Debates of 22 Feb 2005

PRAYERS 10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings.
STATEMENTS 10:10 a.m.

Mr. Tia 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of
order. Mr. Speaker, I think that the hon. Member is going against the rules of this House. A Statement is made by a Member to derive some objectives; and the Member who made the Statement made it specifically about her constituency. If the hon. Member has nothing to say about the Statement, and with effect to the specific
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, your point of order is very well founded. Hon. Member, you will speak to the question.
Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.) : Mr. Speaker, with all respect, I listened very attentively when the hon. Member for North Dayi was making her Statement. Mr. Speaker, she mentioned issues like the people having constructed speed control ramps on the road. Mr. Speaker, this is a common feature in all parts of the country where people on their own, without permission from Ghana Highway Authority or even from the Department of Feeder Roads, construct these control ramps; and they cause a lot of accidents.
Mr. Speaker, it is on record that, as a Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and I consistently come into focus with this problem. And the experience I am relating to, about Fedenta, is about people constructing three illegal speed control ramps on the street; and that caused a lot of mess. That is why I am contributing to the Statement.
Mr. Speaker, I have been on the
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my very good Friend, hon. Effah-Dartey, is still misleading this House. He is still working on his bid to hijack the Statement. He has just been told that if he has such concerns, he should come through the
door and not through the window. Has the hon. Member who made the Statement provided any window of escape for him? He should come through the door. If he wants his constituents to know that he is back, he can come with his own statement tomorrow.
Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.) : Mr.
Speaker, in concluding, I would want to make two very important recommen- dations. My first recommendation is that the word should go out to everybody in this country that if you want to make a speed control ramp, you must seek permission from Ghana Highway Authority or Feeder Roads Department. It is not proper at all for anybody, no matter the degree of provocation, to take the law into his or her own hands and construct a speed control ramp on a road.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, it seems to
me that as the Statement has been made by the hon. Member for North Dayi (Ms Dansua), the point should be made that the Ministry of Road Transport should start experimenting with giving road contracts in portions of lesser distance, for instance, about 10 kilometres or thereabouts; because the Have-Kpando road, for instance, is 30 kilometres, and 30 kilometres for one contractor should ordinarily be a long job, but because he has been doing it in a manner that raises eyebrows, perhaps if it had been only 10 kilometres, it would have been better.
My third and last recommendation is that the Statement that has been made by hon. Akua Dansua brings to focus once again some contractors in this country who, in the name of getting jobs, rush for all sorts of certificates to enable them qualify for contracts and then when they get the job they do not deliver as expected.

So Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will recommend to the Ministry of Road Transport that they should reopen applications for certification so that all certificated contractors come for re- examination so that we will see those who are correct contractors and give them contracts to construct roads for our people to move on. Because, Mr. Speaker, the road network is the very fibre, the very nerve centre of our economic development. Without roads you can hardly do anything at all; and if you go to places like the Western Region, Mr. Speaker, the road network is very bad.

Mr. Speaker, in concluding, I will urge the Minister for Road Transport to take a second look at the way contracts are awarded for road construction. I agree wholeheartedly with the call by my hon. Sister, Ms. Akua Dansua. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. E. K. Salia (NDC -- Jirapa) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to associate myself with the Statement so ably made by my colleague, the hon. Member for North Dayi. Indeed, that road is a very important road in that sector of the road system in Ghana. It very much leads to the lake head at Amankwatornu and it sees a lot of traffic.
It is a matter of disappointment that after several months of scarification, the road has still not received appropriate attention. We know that scarification is a very important first step towards road reconstruction and rehabilitation. But if the gravel that has been loosened is allowed to stay for too long, it naturally leads to a lot of dust pollution, and it is something that should be avoided usually by most contractors.
I believe that the problem that this road is facing is the fact that it has been
awarded to a contractor who probably does not have the capacity and does not have adequate resources to complete the work before he is paid. One can also appreciate the fact that because it was time for the electioneering campaign, maybe it was a political move to attract votes, and unfortunately the resources were not there to do justice to that road. Now that the elections are over and fortunately my hon. Colleague is back into office, maybe there is a slowing down of the process of rehabilitation. I, therefore, think that it is a very worthy call and the Ministry of Road Transport should more seriously attend to it.
I also want to share the opinion of my Colleague, the hon. Member for Berekum, with respect to the illegal construction of what you might call speed-reducing obstacles. The unfortunate problem is that nobody knows who authorises those particular speed ramps. For all we might know, the Department of Feeder Roads or the Ministry of Road Transport could have authorised some of those speed ramps on some sections of our roads.
The truth is that because there are no speed warnings on most of our roads, the tendency is for communities that have been affected by, let us say, road accidents to take the law into their own hands to protect the lives of their citizens or their community members. I believe that it is time for the Ministry of Road Transport to put warning signs like, “reduce speed”, or this is the maximum speed that you should go on this particular portion of the road.
I think there is a lot to say about the construction industry now. It looks like it is on the decline. A lot of contractors do not have capacity and most of them who are chosen to do a lot of these major works do not have the ability, partly because the classification system for road contractors has virtually broken down, such that virtually anybody can apply for a road construction licence and get
Mr. E. K. Salia (NDC -- Jirapa) 10:20 a.m.

it. The rigour with which people used to go through the process has now been eliminated. I believe that there is the need to call on the Ministry of Road Transport to take a more serious look at contractor classification and registration so that those who are better equipped can have the appropriate grade. In fact, there is also the need to look at the older contractors, most of whom have a lot of equipment but in recent times a lot of them have been denied the award of contracts while novices are given contracts. I believe that if there is a relook at the contract of the Have-Kpando Road, a better contractor could be assigned and the process of implementation could be spread out appropriately to reduce the sufferings of the communities along that road.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity.

Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. Owusu-

Adjapong): Mr. Speaker, from the Statement and the contributions that have emerged, it looks like we would have had a better approach if the Minister were to be around so that at the end of it, he could give a response. Perhaps, this Statement also could have been in the form of a Question. But now that we have got it already indicated -- and it looks like subsequent contributors are trying to add to it, possibly making references to similar problems in their areas -- we can ask that the points raised be referred, in the case of the hon. Member for North Dayi in particular, to the Minister for him to respond to it in a normal communication.

To go further, we are going to have opportunity to look at the Estimates of that Ministry and therefore people with similar problems could make them known to the leadership of the Roads and Transport Committee, so that when they come in at

the committee, they would be able to look at it; and then when it comes to debating the Estimates of that Committee, Members who are still not satisfied with the response they have got can then make comments on it so that we can make progress.

MOTIONS 10:20 a.m.

Mr. Stephen M. E. K. Ackah (NDC -- Suaman) 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to associate myself with the motion on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, the President's choice of human resource development, with education as the focal point, as one of the priorities of Positive Change Chapter 2, is in the right direction. Mr. Speaker, a lot of contributors have talked about this human resource development and I have no qualms with the new reforms in education, under consideration -- not with the structure nor the contents.
Mr. Speaker, the big question I have is, as a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) with all the laudable ideas on paper, are we prepared to give practical meaning to this reform? Mr. Speaker, a lot of problems have been facing this country, which have not been addressed; and that is why most of the reforms we have witnessed from the past, maybe, have not solved the problem of human resource capacity-building.
Mr. Speaker, these problems are not far- fetched. They include adequate provision of physical structures all over the country, especially when you are thinking of implementing the Free, Compulsory Basic Education (FCUBE) programme and formalizing kindergarten education, bearing in mind the ever- increasingly growing population of school-going age children.
Secondly, adequate provision of teaching and learning materials and facilities. Thirdly, adequate provision
Mr. Andrews Adjei-Yeboah 10:30 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, it appears to me that the hon. Member speaking has not seriously read through the President's Message. It is clearly stated on page 10, under “Youth”; and Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I quote:
“A proper work ethic has been sorely missing in our workplaces, and Government will make sure that the training programmes being put in place will emphasize discipline and good citizenship.”
So if my hon. Friend is telling me that the President never mentioned anything about discipline, then I do not know whether this word here is not discipline.
Mr. Ackah 10:40 a.m.
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
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Are you winding up?
Mr. Ackah 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, a healthy mind is found in a healthy body, and I am sure the President did not mince words when he said that. Again, he was quick to identify that for the country to achieve laurels in international competitions we have to catch the athletes young. But Mr. Speaker, I think the NPP Government has not given sports the priority it deserves, in its administration. I am saying this because within the
Mr. Edward M. Ennin (NPP -- Obuasi) 10:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the Message on the State of the Nation by H.E. Oseadeeyo, Oyeadeeyie Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor --
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is confusing this House, not even misleading it. I would want to draw his attention to the fact that the posts have already been shared, so the campaign that he is waging for recognition is unnecessary -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Ennin 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my contribution by first commenting on the President's Special Initiatives (PSI), especially that on cassava -- [Interruption.]
Alhaji Dauda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague in mentioning the name of His Excellency the President added some names that are not familiar to us. I just want to find out whether these are names that have been added to the name of the President that we know. He said, Oseadeeyor, Oyeadeeyie which are names that are unknown to us in this House. If he may explain those terms and whether he has added those names to the name of the President as we know it.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Member, you are out of order -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Ennin 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my contribution by first commenting on the PSI, especially that on cassava, the housing programme and the deregulation of the petroleum sector.
Mr. Speaker, let me say a big thank you to our dear President for coming out with such brilliant ideas. They are brilliant ideas because they are very sensitive sectors which deserve the attention of the
Government. In fact, they are vital to the growth and survival of our dear nation.
Mr. Agbesi 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am wondering which Address the hon. Member is debating. What I have here is an Address delivered by His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor to this honourable House. The hon. Member started by referring to certain names, names which are supposed to have delivered an Address to this House. The point I want to know from the hon. Member is whether he is addressing or debating the Address delivered to this House by His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor or another Address.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member mentioned certain titles and appellations -- Oseadeayo, Oyeadeayie. Mr. Speaker, they are not names, they are titles and appellations which could be bestowed on His Excellency or anybody; and I do want to believe that the hon. Member knows what he is talking about. He has never said that the President has been re-christened Oseadeeyo or Oyeadeeyie. He is saying that what he implies by that is, they are appellations and titles bestowed on His Excellency the President.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to give the source of the Oseadeeyie, and where it emanated from.
Mr. Ennin 10:50 a.m.
It is therefore laudable that through the visionary move of President Kufuor, jobs have been created for our youth through such laudable initiatives. [Interruption.]
Mr. Agbesi 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am a bit worried and I want directions from Mr. Speaker. As we sit here, we know the name of the hon. Speaker of the House. We also know the name of His Excellency the President of this country. So if at any point in time, Ghanaians or anybody decides to confer any appellation on Mr. Speaker, that would be known to all of us. The hon. Majority Leader has said that it is an appellation which has been bestowed on His Excellency the President.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ashaiman, you are out of order. Let him proceed.
Mr. Ennin 10:50 a.m.
It will take a visionary leader like President Kufuor to identify such a product and to exploit its potential, a source of foreign exchange for Ghana. [Interruption.]
Alhaji Dauda 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I just want to find out, or seek your guidance on whether an hon. Member can introduce names
that are not known to this august House. For instance, in the case that is being discussed, the President is known in the country as His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor and nothing but that. I just want to find out if, for instance, I can also be allowed to introduce some names onto the names that are known of the President of the Republic of Ghana.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, you know that what you have raised is not a point of order.
Mr. Ennin 10:50 a.m.
The replication of a similar project in other regions in Ghana, Mr. Speaker, deserves commendation and it will go a long way to offer jobs to the youth in those regions and minimize not only the spate of rural-urban drift but also bring down unemployment drastically. This obviously, Mr. Speaker, would lead to the creation of wealth in line with President Kufuor's policy for the youth, and thereby curb the spate of crime as the devil finds jobs for the idle hands.
I would plead with the President to turn his attention to the potential of Obuasi and its environs where oranges are grown in plantations and consider providing us with machines to process the oranges into fruit juice. Mr. Speaker, everybody is aware of what is now known as the Obuasi ankaa and I believe that such a move would help preserve the oranges as most of them go waste due to poor marketing. I therefore urge my hon. Colleagues to rally behind the President to make his initiative a success in order that more jobs can be created for the youth.
Mr. Speaker, may I at this juncture congratulate the Gentle Giant, Oseadeayo, for coming out with such a wonderful policy on housing which will benefit the middle-income group. We are all aware of the difficulties workers go through in securing accommodation for themselves and their families. If the President in his

