I
am happy that His Excellency the President touched on the importance of behavioural change in the face of the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS pandemic or infection in the country. What I would like to say here is that we the hon. Members of this House -- and some of my hon. Colleagues have already mentioned it and I also like to reiterate the point -- must be agents of change. Out there, our constituents are looking to us and we must show by our deeds and the way we conduct ourselves for them to emulate. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, this is an awesome challenge to us and we must all rise up to it.
Of course, we women are more vulnerable to this pandemic and our health must be seen in its totality. The drudgery of everyday life of our women, especially those in my constituency -- and I am sure in other constituencies -- leaves much to be desired and far from exciting. This impinges directly on their health. In the face of rising maternal mortality and morbidity, the onus lies on the women and the Ministry of Health to take a special interest in the myriad of health problems of our women -- unsafe abortions, rape, violence against women, et cetera.
In realistically promoting tourism, Mr. Speaker, we must not just be saying that we want Ghana to be the preferred tourist destination in the ECOWAS subregion. We must make special efforts to get rid of common things like mosquitoes, which are anti-tourist, desilt our gutters, improve upon sanitation, have good-drinking water flowing through the taps, weed out the armed robbers and then see to it that our roads are well maintained; especially, I will say, the road leading to the Amedzofe mountain or Amedzofe where we have the highest mountain in Ghana is terrible; and we do have tourists going up there at their own peril.

Mr. Speaker, another area that I would like to touch on briefly is the youth who are, indeed, the future leaders of this nation. Last year, there was no mention of the youth in the State of the Nation Address although there was sub-heading under youth and sports. I am glad to see it in this year's Address. They need our guidance and counselling against the indiscipline, the indecent dressing, the indulgence in vices such as alcohol, drugs, robbery, and engaging in sex with its attendant sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS.

The Youth Training Programme which the President mentioned is commendable and must be ongoing but obviously, employment creation is also very, very important so that we can take the youth off the streets as it is now.

Mr. Speaker, please permit me to add my voice to those of my hon. Colleagues who feel that three years of senior secondary school (SSS) is adequate. Our meagre resources are already overstretched and must be used judiciously; examples are the two SSSs in my constituency. They do not have any infrastructure, as I may say. They do not have adequate classrooms. They lack dormitories, toilet facilities, libraries, computers and academic books. I am sure that pertains in other constituencies as well. Obviously, when these things are happening in the schools, we expect them to have the same rates as colleagues in the well-endowed schools. I therefore hope that His Excellency will revisit this decision.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we as lawmakers must all put our hands on deck to stem the present picture of rising unemployment, maternal and child mortality, crime rate, defilement, increasing HIV/AIDS infection, rising utility bills and rising fuel prices.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the best we
Mr. A. E. Amoah (NPP -- Mpohor Wassa East) 1:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the chance to contribute to this debate. Mr. Speaker, most of our hon. Colleagues have mentioned some kind of inadequacies about the President's State of the Nation Address, but I would want to differ. Actually, what the President was saying was not a kind of a blueprint. The President is actually giving us a vision for Positive Change Chapter 2 and whenever you are given a vision, you need to be strategic. And a strategic leader as he is, his Message was quite deterministic, motivational and had a strategic direction.
If you read between the lines of the Message that the President gave us, you would find that in all the three areas that he mentioned, there is a strategic intent. I would first of all talk about human resource development and try to fathom the strategic intent that the President's Message contains. And here, I would want to crave your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, and quote:
“In today's world, there cannot be human resource development w i thou t t he i n t eg ra t i on o f Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at all levels of training.”
Here, what the President meant to tell us is to see ICT and human resource development as intertwined. So, what I am trying to say is that the President was actually echoing out the strategic direction that this country must follow in order for us to actually develop. If you look at the country itself, you would find out that if you get even to both the public
and private institutions, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals have very little to do in terms of work operations.
But actually, the Message itself is very motivational in the sense that the Government has actually started to put some kind of infrastructure in place. The first infrastructure that we find is that we have the Ghana Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Accelerated Development document, which came out in 2003.
In that document, we have four pillars which are the priority areas, and within the four pillars, human resource development is the first. So you would see that the President's Message is actually linking human resource development to ICTs and it is very important for all of us, both the public and private sector organizations, to see this as a strategic intent rather to be thinking that we have to get a detailed policy about most of the things that my hon. Colleagues have mentioned. Human resource is really very important. In a World Bank research, we are told that human and social capital together are four times higher or likely to result in faster economic growth than fiscal investment.
So the President is actually telling us that there is a kind of synergy that we can draw if we can combine human resource with ICT. If you get to most of our organizations, why we say that people are not ICT compliant is that, they only know how to do word processing, powerpoint, excel or better still, they can surf -- that means that they have Internet skills. But if someone says that he is ICT compliant in the public sector or in the private sector, it means that he can use the ICT to do his own job.

