Mr. Speaker, I did not say that the President never mentioned discipline. I said the issue of addressing
indiscipline is missing in the Message. The issue of addressing indiscipline in our society now is missing. That is what I said.
Mr. Speaker, and in Positive Change Chapter 2, I never read anything about zero-tolerance for corruption. I do not know whether because corruption is as old as Adam, it cannot be eradicated from our society.
Mr. Speaker, if you go back to our institutions, problems like absenteeism, malingering, drunkenness, drug abuse and sexual promiscuity, embezzlement, examination malpractices, are so rampant in our institutions now and yet we keep on talking of falling standards in education. If all these problems are with our students and we are not finding a way out to curb them, then where are we heading for?
Mr. Speaker, if we do not take care, at the end of the day we will continue to produce graduates who are supposed to man a lot of our institutions but who will only have fake certificates, fictitious ones to show and for that matter will do anything to make sure that they derail the progress of this country.
Mr. Speaker, in the Message, nothing really serious was said about the cocoa industry. It is true agriculture was mentioned in private sector development, but Mr. Speaker, much as we are highlighting on PSI, whether we like it or not, cocoa remains the backbone of our economy; and I was expecting that the President would give us a way out as to what we are going to do with our cocoa sector.
Mr. Speaker, all along for the past four years the trumpet has been mass
spraying, high-tech programmes; it is true. In fact, that has accounted for the over 700,000 tonnes of cocoa Ghana produced during the 2003/2004 main crop season. Mr. Speaker, much as that idea of mass spraying is laudable, in my constituency, I would say the exercise was a failure because even though the Suaman constituency is one of the highest cocoa producing areas, the supply of the inputs supposed to have been bought with the tax payer's money was invariably very, very inadequate and the little that got there, Mr. Speaker, was misappropriated by a few saboteurs. Therefore, farmers' efforts were frustrated. They had to go to the open market to buy certain inputs at cut-throat prices to be able to maintain their farms.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to suggest to the Minister for Food and Agriculture that if that programme will continue in the following years, then adequate supply of inputs should be sent to the place and at the right time, so that the spraying can be done at the right time to maintain the farms.
Secondly, a monitoring group should also be sent down to monitor the way these things are shared among farmers so that the whole idea, so laudable, may not be shelved.
Mr. Speaker, I think that when the Government gives bonuses to farmers, it is an incentive package. It rather entices them to continue to work and sometimes it bails them from some of the financial problems they face during the off-season. Mr. Speaker, surprisingly, farmers in my constituency have not been paid their bonuses for 2003/2004, all because the whole payment exercise has now been centralized. People come from Accra with lists to come and call the names out at the various banks, and it is so frustrating -- farmers coming to wait for a long time only to find out sometimes that their names are not even on the list. Mr. Speaker, I would really recommend that the old system where the payment was done by