wisdom has come out with this housing policy, I call on all Ghanaians to stand solidly behind him for the dream to be realized.

However, I will again appeal to the President and stakeholders to have Obuasi in mind when considering areas to put up these houses. This is because Anglogold- Ashanti alone contributes ¢3.5 billion to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) monthly and has done that over a long period, and as housing has become a problem for the residents of Obuasi, I do not think that I am asking for too much.

Mr. Speaker, permit me at this stage to turn my attention to deregulation. It could not have come at a more opportune time than this since there is no dispute about the fact that Ghana's economy can no longer subsidise the petroleum sector. In this era where global development is drifting towards privatization it stands to reason that Ghana should be counted amongst nations that are determined to involve the private sector in the development of the national economy.

Mr. Speaker, Ghanaians should not perceive deregulation as a killer policy but rather as an attempt by the Government to expand sources of income of companies which would invariably culminate in employment for the youth and the reduction of poverty. Mr. Speaker, deregulation must not be misunderstood or over politicised; issues about the petroleum sector have rippling effect on the general economy of the country. Therefore, Ghanaians should embrace the deregulation policy, trusting that the New Patriotic Party Government led by His Excellency Oseadeeyo John Agyekum Kufuor will do all in its power to ensure that the policy is given a human face in order not to burden them.
Mrs. Alice Teni Boon (NDC -- Lambussie) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you very much for the opportunity given me to add my voice to that of my hon. Colleagues in this House, to thank the President for the State of the Nation Message given to us in the House. Mr. Speaker, I want to deliberate on a few issues that came up from the President's Message which was presented to us.
Mr. Speaker, I first of all would like to touch on or dwell on education. As a Member of the chalk profession, I think that education is paramount to everybody. It is important and it is the pivot of development in this nation. I think that we should place great importance on education so I would like to talk about education. Mr. Speaker, I do not think that the number of years that we have in the educational system as at now is the problem. I rather see it as a matter of lack of infrastructure, lack of schools, lack of teaching and learning materials and lack of teachers.
Mr. Speaker, you will agree with me that most of our children are being trained under unfriendly environment and I think that we should be looking at how best -- We should try to make the learning environment conducive enough for the children to be able to learn and learn properly. As our future leaders -- Mr. Speaker, in my constituency you will not believe that most of the children are not used to sitting on tables and chairs because of lack of them.
Mr. Kojo Armah 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you. My hon. Colleague is actually confusing me. Do I understand from her, Mr. Speaker, that throughout the whole three-year period of the junior secondary school (JSS) programme pupils in her constituency or elsewhere do not even sit on a table and therefore are not used to sitting on tables to write the examinations? Mr. Speaker, I want a clarification. She is misleading the House.
Mrs. Boon 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will invite him to go with me. I am simply saying that most of the children in most of the schools do not sit on tables and chairs. If he is lucky to have all his schools equipped with tables and chairs, I am sorry to tell him that I still have schools where pupils sit on the bare floor to write.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue because most of them are from urban centres and they do not understand what I am saying. They need to follow me to the rural areas to see the realities on the ground. [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, we have about two million, one hundred and ninety-eight thousand (2,198,000) pupils in the primary schools and most of them are in the rural areas. How many urban schools do have -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Asamoah Ofosu 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is dangerously misleading this House and the nation as a whole. Mr. Speaker, I challenge her, if she still insists, to mention the name of one village or town where pupils are used to sitting on the floor so much so that after six years of education from class one to class six, JSS I to JSS III in the examination hall, they will prefer to sit or lie on the floor to write instead of sitting on tables and chairs and examiners allow that to happen in this country. Mr. Speaker, this is dangerously misleading. If there is any good thing or anywhere where pupils are used to sitting on the floor to do a particular thing, then it is the Islamic religion where even in the furniture shop, Mr. Speaker, they are allowed to sit on the floor because that is the practice of their religion.
But Mr. Speaker, in the classrooms pupils do not sit on the floor because by choice -- Mr. Speaker, this is dangerous and she must correct herself for the people of Ghana to know that, as hon. Members, what we say is the truth or a reflection of the truth.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Lambussie, if you have examples, tell them.
Mrs. Boon 11 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate where he is coming from. Most of such hon. Members were
living abroad. [Interruptions.] He told me so. So he does not know the realities that we are facing in the rural areas. I want to challenge him to come with me -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I thought my hon. Colleague was just trying to say that we needed an example because she has been a District Chief Executive before and three times a Member of Parliament and therefore -- Now whether it was the husband or the woman it is the same person because they are one. And I think this is a thing that calls for an example so that at least, the Executive, by implication will take note of it. But unpopular generalizations are merely general; that is why I feel that that request should be adhered to.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Lambussie, as I earlier said, if you have examples, cite them.
Mrs. Boon 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is nowhere other than the Lambussie Primary School, where most of you went and saw things for yourselves. [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, an hon. Member rose on a point of order and made a statement, attributing it to Islam, by saying that it is part of the practice of the Islamic religion for pupils or students to lie on the floor. Mr. Speaker, with all respect, that is inaccurate. It is
Mrs. Boon 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would also want to correct one point being made. Most of them are saying that I was -- [interruption] --
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, a Member is standing. I would want to find out from him whether he would want to raise a point of order.
Mr. Osei-Adjei 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend said that we were in Lambussie. Yes, it is true that I went to Lambussie when she was campaigning to be elected to this House.
But I did not find the pupils sitting on the floor at any school there. Beside that, Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend's husband was the District Chief Executive at that time; her sister is also the present District Chief Executive of the place. And she has been the Member of Parliament for the third time. What has she done to correct such an anomaly, if she thinks so?
Mr. Speaker, I would want to know.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, we will give you plenty of time to contribute. At this stage, let her proceed. And then you must conclude because we do not have much time.
Mr. Haruna Bayirga 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think we have to correct an impression here. I share a common boundary with the hon. Member in terms of district and constituency. And all over my area, that is my constituency and my district, there are no junior secondary school (JSS) III pupils; and, of course, I have been able
Mrs. Boon 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think they have not understood me well. I am saying that because these children have not been used to the -- It is not in all the classes that you will get chairs and it is not in all of them that you will get tables and chairs. So in the primary schools, most of them just sit on the floor -- from time to time -- before they will get chairs and tables to sit on. And they are not used to them. This is what I am saying; they are not used to them.