Let me come to Parliament itself; how

many of us now can go beyond using word processing to the use of analysis, knowledge systems, decision support systems, to analyse financial information like the budget. Do we have the capability to use multi-criteria analysis to get relevant information for international data like a budget? I think not; so we need to see that there is a strategic intent that the President's Message is telling us.

We need to go beyond the ordinary word processing, the ordinary surfing of the Internet. Whenever we are talking about ICT, we are not only talking about the very things that we see. So here I see that the President was telling us more. Parliament itself as a public institution is an information seeker and a steward of information. In what way can we use ICT to seek information apart from word processing and apart from the Internet?

The other point that I want to make and about which the President's strategic intent was also evident is good governance. Whenever we are talking about good governance, we are talking about issues that address the role, the efficiency, the effectiveness of both elected people and political institutions. The strategic intent given by the President in his Message is the passage of two important Bills that all of us are aware of. The President mentioned the Right to Information Bill and the Whistle Blowers Bill.

The Right to Information Bill is very important and this noble House is the first to acknowledge that right to information is very important. Despite the fact that we have not got it, we know that we have a kind of direction. All of us have been complaining, so if the President comes to the House and tells us that this year, these important Bills will be passed, do we not see it as strategic? Can we imagine the sort of culture of silence that we had in

this country some time ago?

If the President comes out and tells us that now we are going to pass two Bills that will actually give the citizens access to information, would we not see it as strategic? It is going to have a profound impact on information culture. Information we are told is for public good and if information is for public good, it means that it can aid development; and I see that in terms of good governance. The President was telling us that we need to get information.

In some countries that all of us know like Uganda, and the United Kingdom, they have passed some of these Bills. So if the President tells us that this year 2005 we are going to get these Bills passed, we can see that the President is looking into the future. If the President is looking into the future, then I know, and all of us know, that he is a strategic leader. As a strategic leader he wants people to be creative, he wants people to be innovative.

A strategic leader would not think that the people with whom he is working are human automatons. And that is the more reason why the President is giving us the chance to contribute. So to our fellow hon. Colleagues assertion that our President's, Address was not adequate, what I will say is that all strategic leaders allow people to contribute.