Mr. Speaker, I would also want to thank the initiators of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for their efforts. The GETFund has been helping a lot. These days they are trying to get these tables and chairs that I am talking of and it is improving drastically. So I have to thank the initiators of GETFund that was formed under National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government, which is making a great impact on education. So we have to appreciate what the GETFund is doing.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Are you concluding?
Mrs. Boon 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am going to conclude. Mr. Speaker, I am still talking about my constituency to tie it with what the President talked about. As the President was addressing this House, my mind kept focusing on what -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, conclude.
Mrs. Boon 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am
concluding. That is the conclusion.
Mr. Speaker, I thought that at least, one of our major roads, the trans-ECOWAS road, which is the Bole-Hamile road -- I thought that this time round the President should have mentioned it. Because in the “Chapter One” it was Bole-Bamboi. So I was thinking that this time round he would make it “Bole-Hamile” to complete it. Because that road is by name “Bole- Hamile” but not “Bole-Bamboi”. So I thought maybe the President would say that this time round he would be looking at the Bole-Hamile road. Because once it is a trans-ECOWAS road it might end at the border.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, please wind up.
Mrs. Boon 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am just winding up. Mr. Speaker, I would want us to also look at the lack of discipline. I think that we have to add this “indiscipline” to our syllabuses in the schools. HIV-AIDS, and sex education in our syllabuses and the school curriculum will really help a lot. And I also think that the access course that is being pursued now in the training colleges is a very good thing to address the lack of teachers issue. The Government should try to assist the heads in the training colleges so that they would still go on with this training to enable us have more teachers to support the children in the various schools.
Mr. Speaker, finally, I would want to thank the President that, at least, out of eighty-eight ministerial positions, eighteen of them are women Deputy Ministers and then three are women Ministers. We the women were not all that happy but at least, he has done something for us. We are looking forward to the President to still appoint more women into leadership positions, be it board of directors in private sector or public sector, whichever he can
use his influence to get women out there.
I congratulate those women who have been appointed here and I say good luck to those who have not got the chance and I wish all of them well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Ernest Akobuor Debrah (NPP -- Tano North) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate.
First, I would want to make a quick comment on an issue that has come to the floor of the House. When the hon. Member for Bole-Bamboi (Mr. John Mahama) was seconding the motion, Mr. Speaker, he raised the point that the macro- economic stability which the Government has been touting around has not registered in the pocket of the ordinary Ghanaian, especially his constituency where people cannot find food on their tables.
Mr. M. T. Nyaunu 11:20 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think our hon. Colleague there is misleading the House. The inflation rate at that time was not 42 per cent. Recently, we were all at a workshop
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Tano North, please proceed.
Mr. Debrah 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I said, what is even more significant -- [Interruption.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend said that the hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi made some statements. Indeed, what he said was that we have been there before; we have had single digit inflation, and when this came in our Address, I remember, my hon. Friend, Dr. Apraku said, “We want to feel it in our pockets; we should stop playing with our figures. We want to play --” [Interruptions.] No, it is here; my source is here, he said it.
Mr. Speaker, that was the point that the hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi made, that whatever they have achieved, we would want to see it in our pockets and we are not seeing that so the Government has not done well.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, you will have plenty of time to contribute, but not at this stage.
Mr. Debrah 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what is even more significant is that for the past decade and over, this is the first time that this nation has seen growth for consistent years. In the year 2000, the growth was 3.7 per cent; 2001, it was 4.2 per cent; 2002 -- GDP growth was 4.7 per cent; 2003 -- 5.2 per cent; and 2004 -- 5.8 per cent.
Mr. C. S. Hodogbey 11:20 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is
Mr. Debrah 11:20 a.m.
Source, please?
Mr. Hodogbey 11:20 a.m.
And what was his source? My source is Statistical Service records. It was not 4.7 per cent; it was 4.5 per cent.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, you would speak only when I call you. Let him proceed.
Mr. Debrah 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this growth pattern for four continuous years is quite significant in the history of this country -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House by saying that Ghanaians can only realize the effect of economic growth in their pockets only when the economy is growing by 8 per cent and over. I think that this nation has suffered enough; the present Regime has decided to take over the mantle; the people of Ghana have voted for them to have influence on the economy to the extent that people can have the effect in their pockets. If they are not having the effects in their pockets, it should not be for them to wait until the economy is growing at 8 per cent. I think he is misleading the House.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Let him continue. You have no point of order at all.
Mr. Debrah 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this growth had occurred because of the solid macro- economic environment that has been created, and I think for this, we should be thankful to this august House for the contributions that they have made in guiding us to move thus far.
We must also commend the people of this country because some distortions in the economy were removed and they had to make certain sacrifices and they have supported the Government. And above all, we must commend the Government for taking the courageous and bold decisions to remove some of these distortions. This has now given us a solid foundation where growth can move to the point where we can feel it in our pockets; and that is exactly what the President's Address to Parliament is talking about. His Address was visionary; it was focused and showed a clear path for prosperity for this country.
I would want to touch on only agriculture. Mr. Speaker, I have heard on the floor of this House that the President never gave a heading to agriculture and therefore he did not emphasise on agriculture.
Agriculture is the backbone of this economy. Agriculture cuts across board. It is the biggest segment in the private sector so when the Government says that focus or emphasis is going to be put on the private sector, then he is putting focus on agriculture.
Mr. Speaker, the President also said that he was going to put focus on human resource development. And if you are going to develop human resource then you are going to develop human resource in agriculture. If you look at the educational reform, the President made it clear that after the junior high school students would branch to three-tier institutions, that is, the vocational/technical, then the grammar school; that is, the general arts and science, and then he mentioned agriculture. That is the solid beginning for human resource development in agriculture.
Thereafter, the President also mentioned modernizing agriculture by way of irrigation, improved seeds, mechanization and others. So I think the President gave
enough emphasis on agriculture that would see growth in this country.
Having said that, I see this Message as visionary, an Address that is focused, that would take this nation forward and for that reason I want to support the motion, by first thanking the President for fulfilling his constitutional duty by addressing us, and secondly, the content of this Message that is so focused, that would see this country moving forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Raymond A. Tawiah (NDC -- Yilo Krobo) 11:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor of this honourable House.
While thanking His Excellency the President for his state of the Nation Message, may I crave your indulgence to make the following comments. Mr. Speaker, the President's Message looks beautiful. My concern however is its implementation. I pray and hope that it would not be just a mere fulfilment of a constitutional requirement but it would in actual fact come into reality.
In the concluding part of the President's Message he said that times now are very exciting, but as to whether the times now are exciting or not your guess is as good as mine.

Mr. Speaker, I would want to talk on the petroleum deregulation. Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice to that of many Ghanaians to appeal to the Government to reconsider the petroleum deregulation and the subsequent increase in the pricing of its products. The social, political and economic effects on Ghanaians, especially the poor and the vulnerable, can best be imagined. I would want to believe that this is a listening Government and will listen

to these appeals.

In my constituency, Mr. Speaker, Somanya is the district capital, and it is among the few district capitals that lack telecommunication facilities. Under- ground cables were laid during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) era, just before the change in government or just before the “Positive Change Chapter I”, and Mr. Speaker, up till now, the cables are still underground deteriorating, waiting to be connected. I would like to appeal to “Positive Change Chapter II” -- to try and connect Somanya to the national telecommunication grid.

On mechanisation, Mr. Speaker, I was very happy when I heard His Excellency the President say that agriculture is going to be mechanized. Yilo Krobo district is predominantly an agricultural area; we contribute immensely to the national food basket. The district has been identified as a major cassava-growing area, and that a cassava factory could be built at Apersua, a village near Nkuraakan for the processing of cassava under the President's Special Initiative (PSI).

Information reaching me, however, indicates that the Government is stopping the project for the mere fact that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lost the election in the district -- [Some hon. Members: Oh, ooh!] Mr. Speaker, I take this as an unfounded rumour and wish to appeal to the Government not to abandon the cassava factory project at Apersua.

Mr. Speaker, there is a Mechanisation Department in Somanya with infras- tructure and manpower, but there are no machines like tractors and bulldozers. Once again, I wish to appeal to “Positive Change Chapter II” to provide this equipment to help the farmers in ploughing large acreages of land for cultivation of such cash crops as mangoes, which is the vogue in town now in the district.
Mr. Raymond A. Tawiah (NDC -- Yilo Krobo) 11:30 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, water is a problem in the district, especially in the district capital, Somanya. There is a perennial shortage of water. I am told the pipelines were laid in the early 1950s and ever since, there has been no change or improvement; as such, there has always been leakages of water in town. I wish to appeal to the Government to see to this so that we always have constant flow of water.

Mr. Speaker, in the President's Message, he said that there is going to be improvement in equipping the Police Service with logistics. However, the President did not talk about motivation of the Police Service. I want to take this opportunity to appeal to the Government to do something about the welfare of the Ghana Police Service in terms of remuneration and other things that may motivate them to work harder to keep the peace in this country.