Mr. Speaker, I think that this strategic intent that I am talking about runs through the whole Message that the President gave and we know that in trying to come out with this strategic plan, all of us, the stakeholders, both the private and the public sectors, civil society, educational institutions, institutions like Parliament, would have a role to play. I would therefore urge all of us to see that the President has given us food for thought. It is strategic and we need to come out with a blueprint to make Positive Change Chapter two a success.
Mr. Henry Ford Kamel (NDC -- Buem) 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, because of time constraint, I shall go straight to the point and limit myself to certain fundamental facts.
The President in his State of the Nation Address talked about giving impetus to national revenue mobilisation. I think that this is in the right direction because the provision of social services in making capital investment in roads and other facilities need money. But I think that one sure way to effective revenue mobilisation hinges around cutting down on waste. I feel that in cutting down waste, which is predominant in public sector life, Government should be the pacesetter.
Mr. S. K. B. Manu 1:30 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I heard my colleague on the other side laughing but this is a very serious statement to have come from the hon. Member on floor. Mr. Speaker, to indicate that some appointments made by the President were a drain on the economy and to even go ahead and mention special assistants, I want him to be fair to this House and tell us how he sees the role of special assistants as a drain on the economy. Other than that, he will do himself a lot of good by withdrawing the statement.
Mr. Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon. Member for Buem,
did you say that certain appointments were a drain on the economy?
Mr. Kamel 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I did say so; and that is an independent opinion, I can make a personal opinion on a matter of national interest and I am entitled to that and that is exactly what I have done. You have a political structure, when you have Ministers and you have Deputy Ministers, and you have Presidential Staffers; I have not complained about any of these. But in my independent mindedness, I am saying that the office of special assistants is a drain on national resources; and I think I am right.
Mr. Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon. Member, that may be your opinion, but are you substantiating it by saying that because of this or that, this is a drain on the economy? Are you in a position now to substantiate that it is a drain on the economy -- if you cannot, you may as well withdraw and come back later.
Mr. Kamel 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, they are paid by the State definitely.
Mr. Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon. Member, I am not saying that they are not paid by the State. You are saying it is a drain, that is why I want further particulars of that. Do you have evidence to substantiate that because of this or that it is a drain on the economy? Do you have evidence to substantiate it? If you do not have the evidence, you withdraw and come back again when you have the evidence.
Mr. Kamel 1:40 p.m.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well that is the President's prerogative and that is my independent mindedness. I shall revisit the issue later on, but for the meantime, I withdraw.
Mr. Speaker 1:40 p.m.
That is an honourable thing to do. As I said, you can come
back when you have the evidence to substantiate.
Mr. Kamel 1:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, but that does not, kind of, vitiate the point I was making that there seems to be waste in the system and I think the former Minister for Finance and Economic Planning did a good job by trying to close up certain gaps like wiping out “ghost names” from the payroll system. These all point to the fact that there is waste in the system. I think that we would have to take measures by which we can mitigate the waste in the system, as a way of enhancing revenue mobilization.
I also think that there seems to be corruption in certain sectors of our national life. For example, at the District Assembly level, there appears to be so much corruption. The fact that even this honourable House has once upon a time indicted certain Chief Executives is a pointer to the fact that there may be corrupt practices which go to negate our revenue mobilization efforts.
So maybe we will have to take the issue of corruption seriously and try to see how we can mitigate or take water- tight measures to be able to reduce these practice. I know that the Procurement Bill and the Whistle Blower's Bill are designed to kind of make corruption a difficult commodity to hang on to, but we would still need to do more as a sure way of revenue mobilization.
Mr. Speaker, I also want to touch on health. I think that this country seems to be heading towards a very difficult position. If we are not very proactive in our dealing with the health sector, we are going to run into very big problems. Mr. Speaker, I think this country has a very high medical-personnel-migration rate if you compare us to Uganda, if you compare us to South Africa, if you compare us to Cameroun and Senegal. I think that the

migration rate of our health personnel is rather on the high side and the problem is that the conditions of service are not very, very good. This is why once upon a time, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service called for a public debate to discuss the remuneration of health personnel. There might be the need to look at this issue very seriously to prevent the exodus of our health personnel, because if you have the National Health Insurance Scheme and you have so many measures designed to make health accessible to all and the personnel are not on the ground, then we would not be doing this country much good.

I also want to say that the infrastruc- tural base for our health delivery system may, on paper, look very good but on the ground the specifics do not point to this fact. In most of the places, like in my constituency, functionally, on paper, the district health hospital is a hospital but functionally, it is a health centre; basic accommodation for medical doctors and essential staff are lacking; basic essential equipment are lacking. So what is happening is that we might have some of these facilities but what actually make them good referral points are not available; so we might have to take a second look at all the facilities in some of the constituencies.

Mr. Speaker, I think that the human resource base of every country is its valuable asset portfolio, and I think that the decision to engage the youth, give them employable skills is a very commendable initiative. But I would want to suggest that the focus should be more tilted towards the rural areas. In the rural areas, our youth have their confidence levels very, very low. This is because they have no employable skills. So we would have to bring their confidence level up, and this is where I think that the Skills and Employment Placement Programme


Mr. Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon. Members, I have a communication from the President.

“17 February, 2005

Mr. Speaker,


MINISTER 1:50 p.m.



PSI 1:50 p.m.



Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. Owusu- Adjapong) 1:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, before I move the motion, perhaps, I may need to draw the House's attention to two things: As I indicated, I think, yesterday or two days ago, there would be the need for us to look at the composition of the committees for the Majority since our rules say one may not be a Deputy Minister and still be a chairperson, except that I would have to have discussions with the Leadership and Mr. Speaker as to what to do, since
until the person is confirmed he is still a Member of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, the next request is that I would want to plead with the Appointments Committee to look at this in the light of the programme we also have for the House, that is, our intention to end this Meeting by 18th March or latest 22nd March; bearing in mind that we shall be working on the Budget.
I therefore beg to move that this House do now adjourn till tomorrow, Friday at 10.00 o'clock in the morning.
Mr. John A. Tia 1:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, we could not have ended on a better note, at least, for some people today. “Job for the boys” has just taken place -- [Interruptions] -- and I think that we can break now and go and join them open the champagne. In that connection, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.57 p.m. till 18th February, 2005 at