On the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5.8 per cent, Mr. Speaker, it amuses me that my hon. Colleagues opposite always pride themselves by saying they have reached a growth of 5.8 per cent. Mr. Speaker, during the 1950s and the 1960s, there had been a similar growth by third world countries meeting the United Nations (UN) target of 6 per cent; yet, there was no tangible growth or improvement in the lives of the citizens, and therefore, the meaning of development has been changed.

Now, if you are talking of GDP growth of 5.8 per cent just like the hon. Member said the other time, we do not feel it in our pockets. What has happened to poverty in this country? Poverty is still very, very high in this country. What has happened to unemployment? There we are; the youth are there roaming the streets. There was

a time when they were asked to line up in the streets; they were scorched by the sun and drenched by the rain, yet there were no jobs for them; and so when we are talking of a GDP growth, I expect that the Government will do something about these things -- education, poverty and then unemploy-ment. I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Magnus E. Opare-Asamoah (NPP -- Aburi/Nsawam) 11:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the State of the Nation Message by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana on Thursday, 3rd February 2005. I would like to add my voice to the motion on the floor and thank His Excellency the President for a Message that was very well delivered. The Message gives us a lot of hope for the future of this country as the biblical land flowing with milk and honey.
Mr. Speaker, His Excellency, in his Message, gave his policy guidelines as to his vision for this country for the next four years, having laid a solid foundation in his first term under “Positive Change Chapter I”. Mr. Speaker, the Message gives inspiration and hope to Ghanaians that, indeed, there are good and exciting times ahead and there is no doubt that so far, it has been so very good. Mr. Speaker, the President's Message could be likened to an engineer who has designed and built a solid foundation of a proposed building, and is now ready and poised to build the superstructure that this foundation would support.
Mr. Speaker, the President seeks to achieve this superstructural development of three supporting columns, namely vigorous human resource development, private sector development and good governance. Mr. Speaker, as should be expected in most State of the Nation Messages, His Excellency the President
has provided the flesh and the budget is expected to provide the required framework in the form of details.
Mr. Speaker, I have listened to various contributions on the floor of the House on the President's Message and I would like to quote scriptures to place in perspective the various views that have so far been expressed; and Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I beg to quote:
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
In other words, Mr. Speaker, the way one understands and perceives the import of the Message, so shall it be unto him.
Mr. Speaker, the President has stated his vision for “Positive Change Chapter II” for his next four-year term. The success of his vision depends on how we, individually, handle and pursue this vision as partners in Ghana incorporated. At the end of four years, our constituents will judge us and vote by the way we took advantage of the many opportunities and challenges that the President's vision offered to bring economic development in growth, job opportunities and improvement in the quality of life and their welfare. It is my prayer that there will be no weeping and gnashing of teeth in the day of reckoning.
Mr. Speaker, we of Aburi-Nsawam constituency would like to position ourselves strategically to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the President's vision to positively change our destiny in infrastructural develop-ment, tourism, agriculture, housing and education, among others. Mr. Speaker, the Aburi-Nsawam consti-tuency is the gateway to the Eastern Region from Accra and with its proximity to the capital city that is expanding at a fast pace, the constituency stands to gain socio- economically from the infrastructural development that is currently going on, namely, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle- Nsawam dual carriageway, the Adenta-
Mr. Magnus E. Opare-Asamoah (NPP -- Aburi/Nsawam) 11:40 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, the establishment of a decentralized market, micro-financing scheme with affordable terms for market women, farmers, artisans, et cetera, is laudable as it would afford market women and farmers in my constituency fair access to the scheme.

Mr. Speaker, my constituency is largely a rural area and farming is a major pre- occupation, cultivating mainly pineapple, maize and pawpaw. With agriculture being the largest employer of labour and looking at the unemployment situation in my constituency, I am elated by the President's vision to modernize agriculture through mechanization and also assist the sector with irrigation, improved planting materials, credit, land reforms as well as capacity-building and the inculcation of best business practices.

This His Excellency said is to improve

productivity and profitability and reduce the drudgery and attract the youth into agriculture. Our youth will be organized and sensitized to take advantage of this laudable scheme to go into agriculture by making land available, in collaboration with chiefs and landowners.

The youth shall be encouraged to diversify into other crops other than pineapples, including those under the President's Special Initiative (PSI) so as to attract the necessary agro-industry that would provide ready market for their farm produce and also add value to them for export. This scheme will undoubtedly provide employment opportunities for the youth, put more money in their pockets and improve their livelihood.
Mr. Joe Gidisu 11:40 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, it seems the hon. Member is deviating from the State of the Nation Address. He is rather reviewing the situation in his constituency and, in
particular, the last issue on the Peduase Lodge.
Being a new Member, it might interest him to know that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government for the past five years identified the Peduase Lodge, the Flagstaff House and other places and for those number of years nothing has been done about them. So I do not think he has to take consolation from any President's assurance about the Peduase Lodge.
Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon. Member, continue.
Mr. Opare-Asamoah 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
the Nsawam Cannery that used to employ about 3,000 workers in my constituency has been left to rot since its divestiture. Again, I am glad that our Government has taken up the matter and it is my prayer that the due process that has been set in motion would be followed up speedily for an early resolution for the factory to be revamped. This would provide employ-ment for the youth and bring back the smiles that have eluded them since the closure of the factory.
The factory would also serve as a ready market for the many pineapple farmers who are complaining about undue delays in the payment of money owed them by the local exporters.
Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon. Member, you may
wind up.
Mr. Opare-Asamoah 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
will be winding up.
Mr. Speaker, sound education is the bedrock of every serious nation and the President's vision for human resource development is a step in the right direction.
“For lack of knowledge our people perish”. That is what the Good Book says
and it is important that as a nation we take the acquisition of knowledge seriously and set up a system of education that will ensure that every child is given an equal opportunity to develop his or her talent on a sound foundation, as proposed by the President. This would ultimately help build a knowledgeable society poised to assist in the development of a prosperous nation.
Mr. Speaker, the reviewed housing policy document in connection with low-cost housing programmes that is expected to be placed before Parliament in the course of the year, I hope, would also address rural housing for, especially, teachers posted to rural areas, as this would encourage them to stay at post instead of leaving for lack of decent accommodation.
Finally, our President and Chief
Executive of Ghana Incorporated (Oseadeeyo Mr. J. A. Kufuor) has spoken -- [Interruptions.] He has given us his real vision as to where we are going and how we will get there. We are all partners in this process and it behoves us all to put our shoulders to the wheel of progress to make this vision a reality. This indeed is a good time to be in and show that we are Ghanaians of one nation and one great destiny.
I join the many Ghanaians who are determined to work together to make this nation the just, humane and prosperous one. In wishing the President well, I thank him most sincerely for his Message.
Mr. Joseph Y. Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 11:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to also add my voice to the motion on the floor, ably moved by the hon. Member for Akim Oda (Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo) and seconded by the hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi (Mr. John Mahama). I also thank the President for
fulfilling his mandate, his constitutional duty of presenting the Message.
I have some issues to comment on as far as this is concerned, and Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to go to page 20, the last paragraph of the President's Message on the State of the Nation. Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I quote:
‘‘Mr. Speaker, it is recalled that, last year 28 new District Assemblies were created. This decentralization process is to carry democracy to the doorsteps of the people, and deepen good governance by involving the citizenry at all levels of decision- making.”
Mr. Speaker, laudable as it is, and with pump and pageantry, these new District Assemblies were inaugurated. In some cases, the inaugurations were in August last year but, as I speak, many of them are not functioning because they have not been duly constituted by the non-election of Presiding Members. An example is the Wa West District Assembly, for which, for several months now, no effort had been made by the authorities to have the election of a Presiding Member.

Therefore, all the monies, all the pledges of the monies that they have voted for the new Assembly remain unspent, and with the new increase in fuel prices virtually we are going to have fewer development projects, if we will have them at all. If decentralisation is a sign of advancing the course of democracy and getting citizens involved at the local levels, I will urge that efforts should be made -- there are a number of the District Assemblies -- for the new districts --which have been carved out of old districts, which are not functioning. And Mr. Speaker, it will be appropriate for us to always look at time in terms of what we want to do and not just make political capital out of creating
Mr. Danquah 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a
point of order. Mr. Speaker. I am Joe Danquah, Tain constituency. Mr. Speaker, the absence of a Presiding Member does not stop the Assembly from operating. So Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is just misleading the House. I also come from a district that has just been given a District Assembly and we are functioning; so I do not see why Wa District Assembly -- he should just withdraw.
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Wa
West, please continue and end it.
Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.) : Mr.

Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is seriously misleading us. Mr. Speaker, the President has declared 28 new District Assemblies as composed, and each of them has got a District Co- ordinating Director. Each of them has got the basic personnel to run the Secretariat. The District and Regional Ministers are acting District Chief Executives in all the new districts. So my hon. Colleague standing here on the floor of the House saying that District Assemblies have been created and they are not working, perhaps is not aware of what is happening on the ground.

Mr. Speaker, I had personally been
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Wa
West, you may take this on board.
Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is
nothing really to take on board because he is rephrasing what I said. I am saying that the District Assemblies have been created all right but they are not functioning. They were inaugurated with pomp and pageantry just before the elections; and I attended one of the inaugurations. I am saying that there is no Presiding Member and so major decisions that have to be taken, like the award of contracts -- [Interruption.] How do you perform and improve? So I am not talking about something that does not exist; I am experiencing it; I am stating the difficulties of my district. And I am saying so because I am convinced that nothing is going on in my district. And it means that there is some discrimination -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Okerchiri 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a
point of order. Mr. Speaker, if he is saying that in his district the Assembly is not functioning, that is alright. But by generalising it and saying that the Assemblies that have been created are not functioning, he is doing a great disservice to us. Mr. Speaker, in Kwahu West district, it is functioning fully.
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Wa
West, you are talking about your district, are you not?
Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
I am not talking about
that alone; I have talked to a number of my hon. Colleagues who have expressed the same sentiments, and I know for a fact that some of the districts are not functioning.
Mr. Speaker, I want to move on to the human resource development that the President mentioned in his Message.
Mr. Joe Danquah 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on
a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am still not convinced by the argument being put forward by my hon. Friend about the absence of the Presiding Member. Mr. Speaker, the Presiding Member is not a staff of the Assembly; he only chairs the meeting of the Assembly. And in the absence of the Presiding Member, Mr. Speaker, the District Coordinating Officer is there, the DFO is there; the key staff of the administration are all there; and these are people who do the day-to-day functioning of the Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member

just heard that the Assembly has no Presiding Member and he deliberately refused to find out whether it was functioning or not. So he is just misleading the House.
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, please
Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon. Member, you do
not have much time on your side.
Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
No, I have a lot of time,
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am afraid if my hon. Colleague is not called to order, he may beat all of us up in this House. [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, you have just given an indication that he does not have much time, and then confrontationally, he tells you that he has much time. [Uproar.] Mr. Speaker, I am afraid, the hon. Member must be called to order.
Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am sorry if any indication is being made that I did not respect your order --
Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Please, you proceed,
because of the time constraint.
Mr. Chireh noon
Mr. Speaker, I want to talk on human resource development and one area he talked about is education. The President mentioned tertiary education and I wish to state that currently there is a growing number of students who are not having access to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) loans because they cannot get three guarantors who must be contributors to the scheme.
Many of these students are from the rural areas and I know that many of my

Colleagues here also have people who have approached them. The conditions that have been set by SSNIT to recover the loans are so stringent that some are not even having access to it, and certainly this growing number of students who are being denied the use of the SSNIT facility cannot be proud to be Ghanaians or are exciting in any time.

I would like also to mention that in the case of this SSNIT Loan Scheme, the conditions must be reviewed such that the number of guarantors would be reduced for the young ones who need to get the loans really get them. They should not be punished because others refused to repay their loans. In any case, the scheme should be such that it would be student-friendly and not against the young people.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude by first of all asking that the sector on private sector development is very well loaded. If you look at the support base you would realize that in order to develop this country evenly and on a balanced scale, there is the need to go out to support private sector activities mainly in the rural areas, where some of us come from and where there is no activity. If you limit it to small-scale enterprises that already are on the ground, to access loans and schemes, obviously you will be leaving out those who do not already have any small-scale schemes.

Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to make my contribution.
Mr. S. N. A. Attoh (NPP -- Trobu- Amasaman) noon
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the floor and to add my voice to the motion as moved by hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo and seconded by hon. John Mahama on the 8th of February 2005; that this House thanks His Excellency the

President for his Message on the State of the Nation delivered to this august House on the 3rd of February, 2005. Mr. Speaker, one author, Seneca says, and I quote:

“Gratitude is the least of all virtues and ingratitude is the worst of all vices.”

It is even described by some as monstrous when given a slant. He continues by saying:

“He that urges gratitude pleases the cause of God and man for, without it, we can neither be sociable nor religious.”

I believe too firmly that Ghanaians are very religious and for that matter this august House of which I am a Member -- and I am excited to be a Ghanaian -- I wish to express my gratitude for this Message.

After coming out of Positive Change Chapter 1, whose achievements are manifest, His Excellency adopts a three- pronged strategy namely, vigorous human resource development, private sector development and a continuous emphasis on good governance, all aimed at accelerating the implementation of Positive Change Chapter 2. Because of time constraint, Mr. Speaker, I would like to premise my gratitude on two areas, namely, human resource development and emphatically on education.

Mr. Speaker, education is wealth, and as the saying goes, knowledge is power. If knowledge is power, then more knowledge is more power, hence those we call developed countries are more powerful than the rest of us. And development worldwide has evolved around human capital. This attracted His Excellency so much that he decided to catch them young by deciding that formal education should henceforth start at age four, to meet the constitutional requirement for the Free, Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) for all Ghanaian

children for, it is easier to burn the vine while young and a seedling than when it is matured.

On Health, Mr. Speaker, His Excellency has gone very far to catch them young, safe and healthy by implementing the maternal delivery exemption by the release of ¢27 billion from the HIPC Fund, as at now, by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for its implementation, which package covers all normal delivery, management of all assisted deliveries, including caesarian operations and management of surgical complications. Mr. Speaker, this goes a long way in making health delivery accessible to the rural poor and to alleviate the general poverty of Ghanaian women.

My second premise is on Private Sector Development. Positive Change Chapter 1, Mr. Speaker, embracing the President's Special Initiatives has created such conducive environment to the extent that cassava, as a crop, is assuming dimensions which I predict in ten years can overcome cocoa. The National Resource Institute, the Food Research Institute and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture have all contributed to the project -- Sustainable Uptake of Cassava as an Industrial Commodity Project -- which is funded by the British Department for International Development (DFID) and has attracted private institutes.

In my district, the Amassa Agro- Processing Company, and in the North Akuapem district, the Seed and Flower (Ghana) Limited, and then Afriman Global Enterprise process and use cassava products and supply these to confectioneries and flour mills, thus creating jobs for the youth. I hereby encourage all the youth of this country, considering the good soils we have in all the ten regions of Ghana, to --
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua noon
On a point of
order. Mr. Speaker, if I heard him rightly, my hon. Colleague said that in ten years he predicts cassava taking over from cocoa as the number one income earner. I want to know from him what source he is coming from, what research he has done and through which crystal ball he has predicted this. I want him to tell us.
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member for North Dayi, this is not a point of order. Let him continue.
Mr. Attoh 12:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, may I seize this opportunity to express an opinion or thought. Considering the way His Excellency is so committed to rural development in this country, I suggest that in future the Ministry of Agriculture is married to rural development. [Interruption.]

Nii Amasah Namoale: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. There is no Ministry like Ministry of Agriculture. We have Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Mr. Attoh 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, my opinion is that for the sake of accelerated rural development, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture should be married to rural development. It is unfortunate that time may not permit me to expatiate on my premise for advancing this opinion -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
You may sum up.
Mr. Attoh 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, without much ado and in conclusion, I wish long life for His Excellency, long life for the Fourth Republic, and long live Ghana. I wish to thank all members of my constituency for voting for me to come here. For now, Mr.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, as was agreed last Friday, we expected to close the plenary at 12.00 o'clock; and the time being 12.15 p.m., I think it is appropriate for me to move so that we can go into the Committee of the Whole. I, therefore, move that this House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the morning.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.14 p.m. till 23rd February, 2005 at 10.00 a.m.